Monday, July 14, 2014

The Thing with the COP... (Politics and Morality)

The difference between both Anil Roberts and Carolyn Seepersad Bachan clinging to Office despite both having become liabilities to the raison d'ĂȘtre  of the organization they owe their political existence to is straight up semantics, but the fact that both can clearly see each other's transgression while failing to recognize their own is classically symptomatic of the immaturity of the Congress of the People still, at this point, almost eight years after being formed and having spent four of those in some semblance of government, and it tells a powerful story of our collective immaturity and dismal failure at self governance all of these fifty two years.

For Anil's part it is tragically sad that he is a member of the COP because, had he been a member of the People's National Movement, not only would the room 201 video never have made it to the public domain, had it, he might have been able to laugh it off, ascribe it to part of a larger conspiracy and be promoted up into the ranks of the organization and possibly have some national institution named in his honor. As a member of the party founded on principles such as integrity and morality in public affairs, however, he, like those others around him, is bound to do more than pay lip service to those ideals if his existence does not sink that very organization, hanging it ironically on its own petard. That's the thing about grandiose statements and gestures, unless you yourself are prepared to be bound by them, to do anything otherwise makes a hypocrite out of you AND the organization, and instead of lifting them, brings integrity and morality in public affairs into further disrepute.

For Carolyn Seepersad Bachan it is worse. She who just recently pronounced on not only Anil's alleged sins but on those of her political opponents, now finds herself facing that very quagmire, how to negotiate around the demands of morality and integrity when they are turned around looking at you. Benefitting from a failure of that party's Constitution, Carolyn was allowed to keep her title as party Chairman and go into battle for the post of political leader which, had she won, would have created the abomination of her occupying the two most senior posts in the very party that is built on the deepening of the democracy and the broadening of democratic principles in Trinidad & Tobago.

See the problem?

Now imagine if you were her enemy, what you would make of the fact that, now that she has failed in that pursuit, continues to cling to the post of Chairman as an almost runner's up prize, failing to see that by so doing she is herself cementing the idea that politics do in fact have a morality of their own, ironically the notion many credit with the fracture in the United National Congress that lead to the formation of the COP in the first place.

But then, we are nothing if not a nation of greedy hypocrites desperate for wealth, status and power, and Carolyn Seepersad Bachan will not be the first to flout the ethics she ascribes for others, and sadder still she won't be the last. That she does not understand that is tragic indeed, but like the so questionable endorsement bequeath to her by that party's founder and Lord High Vader at the veritable death of her campaign for the post, demonstrates for all who have eyes to see that this idea of morality in public affairs was always a sop, a ruse, a gimmick to steal Basdeo Panday's party without doing the work of building one of their own.

What else can one surmise if the architects themselves are found wanting when challenged by their espoused principles?

And enter into all of this Prakash Ramadhar, the embattled heir to Dookeran's words, the person left to do all of the heavy lifting once the party had in fact secured itself within the coalition politics necessary for that party to remain politically viable, a man who has been demonized and castigated from within and without that organization for having the audacity to live up to all that that party claims to represent, a man that is being challenged within his own party by those who never have.

Demonstrating to Winston Dookeran the actions that should always have followed his (Winston's) words, Prakash stood night after night in debate after debate and had his name maligned and the worst character flaws ascribed to him, and like a true gentleman took the blows, defended them as best he could, while refusing to join his challengers in the political gutter, a gutter that those same challengers built the COP to avoid.

See where I am going with this?

There is an election coming in 2015 that the COP needs to prepare for if it is to have any hope of delivering in the seats they are capable of challenging for, and to do that they need to either jettison this notion of being a party of principles or embrace them even more demonstrably and convincingly.

For that to happen, both Carolyn Seepersad Bachan and Anil Roberts have to walk the talk, otherwise both of their presence within that party would make a lie and possibly a joke of those very principles, and by extension the existence of the COP.

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