“Cometh the hour, cometh the man” is a cliché often heard in politics and sport as a leader emerges to rescue a seemingly lost cause.
These six words crystallise the political events in Trinidad and Tobago over the last three months. Except that no man or, in this case, woman has come. Not yet anyway
Politicians are often judged and remembered by how they dealt with major crisis.
Late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was never popular in Britain but, after being sucked into the most devastating war in history, emerged as a strong, solid leader for a nation to rally behind.
How did he do this? First, he spoke. And spoke often.
In an era of radio and print newspapers, Churchill managed to reach and inspire every corner of the British Empire. And he supported his words with action.
Whether there were 3,000 or 30,000 protestors on the streets of Port of Spain last Friday, one thing for certain is that the T&T public wants strong and decisive leadership.
Nothing has happened yet. And the same people who have lost the public’s trust continue their arrogant posturing, untruths and counter accusations, which only fan the flames.
When the people needed their leader, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar disappeared.
So, is the Prime Minister a part of the problem or the solution?
Trinidad and Tobago may not be at war but it certainly is in turmoil. The Section 34 debacle will not go away. And, if you think people are angry now, wait until Ish Galbaransigh and Steve Ferguson have their charges dismissed.
The frustration of the people when they recognise that they are helpless to government-led injustice may well turn a peaceful supposedly middle-aged demonstration into a riot.
The potential for riot and anarchy is lying in wait and, as shown by Los Angeles in 1992 or London in 2011, there is usually no warning. It takes just one spark.
And, with the outspoken and unrestrained Jack Warner in charge of National Security, the potential for an explosion is very real.
Section 34 was a huge opportunity for Persad-Bissessor to send a strong message to the electorate through swift and comprehensive action. No amount of smiling photo-shoots can save a leader who disappears in a crisis.
Another truism is “a man is known by the company he keeps” and the Prime Minister is not helping her cause by failing to distance herself from Ministers who have lost the public trust.
Persad-Bissessar must fight back. She won the election by projecting herself a strong but caring matriarch. She must revive that image now to take control of her government and political future.
Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. Or forever be found wanting.