have to be one of us to understand why we will have a peaceful election
ďThere is nothing that enrages me more than allegations of
racism. This is not, as far as the PNM is concerned, an election about
race. I have full confidence the electorate will vote on issues, not on
race: look at our list of candidates, which will tell you how much of an
inclusive party we are. We have more East Indian than Afro Trinidadian
candidates. We have White, and Syrian and Indian candidates chosen not for
their race, but on merit.Ē
has nothing to do with elections. Like Mr Panday says, you cannot take
race to the supermarket for food, to the school for your child, get gas
for your car, buy a car, build a house. The citizens of this country are
right-thinking and will take these issues into consideration when they
determine the new Government. Our team is performance-oriented, national
in scope and reflects unity for our rainbow country.Ē
doesnít matter if you believe them or not, the important thing is they
are united in not wanting to divide the country.
there may be paranoia, low and desperate election gamuts such as the
padding of votersí lists (one to watch) by some, and a stupid and
irresponsible incitement of civil unrest tomorrow by others. There have
been the real and imagined raising of alarms and rumours such as WASA
flooding UNC strongholds on election day, and death threats to PNM
may be tasteless ads that trivialise violence towards women by one party
and those that sling mud and invectives in a bid to scare voters into
entrusting power into the othersí hands.
may be thousands of people who feel cheated by the so-called democratic
event of elections because their choices are limited; because they are
being asked to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea; because
they are being asked to be partisan and vengeful instead of watchful,
are being asked to vote on peeled raw, savage, tribal emotion rather than
on a candidateís integrity, ability or genuine intention to serve the
people and country. There
may be questions on the funding of the campaign of both parties, questions
as to the agendas of the puppeteers.
may be disappointment at the calibre of most of the candidates who,
between them, cannot cobble together one grammatical sentence or
articulate a single cohesive policy; who flail about waffling,
substituting empty phrases for substance.
may be the academic marauders posing as technocrats, sociologists,
commentators, using droll academic pronouncements to incite division by
insisting, ad nauseum, that people will vote along racial lines.
election, there has been enough muck thrown about to sicken a million
souls. But not ours.
is difficult to say why, except to say we are Trinidadians and Tobagonians
and you have to be one of us to understand why we will have a peaceful
election. Our souls are soaring along with the soft quickly-darkening
evening Christmas lights, and humming in kitchens smelling of fruit-soaked
rum. Our laughter echoes in rooms where parang is played and women stand
on chairs to put up strings of lights, and children squeal with excitement
as the tree is assembled and the decorations catch the light.
our momentary susceptibility to the alarmists, ours
(because we are a people who like our excitement) is a hard
practicality that recognises that civil unrest, army, police involvement,
wonít put bread or cake on our tables; that violence breeds a shaky
economy which will make our lives harder.
things may not be great - the gap between the poor and rich is undeniably
yawning wider like a toothless monster - but life is not so bad that we
canít use democratic means to push for more jobs, and better pay, good
health care and a decent education for our children.
our souls have remained intact all these past elections, it might have to
do with the fact we are a small population sprung from four continents,
cut off from our warring atavistic roots and knitted indelibly together
with the new wool of our collective new world identity: cricket at the
oval, carnival, play whe; cassava, roti, baklava; smatterings of French,
Spanish, Hindi, Swahili; more religious holidays than anywhere in the
world; ole talk: an equaliser that transcends class and race; non-stop
music on more than a dozen stations.
have a spirit and wisdom that stretches the length and breadth of four
continents. But weíve left the bloodshed of the Middle East, Asia,
Africa, Europe, behind. We donít want their brand of holocausts, of
Bosnian slaughter, of Rwandan slaughter. We donít understand fatwas and
intifadas, mass graves and civil wars. We donít even understand it when
it happens in Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana or Cuba. We donít want any part of
of us have been content to watch the election drama played out by only a
sliver of the population on the television. We have quietly decided, over
our festive drinks, we will vote peacefully tomorrow, do our civic duty,
watch the results with interest, hope it isnít a deadlock, heave a sigh
of relief the tiresome ads have stopped and continue to plan our Christmas
will have a peaceful election because, with mouths tasting of early ponche
de creme, and late curry duck, we will vote, on a cool Christmassy Monday.
And if we donít like the result, we may steups and quarrel; and if we
do, we will shout with joy. Then we will turn our attention to more
pressing matters of our cake and the ham.
whoever the new prime minister is, we will stand up with him and sing the
National Anthem with pride, because our New World foundation has been
glued together with tolerance, and laughter, and we have confidence both
leaders understand this, and thatís why, ladies and gentlemen, God is a