By Brian G Stone MBA, Business Consultant

Why write an article about democracy in our country when our citizens today are faced with other very challenging is­sues? Who could better answer this question with absolute authority?

Our Venezuelan neighbours beside us, once a thriving de­mocracy, has sunk into chaos by authoritarian rule. Yet it has a fictionalized democratic constitu­tion of laws, rights, and the free­dom to vote that exists in theory, but is an illusion in practice. In 1993, the Russian constitution declared Russia a democratic state. Yet today, under Putin, the illusion of democracy reins under authoritarian rule. Even Guyana’s democracy is today threatened by authoritarian control to unlaw­fully violate the national election process (similar to T&T General Elections of 2015, the unlaw­ful time extension of the close of the polls) is another example of government interference in the election process. No lesser in intent, although not as severe as the examples aforementioned, the PNM political rule of the Row­ley regime is, de facto in reality, a manifestation of authoritarian wolves emerging as sheep over four years of fiction. We are bury­ing ourselves in the complacency of an illusion. Referencing the EIU (Economic Intelligence Unit, The Economist publication, UK), Trinidad and Tobago is ranked a “Flawed Democracy”. Why write about democracy in our country? Because the liberties of democ­racy constitute free men, not sac­rificial lambs.
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”. Benjamin Franklin

Fictiocracy: Democracy as an Illusion

In Carlos March illuminative article titled “Fictiocracy: De­mocracy as an Illusion”, he stated that “… democracy is an illusion. An illusion that is maintained by its governments’ narratives, and a democracy that is corrupted…”. Three operative words, illusion, narratives, and corrupted are an abridged testimony that indicts the Rowley ‘Fictiocracy’ of state rule. Have we not become a na­tion of lambs beholden to the wolves’ narrative? Contrary to the advice given by the great states­man, Benjamin Franklin, we Tri­nis are not “well-armed” when we vote. To be “well-armed”, in the context cited, is to be a free and independent voter without the en­forced influence of authoritarian coercion, extortion, trickery and otherwise heavy-handed tactics of voter manipulation. Such prac­tices are recorded in our history since independence. The Trini Lion that once roared honour and integrity is today’s lamb chops served to fatten the fictiocracy that feeds authoritarian rule. The acquisition of votes by way of manipulative control, such as po­litical tools of racism, fear, or out­right bribery, constitutes an illu­sion of free and fair elections; and that by and large is a democracy on death row.
Time is running out to right-side a democracy we can defend, or a regime rule we can’t. Soon it will be your time to record your vote. Will it be cast for fact or

Fact or Fiction

The fiction of our democracy is a fact. We need only look at a few real events of the past four years under the Rowley regime to prove the legitimacy of this article. Most recently, the government’s inter­ference in and unlawful authority to direct the TTPS violates a fun­damental constitutional principle of democracy, the separation of powers. The Attorney General’s use of state power and intimida­tion to threaten any opposition to the government by the duly elected parliamentary Opposition and citizens who protest and com­plain are also examples of creep­ing authoritarian rule. Abuse of power is demonstrated by their draconian bills and heavy-handed actions to limit the freedom of speech, to violate the privacy of law-abiding citizens, to form a new government politically con­trolled tax-collecting state com­pany accessing private and con­fidential citizen data for political use – such as victimization, data leaks, and various nefarious plots. The state has targeted political adversaries by way of harassment through mindless lawsuits and costly contract breaches costing the state (taxpayers) hundreds of millions of dollars in case losses. That AG Faris Al-Wari is dubbed the most losing AG ever in T&T’s history and this no laugh­ing matter because of the horrific waste of money and the hard­ships on innocent victims of the state.
One could go back to the fake emails wrongfully accusing the first lady Prime Minister of a con­spiracy to murder a journalist, and even further back to the Manning era when the then PNM govern­ment attempted to unlawfully ar­rest the sitting Chief Justice And let us not forget the authoritarian move to place the Speaker of the House who opposed them under (house) arrest. Who could for­get the PNM’s diabolical plot of planting drugs and weapons at the home of a sitting Member of Par­liament, and their total control of the SSA special police operations who illegally taped phone con­versations of citizens, Members of Parliament and even sitting judges? Are these not the actions of an authoritarian regime? Are we not suffering from illusions that betray us? And the people “ain’t riot yet”!
The critical question is, on elec­tion day, the day when you will be tested and our democracy put to the test, will you be “disarmed” as another sacrificial lamb under an illusion, or will you stand up and be “well-armed” contesting your vote?