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Crown Point, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Weather :: 28C Mostly clear

mostly clearMostly clear 28°C

Humidity:
65%
Wind Speed:
21 KMH
Wind Direction:
E (090°)
Barometer:
1014 mb
Dewpoint:
21°C
Heat Index:
30°C
Wind Chill:
28°C
Visibility:
11 km
Crown Point, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Weather :: 29C Mostly clear

mostly clearMostly clear 29°C

Humidity:
58%
Wind Speed:
26 KMH
Wind Direction:
E (080°)
Barometer:
1018 mb
Dewpoint:
20°C
Heat Index:
31°C
Wind Chill:
29°C
Visibility:
11 km
Crown Point, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Weather :: 28C Mostly clear

mostly clearMostly clear 28°C

Humidity:
69%
Wind Speed:
29 KMH
Wind Direction:
E (090°)
Barometer:
1018 mb
Dewpoint:
22°C
Heat Index:
30°C
Wind Chill:
28°C
Visibility:
11 km
Crown Point, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Weather :: 24C Mostly clear

mostly clearMostly clear 24°C

Humidity:
78%
Wind Speed:
23 KMH
Wind Direction:
E (090°)
Barometer:
1016 mb
Dewpoint:
20°C
Heat Index:
24°C
Wind Chill:
24°C
Visibility:
11 km
Integrity is priceless
Published: 
Sunday, March 29, 2015

This election has started off in the proverbial gutter with the tactics displayed by the Government. No one has been knocked out of this political boxing match as yet but it seems as though the opposition is in the right place. The Government has placed themselves in a dark place with the public by Vernella Alleyne Toppin’s vicious attack on Dr Rowley.

I am happy to see that our society continues to have people who cannot be bought by politicians. I will continue to applaud the people in our country that won’t allow our children to witness personal gain take place at the expense and to the detriment of someone or people’s lives.

I have to continously make an extra effort to speak on the content of Toppin’s statement because it’s the lowest I have ever heard from any government minister and is seemingly endorsed by the Government. Two accusations of rape directed at Dr Rowley and his father with no evidence under parliamentary privilege is an abuse to the highest extreme. The attempted coercison toward an untruth by bribery is an insult not only to Dr Rowley’s family but to the public. 

It turns out that Toppin’s story is an improbable concoction. The teacher-student scenario was painfully dispelled when the mother of Dr Rowley’s son pointed out that she is only two years younger than Dr Rowley. The Speaker of the House said nothing during Toppin’s delivery. He allowed such horrendous statements to be made, and in my opinion this suggests a clear bias over professionalism. 

The entire government bench allowed this parliamentary disgrace to take place in an attempt to destroy Dr Rowley and possibly his family life. There are many decent and right thinking citizens in T&T that will not put a price on their integrity. Elections will come and go as well as material things do but your conscience stays with you always.

Ronald Huggins 
St Joseph

Big people parties, poor people tune
Published: 
Sunday, March 29, 2015

Election season in T&T is now lukewarm with every sector and interest adding their tune to the symphony that will soon enough pronounce or denounce a government. The chorale includes, but is not limited to, police and pipers, captains and crooks, as well as those singing and blogging for their supper. Even within the depths of the major political parties the sheep are now being separated from the goats; with some of the older heads and errant young hearts being set out to pasture. 

People on the ground are, nonetheless, calling for more of the usual political breeding stock who are recycled in some way or the other into each flock to be seconded to new, fresh genes and hopefully patriotic agendas and policies. 

Given that political parties and their campaign handlers have been known to ignore the sure votes and safe seats as they think they know it, harping only on the importance of the so-called swing voters or marginal seats, it appears that they are aware of their limited power to persuade.

Joel Bradshaw, who is based in the USA and has consulted on over 300 campaigns for public office at all levels, in his paper, Who Will Vote For You and Why: Designing Strategy and Theme (1995) made the point that the key to successful strategy is not to try to appeal to everyone on his or her particular flash point but instead to select the types of voters you can most easily persuade based on the contrasts presented by the candidates. 

Many agree that the current atmosphere demands some resemblance of a track record and fine choice of candidates. It requires that those desiring greatness must desire modesty. It requires that those seeking the country’s honour must seek to be respectful to all. The People’s Partnership is, for the first time, paddling into a re-election campaign. These waters have been, to some extent, untroubled for some time as the T&T electorate is known to vote out a government as compared to voting in a win-win situation. 

