is an old Chinese curse that says “may you live in interesting times.”
It’s not a bad curse because it’s better than dying of boredom, but it
could be worse than bad.
I’m sounding like Alice it’s because, like most people, I feel like we
are in a wonderland populated by Mad Hatters who say “off with his or
her head” to one another.
is a heady thing because it goes to your head. You see it in the tilt of
people’s faces when they put on a uniform, wear a crown, sit at the head
of a table, are addressed as “Honourable.”
the people feed those in power, bowing and scraping as we do around them,
filling the powerful with intimations of immortality so they flash in and
out of their chauffeur-driven cars, their smooth floors, their shining
dinner tables with a false sense of invincibility.
power, like love, is a whimsical and mysterious thing, with rules of its
own. Chase after it for the wrong reasons and as it puffs, it disappears.
Chase power for the bustling fame, money, a lavish lifestyle: It may
humour you for some time, but only to set you up because it never prepares
you for the sudden fall from a great height, leaving you bewildered,
rubbing your bruises, looking up at your vanishing castle, watching your
chauffeur-driven car gliding away with some other important-looking
official holding open a briefcase while speaking into a cell phone.
of all, it leaves the fallen a bit foolish, like the king who was sure he
was wearing his finest clothes visible to all but himself, but actually
was parading the streets naked.
after power because you have noted the inequity around you, because you
feel each citizen has the right to clean water, housing, roads, education,
health care and a fighting chance to make the most they can of their own
potential and, in turn, contribute to our still developing country.
after power because you genuinely wish to safeguard the people’s
interest and put it before your own, or because your country has been good
to you and you want to give back with your skills, and you will retain it
knowing it is borrowed, on behalf of the people and your fall will be soft
because everyone’s time comes to an end and you’ve done your bit.
as we face another deadlock, the people must refuse to be puppets to the
power-hungry and ask every individual politician: “Why do you want to be
in power so badly?”
politicians must ask themselves the same question. If they are honest, and
find they want power for power’s sake, and not the people, then they
must know eventually they will be found out, that power can be as illusory
as Alice’s wonderland; that once tasted for the wrong reasons, and
evicted for the right reasons, power can leave big men limp and deflated
who follow power must be careful not to mindlessly revert to tribal
hostilities to gain it, to be puppets to their leaders because, once that
is ignited into a flame, there is no turning back.
the talk of a government of national unity came up, even the staunchest
party supporters in the UNC and PNM camps must have seen the sense in
bringing together the leaders so their respective followers felt empowered
in a country split in two.
even as government Ministers are being sworn in, the Opposition is saying
it’s illegal. What to do?
this space, two weeks back, I suggested:
President should immediately appoint a Prime Minister whose government
will fall within days because it will not have a majority in the Lower
House. Parliament will be dissolved for a new election. The country will
be run by a caretaker Prime Minister and Attorney General.
President should then use moral suasion to ensure the caretaker Prime
Minister appoints a member of the Opposition as Attorney General to keep
the new election is held, the President should ‘request’ the Prime
Minister (again, using moral suasion) to set up two bipartisan commissions
of inquiry to report within 30 days - one, into corruption, and the other
into the Elections and Boundaries Commission.
parties have their traditional voters who will support them come hell or
high water. It is hoped by dealing with issues essential to the well-being
of the country, the 30 per cent of the population that did not vote will
come out to vote, giving one of the parties a majority. It is likely the
majority will be small, but workable.”
prayer that politicians put country before self is another option left to
a small but worried population of 1.3 million people rolling in a giant
washing machine into ever-deepening whirlpools where everything gets
“curiouser and curiouser.”