Of Party Insiders who Survive on Increasing Power and Panty Politics

Ever since I began attending internal meetings of the Party 35 years ago, I have become increasingly conscious of the other  meetings that had  occurred during and after the real meeting.

As time progressed, I began to understand that some of these timely encounters could assume greater importance  than the moments when decisions were taken and voting for members to certain positions were resolved long before.

This is what you might learn in the aftermath –  at the meeting in the nearby bar around the corner – assuming you were not privileged to attend the secret meeting before-hand held by a chosen few in their cars,  on their mobile speaker phones, or at the office of one of the key players.

It’s in this nebulous environment that I began to understand that politics is not so much about public service and working for the national good, as much as it is about fixin yuhself and yuh people first – then see what you can do for the country.
I had my first exposure to this concept when, as a cub reporter, I went to south Trinidad to cover a routine sports story featuring a former Parliamentarian who was launching a community football league.
Respectfully taking my notes as the middle-aged, dignified citizen spoke about his project, I was nudged in the ribs by my colleague, a senior journalist, who whispered to me:
“That is a very stupid man, you know. Look at him : spent five years as an MP – and had a Ministry too – and did not fix himself!”
What do you mean?”, I asked quietly.
My senior responded: “Can’t you see how poor he is? The man is living on a pension, I hear. And he does not even own a car! With all that money that passed through his hands, he never took anything for himself, saying he was an honest man. Perhaps that’s why the party did not out him back”.

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It’s against this background that I have observed from time to time, how some  Party diehards could fall over themselves in a bid to molly coddle with the leadership – or curry favour with the rum and roti suppliers, in a case where your use of words depends on your ethnic inclination.

In any case, the bottom feeding man with many letters behind his name, was finally awarded that national award which he had longed  so much for : either to be added in a prominent position on his portfolio,  or perhaps to be used as a step toward a further achievement or reward for his ubiquitous presence – although with very little substance.

So while the 60th Independence Anniversary celebrations might have just ended, the real party now start with Local Government elections coming upon us like a thief in the night, an all zandolies beginning to come out of their holes to play a Mas! From all indications therefore, this is going to be a September to remember !

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