Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎

MIDWIVES OF HISTORY By Rae Samuel

posted 25 Jul 2017, 03:45 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 25 Jul 2017, 03:48 ]
Rae Samuel
The present Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago may have objectively accomplished what the late Dr. Winston Murray espoused and what various Tobago leaders/politicians advocated from time to time.

Under his watch the ferry service, the old one and the one that has come pre-collapsed, are ongoing sources of woe. Very soon, a nautical version of 'Justice on Time' will appear. Or 'p h' water taxis. We dream of an efficient, reliable vessel and get an Ocean dream.

In the air it is rapidly becoming the same. Caribbean Airline pilots are expressing concerns about the standard of air safety, and rightly so. It is one thing to have a sea going vessel stuck at sea. Not so with air travel. Who wants the fame of being the first to cause a Bee Wee/Caribbean airways fatal flight? Remember folks, almost always, it is 'pilot error' that is blamed for plane crashes. To say otherwise is to ground fleets across the world. So we can respect the pilots' attitude re safety in the air. Indeed, one might ask whether the Prime Minister is willing to show up at the airport and hop a plane to test if the pilots are correct. He did it with the slow ferry.

I do not know if the meeting with the leader of the Opposition addressed the whole question of travel to Tobago. The sparring re the agenda had gone public which would have skewed the whole discussion; one would imagine. Why was this meeting called in the first place? We are told that matters of national concerns were discussed. Did they include (if not why not?) police killings, outstanding wage negotiations, incessant flooding, the pending CLICO fire sale, blatant disregard for the rights of the accused, Mariano Browne's never-ending calls for right wing politics disguised as 'alternative economics', David John Williams /TTFA’s voracious appetite for foreign coaches, three so far?

We will have to wait and see/hear even as another flash point matures against a tapestry of social savagery, the likes of which generations had been inured to believe could not happen here in this 'fun now gun-loving paradise'.

I refer to the demonstration coming on 4th August. It could turn out to be a 1970 moment. A student demonstration against racist treatment of West Indian students at Sir George Williams University in Canada morphed into the biggest popular demonstrations since 1937. Out of it grew popular movements in culture, sport, education, in economic life, which destroyed the myth of Eric "Messiah" Williams and initiated a decade of almost toe to toe battles between progressive movements and the then PNM regime.

History has her own way of choosing her midwives and no one knows how movements are born or which direction they will take. Mao Ze Dong used to say a single spark could start a prairie fire. But the leadership must be ready. CLR James wrote that Cipriani flinched with the coming of the Butler/Jim Barrett led uprisings, though he had done much to prepare the conditions. What will the demonstration ask for? What will this born again unity, necessary as it is, produce by way of tangible demands? When asked, one trade union leader said "What after the 4th...the 5th!

We need to be clearly told beyond generalisations.
Comments