Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Political impasse in TnT
Posted: April 17, 2002
An analysis by
Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Friday, 5 April 2002 will go down in the political history books of TnT as one of the twin island’s most infamous days to date.

This day will live in infamy.

For whereas Prime Minister Patrick Manning had his eye on D-Day as a Day for Democracy and the constitutional process, the leader of the UNC Basdeo Panday had his eye on D-Day as a Day for Disaster and national chaos.

And contrary to public comments, D-Day resulted as a Day for “Destruction”, “Detention” and non-“Decision.” It was a day on which the leadership of the UNC vigorously sought to highjack the democratic process.

The fact of the matter is that the Prime Minister must not fall prey to Panday’s congame to call “fresh elections” anytime soon.

Manning must insist that there would not be any general elections in TnT until and unless every citizen who is eligible to vote has his or her name correctly accounted for on a revised and legal voter’s list. Nothing more, nothing less!

Manning owes this much to the citizens of TnT. Democracy and one-man-one-vote are still the way of life in TnT and no one, however bent of acquiring power, should be allowed to thwart this age-long process.

The PNM government has not fallen. No knockout punch was thrown on D-Day. In fact, the government is more fortified to withstand any attack by the UNC and to remain standing firm on both legs at the end of the day. The PNM will never surrender to UNC political pressure.

Prime Minister Manning was correct to advise President Arthur Robinson “to prorogue Parliament” in an attempt to follow the constitutional and sane process.

What occurred on 5 April 2002 only brings to the fore the lengths to which someone will go in order to achieve political power.

The fact of the matter is that no amount of the UNC procrastination and threats will prevent the proper functioning of the various Commissions of the Inquiry into the past corruption under the UNC regime.

And the nation by former UNC attorney general Kamla Persad-Bissessar that “ corruption should have been addressed at that time” it occurred is a futile cop-out and as a trained lawyer, she knows that “ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law.”

And this scary reality of the future jail-prison time for former UNC political appointees is the driving catalyst behind the D-Day fiasco.

Patrick Manning is not “buying time” on the contrary, time alone will tell how many UNC people will buy time in jail for public hornin, corruption and misbehaviour in public office.

The government of TnT is a constitutional one and is run as such, as opposed to the previous government in which one-man-rule and monocracy were the order of the Day—24-7-365.

TnT cannot return to just unholy Days. We must turn a new leaf that is lined the people’s interests and goodwill.

The leadership of the UNC should be blasted for the unconscionable situation in which it has placed TnT and payment should be paid in full at the next general elections.

The President’s constitutional decision on 24 December 2001 should have been accepted by the leader of the UNC, so that Democracy and the rule of the law can continue to flourish.

Instead, the leader of the UNC has unleashed all and every weapon in his armory to thwart the process of the smooth governance in TnT.

His political behavior smacks of cruel and unusual tactics. His eyes have all been focused on the re-acquisition of power by any and all means necessary.

They did not work then and they will not work after D-Day.

The Constitution rules, runs and governs TnT—not the whims, threats and filibustering of one political entity.

No one is above the Constitution—real or imagined.

Prime Minister Manning must continue to be guided by the constitution, rule of law and the need for smooth governance in TnT. D-Day was just an unfortunate setback but contrary to political detractors, the PNM regime remains strong, empowered and intact. It shall not be moved.

This is a fifth teen round political fight between the PNM sitting in the people’s democratic corner and the UNC sitting in the personal corruption corner covered all over with financial public hornin scars and bruises and accusations of thievery.

Manning and his government must be in this fight for the long haul. The UNC opponent intends to dig in and even use low blows. But the people and commissions of Inquiry will automatically disqualify them.

The message to Basdeo Panday and the UNC is very simple: “Don’t go there.”

This is not a political threat; it is just a reality check to resolve the political impasse in TnT.

The time is now for the UNC to let bygones be bygones and put the interests of the people ahead of personal fears and power.

The power of the people is more potent than the power of One.

Politicians in TnT need to clearly understand that it is an honour and privilege to represent and serve the People and that they must not use, abuse and betray that sacred trust. And this is exactly what occurred in the previous UNC regime at their zenith.

The PNM regime must do everything in its power to destroy the Axis of Corruption that has descended upon TnT politics since 1995. Enough is enough.

The PNM regime must tear down this Wall of Corruption, public financial hornin, thievery, malfeasance in governance misbehavior in public office, electoral voter fraud and padding and “parasitic oligarchies” in the political life of TnT. Enough is enough.

No one is indispensable in TnT’s politics and for the future; the era of “Doctor politics” must be expunged from the political horizon of TnT. Enough is enough.

TnT needs public political servants not private carpetbaggers, bookies, conmen, and vagabounds.

