The 20 Year Curse
So a husband follows his wife and another man to a hotel room. He looks around and makes sure that no one is looking at him, and then he begins to peek through the keyhole to see what the two people are up to. As the two flings off their clothes, his wife’s top catches on the doorknob, blocking the husband’s view of what happens next…and leaving his faith in their fidelity intact. Apologies if I offended anyone’s delicate sensibilities. I saw this little metaphor at the beginning of a story on one of our South American neighbors' politics, and I thought it beautifully describes Trinidad and Tobago's situation.
In my mind, it is crystal clear that the official narrative surrounding Clause / Section 34 is incomplete. So much more happened after that keyhole was blocked. The timelines which have been widely published strongly suggest as much. The naïve amongst us may choose to believe that all is well, and we should move on, but we cannot. I even read some die-hard PP supporters commenting as much in the Yahoo and Google groups (which some strangely call Blogs). They admit that they are left to believe that certain senior politicians tried to help a couple of alleged party financiers, and the Opposition “called them out” on it.
For the Opposition, it has been Christmas come early. I am very friendly with supporters of all 3 major parties. My PNM friends know that when our conversations become political, my first question is usually – ‘‘what really going on with Rowley’?’ I have never tried too hard to hide my opinions on Dr. Rowley’s tough, angry image, but this is now his time. Among the present crop of seasoned politicians, he alone has a moral authority that few can realistically challenge. As we, the people, again find ourselves putting pressure on those in authority to come clean, he remains the only senior politician that can raise his voice against perceived corruption. He has demonstrated that he has no fear of losing the trappings of office.
As for the COP? I would argue that they have effectively abandoned whatever 'base' they had left by staying quiet. Their situation reminds me of the third party here in the UK – the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems entered into a coalition dominated by the conservatives. Like the COP, they have had to compromise their core principles to stay in the coalition. At his party’s recent annual conference, the Lib Dem leader apologized for breaking their campaign pledge on tuition fees. It was remixed into a song called ‘I’m Sorry’ and is now on the singles chart. There are whispers that his days as leader of the Lib Dems are numbered. This reminds me of what they say about the leadership of the COP.
The superstitious amongst us talk about the 20-year curse. They say that after each ‘event,’ the pressure starts building again. Manning’s early election provided only a temporary respite, and as we look around, public outrage only grows. If the allegations are true, forgive me for wondering aloud whether this is perhaps the greatest act of alleged corruption in our 50 years of existence. One thing to inflate some project's price allegedly or unfairly influence the tendering process in some gas station, race track, airplane, the fleet of police cars, airport construction, commercial building project, etc. It is quite another to allegedly hijack or mislead an entire Parliament – including an Upper House whose Independent members would not want to be tarnished by something this sordid. It is quite another to incur the ire of the region’s superpower, the one country that would come to our aid, should our mainland neighbor's expansionist rhetoric ever become a nightmarish reality. It is quite another thing to disappoint the many right-thinking citizens that supported what was supposed to have been ‘new politics.’ US Tax Singapore
Once again, I am asking our elected leaders to stop and think. How will history remember them? This moment will not last forever, and when they demit office, would they want their names to be forever associated with Section 34 and perceived corruption of the highest order? Do they want their children and grandchildren to be ashamed of their last names – and even change their last names like some children of certain (present and former) politicians already have?
American Tax Singapore
Despite these and many other challenges, I continue to have the audacity of hope in a brighter tomorrow.
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Note: The blog that used to be here is now at https://www.mooresrowland.tax/.