Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm A Rebel; Soul Rebel!

From fear of dating myself, I remember those days back in 1986 -1987, when George Brizan, Francis Alexis and Tillman Thomas were so fundamentally opposed to the way Herbert Blaize was treating them, that they had made up their minds that the arrangement was untenable.

By the time Brizan and Alexis had attacked their own government’s economic policy in parliament, blasting the retrenchment plan; to paraphrase Mighty Chalkdust – I picked up my gun (pen) again.

By the time they resigned, Tillman Thomas had joined them in walking out of the Blaize cabinet – convinced that MPs must be treated with respect or else.

I remember those letters in the Grenadian Voice (I was sub editor then, and had to review them all), all calling them selfish, unpatriotic, wanting to have their own way and giving trouble.

Leslie Pierre, Lloyd Noel and Willie Redhead in their columns were weekly blasting their stands. I was the lone writer standing up for the right of MPs to dissent and to fight for causes (in that case, the jobs of public servants), that may put their own jobs at risk.

As far as Mr Pierre and Mr Noel were concerned, the guys were not acting in the national interest.

But I was always at odds about this concept of national interest. Who really defines it? And what really defines it?

By the time they (Brizan-Alexis) decided to go to Carriacou one Sunday morning to give Blaize an ultimatum letter, I was the only other person there.

In fact wheel-chair bound Blaize could not bring his hands up to open the letter, and I had to open it for him.

At the time, I was not sure why they called me that Saturday night and asked me to come to Carriacou with them. I suspected it’s because I was a lone voice in the weeklies supporting their “open rebellion.”

But I was glad to get on the “Carriacou plane” that Sunday morning; because for me, I was getting a first hand scoop in a history making moment. (By that time I was also writing for EC News, Barbados Nation and Inter Press Service).

The first time I ever interviewed Tillman Thomas was about a week after he resigned from the Blaize government.

He struck me as a quiet man with strong resolve, willing to risk his ministerial job in a fight for respect – his own respect.

When Blaize died a few years later, Thomas was the lone voice in the parliamentary sitting that lambasted his leadership skill.

In remembering Blaize, he said – something to the effect – that a man cannot be considered a great leader if he becomes so arrogant that he can’t hold his team together.

Afterwards, I told him I saw his point, but I am not sure a parliamentary tribute session was the best place to make them. But still -- point taken.

That point has been in my mind for long moments this past week.

I just thought last night that it is funny how history repeats itself. And how, after all these years – I am still in love with rebels.

No comments:

Post a Comment