Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley may be one of the few individuals in the world deserving poster boy recognition for his personal effort to promote COVID-19, having contracted and recovered from it three times so far.
That said, as a septuagenarian who has directly experienced a number of close shaves with death, it can be expected that – at this crucial time of his life – Rowley’s concern about his career and his future would be as sharp as a razor’s edge.
It’s in this context that men in their Sexties find themselves still trying to exhibit the kind of bravado which is no longer available from the iron beaters in the now silent engine room where there’s no one to challenge saucy women like Allison Hinds who once zantayed her big bottom on the stage here and boasted how:
Is de Iron have mih so bazodee!
Contrary to what many may be thinking, the real problem chooking Rowley in his ribs right now, may not be the problem of legacy or succession, but of leadership which – as the product of the very political style and culture which has worked so well to ensure the PNM’s longevity in office over the past half-century, is now going against it.
This is highlighted by the emergence of three people on the national centre stage: Karen Nunez-Teshiera, Basil Butcher and Gary Griffith.
Butcher is significant as a perceptive member now admitting the weaknesses inherent in the air-tight, monolithic structure that defended its people from an array of attacks and ensured the erection of a fortress to promote and protect the powerful democracy that pervades this twin-island Caribbean state.
The irony is that, in achieving this, the party also found itself developing an internal culture which spoke of raw tyranny and imperial management in order to survive.
Old PNM diehards will easily recall the attitude of their supreme Leader Dr Eric Williams reflected in the calypso of the Mighty Sparrow who sang:
I am no dictator
But when I pass an order
This matter will go no further
I have nothing more to say
And it must be done my was
Come on, come on
Meeting done for the day
Who’s not with me
Is my enemy
What I say goes
And who vex loss
And if I say that Solomon
Will be Minister of External Affairs
And you ain’t like it
Get to hell outtah here!
So that even as we all delightfully jump and wave when PNM Wannabe Chairman Stuart Young tells his opponents to Rock So! We have to admit that this new cannon that was parachuted into power by the Rowley himself, still lacks the big stones needed to emerge with fortitude out of the crucible of change and development which marks a true warrior.
Among these warriors are men like Ferdi Ferreira, Ashton Ford, Errol Mahabir and women like Isabel Teshea and Muriel Donawa-Mc Davidson.
Young may be a master at negotiations in government ministries, but he is unable to show the testicular fortitude that marks an original leader from a bottom-feeding follower. After all, young Stuart was given life, nurtured and brought to the front by Rowley, his godfather who subscribes to the call by Williams that
I am going to bring back Solomon
Who don’t like it, complain to the commission
None of them going to tell me how to run my country
I defy anyone of you to dictate for me
Check out the graveyard of men whom Williams attempted to break because they put God out their thoughts and dared to oppose him. Men like Carlton Gomes, Brinsley Barrow, Karl Hudson Phillips and ANR Robinson.
By what miracle can Stuart Young, Marvin Gonzales, Faris Al Rawi and Foster Cummings expect to take a different route under Rowley?
Dat and God Face!
Which means that the PNM’s upcoming internal elections are most likely a farce to disguise the PM’s fears of the criticism that’s fast mounting.
Many feel that the regime has been merely continuing its programme of maintenance of the welfare state without attempting any genuine breakthrough in the promotion of a new future for creatively restless people.
That’s why the PNM’s message of Stability over 60 years of Independence is losing its attraction and luster.
Here’s where the intervention of Gary Griffith and Karen Nunez-Teshiera – two stalwarts who have blazed trails in their own right – is important.
They can be seen as standing for something beyond the personal intention to merely survive under the protective wings of some masonic god-horse.
Griffith has marked himself out as an independent force who will not be deterred by the many principalities and powers working against him in low and high places. Karen has come out of a PNM which soared to the heights of financial power, only to be chopped down into little pieces by those who feel they naturally deserve a bigger piece of the national pie.
That should explain why, in a letter dated October 28, Central Bank granted approval to Ansa Merchant Bank to become a controlling shareholder of Colfire. In March 2021, Colfire announced the divestment of the majority of its shares held by parent company CL Financial.5 Nov 2022
With people like Griffith and Nunez-Teshiera raising Cain in the fields from the Caroni Plains to the East-West Corridor, the PNM must therefore be very worried, especially since the changing ethnic and social demographics in Trinidad are beginning to suggest that a third force of politically red and brownish people can come to the front of the firing line.
Unity of the Boat
That’s how Brother Marvin put it.
Look out for the real message in the next Carnival Road March as General Elections loom in the stormy atmosphere.
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