Dear Editor: Griffith’s NTA swells the ranks of professional politicians; dare we give them rope?

EPL Infrafred Sauna

“[…] Do I really need a cabinet? I guess I need a team to contest the elections. But after that, I will—as I attempted to do back then—tell all of them, and especially the minister of health and the minister of sports, how to run their affairs.

“And my son will be made the captain of the national football team, if they want government funding…”

The following Letter to the Editor discussing the current political situation in Trinidad and Tobago following the launch of Gary Griffith’s NTA was submitted to Wired868 by Rae Samuel of Balmain:

Photo: Former police commissioner and UNC/PP minister of national security Gary Griffith has launched a new political party, the National Transformation Alliance.

“Nobody will ever fire or summon my backside after the next election. In hindsight, I should not have gone on holiday when I did. It does not matter now anyway. When I am prime minister, I will be doing all the intercepting and appointing.

“Do I really need a cabinet? I guess I need a team to contest the elections. But after that, I will—as I attempted to do back then—tell all of them, and especially the minister of health and the minister of sports, how to run their affairs.

“And my son will be made the captain of the national football team, if they want government funding…”

If there were some way we could read some of the ruminations of the leader of the newly founded political organisation, the National Transformation Alliance, one imagines that is what they would look like.

The NTA leader is no stranger to public and political life, having served in the Army, previous cabinets and, lastly, as commissioner of police.

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (right) greets his son, Gary Griffith III, before kick-off in an exhibition match between a Trinidad and Tobago XI comprising National Under-17 players, including Griffith III, and a Commissioner’s Cup All-star team in 2019.
(via TTPS)

What is interesting in the approach of this new political leader is his ‘gravedigger’ approach. Back in the day, in the trade union movement, we called those who wanted to just appear and command ‘gravediggers’, that is, persons who wanted to start at the top and work their way down. They were routinely unsuccessful and their tenures short lived.

This new leader is clear that his goal is to unseat the incumbent prime minister as opposed to building a viable political organisation. This takes care of manifestos and party organisation. These latter apparently merit no thought or consideration on his part.

Slogans? The PNM has already copyrighted ‘All ah we tief’. But we suspect that, given this political leader’s penchant for calling the less privileged ‘cockroaches’, he might borrow the late Lord Brigo’s slogan. Brigo, we remember, used his face as a logo for an insecticide called Det and the slogan was ‘Det kills dem dead’.

Will it be NTA go kill dem dead? Too far-fetched? Spray!! Five young men shot dead in a living room in Laventille. Spray!! Three unarmed civilians in Morvant…

Photo: Then Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith poses over a dying suspect, who was arrested for the murder of a policeman, on 28 December 2019. 
The image is deliberately blurred as it may be deemed disturbing by some readers.
(via TTPS)

The Party motto? That’s easy. Graphics of persons falling to death out of chairs. Something similar has worked for Christianity for centuries. And we know the gentleman is a God-fearing man because God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has stayed out of his way… so far.

Party financiers? The Exterminators. Rentokil Initial, Omega, Integrated Pest Control, Shelltox, Protox, Baygon. Money is no problem for this party. We can see them giving out jerseys with dead cockroaches on them and handing out aerosol insecticides at campaign rallies.

So NTA joins the madding crowd, hot on the heels of Watson Duke’s Progressive Democratic Patriots launching their campaign in Trinidad. Amid the confessions of a former PNM minister of finance that our government is being/has been held hostage by cocaine cartels since she was in office some 15 or more years ago.

Most would find it curious that she is now advising of this. A popular view is that the timing merely reflects deepening schisms within the PNM and the revelations are intended to discredit some heavy-hitters whom she declined to name. So she bussin a mark without bussin a mark.

Photo: Former trade unionist Watson Duke (left) and former soldier Gary Griffith now head the PDP and NTA political parties respectively.

Might some so far frustrated yearning for a return to high office be driving this mea culpa?

All of the above would be mere idle commentary or amusing reading if it did not involve persons who seek to lead our institutions. They decide the price of food, the cost of education, the quality/availability of health care, the state of our environment and infrastructure, the availability and cost of housing, whether and when citizens get a water supply and how much it is going to cost. Matters literally of life and death.

Right now, our country is experiencing the trauma of daily and mindless murders, which indicates that the State cannot manage a social situation that is deteriorating daily.

It matters not who wins the elections that all these contenders feel are imminent. Like the creatures in the wild, they think they sense an ageing, wounded, toothless lion and feel it is opportune to close in for the kill.

Photo: A Greensdale resident (second from right) tries to point something out to then HDC chair Newman George (far left) and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (second from left) during a walkthrough by an official party.
(via HDC)

But if what really counts is what happens between elections, we cannot leave that to professional politicians.

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  1. TnT seems to be a magnet for misfits and persons of questionable character wanting to run for public office. I wonder why? I hope it is not a case of many of our citizens sharing a similar mindset.

    • “…magnet for misfits and persons of questionable character wanting to run for public office…”

      TnT probably got that from their colonial masters, the British! Or maybe later on, the mindset was supported by americanisation of TnT.

      To gain a deeper insight into the mindset, read current affairs in Britain and America–and other key historical events.

      • So what you are saying is that, after 60 years of Independence, and 46 years of being a republic, our much touted education system has done nothing to blunt this phenomenon?
        I am not for one second discounting that the notion you put forward may be real. From the looks of it, we are heading down a very slippery slope and there is a need for us to fix these problems quickly before people start taking these megalomaniacs seriously.

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