Williams glibness was in fact a sarcastic, cynical dismissal of our military capability to undertake such a mission; alive, he would most likely be as dismissive today of our military “might” as he was back in 1960; long gone, he is probably turning in his grave as his party plays politics with citizen’s lives rejecting the realistic idea of transforming the army from its eternally tranquilised state to a fighting force legislatively to be reanimated and authorised to battle rampaging criminals — our enemies within.
To begin though, why do we need an army in the first place? When was the last time there was a war in this region? America’s invasion of Grenada was more a battle between capitalism and communism played out in that country. Although Grenada had an army then it was merely incidental in that arena. In fact, so incidental was it that it was thereafter disbanded and its police reinforced making Grenada today one of ten countries in the world that has no army whatsoever. The other nine countries are: Solomon Islands, Costa Rica, Samoa, Palau, Andorra, Marshall Islands, Liechtenstein, Nauru and Vatican City.
Because these countries are under no clear and present danger of invasion from any country, and because they could not assemble a military force that could stop anybody, they have opted to sign military treaties with whatever superpowers are in their region which they hope would rush to their assistance in case of trouble.
Lichtenstein, for example, abolished its army in 1868 explaining it was too expensive to maintain. Its neighbour Switzerland which has given it some assurance that it would protect it spends billions in maintaining its own army while Lichtenstein now enjoys the world’s lowest external debt; is the world’s richest country by measure of GDP per capita; and boasts the second lowest unemployment rate in the world at 1.5 per cent.
We spend millions on salaries alone just to keep our army in reserve although the only threat to our democracy, and varying freedoms, come from within. Twice our army was summoned to action and on both occasions the enemy was home-grown.
Our freedoms have been hijacked by the criminal element that stalks this land; with the conclusion being our police are outnumbered; citizens have wondered why the army has not been called up to help do battle in this war we are fighting; and one feels certain that our soldiers who are regular flesh and blood citizens must also wonder why, with all their skills, they are not recruited to help out, so that when they are in their barracks they know that their own families are safe at home. Nothing in life could be more nihilistic than someone having a specialised skill, but all they could do with it is sleep on it, draw a salary from it. People want to know that what they are trained in is used to the benefit of mankind.
With no external war thereby not maximising our soldiers’ skills, a grave injustice was committed against them.
This government’s decision to now fully employ those skills in this war is the correct one. All this alarmist talk of soldiers mutating into superhuman cyborg-type law enforcement killers like cinema’s Terminator and Robocop are just oratorical, science fictional imaginings. The evidence is there that on the couple occasions the army was called upon to fight for our democracy there was not a single incident where they exceeded their powers. In fact, in the 1990 insurrection when Robinson ordered them to attack with full force they preferred to be guided by a greater rationality and held their hands. Also, many felt that they should have been more decisive in dealing with the leader of the insurrection thus putting an end to his treasonous ways once and for all.
The PNM is mortally afraid that crime could consequently cease; thus their only interest in this matter is their political survival. Citizen’s survival matters nought to them.
Those senators who refused to support the bill are aiding and abetting the criminals; and whatever blood of citizens shed hereafter must inevitably stigmatise those hands of silk more concerned with nicety than reality. Imagine one Senator’s lame excuse being Government has not done enough to convince them to support the bill when what we need is immediate action and less nonsensical talk and empty rhetoric coming under the guise of self righteous doubt, concern.
The people know senators know that it is all self-serving political partisanship and grandiose, theatrical posturing on your part.
Like the criminals you now hold the country to ransom. Feels great, doesn’t it?