Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: By what logic is Dr Rowley’s solution to the Tobago impasse ‘autocratic’?

Dear Editor: By what logic is Dr Rowley’s solution to the Tobago impasse ‘autocratic’?

“[…] Both the PNM and the PDP sought to resolve this issue by seeking to reach some sort of compromise solution/consensus in order to establish a workable bi-partisan administration. All such efforts failed miserably.

“Good governance demanded that the issue be resolved as quickly as possible. What better way to do so than to go back to the people, and let them decide via fresh elections? That is the hallmark of a true democrat. I do not understand how such a decision could be viewed as ‘autocratic’ or ‘authoritarian’…”

The following Letter to the Editor, written in response to a recent Dennise Demming column headlined ‘Trying to put pandemic in pan’s way is putting democracy at risk’, was submitted to Wired868 by Louis W Williams of St Augustine:

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(via Office of the Prime Minister)

I wish to refer to an article authored by Mrs Dennise Demming, a guest columnist at Wired868, which was published online on Thursday 14 October, 2021, titled ‘Demming: Trying to put pandemic in pan’s way is putting democracy at risk’.

In that article, Mrs Demming lamented what, in her view, was the autocratic styles of leadership of those persons at the helm of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), Pan Trinbago, and also, for good measure, Dr Keith Rowley. She opined that such leadership styles were putting democracy at risk.

Although the main purpose of the article was to address the postponement of the Pan Trinbago Executive elections, she took time to rope in the TTFA and Dr Rowley.

Mrs Demming stated, inter alia, in the article that ‘Led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, our Parliament acted to override the collective will of Tobagonians when their election results said please lead us with a 6/6 split. (…) we are pushing towards autocratic styles of leadership instead of seeking to ensure that people are allowed to exercise their democratic rights.’

Photo: PNM Tobago Council political leader, Tracy Davidson-Celestine shows off her ink-stained finger after voting in the THA elections
(via PNM)

Of course, her concern is the fact that there was an amendment to the law to allow for fresh elections to resolve the deadlock that resulted from the last THA elections.

Both the PNM and the PDP sought to resolve this issue by seeking to reach some sort of compromise solution/consensus in order to establish a workable bi-partisan administration. Needless to say, all such efforts failed miserably.

The paralysis could not continue unabated as the THA is an important institution of government. Good governance demanded that the issue be resolved as quickly as possible. What better way to do so than to go back to the people, and let them decide via fresh elections? That is the hallmark of a true democrat.

I do not understand how such a decision could be viewed as ‘autocratic’ or ‘authoritarian’, two buzzwords currently in vogue.

I am beginning to wonder, given my age and family history, whether I am experiencing cognitive decline, having regard to the fact that my maternal grandmother had full-blown Alzheimer’s disease at my age.

Photo: Communication strategist, ex-TDC chair and Wired868 columnist Dennise Demming.

The logic of Mrs Demming’s views just escapes me. Is there more in the mortar than the pestle?

Unlike Mrs Demming, I have never been a lecturer in the hallowed halls of The UWI, one of the best universities in the world, according to a recent survey. So, I am not too bright. Nevertheless, I am in town too long, and it is not so easy to pull wool over my eyes.

Please forgive the mixed metaphors, but why is Ms Demming seeking to make Dr Rowley a political football, and have his character jump up in steelband like squandered money?

I think that I know why. That notwithstanding, my deceased mother, a humble woman with immense wisdom, often said to her children that there are some things that are better left unsaid.

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

‘A spectacular failure of communication’; MSJ knocks PM for failing to ‘provide proposals’ on crisis

“[…] Leaders are supposed to provide proposals and take actions that offer a way forward, …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 comments

  1. Mrs. Demming is entitled to her opinion.

    I do also recall the 17-17-2 elections results of 1995 in T&T, and the 6-6-1 elections results in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1972.

    In 1995, the NAR (2 seats) joined with the UNC (17 seats) to form a government, with the UNC’s political leader, Mr. Basdeo Panday, as Prime Minister.

    In 1972, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Independent MP, Mr. James Mitchell (1 seat), joined with the then outgoing (official) opposition party, the PPP, to form a government with Mr. Mitchell as head of government. The former governing party, the SVLP, won 6 seats. Please note that there is no magic to the number 13, contrary to the views of some commentators in T&T.

    Nevertheless, with a 3-way or more split, the deadlock is much more likely to be resolved, via negotiations, as at least 2, or perhaps more than 2, of the parties, are likely to agree to share power, especially if they were not in office prior to the elections.

    All of that is beside the point, which is that in any well-functioning democracy, the right to vote is fundamental/sacrosanct. We must do everything possible to facilitate that right, and not put hindrances in the way.of the electorate, or unduly delay the process. It is an expression of the will of the citizens, and we must not second guess or substitute our will for theirs, although we might not agree with their choice. They must be given the opportunity to decide who best represents their interests, and who they trust. They sometimes later regret their decisions, but that is their right.

    I fail to see how granting them the right to be ambulant, given the prevailing state of paralysis, is ‘autocratic’ or ‘authoritarian’. That’s an absurdity!

    Those of our citizens who have spent most of their adult lives working in government, or academia, must embrace a problem solving mindset, and eschew the culture of inertia/avoidance.

    Louis W. Williams

  2. ”Needless to say, all such efforts failed miserably” elides whether the political parties involved actually participated responsibly in the bi-partisan talks towards a new Assembly and Executive.

  3. Dear Mr. Williams

    Your mother’s advice should have been heeded in this case. Surely you are “in town” long enough to recall our General Elections of 1999/2000 and 2001. To avoid a repeat, five constituencies were added in 2007.
    The process was transparent and did not in any way implicate the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC). Furthermore, it achieved the desired result. In this case, the hurried response could have an unintended consequence of a 5/5/5 split if and when 3 parties contest. (NB Tobago has no shortage of parties). Meanwhile, fingers were pointed at the EBC.
    I maintain my opinion that our democracy is slipping towards a more autocratic style.

    • The five constituencies were added in 2005 actually, pursuant to the EBC’s 2004 Report on the Review of Constituency Boundaries. The reason given for the increase seems to have been reduction in the average electorate per constituency.