by Capil Bissoon
If one views the antics, predictability, modus operandi and style of this Opposition, one must conclude that this is the worst Opposition party in the country’s history.
According to well-known constitutional theorists Sir Ivor Jennings and Professor A.V. Dicey, Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition holds governments accountable by identifying shortcomings in policies and presenting alternatives to provide voters with a clear choice.
In brief, an Opposition party presents itself as an alternative government and should have ready at hand a set of superior policies and programmes which it will implement if and when it becomes the government.
Not this Opposition which in its present iteration is doing a great disservice to our country’s aspiration to become a developed country.
This Opposition appears to have mastered the art of criticising for criticising sake every action of the Prime Minister without a thought as to how they would perform better.
In opposing for opposing sake, they practise what I call “pot hound” communications. Pot hound communication involves running after and barking at every issue without any results. Just like pot hounds who run after every passing vehicle without ever stopping the vehicle, affecting the driver, or the progress of the car.
Pot hounds feel vindicated by the mere act of running after vehicles and barking.
Pot hound communications were very much in evidence in the Anil Roberts issue.
The Prime Minister acted forcefully, frontally on the Anil Roberts issue. Once the issue was brought to her attention she sought to determine the facts. She ordered an investigation, spoke to the Minister in question, forwarded the findings to legally authorised investigative bodies and weighed her options.
In the event, she accepted the Minister’s resignation mere days after receiving the report.
That in my view is leadership par excellence. The Prime Minister did not rush to judgement. She allowed due process to take its course. Even though no charges were laid at the minister’s feet, the Prime Minister handling of the matter in my view demonstrates maturity, balanced judgement and leadership.
The Prime Minister also took steps to assure beneficiaries of the programme that she will ensure that they are not forgotten.
Consider the role of Dr Rowley’s Opposition in all this.
From day one it was, without considerations of due process or the facts, fire the minister.
The PNM brought out its talk show brigade, Mr Port of Spain included, to bring down fire and brimstone on the minister’s head. The country was regaled nonstop with all the unsavoury details of the programme.
While the PNM and Dr Rowley were barking incessantly, the Prime Minister was quietly gathering the facts.
When the report was finalised the PNM was in ecstasy running behind this passing issue and barking vociferously almost by rote.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister was quietly weighing her options. When she was done, she acted decisively.
In the context of Dicey and Jennings’ view of the Opposition, I expected more from Dr Rowley.
His party has been in government for most of our history since independence. I expected a detailed review of the processes used in the Life Sport project and how, based on their experience, they would have handled it better.
I would have expected them to show the country a superior plan, compared to the Life Sport project, for dealing with inner city gangs and the terror they inflict on our society.
This expectation would have been based on the fact that the challenge of inner city gangs is a PNM one, created by them (I have written on this before) and which exists in constituencies where they get most votes.
But asking for a superior plan is asking too much of this intellectually bankrupt PNM.
This PNM has no plan whatsoever to take this country forward. Ask them what is their superior plan for health, for dealing with crime, for providing better paying jobs, for creating a knowledge driven, computer literate society and the answer borders on a vacuous emptiness.
At Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn last month, all we heard from Dr Rowley is a plagiarised adoption of Vision 2020 and a detailed call for bringing back an aluminium smelter plant.
I want the burgesses of Point Fortin to understand what a PNM victory means for their health and environment in the context of a Vision 2020 induced commitment to a smelter plant.
This PNM intends to hoodwink voters using pot hound communications, putting forward no new policies and, heaven forbid, governing by vaps.