Anybody with half a working synapse will tell you that where you might get through with blatant corruption, nepotism and racism, the minute you start to touch people religion....their get out of jail free card with immor(t)ality....your ass is grass.
Doopeesingh's attempted merger of a Catholic school with a Government school was tantamount to the man killing a bull and carrying it for Sat Maharaj yesterday. And as I watched the story and kuchoor unfold I wondered at the obtuseness and stupidity of Grim Tim. Even Eric the First (... Prime Minister, folks) with all the public support he had in the early years of his political career had to kowtow and concede to the Catholic Church. The details of that concession are enshrined in The Concordat, a document so powerful that even the other religious denominations for all their hatred of Catholicism hold on to it like a lifeline! we offer up a Te Deum to Dom Basil, because it was he who took on The Eric and triumphed....but I digress.
I fear Doopeesingh has never read the Concordat....indeed, I am beginning to wonder generally about his literacy and common sense. In a country where education is revered as the escape route from poverty of the working class surely Grim and his cohorts understand what religious-run schools mean to this country. There is a reason that Doopeesingh and his generation were sent to certain religious board schools, and tried to pass their Common Entrance or SEA or whatever for certain religious board schools....because in Trinidad and Tobago we have a healthy and profound belief that a religious-based education is the only path to success. Blame the missionaries who brought the idea here....our blame our society that cannot get out of its mimic men phase of existence, but government schools, whether primary or secondary, are always thought to be inferior to a religious board school. As such, these schools possess a level of immunity that you just don't touch!
The Concordat states quite plainly that the physical property of these schools are owned by the religious body....what it doesn't quite state is who is responsible for building and maintenance...but if we just look at what happens around us it becomes pretty obvious. Since 1962 the Ministry of Education has undertaken to build and maintain both state and recognised religious board schools. While Facebook threads yesterday quibbled about who was responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the schools, it was eventually revealed that maintenance and upkeep actually falls under the State's remit.....that is, the Ministry of Education....and right now the person at the helm of that ministry is none other than Grim Tim! But Town and Country has refused approval to raise another structure on the property ( i didn't even realise we actually needed their approval to build a thing....look at Grand Bazaar...Regents Tower etc), so Grim Tim has to find an alternative.....Enter his bright idea!
This past Monday the Doopeesingh called a meeting between the parents of the Pt Cumana Govt School, the Pt Cumana RC School, the MP for Diego Martin West, aka The Keith and the Archbishop of the Catholic Church....a veritable Council of Trent! The Archbishop maintains that he was never told all of these people would be present at the meeting....in short he was misled and waylaid by the Minister's people, and so he declined to participate in the meeting. After listening to the concerns of the stakeholders, Doopeesingh, in his inimitably aggressive, boorish and dictatorial style, then condescended to tell the parents what would be done. Up until the Grim spoke the general idea was that there would be two schools co-existing on one compound....then it turns out that what Doopeesingh really meant was that he was going to merge and mix the two schools. The sacred and the profane.....as one school.....Tim feel he is Minsh? He was trying to make ah mas?
No, Tim, no! Do not be a martyr for your stupidity. Take it from a person who went to a Presbyterian Primary School and a Catholic Secondary School.....do not interfere with the rights and entitlements of these religious boards. Is not only Sat Maharaj and the Maha Sabha that can benefit from the Concordat. It have a reason the document name in Latin meh boy!
To merge a state and a denominational school has implications for the curricula taught as well as staffing and budget. After a merger, who decides the curricula? Who decides which teachers stay? Tim...the Concordat specifically says that the board retains rights over these areas....you forget that? Your advisers didn't read the document at all? Not even the first 2-3 bulleted points?
And further, to tell parents that you not building a new school because you don't want to waste tax payers dollars was pretty insulting in light of all the squandermania that has happened under this govt...let me list a few: The Arima Prison Facility to house 1 inmate, $60m; The PM's Travel Assistant $800,000; The Crop Duster, $.9m; Fuad and Vernella's Credit cards US$20,000; the last Budget extension $1.5bn.....the budget extension before that, do I need to go on? More money has been spent on silly frivolous things than have been spent on educating our children....and their parents are tax payers....so what shit you really coming with?
The Archbishop's decision to seek legal advice and further, to reject the Minister's offer, if Tim aint realise it, was a slap in the face and a tossing down of the gauntlet (a la Fluellen and Gower in Henry V). In the course of one stupidly aggressive and condescending speech Grim Tim Doopeesingh has riled up more than 300,000 people....at least that's around how many Roman Catholics we have in Trinidad at the 2000 census. The other thing Doopeesingh forgets is this, a significant portion of non-Catholics were educated at these schools and have a soft spot for their alma maters. He has no choice but to back down on this matter and boil down like a pot of young bhagi!
Catholics will turn a blind eye to corruption, genocide and paedophilia.....but don't touch their churches and schools! And blaming Keith Rowley for your hoof-in-mouth-disease is embarassing and tasteless. As Minister of Education the buck stops with you. You are the final decision maker.
Now the School has been moved to a Church Hall in Constabulary Street, and Tim, your tenure as Minister won't be remembered for the clear cronyism going on within your ministry.....it won't even be remembered for how you trying to screw over SEA students....it will be remembered for how you tried to mess with the Concordat and in one fell swoop got the nation's Catholics pissed off at your highhanded ways!
You skilled Tim...You blessed and talented...I can't remember the last time I see a man bend over AND screw himself at the same time....
In other news, the COP, who never took Anil Roberts (for his loud mouthed boorish ways) or Prakash Ramadhar (for generally letting down of the party and not upholding principles) to task now want to cruficy Nalini Dial, a woman who made a tasteless comment on her private Facebook wall. Ms Dial, who faced much public condemnation for her comments, is basically being punished for exercising her freedom of expression. Or maybe she's being punished for her stupidity, because since the leak of the comment from her wall to the media Dial has refused to apologise (well within he right), but further to that is now making the rounds of television and radio shows to defend her comments. Really Nalini? Who on earth advising you?I sense a pre-action protocol letter in someone's future. It's a pity that the COP more interested in public perception over an issue that will blow away in 9 days, than in putting their political house in order....more and more they remind me of the UNC!
Oh, by the way, Marlene Coudray has stopped posing with the Prime Minister for photo ops and 48 hours after news broke of her daughter's disappearance and possible death has arrived in Jamaica!
The HCU Enquiry continues to heat up. The most recent update is how a handyman went from rags to riches. The story today outlines for us some recurrent themes in Trinbagonian social history...our love of mimicry, penchant for corruption and predisposition for ethnic discimination. Some interesting details come out in the course of George James' testimony. We see his meteoric rise from being a handyman to owning a contruction and home repair company. We learn that his business was a consortium, and used as a "clearing house" for the HCU's other businesses. We learn that James planned to build a Disneyland styled water park. That his success at the company had people wondering if Harnarine was trying to douglarise the HCU.....why contact with Afro-Trinbagonians does frighten some people so? We learn too that "the unspoken policy in the HCU is to make money off of stupid niggers".
In short we learn many things that we already know. Ours is a corrupt, depraved, racist society on all sides of the fence.....and we like it so! All yuh feeling Kamla's wind of change?
De Vice Cyah Done!