Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 15th 2014 Contents B5
Thursday, May 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Last week s images of men burning an effigy
of Wayne Kublalsingh powerfully illuminated
how poor governance and manipulative political
leadership can turn citizens against each other,
and how we become our own vulnerable bobolees
by failing to focus collective attention to our com-
Yes, the Debe to Mon Desir dispute is over a
highway extension, and it has been emotive, frus-
trating and vexing to those of different views, but
that is not the issue that deserves citizens anger.
The issue is how state officials and institutions
failure to be transparent and trustworthy creates
and legitimises blame, intolerance and violence as
modes for public deliberation. Beware.
Without full information, different stakeholders
resort to accusation. Without a sense of the con-
nected ways we are affected, we deepen popular
division. In attacking one another, we undermine
necessary national pressure for state accountabil-
ity.Some of those desperate for improved trans-
DIARY OF A MOTHERING WORKER
portation are angry with the HRM, as if their struggle
lacked legitimacy. Why not also be angry that the UNC,
including Roodal Moonilal, Jack Warner and Prime
Minister Persad-Bissessar, first supported the Highway
Re-route Movement protestors, then turned against
them? They stepped beyond the law while invoking it
conveniently. They failed to provide the planning,
hydrology, cost-benefit and impact-assessments that
were due. They mystified their own and state institutions
irresponsibility, knowing this non-tendered project
lacked the necessary studies. Our current leaders caused
escalating confusion and conflict among citizens by
saying one thing and doing another. Should they feel
the heat of a match and gasoline?
As Justice Aboud concluded: "It seems to me that
what runs through the evidence is the absence of a
clearly formulated policy statement in response to the
HRM activities...When a person no less than the Prime
Minister promises a review she must be expected to
understand what that term means and to have said it
with sincerity. Instead of dealing with the HRM in a
straightforward and consistent manner...she took a
series of steps that are now made out to be half-promises
-- or no promises at all -- to appease, or defuse, or oth-
erwise deal with the activities of the HRM...In the end,
the promises of a review and a consideration having
been made, the claimants were entitled to believe that
the process would have been meaningful and that they
would have been consulted. Their expectations were
Public debate over aluminum smelters, quarrying
and more is how we sort out what is in our best interest.
In each of the struggles ahead over what that means,
whom it will cost, and what our rights are to know
and decide, there will be sides. Do we then hang by
the neck, hack into pieces or set each other s bodies
on fire, even symbolically? Don t all legitimate expec-
tations regarding citizens rights deserve the protection
of due process, even if we disagree?
Tacarigua, Chagaramas, Point Fortin, Chatham, La
Brea, Toco and Debe, what if one day the government
considers your rights annoying, wrong or inconvenient
because they are pitted against others rights, needs,
kickbacks or votes, should you have no defense?
Development is more than infrastructural. It must
include democracy. Progress is more than economic.
It must be founded on state officials credibility and
state institutions conformity to regulations, policies
and law. Citizenship is more than a vote. It must protect
our right to challenge all forms of state domination.
I got worried seeing that effigy. It normalises violence.
It conveys fear to neighbours. It sends the wrong message
to another generation.
It entrenches elite access to conveniently explosive
behaviour. Be careful. Citizens will always need each
We want democracy that works
Beyonce and Jay Z are making headlines for
another reason this week: They lead in nominations
at the BET Awards.
The network announced yesterday that both per-
formers are nominated for five awards, along with
Drake. Pharrell and rising performer August Alsina
each have four nominations.
The BET Awards will air live June 29 from the
Nokia Theatre LA Live.
Beyonce will compete twice for video of the year
with the songs Partition and Drunk in Love, which
features Jay Z. Her competition includes Pharrell s
Happy, Drake s Worst Behavior and Chris Brown s
On May 12, celebrity Web site TMZ posted a leaked
security video that appears to show Beyonce s sister,
Solange, attacking Jay Z inside a New York hotel ele-
vator in Beyonce s presence. (AP)
Beyonce, Jay Z, Drake
lead at BET Awards
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