Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a boy in Presentation College in San Fernando at recess time (I believe the kids today now call it 'break') we would go outside the school grounds to buy a barra and channa for five cents and (when we could afford it) a 'doubles' (which was two barras with channa) for ten cents. Outside also were vendors selling shaved ice with syrup which we called 'a press'. (Today they call it 'a snow cone'). A press cost a penny (which was two cents). However, if you didn't have enough money you could get it without the syrup for one cent. So quite often a boy would say to the vendor "gimme a cent shave ice". Of course, because that was the least expensive thing that you could buy the saying developed "he like a cent shave ice", in other words, practically worthless.

In this last year before a general election the politics are going to become very interesting. We have currently all the brouhaha about the run-off proposals that are going before the Senate next week. The PNM is trying its best to de-rail the Bill as it (quite correctly) recognizes that in a three way fight it is the UNC that tends to get hurt. In a straight two way fight in a marginal constituency it is the PNM that usually ends up losing. (UNC voters, it seems, are more ready to try a third party than are PNM voters.) My own feeling is that the Bill will pass and that all the noise is really just that: noise. But that is not the point of this post.

Next on the agenda is what has become known as 'emailgate'. Discerning readers will remember that about a year ago the Leader of the Opposition disclosed in Parliament that he had a thread of emails which purported to be passing between the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the then National Security adviser (who is today the Minister of National Security) which, if authentic, disclosed a serious criminal conspiracy to (inter alia) commit murder. The parties involved all strenuously denied that they had ever authored such emails and Dr. Rowley refused to say who had given them to him. (he said that he "got it in my mailbox!" ...Yeah! Right!) So, the accused all gave Google permission to disclose whether or not the alleged emails did in fact emanate from their respective accounts and after a lot of legal 'too-ing and fro-ing' it seems (if the newspaper reports are to be believed) that this issue is finally going to get closure.

One of two things is going to happen when this matter closes: either the Prime Minister et al are going to be shown to be guilty, in which case they will all probably be (or should be) arrested and charged immediately, or Dr. Rowley is going to have to resign. Well, he probably won't do that, but certainly he ought to. He will be guilty of misleading Parliament and it is no defence to say that 'well, I was just bringing this to the attention of Parliament. I didn't know if it was true or not, but I thought that it was serious enough to alert the national community'. An unbiased person will note that that defence would be a "crock", i.e., not worth 'a cent shave ice'. Dr. Rowley presented the offending emails as fact and made some very, very serious accusations against the alleged perpetrators. If that defence was really genuine he would have and should have taken it to the police. But he didn't! And therein hangs the tale!

Then we have the so called "principled stand" of Ms. Seepersad-Bachan and Mr. Dookeran when they voted against the Constitution Reform Bill because it didn't go far enough and deal with the issue of proportional representation ... another "crock". I mean, who really believes that? The perception that most people had from their "principled stand" was that the goodly lady and gentlemen were still smarting from their defeat at  the hands of COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar in the recently concluded COP internal elections ... defeat which some say was quietly helped not a little by UNC operatives who regard Mr. Ramadhar as being preferable to Ms. Seepersad-Bachan.

But the truth is that as far as electoral politics are concerned Ms. Seepersad-Bachan is not worth 'a cent shave ice' and Mr. Dookeran could not save his deposit anywhere in the country if he tried. That they both will exit the political scene next year is clear. Until then we can expect them both to use the bully pulpit of their respective ministerial offices to try and sting Mrs. Persad-Bissessar whenever they can. After all, they have absolutely nothing to lose by doing so, not even 'a cent shave ice'.

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