T&T needs a leader like Dr Keith Rowley and he must be given a standing ovation for his leadership as our prime minister for the past five years, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic.
One can recall that under the UNC-dominated People’s Partnership administration there was a scornful disconnect between the people and the then government, as citizens of all walks of life, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, were being led in the wrong direction in favour of a few party financiers and party hacks.
Moreover, it was outrageous that the electorate, who propelled them into office, had to endure for five long years such brutal kleptocracy with its expert kleptocrats heading billion dollar ministries and state corporations, accumulating personal wealth as though it was a perk of the office.
The administration which came into office on the promise of rooting out corruption was itself burdened with allegations of corruption, mismanagement and arrogance.
During the period (2010-2015) the early public distrust which was developing in the administration of the country’s affairs was unprecedented and became very worrisome; the electorate were left bewildered and dumbfounded by the Prime Minister’s tolerance and her protection of those who failed us so miserably.
Early in his political career, Dr Rowley recognised that in order to bring about real change, the people must be put first, citizens must be at the centre of the process of governing and that they must be wise to choose leaders who choose the people over themselves; leaders with vision, character and integrity, leaders that have the will to do what is right, that will protect, serve and be true to the wider public interest and not to themselves.
Today, after nearly 34 years in public office, Dr Rowley continues to serve each and every citizen, treating each one fairly, no matter their location or party affiliation, for him, it does not matter where you live, what you do, if your family is rich or poor. He recognises there is a connection between all Trinidadians and Tobagonians and, despite our differences, we all share a great hope and love for our country.
When he acts, he acts with the necessary caution, care and decisiveness to serve all the people. In so far as the wearing of the party tie in the legislature caused some to challenge the PNMs commitment to such noble ideals held out by him, he calmed their fears without surrendering the party’s symbol altogether by being the first to remove his tie, causing other PNM legislators by way of moral suasion to do so, in a gesture of symbolism, a reassurance that the PNM under his leadership is indeed the people’s champion, their advocates.
According to Dr Rowley: “The colour of our skin should not form the limits of our opportunity in life. What God we pray to should not prevent us from showing love and kindness to one another. We must stand up and repair the ethical and moral character of our great nation.
Our rich history is a testament to the heights we can reach and the obstacles we can overcome— if we only work together side by side. We are all in this together. I believe we can seize the future together because we aren’t as divided as some would suggest; we, acting as a people, are greater than our individual ambitions or our personal or ethnic agendas. We can come together, we’re one family. We must lift each other, or fall together as one nation.”
These words spoken by a true patriot at a function to mark the 34th anniversary of the death of PNM founder Dr Eric Williams, held at the University of the West Indies on March 29, 2015, under the theme One T&T are indeed words of wisdom which remain relevant as we cast our ballots on August 10.