Media Monitor: TGIF, UNC! Why, despite PNM shortcomings, I mute Opposition politicians

TGIF. Tim Gopeesingh is farse. And outta place!

He was on the radio the other day. And Rudy Indarsingh. And Roodal Moonilal. And Gerald Ramdeen. And Devant Maharaj. And, probably Wade Mark and Rodney Charles. And, of course, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Photo: Former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, heady with the nectar of a perceived victory.

I have a queasy stomach so I have no idea what they said; As I always do, I turned the volume down to zero.

Why zero? Simple. It’s the number that sums up what all of the UNC’s talk has to contribute to national development. One big, fat, round zero.

But how do I know this if I refuse to listen to them? Simple. I read the newspapers; my late brother used to warn me all the time that “You have to know what you’re rejecting.” So every day I get a metaphorical barf bag, put a metaphorical clothes clip on my nose and then and only then read the bits of the newspapers where one or several of the former government’s representatives are shooting off at the mouth. Again.

Here, for instance, is Indarsingh:

“The time is now for continued unity within the labour movement to stop the PNM from further destroying, destabilising and traumatising families through their failed economic policies and the UNC will continue to be on the side of those who are being oppressed and marginalised.”

Yeah, right. Recycled version #674. I mean, doesn’t he have any porridge that needs cooling? Why would anyone waste his breath to speak those completely meaningless words?

Gopeesingh was critical of the Education Minister Anthony Garcia who, he said, was “punishing incoming university students by subjecting them to a means test (…) mere weeks before the new academic year is due to begin in September.”

Really, Tim?

Photo: Former Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh (centre) shares a drink with Reshmi Ramnarine, (far right) who was controversially appointed as a Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) director under the UNC in 2011.
She subsequently resigned after media reports suggested that her credentials were fake.

Now I defy anyone to name one memorable statement the former minister of education made during his entire tenure in that post; one memorable positive statement. I have to add that second adjective because no sensible parent has forgotten the ex-minister’s proposal to stop extra-curricular activity during school time. Beggars belief, it does.

Mind you, I do not hold any brief for Minister Garcia in particular either or for the bungling Rowley Government in general. But what does Gopeesingh expect? The proposed GATE reforms seem eminently reasonable, particularly in the guava season the country is currently experiencing.

Wisely, Gopeesingh stops short of criticising them directly. But GATE reforms have been mooted for years and no one has ever suggested that what was coming would be increases rather than cuts.

So, Tim, is the financially strapped government to hold its hand for a semester? A year? Until election time? Until the UNC gets back into power?

Please, Tim, please! Yuh just darm farse and outta place!

Photo: Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and former Chief Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal.
(Courtesy Baltimore Post)

Experts that they are in everything, Moonilal, in Housing throughout the UNC years of plenty, and Ramdeen, moving inexorably closer to the seat of power, are the voices that are never silent. There will doubtless be many more opportunities to deal with their sound and fury which signifies nothing.

For today, however, suffice it to point out that the unmovable senator, who made plenty hay while the Rising Sun shined, has been under a cloud—several clouds, in fact—for quite some time but that clearly does not preclude him from pronouncing persistently on perceived corruption.

I shall return too to Persad-Bissessar, who has so dissipated what little credit she—as opposed to the office she had the honour to hold—ever enjoyed that her latest tirade against the PM and the PNM, qualified for page 22 in today’s Express.

But there’s no deferring the treatment of current party Public Relations Officer Ms Anita Haynes who, though she may not qualify as a plain Jane, is certainly a Johnny-come-lately in UNC terms. In the Sunday Express, along with the Prime Minister and the “Ferry failure,” she was right up there on Page Three.

What did the good lady have to say to the country? Nothing new. Surprised?

Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar celebrates victory at the 2010 General Elections.
(Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2015)

She criticised the Government, “who are devoid of ideas and (…) have no plan to put us on a path to sustainable development,” for cuts to the GATE programme. And she said that the PM had gone on his “seventh vacation” and that it was wrong for him so to do “at a time when there are serious questions about his handling of the procurement of the vessels to service the seabridge.” Blah blah blah!

Oh, there’s merit, I think, in some of that stuff. But it quickly disappears when the stuff comes out of yellow, often mealy mouths. (Which reminds me: is it the unwelcome visit from the non-cat burglar which has silenced Mr Barry Padarath or has some cat got his tongue? That would be a welcome development, I think.)

But the real message, the one that’s there implicit or explicit in every major or minor UNC pronouncement, came at the end of the byline-less Sunday Express article:

“It is clear to the people of Trinidad and Tobago that this Government is incapable of leading this country, so they should heed the calls to seek a fresh mandate and call elections now.” (my emphasis)

On Page 22, it’s there no fewer than three times in another byline-less piece.

