Monday, May 19, 2014

The Rowley Conundrum...

In doing research for this column I Googled 'Keith Rowley's Policies' and was surprised that there was a question that even Google could not answer. The page of results brought us Keith Rowleys from as far away as Australia and France, but nothing for the erstwhile and verbose Rottweiler of note, asking in many ways, so much more than it answered, who is Keith Rowley?

I mean, with almost twenty five years of service in the public eye surely we would know a little more about Keith Rowley the man and the leader, what he stands for and what he stands against, right?

With a year to go before Constitutionally due elections in 2015 the newly re-crowned political leader of the People's National Movement and Leader of the Opposition has left a legacy of biting people and not much else to show for it. This one man wrecking ball who has single handedly blazed a trail through the Hansard, research shows that regardless of his being in government or opposition the overwhelming majority of his contributions  have all been negative, begging the question former Mayor Louis Lee Sing so eloquently asked on national television, when Keith Rowley is not on the attack, what is he about?

Clearly a good question if not even Google can answer, and I daresay the consortium of Gabriel, al Rawi and Rahael have their work cut out for them if they are going to rewrite history. Props like scarves and glasses are one thing, actual policies and plans are something else entirely and the campaign for 2015 may well expose the empty suit that Keith Rowley has always been. Ever heard the saying 'All hat and no cowboy?' Could not be a more apt description of the current political leader of the People's National Movement, and I await with some anxiety the day he is caught in a debate to hear him say with his own words the plans he has for his constituency who, instead of policies and plans for the development of the constituency, its communities and diverse peoples, have had to settle for becoming both a flood zone and a hotspot on his watch.

To the residents of the fishing village of L'anse Mitan, the paltry and exposed shed of a fish market complete with no amenities is an insult only surpassed in Carenage by the ten year old sign promising the Carenage Health Facility 'to be built right here' that was never built. In a contribution on November 2009 he is noted to have said (taken from the Hansard) "Let me go to my constituency, Mr. Speaker. Last year, I had reason to raise a number of matters with respect to Diego Martin West, and I want to begin today by pointing out, identifying the progress that we have made in Diego Martin West with respect to the National Development Programme. The Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs I think can take some credit, for ensuring that the Carenage Waterfont Project, which was raised last year is progressing. Our major developmental project in the western peninsula is underway and is progressing relatively smoothly. I look forward to a speedy completion and that will change the face of Carenage both socially, economically and physically. That project is of great pride to all of us and that project is on the way."

Five years later no one anywhere can point to the project of which he spoke, and again not even Google could help in that regard.

But putting his dismal performance as the Parliamentary Representative for Diego Martin West aside for a minute, positioned now as a Prime Minister in waiting, surely someone somewhere would have a clue as to what a Keith Rowley Administration might mean to Trinidad & Tobago, yes? We know nothing of his policies and barely have a spattering of knee jerks in the direction of his former leader's work, so on what does someone give him their vote or their support?

Based solely on his own track record, trying to make something that appears Prime Ministerial out of Keith Rowley is one thing, selling him to a risk averse PNM wary population is something else entirely. In this regard and to close with an equally colourful saying, his handlers may have better luck trying to fashion a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

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