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A convenient conscience

THE HUMAN ELEMENT SUZANNE MILLS Sunday, December 9 2012

Sorry Ms Seepersad Bachan, but exclude me when you are talking about the COP being the conscience of the nation because there is a chasm separating my conscience and theirs or yours. I donít play both sides. I couldnít be a member of a government, collecting big salary and perks, sit with the colleagues making decisions, then go outside and play Mother Superior. I would have respect for majority rule or I would walk.

Thatís the COP; they want to have their cake and eat it. Leaving the Partnership means going it on their own, which they canít, their leader admitting that the party was ďgrowing in respect and honour that our citizens view us with, if not in absolute numbers.Ē

Respect and honour donít vote; they are lofty notions but what you need to win an election is your ground troops, like the UNC supporters who have answered their Prime Ministerís battle call.

The COP has launched a bitter offensive from within, but the message from the UNC is a show of force. You want to play politics? We have the voters; you have words.

I donít get the COPís agenda. Before they signed on the dotted line, didnít they read the political fine print? They are a minority party in this Government, but they speak and act as if they were in the majority. How different the TOP. Itís working within the party to attain autonomy for Tobago, and its representatives never speak out of turn. It realises there is strength in numbers.

The COP wonít shut up, publicly disagreeing with the Government on almost every issue.

The COP is the self-appointed conscience of the nation, morally superior to the UNC, the PNM.

Itís dominated by our upper middle class, our academics and intellectuals, who do not understand that when you enter the political arena you have to be prepared to play in the dirt, and you have to have ground troops.

The COP cannot win an election on its own. Nor would it win a single seat. So it clings to the UNC for support, even as it opposes policy and considers itself morally superior. The saint is a sinner.

From the COP; we have nothing but word games and ad nauseum attempts to take an alleged moral high ground. The Foreign Minister fires off a defiant statement appealing for compassion for Wayne Kublalsingh and in his defense says he was just commenting on a national issue. Does Mr Dookeran think we are all a bunch of idiots?

His confrontational press release, which suggested that TT looked uncaring and decadent in the eyes of the international community, was diametrically opposed to the cabinet and caucus stance and came after the Prime Minister

had spoken decisively on the matter.

By issuing a contradictory statement, Dookeran assumed his position was of equal or more weight than hers and deserved to be published. Such was their moral authority he could not keep his thoughts to himself. But ask yourselves a question. Can you imagine Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking up a contrary position to President Barack Obamaís and dispatching a press release while on an official trip abroad? Sheíd have to resign. Dookeran is no ordinary citizen.

He is a senior member of the partnership Government, for better or worse. If the marriage isnít working for him he should go his own way. Is it possible that he was trying to provoke the prime minister into firing him?

In its present state, the COP cannot hope to attract new membership. The party appears to have multiple personalities and points of view; some of the COPís members are not in agreement with its current course of action. Its MPs are not moving in harmony.

If the COP left the partnership, not all its representatives in the Lower House would step into opposition with it. Those who wish to leave are caught in a catch 22 situation.

Soon enough, the Prime Minister may have to fire or sideline the COP Ministers who are challenging her Gov-

ernment: she may decide that they are doing her administration more harm than good.

An attack from within is always more lethal than one from without, and with the PNM simultaneously reforming its constitution and image and very much on the blitz, organising marches and protests and selling the message that the nation is in crisis, it is crucial for the Government to present a united front. COPís statements make the PP look weak, indecisive.

Calling in the ground troops is a clever manoeuvre, but it will not convince the handful of rebellious COP MPs to cease their offensive.

They are living the best of both worlds; they get to enjoy the power, salaries and perks of being members of a government and to live parasitically off the UNCís political clout, and they get to ignore collective responsibility in order to self-canonise themselves on the political altar. Must be nice.

www.suzannemills.net

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