Much Ado About Numbers

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It was all about the size and ethnic make up of the crowd yesterday. While de facto Prime Minister Jack Warner (oh, you mean you didn't realise that he is the person speaking on behalf of the government for EVERYTHING? When last you heard from Kamla?) is quick to tell the media otherwise, it's fairly obvious, just from the type of responses he has given that the size of yesterday's march and who was in it was important. And the larger and more representative of every demographic of this country the marches get, the more the PP Government will deny publicly what the marches mean. What makes this ironic is that back in 2010 Jack and Kamla lead much smaller protests for issues like the rapid rail transport sytem that was likely to displace farmers. Back then the size and ethnic make up of the crowd didn't matter, what mattered was that citizens, Trinbagonians were being displaced by the government.

On Friday, thousands and thousands of Trinbagonians took to the streets to voice their displeasure over Section 34 and the bungling incompetence of the PP Government. Long before the crowd started marching along the route there were estimates being given out online. A person calling himself Allan Karim, the name of a known UNC blogger claimed a crowd of 800. The FB page for Team UNC-COP claimed 1000. At around that time the crowd was easily double that and I was standing in Woodford square with a group of like minded and right thinking citizens discussing how this government for all its new politics talk, was using the usual racist propaganda scare tactics to corral it's voter base. Little did I know how my points would be underscored for me later.

The crowd coming from Wrightson Road side around the twin Towers heading to meet the Woodford Square posse. Photo taken by Andre de Silva.Just as the crowd was getting ready to leave Woodford Square the National Security helicopter showed up, and it stayed with the march the entire time. Part of what the helicopter was there to do was assess the size of the crowd, and interestingly enough some of these aerial photographs, that look like they were taken from one of the Twin Towers or by National Security personnel would eventually end up in the hands of UNC bloggers. The photographs - taken around 1pm, when one group of marchers was assembling on the Promenade having made it's way from Wrightson Road to the Promenade to await the procession that was coming from Woodford Square - was used to dispute claims of over 20,000 people. There are photographs aplenty from Andrea De Silva to support my claim. Interestingly enough the figure of 20,000 was given by the police. And that figure only started circulating at around 3pm. It's unfortunate that the UNC blogger's pic don't have a time stamp that I can see so I could corroborate times.

In any case, worried over the impact that a growing number of protesters would have on the psyche of the country, last night came this from TEAM UNC-COP:

**** Breaking News: EXPOSED! PNM, MEDIA, POLICE wrong on PNM March crowd! Irrefutable Proof! ***** Fellow Citizens: we expose the PNM-Media conspiracy and prove they are working in tandem against the Govt. The Police are, at best, clumsy oafs, poohar, backward, using flawed techniques for crowd estimates. We hate to embarrass the Police but we hope the Commissioner is shown this - by Minister Warner, and is convinced to train a few of his people in crowd estimation.

It's very simple but the PNM is illiterate and cannot help defrauding the people; the Media is slothful, lazy, and against the PP govt. Their wildly inaccurate crowd estimates expose the media for what they are: simpletons, backward, illiterate, very low standard of journalism, spiteful, north-centric, a bunch of 3rd world pretenders who try to convince the people they are "neutral" and should be allowed a free rein, above all else they must not be criticized. And, if you think we are attacking you: bingo, you got one right! We are attacking you for your woefully horrible standard of journalism, and you are free to prove us wrong. If you do, we will retract everything and praise you, advocating strongly for 50% raise for all media people in T&T! Seriously.

