THE LIGHT has left the leadership of the Rising Sun. There is no light there. It is an exclusively dark domain. And those who follow this dark sun will find themselves in political hell in a coconut shell. The rank and file membership of the United National Congress (UNC) must gather its wits; take all democratic steps to remove this blight, this darkness; convert this party into a genuinely national political institution.
Here are three instances of this darkness:
1. Support for imperialism. After all the historical ills of imperialist terror – genocide and slavery in the Caribbean and the Americas, US terror in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East in post-World War II, the use of US sanctions as a tool of economic terror – the UNC leadership decided to follow the Bolton-Pompeo-Abrams troika of imperialism to support intervention in Venezuela.
John Bolton is the regular staple of US intervention. His cry or intervention in the Middle East (1990-the present) led to the decimation of nation states and their leaders, the conversion of hundreds of cities to dust bowls, the assassination of millions of inhabitants. He publicly espouses the Munroe Doctrine, an 1823 policy which self-awarded US governments the policy and legal apparatus to claim ownership of the Americas.
Mike Pompeo is the former director of the CIA, a group sworn to political, economic and military intervention in nation states, to commit every manner of mischief, assassination, subterfuge, surveillance and destabilisation on behalf of the US deep state (regime), to maintain US hegemony into perpetuity.
Elliot Abrams is the political hitman of much US foreign policy. He has been accused of involvement in terror campaigns in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, leading to the death of millions of citizens. He was convicted of lying to the US Congress in the US Iran-Contra affair. He was linked to the failed coup in Venezuela against president Hugo Chavez. He is an expert at using “democracy,” “humanitarian aid” and “human rights” as a weapon of terror against sovereign leaders and states.
This war council of US terror has spoken. The UNC leadership has followed. It has bargained its soul to kiss the dark posterior of US foreign policy, to curry favour with the sovereignty of the Caribbean and Latin America in its bid to reclaim national government.
2. Machiavellian practices. Africans have been in the Caribbean and TT since the first half of the 16th century. In the post-slavery and post-independent periods of history, neither the African peoples as a whole nor its political leadership sought actively to prioritise land ownership as a means to prosperity, to address issues of intergenerational or cyclical poverty.
Neither the UNC nor the PNM has promoted this fundamental principle and policy: land ownership as a means to intergenerational prosperity and wealth. Both have allowed land prices to hit the ceiling, savouring in this design; all, including the middle classes, have had to pay through their noses for land. They have flagrantly supported the mortgage and insurance companies, the banks, the real estate companies and the tax collector, over those of the national population on this matter. The UNC leader has herself in the past claimed that building a highway between Debe to Mon Desir would raise the value of land; a super-duper thing in her estimation.
The promise to redress historical imbalances in land ownership on the part of this party is nothing more than a cynical and reckless attempt to woo young African voters. The current UNC could never win an election without African votes. A dark art is being practised here. It is called fooling, knowingly, with intent and aforesight, the vulnerable and poor. Machiavellian means and ends.
Not only would this promise never be kept, but it is an undertaking which cannot be supported by law or good policy; and the UNC will never win another election under its current leadership to fulfil it. Thank God, to quote my octogenarian activist friend in Chatham: “God don’t like ugly.”
3. Unresolved corruption. The UNC has left a hand of bloody corruption in the national memory that not all great Neptune’s ocean will ever cleanse. On March 28, 2017, the Highway Reroute Movement presented before a joint select committee of Parliament a report listing 25 matters for investigation regarding the government actions on the Debe to Mon Desir highway. Twenty-five instances of alleged illegality, malfeasance or rank corruption. These matters, thanks to the PNM Government, remain unresolved.
All the government projects which I have challenged, as a development activist, alongside communities since 2002, have been PNM projects: the Chatham Alcoa smelter; the Alutrint smelter; the Otaheite offshore industrial estate; the NGC industrial port on the Claxton Bay fisheries and mangrove system; the Essar steel mill; the location of Carisal; the Debe to Mon Desir highway; the actions of the mayor and CEO of the Arima Borough Council towards vendors; the decision to build 12 eight-storey housing blocks on the St Augustine Nurseries.
None has been a NAR or UNC/PP project. They were all conceived by the PNM. I regard the PNM as developmentally challenged, developmentally inane; its long historical belt of underachievement studded with crooks, smartmen and fleecers. In 2020, faced with a choice between voting for pitch dark or the half-dark, the population will choose the latter.