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Raffique Shah


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Vengeance of Moko

By Raffique Shah
November 3, 2013

When the votes are counted tomorrow night, the St Joseph by-election will bring to closure what may well be the most torturous year in the electoral history of this country. Two scheduled elections—the THA in January and local government last month—and two unscheduled by-elections have left us numb from campaign punishment.

Sober-minded citizens will no doubt breathe a collective sigh of relief tonight when the assault from tasteless television advertisements, many of which insulted our intelligence as human beings, falls silent. Not until the next general elections, scheduled for no later than August 2015, will we see politicians walking our streets pretending to care for us and to address our problems.

The noise pollution they inflicted on us, jarring music trucks and public-address systems piercing our eardrums day and night, showed just how much they cared.

Do not even mention the buffoonery displayed on platforms, the diatribes that they paid huge sums to broadcast live on television, night after night, at prime time.

Thank Jah all of that is over, that we can return to some measure of normality, that only if we choose voluntary torture, meaning tuning in to the Parliament channel, would we have to stomach their faecal deposits.

Does it matter who wins the St Joseph by-election? I suppose it does from the standpoint of teaching the arrogant incumbents a lesson, letting them know that they cannot continue to defecate on the nation without getting their crevices singed.

The more important question, though, is whether, or how, the events of the year have redefined the national political equation. The Tobago elections in January saw the Partnership's TOP spin completely out of control, annihilated by the PNM, with not even the nail left intact. Ten months later, the nation has forgotten that there is (was?) a politician named Ashworth Jack.

Other "TOPpers" who crowed loudly in 2010, who arrogated unto themselves ownership of the sister isle, have faded into obscurity. So, one can subtract Tobago from the Partnership side of the equation, and add it to the PNM, at least until the latter takes Tobagonians for granted, as politicians are wont to, and they too feel the wrath of a people scorned.

The Chaguanas West by-election propelled Jack Warner and his ILP centre-stage. When he nailed the UNC to the cross in their heartland, Jack thought he had found the beanstalk to political heaven. Predictably, that was not to be. He had wounded the UNC badly, but not fatally, as the results of the local government elections showed.

Meanwhile, the UNC/COP will have lost four elections in one year, quite possibly a world record. Yet the Prime Minister boasts that her party has won. Her convoluted logic has left many baffled. People should understand, though, that embattled leaders lose touch with reality.

In the closing months of World War II, Adolf Hitler was calling on his generals to unleash on the invading Allies Luftwaffe planes that no longer existed, armoured divisions that had been decimated, and troops that had been so battered and war-weary, they longed for peace.

In his underground bunker in Berlin, as the Russians closed in from the East and the Allied Forces from the West, this mad man still misled many good Germans to their deaths ... until he committed suicide.

We can only hope that the Prime Minister does not take her faithful supporters down the suicidal road. The East-West Corridor is gone, lost, ceded to the PNM—that much is clear. The few constituencies that run into "Indian territory"—St Joseph, St Augustine, Tunapuna—will yield some votes, even a seat in St Augustine, given its boundaries.

But once the Corridor is lost, you lose the elections. I have heard UNC sycophants say that when they look at the national electoral map, most of the country is coloured yellow—and that is true. What they do not understand is that the densely populated Corridor has many more seats than the often sparsely peopled East, Central and South, except for small enclaves such as greater Chaguanas, Princes Town and Penal/Debe.

In case they did not know it, the people who delivered government to the Partnership in 2010 were not the Indians who think they did, but other ethnic groups that were fed up with Patrick Manning's misadventures, his hubris, hence the death blow to the PNM. Those were the people who had booted the PNM back in 1986, who gave Basdeo Panday an opportunity in 2000, which he squandered.

The UNC elements in the Partnership Government worked hard to alienate that deciding vote. Branding them "PNM dogs", the arrogant UNC kicked these people out of boards and management positions where they had performed well, denied them jobs and contracts that they merited, and worse.

Now, these are the people who have re-drawn the electoral map to bring down the vengeance of Moko on those who have not learnt from the misdeeds of their predecessors.

Watch, though, for a rapprochement between the ILP and the UNC. And the PNM should not sit smugly, waiting to win power by default.

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