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posted 21 Nov 2011, 11:15 by Gerry Kangalee

When a government is insecure, inexperienced, does not have a political party structure and engages in nepotism and corruption – such a government rules through deception of the citizens, repressive and oppressive methods and most dangerous of all, uses the coercive arms of the State to defend it from the people and protect its repressive rule over the society.


To fully understand the People Partnership one has to understand how and why it came into being and the historical performance of some of its constituent parts and the records of its major leaders.


The Peoples Partnership Government (PP) is an alliance that came into being only when early elections were called. Its main constituent part is the United National Congress (UNC), which was never properly structured (unlike the well-structured Jamesian model of the PNM).


However to its credit the UNC elects its leaders through the one member-one vote system (unlike the PNM where delegates of Party Groups elect its leaders). The UNC in the absence of a proper structure never practiced democracy except for leadership elections.


It was a mass political party with allegiance to its maximum leader Basdeo Panday. Its main base is among Indo Trinbagonians (a counter to the PNM Afro Trinbagonian support base).


One year before and just a few months before the early elections the UNC was in a state of internal conflict which led to the removal of Panday as leader and indecision and strife among his loyalists and the newly elected leaders.


While Panday, a former labour leader was sympathetic to workers, most of his colleagues were opportunists and corrupted career politicians.


The Congress of the People (COP) is a bit more organized than the UNC but with only pockets of support it failed to win any seats in the 2007 election. COP’s main support comes from disgruntled upper class PNM and UNC elements and from Euro Trinbagonians and the local Business Class.


Most of its leaders, including Winston Dookeran, were former members of the NAR which (due to harsh policies against working people and its strong links with the business elite) were subjected to mass protests from Labour Groups and the Summit of Peoples Organizations and was run out of office in 1990; losing all seats in the 1991 elections save Tobago.


The third group of the PP is the Tobago Organization of the People. It is also relatively new and is the successor to the Tobago Party of ANR Robinson a former Deputy leader of the PNM who broke with Williams in 1970. His supporter Ashworth Jack is the leader of the TOP and consistent with Robinson’s position is pro any party that is anti PNM.


The fourth partner of the PP is the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), formed a week before the elections and led by Errol McLeod former leader of the OWTU and David Abdulah also of the OWTU.


These two (former) trade unionists/left progressives (so many thought) made a 180 degree flip by aligning themselves with politicians who never supported labour or the left and, in fact, historically and continuously opposed the trade unions and progressive groupings.


This alliance of the two OWTU officials is the most shocking to the left/progressives who view this alliance as a betrayal of workers’ interests. At present workers’ demonstrations are banned and a wage suppression policy was instituted by the alliance government in which McLeod is a Minister and Abdulah a Senator.


The National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) led the 1970 Black Power Revolution in Trinbago. Soon after, the organization fractured with the departure of the left and trade unions over the insistence on a cultural nationalist ideology of its leader Makandal Daaga (his name taken from an African soldier who led a rebellion against the British in Trinidad).


Having been unsuccessful in electoral politics NJAC went into the cultural field where they contributed immensely to the development of Trinbago culture and its young performers. It was indeed surprising that NJAC would forge an alliance with the PP with its legions of corrupted politicians and business elites some of whom are descended and inherited their wealth from slave labour in Trinbago.


So this is a profile of the PP Government. Let us now look at the reaction to their governance and some of the major issues that frighten many of our people and are the cause of deep concern for the future of free speech and our democratic rights and freedoms.


The memberships of the parties in the PP government play no role in the policy direction of the government. In the early stages of governance a few elements of the COP expressed grouses but these were limited to the COP not getting their fair share of appointments.


Labour leaders and workers are now protesting the anti labour wage suppression policies and the declaration of a State of Emergency which prevents workers from protesting in public and holding outdoor meetings.


Many people in the country are showing signs of disapproval of many policies of the Government and expressing serious concerns at a creeping dictatorship, repression of urban communities, lies and distortion by government officials on non-existing issues, interference with the judiciary, ethnic favouritism, nepotism, corruption and feeding false information on support for the government.


Some worrying and unresolved issues pronounced on by the government ministers and officials:


  • The NP transport contract to close friends of the Prime Minister and the related missing documents.


  • The export of subsidised fuel. No fuel found; no one chartged.


  • The gang war between Colombian and T&T gangs that led to the SOE. No evidence presented; no one charged.


  • The interception of shipment of ganja in a container assigned to a supporter of the PP. No arrests.


  • The release of most persons arrested under the SOE. No one charged.


  • The failure to extradite Calder Hart


  • The ongoing CLICO scandal. No one arrested.


  • The paying of university students to support government policies via the media.


  • The Reshmi scandal where a data clerk was appointed to head a major security agency and the allegation that she supplied confidential information to the Prime Minister.


  • The allegation by some media houses that the government discriminates against them through freezing of advertisements.


  • The mysterious decision of the court to refuse to extradite two alleged financiers of the PP government for offences committed against US money laundering laws while other citizens have been extradited. Is the judiciary above scrutiny?


  • The refusal of the government to fail to deal with blatant and shameful dealings of one of their ministers despite mounting evidence.


  • The ever-increasing charges of discrimination based on ethnicity and political preference
  • And the failure by the government to be consistent in dealing with them.


  • The inability of the government to give a reasonable justification for the declaratuion of the state of emergency.


These are some of the issues that expose a weak, deceptive and repressive Government that is scared of the people: a government that is not structured for democratic participation by the members of its parties and is therefore without an organized base to defend its actions. In such an environment the Government uses the armed forces of the State designed to protect country and people to defend its corrupted and repressive rule.
Additionally, misinformation through the public media and the silencing of opposition is the modus operandi of a weak and corrupted government whose main interest is to protect the wealth of its financiers and to hand out bits and pieces of crumbs to the masses of people.