“Rowley is clearly not up for the job of Prime Minister and he should heed the calls to seek a fresh mandate.” (my emphasis)

Photo: Prime Minister Keith Rowley (centre) is introduced to former Brazil World Cup captain Cafu (second from left) and Jamaica World Cup player Ricardo Gardner (left) before an exhibition match at Soogrim Trace Grounds, Laventille on 31 July 2017.
At right is TTFA president David John-Williams.
(Courtesy Matthew Lee Kong/CA-images/Wired868)

“Give the people of Trinidad and Tobago a chance to choose a leader and a team with a vision and strategy to return the country to a path of growth and prosperity” (my emphasis)

“Rowley has shown that he is incapable of leading this country, and the people of Trinidad and Tobago are calling for strong leadership and a team that has proven it can handle the job.” (my emphasis)

Well, as a person of Trinidad and Tobago, I do not presume to speak for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. But to Ms Haynes and Mrs Persad-Bissessar and the legion of UNC speakers who believe that they know what the people of Trinidad and Tobago want, I want to say quietly how I feel.

And I suspect I am not alone.

I agree that you have proven that you “can handle the job.” After five rapacious years of UNC stewardship, I do not need any more proof than today’s Business Express where Anthony Wilson’s lead story is headlined “COLM’S $10B HEADACHE.”

Brothers and sisters of the UNC, thank God it’s finished!


Photo: The cover of the Business Express on 16 August 2017.
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About Earl 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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  1. Sorry Earl, nothing new here. It is the political norm, and like a crapaud can’t shed its skin, so too you will find that politicians will never change for the better.

  2. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    Mr. Earl Best, I am not in the habit of doing so very regularly, but I take off my hat and salute you on a wonderful piece of journalism. I agree with every view expressed sir. I also feel the same way or maybe much stronger than yourself. I have a distaste for all politicians and would rather associate with beggars than consider any one my friend.

  3. Started reading until queasy stomach.
    Decided this is just another antiUNC rant by a very uninformed individual.
    I didnt bother to continue reading as I would have ended up with a queasy stomach.

    • Earl Best

      “You have to know what you’re rejecting.” I just took the trouble to read your comment, Lionel, before it went into my bin where it belongs.

  4. Please do the entire country a favor Earl , change the best to the WORST !

  5. Thanks for letting me know I was not missing anything by not listening to the rumblings of the exes of our govt who should forever remain exes if I have anything to do with it. It really defies logic that there are people willing not only to listen to their tripe but buying it wholesale.

  6. If the oval capacity is greater, than Tarouba, its just plain common sense, which may daddy taught me it ain’t so common. Everybody has their own agenda. Have they seen the crowds over the last week at QPS or is blind mice running around with power in their hands. Foolishness.

  7. Gospel, an irrelevant force and one of the most ineffective oppositions in our history

  8. Earl Best you for real. The UNC must be at zero but the PNM is in the negative.

  9. You dealt with my fairy godfather MP hard dey.
    But in Trinbago since I small we vote out governments and as my son (16yr)says allyuh have nine days memory. We quickly forget why we voted out the old- previous party/government since NAR time is the same thing

  10. Both PNM and UNC reveal the true nature of the average Trini. We are a corrupt people. One group is thrown into it by cultural bonds along religious and ethnic lines, the other responds by commiting corruption because “do them before they do we” mantra , the rich minority fearful of being overrun by the majority bribe and manipulate the system.

  11. Earl Best

    ECON 101 teaches that profits can be increased by reducing expenses, not merely by increasing revenue. You might want to consider that, the Oval being privately owned whereas the BLA is State-owned, profitability may well be increased in South.
    Not to mention the potential downstream sport tourism benefits to be had from the exposure that comes from playing four high=profile matches at the venue. You really should move your nose lol out of the way so you might be able to see a little beyond it…

  12. time to form we own party and forget the pnm and unc. call me lets get it on.

  13. QUESTION for Daryl Smith…how much TT tax payers money is paying CPL to staged the finals at Brian Lara stadium just to SHOW-OFF and a feeding frenzy for PNM friends & families…Queen Park Oval hold 30,000 fans…Brian Lara hold 12,000…where is the economics?????

  14. Breaking!!!
    It’s ah FAKE probe pple!!! D 1% chicken n chips man just mekking up himself!!! He cyar compel no one!! He has NO legal authority…say it ain’t so!!!

  15. Is the PNM still banking on the PP’s unpopularity? If so, not wise…

  16. Both administrations have failed and I repeat some of our problems came down from previous administrations,e.g. Gate

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