THE EDITOR: The unfounded attack on Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s address at the Monday Night Forum at the Brazil Secondary School indicates how threatened some are by her willingness to honestly address relevant truths affecting our society.
The UNC political leader addressed crime, which is destroying families daily. She said the problem of crime has to be addressed by attending to the social problems of drugs, employment, property ownership and lack of education in order to strengthen families and increase prosperity for all.
The foundational issue is the need for a just society. Providing tangible experiences of justice and equality is not an impossible task: “As long as we pull together, stay united, refuse to be divided by PNM, the UNC will return to power, get the country working again and build a more just society.”
An indication of the expanding influence of the UNC under Persad-Bissessar’s leadership was the heavily diverse crowd whom she took into her confidence as she spoke about her landless childhood.
Her family’s experience of renting and the upheaval of constantly moving is how she came to know the value of having a place of your own: to rest your bones, put your things, stabilise your family.
Land for the landless, squatter regularisation, and refusal to demolish homes were her government’s policies based on her life experience of what having a home means to every poor family, and to all families.
There was deep silence when she confronted the controversial use of race: “The few who use race speak for themselves, not for the majority, in order to divide, for their own benefit.” She educated the audience on the origin of the discriminating divide between landless Africans and Indians who got a land choice.
Her point was, “Education for change, not for toting feelings.” For a united country that can no longer be pulled down. For owning a piece of solid ground, to plant your feet and grow your family in more equal and just communities.
By ringing true with previously implemented policy and resonating personal experience, Persad-Bissessar has started a united movement and realigned the party with its core vision of being the United National Congress.
Those who are threatened are stuck. How many would have the courage to confront racial discrimination and take the conversation up a level, beyond foolishness to what really matters – a just society, a home for every family, and food on the table through education for employment in the new digital age?
DR CATHERINE ALI
UNC Women’s Arm