The current debate about the correctness of Justice Volney’s choice to enter the political arena points to the deep rooted conservatism of many in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
In a recent article on this site the Editor in Chief of this site suggested that it was a welcome situation to have a political entity such as the NNV enter the political arena.Whatever the merits or demerits of NNV, it is associated through persons in its leadership to Islam.While some may think this a negative, in the mind of the author of this article,this is a positive development for the health of democracy in this nation.
Historically religion and politics have mingled in Trinidad & Tobago’s past, and continues to the present.
From antiquated laws which enforced enslaved Africans to accept Christianity on entery into this land,to the Roman Catholic Church taking political positions against the early P.N.M. and particulary the late Dr. Eric Eustace Williams,to some East Indians in this country favoring politicians of their own race based on their religious affiliation in favour over another Indian of another religion the issue of politics and religion has challenged this nation.The leadership of many of the Indian based political parties have historically in Trinidad & Tobago been led by Hindu religiously affiliated persons. It was even claimed by some, though this view seems to be unsupported by evidence, that Winston Dookeran failed to endear many Indian voters because he is Presbyterian.Many also claimed that in the early line up of candidates on P.N.M. slates that were Indian, many were Muslim.
Currently Hindu,Christian alike on political platforms quote from the Christian Bible on their political platforms. Some speakers even indicate that there strength is from Almighty God.
That Justice Volney should want to leave his privileged position to enter the political arena should be welcomed even where it poses a threat to the political landscape and perception by persons as to the independence of the Judiciary. The independence of the Judiciary is already being questioned by the general populace of Republic Trinidad & Tobago.That sector of society called by social scientists lumpen proletariat have been questioning the independence of the Judiciary since we have been on the plantations and cane fields. In as much as the political arena is so filled with hymn singing and religious quotations one should remember among a Nation that some politicians seem to model that Judges rose to prominence in the political arena,when their was what was perceived to be a wrong choice of governors over the people and judges became transformed to Kings.The Judges were looked up to because of their indepence of character and the perception that they could deliver the people.History has a way of repeating itself.
Trinbagonians let us not be afraid to encounter and engage new paradigms of engagement of our political process. All these recent manifestations of participation in the democratic process can only build a better and stronger democracy.
As we conclude we remind: HERE EVERY CREED AND RACE FIND AN EQUAL PLACE.