I am advised that Ernie Ross and Ross Advertising were responsible for putting on the spectacle, or was it debacle, that took place on Thursday night. Now, the thing with media is this, things must be posed and staged. A few days before the event I drove down to Mid-Centre Mall to check out the space that was being prepped for this "Accountability Rally" aka the Eat Ah Food Fete and looked at how the space was being managed. Because management of the space at an event like this is crucial. Why? Simple. The point of the rally is to show the people that you have their love and undying support. Look at all the public military parades in distatorships around the world. Always there are huge crowds lining the streets, waving flags and smiling cheerily for the cameras as the Government puts on its show of might, power and popularity. Kamla's Eat Ah Food Fete was no different from these parades.
The stage itself, took up 25 per cent of the car park area, then there was a huge pavilion tent for people who would need to sit, that took up another 15-20 per cent, then there was the concession area at the back, and then the audience space. There were several cameras at the venue, even one with a crane....but the crane was never actually used. So the television audience only got panned shots of the audience, that way you couldn't see how loosely filled the back of the crowd area was. Only 25% of the audience area was lit as well. So in short, in a space that's probably 2 acres in size, the audience took up half an acre. The audience size on some blogs was being touted as 20-30,000. The audience size, which was at its largest during Machel Montano's performance (after the bull shit speeches) was actually closer to 15000 - 17000 maximum. And a couple thousand of this flooded the carpark specifically for the fete and not the rally. How do I know this? I just looked at footage from a camera man who was at the event. The other thing I noticed was the pre-dominance of Afro-Trinbagonian faces at the front of the audience. And this, again, was carefully constructed and staged, like most of this show.
The People's Partnership was making sure to send a particular message with this crowd. With panned shots, the majority of the small crowd forced into a smaller space, and a pre-dominance of black faces in the audience, this was Ernie Ross's way of saying on behalf of Kamla to a television audience, "Look! See! We have the support of the people and further to that, look how much black people supporting us and our government." Whether the audience was there willingly or not is hardly my concern. I'm not too intrigued with the electorate at this point. We are 3 years away from an election and their minds change. What I am interested in is, why, does a government that won a landslide victory two years ago still need to campaign and market itself so hard? And if they have so much of the electorate's support, why are they struggling to fill a limited space like Mid-Centre Mall car park....and even further, if they have such a large and massive mandate, why are they still so heavily reliant on their Central voter base? Surely a government that won as large a victory as the People's Partnership did in 2010 could easily go back to the Aranguez Savannah, the large one in front of those villas, and fill that up again as they did in May 2010? Yet in the last 2 years their rallies are in small, contained spaces.
The speeches at the event didn't much surprise or perturb me in any way. Prakash Ramadhar's speech, while subversive, was lost to many because of how he was placed in the line-up. His speech, is in my opinion, too little too late. All the corruption he's talking about, he has been part of. Vidwattie's travel expenses was approved by a Cabinet he sat on...as was Vernella's credit card over spending and Reshmi Ramnarine's appointment to the SIA. So what morals and principles you returning to COP? Wipe your own ass before you instructing others that they have lint in theirs, son!
I expected no one from the UNC government to make any startling revelations. I didn't expect any of them to address the issues that really concern the country: the nepotism, corruption, abuse of public funds, CAL, CLICO, crime, the economy, the drug economy, the creeping murder rate, the failed SoE. I didn't expect any of these to be addressed, and I did expect to hear the PM say that there was no money in the treasury, and then point out all the new projects there were going to do with the "no money in the treasury". I also expected to hear the PM continue to blame the PNM.....and this my friends is where we get to the crux of the matter about how desperate the PPG has become.
A significant percentage of the population are against these rallies. The dissent is beginning to make its way through even on media polls that might be manipulated. Go online and listen in on FB groups, look at the Twittersphere, or read the Jahaji Desi group posts. You can't miss the dissatisfaction and disaffection that's become palpable and obvious within the electorate. For Abdullah and Ramadhar to feel ok to oppose Kamla before and on the day of the rally tells you that they and all are aware that the winds of change are shifting....ever so imperceptibly.
