Sunday, November 4, 2007

Vive la Revolucion

‘Remember, Remember the fifth of November’- Guy Fawkes Night

Come what may, November 5, 2007 will be remembered in the history books as the day that the electorate of Trinidad and Tobago took a stand. Whether or not history will record that it was the right one is left to be seen. About 700,000 people will let their voices be heard in what could be the most important general election ever to be held in this country.

The incompetence of the PNM and the bacchanal of the UNC-A has not caused, on the face of it, to have eroded their respective bases significantly. It speaks volumes about the maturity or lack thereof of the voters of this country. It makes you wonder whether the poor Laventille grandmother who has had children murdered or the destitute Barrackpore father without an avenue for escaping poverty will have any hope after tomorrow’s election and if in fact, they will be contributing once again to the vicious cycle of electing representatives to prop up a government that does nothing to address their needs, on a personal and national level.

All the crowds were impressive. All the supporters seemed committed. The true test will come once every finger is stained. Then we’ll know whether the country is steppin’ up, having an orange revolution or just movin’. Maybe it’ll have to be a combination of those three but for the second time in our history (other than 1981) T&T will choose from three very strong parties. The only difference is that for the first time, the ‘third force’ may actually win some seats. If that happens, it will have Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini turning in their graves for democracy would have won. And T&T would have grown just that little bit.

The sun creeps above the horizon as the deathly silence is pierced only by a few awakening fowls. This is the calm before the storm. The nation waits with bated breath. The majority of those who I speak with will stain their fingers for the COP, the party representing, to them, the best chance for some semblance of proper government. They represent a new hope. And while they have their fair share of geriatric members, they have also been able to capture the imagination of the youth, a notoriously difficult segment to corner. I, too will be staining that right index finger for the COP. I moved with them on September 10th 2006 at the Centre of Excellence when they were launched and I moved with them on November 3rd, 2007 at their final rally. On November 5th, thousands of us will be moving with them. We will be making a statement, starting a mini bloodless revolution and when the accountants of the election return their report, if the people of this nation have made the right choice, we’ll be moving to the Red House with them.

For too long we’ve searched the barren desert for the ilk of the COP. For too long we’ve clamoured for the strength of a third force to rule the land with a sceptre of equality and justice for ALL. For too long we’ve waited for a party to serve as a responsible guardian of our future. Come what may tomorrow, the COP is that manifestation. And if unelected, the people of this nation must examine themselves and ask why. Why did they let the chance to elect good men slip by? People get the government that they deserve and tomorrow will be no different.

Whether the hunger of the poor, the pain of the sick or the cries of the wronged will be arrested by the party assuming office on Tuesday is left to be seen. But until 6pm tomorrow, the nation waits in hope. And I, for the first time in a very long time, turn my head to the heavens and ask a favour of God. It is one of the hardest things to accept that despite knowing what is good and right, people will let mere animal instincts dictate their voting patterns.

We stand 24 hours away from the opening of the floodgates. All systems are go. The sun will provide the lights, the media the cameras and the citizens the action. And when the editing begins and the final cut is screened, let us hope that we get an Oscar worthy cast rather than a disappointing horror flick. I be movin’ so will at least 51% of the electorate if we are to see our hopes translated into reality. A reality that would have been borne from the frustrations of our people with the hands that they have been dealt in the last 50 years. And come tomorrow night, if I do cry, it would not be because the COP would have lost. It would be because my people would have once again let themselves down by not recognizing that governance should not be measured by who can throw the best picong or concerts. Governance is serious business.

Life will go on. I will be at the hospital on Tuesday even as friends finish up their degrees or start lives in other countries. Change will remain constant and the universe will continue to conspire to give us that which we most desire. But at least, for a little more than a year, the passengers and driver of the COP vehicle gave this not so little boy the hope that we could have done it.

Whether the dream ends tomorrow or a new wave of euphoria washes over T&T as the COP assumes even a single seat in the Parliament, I can say that for once, I have supported a political party and was not, in the least bit ashamed to say so.

Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, and I beg the good people of T&T to move with me and the Congress of the People.

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’- Edmund Burke

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