Commentary by Capil Bissoon
November 10, 2023
The PNM continues to invoke the ghost of Eric Williams for their own political survival and it has nothing to do with his memory. Is the PNM now trying to take credit for the airport which is a flagship international infrastructural pillar of our country, built by the UNC against PNM opposition?
I would like to express my strongest possible opposition to the renaming of the Piarco International Airport after the founder of the People’s National Movement, the late Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams.
This is preposterous and objectionable on a number of levels.
The PNM, their agents and their sadly brainwashed victims continue to behave as though Trinidad and Tobago is “PNM country.”
It is so absurd and ridiculous that one might expect from them a suggestion that our entire country be renamed “Eric Williams Land.”
It is alarming, but sadly not surprising, that this suggestion has come from the UWI Leadership. It points to extreme political partisanship and historical revisionism which should never have a part in our University.
Has no one else who had no affiliations to the PNM contributed to the country?
Did Trinidad and Tobago’s history begin in 1956?
On top of that, there is the absurdity that this same airport has been criticized, persecuted and pilloried by the PNM from its construction phase, right up to the present, 25 years later. Yet, despite all this vilification, Piarco International Airport routinely gets named as the Top Airport in the Caribbean.
As a parallel reference, construction of the Brian Lara Stadium, which commenced under the Manning-led PNM Administration was scheduled to cost $275 million was finally completed by another PNM Administration led by Keith Rowley at a cost of over $1.14 billion, nearly the same amount as the airport! And nineteen years later, the International Cricket Council which governs world cricket, has not given approval and accreditation for the facility.
Is the PNM now trying to take credit for the airport which is a flagship international infrastructural pillar of our country, built by the UNC against PNM opposition?
Is this yet another way to rewrite history and write out major actors, just as Eric Williams had done to Albert Gomes, Adrian Cola Rienzi and others?
Recall in September 2018, then San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said if he had his way, the auditorium of the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) would not have been named in honour of late chutney legend Sundar Popo, but rather, calypso veteran Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste.
And it continues… you would believe that Capildeo, Bhadase, Naipaul, Panday, Noor Hassanali, composer Jit Samaroo (just to name a few) made no contribution to the development of TT.
But a major international airport, built under PM Basdeo Panday (which then PNM Opposition Leader Patrick Manning vehemently objected to) must be named after a PNM Prime Minister who died 42 years ago!
The country already has three major institutions named after Williams… the Eric Williams Financial Complex, opened in March 1986, the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, opened in 1989 and the Eric Williams Memorial Library opened in August 2022.
The PNM continues to invoke the ghost of Eric Williams for their own political survival and it has nothing to do with his memory.
This is absurd and must stop.
We must honour ALL the people who contributed to the building of Trinidad and Tobago.
We must stop the PNM propaganda, brainwashing and whitewashing once and for all.