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truetrini

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Rumshop politics
« on: January 29, 2011, 10:37:57 PM »
Rumshop politics
By Raffique Shah

Story Created: Jan 29, 2011 at 9:35 PM ECT

(Story Updated: Jan 29, 2011 at 9:35 PM ECT )

DURING the formative years of the United Labour Front (ULF), circa 1975/76, I learned some harsh lessons in "politics by vaps" courtesy an often-tipsy Basdeo Panday. Those occurrences come to mind as I watch amazing scenes played out on the national stage. Since the lead actress is Panday's successor, Prime Minister and UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who has publicly stated that Bas is her "political guru", maybe there is a nexus between what happened so many moons ago and what is happening today.

Without going into details of how the ULF was almost stillborn, or attempting to debunk the myth that Panday alone founded the party, I shall relate incidents that are relevant to today's muddled politics. Before the ULF formally became a political party in March 1976, it was an alliance of four vibrant trade unions. The principal leaders were George Weekes, Panday, Joe Young and me. In many ways, not the least being my age (I was not yet 30), I was the baby among veterans.

Weekes, a father figure to me, persuaded me to sacrifice some principles I held firmly to, on the altar of what he saw as political progress. I saw it as political expediency, but "PG" (as Weekes was fondly called) had me commit myself to the embryonic ULF. Before the labour group morphed into a political party, "PG", Bas, Joe and I would hold meetings with our union supporters in districts like Barrackpore, Penal, Rio Claro—mostly in Central Trinidad and the Deep South.

It was customary after such meetings that we would stop off at some village rum shop. I was never a drinker of note: one or two drinks of rum-and-coke were my limit. "PG" was more seasoned, and Bas more adventuresome. By this I mean Bas did not consume much alcohol, but two or three drinks would send him into the tipsy zone. Anything more than that, we'd be looking for Vishnu (his nephew) to drive his Kingswood, to ensure he reached home safely.

At every village rum shop, one is sure to encounter a "mayor" or other spokesperson, who, sufficiently plied with liquor, would expatiate. One or two such characters would come to our table and reel out their ideas, some worthy, others gibberish or rum-driven-tatah. But as good leaders, we would listen. Bas, however, would often take these exchanges several steps higher.

"My brother!" he would say, "You sound like a very intelligent man. What's your name? Where do you live?" "John Singh, sir! I live in Lengua!" the now excited drunk would respond. "John, come to my office tomorrow...I want to interview you...you seem to be a good candidate for county council elections!" The drunk, buoyed by Panday's liquor-fuelled praises and invitation, would show his appreciation by offering to replenish our supplies.


Multiply the scene described above by 100, and you get a better picture of our plight. General elections were more than a year away, and no one knew when local elections (called county councils then) would be called. But Bas was already sharing "seats" in rum shops. George and I treated his foibles as "rum talk", paying little attention to his promises. Only later would they return to haunt us when some of these characters actually turned up for screening as candidates.

In instances, Panday insisted that these sometimes-dubious characters be accepted by the ULF's screening committee, or he would take his marbles and walk. His attitude brought the party to the brink of collapse before the 1976 general elections. He would wreak more havoc by the time local elections came around in 1977. He saddled us with candidates whose only merit, if it could be so described, was their blind loyalty to Bas. Less than a year later, I had had enough of his shenanigans, and the rest is history. I never looked back, and he kept moving forward.

In today's confusing tragedy of errors that seems to be a fixture in the UNC-led coalition government, I wonder if what we are witnessing is not a replay of a 35-year-old comedy. What criteria are being used to appoint persons to some of the most critical positions in the State apparatus? I do not wish to beat up on Reshmi Ramnarine, since hers is not the only questionable Government appointment. In fact, I feel sorry for her. Clearly, she is the victim of horrendous intra-coalition bungling.


I rather suspect that much the way Bas screened drunks in rum shops, certain powerful People's Partnership officials are interviewing potential office holders at cocktail parties. Everybody is high like the proverbial kite, and someone on higher heights says, "Come and see me in my office tomorrow, darling! You look eminently suitable for the position of ambassador to the Pitcairn Islands or Tokelau." How else does one explain some of the appointments the Government has made thus far? Possession of a party card? Texture of hair or colour of skin? Or how much money one is prepared to plough into the People's Partnership's coffers?

Whatever methods they are using in appointing persons to sensitive or strategic positions, clearly there are no logical guidelines. This seeming chaos at the highest levels of government has led to embarrassment, to minister after minister having to change tunes before they are even sung, to withdraw appointments, to apologise almost every week, as I wrote in my last column.

When the People's Partnership got rid of Patrick Manning, I thought, "Good riddance!" Now I wonder about that.

