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Get up, do something!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You might expect that this column would focus on the bacchanal-o-the week, the despicable machinations of this administration being sold as a Parliament oversight. There is little more that I can say about section 34. The sinewy issue has been pureed and fed to the population by the media, Opposition and commentators.


It is only natural for the public to join the chorus of: “This stinking PP government, they beg fa’chance and look wha’ dey come an’ do. Anyway we dun know what goin’ on. When de next election come we votin’ dem out!” The public at large does this because they are not equipped for anything else.


Governments past and present continue to “section 34” the population, yet with each reshuffling of what is essentially the same leadership, we anticipate some tectonic shift in the way the country is governed. The politicians are the same, some a little younger, some a little older, some a little fatter, some a little bolder. The populace has latched on to this latest debacle because of its brazen offence. Trinis almost seem to be pleading, “Oh Gorm! Allyuh wuk lil bit to tief up we head nah!”


I’ve seen written in many places, “This is the worst government that we have ever seen!” Ladies and gentlemen, it isn’t the worst, it’s just the same. The same crimes are perpetrated by every single administration formed against the people. We suffer the convenience of amnesia when asked to recall the church built with taxpayers’ money in the Heights of Guanapo. The Opposition would have the population believe that the evils of that party in the previous government have been atoned for at the polls.


This is of course BS, because to date no one has been called to account for the myriad acts of corruption of the PNM. The collapse of the Clico conglomerate threatened to destabilise the entire economy yet Balisier insiders inextricably linked to the malfeasance of that grand casino remain not only free but nestled in the lap of luxury.


Consider if you will the stark contrast of Sir Allen Stanford, the former honorary President of Antigua. When his house of cards tumbled, top lieutenants fearing a life in orange jumpsuits illustrated how this Stanfordian Ponzi scheme was constructed. Before our commission of inquiry into the collapse of Clico was completed, Sir Allen Stanford was already comfortably ensconced in a long-term prison relationship.


We demand nothing of our leaders and hold no one accountable. When atrocities which measure Section 34 on the Richter scale occur, all we are able to muster is a very potent righteous indignation. So just what do we stand for in this country? Well, we are in the beginning of September and Tribe sell out, ent? Eef it have fete we in dat!


The labour movement has the greatest mobilisation capability in the country but the only thing they ever march for is “bigger salaries.” This is not to say that unions aren’t entitled to advocate for better wages for their workers. In this country it is either march for morney or Road march, other than that Trinis nat on dat! When a precious heritage treasure, Mc Leod house in Chase Village was demolished, the outrage on Facebook was almost palpable.


Still, citizens in this virtual forum were prepared to do only two things, blame someone and ask, “What are you going to do about it?” It was very instructive to note the number of people who were happy to offer suggestions as to what I should do to deal with the ongoing neglect of our precious heritage sites (never mind I am already doing more than I can manage).


This is the fundamental challenge with our stillborn nation: no one is willing to get off their a-- and play their role in building the sort of society we all long for. That is for some one else to do, for another generation to fight up with. The politicians we elect are in office to do for theirs in the very same way that we live our lives. My contract, my job, my salary, my house, my kids, jobs for my kids and the cycle continues just so long as you are able to foist your tribal council on the rest of the country for the next five years.


The Concubine of the People issued a mildly condemnatory statement against this Government’s legislative sleight of hand. Beyond that, however, they are in it for the long haul. Several years ago I mistakenly took phone calls from the public while interviewing Lloyd Best (people should really know to hush dey mout when big people talkin’). A caller said, “Eef you know so much ’bout this politics ting, why you doh do something?”


In that moment it became clear that for a Trini, the only way you can be involved in politics is if you fightin’ ah seat for either the PNM or the UNC. This is why politicians of every shade will continue to betray this country.


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