Home / View Point / Earl Best / Is just a PNM movie: Best look at what politicians are saying but NOT doing

Is just a PNM movie: Best look at what politicians are saying but NOT doing

“Life is a stage and we are the actors,” calypsonian Lord Valentino sang in the 1970’s.

Three or four decades later, endorsement came from the novelist Earl Lovelace, who declared that (Politics in T&T) “…is just a movie.”

Photo: PNM Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. (Copyright Elections.TT)
Photo: PNM Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
(Copyright Elections.TT)

“Everybody have a part to play,” Valentino also sings. Including Faris Al-Rawi.

So, it is easy to understand why the Attorney General told the Trinidad Express’ Ria Taitt recently, “The Prime Minister is a decisive man and I expect that he will act.”

Sure. Actions, after all, speak louder than words. And goodness knows that all we have had in the six months since we threw the peepee out with the faeces is little action and plenty words. Plenty of ‘woulds,’ to judge by Al-Rawi’s latest contribution as reported by Taitt in the Express of Friday 11 March…

“…the facts are not fully out there just yet,” says the silver-tongued AG, “and I expect the Prime Minister would bring those (facts) out. I would like to think he is ahead of the curve and that he is managing it appropriately. He would act accordingly.”

The facts are not out there yet? Really? Come, Faris, you’re supposed to be well read and ready; you really have to come better than that!

Photo: Housing Minister Marlene McDonald (left) during her prior stint in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. (Copyright news.gov.tt)
Photo: Housing Minister Marlene McDonald (left) during her prior stint in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs.
(Copyright news.gov.tt)

Zeroed in on the Housing Minister’s trail like a heat-seeking missile, Fixin T&T has provided to the Integrity Commission, the Commissioner of Police, the Prime Minister, the media, Tom, Dick and Harrilal the following facts which, according to the presumably well informed AG, “are not fully out there just yet.”

“The documents supplied,” Taitt wrote in the Express of Thursday 10 March, “(…) show that the request for funding was made to the Community Development Ministry on April 27, 2010; the approval was given by McDonald was (sic) on May 10, 2010; the application for the name Calabar Foundation was made to the Minstry of Legal Affairs on July 14, 2010; and the Calabar Foundation was registered on August 24, 2010.”

When presented with those facts, the AG had a ready answer. “It’s a matter of law in the company’s law (sic),” he told Taitt, “that you can actually be an entity prior to the receipt of the Certificate of Incorporation.”

“Not that that,” he added, presumably red-faced on realising how helpful his last utterance had been, “is associated with this matter.”

Photo: PNM chairman and Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Franklin Khan (right) and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. (Copyright Power 102FM)
Photo: PNM chairman and Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Franklin Khan (right) and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
(Copyright Power 102FM)

Jeezanages! And I thought we had made a great choice when we consigned Gaffe-in Nicholas to the political dung heap last September. I’m not so sure anymore.

And every time the PM opens his mouth these days, I am less and less sanguine about our having chosen the Deep Red Sea over the Yellow Devil.

We can put the threat to “kill she cyat” down to overzealous campaigning and let that pass. But since the newly rebranded PM Rowley has come out of his protracted post-election silence, PNM people have been repeatedly cringing.

First there was the flip-flop on Tim Kee, whose comments were “a little less empathetic” than they should have been just a couple of days before they were “totally unacceptable” and he had to go.

Then came the “monsters” comment, not about the 2010 British film but about people’s real, flesh-and-blood children, Morgan Job, if you like, without the “Laventille.”

Photo: Former Port of Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee (right) and ex-Sport Minister Anil Roberts at the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2013. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Former Port of Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee (right) and ex-Sport Minister Anil Roberts at the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

By the weekend, there was the curious, convoluted, overly fine distinction between being “bankrupt” and “not having money to service our debts.” But what can they know of finance who handpick an engineer to steer the ship of state through the treacherous waters of the recession?

That same weekend, with the Camille and Marlene sewage getting into the ventilation system, we were treated to the call to “bring the evidence,” evidence which, Fixin T&T hastened to point out, was already in the public domain.

And the PM, eschewing the purse string option, took cover behind his wife’s, ahm, undies.

Can’t you see it happening, the media having a field day?

Backed into a corner in Parliament over the stoutness of his defence of his embattled ministers, the Prime Minister brings up his wife’s underwear. Concerned, worried, alarmed even that the standing orders may be breached, the speaker, instructs him to drop the subject.

“Drop wife’s underwear, PM told,” screams the next day’s headline.

