If ever there was an underperforming country, it is Trinidad and Tobago. We have underperformed in every area of development and the PNM and the UNC are equally responsible. Both parties have demonstrated an astounding reluctance to collaborate. Even on the achievement of Independence, there was such a lack of agreement that a minority report was submitted to the Colonial Office. This absence of collaboration has plagued our country for the past 55 years and the losers have been Jane and Boysie Public. The most recent failure to pass the anti-gang legislation is another painful example. As we count the murders, the population will create more gated communities, lick our wounds and get over our dashed hopes. One thing that is clear; both political parties are equally culpable.
As the universe unfolds, another opportunity for bi-partisanship presents itself. It is an opportunity to cooperate on the passage of Sexual Harassment legislation. Such legislation will provide an opportunity for an open conversation to clarify expectations and expected behaviours. It will provide most women with the peace of mind to think that someone has their back even in the presence of the worst kind of predator.
Interestingly, Barbados recently passed their sexual harassment legislation and now has a structure and process for dealing with this scourge. Why couldn’t we have a bipartisan approach to the passage of similar legislation? Why couldn’t our first female Prime Minister reach across the aisle or go behind the Speaker’s chair and say to Prime Minister Rowley: “Keith boy, let’s show our people how to work together, let’s do this!” Why is this too much to ask?
In less than 90 days the world will celebrate another International Women’s Day and my hope is that we will be able to report to the world that we have given a gift to the women and men of our nation; that we have implemented a Sexual Harassment Policy across all Ministries and State Enterprises and we have passed the enabling legislation.
Long before March 08, 2018, I expect that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet will remove the Chairman of Angostura Holdings Limited to allow a transparent, thorough and independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. Until then, I will #drinksomethingelse.