As the country’s first woman prime minister she will go down in history as the standard bearer of the tenacity of women and put to rest the long held myth that woman is the weaker sex.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago also have every reason to feel proud of themselves, and of their country. Notwithstanding the standard election picong, and the isolated dirty tricks tried by each side, the process was free of violence. Some foreign governments issued warnings to their citizens here, but events proved that there was no danger to anyone.
Congratulations are also due to the Elections and Boundaries Commission for pulling off the logistics of conducting the poll in what appears to have generally been an acceptable and appreciated manner.
In her victory address, Kamla called for “the healing to begin.” But the truth is that the “healing” began, as it always does, with the casting of our votes. We fail to appreciate this great strength of ours; that we can, after a campaign as intense as this one, return to our lives without political animosity or vengeance. The nation carries no post election stress or fear of trouble. Life has returned to normal, albeit with a heightened sense of responsible anticipation.
But if the healing has already begun, the hard work has not! The new government must move in and take over the day-to-day running of the country. And they need to be careful in how they approach their early responsibilities. While there are matters which need to be corrected, these need to be done in a positive and forward-moving manner, without undue acrimony or insult. Top of the list to be tackled, of course, has to be money-soaking Udecott.
Mrs Persad-Bissessar also has the task — along with the others — of holding the Partnership together, even as they build.
But what of the PNM, and Patrick Manning’s declaration that he “has no regrets” about calling the election? What do his former Cabinet Ministers think of him and his “no regrets”? We await the coming discussions from the PNM on their future.
The PNM called and then lost the election amidst an orgy of corrupt spending, official arrogance and a total lack of appreciation for the peoples’ concerns. Their loss came as no surprise to us.
While Press freedom was not under overt threat this newspaper was the victim of the PNM’s disregard of fairness in the use of State funds for advertising. Because of our independence, we were as a matter of government policy, deliberately starved of advertising from 12 ministries. Because of the investigative skills of our political reporters Andre Bagoo and Sean Douglas, the then swell-headed Minister of Information, Neil Parsanlal went out his way to regularly insult these two reporters at post Cabinet media briefings.
The former Minister of Works, Colm Imbert banned Newsday from inclusion in the trial run of the water taxis. Parsanlal moved to have Bagoo and Newsday sent to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, a recommendation of which was to ban Bagoo from the Parliament for the rest of the session. Worse, the Committee considered banning ALL Newsday reporters from Parliament.
In the end, ironically, the very same PNM that denounced us craved advertising space in our pages, for their political campaign, recognising our very wide reach and influence.