There is an eerie similarity between what was attempted on Tuesday June 30, 2020, and what happened on July 27, 1990. On the latter date, the Jamaat al Muslimeen stormed the national Parliament just when the debate was about to begin on the exposition of the corrupt thievery of the PNM government by the then incumbent NAR, under the leadership of Prime Minister ANR Robinson.
At the time Mr Selwyn Richardson, the incumbent Attorney General, had completed a lengthy forensic investigation into the Tesoro scandal in which if my memory serves me correctly, those involved within the PNM were made to repatriate some $52 million to our national Treasury. The debate was just about to begin in which there was an intention to give full exposition to that scandal. A series of uncanny coincidences took place before that debate with all but one of the three sitting PNM MPs leaving the Chamber minutes before the Parliament was “invaded.”
On the present occasion, the press has reported that Mr Fuad Abu Bakr, who is affiliated to the same Muslim Jamaat, and 72 other nationals were arrested yesterday. The Commissioner of Police described the disturbance as a co-operative attempt at civil unrest by a cabal of individuals who wished to stage violent protests to destabilise the country.
Thank goodness that unlike the previously attempted coup of 1990, the police chose to act on their intelligence, thereby quickly bringing the situation under control. Had they ignored that intelligence as had happened in 1990, who knows what may have happened?
The present administration has allegedly engaged in several acts that raise suspicion of political corruption. These include the fast-ferry deals, the visit of the vice-president of Venezuela, the alleged underhand sale of 150,000 gallons of refined fuel to Venezuela, the purchase of two new Coastguard vessels without the safeguard of the accepted tendering procedure, the interminable delay in proclaiming Procurement Legislation passed by the previous government since 2015, the unresolved AV Oil scandal, the shutting down of Petrotrin, along with several others that debilitated this country’s economy and required urgent further forensic investigation.
With a national election looming, and with the PNM’s chances looking gloomy not only because of these alleged scandals but because of abysmally poor governance that has seen our economy undergo an unprecedented five consecutive years of economic decline, any crisis could be seen to provide an opportunity for those who may wish to use it for political advantage.
Those segments of our society in which young people repeatedly engage in violent actions against each other and result in police intervention must acknowledge that the police is the arm of government whose responsibility it is to enforce the law. These people seem to come from “hot-spot” communities that repeatedly feature in the news. Why is this happening over and over?
These young people have latched on to the Black Lives Matter movement without first having even the most rudimentary knowledge of what that movement stands for. If these people want change in their life circumstances why do they not examine the way politicians use them as fodder, make empty promises, and then abandon them?
Have they asked themselves what they can do as individuals to improve themselves? Do they come from stable families? How many of them grew up with a father? How many of them attended school? What is their level of education?
Indeed, our politicians need to devise policies that would address these deficiencies if indeed they do exist, rather than handing out political largess.