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An exercise in intellectual dishonesty
It wouldn’t be fair to say that all PNM MPs are refusing to be interviewed by yours truly. What, however, I find very interesting, if not disturbing, is that those who have given me the “Jerry” by promising to do so and turned me down, sometimes at the last moment without any cogent or sensible excuse, are mostly members of the Lower House (House of Representatives), and those willing to speak to me sit in the Upper House (Senate).
Another common thread is...well, I wouldn’t say it but I leave that up to you, dear readers, to pick sense out of nonsense. As I pointed out last week, and this is where I want you to pay particular attention—those who have spurned my repeated requests are Messrs Rowley, McIntosh, Hinds, Browne and Miss Cox.
Those who have spoken to me and I am sure if I ask them would be willing to repeat, are: party chairman Franklin Khan, and senators Faris Al-Rawi and Terrance Deyalsingh. Have you got my drift? The answer can be gleaned by looking at the names of both groups. Doesn’t that tell you something?
Again, I am not going to say what it tells me but I leave that up to you, dear readers, to decipher where I am coming from. One of the best compliments I have received for what I honestly believe is my professional integrity, was from Senator Deyalsingh, who, after I interviewed him for my Face to Face column some months ago, called after the article appeared and said: “Clevon, you are a gentleman...you have restored my faith in journalists in this country.”
And that wasn’t a paid advertisement. So all you PNM fanatics (note I said fanatics), those who would swear on their beloved balisier flower that I am against their party (as if that bothers me), I cannot be that biased, eh?
That said, let’s take another look at what I call the intellectual dishonesty of the leadership of the PNM, which was again revealed by the bitter protests mounted last week by disgruntled residents of east Port-of-Spain, the belly of the party which ruled uninterrupted for 30 years from 1956.
In another initiative to come to grips with the untenable crime situation, the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led government embarked on a multi-faceted programme which will assess participants in determining their skills in the respective trades.
They will be tested for their level of competency in their skills; those who qualified will be trained to improve on that competency and those without will be allowed to learn a skill, all of which will in the long term allow them to obtain sustainable employment either in the public or private sector.
For this reasonable opportunity they will receive $69 for giving just four hours of their time each day, which in the long run will pay dividends if they stick to the programme. After hearing the relatively small stipend they would receive, the would-be beneficiaries bitterly took to the streets, protesting what they called “betrayal,” and levelled their venom against National Security Minister Jack Warner and, by extension, the Government.
What I found galling in this is that they were spurred on by their parliamentary representatives, who, in a very questionable manner, conveniently did not tell their constituents that the money was not for eight hours. Instead of doing so, they joined them in most scary series of demonstrations which, if not properly handled by the police, would surely have got out of hand.
I will never forget the images of these mostly young women on the television protesting in a most volatile and vociferous manner with their MPs in the midst of the melee obviously supporting them in their misguided protests. They did not tell their own supporters, who are in obvious need of help from the State, that their present-day predicament was the result of years and years of neglect by the very PNM whom they faithfully returned to office general election after general election.
I have never seen these MPs take up placards and lead anti-crime demonstrations in East Port-of-Spain or mount programmes which would assist the constituents in turning around their attitude from one of entitlement from the State to self-development.
Instead the PNM MPs and the party’s sycophants and minions in the media—one radio talk-show host in particular went so far as to say the PP Government was returning poor black people to the slavery period—kept up an endless tirade of blatantly false and dishonest attack on the initiative.
I want those who are fooling the people to look into the mirror and see who are the real betrayers of people in need of genuine help.
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