Home / View Point / Akins Vidale / An Open Letter to Earl Best: Vidale’s view on T&T’s political stage

An Open Letter to Earl Best: Vidale’s view on T&T’s political stage

Although I am not the architect of this design and did not create our plantation, I have none the less been waiting for you. You have posed many questions. Although the last six months has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably Trinbagonian.

Photo: PNM supporters poke fun at the outgoing Prime Minister on September 7 at Balisier House. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: PNM supporters poke fun at the outgoing Prime Minister on September 7 at Balisier House.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Ergo, some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realise, it is also the most irrelevant.

Synchronously the concomitant questions are also irrelevant.

While I had conferred six months ago that we had forgone “the efficacy of finesse in the Parliament” I also made a plea “to focus on persuasion by the strength of your arguments.”

Your ascription to me is quite simply disingenuous vis a vis the Parliamentarians’ wherewithal. Ergo the responsibility which you have placed upon me was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating such contradictory  and perfunctory oratory as you sought to question my silence by alluding to ‘misgivings’ where none existed.

And now that that is out of my system, allow me to be fair to you.

Firstly, let me be clear that I saw no malice in your call out, however I felt that you missed the boat.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. (Copyright News.Gov.TT)
Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright News.Gov.TT)

The fact that Dr Keith Rowley says publicly that he has no confidence in the Integrity Commission but hinges his defence of his Ministers on its findings—or lack thereof—speaks volumes to more deep seeded challenges facing the electorate. I want to take the focus away from the politicians for a bit.

The real question is what are we using to measure expectations? What are the criteria?

Visibility as you have done? Efficacy of finesse be it in Parliament or the public domain?

I want to suggest to you that none of these speak to a keen sense of where we need to go but are stuck in the doldrums of where we have been. The culture of our politics doesn’t change with an election.

Can the PNM escape this? Can the MSJ?

No we cannot. We are not so naive to even conceive of such. So what should we really be discussing?

Let me refer you to the last few lines of the first verse of “Life is a stage”:

Photo: Iconic calypsonian Bro Valentino. (Copyright NCTT.Org)
Photo: Iconic calypsonian Bro Valentino.
(Copyright NCTT.Org)

I want you to know;

So don’t blame Dr Williams;

Anytime you find you get bad administration;

That was meant to be;

The fella is playing his role superbly;

Don’t blame the hoodlums I say;

Is a part they come out to play.

Brother Valentino is clear, the politicians have their role. The real question is: what is your role?

The play you have pointed to, even if only from your own perspective, is the same play that we have been privy to since Independence. Are you even on the stage or in the balcony as a spectator?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams. (Courtesy Information Division)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams.
(Courtesy Information Division)

Have you ever read Rudyard Kipling’s “The English Flag” and seen that immortal line: what  do they know of England who only England know?

We can easily ask what do they know of our politics who only our politics know. There is a culture that we cannot ignore.

What do we understand of how the Parliament or Cabinet really functions? How well do we know the nature of being an MP and Minister? How well do we understand the transition from policy to action?

Obviously we do not condone malfeasance and must call out Ministers and Governments. At the same time, however a conversation which floats on the surface and refuses to address the nature of the problem does us no good.

The point here is that we ought not to be discussing same old same old and looking for flaws which are inherent in the design of our matrix. Instead, we ought to be discussing a new design.

Photo: Housing Minister Marlene McDonald. (Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Housing Minister Marlene McDonald.
(Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)

We ought to be discussing if we—the electorate—are mere stage hands with politicians being the only actors in the play.

What are we prepared to do to affect the quality of life that we live?

 

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read the initial column by Earl Best titled “Is just a PNM Movie.”

About Akins Vidale

Akins Vidale
Akins Vidale lectures at the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies and is a UWI graduate with a B.A. in History. He has served as the president of the Trinidad Youth Council and is the General Secretary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN). Read his blog: http://akinsvidale.wordpress.com/

Check Also

MEDIA MONITOR: Sermon on the Mount: Suffer the little black boys…

The Guardian’s Jensen La Vende tried very hard to take the emotion out of his …

4 comments

  1. Oh a beautiful, honest as all that letter.

  2. Ken Gordon is longer at the Integrity Commission and Dr. Rowley no longer has confidence in it……hmmnnnn. Guess no more private verandah meetings.

  3. Earl Best

    Akins, as I read, I heard neither Valentino singing “Life is a stage” nor any other calypsonian (except perhaps Pink Panther singing Misprint?) What I heard was the voice of (Valentino’s?) children’s singing “Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

    But I’ll wheel and come again. Maybe I will better be able to assimilate your message when I am not distracted by the West Indies playing in the T20 World Cup…

  4. What a load of rubbish.