Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Dictatorial blitz of the PNM

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
August 25, 2006

The public issuance of the Draft Constitution of TnT, embodying the election of an Executive President and Vice President, manifests the latest dictatorial blitz/salvo that the Manning-PNM government has leveled, hurled and pelted at the citizens of TnT.

In this PNM "arrogance of power" modus operandi, the Manning administration has consistently engaged in ex post or no prior public policy consultation on vital issues that affect/impact all Trinbagonians.

For example, when the PNM decided to erect the five-star hotel at the port of Port-of-Spain, the existence /presence of the female human beings/employees at the Breakfast Shed was totally ignored, not by accident but by arrogant design.

These Trinbagonians just became an afterthought on the part of the policy -planners. They were not consulted on the design and positioning of the hotel. Their needs and/or concerns were adjudged to be null and void by the PNM government personnel.

These hard-working, innocent, tax-paying citizens fell unwilling victims of the "exclusion principle" in terms of the arrogant, anti-people public policy posture of the Manning administration.

In a similar vain, the innocent, hard-working residents of east Port-of-Spain around Nelson street and its environs, were also not publicly consulted on the design and placement of new housing units and urban renewal programmes in their area. How anti-people can the PNM government get? The PNM government must realize that poor people are people too.

The PNM government town planners just acted with impunity and familial dislocation became the lot of these human beings. The government acted as if these people were not worthy to be shown the basic human decency and respect by listening to their concerns. In typical Euro-colonial decision-making process, the neo-colonial PNM government callously assumed that it knew what was best for these neo-colonized Trinbagonians.

In this vicious regard, the PNM government has now become the new Massa with deleterious vengeance and consequences.

Moreover, no bandleader, no masqueraders, Pan Trinbago nor TUCO were consulted on the design and positioning of the new National Carnival Centre in the Queen's Park Savannah. They were totally left out of this vital, crucial national cultural decision-making process.

The Ministry of Community Development and Culture just approved the architectural design and issues tender notices, by fiat. The fact of the matter is that the public outcry is that the amenities of this new National Carnival Centre do not meet the needs and aspirations of the music/arts/cultural community in TnT.

The general consensus is that this new center is a White elephant in the making. It represents massive tax payers' money being flushed down the commode by the arrogant hands of the powers-that-be in the Ministry of Community Development and Culture.

The general consensus also contends that the officials in this ministry are devoid of the slightest scintilla as to the inner, gut-feeling towards culture and arts in TnT. They seem to view culture in mechanical, capital expenditure terms rather than in human terms.

In this specific case of the National Carnival Centre, bigger is not better. Indeed, the glaring, classic irony is that the individuals who designed and approved this Big project are not and will not be, the ones to use it , as in playing mass, during the carnival season.

In addition, the construction of circa ninety community centers in the country also smacks of the dictatorial public policy decision-making process of the PNM government. No community stakeholders/people have been publicly consulted on the location, composition and amenities of these public buildings. This is the typical, chronic ex post, non-consultative public policy of the anti-people Manning-PNM government.

The hurling of the Draft Constitution at the people by the Manning administration can only be correctly described as par for the course .

According to political theory, a Constitution should reflect the modus vivendi of the People, by the People and for the People. This is certainly not the case in TnT at this point in the country's constitutional history.

The fact of the matter is that inputs of, by and for the People have only become ex post and an afterthought in typical PNM dictatorial tradition. This proposed public consultative process/scheme speaks volumes as to the mammaguy, congosa and pappyshow nature of the PNM government's obdurate dictatorial blitz inflicted on We, the People.

The stark reality is that Prime Minister Patrick Manning is adamantly determined to go down in the political history books as this country's first elected Executive President; ergo, under the safe and secured guise of constitutional reform, he ordained One Man, Sir. Ellis Clarke, to pen a constitution of Manning, by Manning and for Manning. The democratic concept , of the People, by the People and for the People thus became a non sequitur.

To all intent and purposes, TnT is now being ruled by the dictatorship of the political directorate of the PNM government rather than by the dictatorship of the proletariat, masses, the People.

The acquisition and holding on to power by any and all means necessary seems to be the mantra of the Manning-PNM government. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

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