Trinidadians and Tobagonians frequently take our democracy for granted, failing to take cognizance of the kinds of antics that are commonplace in other places. The recent charade in Guyana, arising out of the elections in that country three months ago should be a cautionary lesson.
The kinds of acrobatics being engaged in by the protagonists amaze ordinary folk but are apparently just as amazing to far more knowledgeable and experienced persons who are themselves at their wit’s ends trying to make sense of what is at play.
One cannot dismiss the views of the OAS Observer Mission, the Caricom team, the Carter Center and the multiplicity of uninvolved persons who have expressed their dismay at the shenanigans being engaged in.
In a country with similar ethnic disparities as these Caribbean neighbours Trinidad has been spared the trauma facing Guyana over the last three months. As good neighbours, we can only hope that Suriname does not have to face such a situation, although the recent history is not hopeful.
In a country which has faced more than one military coup, one cannot be sanguine about the outcome of any power struggle, electoral or otherwise.
Guyana appeared to be on the path of a peaceful conclusion to its elections until a spanner was thrown in the works. But the greed for power is too great especially when the fruits of such power is measured in the millions of dollars of the US kind. The lure of oil money is irresistible.
There are people in our country who would have us behave in a like manner. Thus many of our responsible and upstanding citizens would have us surrender our principles to external forces, so long as our material benefits are protected.
This is the way of the world where overlords decide what is best for us and if we demur we are banished to the wilderness of poverty and destitution.
The Afro-American in the United States is being forcibly reminded that in the larger scheme of things he/she rates less than a piece of paper which may or may not be forged.
Trinidad has an obligation to ensure that life is more precious than the money or power for which we strive and, it appears, are prepared to surrender the very essence of our humanity.