Where is the educated middle-class in the politics of the UNC? I hear much condemnation of the present crop of UNC parliamentarians and the political leader, Ms. Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Who are those brilliant minds on the wings to replace them? If they exist, why are they not identifying themselves?
One academic told me: “But Hanoman, you know we have tons of bright people to do a better job.” I responded: “Can you give me a few names?” “Well, there are but they are not given the opportunity. They are afraid of coming out because they would be pulled down.”
Have we forgotten the term pressure group? Most political parties had their origins in a pressure group, that is, fighting a social cause. Bhadase Maraj emerged leader of the People’s Democratic Party in 1955 after he formed the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and launched an education drive to educate the Hindus masses. The same can be said for Basdeo Panday. He took the leadership of the Sugar Union and rallied the workers for increased wages and better working conditions. It was this success that won him the support of the people to build a political vehicle called the ULF.
Kudos to Seva TT and Gerard Ramdeen. In the midst of the pandemic Seva TT is rallying its volunteers to assist with the vaccination drive of the T&T Manufacturers Association. The same can be said for Gerard Ramdeen who distributed food hampers to needy families in the Penal/Debe district. The efficient manner in which Ramdeen executed the exercise raised his image in the eyes of the publics when compared to the chaos and failure resulting from similar efforts at South Park Mall.
Revan Teelucksingh, the head of Seva TT, may not have political ambition. Nevertheless, his noble work would place him in a pedestal of respectability in the eyes of the public.
Where are those people who believe that Kamla Must Go? The pandemic is providing a grand opportunity for them to rally the support of the people. Their failure to do something for the people only demonstrate their incompetence.
I have been pleading with a few graduates to form an agricultural lobby group to bring to the attention of the government the plight of farmers. It is like talking to a wall. Farmers are victims of praedial larceny, natural disasters, lack of subsidies and limited facilities to strive in the industry. Ravi Ratiram, the shadow minister of agriculture, said that he requested some ideas from an academic in agriculture for the budget debate and do this date, the info never came forth.
Who has taken the government to court on its denial of scholarships to successful students? Not the so-called brilliant minds who are critical of the UNC. It is the Maha Sabha, led by Vijai Maharaj, who has limited academic qualification but lots of courage and insights. Why couldn’t others spare the Maha Sabha this round and rally a more a secular front to embrace the support of all religious communities? Without a doubt, had there been no Maha Sabha, there would have been no one to challenge the government’s interference in the scholarship program.
If UNC supporters have made a mistake and but a pack of fools in Parliament, they certainly not foolish to repeat their error. We come from a land where we have been warned that learning without character can be destructive. The story is very well exemplified in the character Ravana who was learned but devoid of decency and led his people on the path to destruction.
Education is something new to most of us and we have been misled to believe that it is paramount to our existence. It has made us argumentative, indecisive and lacking in humility. According to Sad Guru, we are using our educational qualification to identify who we are- a doctor, account, engineer etc. while forgetting that we are human beings. If today the grassroots support Ms Kamla, it is because she finds time to walk with them. Humility and the ability to listen to the people and their pains are enough to rally their support and loyalty. The small man and woman who voted for Kamla to be their leader feels valued by her.
The most foolish President the USA produced was Professor Woodrow Wilson. He must have been competent in the classroom, not in the hall of power. He formed the League of Nations and felt that by sitting and talking round a table would defuse the growing threat in Germany. Little did he know that you don’t negotiate with a bully!
The big question is: Is education working for us or against us?