Analyst Calls for Permanent Governance Observer Mission
Analyzing the recent general election results Trinbagonian commentator Clive Weatherhead identifies several important issues for further investigation. The political analyst’s overarching critical analysis is that ‘there will be no solution to the crisis of the economy and politics, the social crisis and every other aspect of the all-round crisis in which our society is mired.’
Elaborating on this summation in a commentary on his Facebook page the Director & Principal Consultant at Workplaceinfo TT highlights the limitations of representative democracy and proposes that the people of Trinidad and Tobago assume the permanent role of Governance Observer Mission in order to hold those in positions of power to account – without exception those politicians selected by the United National Congress [UNC] and People’s National Movement [PNM] and imposed on the electorate in 41 constituencies.
Weatherhead describes the two major parties as gatekeepers of the status quo based on his view that ‘neither of these gods of plague can cure the ills of this society.’
Post Election Scenario
Addressing the post-election scenario Weatherhead highlights several features of contemporary political affairs. Talking of the domination of the electoral arena by just two political parties the former Lecturer in Law at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies suggests that ‘this electoral process has revealed once more that it offers no real choice to the electors and only decides which of the monopoly parties becomes the Government.’
Both parties practice top down electoral machine politics. They are efficient at mobilising for elections and electioneering. Politics is also about organising people to demand and manifest their/our own power. That is empowerment. To be the actual decision makers. We need to have a party or a forum that is actually organised to achieve this.
onlookers, bystanders, a captive audience
One of the latest methods deployed in the representative democracy political arena is to transfer disputes to the legal or judicial or procedural environment when elections are insufficient to provide a specious legitimacy or resolve or temporarily suspend contradictions between the mainstream political parties. In any case throughout such disputes the peoples remain onlookers, bystanders, a captive audience.
This tactic was seen recently in Guyana. The south American neighbour and CARICOM partner contends with similar contradictions, polarised political parties representing apparently ethnic/racial communities, seemingly intractable post colonial problems and with oil/gas as natural assets attract vultures and corbeaux to the region. Whilst Guyana took several months to solve their election stalemate for Trinidad and Tobago a result was declared within a few hours. In both cases the peoples remain onlookers, bystanders, a captive audience.
Regarding the delay to an official declaration by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago [EBC] during poll recounts in several constituencies the Attorney at Law maintains that ‘the crisis of governance and politics will only get worse however that turns out, the result will be that either side of the PNM-UNC political monopoly will occupy the positions of power.’
Weatherhead believes that no significant change can be expected for the foreseeable future and as long as the domination of the political terrain by these parties continues.
Speaking directly to the people who nominated themselves as independent candidates Weatherhead says their role was important. ‘To those 70 candidates who attempted to offer us a choice in these elections and different voices in the Parliament, our thanks.’
With clear advice for the #GETT2020 candidates and to those who step forward to challenge the UNC/PNM monopoly in the future the former Secretary/Treasurer and President of the Public Service Association suggests a way forward. ‘You must now thoroughly analyze this experience and the entire electoral and political processes of this society and draw appropriate conclusions. You must understand and correct the errors and shortcomings of this effort. You must continue to fight for the democratic renewal of the electoral and political processes for the sake of the people and the future of the society.’