Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2013 Contents The magnanimity shown by
Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar on the arrange-
ments for attendance at the
memorial services and funeral
for Nelson Mandela must be
The acceptance of the Prime
Minister s offer by the Leader
of the Opposition, Dr Keith
Rowley, must be commended.
This is one of those occa-
sions when both the Prime
Minister and the Leader of the
Opposition got it right.
The subliminal message that
is transmitted to their respec-
tive political sub-cultures is a
very positive one that empha-
sises that accommodative
political behaviour is possible
among the political leader-
What was disappointing was
the response by the leader of
the Independent Liberal Party,
When interviewed for the
CNC3 7 pm newscast last Sat-
urday, he emphatically stated
that he did not want to be
anywhere near the Government
and if he were going, he would
pay his own way, as he did not
want taxpayers to fund his
possible attendance at the
That approach was not the
kind of response one would
have got from the example of
Nelson Mandela s life.
His life in jail as a political
detainee during the apartheid
era in South Africa was one
that led him to become more
inclusive and forgiving of those
who deprived him of his free-
dom. When he was released,
he chose to adopt the
approach of truth and recon-
ciliation as opposed to revenge
That was the measure of a
most extraordinary man.
Unfortunately, the only politi-
cal leaders who seem to be
capable of that kind of tran-
scendent vision are Mrs Per-
sad-Bissessar and Dr Rowley.
If only Mr Warner could see
the folly of making such a
partisan statement in com-
menting on attendance at the
funeral of a man whose humil-
ity and generosity of spirit
made him a servant leader for
all South Africans regardless of
their race, colour or creed.
This was not the moment to
make a divisive and disparag-
ing political statement. This
was a moment to show states-
manship and true leadership
on an occasion that would
show that for just one short
moment in the annals of world
history, a political leader in
this country could set aside
his narrow party-based views
to highlight civility and diplo-
There is still time for Mr
Warner to accept that he made
an error of judgment and that
he could see things differently
now. If Mrs Persad-Bissessar
and Dr Rowley could do it,
why could he not join the
cross-party magnanimity and
show that he too is capable of
rising to the occasion.
T&T s political system is
based on a philosophy of
majoritarian control by the
rotation of power, not a phi-
losophy of consensus. Howev-
er, the death of Nelson Man-
dela has provided a rare
chance to see the country s
leaders united in a common
cause. How powerful an exam-
ple that could be.
Bipartisanship on Mandela funeral
T&T's political system is based on a philosophy of majoritarian control by
the rotation of power, not a philosophy of consensus. However, the death of
Nelson Mandela has provided a rare chance to see the country's leaders
united in a common cause. How powerful an example that could be.
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Mandela. One name. One man. One
mission: Saving a nation from itself.
Few men in the history of mankind
have had more impact on a nation and
inspired the world.
He led his country from the
viciousness of apartheid to the glory
of a multiracial democracy, peacefully.
Has an individual ever given more to
a nation and a cause? Only those who
have sacrificed their very lives.
Mandela could have easily spent
those 27 years of incarceration
abroad, protesting the evil from afar,
safe from repercussions. Not him.
If his people suffered, he would
suffer with them.
I know something about protest. I
know well the feelings and questions
that run through the mind of those
who stand against a system, braving
everything for a cause.
It is never easy. The personal price
is high, but the greatest of people
persevere for the greater good.
Modern South Africa is built on the
back of Mr Mandela's sacrifice. It still
amazes me, even to this day, that a
man could give up two and half
decades of his life, emerge from
prison and forgive his imprisoners.
Mr Mandela was able, despite all
the evil done to him, to see the
humanity of those who punished him.
He was able to look into their souls
and see something worth redeeming.
This is a lesson that should be learned
by the world. He proved there is
always a way to reconcile differences.
I was amazed to discover that Mr
Mandela used to listen to my fights
when he was imprisoned on Robben
Island. That humbling revelation
moved me to tears.
I salute this greatest of men and
feel honoured and blessed to have
lived through the time of Mandela.
---Muhammad Ali, boxing Legend,
Sound Off: Tribute to Nelson Mandela
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