Can Trinidad and Tobago find its own Sunak?


What happened with the illustrious Rishi Sunak cannot happen in Trinidad and Tobago.

Why? Because Sunak’s political party was founded in 1834. The Conservatives exist in a First World country with a population of millions. Political candidates of Rishi’s ilk are few to nonexistent in a country the size of TT. Our political gene pool is severely limited. Our experience of full independence is very small.

In TT, any one among our 1.4 million citizens, with anything close to Rishi’s educational triumphs and financial status will not wish to waste time in Third World politics. Let us not mince words.

The back-stabbing, the reputation-banging, the constant negative personal innuendos can run your blood cold. Only the strong survive our brand of local politics.

So what are the chances of the Hindu-led United National Congress for general elections 2025?

We are not speaking of the Hindu religion, we are talking first-past-the-post Westminster-style politics. The year is 2022.

Consider the much-talked-about 300,000 votes for the UNC. A handsome figure, but it did not win the last general election. What follows is a personal, unsolicited view.

The so-called safe seats of the UNC are in mainly Central and South Trinidad. Consider the awesome cultural closeness and stringent religious beliefs of the Hindus of TT. Many families may occupy the same compound. The head of the family will have full control over voting decisions. In a family of 30 members, possibly only 20 may agree, but the other ten will never upset the family.

One could move UNC figures to 370,000 and still not win sufficient seats to claim political governance.

The UNC therefore cannot win a general election without collaborating with significant others. Here in TT, everyone, male or female, with an interest in politics, salivates at the idea of becoming prime minister.

The UNC, with its handsome number of supporters, will never allow any collaborator to rule its world.

So, what will be the price, per voter, for meaningful collaboration? Nothing is for free. And promises made must be signed in stone.

Bear in mind also, that the governing People’s National Movement is theoretically as long-lived as the Conservative Party. Good at reinventing itself as it goes along local political history. Can the PNM find its own Rishi Sunak if necessary? You tell me.


Diego Martin