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Sylvia we’re sorry

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There are so many issues on which one can comment that it would take far more than one column weekly to even begin to address them. Naturally, with the hearing of the elections petitions now over, (well at least until we start all over with another appeal), that topic lends itself for comment, but it would be good to start on a lighter and more positive level. So here goes:

FLY THEM TO THE MOON

US Vice-President Mike Pence seems to have found a way to ease some of the problems of this world. In a speech on Wednesday of this week, he suddenly blurted out “We are going to the moon”! If so, assuming his President will be among those departing, the ‘Trumponauts’ would do the world a favour if they can make room to take some other political nuisances on their lunar (lunatic?) trip.

What about taking Theresa May and her UK parliamentary colleagues who, three years after inveigling a deceptive vote in a referendum, (does that ring a bell here?) and then setting a departure date of March 29 for leaving the European Union, cannot, on the eve of the departure, make up their minds as to by what means they are leaving, or even their destination. Fly them to the Moon too!

Make room for some others as well, for the people of the Caribbean could do without those Trumpian Trojan horses, who travelled to Mar-y-Lago to give credibility to those plans to steal Venezuelan assets, impose more suffering on its people and install a puppet regime. Let them go too! And, if space can be found, what about taking those rabble-rousing politrickans in our midst who keep raising false hopes and pipe dreams to mislead people here? A lunar (lunatic?) trip will suit them, and our people, quite fine!

BIG UP VINCY ACHIEVEMENTS

My congratulations to young Vincentian Dr Kishore Shallow on becoming the youngest Vice-President of the Cricket West Indies board, along with the new President, Mr Ricky Skerritt. The wave of congratulations sweeping the Caribbean in the wake of their historic victory, speaks volumes of the relief in the region of being rid of three-term President Dave Cameron and his running mate Emmanuel Nanthan, a disgrace to the Windward Islands. Fly them to the moon too!

My humble advice to Dr Shallow and Mr Skerritt is that, expectations are high, keep your open-door policy, your feet on the ground, and, don’t let us down.

Belated congratulations also to our own Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle, for the truly fabulous accomplishment of being the first non-Trinidad citizen to win, in collaboration with Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and producer Krishna Lawrence, the Road March title for Carnival 2019. A fabulous manifestation of Caribbean unity for a positive purpose. Just one thought though, for what if Machel in collaboration with ‘Skinny’ had been awarded our Road March title? Would we have been as blind as some Trinis about “outsiders” winning our title? We are all one people.

ELECTORAL REFORM NOW A MUST

I am sorry for those persons who were so manipulated and hyped up as to engage in a disgraceful display to express their disappointment in losing the marathon election petitions court battle last Thursday. That political leaders who had publicly had so much confidence in winning the court battle, could now resort to what bordered on contempt of the ruling of that very court, reveals a very sad state of affairs here.

I must commend the Police for the admirable restraint shown in the face of reckless provocation. That is how we must demonstrate our maturity in difficult circumstances faced with infantile and lawless behaviour.

Much more than this though, is how we move on from here. The court proceedings have again established that our electoral system, while still intact, is in need of reform, as indeed is our political system. The court ruling must not be seen as any “victory” for the ULP, for it was not the ULP, but our voting system on trial. We have a collective responsibility to take this task very seriously and urgently for another general election is approaching.

We have been having elections petitions since the ’60s exposing shortcomings in our system. We had a great chance to get an overhaul and minimize all the doubt and suspicion during the constitutional reform process of 2003/09, but political irresponsibility and opportunism ruined all that. Let us not be as blind as those Parliamentarians in the self-styled “mother of all parliaments”. Our politicians, our civil society must all re-engage and see how we can work together to improve our system to avoid the shame of the last four years.

Finally, starting with the Opposition, who stirred their supporters to a despicable campaign of intimidation of the Supervisor of Elections Ms. Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb, we all owe her a PUBLIC APOLOGY. Never in our history has a public servant been so publicly vilified, accused of “dishonesty” and harassed from pillar to post. This was a most disgraceful chapter of our history, and no one on the Opposition benches had the guts to say, STOP! On the government side too, there was not enough public show of support for someone who was carrying out a civic duty.

Let us all say, “SYLVIA, WE’RE SORRY” and nominate her for a National Award.

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

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