Manning Turning in His Grave

 Manning Turning in His Grave
Photo : Dool Hanomansingh

PNM is a religious cult and its ministers are elevated to sainthood, beyond criticism. Like blasphemy, the penalty for criticizing a minister is political death and social exclusion. Thank goodness it has not resulted in death, at least so far. It begs the question: Does this fanaticism accounts for the poor showing of the Opposition in PNM strongholds? Is our democracy compromised by this fanaticism? To what extent are people in the East West Corridor denied expression of their fundamental rights to support a political party of their choice?

The current attacks on Ralph Maharaj by the PNM’s Women League beg the question: Is the PNM’s Women’s Arm collaborating with mainstream media houses to undermine our right to expression of political views and right to freedom of expression? There is a pattern of relentless assault on anyone who dare condemn breaches of the PNM. Recently we witnessed a barrage of attacks on Dr Fuad Khan, a former Minister of Health and a sitting Member of Parliament, for expressing a view on the health crisis facing the society. While Dr Khan’s remarks must have been crude and unsavory, no one could have accused him of being malicious. In fact, his remarks are consistent over the years, vis a vis the health of the nation.

Ralph Maraj, a former Minister of Government and now a columnist, must have the right to freedom of expression. His criticism of the approval of the rental of a building owned by Attorney General Faris Alwari and his wife is an exercise of that freedom.    More fundamentally is the unconstitutional manner in which the Cabinet went about the approval of the contract. The government has opened itself to litigation because every student of politics knows that by the AG absenting himself, Cabinet will not be properly constituted and any decision taken will be null and void.

Patrick Manning must be turning in his grave. As a former Prime Minister, Patrick Manning did everything to reduce government’s dependency on rented properties for public offices. For this bold and daring act Patrick Manning was politically neutered. Manning’s political legacy is now being compromised by his successor and darling of the 1%, the Honorable Dr Keith Rowley.

The 1% is not concerned about the welfare of the country. They are like the plantocracy class enjoying privileges, exploiting an inefficient economic system. It is only when those privileges are removed that our economy will begin to strive.

If I were a member of the PNM’s Women League, I would have made a proposal to build home-work centers to assist children with literacy challenges. I would have encouraged young women to engage in literacy classes to wean themselves away from dependency on grants from the State, Play Whe and drug pushers. More enterprising would have been a proposal for young entrepreneurs to manage their own businesses- frying chicken, serving at the counter and mopping floors for themselves and not the 1%.

Former Prime Minister Patrick Manning must be declared a national hero for his courageous action for the government to build and own its offices instead of renting from the 1%. Dr Keith Rowley’s pandering to every demand of the 1% must be having Manning turning is his grave.

The nexus between the 1% and the PNM is similar to the conspiracy of the overseers, drivers and the house slaves to exploit the field slaves. Has T&T changed since 1838? I shudder to say yes. I think post emancipation has perpetuated the reign of the ruling class, entrenching them in power, courtesy the PNM and the Women’s League. Their sole ambition is to ingratiate themselves to the 1%.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of our citizens and the best and only way to safeguard such a right is by exercising it. Ralph Maraj must continue writing but also find time to suggest to the PNM that they engage in some meaningful social programs such as literacy and home-work centers.