Sunday 9th September, 2007

Martin George
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Review MPs every year

It’s rather interesting to see our politicians now running around like chickens with their heads cut off as they react to the results of various polls before the national polls, due to come on later this year.

Of course, what makes the entire mix more interesting is the recent defeat suffered at the Jamaican elections by Sister Portia, even as she ranted and raved and stomped her feet in anger and railed against everyone and everything while being ushered out of the Prime Minister’s office.

The reality is that politics can be a cruel and unforgiving game for some, and at the end of the day, it matters not what the early predictions and opinion polls say.

Here in T&T, we have had our own Jamaican poll, which is causing as much furore as Portia’s recent Waterloo. This one, however, has been done by the firm of Johnson Survey Ltd of Jamaica and reportedly commissioned by our very own Prime Minister.

Now, let it be said that it is indeed a good move and an innovation in political party introspection for the Prime Minister to have requested this poll. The results of the poll have not been very flattering to some of his MPs and ministers, himself included, and it is causing a rumbling and a tumbling within the bowels of the party as the intestines and internal organs of that great behemoth move to expel waste matter and detritus from the PNM.

Caught up in this sewage stream are a few party stalwarts who are battling in a tide of excrement as they try to swim upstream to keep their positions and to once again find favour with the party hierarchy.

Prime Ministers of this country need to make this sort of thing an annual exercise, so that the public does not have to suffer with poor representation for a whole five years and then have their Members of Parliament rushing out into the streets to press flesh and kiss babies at the eleventh hour just before the election bell tolls.

Let’s have this at the end of every year and let’s put the brakes on errant MPs at an early stage and prevent them from getting so much out of control as a Dhanraj.

The poll results also come out strongly in favour of Diane Seukeran and unfavourably in respect of Mr Manning’s performance as a Prime Minister. Is the party going to take these items into consideration also? In other words, if we are commissioning a poll and accepting its results, then we are to be also prepared to act on the results and make improvements or positive changes, or is it going to be another Ryder Scott situation where we commission a survey and then when we do not like the survey results we seek to demean and tarnish the name and methodology of the surveyor?

Ken Valley has also thrown his not inconsiderable weight into the ring in a WWF Monday Night Raw-type of showdown as he seeks to put the party hierarchy in a headlock as he attempts to be among the head count for the national poll positions.

Eddie seems to no longer have any Hart for the job and never having had much brain for it either, it may be a no brainer for him to be going. Boynes has rather cleverly and politely declined to even be part of the fray and in this regard, he may be smarter than most, while Camille seems to have the results of the poll hanging like an axe over her head, with credit card hairpieces and all.

Jarette seems to be bowing out quietly while Eudine Job-Davis is allegedly putting up a spirited fight to retain her place in Tobago East.

This must all be very amusing and interesting for Mr Manning to see his MPs fighting and scrambling around like children in a schoolyard tussle to see who gets more marbles.

It is actually a good indicator of the character and nature of some of the MPs, because for some of them, this is the liveliest and most vocal that their constituents have ever seen them in years. In fact, some communities which may not have ever realised that they had an MP at all may now be seeing and hearing from them for the first time.

Is this really the quality and nature of representation we want to continue to get from our parliamentary representatives for the next five years and into the future? And it is not limited to the PNM alone. The UNC and COP members for the most part have been no better, and it is indeed time for the citizens of this country to demand new standards and a new culture in terms of political representation and for meeting the needs of the population.

The poll, albeit late in the day, is a very good start Mr Manning but we must do more than just take a poll, we must be prepared to make positive changes and improvements based thereupon because whether we like it or not change is coming and like Sister Portia, some may leave it too late to make that adjustment and thus end up at General Elections, as being victims of a poll position.

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