Today I am speaking with Dr. Kirk Meighoo, former lecturer in the Department of Behavioural Sciences at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies and current leader of the Democratic National Assembly (DNA). Dr. Meighoo will be contesting the Chaguanas East constituency this 2007 election under the banner of the UNC-A.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Meighoo was kind enough to give Trini Fake News this rather indepth interview espousing his true feelings and beliefs. The interview is rather long but we at Trini Fake News feel it is our duty to report in full Dr. Meighoo’s views.
Note: The answers of Dr. Meighoo are from an actual email allegedly written by Dr. Meighoo. We rearranged the text. This explanation is for those of you out there who don’t understand humour. We’re looking at you Emily Fernandes.
RC: What is your role and the role of the DNA in this election?
KM: The first priority we must have is change in the country. We have to think: how can we realistically achieve it? By bowing out and letting the PNM have full control? I think not.
This is like playing poker. We need to be pulling cards that no one can even think of. We need aces up our sleeves. Five aces, even. And we need to bluff. With a straight face. And face people down right to the end.
If people can predict our moves, or we paint ourselves into a corner, then we are bad players and have lost already. We have to be unpredictable. And badass.
RC: Are you saying that cheating and lyng are the standards for your party?
KM: The point is HOW DO WE EFFECT CHANGE? I firmly believe that we need to get in there and do it ourselves. And I don’t want to give the PNM a free hand in the next Parliament. We must do whatever it takes to get into the Parliament because it is only from within it can we effect any enduring change. We must be prepared to do ANYTHING to effect change especially talking to the party most likely to win, which is the PNM.
If we act as purists (which we are not, since we have already spoken to UNC elements), then we are really like the public perception of Tapia, and are destined to be a failed third party in the country. I do not want us to make the mistakes Tapia made. And the main mistake was a fear to engage with real politics, as opposed to nice, idealistic talk only. It is like the Opposition in 1971 who boycotted the elections in protest against the PNM, with great principles. What they did, however, was effectively give the PNM control of all 36 seats in Parliament, from which the party consolidated its control after it lost all credibility during Black Power. Is that what we want to do? Hand the PNM victory on a platter, even when it has lost all credibility?
RC: Would you consider a union with the PNM instead of the UNC-A?
KM: If we have been talking to elements within the UNC, I don’t see why we can’t also talk to elements in the PNM. They are both disgusting. I hate talking to the UNC as much as I hate talking to the PNM. But I have been doing it, because I want us to effect change. If people think we won’t do ANYTHING to effect change in this country, then they can screw us around like Dookeran has been doing for the past few months. And NO CHANGE will occur, believe me. They need to be scared of us, scared of losing our support, and fearful that we have the capability to hurt them.
I am not necessarily saying that we should join the PNM. However, what I am saying is that we should never let anybody be able to predict our next move. We have to scare people into thinking that we have many many unknown things up our sleeves. We cannot be only interested in theoretical change, but actual change. That means we have to be political players, or else we are just a useless pressure group, and that is not what we are about.
RC: What would be your terms for forming a union with the PNM?
KM: What might be proper terms? For example: they endorse our desire for change (without necessarily agreeing with every detail), we are given a certain number of seats, do not lose our identity, and we are in control of at least one thing: I think it should be Reform of the State and Governance, out of the Prime Minister’s office. I don’t think this will work, but it will be extremely interesting to stir things up. It will throw everybody off. And we will need to be firm. And be ready to withdraw if our terms are not met.
RC: Do you really think the PNM would be willing to form a union with the DNA?
KM: The PNM realises our value more than the UNC. The UNC are uncultured barbarians. If they did Vision 2020, for example, they would never invite me to be Vice Chair on a group. The UNC would pack it with political friends and supporters, of the lowest quality to boot. When the UNC were in power, they only respected people with money, and bulldog lawyers. Or fanatic supporters with no intellectual quality whatsoever (just like the PNM). The UNC has no respect for thinking and for ideas. Manning is a total ass, yes, but the PNM is bigger than Manning. They have a headquarters, they keep records, they keep speeches and archives, they have real meetings with various opinions, there are internal groups with autonomy, they are really a national party in that they contest every seat in every election, by-election, local government election, THA election, and so forth. Nobody else does that in the country. When I was doing my Ph.D. research, the PNM were far more useful and helpful to me than the UNC, because there are people in there in important party positions who know the value of these things, even if they themselves might not be particularly bright. They have been around for 50 years, and know what is needed to survive.
RC: Who do you prefer to form a union with, the UNC-A or the PNM?
KM: If we really want to lead the whole country, then we have to deal with the PNM. We have to be able to win over some of them and their supporters. We have to work with them and their supporters in the public service, in the Parliament if we want to bring about constitutional amendments and constitutional reform. And we have to work with them on sympathetic terms if we want to build our country. Because like it or not, up to this point in our history, this is PNM country. And if we don’t understand that then we do not have a proper understanding of the task to which we have set ourselves. This is what we need to undo. And we can’t do it by sitting on the sides, being checkmated by real politicians.
RC: What are your views on the UNC-A, the party you are contesting a seat for in this election?
KM: The UNC also represents everything wrong with our country: insularity, lack of vision, parochialism, ethnocentrism, vaille-que-vaille mode of operating, selective enforcement of rules, deception and dishonesty, corruption, no thought about wider responsibilities, and no national feeling. The UNC are no better than the PNM, as they are showed with their scandalous eviction of Dookeran. Ramesh and Panday cooked this up behind the scenes. For all their bad qualities, the PNM would not operate like that.