BLAME YOURSELF FOR THE RESULTS – and face the writing on the wall

2709

By: Jack Warner

The writing is on the wall. The message has been sent.

The 2020 General Election is not going to be a walk in the park for Rowley’s People’s National Movement. As a matter of fact, the PNM can depend on a fierce battle as the United National Congress seeks to unseat Dr Keith Rowley and reinstall Kamla Persad Bisses­sar into the seat of power.
No one really expected the UNC to perform this well. Not even those in leadership within the party. No one expected, given the PNM’s domination of the air­waves and the millions they spent, that the UNC had a chance of lev­elling the scores, far more winning seats in PNM controlled areas. But it did and in so doing the message is now clear that the UNC is not prepared to roll over and die.

PNM should hang its head in shame

The PNM needs to hang its collective head in shame and no amount of posturing by Fitzgerald Hinds on national television can change that. People like Hinds is the very reason why the PNM is in trouble. Even in the face of defeat; even in the face of monumental embarrassment Hinds states that “the UNC is gasping for breath.” What a clown (wish I could have printed a stronger word) Hinds continues to be! After all, this is by far one of the worst UNC adminis­trations in the history of the party.
This administration lacks unity, lacks camaraderie, lacks a spirit of oneness yet the PNM, while being the Government has failed to capitalise on the UNC’s weak­nesses and perform in a manner that would shake the confidence of every UNC member.
In the Parliament, it is clear that this UNC is at its most divisive. Everyone is not familiar with the script. The once leading lights within the party are no more and yet Rowley’s PNM could not have made a defining statement and bury Kamla’s UNC once and for all?
It is not that I am in sorrow be­cause of Rowley’s loss. Never! It is just that with all his rhetoric, his chants about the readiness of the PNM, they have failed ignomini­ously to capture the imagination of the people and allowed the UNC to become relevant once again.

The people have lost hope

Rowley’s failure is predicat­ed on the fact that the people of Trinidad and Tobago, un­der this current administration have lost hope. We have lost our way at a time when we ex­pected the Prime Minister to awaken our kindred spirit and a reason to hope again. Rowley’s failure is predicated on the fact that he had no message for the people. “Getting it done” was their mantra and, a week ago, this paper asked, “What have you done for the people in four years Dr Rowley?” What? An­other chant was “red and roll­ing.” Rolling to damnation, no doubt.

This administration, during the entire election campaign, could not point to one basic achievement they have accomplished. This was a despicable performance by the PNM and Kamla must rue the fact that she was unable to build a team, shades of 2020 that would have demoralised and devastated Rowley’s PNM in this Local Gov­ernment Elections. But if we are honest, we all must ask the ques­tion what has Rowley done for us lately? On the eve of election peo­ple from River Estate, Blue Basin and Patna Village were disturbed that the PNM were still paving the roads in an attempt to steal their vote. So too in Lopinot! Old po­litical tactics in a new era!
Little did the PNM know that the UNC was already quietly mak­ing inroads into the PNM territory dismantling the power of the PNM well-oiled machinery. Quietly.
For the records, Dr Rowley, could you really not speak about health and hygiene issues dur­ing the campaign? For none of these was addressed at the Local Government level during your
tenure.
On the platform, Dr Rowley could you not have spoken about local government reform? Be­cause the local government initia­tive that you promised, you have simply failed to deliver.
During the run-up to this elec­tion, Councillors would normally boast about the rivers and the wa­terways they maintained but the stewardship of this administra­tion showed that their failure to dredge and desilt the rivers result­ed in the loss of property to many
voters.

The people are clearly frustrated with the Rowley administration

And finally, Dr Rowley and company realised that the last-minute patching of our roads which would have fooled the peo­ple years ago did not do the trick this time because, with the advent of social media, the real stories are now broadcast.
This is a serious message that the people of Trinidad and Tobago have delivered to Dr Rowley and his PNM.
The people are clearly frustrated with the Rowley administration and the message that was sent is that the tide is turning. The swing has already begun. That shift in the voting pattern is opening the door for Kamlamania to once again take over the country.
The PNM will now have to go back to the drawing board to un­derstand how in a mere four years they humbly surrendered eight seats to the Opposition.

Back to the drawing board, Mr PM

The PNM should call an emer­gency meeting and discuss how it was possible for the UNC to cap­ture the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation which is located in the heartland of the PNM along the East-West Corridor. They have to explain how Ronald Heera, the PNM candidate for the electoral district of Enterprise South lost his seat to the UNC after having been there for the last twenty years.
The PNM has to seek to under­stand the strategy used by the UNC that continues to maintain a virtu­ally impenetrable fortress around its constituencies. These are criti­cal considerations which must be given now as the movement away from the PNM continues, from the Bye-election when the PNM lost the seat in the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation to the dis­mal showing Monday at the polls.
There is no good news for the PNM after this election. For re­gardless of how the party wishes to spin an explanation for this failure, the truth is it failed to per­form, failed to meet the expecta­tions of the people, ignored its ac­tivists and loyalists on the ground and sought to alienate its people in favour of the one percent.

Take my Advice, Dr Rowley

It is not that Dr Rowley was not advised. Week after week in my column “Advice to the Prime Min­ister” I provided him with a road map, showing him the path to vic­tory and showing him the pitfalls which would lead to his demise, but he would not listen. He, like the rest of his Cabinet, was arro­gance personified.
Rather than humble himself and recognize the wisdom he was given, he mounted platforms, ma­ligning me, setting examples for other members like obeah woman Camille Robinson Regis to do the same. Now, do you see what I was saying to you, Dr. Rowley?
This is what I sought to spare you from. It is the agony of de­feat, the pain of rejection and the anguish that in less than five years, the people who reposed trust and confidence in you and your Government have rejected you at the polls.

All is not lost

I can tell you though that all is not lost because my journey in politics has taught me that a day in politics is likened unto more than a year. But you have to serve the people honestly and not face an election harbour­ing secrets such as the Sandal Scandal, the Sale of Petrotrin and the Dragon Gas Deal and believe you will be given a sec­ond chance to rule. At present, the people of the country are just fed-up of the PNM but this does not necessarily mean that they are enamoured with the UNC. They simply do not know where to turn to politically.
Dr Rowley didn’t I warn you about the price you will pay for your failure to be transpar­ent and accountable to your people? Didn’t I warn you that people were waiting patiently to vote you out after you removed the subsidies on fuel and then allowed your Finance Minis­ter to laugh at them and taunt them? Monday night’s defeat is the price you have to pay. And, unless you change and change quickly, a bigger defeat is lurk­ing in the background.
Now you have less than a year to make a difference, less than a year to show that you really care. Less than a year, Dr Rowley, to try to recapture the lost ground which I advised you was slip­ping away from the PNM. But you took no heed. Instead you, in your usual fashion, sought to demonise the messenger and re­fused to internalise the message.
My advice to you once again is to treat the people right. Give them a sense of hope. You and your Cabinet do not have all the answers to the country’s prob­lems. Forget the fake wisdom of those with deep pockets who cannot deliver to the PNM the votes at election time.
Monday night’s loss is an em­barrassment. Accept this defeat. But be aware that come 2020, if the slide continues, you will have five years to regret failing to accept the unsolicited weekly advice I have been giving to you for the last four years when you sit among the seats within the Opposition.
Blame yourself for the LGE re­sults, Dr Rowley, and face the writing on the wall!