Valley of...?

Mr. Valley said yesterday in no uncertain terms that he hopes Trinidadians see what is coming further down the road if they do not act now...

got the following in a group I was invited to join on Facebook...

I am addressing this message to all persons who cherish T&Ts democracy, of all political parties, or of none, and of all ages. I appeal to you to put country first.

The forthcoming election is like none before. This is not merely a contest to choose a government to govern our beloved country under our present constitution.

Political leader Patrick Manning has declared his intention should he win, to change the constitution of T&T, to become Executive President. This threat cannot be taken lightly, because many of Manning's actions betray a frightening dictatorial streak which citizens must reject, by registering to vote, and more importantly, by voting on election day.

I submit the following for your consideration:

1. I came to know Mr Kenneth Valley in 1987 when we both served in the senate. He was appointed a PNM senator by Manning in his party's darkest hour, following the NAR 33-3 victory at the polls. Valley has since been a loyal PNM front man, a deputy political leader, Chief Whip and leader of government business in parliament, and a cabinet minister highly respected by the business community which he serves. That all constituency groups have nominated him and no one else, to contest the next elections, is proof enough that the people of Diego Martin Central want him as their representative. Yet Manning rejected Valley, based on a flimsy poll of 240 persons in a constituency exceeding 25,000 and seeks to replace the peoples' candidate with a candidate of his own. Not only is Manning subverting the PNM constitution by his secret poll, he overrides the wishes of the people, and disregards Valley's performance as a minister.

2. Almost half the elected PNM representatives chosen by the people are being removed to make way for Manning's nominees. The peoples' representatives must choose their leader, but the roles are reversed, and the leader is choosing the representatives for the people. This surely is democracy turned on its head.

3. Manning rejected the offer of Mr Anthony Garcia, Fatima College principal and a former TUTTA president, as a candidate for the elections. The far-fetched reason given – Garcia's son is married to Christine Kangaloo, a minister in his cabinet. While thus indicating his distaste for family connections in his administration, he nevertheless appointed his wife a cabinet minister. These events amongst others, demonstrate his preference for pliable individuals around him. He feels threatened by persons of substance, who can think independently.

4. Manning has built himself a $148 million palace but abandoned President House to rot and ruin. President Max Richards meanwhile has been made to make do in the "maid's quarters" behind the crumbling President House.

5. When Uganda's head of state President Musevini visited recently, protocol required that T&Ts head of state President Richards should have welcomed him. But Manning jumped ahead of President Richards' and pushed Richards aside.

6. Without any scruples, Manning subverts the constitution of T&T and the PNM, and to pamper his ever burgeoning ego, he willy-nilly disregards accepted protocol.

7. The Red House is revered by many as T&Ts historical seat of government. All the debates of our colonial past, the voices of Cipriani, Butler, Albert Gomes, the Sinanans and Capildeos, Raymond Quevedo, Eric Williams - all echoed in its hallowed chamber. Our independence was ushered in at the Red House in 1962; it witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack, and the raising of T&Ts flag. It withstood and survived the violent onslaught on our democracy in 1990, and so much history dwells within those walls. When unveiling the plaque in the parliamentary chamber recently to honour her late father, Erica Williams urged that the Red House remain the seat of our parliament. Yet without any consultation with the people, or even the parliament staff, Manning seeks to eject parliament from the Red House to make it his office, and even to squat cheek and jowl on the steps of the Red House, encroaching on the sanctity of parliament, and compromising the separation of legislature and executive.

8. Under Manning's draft constitution, a constitution with little input from the people, the people, you and I, will have no voice in electing the Executive President as in the United States. Instead, the PNM executive controlled by Manning will choose the Executive President. If he becomes Executive President, Manning will simply extend his powers to include those now vested in President Max Richards, and Richards will disappear. With his handpicked MPs he will have total control of parliament. He will influence or control the appointment of every state officer, including members of the judiciary. Many of Manning's decisions have demonstrated bias, either political, cultural or racial, and citizens like Marlene Coudray, Fareeza Mohommed and Devant Maharaj have had to resort to our courts to redress injustices. The Maha Sabha got their radio licence 5 years late, on the orders of the Privy Council.

Guyana had Forbes Burnham. Zimbabwe has Robert Mugabe. Will Trinidad and Tobago vote to preserve its democracy? I urge you all to put country before party, put country before politics, put Trinidad & Tobago first.

Michael J Williams
Maracas Valley

1 comment:

  1. Bandwagonist, I glad to see you delving in politics. What madness you was telling me on my blog about you hope, blah, blah, blah? Look, doh worry about that. I like to hear what you have to say.

    By the way, MJW talk some real truth there.