I was totally perplexed when I read the Prime Minister’s response to public concerns about the breach of the Cummingsburg Accord. The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to understand the bigger issue. This isn’t the case of whether he was “promised one thing and didn’t get it.” This is the case of the people having been told one thing, only to get something else. I was one of those people.
Having seen the unravelling of a strikingly similar Robinson-Panday coalition in Trinidad, I was initially apprehensive of the APNU+AFC alliance. However I was heartened by the details of the Cummingsburg Accord which I saw as an agreement between not only the two parties but indirectly with the electorate as well. I therefore cast my vote on this premise, as well as on the promises in its manifesto.
I do not see the breach of the Accord as an accommodation between the two parties or two individuals as is being suggested, but rather as plain political chicanery. I, like so many others, have been the victim of the first case of deception by the present government. And the President’s silence serves only to exacerbate the issue.
But there is more. In its 100-day action programme, a promise was made for “significant” salary increases for government workers, and “significant” increase in Old Age Pension benefits. Now the poor pensioners and the poorly paid government workers are hearing the increases might only be moderate. We were also promised that a phased reduction of VAT would be “immediately implemented.” But just days into the new government this was changed to a “review of VAT.” Again, this was outright deception. The Alliance knew of the possibility that the coffers might be bare when they took over, so they should have at least made only provisional promises.
Like so many other trusting souls after 1992, I really believed that democracy and honesty was guaranteed by the then new government. Let us not make the same mistake again. Like the price of liberty, eternal vigilance must be the price we have to pay for democracy.