By Phillip Edward Alexander
Many of my followers have pulled an abrupt stop over my decision to give the current government my support and have found themselves questioning whether I have been 'bought out'. Understandable in the limited mind set most people engage with politically and in their own corruption they echo what is said by the corrupt, but my integrity remains intact and my reasons for giving this government my support comes after years of toiling trying to build something new in a land where the democracy is treated with little of the respect it deserves, and also from working with every other political organization available searching for a solution and the best way forward for T&T.
Phillip Edward Alexander is a social and political activist, a feature writer and columnist, the founder of the Jericho Project and the chairman of the Citizen's Union of Trinidad and Tobago
As both a social and a political activist I have had the unique opportunity of not only discussing the urgent and pressing issues of the day, but in frank and meaningful discourse at what possible corrective options exist. No one who is accusing me of selling out has a record even remotely close to mine. I have written well over a million words against this (what I considered then the Jack Warner led-) government on all manner of issues, but over time I have had to come to see the difference between this government and the one it replaced and have come to eat some of my words. The arrogance and obnoxious style of Patrick Manning and his take it or leave it stance is the complete opposite of a government and a prime minister that is at least demonstrably willing to listen to the population, don't you think?
When the charade that was masking the Calder Hart empire collapsed, what was then Prime Minister Manning's response? Did he instruct the attorney general to launch an immediate investigation into the shockingly new revelations? Did he call on the director of public prosecutions to lay charges? Or did he warn his friend and facilitate him in escaping the jurisdiction?
Contrast and compare that with what happened when Jack Warner's own mask fell away, how prompt was Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar's response? Did he not publicly confess to exhorting and begging for two more weeks in office and her terse response was no, go clear your name? Could you have seen the Patrick Manning government repealing Section 34 regardless of who marched where? Compare that to his response to the residents’ pleas to save President's Grounds from becoming La Fantasie's car-park, or the smelter protest, or his sport minister's grotesque 'National Pride' faux pas in the shape of a two million dollar flag, one of eighteen the unrepentant minister had us understand were in train regardless of how we felt.
The choice makes itself if based solely on the facts.
And what of the ILP option? What of its leader who remains vilified in global public opinion for his actions while in control of the CONCACAF votes at FIFA? The leader who told us with his own words that he rigged an election for Sepp Blatter to win so he himself could benefit, a leader who begged to represent the government he is now denigrating over the same Chaguanas West seat he was forced to fight for as an independent?
At every step of the way he has shamed and embarrassed himself in the contortions of a 'horner' man scorned, and for all the value the seat he won might represent to her government, and all the benefits of shutting this loose cannon up by acceding to his entreaties and simply allowing him back in, why has the prime minister steadfastly told him clear his name before she would let him?
Again contrast and compare all that with the utterances of the PNM political leader who, like a giddy-headed school girl, was caught grinning from ear to ear on national television when presented with the prospect of having this same snake oil salesman, who he himself vilified as a challenge to ethics and decency for a decade, join him and increase his fortunes?
But the leader of the opposition knows my role. He and his colleagues in both Houses of Government have been quoting me and my writing into the Hansard and all over the public domain for years. Why? Because they know love me or hate me I speak truth. The fact that I stand against him now is because I have seen his frightening ambition in action up close and personal and STILL I have not betrayed what could be considered confidences. But having witnessed men of diabolically opposed ideology and agenda unite in common cause to destroy the government I ask, for what? And then what? What do you do with the consortium of the hated and the despised, the questionable and the inane? Where do we go as a people then? How does an MSJ/PNM government work? And what would be the roles of Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, Trevor Sudama and the other 'New PNMs’?
No nothing about the disgraced PNM has changed, and the ILP is nothing but a Jack Warner cult of personality designed to distract from the CONCACAF Commission's findings and to repay his former colleagues with spite.
Our politics remains drowned by racist sycophancy and the power of financier dollars on a far too malleable media for it to ever result in true reflection of the will of the people. It is time for thinking to replace the tired, knee-jerk, beauty-queen-styled popularity campaigns built on rhetoric and noise that our elections have become and get down to discussing on a national level those issues that most affect the people.