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The bottom-up experiment
It might have been a famous philosopher who was credited with having favoured us with the very self-evident maxim that, “Those who fail to learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” Which leads me to ask myself why some people are so inclined to look at the current fortunes of the People’s Partnership through the prism of the late unlamented NAR.
There may well be an important distinction that they’re all missing. In its origin, the NAR was, as far as I gather, what I choose to call a “top-down” venture, or misadventure, if you care to be more accurate, whereas the PP seems more like at “bottom-up” experiment, or illusion, you might say, providing comic relief and muscle-flexing political midgets punching above their weight.
Let me explain and forgive me if I’m only telling the tale as it was told to me. Now Lloyd Best is on record as saying that a lawyer/politician and former university colleague of his (not ANR Robinson) approached him, claiming that a group of them had everything in place and all that they were missing to form a formidable political force to match the PNM was “the brains” and Lloyd and his Tapia Movement could fit that bill.
I can’t recall whether Best then gave an unequivocal commitment to lead a helping hand or, shall we say, “a helping brain.” But I hazard the guess that this might have been the political embryonic effort leading to the full-fledged NAR. That’s what I mean by “top-down” political venture.
On the other hand, one needn’t the polls to tell us that there was a groundswell of resentment and frustration at the political options then on offer. It might not have been that they love Kamla more but that they loved her rivals very much less. I mean no disrespect to Kamla Persad-Bissessar when I aver that it is within that context that she virtually shot into prominence and media attention from nowhere as “the dark horse” in the political race. She seemed at first shy and reluctant to throw her hat in the political ring, anticipating perhaps that had she miscalculated, then dust would have been her political disunity. The rest, of course, in history; she gambled and she won.
When the NAR came into its own, the calypso motif appeared to be “Captain, the ship is sinking, tell us what to do.” At a subsequent time it became “Sink the ships to be rid of the captains.” As known, or should be known, I hold no briefs nor do I have any dogs in the hunt. It’s my ever so humble view that, in the protracted shadow of historical perspective, one should, as far as humanly possible, exhibit a brutal clarity of vision and an unrelenting objectivity and who vex, vex.
The facts, as I understand them, are that, having played second fiddle for such a long time, Kamla’s aspiration to be heir apparent to higher office in the UNC was no better than “a snowball’s chance in hell.” She had, like others before her, suffered such humiliation at the hand of her political leader (remember no woman, no cry?) that no one anticipated that she would have been able to summon the testicular fortitude (not my words) or the ovarian fortitude to “beard the lion in his den.”
Not surprisingly, a number of politically “detesculated eunuchs,” a species that has long emerged on the political landscape, thanks to the effete political culture, clinging to the lion’s shirttail for dear political life, were not averse to pledging their undying political “love” for the wounded lion who was determined to show the world that he was neither a “paper tiger” nor the proverbial “ass in a lion’s skin.”
When Kamla had won the leadership of the UNC, the next hurdle was the leadership of the Opposition in Parliament. Anyone who chooses can correct me if I’m wrong, but it was the pressure put on the parliamentarians by their constituents that gave her the office of Leader of the Opposition. So she wasn’t beholden to that lot.
I’m not about to gloss over some of her egregious blunders as “missteps,” although I cheerfully admit that, like PMs before her, including the “venerable” Dr Williams, she entered office, possibly unexpectedly and “mango green,” hopefully willing to adjust to the requisite OJT (on-the-job training). I mean no offence here.
Like Kamla’s style or not, she has attracted, not surprisingly, a number of political barnacles, grasshoppers and boll weevils simply looking for a home. Someone explained the current kangatang taking place within the PP as “growing pains” and contend that Kamla is the glue that keeps them connected to their “respected political leader.” Give me a break! Those fellows respect no one or nothing but are simply muscle-flexing and positioning themselves for whatever happens when whatever hits the fan. Ah done talk.
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