Yesterday was Mother’s Day. A day that I associate with anyone, regardless of gender, who nurtures, rears, and gives care to a child. And while I thought about the men and women that have functioned as mothers in my life, I thought too about the people in charge of our government and in fact our country.
Let’s start with the National Mother and Grandmother, who, I am sure, considers herself to be a Mothering Worker!
VS Naipaul wrote a story called Maternal Instinct in his highly satirical and highly acclaimed novel Miguel Street. In it, Laura, the heroine, was a women with many children fathered by many men.
There are days I get the impression the National Mother had the country with several Child Fathers or Baby Daddies, hence the reason the buck passing can never end with her. She doesn’t answer questions of national concern, it’s always one of the men, even when the questions are about issues that are directly linked to her, like her sister Vidwattie Newton.
Between January to May this country like it get caught in an undertow at Maracas Bay and every time we stand up to ketch weself a next wave of nonsense lick us down. In fact, I daresay that since The Keith’s Motion of No Confidence this govt has been mired in bacchanal after bacchanal, conflict after conflict… and the men who the National Mother keeps hiding behind are abusing her offspring and Kamla, typical of the mother who turns a blind eye to the abuse of her children because “the man helping out” remains silent.
Tell me on what issue has the National Mother actually spoken out on or taken a leadership role on?
Dwayne Gibbs rented a plane for $.9m, money that he had no right to use or disburse, tell me what has become of that and why, the PM hasn’t insisted that the AG put his foot down where that probe and Gibbs’ Commissionership is concerned? She is after all the head of the National Security Council so this should be an issue that concerns her and concerns her deeply. What the Crop Duster rental told us was that this government, led by Persad-Bissessar, didn’t have a crime plan in place, didn’t know procedure and protocol and were quite happy with public officials abusing public funds without being held accountable. This impression of the National Mother and her heads of household haven’t changed.
Let’s look at Devant Maharaj, who reminds me of the surrepitiously lecherous uncle. You know, the one who always wants to hold you in that uncomfortable position on his lap for an inordinate length of time….riiiiiight! There have been a number of shitstorm clouds hovering over Maharaj’s tenure as Minister of Transport, none more ominous than Caribbean Airlines Limited. Devant has been involved in misstep after misstep with CAL: under him a financially crippled CAL announced a profit of $200m ( a figure I was immediately sceptical about and the PP die hards called my scepticism racism); under Devant, CAL donated US$5m to the PM’s Life Fund; under Devant, previous CAL chairmen have been accused of having no common sense when it came to managing an airline; under Devant the PTSC has been accused of running a courier service for high priced prostitutes, and it is alleged that a member of the PTSC Board is running the ring…investigations still being conducted. These are just a handful of the issues plaguing Devant; but by the 3rd or 4th complaint about Uncle Devant, shouldn’t Kamla…as mother and leader have started to ask some pointed questions herself? How exactly did she let it slide when he accused past chairmen of having no commonsense? How exactly has she managed to ignore the fact that mismanagement of CAL has happened under her government’s watch. Arthur Lok Jack, a former CAL Chairman who (according to Devant) lacked common sense, good frig up the government last week when he revealed that more than US$100m that his board had left intact at the end of his tenure in June 2010 was now missing. A former board member, Allan Clovis, corroborated Lok Jack’s statement. Now Devant is calling for a report on the missing millions and I guess we should believe that he doesn’t know what’s going on with the airline under his purview, and further to that, that Rabindranath Moonan, who was appointed chairman because he possessed common sense by the tonne, also knows nothing about the missing millions? And in all of this the PM is silent and invisible. This isn’t buses and cars….this is the national airline, something that is crucial not just to Trinidad and Tobago but to the wider Caribbean….and not one word from the National Mother….maybe if we gave her a fleet of CAL jets to aid her constant travel she’d have more to say.
Prakash Ramadhar is another parent in this partnership who has me concerned. Most voters in 2010 had hoped that the COP would be the partner that maintained reason, honour, integrity and credibility in this political marriage. In short, we hoped the COP would be the sort of parent we could run to for sane judgement in a time of crisis. Yet we have the COP supporting the UNC in all kinds of questionable decisions Reshmi, SoE, Vidwattie…notice the rhyme scheme), but then getting their panties tied up in knots over a Mayorship. Prakash has turned out to be just as wobbly and weak a leader as Winston Dookeran. He blows hot and cold at the same time and seems prone to telling either side, whether it’s Kamla or his supporters, precisely what they want to hear. Praksh is precisely the sort of fence sitter that I like to avoid….because he’ll see abuse and justify it as necessary for the child’s development!
Then there’s Tim…..what to not say about Tim Goopeesingh boy? This is a man who spent his previous term in office with the UNC under a fog of suspicion for many things: ghost gang doctors; RHA monies missing; heart and dialysis machines missing and ending up in private hospitals; RHA budget being used to pay for his family’s regular restaurant bills….all of these accusations were being levelled at Goopeesingh, yet Kamla, in her wisdom, as National Mother felt that this is precisely the sort of man she wanted to expose to the nation all over again and this time in education.
He has turned out to be abrasive, aggressive and exclusive in his approach to much of what he is doing at the Ministry. Stakeholders are complaining that they are not a part of the decision making process as regards the SEA exam….a crucial part of our education system. Further, Tim has taken to antagonising teachers now. Openly complaining about perks and benefits that teachers, their union and the Ministry of Education would have collectively agreed on and adding fuel to already tense situations. The latest furore is that the format of the SEA exam is about to change in 2013. 1 year’s notice to change an exam that makes or breaks the future of most children and citizens here. If this transition isn’t handled properly this current government could be damaging the future of the nation’s education system…and I am once again reminded of Kamla’s tenure as Education minister when secondary education for all was instituted and the government she served rushed to rent unventilated buildings to put children in. It was under her tenure as minister that knives, forks and flatware went missing from the ministry and had to be returned.
When the UNC described Kamla as the mother of the nation in 2010, the images conjured was of a responsible caregiver, here to nurture, not boof; encourage, not dictate. Instead the type of mother we have gotten smacks of someone who got pregnant too young. We got a National Mother who more interested in shopping, travelling and dressing up….we got a National mother who lies, abuses state funds and when caught sleeping on the job puts the responsibility on the men around her.
I think we should award Kamla as Delinquent National Mother of the Year! Party hard, grandma….you rock on with yuh bad self!
De Vice Cyah Done!