Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 13th 2015 Contents A23
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September 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Dear Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former
prime minister T&T:
As a citizen of this beloved twin-island
state that boasts of a long and cherished tra-
dition of free and fair elections underscored
by several seamless transitions of power from
one government to the next post independ-
ence, I have read with disappointment and
chagrin your decision to challenge the results
of the general election purportedly based on
I wish to suggest that this development if
true is indeed unfortunate and does not augur
well for our fledgling democracy. Because it
suggests that you and your advisers just
don't get it; do you? The 2015 general election
is over and done. The die has already been
cast, the results are in; and you have lost 18 to
23 by five clear seats. According to the EBC,
you have even lost the popular vote 341,579
to 378,447 votes or 46.4 per cent to 51.68 per
cent, a difference of 36,850 votes or 5.28 per
cent. The people have spoken and have done
so loudly and clearly. The deed is done.
What's done cannot be undone. Yes, it's over.
Now is not the time to cry foul hoping to play
over the game or look for legal loopholes and
technicalities to frustrate the will of the peo-
ple. Now is not the time to be a sore loser
grasping at straws.
On the contrary, now is the time to "rise" to
the occasion, to be an exemplar, to demon-
strate gravitas and true statesmanship by ac-
cepting your defeat with quiet dignity and
without reservation. Now is the time to do
the honourable thing and move on for there is
no disgrace in defeat as long as one's spirit re-
mains unconquered; or is this asking too
much. I believe it's the late 11th century poet
and philosopher Omar Khayyám who once
wrote: "The moving finger writes; and, having
writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall
lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy
tears wash out a word of it."
For the sake of clarity, the "moving finger"
or in this instance more particularly the
"moving right index finger" is a metaphor that
depicts "fate" or the invisible "Hand of God"
indelibly recording history in the traceless
sands of time. The most important takeaway
is that once the moment is past, it's gone for-
ever. And no matter how one may regret hav-
ing done or not done something or wish that
they could go back in time and change it or do
it differently, there's absolutely no way to
rewrite history, regardless of one's prayers,
guile or ill-advised legal challenge, for life
moves only in one direction---forward.
In other words, once the right index finger
has exercised its franchise and the ballots are
counted, one's fate is sealed, time marches on
and nothing will ever be able to undo that.
The deed is done, recorded and immutable,
the people have spoken and their collective
voices must now be respected. Accordingly, I
am appealing to you, madame, to seriously re-
think your decision, accept the election results
and move on.
Accept election results and move on
"Politics has a morality of its own" said
Basdeo Panday, the former political leader of
the UNC, in early April, 2005. Paraphrasing
what he also said at that UNC party caucus,
"politics is more important than professional
integrity." This may be interpreted another
way in saying "the lust for political power
makes fools of politicians."
How else can one explain the total disre-
spect for UNC supporters who waited in vain
for their political leader who acted, one may
conclude, in a very puerile manner by not
being at the Rienzi Complex on election
night? This may be construed as demonstrat-
ing a lack of leadership and being a sore loser.
Making matters worse was the ill-informed
statement that the People's Partnership got
the popular vote, even though votes were still
being counted. Decisions are usually made on
available information and these are usually re-
viewed when new evidence becomes avail-
able. Unfortunately, the decision-making
process was abused by senior members of
the UNC through repetition of the erroneous
conclusion. One can only conclude that this
denial is simply a manifestation of the first
step on the way to eventual acceptance of
the loss of political power.
And to further compound such inanity,
there is the senseless claim of the election
being stolen through extending the closing
time for voting by an additional hour in
Trinidad. It took me 47 minutes to cast my
vote, having arrived at 6 am, and I was the
15th person to have voted at that polling sta-
tion. This begs the question, how many peo-
ple can cast their vote in one or even two
hours? The margin of loss in the key marginal
constituencies was of the order of thousands
in San Fernando West, St Joseph, Toco/San-
gre Grade and Tunapuna. Only Moruga/Table-
land was less than one thousand. How much
of a difference would one or two hours have
made? It is therefore bordering on incredulous
to imagine that the additional hour would
have altered the results in favour of the PNM.
If truth be told, were the elections to be de-
clared null and void and be held again, I feel al-
most certain that the PP would lose a few
more seats. It is instructive that the partner-
ship got about one hundred thousand less
votes in 2015 than they did in 2010 and the
PNM increased their vote count in 2015 by al-
most this same number. Clearly this suggests
that the PNM was the preferred party this
time around. It is time that the PP come to
terms with the loss of office and accept that
people wanted a change from their style of
politics over the past five years.
The outgoing prime minister should be
more statesmanlike and strive to be a formi-
dable opposition if they are to regain the good
graces of their supporters. As our new Prime
Minister, Dr Rowley has said, "The PNM was
down but not out." The partnership would do
well to take a page out of his book and adopt
a more positive attitude than currently pre-
vail.Let us give an alternative team a chance to
steer the ship of state and prove its worth for
the benefit of all of T&T.
PP should adopt more positive attitude
I wish to congratulate new Minister of Education
Anthony Garcia on his appointment. I have some sug-
gestions which I wish to present for consideration.
These are my suggestions:
• Encourage principals and teachers to be more
pastoral in their approach to students, and to follow
up on students who have absenteeism issues. This
may reduce the number of school dropouts. (It pains
me to see students dropping out of school as early as
Form One and Two without adequate intervention by
the school officials).
• Arrange for student support services to make in-
terventions with students and families in a more
• Encourage principals to arrange for team building
workshops by qualified facilitators in an effort to have
a more mission and vision-focused approach at the
• Arrange to implement appropriate nutritional
standards throughout the school system and develop
a mechanism to evaluate compliance by school cafe-
teria and tuck shop operators.
• Arrange for September to be declared National
Heritage Month with a focus on the history of the
country, especially since the Emancipation and Inde-
pendence holidays fall within the school vacation.
(September is an appropriate time because of Repub-
• Revisit the arrangements by which the Ministry
of Education purchases places for students at private
secondary schools with a view to ensure that the
payments from the ministry for the 2015-2016 aca-
demic year reflect the current instructional cost per
Tips for our new
We have many religions in T&T and I don't know
about the others, but Dr Williams certainly followed the
Christian recommendation that we build on solid rock.
Consequently, we have a remarkable example in the
PNM who prevail through thick and thin.
If Dr Rowley follows this lead there's no doubt that
he can guide T&T back on track in the next five or ten
years, but he must be aware lest he fall into the trap of
building on the sand of fete and fun. If we all put our
hands to the grindstone, we will succeed.
Forget the oil price, there's nothing we can do about
it, concentrate on austerity, let's slow down the pace a
bit and go forward one tiny step at a time, ensuring that
we build for our children's future and accepting what-
ever fate ordains with peace and harmony, safe in the
knowledge that we did indeed make some mistakes but
are determined to make amends.
Build T&T for
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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley poses for a photo with pupils of various schools within the Diego Martin West constituency following
Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony, at Queen's Hall, St Ann's. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
CHILDREN MEET PM
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