Monday, June 22, 2015




The Editor,

There is an unprecedented gap between the political machinations that Trinidad & Tobago gets and the democracy it deserves … and those political machinations come from all sides of the political spectrum. And to make matters worse, we now have a three month election season during which everybody and his mother are predicting that things will simply get worse with accusations against everybody being hurled around like confetti. Somehow or the other we need to get back to the centre. But how to do that? The racial polarization is now worse than ever and many politicians do not even pretend to hide their racist feelings. We get racist comments (like the infamous “Calcutta ship”  one) on political platforms and nobody seems to blink an eyelash. Certainly, the perpetrators of these offensive remarks are not brought to book by either their political Parties or their political leaders with immediate and clear condemnatory remarks  and appropriate punishments.


Webs of deception are being woven and havoc and distrust are the result. It is now very important to weave a web of inspiration instead, and then let it form the basis of a hopeful vision that can (and will) eventually come to fruition. We all want to be supportive of one another. Don’t we?  We certainly understand the importance of supporting those who, we hope, will show support to us. Yet often, it seems, the way in which we are required to be supportive is to join our forces in attacking whoever or whatever is destabilizing the “other side”( whose members just happen also to be citizens of our country). This, in turn, causes the “other side” to demand yet more support from its supporters in attacking “us” (whoever “us” happens to be). We need to be helpful whilst helping to maintain  a wider understanding of any particular situation.


With this in mind, I would like most humbly to suggest the following for the leaders of both political Parties (the PNM and the UNC) as a possible way forward for the benefit of our beloved little country and all of its citizens. So, the following is addressed to them:


  1. Do you think that you could come up with a statement of common values and common interests? Because, surely, there must be some things that are to the benefit of Trinidad & Tobago that you do agree on? What are they?
  2. Do you think that you have an ability to actually “construct” over time a bilateral approach to issues like crime or foreign relations?
  3. Is it possible for you not only to co-operate but also as a result of this gradually build a public trust over time?
  4. Would you think about how best to deploy this gradual accumulation of trust over time to better manage, and perhaps reduce, the seemingly intractable area of racial distrust?


If I could be allowed I would like to quote President Obama at his second inauguration and adopt his words as if they were my own:

   “I don’t want to see this country fracturing into different camps that understand their country’s history and values very differently … We are all in this together … We cannot afford delay.”

And one last quote from Hilary Clinton who said:

   “Some people think elections are a game, lots of who’s up or who’s down. It’s about our country. It’s about our kids' futures, and it’s really about all of us together.”


I am not asking for the impossible. I am not asking that you join forces as one to rule this little country. I am not even asking you to like each other! What I am asking for is that we press the reset button and start to destroy the terrible walls of racial hatred and distrust that both of your Parties have helped to build over the last fifty or so years which have helped to hold us back. Let’s build that “shining city on the hill”. Let’s build our country … together.


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