Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 24th 2013 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 24, 2013
In more ways than one Mon-
day s local government elec-
tions will be remembered in
our political culture as ground-
Unfortunately, while we main-
tained our unblemished record
for violence-free electoral cam-
paigns, it was easily the most
vulgar and verbally acrimonious
campaign we have ever seen.
The hitherto unknown drift
into totally tasteless utterances,
ranging from the sexual orienta-
tion of candidates to marital infi-
delity, has no place in a race to
elect our political leaders.
The one that took the dubious
prize for sheer vulgarity and crass
gutter politics was bringing a
What do those brutally absurd
happenings have to do with serv-
icing the day-to-day needs of
constituents such as an adequate
water supply, clean drains and
other services supplied by the
local government system?
Absolutely none, and to think
that these acts were perpetuated
by men and women aspiring to
influence citizens towards nation-
building, and in the presence of
young people who are desperately
searching for positive role mod-
els.I am not going to call names
but the guilty ones must search
their consciences and silently
pledge not to eschew this collec-
tive assault on our intelligence
and sense of decency.
One of the things I love about
the campaign meetings is the
good old picong which we Trinis
are masters at, but what passed
for humour on the campaign trail
was definitely off the chart.
Let s hope that was a one-off
misadventure and that it will
never be repeated.
That said, let s look at the
results and perhaps what they
portend for the respective parties
down the road, more particularly
with the St Joseph by-election
just around the corner.
Congratulations are in order for
the People s National Movement
for winning the most local gov-
ernment bodies, even though,
while they regained most of their
councils, the party did not
increase their number of votes,
according to the preliminary
count of ballots cast. At the time
of writing these figures were not
finalised by the Elections and
Their victory was helped along
by the appearance of the new kid
on the block, the Independent
Liberal Party led by Jack Warner,
a former top honcho in the Unit-
ed National Congress.
As what Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar said during the
campaign and what was known
by the national community, the
split votes between the UNC and
the ILP benefited the PNM, but
as they say all is fair and love
Soon after Warner regained his
Chaguanas West seat in the July
29 by-election I cautioned the
party not to get too carried away
by that result and that we had to
wait and see how and if that vic-
tory could be repeated outside of
a constituency that has been vir-
tually adopted by Warner with
his vast financial resources.
However, we are sure he must
have been sorely surprised and
disappointed, although he put on
a brave face Monday evening
when he realised he was not get-
ting the returns on his heavy
financial investment in the cam-
paign. His meetings drew large
crowds and no doubt this pushed
him to go after all the seats, even
though he had originally planned
to contest just a few of the local
This must be a telling blow for
the ILP, even though Tuesday
evening he was boasting that his
party was now the third political
force in T&T, replacing the
beleaguered Congress of the Peo-
ple, an arm of the ruling People s
The ILP, he said, must be
reckoned with by parties wanting
to form the central government
from now on.
Again, if I were Warner I
would not put my head on a
block in that supposition as third
parties never fared well in general
elections in this country and in
this part of the world. But we
shall wait and see again.
The PP remains in government
and if anybody has to feel
exceedingly good at this time, it
is the Persad-Bissessar-led PP.
The PP went into these elec-
tions as the underdog and virtu-
ally everybody had written them
off, the polls included. But in a
stunning comeback blow, Hous-
ing Minister Roodal Moonilal and
Attorney General Anand Ramlo-
gan pulled the PP from the
depths of gloomy uncertainty to
take five corporations of the eight
the UNC contested.
Now on to St Joseph, when a
more concise picture will emerge
of the future fortunes of the
three major parties.
NP fires 68 workers
Now Mr Roget will have to dig
into the coffers of the OWTU to
feed the families of these 68
workers who were misled into
illegal strike action.
The TrinBago Guy
In attempting to write his name
alongside union stalwarts like
Weekes, Mc Leod and others, Mr
Roget unthinkingly has chosen to
use the same strategies and tactics
that were successful, but in a
Mr Roget and his cohorts are
using the same antiquated
negotiating language, skills and
methods against the highly trained
WiFi-ready negotiators on the
other side of the table...but then,
for these leaders, the union takes
precedence over the union
members. Hmmm, this sounds like
the attitude of our political parties.
I am a strong supporter of unions
and the quality of life they provide
their membership through
negotiations, however, at this time
there is no choice but to agree with
the actions of NP for the illegal
shutdown of its operations causing
the inability of the company to
serve its customers while the
workers were illegally away from
This action taken by NP should
also be directed at the membership
of the OWTU who often conduct
illegal strikes through the ill-advice
of their leaders.
The era of brute force and being
a bully was once upon a time the
method of operation for unions.
However, education in labour
relations and the ability to skillfully
negotiate contracts have created
the understanding among
educated union leaders that they
need each other and therefore are
willing to work with each other and
not work to destroy each other.
The employee is never the winner
when off the job.
Om on St Joseph by-election:
I am not withdrawing
Lalla, you not going to win.
People don't generally vote for a
new party or their candidate. So
the right thing to do is bow out.
But I suspect you may be more
stubborn than Jack.
Say what you want about the prime
minister and her People's Partner-
ship government, the PNM should be
thankful to her for having the guts and
the sense of doing the right thing to
call the local government elections
(LGE) when it was constitutionally due.
Compare this with the PNM which
failed to call the LGE in 2006 and, like
undemocratic cowards, postponed the
elections for four years under one pre-
tence or another, the main one being
local government reform.
If the PNM had not lost the general
elections in 2010, God alone knows we
may still not have had a LGE.
For ten years and more, the PNM
talked about local government reform
and implemented nothing.
In three years, Mrs Persad-Bissessar
introduced and implemented a most
significant reform---the selection of Al-
dermen based on proportional repre-
So before he opens his mouth and
talks about the PP being undemocratic,
Dr Keith Rowley should do well to re-
member that the PNM's track record
Oh, and by the way, Keith, you really
did not win anything significant and the
"population" did not vote "for" you.
According to newspaper figures,
more people voted against you
(150,000) than for you (116,000).
Do you really think that ten per cent
of the electorate voting for you is a
AN ASSAULT ON OUR INTELLIGENCE
Kamla gives PNM a lesson in democracy
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