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posted 21 Nov 2016, 17:42 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 21 Nov 2016, 17:46 ]
I have often noted, even before the 50th anniversary of its founding an apparent lack of literature on the history and achievements of the People's National Movement - an organisation that has become an institution in Trinidad and Tobago.

Specifically, for example, a collection of speeches; a dossier of files that delineated its objectives or expounded on how a crisis such as 1970 was viewed and dealt with or how the front line leadership felt about having to go toe to toe with the working class nearly all of its life.

To make the point: I have read speeches and presentations by Professor George Sammy, George Weekes; I have done interviews with leaders such as Boodram Jattan and Joe Young. I have read and still read Maurice Bishop Speaks. The views of such people could be
read in the Caribbean Contact published by the Caribbean Conference of Churches, the Liberation newspaper done by the National Joint Action Committee or Tim Hector's Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement’s OUTLET.

A certain generation knew that at 8.00 p.m. we turned on the radio to hear Lionel Seukeran debate the P.N.M. in much the same way some tune in to the crime shows today. A few days ago I was reading, rather re-reading, in part again C.L.R. James's "Beyond A Boundary'', a seminal work which to many must read like Alice in a cricket wonderland given the collapse of cricket in the West Indies in the islands and within the regional structure.

What prompted this piece? I am reading on one of the dailies that there is or was a raging debate on how much money was spent on roti by the previous administration. Here is a national leader, in a time of worsening economic and social crisis weighing in on the cost of roti then. Of course the Opposition takes the moral high ground by alleging that the Prime Minister got it wrong since the roti bill was in fact one in a basket of goodies. Of course the discourse, as was inevitable among such intelligentsia, climbed new heights; veering off into discussions about who stays in whose house and how the transportation arrangements are handled.

Sometime I am accused of being sarcastic, but can you imagine growing up today and hearing your leaders engage in such 'profound discourse?' This probably explains why there is no collection of speeches, individually or collectively, reflecting the political path of the organisation.

Is there a catalogue of our presentations at the United Nations or at Caricom meetings? I know there are works in the various reference sections of the libraries but those are not easily or readily available for the general public. I remember the Mighty Joe Young scornfully rebuking the idea that P.N.M.had/could run a "Party School'' the way progressive organisations/movements did. What would they teach ideologically he would scoff? How to win elections?

This is all the more scary in a country where one cannot now tell if the police vehicle forcing you off the road is going to or fleeing from a crime scene of its own; where sick political minds engage in body counts using murder to score political points and national media carry a story about an infant dead and unburied for 18 months but cannot verify it. Where our national football team gets tired after 60 minutes in a football World Cup qualifier and we seek to blame the coach.

Yet we 'studyin' Donald Trump who is 'handling his stories' much better than we are. No wonder deportees are scared to be 'returned home'

Maybe I see it like this because I am of a different generation and ideological construct. Maybe because I have not gone to the meetings to understand this is what local government reform is about. Maybe it is because there is a candidate from the Movement for Social Justice who when asked how she would respond if central government starved the corporations of funding replied that she was used to doing fund raisers. So we know now how her Party would re-pave Chootoo Trace.

I will be calm now and understand this is how the PNM will ''go forward'' as C.L.R. James advised in his time with them and that history will record, 25 years from now, leading politicians furiously and openly debated the price of roti, then and now, on our way to 21st century status.

Hey Miss Lady...gimme 2 chicken and a goat…slight pepper...Ah supporting P.N.M!!