Playing Pope: Ryan’s Misguided Political Theology


The rift that exists between Opposition Leader Dr Rowley and former Prime Minister Patrick Manning was the highlight of an article in Sunday’s Express by Dr Selwyn Ryan. I am not quite sure what the article sought to accomplish but its gives us more space to provide some analysis.

Just in case you did not know the polls as it stands today predicts an almost dead heat with a substantial undecided factor but we will specifically focus on Ryan’s article about Dr Rowley’s unfair characterization in this piece.

These two men (Rowley and Manning) are no Popes; they are politicians.   For a party that subscribes to the idea of leadership supremacy of its captain where historically the concept of succession planning involved the physical death (Eric Williams) or electoral defeat (George Chambers & Manning in 2010) of its political leader Ryan’s article missed its ultimate objective.   It demonized Manning for the actions of Dr Rowley.

Ryan states, “Mr. Manning left a train of abuse which has stained and destroyed Rowley’s political reputation.”   Rowley’s leadership of the Opposition Bench has been a complete failure and total disaster.   He had enough time to wash his political robes and remake his reputation while serving as Opposition Leader but instead he took every opportunity to live up to the words of Manning.   What a curse, but I am not quite sure if it is unfair characterization.

The persistence silence and absence of Mr. Manning since 2010 due his unfortunate illness was a perfect opportunity for Rowley to work on the image. Where is the split in the Catholic Church given that two Popes are alive? In fact, they frequently meet and pray together but Keith and Patrick are no Benedict and Francis and neither are they Bill and Barack after the political blows Obama gave to Hillary in 2008 but she went to on serve in his cabinet as Secretary of State.   The article failed in bridging the existing gap between the two men but yet it calls for an apology of unfair characterization.

On the other hand Ryan describes the Prime Minister’s political personality as manufactured.   The Honorable Prime Minister worked as a teacher and a social worker before she became a lawyer.   These are “helping professions” and now she aptly demonstrates this in her people centered and progressive leadership while creating a new political culture that seeks to elevate the nation for all. No one was left out of the budget is but one example.   Now that is a kick ass politician who takes every advantage of widening her base.

So, she likes people, what is “manufactured” about that; isn’t that a natural consequence of being a human being, a mother, a grandmother or an aunt. This is where this Prime Minister is different because she can identify with regular everyday day people; perhaps even become a family member.   She wants for the nation what she wants for her own children, grandson and her nephews and nieces.   This is her natural personality and one can see it in the policies she champions.

Above all, her humanity is demonstrated and all human beings are prone to error as opposed to the higher than thou attitude within the camps of the PNM. Some statements emanating out of this camp includes: “We represent a certain class of people.   We represent a homogenous group of people,” Is this a better class, a wealthier class, an educated class? We just want to know.     What exactly does this homogeneity represents? We would like to find. This is the core of the politics of exclusion and insensitivity as opposed to the politics of inclusion and sensitivity to the current and future needs of the nation.

Perhaps Ryan himself is playing Pope and seeks to absolve the political sins of Dr. Rowley and in doing so nails former Prime Minister Manning to some proverbial cross as the sacrificial offering. Everyman should account for himself but according to Ryan’s school of political theology, blame the former leader for the present stains of the current one.

So here goes:

For fabricated emails we should believe that Manning is responsible.   We still await knowledge of what we already know.   For calling schoolgirls hyenas, that thought was somehow dropped into Rowley’s head by Manning.   For denying children access to 21st century technologies through the laptop program and referring to children as “duncey heads,” again Mr. Manning was up in Dr Rowley’s head. And this is only the beginning.   For failure to immediately condemn the Calcutta Ship statement before the 2013 THA Election; again we lay that blame at Manning’s feet.   Do you see where we are going here and why Ryan’s article has completely missed the mark?

Should be fast forward to the current hot potato being played with the Las Alturas Tower. Again blame someone else.   Perhaps we should blame Manning too based on Ryan’s postulates.

This is comedy, a tragic one indeed.

But, should we get back to PNM’s historical philosophy as we close they will elect anything wearing a baliser tie including a crapaud.   This is their mentality and one does not have to present in Baliser House to understand how it operates.   It can be seen from a distance. Crucify the former leader to absolve the current leader. This is not adding up; if Eric Williams was the father, Chambers was the son, in Ryan’s article; Manning must be the holy ghost, and Keith Rowley a political born again.


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