The discontent brewing.
I saw this one too.http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/The_nothingness_at_the_core-163367826.html
The nothingness at the core
By Michael Harris
Story Created: Jul 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM ECT
Story Updated: Jul 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM ECT
Just over six months ago Terrence Farrell intervened in the politics. He did so by writing, in the Express, an article on the controversy which was then raging in the country over the fact that the Prime Minister and the Attorney General had awarded themselves "silk" and had also "gifted" that honour to the Chief Justice.
On that occasion I had described Dr Farrell's article as a "brilliantly lucid summation of the issues of the controversy". Now, six months later, Dr Farrell has intervened again. In an equally lucid and insightful article he has laid bare the implications of the Government's appointment of Jwala Rambarran to the position of Governor of the Central Bank which he described as "the latest instance of the continuing termitic assault on the institutions of State."
Dr Farrell argues that, given the critical importance of the role of the Central Bank, "it needed to be led, especially at this difficult juncture, by someone with a depth of experience in economic management and policy-making and organisational skills, sufficiently independent to keep the Government of the day honest in its conduct of the country's monetary affairs, and sufficiently strong and respected to keep the financial system stable." And, in his opinion, Mr Rambarran does not measure up to such selection criteria.
But Dr Farrell does not stop there. He compares the appointment of the Governor of the Central Bank to the Reshmi Ramnarine appointment and argues that the succession of similar appointments at key institutions "suggests that there is an agenda afoot." In this context, he pointedly reminds us that soon this Government will have to appoint a President of the Republic and notes that, "The appointment of the President unlocks the door to other appointments — judges, chairmen and members of service commissions and 'independent' senators."
Is Dr Farrell correct? Is there an "agenda afoot"? Does this Government have some diabolical Machiavellian plan to systematically populate the directorate of every key institution of State with its loyal supporters and thereby subvert the independence of such institutions to the end of giving itself freedom to ride roughshod over and through the Constitution?
These are troubling questions and if Dr Farrell is right then our Constitution, our country and we the citizens are indeed in great peril. And, given the recent actions of the Minister of National Security, it is a brave man who would bet against Dr Farrell's proposition. However, while I do not disagree with Dr Farrell about the danger, I would want to suggest an alternate viewpoint as to the nature of that danger.
To my mind this Government is not moved by any plan, nefarious or otherwise. Plans, even nefarious ones, require some degree of logic, some capacity for looking ahead and anticipating what might be, the ability to devise alternate scenarios and the sense to stop and recalculate when things do not seem to be going right. The Machiavellian, after all, is described as cunning and crafty. This government displays neither cunning nor craftsmanship.
What motivates this Government, the only thing which motivates this Government, is an almost pathological hunger for pillage. The cry of "we time now" is not to be understood as a call for vengeance (although there are undoubtedly some who might have vengeance in their hearts) nor is it to be understood as some ethnic war cry (some of their supporters might think it is but not they.)
The cry of "we time now'' must be understood above all as the sound which accompanies the unshackling of the chains of restraint and the release of the spirit of "unbridled licence." The licence stems from the view which is pervasive in this country that politics is war and to the victor goes the spoils. This view is not confined to this Government. The PNM also shares this view as witnessed by Colm Imbert's famous statement that "we win the election we can do what we want".
The difference between the PNM and this Government however lies in the "unbridled" aspect of the licence. For this Government has no concept of right or wrong, no concern for history and tradition, no standards of ethics or morality to which they ascribe. For them, as Dr Farrell points out, there are no sacred cows. For them, nothing is off-limits.
My first intimation of this came with the Reshmi appointment, which was so outrageous that it opened for me what I described, at the time, as the "nightmarish" possibility that the appointment was indeed made simply to give a job to a close supporter to whom the party owed a favour and that as far as the Prime Minister and her Cabinet were concerned the job of Director of the SSA was just a well paid job, essentially no different from any other and requiring no special experience, skills or credentials.
In another article, written months later, I would describe the Government in the following terms: "this Government is not only visionless and bankrupt of plan and programme...at its very core it is a vector of corruption and iniquity, a virulence that is attacking the country's immune system by destroying all standards, values and principles of morality in public life."
The one other thing which we need to understand about this Government is that it operates solely on the basis of expediency and opportunism. And therein lies our problem. When opportunity meets unbridled licence the result is what we see before us, "a drunken joyride through the corridors of state in which they have ridden roughshod over persons, reputations, institutions and principles of good conduct."
So, the reader may well be asking, what is the difference between what I am saying and Dr Farrell's assertion that an agenda is afoot? And I would have to admit that in terms of consequences for Constitution and country there is very little difference, the danger is the same.
The difference lies in what we might be able to do about it. The Machiavellian, for all his cynicism and duplicity, has at least an objective for which he cares, and around which a countervailing strategy might be prepared. I ask you what strategy is possible, what appeal is to be made, what logic can we employ when there is simply nothing at the core?
Ramadan Mubarak to my Muslim brothers and sisters.
—Michael Harris has been for many years a writer and commentator on
politics and society in Trinidad and the wider Caribbean.