On August 7, an organisation that exists primarily in cyberspace called Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (Gopio) held an awards ceremony to recognise citizens of Indian origin. At this function, held at the controversial Napa building in Port-of-Spain, fire and brimstone were hurled at the dying carcass of the People's National Movement (PNM) by Gopio leader Deosaran Bisnath and keynote speaker Dr Bhoe Tewarie. These speakers railed against the discrimination of the PNM administration led by Patrick Manning in the strongest of terms. The ironic part is that such commentaries come after the May 24 general election when the PNM and Manning have been virtually wiped off the face of the political map. All of a sudden these "Indians" have grown strength to stand up to a dead regime to point out its shortcomings and discrimination towards the Indian community. Signs of political opportunism and vandalising the much won general election against the PNM have surged from bold-faced Indians, whose long silence aided and abetted the PNM administration. After Gopio International removed its former president, they met with the very Patrick Manning to assure him that the Bisnath-led Gopio would not give the PNM Government any problems as Devant Maharaj had.
In early 2008 the Gopio delegation of Ramsaran, Nandoe, Persaud and Bisnath met with then Prime Minister Manning. Members of Gopio International paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Manning to clear up any "misunderstandings" based on the actions of the former executive of Gopio T&T. In a release from the Office of the Prime Minister, it was reported that Gopio secretary general Ashook Ramsaran assured Manning that Gopio International would closely monitor the operations of the new local chapter to "guarantee that no such misunderstanding would reoccur" and also provide guidance to ensure that the organisation's mandates were adhered to. "The Prime Minister welcomed the new local incarnation of Gopio and welcomed the commitment made by the group to manage the local arm adequately in order to ensure that no further problems would arise," the release stated. While Ramsaran and others in the Gopio delegation reiterated Gopio's position of being non-political and secular, Prime Minister Manning welcomed the change in the executives of Gopio T&T.?An official release from the Office of the Prime Minister confirmed the contents of the discussion and that there would be no longer a challenge to the PNM from the new Bisnath-led organisation.
In fact, right after meeting with then Prime Minister Manning, the local Gopio made a beeline for the PNM feeding trough. At a meeting with Minister of Culture Donna Cox, Bisnath elaborated on some of the community programmes being planned by Gopio T&T. These include educational seminars on alcohol abuse, diabetes and education. Minister Cox welcomed the efforts and offered the support of the Ministry of Culture. A clear play for state funding by an organisation without a track record was being made. When the cyberspace group did not get funding which it found sufficient, it returned the money. Dr Tewarie, speaking at the same function about the political terrorism against the former Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma, was silent when the terrorism was being played out. The Maha Sabha, the then Opposition, and others were decrying the PNM's treatment of CJ Sharma during the controversy. The important voice of the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Dr Tewarie, was silent during this traumatic period of our nation's development.?When a statement from Dr Tewarie could have made a difference in the debate, the goodly doctor was silent. During the past, instances of the many and varied acts of the Manning-led PNM discrimination against the Indian population of T&T occurred.
When voices to defend and support the Indian community were required, there was silence by some who now speak out. When Chief Justice Sharma was being threatened with imprisonment, only a few were brave enough to challenge his accusers. Now that the People's Partnership, of which the United National Congress and the Congress of the People are the main players, is in government, bold-faced Indians are emerging from the woodwork to stake a claim. Some obviously feel that because the base of these two political parties are mainly Indo-Trinidadians, that beating an Indian drum now and vilifying the half-dead carcass of the PNM, they will be now first in line to receive state funding and employment. The People's Partnership will be best warned to stay far from these individuals and new defenders.?It is safe to sit behind the anonymity of a computer in one's home and help produce a manifesto, but the time will come when one has to personally identify with the struggle. India was lost to the colonial Britishers for hundreds of years because there have always been Indians who are self-serving.