Despite the devastation taking place in other parts of the region, in Trinidad and Tobago it appears to be politics as usual. On the heels of news that party voting for leadership of the opposition United National Congress had gone in resounding favour of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former party leader (and founder) Basdeo Panday reacted by refusing to admit defeat. Bloggers discuss the impasse…
In effect, he is challenging Mrs Persad-Bissessar to prove she has the support of at least 7 MP's in Parliament, excluding herself.
It appears she has the immediate support of 4 members, Harry Partap, Winston Peters, Jack Warner, and possibly, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.
Whatever happens, politics in Trinidad and Tobago will never be the same.
Barbadian blogger Cheese-on-bread! can't believe Panday is refusing to go graciously:
Basdeo Panday just doesn't know when to call it quits. Show some humility for once, Bas…
Of Panday's claim that “boxes allegedly containing thousands of party membership cards were discovered hidden at the Rienzi Complex, Couva, headquarters”, Trinidadian diaspora blogger Jumbie's Watch has this to say:
An argument can be made that they belonged to people who are supporters of Kamla and it was Bas’ team who suppressed them.
All I can think of is the ‘Bas lil boy syndrome’, you know the one where ‘if I cyah bat, I taking meh bat and ball and going home’.
This man behaves (at the age of 77) the way a little child would!
10-1 is murder!
Or so Sparrow said.
Yet, despite a 10-1 drubbing by Kamla in the UNC leadership elections, Bas, like Denyse Plummer, ‘nah leaving.’
Not that I think we expected any different. Kamla have to hold strong now.
kid5rivers puts it a little more bluntly:
Accordingly, gentlemen, please stop the shyte! Your antics are pathetic…and that's a most diplomatic description, okay? You were soundly beaten, fair and square!
Trinidadian journalist B.C. Pires, who now resides in Barbados, marks the occasion of Panday's “political passing” by republishing an interview he did “with then Leader of the Opposition, Basdeo Panday, in March 2002″, adding:
No one I've met is nearly as quick on their mental feet as Basdeo Panday; and that certainly includes everyone on the TT political scene today.
Back in Trinidad, Taran Rampersad considers what the result could mean politically:
According to the twittersphere, Kamla Persad-Bissessar has won the United National Congress Alliance internal election. For the nosebleed section, that means that Basdeo Panday is no longer running the show.
That being said, there has been some mention of a coalition between COP and the UNC-A. What it should be, if they want to wedge their way back into the misdirected Westminster system, is a reconciliation between the two groups of supporters. The UNC-A supporters strongly echoed the sentiments of a split vote yet the voices from which they echoed did not openly recognize the fact that the vote was split because people didn't believe they weren't very good at Opposition. If the last two elections have demonstrated anything, it is the lack of popular support of the party parading (barely) as Opposition.
KnowTnT.com‘s Edmund Gall has the last word:
UNC MP Vasant Bharath and ex-Chairman of the Membership Committee Kelvin Ramnath hosted a news conference yesterday to give further details on the alleged discovery of boxes containing “thousands” of undistributed UNC membership cards at Rienzi Complex, home of the UNC's administrative offices. It was carried live by media houses on the Internet and reported in today's papers…
I looked at the news conference via C News’ live Internet broadcast Internet yesterday and was left a bit confused. At the end of it, I quite frankly was left with the feeling that here was a bunch of poor-me-ones trying to deflect public attention from the winds of change by claiming some fraud occurred. Their hinting of the possibility of some member of the public seeking court-room clarification on this discovery was puzzling: clarification of what?
In management, there is collective responsibility for governance. If anything, this discovery just shows how pathetic the whole of the ex-management committee of the UNC were in terms of organising their affairs, especially when added to their inability to maintain as fundamental and basic a thing as a proper members list, lack of public clarity regarding the rules about voting eligibility, and their forcing Tobago's members to travel to T&T to vote.
Never a dull moment. It appears that in T&T, politics not only has a morality of its own, but also a unique stance on logic. In fact, to me, it appears too frequently that logic is unwelcome in our political landscape.