The trinidad Guardian / You don’t have to be politically minded to see that politics in our country today represents all that is unattractive, dark and unappealing to the right thinking, socially conscious in our society. No longer is it the noble profession Aristotle once spoke about. Working in politics used to be perceived as an act of public service, where the selfless and humble unite to struggle to improve the lives of others. Today it is no more than a vehicle used by those in power to enrich themselves and a select few, whilst the Opposition spew allegations of corruption, nepotism, greed, discrimination and cronyism, all while waiting for their turn. It seems we’ve become immune to the political hypocrisy.

Yes, pointing out what is wrong repeatedly, even ad nauseam, may offend those who follow blindly, but it is necessary because if you do not, then people forget and when people forget, all sorts of absurdities ensue. This causes disillusionment, which leads to cynicism, then despair, anger and finally a rejection of the very democratic process by which we are governed.

Such forgetfulness allows the PNM, party of Lockheed scandal, O’Halloran, Prevatt, the exiling of CLR James and Stokely Carmichael, profligacy, corruption and misplaced priorities, back in office, to pretend to be the party of morality in public affairs.

The present UNC in Opposition, despite its own waste and mismanagement in office, now condemns the government as corrupt and wicked. It’s the usual case of short memories allowing the same recycled figures to keep trying to fool us all, again and again. Sadly, political hypocrisy is allowed to thrive in our nine-day wonder nation.

Like your home’s washing machine, our country is set to the same cycle of wash, rinse and sadly, repeat. The Manning administration fell because of Calder Hart, UdeCott, Tarouba Stadium, to name a few, and allowed the PP into the Treasury. That led to a “contractocracy”, where favoured contractors, lawyers, consultants, you name it, gorged. The Brian Lara stadium was left to rot. The ostentatious display of material wealth by PP-connected made the PNM-entitled complain about their vulgarity, which paved the way for the return of the PNM, who in turn then left the Couva Children’s Hospital to rot. And so, other than when it comes to the environment, recycling is, frankly, a bad word.

No matter whoever is in office, whispers of corruption abound. During the PP administration keys were given to Federation Villas, now we see two Ministers, a PNM Senator, and other officials given the keys to the Victoria Keyes development. However it is spun or sought to be justified by way of some alleged policy change, it is distasteful when one considers the lengthy HDC waiting list of hard-working taxpaying citizens.

And the list goes on-the $59,000 phone bill of a Minister was apparently matched by a phone bill racked up by a former Prime Minister’s assistant. A UNC MP criticises the Prime Minister’s travel whilst he travelled to numerous countries as the former PM’s adviser, including to Brazil for the World Cup. The sameness of it all is tiring and blurs the political lines. Both parties in their approach to government are the same.

As nothing came of the allegations of corruption that put the PP into office, so too, nothing will come of the allegations that put the PNM in office. After all the grand standing before the Select Committee, has anything been solved with the sea ferry fiasco? Anyone brought to account? How does the PM explain his Government’s contract choices in the face of his political rhetoric in Opposition, and his Legal Affairs Minister’s litigation crusade against the same contractors?

Our citizens must not forget or be diverted by the verbal antics of political opportunists. Great people before us have laid the foundation upon which we can build a better country for everyone regardless of colour, creed, class, race, age, gender or political affiliation. If we truly want real change we must learn from our history and from those who were willing to put country before self.

Mickela Panday


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