Thursday, August 30, 2012


Leadership is, or ought to be, amongst other things, about doing the right thing. Political leadership is, or ought to be, amongst other things, about taking a country forward. Any action by a political leadership that produces divisiveness ought to be deprecated, especially on occasions when it is right and meet that a sense of national pride and unity should be promoted.

That is why I have been looking on with dismay over certain events this week that have me in despair on this eve of our nations fiftieth anniversary. To my mind they were as unnecessary as they were ... well, just plain stupid! Further, instead of the nation coming together this week with a certain pride at reaching this milestone, the country is even more divided than it was, say, a month ago!

Let's look at issue number one: the flag! Opponents of the Government took great umbrage over a billboard put up along the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway by certain private citizens who are supporters of the Government. The source of their angst was the fact that the billboard had the national flag on it; superimposed on the top right hand corner of the flag/billboard was a picture of Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar. On the bottom left hand corner was a picture of the UNC Party Chairman and National security Minister Jack Warner. According to these people this was evidence that (a) the Government was using public funds to promote a personality cult (or cults), and (b) that this was tantamount to a debasing of the national flag wherein the faces of politicians on the national flag cheapens it and is wrong.

To which my reaction was 'huh'? Maybe I have been too heavily influenced by what goes on in the United States, and I would be the first to confess that just because the Americans do something doesn't mean that we should also do it. But in that great country (and, yes, whether you like them or not, it is a great country) they constantly wrap themselves in their flag. Why, just this week I saw a picture of an elephant (the symbol of the Republican Party) superimposed on the American flag. And guess what? NOBODY has said boo!! (You will remember that the Republican Convention is taking place this week in Tampa.) And why didn't any body say anything about this: putting a political symbol on a picture of the flag? (I mean, surely this is worse!!) Answer: Because the Americans take pride in thier republic and are HAPPY whenever anybody or any organisation wants to proclaim his or its love of their country. Put another way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a politician wrappimg himself or herself in the country's flag. Indeed, the PNM did it in an advertisement in the Guardian this week (much to their embarrassment) and I do recall other advertisements in the past when the Prime Minister Manning also wrapped himself in the flag. So what?

But this is really no big thing! Unless, of course, you are an opponent of the present regime in which case you will grab at any and everything to try and make them look bad. Even when it means putting a damper on the country's birthday celebrations!

Which leads me to the next point: Dr. Rowley and the PNM say that they are not going to take part in the country's official celebrations. Why? Basically, because the Government has (in their opinion) not given Dr. Eric Williams a proper place or recognition, nor has he been propery honoured in the celebrations. Also, the Government did not listen to their ideas for how the event ought to have been celebrated!

To which I say: 'What?!' What kind of 'spoiled child' behaviour is this? Let us assume (though certainly not accept) for the sake of argument that the PNM is on solid ground with their complaints. Does this mean that because they might have legitimate complaints that they should not take part in the national celebrations? In other words, because the present regime refused to do things their way that they will not attend the "party"? This is not a private affair. This is the birthday of the nation and even if the Government was wrong in anything that it did with regard to teh celebrations (which I don't necessarily agree with at all) then responsible political leadership requires ... no! Demands... that the politicians on all sides should come together for the country's birthday. It is a little like two siblings quarreling over their parents' anniversary and one saying that he won't go because he feels that the other has not agreed with the type of cake to be served. Who gets hurt by the stupid quarrel? The parents!

The attitude of the PNM and the opponents of the Government in this matter is mean spirited, selfish, small-minded, stupid and (worst of all) designed to create further divisions in an already fractured and divided society. It is just plain wrong!

1 comment:

  1. still haven't mentioned The Mayor v The Min of Nat'l Security (whose recollection of facts is yet again called into question)....Rome burns while Nero plays the fiddle!!!