PNM speaks out – Glamorgan Community Centre overflows
This column congratulates the Tobago Council of the PNM on its successful staging of the second phase of its FEELING THE PAIN event at Glamorgan last Sunday.
For the first time in recent memory, the hall was fully occupied and persons were forced to occupy space in the wings of the Community Centre as supporters came out in their numbers. A warm welcome was also extended to the hundred plus new persons who attended Sunday, but had never been to a PNM public meeting in the past. It was indeed a great evening. The quality of the presentations was of an extraordinarily high standard and the exuberance, energy and enthusiasm of the audience were very much in evidence from beginning to end of the programme.
There were testimonies from the young and the not-so-young who described the atrocities perpetrated on them by the UNC led PP/TOP Government. The presentation of Mrs. Jennifer Baptiste-Primus was impressive and impactful as she dissected and analysed the actions of the UNC led government and possible impact on Tobagonians. The Deputy Political Leader was his usual solid self and not to be left out was the fiery presentation by the dynamic Senator Shamfa Cudjoe who was also made to feel the pain in the Senate as she sought to present her contribution in the Upper House on Tuesday. 13th March.
The public would be well aware by now of the incident where the young Senator while making her contribution in the Senate, had established the link between the threat of a chemical attack and the need for an improved ANR Robinson International Airport to deal with such an eventuality.In order to forestall her criticism of the Minister of Transport for his failure to honour the commitment by his predecessors to give Tobagonians the new Airport Terminal facilities, Minister Maharaj suggested to the Acting President of the Senate that Senator Cudjoe was being irrelevant.
The Acting President, taking the cue from the Transport Minister, proceeded to indicate to Cudjoe that she was being irrelevant. Senator Cudjoe, in typical Tobago fashion, refused to be intimidated and, convinced that she was not being irrelevant, continued to speak out in Tobago's interest. The Acting President eventually ruled that the Senator was irrelevant to speak about Tobago in the debate and debarred her from continuing her contribution. The people of Tobago must understand from this action by the UNC coalition in the Senate that they have no regard for Tobago which implies that Tobago is "irrelevant".
It is heartening to record that Senator Cudjoe has pledged to persevere, regardless of the obstacles that are being placed in her way by the ungrateful, ruthless UNC government. She has assured Tobago that she will continue to speak out and fight for Tobago and the interests of its people. The Tobago Council supports Senator Cudjoe in her resolve to serve the people of Tobago through "thick and thin".
Mrs. Baptiste Primas was masterful in exposing the wiles of the UNC led Government and the worsening of the corruption image of Trinidad and Tobago which was recently highlighted by Transparency Internationalin its latest report on corruption, worldwide. This was an issue that was of major concern to the meeting. This UNC/COP/TOP/MSJ/NJAC Government in its manifesto pledged to observe strict rules of transparency and accountability in its governance of the country. However, in less than two years since May 24, 2010, the country's reputation for corruption has taken a huge hammering.
And while the country's corruption rating plummeted, the SHOPPIN TOPPIN issue has taken centre stage. Even in the face of compelling evidence to support allegations of mis-use of her Credit Card, the Minister of Tobago Development strongly insisted that she had done no wrong.Perhaps Ministers in this Government are not required to act responsibly. How else can one interpret the silence of the Prime Minister in light of the revelations that have been highlighted in the press and in the context of the query by Dr. Keith Rowley in the House during the debate of the No-Confidence Motion recently. Her silence has tended to lend credence to the allegation by Dr. Rowley that wrong-doing by members of her government is being condoned at the highest level.
Maybe the explanation is simply a case of follow the leaders since the exposure of the expenditure of several hundreds of thousands of state dollars by this government for the Prime Minister's sister to accompany her sister on her jaunts around the world that, also does not help to bolster the confidence of the population and would-be investors in the credibility of this Government .We must not forget that one of the leaders of the People's Partnership was credited with saying that this Government is the most corrupt in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. It is also noteworthy that this leader has remained in the partnership despite these utterances and has maintained his silence ever since.
It is therefore to the credit of the Movement of Social Justice that they have shown courage and moral good sense by publicly threatening to withdraw from the UNC-dominated Partnership in circumstances where the UNC-led Coalition, has not, in the interest of social justice, engaged in meaningful consultations with the other groupings, including the labour movement that contributed in no small way to the success of the Partnership in the 2010 General Elections.
Already, the COP has spoken out against the unequal treatment that, some time ago, was being meted out to them by its UNC ally. In fact, its leader apparently concerned about the state of the coalition, recently urgently called for a "pow wow" of the leaders. Jack Warner, for all that he is said to have done for the UNC and was known to be the backbone of the party in the May 2010 election, is being made to feel uneasy in his party. However, this TOP seems perfectly comfortable in its UNC-dominated situation. It has remained very silent through all the persecution and the nepotism that have defined this UNC led coalition administration. In fact, as Mrs. Baptiste Primas pointed out, one can question whether this is really a coalition any more or whether it is a UNC government with some supporters, given that the last reshuffle sidelined their COP competition.
As the parties gear for the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly Elections which SHOPPIN TOPPIN has said "would come as a thief in the night", she has also said "Who have more corn will feed more fowl." Perhaps Ashworth and his cohorts believe that by feeding Tobagonians the corn that will be thrown by the UNC before the THA Elections, Tobagonians will be lured away from their trademark virtues of patriotism, loyalty and simple good sense.
The Chief Secretary and Deputy Political Leader of the PNM, in his sterling contribution last Sunday reminded the audience that, "sensible fowls recognise that to feed on corn that is thrown to them on a Saturday morning could result in foolish fowls finding themselves as objects of a hearty Sunday meal". We are comforted by the fact that Tobagonians are not foolish fowls.
THE Tobago Council
OF THE PNM