The enemy politics that was born out of the General Election has matured through this budget. Not to be confused with 'enmity' politics (a lynch pin in our almost wholly imported version of the Westminister system of Governance), in enemy politics the only required philosophy is the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
In enmity politics, opposite positions on national issues divides the population along ideological lines, with all sides fighting on behalf of what they perceive to be the greater good. In enemy politics a vision or idealogy is not needed for the groups to prosper, only a common enemy is.
While this accommodation may work well in war time and in times of strife, it has little long term credibility as it is founded on what it is not. Simply put, negativity is a transient state, with the highest virtues and aspirations of man built on the achievement of the positive. (An example of this is, few people introduce themselves as what they are not, but rather emphasize what they believe they are).
The two Parties currently in power in the House of Representatives owe their existence to a reaction to one man, Patrick Manning.
Dr. Keith Rowley, the current Leader of the Opposition's claim to fame is his twice mounted challenge to his then Leader and, after his defeat at the polls and subsequent ouster, left poised for the position he currently occupies. Facing him on the other side is an amalgamation of Parties united in common cause, the removal of the same Patrick Manning from Office.
Now that they have both succeeded in their short term goals, the electorate, awash with fresh memories of the good, the bad, and the ugly that obtained under Mr. Manning, are gauging and measuring his two replacements for the windfall of promised good fortune. Having been an advocate for the removal of Patrick Manning for his arrogant, dictatorial style myself, I, like everyone else I assume, fully expected his inheritors (on both sides) to rise to the challenge of Government, having spent so much time in demonstration of what was publicly shown to be wrong.
In its stead we are met with some reactionary politics that, while very appetizing to those who already have cake, is becoming more and more worrisome to those of little bread.
More than any other penance, this country has been cursed by a racial divide that has dictated the flavor and make up of our politics and our Governance since we lowered the Union jack for the last time. The people have never really had a Government concerned with 'all' the people or with moving the country forward as a whole, but has instead been based on an 'our time now' determined by the texture of the hair that rides the big chair.
Earlier this week we conducted a little exercise that estimated something like ten trillion dollars has been stolen from the people in the last forty years.
Can you imagine where we would be as a nation if we weren't ruled continuously by corrupt and dishonest men?
That is all stuff of imagining and fantasy, because we will never know. We look at a Parliament seeing common enemies pretending to be friends devoted to a new mission, self glorification.
How else can one describe the antics of most if not all the contributors?
In a televised game of tit for tat we are being told time and again who did what to whom and where while they were in power, and very little on anything like a real vision for the people, the country, and the nation as a whole. I would like to remind the seasoned and the neophytes alike that all the desk thumping in the world is for nought if it does not translate to poular opinion outside those hallowed halls. The Members of both sides would do well to listen to the people.
My view on the 2011 Budget will not be a long one.
From obviously flawed and corrupt laptop schemes, to mad scientist plans to dig tunnels to nowhere for no recognizable benefit other than to enrich certain members. There was nothing substantially different enough in this budget to say change had indeed arrived, and we were mostly treated to more of the same, punctuated by at least one truly hair brained scheme that had most people questioning if they really heard what they thought they heard..
The reinventing of the Unemployment Relief Program to function as agricultural labor effectively cancels the reason URP was created in the first place (to starve agriculture of labor and so dilute the Opposition's treasure and power), and Eric Williams must be turning in his grave as the system he designed to be the undoing of his then nemesis is being transformed into its salvation.
The CL Financial/CLICO/HCU 'bobol' bail out (started under the last Administration and continuing under this one) is a testament to the strength of having friends in high places, and I will say no more on that for now.
At some point the 'curse or blessing of oil' will be only a memory, and if steps aren't taken now to feed the nation and diversify the economy in preparation for that day, things will be very bleak for the generation unfortunate enough to find themselves our inheritors.
Would that we could say, what would we say?
Would we ask for men and women of character and ethics to steer the ship of State to a sound and safe harbor? Or would we ask for more political masturbation and self glorification live on camera?
The reality of the situation is frightening, because life has become way too cheap in this town and these people seem to have forgotten what we the people struggle with everyday. Lunacy prevails as they propose to bring bigger and bigger sticks to beat the poor into submission, even as the wealthy conspires to steal food right out of their children's mouths.
In my lifetime Police Officers had to strip to underclothes and deny their identity to make it to safety, as they feared the wrath of the people had erupted.
We thank God every day that such wrath never materialized as many more people would have died.
The people who find themselves in High Office (however the means of their arrival) should stop playing grown up versions of children's games. We cannot keep hoping and praying that the seeds we are planting wont eventually bear fruit, because history teaches us they always eventually do.
The Government and the Opposition are asked to stop screwing around on the people's business and with the people's money before the people really do shake off their social restraint and take matters into their own hands.
Nobody in their right mind really wants that.