CLAUDE A JOB
AS A MEMBER of the Tobago electorate, I have been thinking of the possible explanation(s) the THA officials, who were allegedly caught on tape discussing the immoral hiring of spin doctors to advance their political agenda, could provide to convince me they are worthy of remaining in office.
Ironically, their task of providing a feasible explanation may have been made easier if said spin doctors were already on their payroll.
Thus far I have yet to come up with a viable explanation. However, I have come up with several options (five actually), that these officials may be actively considering to deal with this imbroglio. Some are more realistic than others, with one of them being my preferred option.
Option 1 – Stonewalling/
Nine-day wonder syndrome
At present, this seems to be their preferred option. Under this option, the officials will simply refuse to discuss the matter, with the expectation (hope) that, in true TT fashion, it will die a natural death after the proverbial nine days.
The extraordinary lengths that they are prepared to go to evade answering questions, including the top official sneaking in the back entrance like a scaredy-cat (as opposed to the fearless lion he fancies himself) at the last plenary session, support my contention that this is currently the preferred strategy.
Unfortunately for them, I do not think this is working on an educated and discerning electorate, since rather than fading the calls for an explanation are becoming increasingly strident from a growing cross-section of the population.
Option 2 – The Shaggy strategy
With the looming failure of Option 1, the officials will be forced to break their silence at some point. When they do, they could simply say, a la Shaggy, “It wasn’t me (us).” They may argue that artificial intelligence (AI) is now being used to convincingly produce fake news, and they are victims of a malicious plot to mimic their voices and that until evidence is produced to the contrary, they will stick with that story. Yeah right, good luck with that one.
Option 3 – Wag-the-dog strategy
This option is based on the strategy employed in the 1997 comedy/political movie of the same name. In this movie, the fictitious president of the US is caught in a sex scandal a few days before the elections. To avoid media scrutiny, and divert public outrage, his aides hire a spin doctor to construct a fake war against Albania. (Spoiler alert: if you have not seen the movie, he won the election).
While the movie was fictional, there have since been many instances of life imitating art, whereby political directorates find or manufacture an issue of greater importance to divert attention from the current negative situation – with varying degrees of success.
The THA officials may try to follow suit. However, I do not think they have the capacity or capability to successfully employ this option.
Option 4 – Shoot the messenger
This is one option TT politicians love to employ. Shift the focus to the messenger with the hope that the message would be ignored. Consequently, I will not be surprised that when these officials break their silence, they say something like, “A traitorous rat in the organisation took an excerpt of a private conversation and circulated it for his/her own nefarious agenda. The truth is that excerpt was taken out of context and does not paint an accurate picture of the entire discussion, which we cannot disclose because we do not usually publicise what is discussed at our closed-door meetings.”
Would this divert your attention? It certainly would not divert mine.
Option 5 – Mea culpa/Fall on their sword
This is my preferred option. If they are the ones involved in “audiogate,” with immediate effect the officials need to publicly acknowledge their error, issue an apology to all Tobagonians (and Trinidadians), demit office and seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.
They could, if they choose to, link the need for fresh elections to the ethical considerations raised by me, the Prime Minister, and others when they resigned from the PDP.
I am certain that I speak for most Tobagonians when I say that if the voices on the audio tape are in fact theirs, we are prepared to accept nothing less than what is outlined under this option.