Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 13th 2015 Contents A23
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
After listening and observing the
brutal battle of words, newspaper and
TV advertising, platform rantings and
ravings during the lead-up to the
recent general elections, including a
walk-out in parliament by the past
Opposition, I personally expected that
with the results bringing a change of
government that there would be a
change of behaviour in parliament.
How wrong was I!
I must say that I am disturbed by
the ongoing misbehaviour by all par-
ties, starting with the opening remarks
by the Minister of Finance in the
debate that commenced last Friday,
which I thought was uncalled for. And
the continuing rude and irresponsible
remarks by the Minister of Tourism,
Minister of Sport and others, including
some on the opposite side.
All of this in the presence of a full
gallery of schoolchildren who were
obviously brought to learn the about
the respectful manner in which a Par-
liament is run.
The brightest part of it all was the
magnificent manner with which the
Speaker controlled and ran the event.
Maybe the sitting parliamentarians will
try to emulate her decorum.
I would hope that the political lead-
ers of both the Government and Oppo-
sition resolve the bitterness that exist
between them and counsel their Mem-
bers of Parliament to stick to the issues
in a respectful manner, if only for the
betterment of our country.
MISBEHAVIOUR IN PARLIAMENT CONTINUES
'Who exactly are we and them?'
Dancers hauling a chariot march during a parade of bands as part of the Miami Broward Carnival,
Sunday, in Miami. The annual event celebrates the heritage and culture of the Caribbean. AP PHOTO
I was the first official employee of the
TDC when it was established to market
product T&T, coming out of TIDCO. I had
the honour of working alongside the
newly-hired receptionist/telephone oper-
ator who remained in that position for
approximately ten years. It was plain to
see that she was much more than her
In those days the TDC's chairman was
the most honourable man have ever
worked for and when it came to staff
events under his stewardship, costs
were kept to basics. That did not stop
the lowly telephone receptionist from
being part of a committee that came up
with the most exciting events for birth-
days and local holidays.
Those born in the month of April, as I
am, were put into the training room to
await our birthday "party!" We got a trip
to Mexico. The committee made a plane
and put pictures of the birthday gals and
guys in the windows waving goodbye.
They borrowed a flag from the Mexican
Embassy and made a cake with the flag's
colours. Ponchos were made with cheap
fabric and all birthday boys and girls
wore them with pride.
Then there was the invisible tele-
phone operator/receptionist as the
"barefoot contessa" serving at another
TDC in-house event using its high tables
and chairs to create an outdoor cafe in
France. How I long for those days when
our dear colleague was able to transform
our limited space into another part of the
world using little more than scraps!
Can anyone imagine my horror then,
to read in the newspaper, the new line
minister referring to my former col-
league going from telephone operator to
marketing specialist as if there were not
ten years of experience and training in
I felt such pride when by chance I met
three students of Servol travelling on the
same maxi as me talking about the lec-
ture they got from TDC that morning
and how inspired they were about the
lecture and how it made them want
more to study tourism even more.
That lecture, Madam Minister, was
presented by the same lowly telephone
operator/receptionist you should be so
honoured to call a marketing specialist
selling product T&T.
Please do the right thing by getting all
the facts and then apologise to my for-
mer colleague. If the TDC was a big or-
ganisation then people would have to
guess who you referred to. Unfortu-
nately, the TDC has had the same Tele-
phone operator/receptionist since its
inception until recently and we all know
who she is.
Please, put her to the test, walk up to
her and I can assure you that you would
receive the brightest "Welcome to the
I do hope and expect the Opposi-
tion to approach the budget debate
with maturity, magnanimity and a
sense of purpose.
It is time we to depart from the
knee-jerk reflex rhetoric of the
budget being "draconian," "decep-
tive," "anti-people" and "sting in the
These are all cliched and should
be relegated to means of last re-
sort. All national budgets are decep-
tive since they are predicated on
assumptions, predictions and policy.
As Opposition you will be there
for the next five years or whenever
general elections are called. You
have been removed from govern-
ment and are now languishing in
I know you think that part of
your duty is to not make the Gov-
ernment look good, but you have to
show and prove to the people that
you are a worthy opposition and
the government in waiting.
No government that is worth its
salt will deliberately or otherwise
engage in anti-people activities and
more so the PNM.
They know the heavy price they
paid for such praxis.
Opposing just for opposing sake
does not cut it and is infantile and
ludicrous. Petulance is not an op-
tion. The guiding principle should be
what is best for the citizens and the
Yes, dismantle the budget pres-
entation, analyse it and make your
meaningful contribution. Acknowl-
edge the good and show where you
would have done otherwise in the
areas of disagreement.
You were there. You know how it
works and that experience should
enhance your preparation.
Show the people that you are se-
rious, mature, willing and able and
maybe hope for some implosion in
Indian Walk, Princes Town
Let there be maturity in opposition
"...We are all in this together. And hav-
ing said that and speaking from the plat-
form of the party that has won the
election, I want to say to the members
and supporters of the UNC that tonight,
your party has tasted defeat. We, of the
PNM, can tell you the taste of that brew.
But I want to say to you that when this
country has passed responsibility to the
PNM, it is not WE versus THEM, we are
all in this together."
---Spoken by Dr Keith Rowley on the
night of T&T's 2015 general elections.
In my opinion, Dr Rowley's victory
speech should go on record as one of the
most inspiring speeches in the history of
T&T's politics. I think it's fair to say that
the combination of rhetoric and content
blended in such a way to even resonate
with some of the most die-hard PP sup-
Dr Rowley was correct in his recogni-
tion that the most resilient resource of
T&T is its young people and he was right
in his observation that we, the youth, are
looking on closely and optimistically for a
future in this country. Therefore, I be-
lieved in his message. I soaked in every
word of his speech and I genuinely be-
lieved that he was up for the task of
uniting this country. I took it as a promise
to end the old style of blame-game gov-
"When this country has passed re-
sponsibility to the PNM, it is not we ver-
sus them, we are all in this together."
But over the past week I saw his
promise broken three times.
First: After the budget presentation
and as she communicated the date that
the parliament will meet again, the
leader of Government business spoke
the words "We in charge now."
Second: In a T&T Guardian article enti-
tled "Former Tourism PS must answer
for $7m payment," Shamfa Cudjoe was
quoted as saying "Someone has abdi-
cated their duty regarding TDC, they
don't feel any need to inform the min-
istry---but we're in charge now!"
Third: The presentation of the budget
and the response from the Opposition.
Who exactly are "we" and "them"?
What message does this send to the
grassroot supporters? I thought we are
in this together?
I will wait...
Apology needed, Madam Minister!
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