The political impasse in TnT must not be allowed to last for any lengthy period of time. It’ will not be good for the country both nationally and internationally.

The leadership of the UNC needs to factor into its recalcitrant equation, the damage that it is imposing on the country and it’s citizens.

Enough is enough. Cooler, collective and not politically vindictive heads must prevail at this time. Highnoon has not yet been reached.

TnT needs a political system that is devoid of corruption sound affects. Enough is enough.

The time is now to bring back the good old days of morality in public affairs, structured accountability and decency in the functioning of governance in TnT.

There needs to be a more holistic approach to politics in TnT.

There needs to be constitutional reform to politics in TnT.

There needs to be more public responsibility in politics in TnT.

There needs to be the maximisation of the public good in politics in TnT.

There needs to be the total eradication of ethnic supremacy in politics in TnT.

In the final analysis, it is incumbent on the shoulders of the Prime Minister to assume that democratic governance will exist in TnT despite massive, puerile roadblocks purposely planted by the UNC.

The ruling PNM regime will overcome the current political impasse in TnT because decency and democracy are on their side and not on the other side. And no amount of political or civil posturing can change this picture.

Sanity prevails on the PNM side while political insanity exists on the other side.

The fact of the matter is that good always tumbles over evil and the current political impasse in TnT is no exception.

As such, the good PNM regime will triumph over the other side, in the long run. This is the natural course of the cosmos.

In this political impasse, the collateral damage has already been done to Trinis by the intransigent, sorry-losers cry-baby, puerile UNC leader, their cohorts and misdirected, bamboozled and took supporters.

I agree with Dr. Bhoe Tewarie that “three dominant issues’ facing TnT are the distribution of “political power, economic distribution and cultural space.”

These three issues have been the victims and hostages of petty party politics in TnT since the 1956 era of “Doctor politics”; they are not recent phenomena.They have only become more pronounced and vicious in today’s era of corruption politics.

If TnT is to be the society that all Trinis want and need then steps must be undertaken to equalize these issues to the maximun benefit of All the PEOPLE.

Government policy needs to be totally un-biased when it relates to these paramount issues.

TnT will either prosper or self-destruct if these three issues are not dealt with up close and personal.

Every creed and race must find an equal place in TnT. The solving of these three issues could guarantee the above.

In another vain, it is rather bold-faced and hypocritical for the UNC leader Basdeo Panday to declare that as a result of the “conspiracy between Mr.Manning and the President to keep an illegal government in power” that “an executive dictatorship” now exists in TnT.

This is totally ridiculous. Maybe Mr. Panday is suffering from cognitive dissonance or selective amnesia. Maybe he has forgotten either by accident or design(more by design),his own stint as Prime Minister.

Panday is indeed the primary One who has “been there,done that”, when it comes to One-man dictatorship and monocracy in governance in TnT.

Some Trinis have e-mailed me to register their disagreement with some of my political analyses which is their democratic right with no professorial dictatorship nor conspiracy involved. However, although there was corruption during the PNM regime, what my fellow Trinis have failed to realize or refused to recognize is the salient reality that public corruption, thievery and hornin reached their collossal zenith since the 1995 UNC regime.

As such, my fellow Trinis are not only mixing apples and oranges but they are also mixing mangoes with tomatoes and roti with egg.

Give me a break!.

The fact of the matter is that the legal PNM government must adopt a zero tolerance public policy toward and tighten the grip on, public corruption, hornin, thievery of taxpayers monies and mis-behaviour in public office.

The bottom-line is that governance in TnT has slept with the devil for far, far.far too long. Enough is Enough.

The time is now to restore TnT to the path of political sanity.

Panday’s defiant, paranoid, threatening politricking will soon be relegated to the ashheapof TnT’s political history.

The UNC must realize that political power cannot and will not be achieved through the barrel of a gun; it can and will only be achieved through the democratic-electoral process. There will be no short-cuts.

Trinis are now more astute , savy and mature to decode any of Panday’s congames.

As Bro. Bob Marley has warned : “you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.’’

Listen and heed these powerful, profound and poignant lyrics of political wisdom, Mr. Basdeo Panday for your own good and for the country’s too.

The forte of governance in TnT is the democratic process; it must not be allowed to be trampled upon nor dismantled by Panday and the UNC.

Prime Minister Manning must stand up and defend the democratic process and the election of a Speaker,the second time around.

Prime Minister Manning must stand up for free, fair and all-citizen-inclusive voters’ list before any general elections are held.

Prime Minister Manning must stand up against corruption and thievery in public office.

Prime Minister Manning must stand up against multifaceted intimidation by the UNC and its leader who are bent on acquiring political power by any and all means necessary.

And finally, Prime Minister Manning must stand up against Panday’s slick reverse political-psychological tactics.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor, Dept. of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University, U.S.A.

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