Commentary: T&T, A Nation of Believers

Spread the love

Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

I WOULD like to share a quote I came upon this week by Nick Cohen, British journalist, author and political commentator:

“Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you. They can harm no one if no one listens to them. Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you. Believers are the liars’ enablers.”

Reflecting on our current political culture, nothing seems truer than Cohen’s words. We are a nation primarily dominated by believers. Easily swayed, stubborn to facts and blindly loyal to those that time and time again have proven to let us down.

The recent United National Congress (UNC) internal elections, which saw the victory of the current long-standing executive, served as a prime example of what I call “believers’ syndrome.”

Under the current executive, the UNC has seen loss after loss. Including Monday’s loss to the PNM in the Lengua/Indian Walk bye-elections, where they once held a fifty percent stake in the area.

Common sense would dictate that with this team at the helm it would be impossible for them to win a general election… on their own at least. If a party has to rely on partnerships with other small parties, casually forgetting that those smaller parties have harshly criticised and disparaged them in recent years, to win an election it is a clear sign that the party is all but dead.

What amazes me the most is the power trade unions hold on the electorate and how quickly the electorate is to follow them despite them being completely contradictory and flip floppish with their alliances.

The leader of the Joint Trade Union Movement Ancil Roget announced this week that the trade unions will be joining with the UNC to remove the PNM from power. The irony in this is that for the last two elections they merrily supported the PNM and steered their members in their favoured direction because the PNM was the best and maybe they felt they would have been able to purchase the mothballed Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

But lest we not forget in 2010, the PNM was the devil, so they all jumped on the People’s Partnership band wagon.

Why their constant party jumping? Easy, they are getting something or didn’t get their way. They have no real independence. They have deluded themselves into thinking they hold some power, when they are simply pawns to get votes. Yet, their believers go with it. Latching on to their words, not questioning their motives and pledging their allegiance.

Despite the obvious inconsistencies and fickleness, the believers still believe. They believe because they are told what they want to hear. They believe that their party has a plan for crime, a plan for the economy, a plan to save T&T.

They believe there is a plan even though, as pointed out this week in a commentary by Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, neither party has clearly addressed nor disclosed these plans. But, hey, both the UNC and the PNM have the “solutions.”

We don’t know what they are, but we believe in them. And thus, we are forever doomed.

This lack of questioning by the electorate and their comfort in justifying any and all allegations against their party of favor, has not only enabled our politicians’ half-truths and exaggerations, but has given our politicians a “pass” to do a sub-standard job or complete ridiculousness without any consequence.

Elections are won through blind belief, vague lies, twisted words and manipulations. Tell them what they want to hear, whether it is the truth or not.

Unfortunately for us, comforting lies do not last. Time and time again we find ourselves disappointed, grasping at empty beliefs, because coming to terms with the fact that our political idols view us as nothing more than steppingstones to power is a pill we aren’t ready to swallow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *