Criticising women is not something I relish so it was
with a somewhat heavy heart I recently took junior Trade
Minister Diane Seukeran to taskand she took it in
the spirit it was done.
Unfortunately, today I have to add another female leader
to that select listnewly appointed Opposition Leader
Like Miss Seukeran, Mrs Persad-Bissessar is a woman I
admire and I was indeed pleased when she got the post,
even though I believe Winston Dookeran should have been
given the nod and put to rest this nonsense about two
people holding the positions of Opposition Leader and
This is a recipe for mass confusion and all this infighting
within the loyal opposition party can be attributed in
part to this stupid and unprecedented two-tier leadership.
Men have been mucking up this place for too long, so why
not give a woman a chance. If only because of their maternal
instincts, it is reasonable to assume their leadership
style would be devoid of the pettiness and vindictive
tendencies that have characterised the stewardship of
our so-called (male) leaders.
Shortly after getting the job, Mrs Persad-Bissessar began
making the right noises, especially talking about unifying
the party. That sounded real nice.
But lo and behold, I was jolted out of my comfort zone
when she did something I didnt think she was capable
ofplaying the race card.
I might be wrong and please correct me, Mrs Persad-Bissessar,
but that is the only conclusion I can come to and knowing
you as I do I was really taken back by your comments.
How could you in all sincerity say there is a systematic
plan by the Government to fire Trinis of East Indian descent
from certain state entities?
Minister of Public Utilities Pennelope Beckles has challenged
you to bring the evidence to support that rather outlandish
accusation. And I support her in this instance. I cannot
imagine any right thinking government deliberately courting
the ire of any section of this cosmopolitan society by
institutionalising discrimination of any form.
It is easy for some of our Indian brothers and sisters
to feel very uncomfortable with the way some things are
done at the national level but to say there is a concerted
plan to deny them their legitimate rights is taking it
Mrs Persad-Bissessar, I dont want you to fall into
the trap of appealing to tribal instincts because it will
get you nowhereand very fast.
The vast majority of citizens are fed up with this racial
bogey and to be quite frank it has gotten us nowhere.
It engenders divisiveness and discord within the society.
We have enough of that being spewed by some of those silly
talk show hosts.
As someone aspiring to assume leadership of the country
you must be a unifying force and not one for driving a
wedge between the two major ethnic groups. I might be
harsh on you but I feel very passionate about this racial
old talk coming especially from our politicians.
Where is the empirical evidence of this plot to fire East
The political leader of your partyWinston Dookeranis
speaking about a new kind of politics and you would do
well to forget the old tribal-type politics and follow
You have the potential to be a good leader but if this
is the line you are taking I humbly suggest you think
again. I am not batting for the PNM but lets be
fair. Look at how many of our East Indian brothers and
sisters are in Mannings cabinet. Is that discrimination?
Dont tell me they are there for window dressing
I would be the first one to speak out against injustice
where I see it and unless you can come up with proof that
there is widespread discrimination, you must cease from
driving along that dangerous path.
I am willing to admit that T&T has a racial issue
but not a racial problem and when responsible leaders
go out of their way to fan those partisan flames no one
knows what the result would be.
Fortunately, we have demonstrated that ability to manage
our diversity without much difficulty and this is largely
due to the fact that we are basically a peace-loving people.
Unfortunately, there are some politicians who use the
race bait, especially at election time, to whip up the
ignorant segment of their supporters.
I do not want to put you in that category because I honestly
dont think you are that type of a person. However,
I will be watching you very closely to see how far you
are prepared to take this racial imbalance talk.
Fight for equalityfor all the groupsbut please
do not descend into that arena.
Thank God we are a very literate people and despite the
arrant nonsense that comes from the egg heads in our society,
politicians of that ilk would never see an all-out racial
confrontation, like we are seeing in other places, happening
Please, Mrs Persad-Bissessar, let your voice be a uniting
force, not a divisive one. We cannot take more pressure.
It is too much already.