Sunday 4th June, 2006

Martin George
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UNC ship sinking

“Have you heard the latest news flash?” My friend and mentor Mr Maharaj asked me excitedly on the phone. I could just picture the mischievous smile on his face, the kind that he wears when he tells a joke. “What is it?” I asked. He said, “There was an ultra secret caucus meeting of the UNC executive last night, and it was the first time in a while that all warring sides agreed on anything.”

He continued, “Yes, they agreed unanimously to change the name of the party from UNC to UNB.”

He proceeded to tell me what UNB stood for and why the rationale for the name change.

While we will expect many more such jokes to surface as the election tempo heats up, one can in fact understand the disenchantment and disappointment that many persons in the national community feel with the behaviour, present and past, of so many UNC executives and leaders and supporters.

One can understand Anand Ramlogan’s lament last week in this newspaper, when he bemoaned the fact that some of the leaders have in fact not lived up to expectations and have disappointed the East Indian community.

It was poignant, potent and pertinent, that he made this point on the weekend of Indian Arrival Day when, in celebrating the victories and achievements of the East Indian community in T&T, it appears that the UNC, the flagship of arrival on the political landscape, has so badly floundered and run aground.

It appears not just to be a case of “captain, the ship is sinking,” the first thing is to try to even decide who is the captain, and whom do you make your report to?

If you try to go to the media publicly or to try to raise an SOS, you are disciplined and expelled, as Robin and Gary found out, much to their chagrin.

The elected ship’s captain Winston, is treated as a mutineer and a political upstart who is seen as not having the belly for the fight and whom some are hoping will just score a “duck and run.”

Rumours run rife aboard the ship, of there being a secret cabal of sailors loyal to the deposed Captain Silver Fox, who are manipulating things and running the show and doing everything to frustrate the old Winston who appears to have visibly aged before our very eyes over the past couple months.

Such is the monument of pressure and strain he is under from these young whippets who snap at his heels on a daily basis and give him no rest.

In the absence of the former captain, who just barely escaped a two-year stint in the brig, it appears that de facto control has been handed from the Silver Fox to Jack in the Box.

This was the same Jumping Jack who was hunting with the foxes, and at the same time, running with the hares. When it seemed like the tide was turning against the Old Silver, none was more vocal in leading the charge against the Bas, than Jumping Jack, with his arm around Winston’s shoulders, celebrating the elevation of Dooks to the post of ship captain.

That arm now has poor Dookie in a headlock from which it seems he cannot escape, and with his other arm Jack has gotten the key to the brig and freed the Silver Fox, even to the point of putting up his deed and posting bail for him.

So with the Silver Fox emerging from custody and back to the fold, Jumping Jack now slips effortlessly into the role of the biggest Fox fan, and comes to the Old Bas, with Dookie in the headlock saying, “Boss ah have him here for you to deal with him.”

Meanwhile, now enters Two Face, who was made to walk the plank and was unceremoniously dumped and thrown off the ship a while back, on charges of allegedly boring holes in the hull and trying to sink the ship.

After washing ashore and wandering in the political wilderness for years, he has seen hope in reviving his political fortunes by trying to climb back aboard the SS UNC which has run aground on the shore.

His detractors and opponents try to beat him off with oars and paddles to prevent him scrambling aboard, but he is a survivor and a crafty sailor whose back is broad and he manages to get a few high-ranking sailors to approve his return to the ship, the same ship he allegedly tried to sink.

His presence on board creates some unease and discomfort, and the head of the Chinese Association of sailors takes a life raft and gets off the ship saying, “they not ready Yet, so Ming gone.”

He is followed by the former school boy Roy, and following behind not far, is Mr Manohar.

Meanwhile the Women’s Liberation Movement of Sailors celebrates the ascension of Kamla to the throne of Opposition Leader, but it seems that this term has now taken on a new meaning. Opposition Leader apparently now means that you must give Opposition to your Leader.

Winston has found himself in constant opposition with the Leader of the Opposition and the charade and absurd farce continues, where years after the ships of arrival landed on these shores, the ship of political arrival remains moribund and run aground, shipwrecked on the shores of political in-fighting, mistrust and suspicion.

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