Toting feelings for 15 years … Really?

Published Trinidad Guardian July 6, 2022.

“Keep the good memories and throw out the bad ones” is a quotation by Norhafsah Hamid, from the book “Back to Basics”. 

Our prime minister has been toting a bad memory for 15 years about the headline of a story written by reporter Darren Bahaw about his first court appearance in his Landate lawsuit.  At a recently held news conference, he waded into Newsday Report Darren Bahaw and even refused to answer his question on the current day issue of Reginald Armour’s appointment as Attorney General.  

I wonder what the Prime Minister and his communications advisors intended to achieve by recalling this 15-year-old grudge especially since the reporter is unlikely to have been the one who wrote the headline.  What are the messages they expected the media and the population to take away from this negative journey down memory lane?

Memories are a database of ideas and thoughts from which we can draw either positive or negative conclusions.  I wonder what other memories our Prime Minister is toting negatively against persons and how and when they will be revealed.  

Citizens are all engaged in a moment-by-moment struggle to survive let alone thrive.  The last thing we want to see is our leader spewing venom based on his unresolved issues.  We want to be inspired to reach out to someone who hurt us 15 years ago and say, “I forgive you, let’s move on”.  Maybe if our Prime Minister demonstrated a capacity for forgiveness some citizens might follow his lead and try to de-escalate moments of conflict. 

Maybe if he kept with the key messages which must have been prepared for the news conference, we would have heard more details about the action plan which has been developed to deal with the violence, now being described as a public health emergency.

Maybe if his tone was warmer and more welcoming, we would be reassured that we can awake every morning and look forward to a brighter day even when there are clouds above.

Our youths need to experience our Prime Minister being always his best self, using language, which is inspirational, and tackling issues that will positively impact their future.  Something has happened to our Prime Minister and his advisors because we are seeing someone who is angry and full of venom.

What we need is a leader who is prepared to focus on respectful engagement.   A leader who continues to tote feelings from as far back as 15 years will not take us where we need to go.  Throwing out bad memories might be difficult, but it is necessary for us to move forward.  The most useful part of bad memories is the teaching that they provide. 

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