Home / View Point / Earl Best / Media Monitor: Maraj and Maharaj tell why we jamming the criminals but we still in a jam 

Media Monitor: Maraj and Maharaj tell why we jamming the criminals but we still in a jam 

“Why should people be sacrificed so as to allow others, wrongdoers, to prosper? That is what we are being called upon to do, colleagues, […] What we are being called upon to do by a small clique of people in the country is to support wrongdoing, pretend not to know and see if we can ride it out.”

“We are not going to ride it out!”

You won’t find that 2008 quotation from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in the latest Sunday Express. But If you have not yet read that paper, please stop what you are doing and go and put that right. Right this minute.

You really must read Sunity Maharaj’s column headlined “Super G meets Don Quixote” on Page 14.” Or you can read it right HERE on Wired868.

You will, however, need the paper to read Ralph Maraj’s op-ed page column of the same name right after you give a careful listen once more to Ultimate Rejects’ “Jammin still.”

And you really should try to make some time to find a copy of Thursday’s paper and read Horace Broomes’ letter on Page 15. “Rowley—right person for the job,” its headline reads.

I know. Reading is hard work. So, in case you have not noticed, is leading. And from where I stand, it’s looking more and more as if some people elected to lead have also decided not to read. Least of all, alas, between the lines.

Which is really the story that, taken as a whole, the three newspaper pieces cited above have to tell.

Let me begin with Broomes. This gentleman is not new on the scene so we can reasonably expect him to know the corners. But he seems to me not to know the ropes.

Who puts his head on a block for a politician? Chop chop!

Photo: Prime minister Keith Rowley (centre) arrives at a function in 2018 with his wife, Sharon Rowley.
(Copyright Office of the Prime Minister)

Saying that two “distinguished gentlemen,” Selwyn Cudjoe and Reginald Dumas, have “asserted with vigour that […] it is highly unlikely that Dr Rowley has the capacity to be corrupt,” old Broomes goes further.

“It is not just unlikely,” he declares, “it is certain.”

Brave man, old Broomes. Donald Trump decreed that Judge Brett Kavanaugh was not capable of the heinous acts of which he had been publicly accused before his official elevation to the US Supreme Court. We shall soon see for how many Americans the POTUS’ view has made it true.

And still in the USA, Bill Cosby has for decades contrived to paint himself as honourable and as trustworthy as Dr Huxtable—to the satisfaction of many. Where is he now? Not in some popular TV sitcom!

Closer home, Kamla Persad-Bissessar at least implicitly let us know that she did not believe Jack Warner to be guilty of corruption. Until, her public actions said, I put my finger in the wound….

Here now is late PM Patrick Manning, speaking in Parliament in 2008: “Mr Speaker, I see hate, Mr Speaker, I see bitterness, Mr Speaker, I see acrimony, Mr Speaker, I see animosity and, Mr Speaker, I see a man completely out of control […]

“The minute you oppose my good friend, Mr Speaker, […] he gets very, very angry. And if you oppose him strongly, Mr Speaker, he become a raging bull.”

Mr Manning, it is worth remembering, became Opposition Leader in the 1986 Parliament and named Dr Rowley as a senator. Just over ten years later, the latter was challenging the former for the leadership of the PNM.

Who better, then, to see the stuff of which the current PM is made than a man who has sat shoulder-to-shoulder with him in public life for more than two decades?

It is true that Manning did not claim to see “corruption.” He did, however, see “conduct unbecoming of a minister” and asked the then President to relieve Dr Rowley of his ministerial responsibilities.

Neither Maharaj nor Maraj sees “corruption;” at any rate, neither claims to.

Maraj, his eyes trained on the recent flooding event, sees only “entrenched superficiality preventing a national awakening” and “spiritual emptiness” in “an occasion ripe for moral guidance.” He also points to “a massive, enduring road march hit […] (that) celebrates feting in the face of disaster.”

(Which, considering recent reactions to Shadow’s four decades old “Bassman,” is perhaps unfair.)

Maraj also sees a citizenry not likely to ever “demand […] detailed planning from its Government” and a Prime Minister presumably so complicit or so insecure as to “defend the ODPM which has obviously fallen short.”

His beef has been on the table for some time now; Maharaj’s, I think, is new.

Photo: Prime minister Dr Keith Rowley (centre) stands between his wife Sharon Rowley (far right) and Chief Justice Ivor Archie (far lefT) during the Independence Day Parade on 31 August 2018.
(Copyright Ministry of National Security)

Looking at things, Maharaj sees a country with a “preference for the old colonial order of authoritarian rule—as long as its power is not trained at us” and an “old and dying order with its self-contemptuous education system, pauperising economic system and degraded politics of non-representation.”

Turning her eyes to people, her tongue high up in her cheeks, she says she sees “a law-and-order candidate in the innocuous-looking former army captain” and “a leader bold enough to declare: One shot, one kill.”

She also sees “a leader promising to deliver us from the valley of death into which we had happily walked with our eyes wide open…” and a “Prime Minister misreading the winds of change…”

With someone else’s hands on the wheel ten years ago, we know Dr Rowley saw “a country going to hell in a handbasket” because people were being sacrificed so that wrongdoers could prosper.

I want Mr Broomes to tell us whether or not in his view there is any sense in which that qualifies as ‘corrupt.’

And Maharaj, I think, wants the PM to tell us whether, now that he is at the tiller and has given Gary Griffith license, it’s okay for wrongdoers to be sacrificed.

And if he genuinely thinks we can ride it out.

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
(Copyright Ministry of National Security)

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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