The late Manic Ramsarran speaking on a PNM political platform at Montrose Junction was saying to the people: “vote Manic for water, vote Manic for better roads…” Dr. Eric Williams, seated on the platform, stopped him and instructed him, ‘don’t say vote Manic, say vote PNM.”
This is the greatness of the PNM. This institution is bigger than any single individual, thus explaining why it has been able to rebound with renewed strength after defeats. It is not Manning or Rowley’s political party. It is the peoples’ PNM. This was best demonstrated by the return of Penny Beckles, Amery Browne and Brian Manning. This gesture was not because of the magnanimity of Dr. Rowley but the policies and principles of this political institution called the PNM.
Unfortunately, on the UNC platform, the sycophants have made the political leader bigger than the party so long as they can get what they demand. Tragically, the Political Leader generally falls prey to such flatteries! However, as soon as these opportunists are denied their requests they begin to hurl the worse abuses at the Political Leader.
Unlike Dr. Eric Williams who stopped Manic for his egomaniac posturing, the Political Leaders the UNC, both Basdeo Panday and Kamla Persad Bissessar, never stopped such foolish adulation. Both pandered to those vainglorious sentiments to the detriment of the party. Such adulation and flatteries resulted in many strays just walking from the street into Rienzi Complex and being entrusted into the top position of the party.
Where is Trevor Belmosa today? When he walked into the party he was showered with adulation by the then Political Leader while stalwarts like Kelvin Ramnath, Dr. Rampersad Parasram and others were accused of ‘bhagwatising’ the party. It was a clear case of loyalty being sacrificed for political expediency!
Dr. Keshav Baliran Hedgewar, founder of the RSS of India, the largest voluntary organization of the world, undertook a study to find an explanation for the British, a county with a population of 25M ruling over India, a country of 250M.
Dr. Hedgewar’s research revealed that the British fought for their flag-the Union unlike the Indian soldier who fought for a king. He noted that in the battlefield when a soldier carrying the Union Jack was killed another would lift the flag and move forward and soldiers would continue fighting.
In the case of the Hindu soldiers they fought for their king and when he was defeated, they surrendered. Their existence was tied to the king, a personality, and not a higher cause or mission.
Mutual respect is thrown to the wind when differences of opinion on the politics of the UNC are debated. The party provides no forum for members to air their grievances. These forums have been de-commissioned leaving the members to call talk shows and ‘wash their dirty linen in public.’ Today any rat’s ass PNM working URP can insult the UNC in social media because the behavior of our senior members and the Political Leader’s actions are not for the welfare and development of the party as such but for self-preservation.
While a political party needs a majority to win an election, its leadership must understand that it needs good governance to manage the country. Good governance does not mean having on your side a group of inexperienced people with a string of degrees -B Sc., MBA., DBA., LLB, PVC, and BRC. If after one professional qualification, one does not feel assured of him/herself, getting five degrees would not bring one any closer.
It is time for UNC to attract people who have experience working in successful institutions. We must learn from Basdeo Panday’s selection of his Cabinet and other senior appointments to manage the affair of the country when he was elected Prime Minister. He did not let past grudges and petty differences confound his mind. He recognized the competence of Bhoe Tewarie and Winston Dookeran and appointed them Principal of St Augustine Campus and Governor of the Central Bank respectively. Individuals like Carlos John and Mervyn Assam were invited to serve in his government.
Ivar Oxaal in Black Intellectuals Come to Power wrote of the composition of the PNM: “Not only Williams himself, but some of the closest associates during his six years in power were, or had been, persons of some intellectual stature themselves. Two of them, Dr. Williams and his former Marxist tutor, Mr. C.L.R. James, were major productive intellectuals with an international reputation. Five were persons who had made local intellectual and artistic contributions in the areas of history, anthropology and the fine arts. Four others were active patrons of local art and had disseminated “culture” and political commentaries via press and radio. Eight other members of the top echelon of the party were, if not, productive intellectuals in the narrow sense, members of the ‘learned profession”-law and medicine-with broad cultural interests. And in Learie Constantine the PNM possessed a Party Chairman, widely renowned in Britain and the West Indies for his contributions to cricket, who had written a book on the perennial “colour question.”
And despite this line-up of the PNM, Bhadase Sagan Maraj defeated the PNM in the Federal Elections of 1958 and the Local Government Elections of 1959. It would be interesting to know the men and women who were in Maraj’s slate and their competencies and backgrounds.
We need Men and Women in Parliament, not children. Parliament is serious business, not a kindergarten to sing Ring -a-Ring-a Roses.