Offline Bakes

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2011, 11:14:43 PM »
Excellent, excellent article.  In case people have missed me saying it before... I love this man they call Raffique Shah, is a real pity that he never got a chance to make a formal contribution in government, but knowing him as I think I do... I'm sure he feels he's better off for it.  He is one of the few real intellects we have left in the country who still making valid literary/journalistic contributions... and who know how to connect with both the literati and the hoi polloi alike.  He's as true a patriot as we've ever seen... although I disagree in principle with his and Rex Lasalle's attempted coup of 1970.  This man has always looked beyond race, class and political divisions to provide sound commentary on issues affecting TnT... a real model for anyone claiming or aspiring to be truly impartial.

---------------------------------

Side note: TC how hard it is to cut ah URL and paste it at the bottom of the article fella?  I think is time Flex and them put ah stop to this practice allyuh does be carrying on with just cutting and pasting articles without attribution.  Flex rightfully protested to the newspapers and got apologies from some for using his articles without giving him credit... now I think is only right that people posting other people material on the site do the same.  Is nutten but laziness to copy and paste a whole article and not post where yuh tiefin' it from.

Offline zuluwarrior

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2011, 11:16:47 PM »
Well pardner the amount of people wondering about them it really is  funny .

 Just the other day I was  listening to a radio program and a caller called in and was crying because of the way the PP  carrying on , when I heard Kamala won the elections i was glad because PNM was doing plenty shit only to realize that the PP party is more disorganize than the PNM and they are embrassing Trinbagonians .
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good things happening to good people: a good thing
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bad things happening to good people: a bad thing
bad things happening to bad people: a good thing

Offline Bakes

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2011, 11:25:32 PM »
Well pardner the amount of people wondering about them it really is  funny .

 Just the other day I was  listening to a radio program and a caller called in and was crying because of the way the PP  carrying on , when I heard Kamala won the elections i was glad because PNM was doing plenty shit only to realize that the PP party is more disorganize than the PNM and they are embrassing Trinbagonians .

Yeah I was listening to that Harry Harrinarine interview after yuh give mih de heads up, and heard the fella who call in crying... was kinda funny... but really kinda sad at the same time.  I think this government let down real people.  I grow up in ah PNM house and so my bias is for PNM if anything... but I all in favor of progress regardless as to political party.  Anything (legal) that will bring TnT into a position of 21st century leadership, production, efficiency etc... I for that, and I ent really care who steering the ship.  This bunch ah fly-by-night jokers though clearly not the answer.

truetrini

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2011, 11:38:29 PM »
Breds I find dat on facebook ok.  Besides I show is Raffique it come from, not sure if he write in express or guardian

Offline Brownsugar

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011, 05:23:38 PM »
Breds I find dat on facebook ok.  Besides I show is Raffique it come from, not sure if he write in express or guardian

He usually writes in the Express on Sundays.....
"...If yuh clothes tear up
Or yuh shoes burst off,
You could still jump up when music play.
Old lady, young baby, everybody could dingolay...
Dingolay, ay, ay, ay ay,
Dingolay ay, ay, ay..."

RIP Shadow....The legend will live on in music...

Offline fari

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2011, 05:43:24 PM »
thats the sense i gettin from my friends in tnt when i read their status on facebook....genuine disappointment...betrayal even.

Offline Bakes

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2011, 07:40:27 PM »
Breds I find dat on facebook ok.  Besides I show is Raffique it come from, not sure if he write in express or guardian

He usually writes in the Express on Sundays.....

I saw it online on the Express site today.  TC no offense meant hoss... dai'z just ah pet peeve of mine.

Offline warmonga

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 09:07:39 AM »
doh matter wey yu do for trinibagonians dey will never be happy.. If PPL honestly think dat Kamala and Jack aint looking out for that country trinidad something wrong wid dem or dey jes still in love wid manning.. Even a jackass frm a rum shop guh run dat country better than manning ever did..


war
Black Lives Matter..

Offline Dutty

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2011, 10:21:17 AM »
Rumshop politics
By Raffique Shah
At every village rum shop, one is sure to encounter a "mayor" or other spokesperson, who, sufficiently plied with liquor, would expatiate. One or two such characters would come to our table and reel out their ideas, some worthy, others gibberish or rum-driven-tatah. But as good leaders, we would listen. Bas, however, would often take these exchanges several steps higher.

"My brother!" he would say, "You sound like a very intelligent man. What's your name? Where do you live?" "John Singh, sir! I live in Lengua!" the now excited drunk would respond. "John, come to my office tomorrow...I want to interview you...you seem to be a good candidate for county council elections!" The drunk, buoyed by Panday's liquor-fuelled praises and invitation, would show his appreciation by offering to replenish our supplies.