Photo: PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley (centre) gives his victory speech at Balisier House on 7 September 2015, flanked by his wife Sharon Rowley (right) and daughter Sonel. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley (centre) gives his victory speech at Balisier House on 7 September 2015, flanked by his wife Sharon Rowley (right) and daughter Sonel.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

And then all hell might break loose…if it hasn’t already.

So let me here call out Mr Akins Vidale who six or so months ago expressed the view that the current bunch of MP’s had the wherewithal to lift the level of their parliamentary debate above the shallows in which they were then still wading.

Akins, I know you read Helen Drayton’s sobering resignation letter. You have no comment you want to share with Wired868 on that?

And what of the Minister of Communication at whom Drayton seemed to be pointing fingers. Do you agree that he is at his best when he is incommunicado? Would you have nodded in agreement when a lady suggested that the PNM would be better off if they “lock ‘im in a cabinet and throw ‘way the key”?

Did you catch the put down for the “junior minister” by the senior minister who has graduated out of his primary school head mastership but hasn’t quite divested himself of the concomitant attitudes?

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia.
Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia.

And did you hear the self-same minister telling the country that before he could take action against the trouble makers—a more felicitous term than the PM’s—who have been making life hell for the student and teacher population in El Dorado, he was waiting for the principal to deliver their names to him?

Don’t you think it was wonderful how he singled out the principal for special attention from the “monsters?”

Do you share my view that the Minister of National Security, who is a retired major general, is now a tiresome purveyor of major generalities?

Did you notice how first the AG and then the PM made the announcement about the termination of the Malcolm Jones lawsuit? What?

The Minister of Energy’s only good enough to ask for money to support ventures in her constituency? She’s not good enough to talk about Petrotrin and NGC?

Photo: Minister of Energy Nicole Olivierre.
Photo: Minister of Energy Nicole Olivierre.

And what do you see as the final outcome in the battle being waged between ArcelorMittal and its workers? You think Sister Jennifer, who couldn’t handle Watson Duke, will find some way to keep the transnationals from taking their marbles and going home?

Where, pray, Akins, are Mr Fitzgerald Hinds and Mr Clarence Rambharat, both of whom were so vocal in the run-up to September 7?

Have you heard anything from them recently?

Time to open your mouth and say something again, brother, to set the record straight. Don’t let people go away with the impression that you think we are getting our money’s worth from this bunch of jokers who are currently warming the benches of the Lower House.

Photo: Minister of Works and Transport Fitzgerald Hinds. (Copyright Power102FM)
Photo: Minister of Works and Transport Fitzgerald Hinds.
(Copyright Power102FM)

I know you are a decisive man and I expect that you will act.

Because, as Brother Valentino told us, each of have a role to portray.

AboutEarl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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40 comments

  1. Politicians take heed from reputable commentators (which is sorely lacking)it is the voice of the people, don’t get caught up with the bandwaggonist, and party hacks. everyone wants a Miracle from the PNM gov’t only God can do that.I continue to pray for My beloved country. Its’ my home

  2. To those in government don’t be baited by “rum shop poltiicians” that’s Trinidadians they know everything. the PNM government in power 6 months , and everyone want s them to be all things for all men, let me inform you all. Money talks. the government has no money to do wwnat it wants. the country is

  3. Best definitely lost the play when he accused Clarence of being silent – if anything, Clarence and his wife Camille have been the perfect examples of excellent communication where his portfolio is concerned. That having been said, the current government has been less than stellar in its performance thus far. Still, a million times better than their corrupt and crass predecessors though.

  4. “Jeezanages! And I thought we had made a great choice when we consigned Gaffe-in Nicholas to the political dung heap last September. I’m not so sure anymore.
    And every time the PM opens his mouth these days, I am less and less sanguine about our having chosen the Deep Red Sea over the Yellow Devil.”
    This author has to be kidding, right?
    Is he really saying he prefers the every-Monday-morning crisis and bacchanal, to say the least?

    • I would like to think not. I see your point that he wasn’t clear there. But I really cannot believe he does. I’ve interpreted it as just frustration that things have not gone as swimmingly as hoped.

    • Lasana he is being way harsh. I want them to ace their time in office but we have to be reasonable. I feel like because of Kamla and her gang of oafs criminality, this Gov’t is paying the price or bearing the burden of our inability to prosecute them (to date) for all the shit they did and we all know they do REAL tata!

    • Here, I can point to Sunity’s column. There is no going back. We can’t pretend it is 2010.
      I agree that the population is more cynical but that is a natural progression.
      The PNM has to be careful to avoid own goals and to be consistent in word and action. I don’t think they have scored highly there so I want better.
      I think Best’s column was meant to be irreverent or cheeky. But I don’t want to do him the disservice of a clumsy defence of his points.
      Of course I agree about the last woeful administration that was devoid of moral authority from virtually the swearing in ceremony.

