Sunday, August 4, 2013
The implications of Jack Warner’s return to parliament and the manner of his ascendancy have created shockwaves in the political landscape. One week after Jack Warner’s victory at the polls political ads are still being run on primetime television. He’s using the momentum of the electoral victory to occupy the public’s mental space as he is not satisfied with Chagaunas West alone. The perennial kingmaker wants a crack at the throne for himself. The culture of dependency in Trinidad especially has reached maturity to the extent that Jack Warner boldly refers to himself as Uncle Jack - A trustworthy and benevolent character ready to deliver goodies to all and sundry. The people of Chaguanas West apparently lapped it up. I listened to his plans and quietly asked is he saying that in order to be a good MP you must possess enormous sums of wealth and use it to ‘help’ people.To many who read that last sentence it may appear harmless in fact virtuous. It’s just that it’s not actually a plan, it’s not sustainable and it’s not replicable. I observed this election with a degree of amusement. Not to be frivolous but it was the only emotion I could muster from the insanity that ensued. I saw Kamla Persad-Bissessar feign ignorance as is her custom, when she attacked Jack Warner on matters that she consistently defended him about for the past three years. I also saw Jack Warner paint a picture of a cabal hell bent on manipulating the Prime Minister. In the background of that picturelay a group of non-performers and farther still another group concerned only with enriching themselves and their families. To the ignorant it must appear that these convictions had their genesis mere months ago. To the diligent it smacks of unbridled hypocrisy and inextricable, intertwined corruption. To say that Warner is unsuitable for public office is a truism and an understatement. That fact the he has been re-elected is an indictment on the ethical judgment of the voters and the failure of our political system to filter and discard those of reprehensible character, even when it is blatant. The irony of this disaster is despite all of Jack Warner’s sins committed at TTFF/TTFA, CFU, CONCACAF, and FIFA and despite all of his cowboy style of maneuvering and utter disregard for institutional procedures and the rule of law he has managed to hold the trust of voters. Staying close the ground, touching folks and being accessible are basic tenets for office seekers to follow. He did that better than anyone and it helped to always have a team of video journalists there to record it. One notable shift in way we vote is that if and when a constituency’s preferred party defies their wishes regarding the choice of candidate voters will either abstain or defect. Patrick Manning made this mistake in 2010 when he spurned Penelope Beckles and the PNM lost Arima. Kamla Persad-Bissessar was not mindful and even worse was complacent in her selection of Khadija Ameen who to be polite was a weak candidate. Persad-Bissessar thought that she could depend on traditional support. She was wrong and her concession speech revealed a lack of stability in her Government. I looked on as councilors and recycled politicians switched sides and read the comments from various MPs within the People’s Partnership obfuscating their intent to pursue the next opportunity and can’t help but feel that the whole thing is rotten. It’s old wine in an old wineskin, dyed green. They have no cogent philosophy and no plan beyond winning elections which at this point should be all too familiar to us. We the people must take these parties to task evaluate them intelligently. If not the trend of poor governance on the road to state failure will continue.