The post-election behavior of the former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and her partners in crime who were booted out of office Sept. 7, has been as hideous as one would have guessed, given what had been telegraphed during their five years of misrule as the country’s government. The same lack of grace that came to define Bissessar’s tenure at the helm will apparently be a hallmark of the crew’s modus operandi in their rightful station, outside the corridors of power. We’re prepared to wager that not many folks familiar with the abomination that was the Bissessar administration would be surprised.
Classlessness reared its head the very evening of Sept. 7, Bissessar unable to bring herself to congratulating Dr. Keith Rowley, the new prime minister (for that matter, even declining to address supporters at their party headquarters). To the contrary, Bissessar sought to sugarcoat the defeat her party had suffered, claiming that Rowley would be leading a “minority government” because of her unfounded contention that her party had won a plurality of votes cast. Even when the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) later released figures showing Rowley’s party, the People’s National Movement, to have convincingly won the popular vote, a good-taste admission by Bissessar that she had misspoken about the “minority government” nonsense was nowhere on her radar. She and her confederates typically don’t go there.
But there was more. The day following the election brought not only the bogus tripe that more voters had supported Bissessar’s crew, but that the other side did not in fact win the election. A suit would be filed, Bissessar and company announced, questioning the EBC’s decision to extend voting by one hour on Election Day, which the EBC had judiciously determined to be a reasonably warranted extension, after serious flooding had hampered the commute of many voters. Adding to the silliness of what seems a most ludicrous exercise, the demand from Bissessar and her pack of sore losers is for a re-vote specifically in marginal constituencies! Go figure.
Also, a budget has now been presented by the new government, in the limited time at its disposal to do so, according to constitutional mandate. The budget confirmed what had been widely known or suspected — that the Bissessar administration’s reckless and corrupt ways had produced an orgy of spending which betrayed scant regard for properly protecting public assets — classic feeding trough mentality. Again came Bissessar’s skewed take on what had been worrisome to much of the citizenry during the poor excuse for governance that she and her sidekicks engaged in. Not so, she said of the new finance minister’s warnings about the vulnerable state to which the national economy had been brought, courtesy the regime she led — one that outstripped by plenty any other in the country’s history in its revolving door of cabinet changes. But, nothing new about any of this. We have referenced before this proclivity of Bissessar’s for matter-of-factly looking truth in the face and calling it fiction, or offering falsehood as truth. Preparation of a budget would have afforded the new government its first close-up look at the preceding administration’s carefree spending habits with the public purse. But there assuredly is a lot more to be revealed going forward, attesting to the scope of the Bissessar regime’s wrongdoing. What perhaps was most perplexing to the average, even-keeled mind was the expectation (or so it seemed) among the Bissessar crowd that they had earned themselves a vote of confidence from the electorate and a return to office. Talk about chutzpah! The reality more likely being that re-electing the former prime minister’s party would have accorded Trinidad and Tobago instant laughing-stock status in the international community.
Bringing down the curtain, thankfully, on the Bissessar administration’s highly blemished run calling the shots in Trinidad and Tobago was not without one element of drama and tension that, as it turned out, was an ill-advised, uninformed input into the finale. This had to do with reporting of the results and one TV outlet’s presumably well-intentioned inclusion of colored maps to enhance graphic presentation, akin to TV reporting of vote outcomes in the U.S. Unfortunately, the station opted unwisely to drop in respective party colors for various constituencies when a party’s candidate was merely leading, as opposed to when the final outcome was definitively known. The faux pas made for much unnecessary confusion and anxiety among viewers, who hopefully will be spared repetition of that particular grief down the road.
Of greater importance, of course, is that confining Bissessar and company to a place from which further infliction of damage, more so to the national psyche, isn’t possible, was a surge of mature action by the Trinidad and Tobago citizenry that has done them proud.