Politics of distraction in T&T
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
December 19, 2010
To all intent and purposes, a new genre of politics has become the norm in T&T. And this new political modus operandi is the politics of distraction.
For while the country is burning, the murder rate (445 as of this writing) has surpassed Brian Lara's 400 highest test score and is feverishly and uncontrollable heading to surpass his 500 highest county cricket score also.
Amidst all this madness and chaos, 24-7-365, one finds that some elected public officials are only bent on hurling puerile, petty pot-shots at each other in Parliament.
It seems evident to the average, causal citizen that certain members of Parliament have something up his/her sleeve to detract the population from the burning, intractable and life-threatening problems that are affecting and impacting the country in progressively negative degrees.
Moreover, debates in Parliament degenerated from the ridiculous to the sublime. These debates sometimes come across as a direct insult to a concerned citizen's intelligence. They are a genuine "turn-off."
The fact of the matter is that politics in T&T has become very personalized and ego-tripping, while the country is still burning people are suffering to the nth degree.
If it was not the distraction of the Cunapo Church--- Manning's spititual adviser and what PM stood for under former Prime minister Patrick Manning, then, click on the "spy list" for tapped telephones by the Special Intelligence Agency (SIA) or better yet, click on the latest distraction, "Kamla's Palace" to the tune of TT$150m with an asking price of TT$30m to the former Prime Minister by the current Prime Minister.
In the meantime, the United Nations office in T&T has reported that 17% (22,100) of the population live in poverty. Does anyone care?--- poverty is not heaven—ask Shadow.
Indeed, Pastors are now forced to give Sunday sermons literally in the streets of the nation as the ever escalating crime situation becomes up close and personal. Does anyone care?
Young people have no direction; they think that their lives don't amount to much; they neither have real life expectations nor role models, except the drug dealers---politicians are totally excluded/ruled out; young people have no respect for adult authority, but they do have a laptop computer in their school bag. "This is madness, total madness."
A life of crime and membership in a gang have now become the comfort zone for the country's youths.
Does anyone care?
The stark reality is that a Commission of Inquiry has been proposed to right every and all the PNM's wrongs; however, in the meantime, public servants are not only forced to live, albeit survive, on 2007 salary but are also getting sick while working in government's buildings. Does anyone care?
The fact of the matter is that Trinbagonians neither want nor need the politics of distraction; instead, after years of the PNM's congosa, pappyshow and mammaguy, Trinbagonians are demanding the traction of public policy conceptualization, formulation and implementation.
The time is now for politicians and elected public officials to think outward as in We the People rather than inward as in "me, myself and I."
Now is the time for a genuine problem-solving approach to governance in T&T rather than parliamentary finger-pointing, grandstanding and unholy distraction in politics. Now is the time for the politics of nation-building not the politics of anarchy.
Now is the time for politicians and elected public officials to put country first and the scoring of brown points should be relegated to the ash heap of "chupidness" and insanity. Now is the time for the politics of Oneness, not the politics of narrow, myopic political partisanship. All Trinbagonians are in this inherited "sinking ship" together, not separate.
The politics of distraction serves only one purpose, that is, the dangerous and scary introduction of divisiveness, scepticism, animosity and mistrust into the country's body politic.
Indeed, Trinbagonians need to be reminded of the salient but apocalyptic admonition of the slain African-American Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he surmised as follows:
"Now the judgement of God is upon us and we must either learn to live together
as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools."
The bottom-line is that the politics of distraction must never be allowed to degenerate into the politics of default, by design.
In the final analysis, however, there is but one welcomed distraction--- carnival 2K11 is back in de savannah. "We like it."
Shem Hotep( "I go in peace").
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.
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