Selective imposition of hot air

Prime Minister Dr Rowley - Photo by Roger Jacob
Prime Minister Dr Rowley - Photo by Roger Jacob

THE EDITOR: Our Prime Minister has a well-deserved reputation for bombast. That is to say a manner of speech emphasising style, but at the expense of content and often at the expense of facts. Is this due merely to insincerity or possibly to something more worrisome?

The Prime Minister stated in 2022 that the worst mistake he had ever made was to arrange for Gary Griffith to become commissioner of police. He further stated that Griffith would not be appointed CoP again, admitted that he altered the outcome of the deliberations of the Police Service Commission (a body constitutionally designated as independent) and indeed prevented the reappointment of Griffith as CoP. Attention is drawn to this episode not as an illustration of bombast, though.

Let us now direct our attention to the Prime Minister's interest in Tobago.

According to the Hansard records of November 27, 1992, the then minister of agriculture (currently holding the position of Prime Minister) expressed intent to act decisively in response to the plague of cocricos devasting the agriculture sector on the island.

"One of the possibilities we are looking at is that of reducing the numbers through shooting and we have discussed the possibility with the Defence Force, so as to get some assistance, but we want to do it scientifically. I do not want to make it sound as if we are launching an attack on the national bird.

"What we will be doing, if we are going to save agriculture in Tobago, is a scientifically controlled programme to reduce the population of those birds so that they would not continue to deprive the farmers in Tobago of the ability to earn a livelihood.

"So in the not too distant future you would hear exactly what we are going to do..."

Well, here some of us are 32 years into the not too distant future and it is probably needless to say that nothing has happened (all the parliamentary hot air notwithstanding) to the flourishing cocricos while the few fruit trees, potato fields and other struggling crops provide feasts for them. The 1992 parliamentary comments may have been bombastic.

In 2024 we have comments from the former minister of agriculture about another matter pertinent to Tobago – whether the carbon footprint involved in the construction of another hotel, shopping mall, private homes for non-locals, bars and acres of sealed, concrete surfaces is a good plan for Tobago.

It is possibly only bombast from him when he says he will move heaven and earth to impose this futureless, empty concrete heap on the coast of Tobago, for, as we all know, nothing altered life as they know it for the cocricos.

Deliberations of independent bodies charged with seeking the best interest of TT can be diverted, as has been shown relative to the Police Service Commission. Are other management agencies similarly susceptible?


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"Selective imposition of hot air"

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