    • Further, you see this page here….
      https://www.facebook.com/clarenceformayaro/
      Every single day there’s an update which myself and many others are grateful for. Perhaps Mr. Best should sign himself up on FB and have a look. A few other Ministers are also making an effort on social media.

    • It doesn’t appear in my feed although I liked this page months ago. So I will have to give it a check. 😉

    • FB is “tempermental” in terms of which pages appear on your feed regularly.

    • Steups. Damn Zuckerberg forever trying to rig the thing in his favour! Lol

  5. Lol. Look forward to it as always Akins!

  6. hahahahahahahahahahaha
    De sleeping demons awake! Oh Lord! Comedy Central, yes, oui!

  7. I have been called for an encore who am I to deny such a request.

  8. Lasana Earl Best These rumours of my ‘complicity’ have been greatly exaggerated. All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,

  9. Real talk Wired! sing it with me “Life is a stage and we are the actors” Lord Valentino is a man of substance.

  10. Lolol..waiting for the answers

  11. “Where, pray, Akins, are Mr Fitzgerald Hinds and Mr Clarence Rambharat, both of whom were so vocal in the run-up to September 7? Have you heard anything from them recently?”

    I guess the writer does not follow newspapers, television, Parliament Channel or social media.

    • Maybe Best meant with relation to certain controversial issues being discussed these days.

    • Cricket on hiatus. Boredom does lead to strange musings.
      I wonder who Best would appoint as Min of Fin besides Colm and what exactly does he see as poor fiscal policy from Imbert at this stage?
      Further…if his argument is that Colm as an engineer shouldn’t oversee finance on what grounds is a language teacher commenting on politics and governance?
      Irony upon irony, oui.
      But i assuming cricket on hiatus.

    • Listen I voted for this government. I even campaigned with Dr Rowley and I am in agreement with all questions posed. Not because we belong to a particular party means we turn a blind eye to matters which question their competence. I too am awaiting full disclosure.

    • Debbie Espinal, with respect to the finance/economy questions raised let me ask this…you listened to the last 2 hearings of the public accounts committee in the last fortnight?
      Im wondering if Earl Best did as well.
      Im wondering if anyone has listened to the questions to the PM and Min of Fin in Parliament ehen the HoR sits.
      Might be me.
      In fact, I feel is me.

    • Red herrings Rhoda Bharath. These are not the issues Mr Best was questioning.

    • Not red herrings at all. If you are questioning the competency of a government it has to be done properly. Not based on feels and emotions.

    • The take down of Rambharat alone points to either ignorance or myopia.

    • Yes and no Rhoda. Perception does mean something too. It might not be scientific. But it counts.

    • Perception is subjective. Just like opinion. And Im subjectively disagreeing with his opinion because in my opinion, Best is underinformed in his critique.
      We seriously saying Rambharat hasnt been vocal or exhibiting performance in his first 6 months in office?
      Imbert too?
      Cricket on hiatus. That is my story and I sticking to it.

    • Lol. Your opinion is of course valid too Rhoda. And of course perception is subjective. I agree.
      Personally, I wouldn’t expect that every minister would be mouthing off on subject matters outside of their portfolio, especially in cases where there are allegations but not proof.

    • Im confused as to what his expectations of these ministers are.
      Id say communication remains their biggest misstep to date. Followed by hubris on specific issues.
      And they are being taken to task on those issues by many commentators.
      But when you accusing someone like Rambharat of silence…then I have to watch your entire column cockeyed. Real cockeyed.

    • “certain controversial issues” would include the cane farmers? Because I heard Clarence give a clear outline of that situation this morning on 107.7 for about 45 minutes.

    • Clarence has been vocal on cane farming, hunting bans, cocoa, agriculture and vat on food.
      The fuck Best really carrying on with…in 6 months?
      And this is me trying to not list what Kamla did in 6 months as an act of moral relatavism.
      #Assness
      #CricketOnHiatus

    • I wouldn’t go down the road of having an engineer as MoF when we had two economists properly screw it up for five years.

    • Nah…leh him go there. I want him to. Because I dying to hear his take on the Budget, the Debt Ceiling Debate and the recent public accounts hearings. I want to hear what Best would have done differently and what advice he have for Imbert. And right after that I going to write a column to advise Lara on he hook shot.

    • I wonder how much earl best got for this very well peiced together peice of sensationalism, I hope it was worth his integrity mad repute.