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Remembering Dr Morgan Job
Last Sunday, Dr Morgan Job, activist, media personality, former parliamentarian and intellectual, passed away. He was someone who made a mark in the society by the passionate manner in which he advocated his points of view. That passion caused him many moments of controversy that either endeared him to some and let others view him with disdain.
He was a patriot who felt very strongly about the path of development that his country was following. He was vehemently opposed to the model of state control of the economy and felt that poor people were continuously exploited by the political class who used them as tools of division in society by the machinations of race-driven electoral politics.
He felt that those vulnerable persons were being led like swine to the slaughter by political communicators who used divisive messaging to create anxieties of fear and panic of what would happen if the “other side” were to get into power. His manner of delivering the message was often highly controversial.
His entry into elected politics came as the replacement NAR candidate for ANR Robinson in Tobago East in 1997, which caused controversy as there was a split in the NAR in Tobago and Dr Winford James contested the seat against him as an independent after James was not selected as the NAR candidate. Job won the election and was immediately appointed into the Panday Cabinet.
Basdeo Panday told the CNC3 News last Sunday that Job always seemed more interested in ideas than in the business of Parliament.
In many respects, that characterisation may have been apt, because Job was always pushing ideas either through his media forums or in the hallways of the Piarco International Airport in his post-parliamentary life, where he encountered many local travellers whom he knew he could encourage to buy his books or his CDs.
The fact that he continued to produce both was a testament to the reality that he was a thinker.
During his parliamentary tenure, he made many contributions to bills before the House of Representatives. Some classic moments are as follows:
The Domestic Violence Bill 1999 “When these people come and day after day incite people to believe in this causal connection that is not there, that if you are unemployed you must beat up your wife, if you are unemployed you must rape your daughter, if you are unemployed you must commit domestic violence, it is specious and tendentious. It does not derive from any consideration of logic. It is merely a kind of Machiavellian mischief devoted to the purpose of canalizing emotions for a particular political objective which is the ascendancy to executive power. It has nothing to do with the bill, Mr Speaker.” (Hansard, HOR, 29 July, 1999, p. 443).
The Finance Bill 2000 “For the benefit of the Member for Diego Martin West, I have never at any time impugned the motives of the late great Dr Williams with respect to his ambitions to expand secondary education to benefit everybody.
What I am just asserting and repeating for the benefit of all of us, is that we must understand that we never had a proper evaluation.
We never had an incisive and dispassionate evaluation of the costs and consequences of that system, with the result that some people, minority groups, benefited from it more than the people who it was intended to benefit, and we have to rectify that. We must rectify that, because it is costing us too much.” (Hansard, HOR, 27 October, 2000, pp. 299-300).
These quotes capture some ofwhat Morgan Job stood for and somehow he seemed to have been very misunderstood about his views and his intentions. He never lived a life of luxury, so his passionate expressions were always principled and he never wavered for personal fortune. May he rest in peace.
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