The headline in the Trinidad Guardian today screams infighting in the People's Partnership and goes on to quote senior members views on this, deliberately representative of the different entities that make up the Partnership.
My friends and fellow activists in the (PNM) Opposition camp, anxious to read anything that remotely appears as disagreement in the ranks as the demise to what they perceive to be their obstacle to success, appear to be hoping and wishing that the Government would somehow self destruct, paving the way for a return to power without the much required heavy lifting that people are waiting to see on the part of that Party. The work required to reinvent and offer itself as a Government in waiting has not been done (or at least seen to be done), and anything like a return to the polls at this time would be counter productive.
The absence of a credible alternative underscores the need to at least get this one to work for the time being if we are going to survive the many threats facing us as a nation.
Were they (the PNM) in fact serious about removing the impediments to their own ascent they had only to look to their own ranks to see individuals who, because of their continued presence in the Party continue to undermine any such re-emergence as a political force and rank and file Trinidadians and I dare say Tobagonians are going to vote against them in any election. That particular digression however, is fare for another conversation.
Back on point; with regards to the current Administration and from where I sit, if there were no fighting at this stage I would be surprised. After having been successful at making promises to each other and the world, the members, like the people of the country, are starting to pay closer attention to the pretenders to Office whose performance over the past four months do not match the promises made to get there and worse, whose actions are reflecting negatively on everyone else within the Administration.
There have been some noteworthy, over-zealous candidates for early dismissal that I and others have highlighted and who, to the credit of the Party itself, have been pulled from the media glare and sent to perform in lieu of their continuous posturing and campaigning.
There are others who obviously did not get the memo about the counter productive self promotion, and who I am afraid need to be let go with a nice 'thank you for service', a motivational poster (you can do it, just believe) and a FIFA watch.
The reality is this (and we ALL know it), because of the disparate nature of the entities that make up the coalition, the Administration was going to require much 'whipping' to keep its message coherent over the medium term. Unlike a single Party structure with established lines of authority, the Partnership is made up of quite a few whose ambitions exceed their posts and who fail to realize that public pronouncements, while excellent fodder for the media and the blogosphere, is eventually going to undermine the government to which they belong and may actually contribute to its demise.
Also, because of the overwhelming majority it now commands, the Administration can in fact be working against itself simply because of the volume of communication it needs to have internally. These problems are not as bad as they are being made out to be, and the challenge is on those calm and assertive heads in the Leadership to find the line and draw it in the sand with as close to consensus as possible.
Personally, I myself am happy to see that the Government is in fact made up of people with enough conscience and fortitude to go against the Party line if that line disagrees with their long espoused positions and core beliefs. Mr. Winston Dookeran is a glaring example of this, and one gets the sense that he is absorbing pressure that should be ventilated through the machinery of the COP effectively without being interpreted every time as being destructive. Without this release I believe the fracture, if it comes, will happen here. He commands too much respect to be continuously undermined by those with personal agendas to which he is seen as an enemy to their progress and, were they in fact committed to Country over Party and self, they would recognize the immense calming symbol he is to the population and treat him with the respect he deserves.
Jack Warner's bull in a china shop behavior was always expected, and the media and the people have to be applauded for keeping him under such keen scrutiny that he is being cornered into observing the ethics required while in Public service. Should this prevail, he may well be frustrated in any 'alternate' designs outside of serving the people enough to just leave.
The Prime Minister is weathering these little storms surprisingly well, and one has to give her credit for making some difficult 'Country over Party' choices, not the least of which being the decision to extradite two long serving Party supporters and paving the way for the prosecution of others believed to be corrupt and overdue for their day in Court.
I have never been a UNC supporter for many reasons and so had great difficulty in being a People's Partnership supporter. I am however, committed to Country First beliefs, and any Government that does in fact serve the people, the least among us, the poor and the dispossessed, will at least get my nod of approval if not my outright support.
It was never going to be easy, but then again nothing worthwhile ever is.
This is all healthy democracy at work, and the people should be proud of themselves for remaining vigilant and informed enough to keep the Government aware as to whose is the power to give and to take. This more than anything is both rewarding and refreshing, as we as a nation are finally approaching something like political maturity.