…for your own good, Mr PM
Sunshine Today has been prolific in providing advice to our Prime Minister not because the editorial position of the paper supports the Government or any party for that matter but because this paper was built on the promise to be the voice for the little people of this country.
When it was launched, another promise that was made was that with the amount of negativity that passes for news at the time, we promised to adopt a role that would promote and brand Trinidad and Tobago and thus enhance the image of this beautiful country in the global village.
Against this backdrop, Sunshine Today has continued to explore our social and political landscape seeking to find areas where our leaders can improve their stewardship and bring it to the fore with the hope that the advice offered ease the hardships our citizens face on a daily basis and even curb the stupidity that our leaders practise.
But never in our wildest dreams did we ever conceive that we would have to advise the Prime Minister against errant Ministers, Ministers whose content is so abrasive that it sullies not just the Government but also our people and forces upon us adjectives like backward, Third World and pejorations of a negative kind that bring our country into disrepute.
This is what the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development and Leader of Government Business in the House did to this country with her contribution during the launch of her party’s Local Government campaign in Tunapuna last Wednesday.
Now everyone knows that the PNM is on the backfoot with this Darryl Smith sex scandal issue and varying versions of what people believe to be a cover up to protect the indiscretions of the then Minister of Sport in the newly minted Rowley administration.
Everyone knows that given the platform of integrity upon which Dr. Keith Rowley mounted his march to the Diplomatic Centre that the nation would have put his administration under the spotlight searching to see the improvements that he boasted would have made his Government different from the People’s Partnership government he replaced.
Everyone knows that there were serious violations committed by the Kamla-led coalition and the deafening silence that followed is part of the reason why today they are seated between the Opposition benches.
And it is for this reason that the people of Trinidad and Tobago said enough is enough and voted in favour of the “red and ready” Rowley army with a hope that integrity of office would improve, corruption would be on the steady decline and the international image of our country would rise. Eh heh? Not on your life!
There too many issues affecting the country
This country never believed that at a time when the global village has shifted towards the protection of women at the workplace, enacted legislation to defend them in their homes against domestic violence and seek to establish policies to shatter the glass ceiling which continue to deprive them from taking their rightful place in society that a female Government Minister would ascend a public platform in an attempt to silence the Opposition with a cry that says you were worse than we.
In the first place anyone with a modicum of common sense on the PNM platform would have known to steer clear of introducing this Darryl Smith issue as part of any agenda during this Local Government elections.
There are too many issues affecting the country to give the Darryl Smith narrative a place or a space when it has the potential to damage the image of the Government and provide the Opposition with fodder for a lethal assault.
Anyone with basic common sense would have sought to focus on issues related to the services that the Councillors and Aldermen are expected to deliver. The public would have been happy to hear a chronology of the PNM stewardship to the people. They would have been thrilled to hear why the PNM government did not provide the nation with one single element of Local Government reform as promised in their 2015 General Election manifesto.
But the fact that Camille Robinson Regis could talk about nothing more than the Darryl Smith story about of which she spoke only manifests the emptiness of her content, the worthlessness of her contribution and how void her knowledge is about Local Government development. And to think that this is a young lady whom I had taught many moons ago at Sixth Form Government Secondary in St James! She was so bright then. What has PNM politics done to her now?
She is the Leader of Gov’t Business in the House
She was one of the keynote speakers at that Tunapuna public meeting. She is the Leader of Government Business in the House and all that her contribution did was to convince the listening audience that this Government is clueless with regard to improving the Local Government infrastructure in our country. One would have thought that Robinson-Regis would have chosen to stay away from gutter politics and speak to the nation about Local Government Reform that was promised by the Rowley administration when it was voted into power.
One expected to see changes because of the criticisms levelled at the said People’s Partnership by the PNM when the Partnership initiated the vulgar changes that were stoutly criticised by the PNM – changes that sought to determine how Aldermen were apportioned in Regional Corporations across the country.
One would have expected to hear ideas as to whether the Government was moving to empower Regional Corporations to raise their own taxes in order to assist in the financial stranglehold that annually affects their ability to provide the quality of care in the burgesses under their jurisdiction.
But rather than provide a discourse of substance, Madam Tinkerbell offered the kind of Jamette discourse that angered instead of wooed the people especially those in the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation.
A drive through the communities further exacerbates the stupidity of introducing Darryl Smith and the alleged sexual shenanigans on the political platform because Camille had the opportunity to pronounce on why the waterways within the Corporation have remained unattended for so long.
But Camille had to go in the gutter
Having to speak, she was gifted with the opportunity to tell the nation about the reason why with the passing of just a tropical wave, the people in her Arouca/Maloney constituency are inundated by water or why the businesses that have set up shop in the East have to struggle with unexpected floods given the low volume of rainfall.
Camille should have taken the opportunity to boast about Greenvale and a possible success story given that in spite of other areas flooding, the villagers there have not been paralyzed since the deluge that crippled them just about a year ago.
But Camille had to go in the gutter.
Camille is no saint. She was chided under the Patrick Manning’s administration for her indiscretionate use of the State’s credit card and there is no need to rehash the sins for which the present administration has forgiven her.
She is no saint because there are still questions hanging over her head about the cash deposit that was made for which the bank complained about source of funds issues.
Given this history, the nation has come to expect anything from Camille but when her content places the lives of women under threat then she has crossed a line from which we should not expect her to return.
Camille Robinson-Regis instead should have been using the platform to speak out against sexual harassment at the workplace and the plans her Government has to ensure that women raising their heads to be Councillors would not be molested at the workplace.
But no! Her interest is in standing in defence of Darryl Smith, criticising the Opposition because they also had Darryl Smiths in their fold and they did nothing, according to Camille, so they should lose their voice in this matter.
This is sad for the women of Trinidad and Tobago. And as such to avoid further embarrassment Sunshine Today advises Dr. Rowley to put a muzzle on Camille Robinson-Regis and spare her the ignominy of taking our country back to the dark past when the rights of women were violated.