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The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 06, 2011

We didn't have to wait until the Prime Minister declared an official end to the state of emergency to realize that it was ill-advised, ill-timed and disingenuous. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear have come to the realization that what began as a farce ended up as a comedy of errors with rotten eggs splattered on the Government's face and even greater opprobrium cast upon their name. Ah mean, they couldn't even carry off this jokey maneuver with a modicum of humor.

At the beginning of this outrage, I reminded the populace about the hypocrisy of the Government's action. I noted: "Jack wept just as Peter wept after he had betrayed Christ. Brigadier John Sandy bemoaned: 'We must recognize that it is people looking like me who are being murdered, mothers like my mother, God rest her soul, who are out there weeping more than any other race.'" Although Sandy loved black people he had no problem in picking up young black men at random and placing them behind bars.

In the end, their crocodile tears and morbid sentimentality culminated in a real-life drama situation in which some of the major players almost came to delivering real blows to one another. We are told that at their last Cabinet meeting, dim-witted Sandy and big-mouth Anil came to "a near physical confrontation." Big Mouth blamed Dim-witted between dim-witted Sandy and "the security forces for the failure of the state of emergency."

Just to show who had more testicular fortitude, Dim-witted reminded Big-mouth that he had more military expertise than he; that he could shoot straighter than he. Just to emphasize the point, Dim-witted made Big-Mouth know: "I ent' 'fraid yo." Like any school boy bully, Big Mouth threatened: "Let's us take it outside so I could demonstrate with ma' hands what ah saying with ma' mouth."

Dim-witted could only chide Big Mouth with the obvious: "Yo' vex because dey fire dey yo' sister-in-law" who was hired by the PNM. In a UNC world there can be no greater crime than this: being black and having worked with the PNM. It matters not who you are or where you come from. Once yo' black yo' gone.

As the mutual recrimination got worse, Big Mouth had to show his street credentials. He "stormed" out of the meeting beckoning Dim-witted to follow him outside to straighten out matters. Alarmed by such "ghetto behavior," the kind the state of emergency tried to eliminate, the Prime Minister called Big-Mouth back inside and demanded that he apologize to Dim-witted which had the effect of cooling things down.

But could you imagine the spectacle? Two overgrown black boys trying to impress their Indian queen about their manhood credentials; each acknowledging that their experiment in public manipulation had failed; each going down the road of disaster but no one having the courage to say: "'tun back before it's too late."

From the beginning it was there for all to see which is why I am not too impressed with the recent utterances of political commentators such as Martin Daly, Winford James and Bishnu Ragoonath who belatedly have arrived at the conclusion that the state of emergency was a farce to begin with (See Trinidad Express, December 6). It brings to mind the observations Queen of England II when she asked why none of our eminent economists was able to foresee the great recession of 2008-09. After all, it makes little sense to offer learned analyses after the damage has been done.

Initially, without having the political credentials of the aforesaid specialists, I rejected the state of emergency since it was thinly-disguised gesture "to capture some gang leaders" from black areas to satisfy the twisted logic of some twisted minds.

It ended with the same ignominy. They had to release the 16 detainees, mostly Muslims, who were held without any evidence and/or any consultations with the Director of Public Prosecution.

To Keith Rowley's credit, he insisted that no confirmed plot was established to assassinate the Prime Minister and her colleagues and that the state of emergency was a farce: "The Prime Minister," he says, behaved in "a reckless manner, [and] misled the country." The purported document on which these detentions rest stated that the assassination was designed to show that the state of emergency was "a dismal failure" and that "the firearms and ammunition for the plot were brought by one person (named) and the guns may have been supplied by another alleged conspirator, through the assistance of another alleged conspirator" (Trinidad Express, December 3) and so the comedy of errors proceed.

The only satisfying twist in this tale of bizarre incompetence (if it can be called satisfying) resides in the fact that whereas they began the state of emergency by attacking the black community; they ended their ignominy by defaming the Muslim community. According to the Guardian, shouts of "Allah Ackbar," were heard from the outside of the detention camp after the group of 16 was released from its unlawful detention.

Responding to the unjust position of the government, one of the detainees declared: "There is absolutely no truth in that [the allegations the government made]" although he refused to say whether the action of the government "was a plot against the Muslim community" (Guardian, December 6). And, as if to compound the irony of the situation, Selwyn "Robocop" Alexis, the alleged leader of the alleged conspiracy, wondered aloud: "I support the Government. How I go kill them. I campaigned for Stephen Cadiz and I was in UNC long before Cadiz."

In eighteen short months, the UNC government has alienated the black as well as the Muslim community. They will go down in our history as the most incompetent and hypocritical government unable to discern the difference between play-acting and the reality of governing; the difference between truth and falsity; and an inability to take the entire population people into their confidence rather than betraying the trust they have placed in their hands.

I have a strange feeling they will live to regret this deliberate distrust they have sowed within the public arena.

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