If you are from South Trinidad, Pundit Chandresh Sharma isn't a new name to you. And you'd also be very familiar with the numerous stories that fly around about infidelities, outside children and even less than kosher behavior in public office.None of the rumors particularly recent.
But let's not dwell in the realm of rumors. Let's deal with the tangible story that the Guardian, of all newspapers, spilled all over our laps this week. You may well question my skepticism of the Guardian. With Dr Hamid Ghany, politics lecturer and close colleague of the People's Partnership, at the helm of their editorial decisions, it struck me as interesting that the newspaper would have scooped the Express on this particular story. Not that the Express didn't carry the story early enough....they just didn't have as much juicy details. And considering the flagrantly obvious modus operandi of the Guardian since Walk Out Wednesday 2013 that involves more govt friendly coverage, it intrigued that they had the better story.
But back to the main story. In 2010 it was woman power....remember that? Vaguely? I do. And ironically, or maybe justifiably, since Kamla's tenure has done nothing to improve the lot of women, it seems that women are going to be the downfall of her govt. Last week it was Glen Ramadharsingh, the Hamper Man, breaching civil aviation rules, threatening a CAL flight attendant and grabbing at her breast in the process of issuing his threats. His excuse, fatigue....yes Glen, all tired men, small or grown, does reach out for tot tots.
This week we have an equally lurid scandal downing Sharma. Sacha Singh, his now ex-
girlfriend, forced a confrontation between Sharma and a woman with whom he allegedly had a relationship and a child. The child is now 12 years old, and the implications are that he has not met his responsibilities where the child is concerned.
You have to pause for a moment and understand the shame this must be causing the orthodox Hindu community and UNC supporters. For the orthodox Hindu community, it is knowing that a pundit, indeed, a self-proclaimed Brahmin (imagine in the Caribbean Brahmin and caste are still used), fell from such a great height. Theirs is a community known for publicly espousing strong family values and kin ship ties. Note I said publicly.
For UNC supporters it is something far more base. You see, much of their chatter on their walls centers around attributing particular traits to persons of African descent. In fact, to give you a brief glossary of terms for a UNC wall, PNM is a word that has little to do with a political party and everything to do with race and bigotry. So it's not so much PNM policies that are ever discussed, but slurs that are tossed. So on a UNC wall when you see the word PNM it's normally used euphemistically to mean black, criminal, worthless, poor, uneducated etc.
Generally, UNC supporters, people who described themselves as openminded, inclusive and intolerant of racism and corruption in 2010, spend most of their days defining the Afro-descended community of Trinidad and Tobago as ghetto rats, prone to violence, poor, always seeking handouts, deadbeat dads etc. So imagine the irony, when a government minister, who claims to be of the highest possible social caste in Hindu society, turns out to be a hitter of women, a philanderer and possibly (if the child is his) a dead beat dad? It kinda turns the myth sold to us about the wholesomeness of the Hindu community on its head. It makes us realize that dysfunction doesn't belong to a race, it can happen in virtually any ethnic community and at all economic levels....because surely lack of money can't be the reason he isn't doing his duty? Right?
You see, MP Sharma, you hurt women, several women. The first of whom was your wife. I suspect if you have any daughters you have hurt and violated their trust as well. In not providing full disclosure to Ms Singh, you hurt her as well. And then, as a man, and alleged upstanding member of the community, you brought your office into disrepute by assaulting citizens of the country. It matters little if it is a public space or not. Hitting is a no no. And to not expect that one day one of these women would stand up to you, shows just how unintelligent you must be.
So when Sharma, in his resignation speech today talked about Karma, I smiled. Why? Because as a pundit he would know it only too well, and had he read his astrology charts, like Miss Cleo, he should have seen this coming.
Between Glen and Chan Kamla is now limping to elections 2015 like a cripple with a stone in he right shoe. It isn't pretty. And no matter how much she tries to make these firings and resignations put her in the light of a strong leader they don't. The constant abuse of women under her tenure tells me that she doesn't have a gender policy and that the men under her don't respect us. We have seen far too many young, articulate women bullied by this government: Asha Javeed, Denyse Renne, Anicka Gumbs Sandiford, the women of the Highway ReRoute Movement, and now, Ronelle Laidlow and Sacha Singh. In the midst of this, the feminists who loudly and proudly supported Kamla's 2010 bid for office are deafeningly mute. I'm almost tempted to purchase iPhones for them so at least Siri can be their voice. Mind you, if we only so much as criticize Kamla's wardrobe or lipstick choice, they have strong positions on that. But abuse and oppression of women? Not tonight. Let's move on.
How many more women have to be attacked by this government before we get rid of them?
#BeatOut2015 Can't Come Soon Enough!