Friday, December 20, 2002

B.C. Pires also gets into the constitution reform debate, in his column in today's Guardian (the link is good only until next Friday, because the Guardian still has no permanent online archive). Parliament's refusal to debate the disastrous recent flooding in central Trinidad, he muses, proves yet again that our "representatives" are nothing of the sort:

"The only thing more depressing than us all knowing, before it was even raised in Parliament, that the PNM would refuse to debate the flooding, was the UNC fully expected them to refuse and were just going through the motions.

"Parliament is such a pappyshow that not even its principal actors will recognise drama when it kicks them in the teeth. In Parliament, they kicksin' and is only farce they want.

"Whole communities were cut off. TV news showed people rowing down the main roads in boats; but our parliamentarians, every man jack in his jacket-and-tie, could not see past the Standing Orders. Freemen parade their freedom; slaves parody it. You want to know the only hope the people hit by the floods had? Dry season.

"It makes no difference what the Executive did; what matters is what Parliament failed to do. In a real country, the only thing a people’s assembly would talk about in an emergency was the emergency. In Trinidad, the essential is the one thing we can be sure will never be confronted.

"Which leads to the inescapable conclusion: we do not have a people’s assembly at all, just a club for a few people who win a few more votes than one or two others to sit down and gallery in once a week.

"Which leads to the point Lloyd Best has been distilling for two generations now, and its purity is undeniable: the critical issue is representation. Important work will have to be done, but the first task is Adam’s: to name the thing."

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