The fuss arising from allegations that the appointment of Dr Bhoe Tewarie to the government-assembled committee led by the Prime Minister was blocked by the UNC's leadership is both regrettable and informative.
UNC deputy political leader David Lee issued a statement on Thursday noting that the party had not blocked the request but maintains its position that a bipartisan approach to crafting the team's assignment, a Roadmap to Recovery, would be best for the nation.
Tewarie was invited to serve on the team, according to co-vice chairman Robert Le Hunte, "in his individual capacity."
If the UNC-free composition of the initial recovery team had not been enough of a snub, that statement by the government made its position clear. The team, led by Dr Keith Rowley, comprising several PNM-aligned individuals, has been assembled to proceed about its business without the perspectives of the UNC.
The Prime Minister's annoyance and testiness with the opposition have been clear throughout the covid19 lockdown. The opposition, in turn, has not made it easy for the PNM's leadership to consider détente during these difficult times. Some of the statements from the UNC regarding the restrictions have been combative to the point of absurdity – arguments for the sake of arguing.
At the highest level of leadership in this country, the discourse over governance has degenerated into nothing less than bickering and verbal squabbles that only serve to distract from the larger issues facing the nation over, at the very least, the next year. The difficulty of surmounting such difficulties should not give the Prime Minister a licence to determinedly exclude the perspectives and resources of a party that represents half of the nation's population.
In the most recent local government elections, the PNM tied with the UNC, each party winning the leadership of seven corporations. That result must have stiffened the ruling party's resolve to push forward with more aggressive politicking, but the grim reality is that the demands of covid19 have forced a re-engineering of our society and in so doing, our expectations of its leadership.
As part of that new dispensation, the PNM should have embraced the need to create internal party mechanisms that encouraged useful discussions with the UNC in the national interest at some level. It's discouraging that the party would see fit to so determinedly exclude the UNC from crucial deliberations on the nation's future.
When faced with intractable landlords, Dr Rowley reached for Shakespeare to beg for "the milk of human kindness." In his clearly considerable library, he should also consider the Sermon on the Mount, often condensed to urge the offended to "turn the other cheek."