While PNM till ah Dead people might be frothing over Sugar Aloes' performance, I can only smile. Because it further emphasises just how desperate and de-based this government has become. Aloes needs a permanent place for his Calypso Tent...and Kamla willing to get in bed with him, just to prove a point. She has, like many of her rabid supporters and apologists, conveniently forgotten Aloes' career. Anyone remember his advice to Panday in 2008 to "Look in De Mirror"?
Think back and study your head good. One of the things that has constantly plagued the UNC as a political entity is the in-fighting and political back stabbing that happens in the party. How many times have Panday and Ramesh fallen out with each other, and then fallen back in love again? Or Panday and Ramnath? Indeed, the many fallouts between Panday and Ramesh led to the UNC's defeat in the early part of this millennia. Then Panday accepted Ramesh back into the fold, at a point in time when Dookeran was the party's political leader and that led to the split that launched the COP......anyone remember any of this? This image of a dog returning to its own vomit is something the UNC as a party struggles with. It's one of the reasons the party is seen as corrupt and untrustworthy. It's the main reason they had to partner with the COP....to give the impression of being less corrupt and having principles.
Then, the party brings Sugar Aloes onto the stage this year and prove to the electorate, that COP presence or not, this party will stoop as low as it needs to in order to impress the electorate. Now, again, explain to me as if I am a 6-year-old, why a party with a massive mandate and the ability to hire whichever entertainer it wants would go the route of Sugar Aloes? A calypsonian who has insulted and vilified Oma Panday, Indian women and the Indian population generally? Why would Kamla feel that she needed to have Sugar Aloes honour her onstage that night? To make a point, folks. To say, "Look, see. Even die-hard PNMites supporting we." So, in order for Kamla to prove her popularity with the masses she had to pay Sugar Aloes to sing to her and kiss her onstage. Talk is there are breakfast chats scheduled to give the Revue Tent a permanent home.
Why on earth would a party that has such a massive mandate need to continue to pull tricks from an obviously shallow magician's hat to wow the population....unless they have already realised that they don't have the same level of popularity that brought them to power in 2010?
No amount of silly quips from Roodal Moonilal is going to get me to see the debacle on Thursday night in any other light than as a sure sign that this party is hitting rock bottom and scraping around for ideas. Couple the Aloes performance with Kamla's speech that still relied heavily on summoning the Manning Jumbie, Calder Hart and words like Squandermania. Kamla delivered a particularly luke warm 2010 campaign speech all over again....and the numerous journalists that have become media advisers and speech writers to this government have clearly run out of ideas.
What's going to happen in 2015 when there is no Manning Bobolee to beat like a drum because it is now The Keith who is leader and his brother isn't his nurse and travel assistant? What use will it be to call Calder Hart's name in 2015 when your AG has made no real effort to arrest or charge Calder Hart because there are no charges to be laid against Hart? What's going to be the point of mentioning Manning's Squandermania in 2015, when your Squandermania, Kamla is all that's going to be at the forefront of the voters' mind?
This government has become desperate, 2 years into their term, they are still campaigning, never started ruling and their campaign has run out of steam. The population already seeing them for the naked plunderers of the treasury that they are. And it becomes glaringly apparent every day that every government Ministry and state board has simply become CEPEP positions for their friends and family members. We elected a CEPEP Government!
Kamla has promised a Cabinet reconfiguration.....a new word for Cabinet Reshuffle....and she is hoping that this re-shuffle is going to magically make her government perform better. Mark my words, Kamla has until May 24th 2013 to turn the performance of her Government around. If she doesn't manage to turn her government around in 1 year, then no amount of short term projects whether it orange, green or yellow and wildspending in 2014/2015 will help her. Her underperformance will spell doom for the COP, the UNC and any woman wanting to be leader within the foreseeable future. If Kamla doesn't stop campaigning and start really governing within the next year, then I foresee a PNM return to power in 2015 that could last for a long, long time.
This country actually needs healthy political parties and governments to move forward. Trust me folks, a Balisier Reichenstag is not a good thing for this country....look at what it did to Manning's term in office. But until the 5 parties that make up this pappy show government get their act in order, that may be precisely what we are looking at!
De Vice Cyah Done!