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In a fighting mood
Somebody was in a fighting mood yesterday. And it wasn’t COP MP Anil Roberts who more displayed high spirits at yesterday’s House of Representatives session. Getting a hug from colleague Stephen Cadiz and handshaking with Nizam Baksh and Clifton de Coteau. Fist-bumping with Jack Warner and later chatting earnestly with Warner and their boss as photographers’ flashbulbs exploded repeatedly.
So Roberts wasn’t fighting yesterday though the latest COP issue—involving his chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan—stands to deepen simmering COP rifts. More may be in store for the COP and the story may continue, party sources said yesterday, as former vice chairman Vernon de Lima appears ready to resign from COP.
They said COP officials will be “seeing less and less” of De Lima at COP fora in the future following his own recent issue with PP jefe Warner. Yesterday, meanwhile, the verbal “war” waged in the Parliament Chamber began with PNM MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey who challenged the Prime Minister to call an election and who hit the PP administration broadside on education issues and allocation of resources.
Jeffrey declared: “Like Douglas McArthur we’ll (PNM) be back...enjoy your last years!” His mood was matched by PP MP Suruj Rambachan who, defending his Government (at much higher decibel levels) blasted back at Jeffrey:
“People seeing through you all!” Rambachan thundered, heaping scorn on the PNM.
Two months shy of the 36-month mid-way mark, one Tobago win and assorted issues down the line, the political chest-thumping on both sides is only likely to continue to increase over the next two years of the term. How much members of the Chamber have absorbed the inauguration speech of President Anthony Carmona remains to be seen.
At Monday’s inauguration, Carmona departed from the philosophical and delivered a good, hard treatise on the state of the nation, articulating deep concern for ills eroding society and warning those who expected him to solve everything. The pronouncements would have belied ivory tower-based views about T&T.
Case in point: blinkered suggestions that legalising “It” may impact crime problems, a view skirting the deep-rooted societal causes of the issue (which PNM MP Donna Cox recently cited) and also the fact that while T&T is indeed a “weed” producer, it’s also mainly a transshipment point for bigger “product” (as the CIA World Factbook notes).
Carmona, a former judge, is more firmly rooted in reality and therefore more relevant. His statements on Monday would particularly have been a reality check for all political sides who were not spared his counsel for the current times as well as his bitingly accurate assessment of the “waffling” that often occurs on crucial national issues.
His Thursday visit to Laventille was also tangible testimony of some of his concerns and commitment. It may not be surprising if the head of state walks the talk all over T&T while settling in. An official source said he’s likely to visit Tobago.
In Carmona’s speech was echoed the concern and outcry of the many in T&T who have had to stand by and observe certain degeneration perpetrated by the few over time. It has threatened the bounds of fair play, justice, law, order and integrity in a country which is regarded by some as a playground, something which perhaps is among the core causes of some of its problems.
Carmona’s to-do list is already mounting up. The Integrity Commission must be appointed. So too an Environmental Management Commission. The PNM/Roundtable alliance has signalled the Section 34 issue is not closed. Judges hope for more money. Even pathologists want his ear.
It is normal protocol for the President to make various appointments acting on the advice of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. However, the best welcome the T&T public—particularly its politicians—can give the new “Commander in Chief” is to heed his address. And act positively on his advice.
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