March 29, 2001 From: Raffique Shah

Panday has to be Laughing?

While I agree with you that in the current political scenario, Panday may have much to laugh at (or about), I also believe that he's self-destructing at an alarming pace. His heart problems were predictable because of the transparent manner in which he has allowed pure venom to take over his every word and deed. Look around and see what the state of health of the Cabinet looks like. Look at the possible successors to Panday (if you can find any).

So that while Bas may be laughing, having jokers to contend with in just about every sphere of politics, he may be crying that he won't be around to enjoy the spoils of office he worked so hard to accumulate.

There is a story in that for all politicians, all those who abuse power or office for personal gain. But few will learn. Look at what happened to the "old PNM", see how many of them have quietly slithered into the UNC, because for them it's not a question of whether or not Manning is capable, but what they can fill their pockets with. Muriel, 'til the day she died, could not come to the point where she would take a maxi rather than strain to pay a driver for a car that must have taxed her considerably in her twilight years. Kamal cannot stay out of the limelight, even if he is made to look like a fool. Ditto for Errol Mahabir. When Panday and his gang say the PNM was in power for 30 years and did nothing for the country, two pertinent questions arise:

1. Do Kamal, Errol and others who were in the balisier patch during those years agree? 2. Did T&T start on the road to becoming the most thriving economy in the Caribbean in 1995? Was Pt Lisas Panday's grand idea? Did we have no roads, no schools, no police, etc., for 30 years? Where, pray, were all those who today run the affairs of the country (public service, judiciary, business, etc) educated? In foreign?

It's sad that so many people have short memories. I was--an remain--one of the most vociferous critics of the PNM, to the extent that I put my life on the line in 1970, quite literally. But I always said I was grateful to Williams for the education I received, and for the other opportunities (including jail, which I learnt to use as a university of sorts). The PNM, like most post-colonial regimes in the Third World, was both good and bad for the newly independent nation. The UNC, for all its criticisms of the PNM, has copied the worst traits of that party, especially the art of siphoning public funds into private pockets (or off-shore accounts, to be more au courant). Cry, my beloved country.

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