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posted 23 Jun 2011, 12:49 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 23 Jun 2011, 13:02 ]

By Cecil Paul

The unrestrained spending spree, the unnecessary building bonanza and the resultant wastage and corruption of the Patrick’s National Movement brought this country to the heights of our people’s tolerance for bad governance, corruption, nepotism and wastage of our National Patrimony by an arrogant, undemocratic and disrespectful Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

However, as the UDECOTT fiasco and the Heights of Guanapo Church construction became public, the anger of Trinbagonians to the PNM government was open and hostile. As stated by Mrs. Hazel Manning in her justification for the calling of an election (quote) “the country had become ungovernable”. 

In hindsight, that profound statement by the Minister and wife of the Prime Minister tells us that something politically unfavorable was in the air or was quickly developing  that made governing extremely difficult, if not impossible. This negative environment was so profound that the Prime Minister only half way into his five year term chose electoral political suicide instead of trying to govern an “ungovernable” people.

By calling early elections, Trinbagonians’ open hostility and anger at the policies of Prime Minister Manning was reflected in the electoral sweep by the recycled and hastily organized Peoples Partnership in May 2010. A grouping of mostly known corrupted politicians and political opportunists

The questions that political observers and activists need to answer and conclude, in order to grasp the current and immediate future social environment and where the existing political climate is likely to take the country is: was the country on the brink of a Social Upheaval when PM Manning called his politically suicidal election?  Did the PP landslide victory (given their current bad and disappointing performance in office) merely postpone the people’s anger at corruption and mismanagement in the governance of public affairs?

Some people on the streets are already saying that the PP Government is worse than the PNM and more corrupt and point to several questionable issues in the public domain. It is said that while Manning’s PNM provided social jobs, the PP is discriminating against the poor and firing persons from Social Programmes (mainly single parent women) believed to be PNM.  Merely extending tokenism to a few while they engage in massive false propaganda to fool the citizens.

Complaints are frequently being made about constantly rising food prices. The streets are saying that nepotism and favoritism is the prime policy of the PP. There is the more worrying and dangerous talk of ethnic preferences in employment at low, middle and higher levels in the Public and State Enterprise Sector.

It is suggested that the PP Government has gone way beyond replacement of political appointees and is violating the civil rights of citizens to protection of their employment and the right to earn a living irrespective of party affiliation. Citizens are being penalized for exercising their right to freedom of association.   It is also said that the new government is covering up corruption and acts of wrong doing by its Ministers and Operatives and only act when their people are exposed by the Media.

Labour Leaders and workers in many key sectors of the economy are angry at the unfair Wage Suppression Policy of the PP and have vowed to get fair and just settlements in an economy that can afford improvements in the standard of living of workers. Workers are angry about the meager minimum wage and the failure of the PP to improve Labour Laws.

These Trade Union Leaders of both FITUN and NATUC accuse the PP Government of betraying the workers who supported the Partnership in May 2010. They accuse the PP, like the NAR of 1986 of being pro business and as a result banned the PP politicians from Labour Day 2011, in contrast to June 19, 2010, where the PP politicians were welcomed as heroes in Fyzabad.

So, has the PP Government created a worse economic, political and social climate than what existed under Patrick Manning’s PNM? Is such a situation possible?  Is the previous “ungovernable” country under the last Government being made more” ungovernable” by the PP Government?

There are scandals on a daily basis, from Reshmi   to Browne to Sasha then King, Minaj, NP and others too numerous to remember. Warner’s FIFA issue is now current. All this happened during the PP’s celebration of only one year in office. The people of this country seem to be running out of patience with our politicians. Is this one of the historical periods where our people take things into their hands and restore sanity to our politicians? Is another Social Storm Gathering in Trinidad and Tobago after 20 years of political corruption and political abuse of our people?

Trinbagonians have a history of giving politicians time to get things right. Our People are not quick to take mass social action unless we are convinced that PEOPLES ACTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION.  Some examples of our mass people’s action to restore fair play, economic and social justice to our society were the 1937 labour insurrection, the 1956 Independence Movement, the 1970 Revolution and the Day of Resistance in 1989 against the NAR Government.

It is now some 21 years since our last MASS POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INTERVENTION to correct the ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL INJUSTICES in our country. Has Patrick Manning avoided a people’s intervention against his PNM government by calling early elections?  His brothers and sisters in the PP (Massa Cow and Massa Bull) may have inherited the gathering storm of our people’s anger. Trinbagonians seem to have concluded that our politicians are mostly opportunists, corrupted and recycle themselves.

Their primary interest seems to be gaining control of the national treasury and exercising the power such control brings to them and their p0litical cronies with very little disregard and utter disrespect for the people’s welfare.