During the sunset years of his life, the late Arthur NR Robinson, made many profound statements, one of which was—“I am saddened by the fact that from my personal observation, the experts of the country have failed T&T.” Such an observation was as a result of his consuming passion for patriotism.
As one who had the privilege of visiting and praying for him, both in his office as prime minister and as president of our republic, I had an idea of his great pride for the well-being of this nation of ours.
Hence, the reason for my recounting of his genuine sadness for the failure of so many of our experts, to serve the country in times of crises by failing to break their silence and use their expertise, acquired more often than not, at the expense of the taxpayers, to address the situation and bring clarity, so the citizens can be educated and become better equipped to help in the development of our nation.
There is an issue that is attracting the national attention, notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic. I am flabbergasted at the way the media, the commentators, the professionals and the experts—many of whom are self-appointed—have avoided the real issue, and have highlighted the side issues. What they have done, is to swarm all over the smoke and totally ignored the fire that gives rise to the smoke.
They have magnified the conflicting claims between Minister Stuart Young and the American ambassador. Mr Young is maligned as the pathological liar. The criterion used to arrive at that conclusion is the disparity between the conflicting claims of each man. Neither of the men has produced evidence that what he said to the other is true; so it is Mr Young’s word against the ambassador’s word. Yet, Mr Young is the liar. Why? Are we to believe that the word of the ambassador is the measuring rod against which truth is measured in the determination of its veracity?
Minister Young is a qualified attorney at law. Legitimate checks with the relevant institution will verify that Mr Young’s degree is valid and honestly obtained, by honestly following all protocols in writing the final exams. Until one can prove, even remotely, that Mr Young wrote his final exam allegedly locked away in a private room, all by himself, one would be well advised to refrain from labelling him a blatant liar and for which cause he should resign.
But, unfortunately, our media houses and commentators have made this “side issue” the “issue.” This is the issue: “The UNC, has seen fit to write the American Ambassador, alerting them to the fact, that the Government of T&T, has sold oil to Venezuela, thereby breaking that American sanction against Venezuela.”
The point is not whether this is true of false. The point is: “A party that has ambition to govern this country, saw it fit to jeopardise the interest of T&T, knowing fully well the grave consequences, if the Americans decide to impose sanctions against our nation, that’s already facing harsh realities of a struggling economy.
Is it that there is the philosophy of “no-hold-barred,” once we can grab power? But it has become the norm, seemingly. One recalls, that it was the same approach which allegedly led to letters, allegedly sent to the Australian Government, warning them, not to have any financial dealings with the current prime minister of T&T. It is alleged that no fewer than three letters were sent—one each to the Australian Parliament, the attorney general and the leader of the Opposition.
Back to the side issue. The Leader of the Opposition, in commenting on the issue between Mr Young and the American ambassador, praised herself in our Parliament, that it was she who raised the whole issue of oil being sent to Venezuela from Trinidad. She wanted the nation to know that the “good news” was made public by her incomparable patriotism.
I would hate to believe that we have sunken so low in our morals, that we find virtue in glorying in the things of which we should be ashamed. None is more pauperised than one who lacks both the ability and the capacity to feel shame.
I am still rattled by the lack of objectivity among our commentators and experts who have flooded the airwaves, and the printed page, with the side issues, and totally whether inadvertently or by design, ignored the real issue.
May God help us, and cause us to wake up, so that we can see the bigger picture; so that we can sing “side by side we stand, We pledge our lives to thee.” It may have real meaning coming from the hearts of true patriots!