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Politics in Trinidad and Tobago

By opoku ware

With Jack Warner continuing his “eat ah food” political rampage in Trinidad, the nation awaits the end game which awaits Warner.
It is clear that without Warner and his dollars, the so called ‘green party’ will become all but a memory of a moment in time.
What is now instructive is that Dr Keith Rowley made a calculated and monstrous blunder by their failure to launch a frontal attack against Warner during the recent bye election campaign.
Instead, Dr Rowley was on television with a wry smile saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, referring to Warner’s war against the Partnership Government.
Therefore, it was not strange to see that, while the PNM was able to capture over two thousand votes in the 2010 general elections, they could only muster just four hundred votes in the bye elections.
Now with Warner signaling his intention to invade the PNM constituencies, one has to wonder what is Dr Rowley’s position now on his enemy of his enemy who is his friend.
So while the political situation in Trinidad provides fertile ground for the armchair political analysts, we must also take a look at the political situation in Tobago. Let us begin with the TOP. Although, the TOP did not win a seat in the last THA elections, the Party still got well over 11,000 votes.
This is a hell of a lot of votes for any party in a Tobago election. Therefore, the TOP leadership has a right to service those who voted for the Party, the TOP should recognise they have a responsibility to service the entire Tobago population.
The TOP must remember, the Party is still part of the National Government and have two Tobago representatives in the National Government.
The TOP must realise the urgent need to deal with their leadership issues. Their chairman Coker has jumped into the Jack Warner led Party, I cannot say what he is taking to Jack’s party, but my view is that Coker should have taken time off to develop and enhance his depth of political thoughts instead of continuing to pose as a political powerbroker. Also, the fact that Ashworth Jack led the Party to such a crushing defeat means that he has definitely lost a lot of influence within his own Party. My feeling is this is the ideal time for Jack to go into a period of personal self development, step aside and seek to return with a stronger political force.
What about the other personalities in the TOP who could now come forward to offer themselves for leadership. Maybe, someone like Regis Caruth should thrust himself forward. He has the personality and once he gets his political thoughts correct he could be one for the future for the TOP.
However, the TOP must never forget that Ashworth Jack had the political foresight to get them into Government but they must look at the future. They must include the experienced stalwarts such as Stanley Beard, Cecil Caruth and Dr Delmon Baker must be part of the mix.
However, the problem with the TOP is that some of their leading figures have been expressing wrong political lines. Dr Delmon Baker for example, told the media that he welcomes the intervention of Jack Warner in the politics of Tobago and as such he gave his reasons. I was shocked and amazed to hear such a position being put forward by a member of the People’s Partnership Government. Jack Warner, who only this year had been one of the leading members of the Partnership Government has been spouting venom and hate against the Government. I for one cannot trust the honesty and integrity of Warner. I do not know if Dr. Baker feels the same way.
On the other hand, it is my view that it is the PNM Tobago Leader Orville London who has made the most appropriate statement on Jack Warner coming to Tobago.
London spoke about the positions taken by Warner on the People’s Partnership campaign and pointed out that Warner accused him (London) of owning six homes. Now this is the very Warner who recently accused Government Minister of having six houses. This brings us to the point of looking at other players on the political scene in Tobago. Yours truly would like to know if one Dr. Vanus James sees himself as the ‘Rasputin” in the court of the Chief Secretary?
Remember “Rasputin” in the court of the Czar of the then Imperial Russia. This was the very James who found himself close to former Chief Secretary Hochoy Charles when he (Charles) made the political blunders which led to his political demise.
Now James has wheeled his way into the court of Chief Secretary and yours truly believes that the Chief Secretary would be well advised not to forget the experiences which led to Charles’s ouster from political past. The announcement by PNM maverick Walter Coppin that he setup an exploratory committee to determine his next political move could be construed as shrewd politics. Coppin came forward when he sought the PNM nomination to fight NAR’s Dr Morgan Job in a bye election for the Tobago East seat during the 1990’s.
He was also involved in making peace between then PNM leader Patrick Manning and Dr Keith Rowley who was at the time challenging Manning for the PNM leadership. The question remains whether or not Coppin is positioning himself to succeed Mr. London when he bows out from the Tobago PNM leadership. If that is the purpose of his exploratory committee, that could be a plus for the Tobago PNM.
In terms of political work in Tobago, at present, it is NJAC Tobago Head Embau Moheni who is doing the groundwork through his Emancipation community programmes. It is this type of political work which can build the sense of awareness among the people.
Yours truly will continue to monitor the evolving political situation in Tobago.

OPOKU WARE is a
freelance writer

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