Rowley-the first black Syrian
Photo : Keith Rowley
Is Rowley a Syrian? This is the questions citizens are asking. He is black but certainly not Syrian, at least phenotypically. Others are concluding, though, that he is an honorary Syrian.
From all evidence Rowley’s political career appears to be hinged to the Syrian community and their interests and welfare. Critics are sighting the building of the Scarborough Hospital and his special relationship with the contractor Emile Elias who was simultaneously developing lands for Mrs Sharon Rowley.
Still others are contending that the fall-off between Rowley and Manning had nothing to do with policies but was done to protect the interest of the Syrians who felt that the Manning administration was leaning too much to the Chinese, and that Calder Hart had a too great influence on the government.
Interestingly, he appointed former AnsaMcAl CEO as the chair of NGC, the most lucrative state company in the energy sector. He further demonstrated his affection to Syrians by making a tour of Carib Glass Company, a subsidiary of AnsaMcAl.
Rowley is not a friend of the Indians though he may be seen in the company of Rohan Sinanan and his family. The truth is Rowley has demonstrated naked and blatant disrespect for Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar, the head of the United National Congress. The violent language of Rowley can only be interpreted as a threat to the Indian community. But Indians are not unfamiliar with characters like Rowley and have learned well how to ignore them.
Nevertheless, many hold the view that Rowley must not be ignored but scrutinised. He is a carbon copy of Dr Eric Williams and his former boss, Patrick Manning. The diatribe and venom of Williams against the Indians in the 1950s and 1960s have not been put to rest but has re-emerged in a more virulent manner today- a bigger threat than the volcanoes at the Devil’s Wood Yard.
Just as Williams shut down the Maha Sabha’s school building programme when the PNM took power in 1952 so also Dr Rowley is denying our Hindu children the right to an education. While Minister of Education continues to repair and built Roman Catholic schools, the PNM is not opening the Ramai Trace Hindu and the Reform Hindu, both 99% completed. Also, the children of Rousillac Hindu School have been languishing in the cramped temple compound for the past four years for the government to begin construction of a new school.
The nation should never forget the spite and vindictiveness of former Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, who blatantly stopped the opening of the BIche High School. It was 10 years later when the UNC returned to power that the building was washed down and reopened. Now more than eight (8) years after its opening there are no signs of gas leakages on the compound.
Is there a gas leak on the sight of the Couva Children’s Hospital? If not, what are the reasons why the Rowley is not opening it? Is it because it is located in central Trinidad with a large Indian population? The demography of central Trinidad is more cosmopolitan than West Port of Spain. Caroni is no longer the demography that exists in the 1950s and 1960s. But Rowley’s mind is still being nourished by the ideology of Dr Eric Williams which was one of hate and bigotry.
What is the delay with the Debe Campus? Why, after 30 months in government, this government is not moving with urgency to start this campus? Again, this attitude of malice and prejudice is consistent with the PNM from its birth in 1956 to present. I appears that if it changes for the better, the great party would fall sick and die!
T&T would have been better off without Dr Eric Williams. He has laid the foundation for where we are today. His hate of the Indians, French Creoles, the Church and others poisoned the minds of his fanatic supporters including Rowley. It is this underlying culture of bigotry that has this nation where it is today. Instead of dealing directly with issues our Prime Minister, in wajang styling, has to resort to expressions like “white rum.” His supporters-taking a hint from him- are now saying that “Kamla should drink she rum and eat she roti and shut she mouth.”
Is it that Rowley is a stranger to alcohol? All over social media Rowley he is viewed drinking at fetes and yet he has the audacity to moralise! But this is the value he places on Avinash Singh and Rohan Sinanan. So long as Rowley has these two individuals, he has acquired the moral authority to insult the HIndu community. It is a truism that “pot doh see its own bottom.”
It is time that Rowley puts on his intellectual cap and addresses issues affecting the nation. He needs to abandon his wajaang trademark that the nation has come to identify with him. He needs to understand that the country cannot run without Indians as much as the world. North America and other developed countries are happy to open their doors to welcome Indians. The Syrians-Rowley’s friends-understand that the middle management of their businesses cannot function without Indians. It is only Rowley who is failing to grasp this reality. He must know that Indian’s don’t only run supermarket but run governments!
Governance is much more than building a four mile highway to Manzanilla. In multi-racial T&T it is about bringing the two dominant races together. Unfortunately Rowley is not doing that. He had reduced his public meetings to ole talk and picong and playing the race card. He was heard on a public platform that the PP government did nothing for Tobago and now they want to stop the building of the Manzanilla Highway which would ease movement between Trinidad and Tobago. This is Rowley’s googly and the nation has learned to read him from a mile.
It is time for the Syrians to start looking for a new friend. Some are already saying that the Syrians are unhappy with him. His poor record at race relations and the handling the Opposition Leader is not going down well with financiers. Also his failure and incompetence to deliver the necessary goods and services is sending tremors up the spine of Syrians and French Creole business interests.
The business community in Port of Spain is fearful of a return of 1970 and 1990. There is no oil or gas boom in the horizon. So far the government is not doing anything to diversify the economy. Crime is a runaway horse. Everyday businesses open their doors with fear in their hearts. The Syrians are quaking in their boots. The 1% statement by Mario Sabga has come back to haunt them. It is not money that saves a community. It is the people and the 1% remains the most vulnerable group in this society. Certainly Syria cannot come to their rescue and when the British or the Americans arrive it is solely to protect their interests and nationals.
The solution to this miniscule problem is to change the guard. It is time for the 1% to call in Rowley and let him understand that the Mugabe-Gairy-Burnham-Amin leadership style was never good for anytime. It is time to save T&T by dumping Rowley. He is expired goods!