IS THE PNM IN CHARGE? By RAVI MAHARAJ

Spread the word

Pleasant Good Day to All,

When Mario Sabga-Aboud spoke about the Syrians being in charge of this country, very few who heard it felt that he was mistaken. In fact, I posit that the reason this issue has escalated to the extent that it has has little to do with the veracity of the claim but rather the audacity of Mr. Sabga-Aboud to make the statement so openly and frankly. More than that, is the fact that many of the PNM supporters, who are descendants of Africans, took even greater outrage as the party they elected to rid the nation of the “Hindu cabal” was now being undermined by a different race claiming to have greater control of this country than the government. In fact, if the politicians are to be believed, it would therefore appear that despite the PNM being in government for almost forty years in our short Independent history, they are never considered to be “in charge”.

The sad reality is that racism should not exist in our twin island paradise, as unlike other countries, none of the major tribes currently living here were directly responsible for the oppression of the other. For the most part, we were all subject to the colonial rule of the British, and we all worked to build this nation together when they left. And the truth is that in many respects, racism doesn’t exist. Following the latest disaster to hit our country, Tropical Storm Bret, amidst all of the confusion and chaos of the ODPM and other institutions, we saw ordinary people and corporate citizens band together to assist those who were affected the most, irregardless of their ethic persuasion. Similarly, during cultural and spiritual celebrations, we see each group invite the entire nation to come together and celebrate together. Unfortunately, what we do have is selective racism that is rooted in two areas, wealth and politics, and the statement made by Mario Sabga-Aboud falls into both categories. This being said, I am almost sure that the opinions he expressed are not exclusive to Mr. Sabga-Aboud, or even the Syrians, alone. More than that, is that this is a perception that many persons have held for some time. But had it not been for the internet and social media, we wouldn’t be talking about it today.

Many among us feel entitled to a bigger slice of the pie due to our heritage and the work of our forefathers in the development of our nation, while the Syrians capitalized on the unrealized potential we were all squandering. If any had the wherewithal to do the same however, chances are they would have done it. As such, most of the outrage that stemmed from the comments have been that of sore losers, compounded by the fact that the Syrians can make that claim despite not have a large representation in government. It therefore isn’t the statement that is insulting to those who have taken offense, but rather that they are not entitled to make the same claim. Because it would appear that after all the talk of no one telling him what to do, even the Prime Minister may not have the level of control of the nation as he often boasts, due to his own heritage. By extension therefore, those who supported him enough to elect him as Prime Minister may now feel cheated from their victory and thus sparked more indignation than may have been called for. Because nothing that was said was either more or less intolerant than a Prime Minister who claims the entire country belongs to his political party, and yet, this issue has never sparked controversy before.

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