March 9th, 2015.
Tonight was the second instalment of #MondayNight4Rum. CNMG doesn't announce it as a political meeting. The station doesn't even say it is a paid broadcast. This essentially implies that our tax dollars are still paying for Kamla and Co. to run an elections campaign under the guise of state advertising.
Elections 2015 have kicked off over a week now...and we have no date. The Prime Minister minces and teases. Then promises soon, but not yet. No date. Onstage she is occupying her many personas: Hindu Goddess, Beauty Queen, Senior Counsel, Karaoke Singer, Fragile Female and Drunken Master of Gutter Politics.
Five years ago when Manning announced that he had the date in his front pocket, the country was up in arms. Kamla and her Small Goal Side, used that anger to their advantage and promised two things: fixed election dates and limited prime ministerial terms. What the country eventually got was the Run-Off Bill whereby, with the help of Independent Senators Rolphe Balgobin, David Small and Dhaneshwar Mahabir, the Government side of our Parliament attempted to force half-baked constitutional amendments that we never agreed to down our throats. It wasn't the first time our Constitution was attacked to service the needs of the UNC.
But expect her to eventually call an early and quick election once she thinks her campaign has enough momentum to gain success in the marginals.
Her campaign right now consists of the usual: Box drains, empty repetitions of victory, more box drains, laptops, box drains, 2 bridges, 83 refurbished (not built as she claims, merely repaired) kindergartens and primary schools - and I suspect this is harped on because the PNM declared during its 2013 LGE campaign that its next education thrust is at the primary and early childhood level, boxdrains, race, demonise Keith Rowley, race, demonise David West, race, box drains, lights on recreations grounds, race, Rowley, stronger than ever.
That's been the gist of every speech on her platform for the last two weeks. She cannot talk about ReshmiGate, Jack Warner, the Flying Squad, the Ten Days Top Cop, Gopauls $$$$$, QuarryGate, LifeSport, PrisonGate, Room 201, BreastGate, MistressGate, MaryKingGate, ThereseGate, PartapGate, VasantGate, HowaiGate, GoingForGoldGate, SpeakerGate, CVsGate, NGCGate, OPVsGate, SoEGate, MurderRateGate, EastPoSGate, WitnessGate/WestGate, DanaGate and the blasted gate goes on. Oh...I forgot the world's most expensive HighwayGate...but let's move on.
Because of her numerous missteps in office and the lack of progress to show after $350 billion dollars in spending, Kamla has to resort to the same UNC rhetoric of the last 20 years: The PNM is evil, you will eat the bread that the PNM devil knead, don't vote the PNM, black people will suffer you (referring to Indians in a general way).
A few repaired bridges, miles of box drains, 95,000 laptops without a learning management system or in some schools, electrical sockets and internet, and 83 refurbished schools do not even begin to account for $350 billion dollars. In fact, none of the wild claims on her political campaign can add up to that astronomical figure.
But I can assure you of one thing you won't hear Kamla Persad-Bissessar get into any in-depth discussion on during her campaign. It is the thing that is most pertinent to her tenure in government for the past five years....the rule of law.
The foundation of any modern democratic state is the rule of law. Not a set of laws. Not a court of law. Not even law books. But the fundamental and intrinsic belief that no member of the state is above or outside the boundaries of its established system of laws.
The UNC Government, I've long since stopped calling them a Partnership, has flouted this rule from day 1. We know this because there are Hansard records that establish that from May 25th, this Government, through then Minister Jack Warner, began entering into agreements with OAS Constructuras for the billion-dollar highway. The construction of the Highway breached established rules and protocol. No proper EMA clearance, no Hydrology Report, all of which is detailed in the Armstrong Report. A report that we have forgotten. But the very existence of that report tells us that the first mega project of this government was illegal. A flouting of the laws.
Section 34 remains, perhaps, as the most insulting example of how this government is capable, not of just flouting the rule of law, but of breaking it and re-shaping it to suit their friends and financiers.
So, why am I going on and on about this Rule of Law?
It's simple, for us to progress as a modern state, we must be absolutely certain that every member of our society abides by our laws, or faces the consequences of breaking them. If some people are more equal than others, we don't have a country, we have a pig sty.
If some people have to live by laws and other people live by bligh, we go from being a developing nation to a failed state.
Already we have a collapsed government pretending it has legitimacy and should be taken seriously. A government that is hanging on only to be able to finish pay off its debt to its financiers. A government so corrupt and so blindly greedy it will destroy a nation, in order to save itself.
In my next post, I will continue to discuss the various layers to establishing a stronger democracy and how the UNCs last term in office has helped to dismantle all the progress we managed to make since Independence.
In the meantime, do some home-work and check out clientelism, patrimonial government and genetic altruism.