Voters, who are more important to the election than candidacy and campaigns, are convinced that duty requires the monarch to swiftly acquire knowledge of all happenings among all men each day. The Prime Minister or any other person seeking such office must be in tune with the sounds of the ground. Though it is a mammoth expectation to conceive that a party’s implements must be controlled by one command, all involved in the politics of the day must be made to know that everybody is not your friend; regardless if incumbent or challenger.

Within the past week the country has been reeling from a compost of racism, statements from the Minister of Finance on salary negotiations for the police supposedly resulting in last Monday’s “Total Policing Day,” the perception that the country was under siege as the executive of the Police Service were supposedly clueless about who sanctioned the nationwide road blocks, the cost of the south highway, legal fees causing illegal unease and other bittersweet symphonies. 

The repercussion of the constant cat and dog battles is the open vulnerability of an uninformed electorate to manipulation. Since Dr Rowley’s vote of no confidence in Parliament and when Marlene’s gate is opened, all in a week when at least two of his current MPs were vetoed, the tune will change.

When your back is against the wall with punches below the wage and former sugar belt, unequal opportunities, victimisation, racism, arrogance, large for the largesse, and people totally out of control; the least we can do is protect and serve our own interests in the trenches. Many are perhaps jealous that they cannot ‘eat ah food’ more so because of its price; but they all would sing, as per singer Everton Blender, “it’s a ghetto people song, only dem can swing this one! It’s a song for the poor who’s facing sufferation.”

Omardath Maharaj

‘Toppin’s comments in poor taste’
Published: 
Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vernella Alleyne-Toppin’s attack in the Parliament is, in my view, the greatest gift to Dr Rowley and the PNM at this stage in the politics. Let’s face it, Rowley has been on the receiving end of a relentless plan to demonise him and so elevate the PM, spawned in part by UNC strategists wanting to capitalise on recent polls which gave her the edge over Rowley, and more so because the current crop of ministers has little or no appeal to the wider electorate.

And the plan may have been succeeding, placing Dr Rowley on the defensive so much so that he was obliged to apologise for his “dog and cat” comments. But that strategy, taking the turn that it did in Toppin’s attempt to further denigrate Dr Rowley and his family, has undone, in my view, whatever gains may have been made by the PM’s continuing attack on him and Al-Rawi. 

I say this because the response to it in the media has been one of anger and revulsion from a sampling of an electorate which has come to accept that which often defies rationality, good sense and as in this instance, good taste. Even a member of the Hindu Women’s Organisation, usually unequivocal in support of anything UNC, is quoted as saying: “I think it is appalling, it is preposterous and tragic that this lady can do such a thing.” 

A respected senior counsel, usually impartial and objective in his views, is quoted on TV relating to the new “low” in Parliament and is surprised that the minister in question is still in office. Also, the denial of Garth Rowley and his mother on TV does not help Toppin’s cause any. 

Expectedly, some ministers would applaud their colleague, one openly so at an official function and the others, feigning regret over the minister’s contribution in one breath, would in typical hypocritical fashion, lament the fate of the “victims” in another, conferring guilt on Dr Rowley, by innuendo.

There are many issues involved in this incident in Parliament, first and foremost being the extent to which the Government is part of this conspiracy, and also the degree of culpability for the official who had the power to end it but allowed it to go on. But that said, how is it that an incident can suffer an ironic reversal of malicious intent? 

This brings to mind a famous comment by Macbeth, in a Shakespeare play, as he contemplated killing the king who has been so generous to him: “This even handed-justice/Commends th’ ingredients of our poison’d chalice/To our own lips.” (Act1 Sc7 10-11). Instead of Dr Rowley suffering because of Toppin’s attempt to smear him, he has instead managed to win the sympathy of many in the electorate because of an attack hardly befitting the dignity of Parliament. 

All Dr Rowley has to do now, in my view, is to avoid tit-for-tat in replying in kind to his accusers and display true statesmanship in talking about issues that would serve the country for the future, allowing the poison which this incident has unleashed in the minds of the electorate to wreak the havoc it inevitably will on its perpetrators.

Dr Errol Benjamin
Via e-mail

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