I rather suspect that much the way Bas screened drunks in rum shops, certain powerful People's Partnership officials are interviewing potential office holders at cocktail parties. Everybody is high like the proverbial kite, and someone on higher heights says, "Come and see me in my office tomorrow, darling! You look eminently suitable for the position of ambassador to the Pitcairn Islands or Tokelau." How else does one explain some of the appointments the Government has made thus far? Possession of a party card? Texture of hair or colour of skin? Or how much money one is prepared to plough into the People's Partnership's coffers?


HMMMMMMM :thinking:

« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 10:24:15 AM by Dutty »
Little known fact: The online transportation medium called Uber was pioneered in Trinidad & Tobago in the 1960's. It was originally called pullin bull.

Offline Brownsugar

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2011, 11:07:00 AM »
doh matter wey yu do for trinibagonians dey will never be happy.. If PPL honestly think dat Kamala and Jack aint looking out for that country trinidad something wrong wid dem or dey jes still in love wid manning.. Even a jackass frm a rum shop guh run dat country better than manning ever did..


war

steups!!  We have ppl from the rum shop running the place now and no, dey eh no better than Manning.....
"...If yuh clothes tear up
Or yuh shoes burst off,
You could still jump up when music play.
Old lady, young baby, everybody could dingolay...
Dingolay, ay, ay, ay ay,
Dingolay ay, ay, ay..."

RIP Shadow....The legend will live on in music...

Offline trinindian

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2011, 11:18:51 AM »
steups!!  We have ppl from the rum shop running the place now and no, dey eh no better than Manning.....

Which to me is the real issue, there is no credible party to lead.
 

Offline Bakes

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2011, 12:39:28 PM »
doh matter wey yu do for trinibagonians dey will never be happy.. If PPL honestly think dat Kamala and Jack aint looking out for that country trinidad something wrong wid dem or dey jes still in love wid manning.. Even a jackass frm a rum shop guh run dat country better than manning ever did..


war

How that working out so far?

Offline just cool

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2011, 01:48:56 PM »
steups!!  We have ppl from the rum shop running the place now and no, dey eh no better than Manning.....

Which to me is the real issue, there is no credible party to lead.
Man over board! :devil:
The pen is mightier than the sword, Africa for Africans home and abroad.Trinidad is not my home just a pit stop, Africa is my destination,final destination the MOST HIGH.

Offline zuluwarrior

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2011, 11:32:53 PM »
Trinindian Which to me is the real issue, there is no credible party to lead.



So which one is the best of the both evils . 
 
 
 
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good things happening to good people: a good thing
good things happening to bad people: a bad thing
bad things happening to good people: a bad thing
bad things happening to bad people: a good thing

Offline lefty

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2011, 05:32:55 AM »
Trinindian Which to me is the real issue, there is no credible party to lead.



So which one is the best of the both evils . 
 
 
 


we will do well to learn ah ting or two from France.........symbolically of course , where dere monarchy now.................an doh fool allyuh self in trini Gov't an' opposition is "ruling class" and "ruling class in awaitin" we need leaders who Trinis first and foremost and partisans, nigger an' coolies after............or never :) , we now seeing some semblance of political maturity on both sides of d political and racial divide wit d electorate, d question is are mature enough to break dis two party "merry go round" if someting or someone credible comes around.................... dat to me is d question.................are we there yet ???..........................
I pity the fool....

Offline Bakes

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2011, 09:28:31 AM »
we will do well to learn ah ting or two from France.........symbolically of course , where dere monarchy now.................an doh fool allyuh self in trini Gov't an' opposition is "ruling class" and "ruling class in awaitin" we need leaders who Trinis first and foremost and partisans, nigger an' coolies after............or never :) , we now seeing some semblance of political maturity on both sides of d political and racial divide wit d electorate, d question is are mature enough to break dis two party "merry go round" if someting or someone credible comes around.................... dat to me is d question.................are we there yet ???..........................

You does be posting by telegraph or what fella?  I never see so much dot and dashes... lol

Offline zuluwarrior

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2011, 10:07:18 AM »
Lefty it is so easy for the politician or man to do the wrong thing and get  the results he want, it will be up to the people to make him or her to do what is right.


It is time Trinbagonians stop voting party and start thinking of the country I know it will be hard .
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 10:09:16 AM by zuluwarrior »
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good things happening to good people: a good thing
good things happening to bad people: a bad thing
bad things happening to good people: a bad thing
bad things happening to bad people: a good thing

Offline lefty

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Re: Rumshop politics
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2011, 10:17:42 AM »
You does be posting by telegraph or what fella?  I never see so much dot and dashes... lol

ah like to visualize mih pause ;D


Lefty it is so easy for the politician or man to do the wrong thing and get  the results he want, it will be up to the people to make him or her to do what is right.


It is time Trinbagonians stop voting party and start thinking of the country I know it will be hard .

if we cant start thinkin like dat we may well not go forward or survive as nation

I pity the fool....