The Racist Letter submitted by Sunil Ranjitsingh to Jyoti Communications that he claims a PNM supporter handed to him.And if this attack on the Police and Media wasn't enough, then came the accusations that the PNM was distributing racist pamphlets in Woodford Square. According to Sunil Ramjitsingh in a letter to Jyoti Communications, the website responsible for all of Kamla's PR:
Dear News Editors, >; I am writing in my personal capacity to bring to your attention the attached document, which document was being distributed at the Woodford Square this afternoon during the assembly for the Democracy March. >; I walked through the square myself in the company of one of my colleagues. A tall woman in a red t-shirt handed my colleague this flyer and when I reached out for one she was hesitant but then she eventually, reluctantly handed me one. >; If you read it, you will see that the flyer contains very nasty racial content. I then understood why the woman did not hesitate to give my colleague but was reluctant to give me a copy - my colleague was of African descent and I, of course, am of East Indian descent. >; >; Respectfully Submitted, >; Sunil Ramjitsingh
What was curious about Ranjitsingh's letter is this....during the 2010 Election a similar letter was distributed in various parts of Trinidad. The point of the letter then, as it is now, is to stir racist sentiment. Ranjitsingh's choice of medium is curious. Jyoti Communications is Kamla's blog. Ranjitsingh is a known UNC activist, he ran for a position in the internal elections earlier this year. So, was the purpose of his story in Kamla's blogpost to inform the wider population or to inform the party faithful? I was at the Square, and saw no one distributing this flyer. In fact the only flyers I got was from the Highway Re-Route Movement. If we go with Ranjitsingh's story, then because I look african, I should have received a flyer. And I was in that Square from 11:45 until we moved onto the streets. Funny how no one ever gives me useful flyers.
The FB group TEAM UNC-COP also spent quite a bit of time yesterday race-mongering. In Sheila Rampersad's account of yesterday's march, that was careful to only focus on the trivial, the one thing serious issue she managed to note was a racist comment by a man on Frederick Street, who she reports as saying: A man speaking loudly to two women at the bottom of Frederick Street returned the country to its worst ethos: “This country! A Hindu demon leading this country! Is Kali puja!” Thankfully, the women refused to respond.
The administrators of TEAM UNC-COP took this quote and expanded on it and on their wall claimed that the PNM had said it without any evidence of such from Sheila Rampersad's column:

EVIL RACIST PNM PROPAGANDA! "A Hindu demon leading this country! Is Kali puja" Citizens of T&T - beware of the evil disgusting messages coming from the desperate PNM. And is this encouraged by Ramesh lawrence Maharaj, Abduallah, OWTU, and the PNM accomplices? This is typical of the PNM modus operandi. Divide and Rule. Decent patriotic Trinis must condemn the PNM or else our beloved and beautiful T&T will descend into a zombie 4th world hell-hole. The PNM will like nothing better than that since that's their natural environment, they love it that way.

In the last 24 hours the PP government have made certain thing undoubetedly clear.

  1. They aren't practising any new politics since their policy is obviously to continue to lie to the electorate; ignore the complaints of the population; and to use scaremongering and racism as a tactic of divide and rule.
  2. They have no plans or policies beyond Position Hulsie X aka "We Not Moving". There is no thrust to run a country or manage a budget. the only thrust is to line pockets.
  3. Their default position is always going to be Blame the PNM and Black People Hate we and trying to Oppress We.

Once you keep these things in mind, it's pretty much easy to manoeuvre from here.

In moving forward the the other political parties....and by that I refer to the PNM and MSJ....will:

  • Continue to rally public support to the point where the financiers of the current government become concerned about their investment and put pressure on Kamla.
  • Continue to build develop their policies and party's vision for the future because and present a slate of candidates that the thinking electorate will believe in.

Let's face it. UNC/COP has squandered all of its political currency. As soon as any one of their ministers speak the electorate starts looking for the lie. The PNM faithful have returned home, it's the swing voters or fence sitters that The Keith has to reach out to. The MSJ will now have to consider its voter base and reach out to undecideds in PNM and UNC/COP seats. If you ask me, short of a massive rigging that eclipses S34 or Prakash Ramadhar and the rest of the Section 34 Gang of Thieves managing to hoodwink the population into Proportional Representation (and that campaign coming, watch and see), the UNC has corrupted its way out of a chance at election 2015. Kamla may well have out-Basdeoed De Bas!

De Vice Cyah Done!

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