Archive for June, 2013

                              

In the 3 year long +$160Billion Circus that Trinidad and Tobago has been subjected to, we have reached the point of such instability in the Government Party that a former Minister has vacated his post and seat, and is now being challenged for it by the Party which he is still part of. Confusing? Not even the half of it, but regardless the situation stands, the UNC has carded Political Fashion Model Kadijah Ameen to test her (and the UNC’s) smoke and mirror tricks against the master Wizard himself, Jack Warner. Challenging them as a newcomer with much promise, yet the promise of a loss, is PNM newcomer Avinash Singh. What is set up here is 2 sharks fighting for their dinner with a political guppy munching on the trailing of whatever falls from their jaws.

The By-(the way)- Election candidate from PNM, would have been an decent choice in paving the way for new blood in the forefront of the party, and a favourable addition to an election slate for General Elections. But this is not a General Election scenario. Either someone behind the scenes messed up their political dynamics analysis, or he is the scapegoat being used to protect the ego of the big guns, who only view a victory as an on paper Win. I can’t help but think that if the PNM was really serious about fighting the seat, they would have sent up a heavy hitter such as one of their current Senators. They would in all sensible predictions lost, but to put a dent in the UNC vote in that area would send a huge message to the Government and the Nation. “A ship is safe in Harbour, but that’s not what ships are for” – William G.T. Shedd. 

The ‘Buy-Election’ aspect is what is expected given the players involved. Warner has taken a huge head start, with rallies and motorcades galore, and in terms of media, not only has he gone on the offensive with facebook and TV coverage, but has gone as far as to release his own Weekly Newspaper. On the other end is Kamla Jr., who will no doubt be making full use of not only the already extravagant PR work of the Government, but should also receive whatever help the deep pockets of the UNC can purchase. Whatever else is paid or bought, including loyalty (which is seen as a lucrative investment by political pigeons and big birds alike these days) is left up to what can be proved but will remain in the dark once the light bill money is redirected. With both sides with Hundreds of Millions of Dollars at their disposal, and the victory here being a toss up between one man cementing his Legacy, and one woman seeking to save the Government from its inevitable collapse, the coffers are stuffed and the stakes are sky high. Satan and his wife fighting over a ham bone, with thunder raining over the Chaguanas West district.

A Bye-Election is guaranteed for at least one big name here. If Ameen wins, Percy Mayfield’s 1960’s classic “Hit the Road Jack” will be the theme song for the next month (or year depending on how long the Government wants to stretch this racket). However Warner could still have a very realistic shot at picking up a few seats on the Chaguanas City Corp. in the following Local Government election. If Jack wins as an Independent, it will do nothing to break party politics in TnT, but will uplift the load of Jack behaviour that he has perpetuated over the last few year, while at the same time crashing the Government (having defeated them in their original heartland). Ameen has already said ‘Bye’ to her constituents in the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corp (of which she is the Chairman), avoiding the booked cut tail in that election, while at the same time taking this chance to raise her political profile inside the party and elevating to a position in the Parliament. Jack may also be saying ‘Bye’ to the UNC in running against them in this venture. This is not guaranteed however, as no one in the party had the balls to even make him take down the “UNC Constituency Office” sign on his office, which he put up and kept up before even being screened as the Candidate.

So there we have it, a web of By-the-way, Buy-the-people, Bye-to-dignity conduct that sees the entire Chaguanas West as fertile ground for political gauging and gouging wherever and wherever it can be found.

                                       
Remember being in Primary School and looking at Secondary School students, waiting for your chance to wear the big boy long pants? Much like the little boys who never grew up, and saw passing Common Entrance/ S.E.A. itself as a right of passage, many Political Office holders see winning an election or receiving an appointment as their chance to wear the long pants, without ever having to ever really grow up. What this manifests as is up in the air as to whether those who engage in this behaviour believe us to be stupid, or are themselves really that ignorant to basic common sense. Aptly applicable to our politicians and politics in TnT, we see both the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader making statements that display this in matters of serious scandal.

First we have the o so famous Section 34 Fiasco (Section 34 summed up), in which, after the firing of a scapegoat (with no charges laid), the issue still persisted as an enraged nation demanded the answers which we all knew but the Government would never admit. With other issues the nation’s political pot bubbled until the lid popped revealing how little in control our PM was in her own Cabinet. Her response to this was to quote a phrase made famous by former US President Truman, “The Buck Stops Here.” In other words, she was saying that the final authority in all matters lies with her. Somehow the PM made this statement without realizing that if you assume all power, you assume all responsibility and subsequent consequences. So Kamla playing big man while wearing Primary school house button, failed to realize that by stating this she is assuming responsibility for Reshmi, Section 34, and every other major scandal that this Government has faced since May 2010. It seems that the thought of this rarely occurred to her though (if at all), as fresh scapegoats are in steady supply.

Coming now to the nation’s latest school yard tussle, the secret meeting of the Opposition Leader and the Chairman of the Integrity Commission. No one in their right mind saw this meeting as appropriate given his or anyone’s reasoning in support of the matter. Both the position of the leader of the Opposition and the position of the Chairman of the Integrity Commission were severely compromised, and meetings of this nature many have failed to realize are why the people distrust the current Government so much. This is an action which compromises the very idea of transparency, professionalism and general conduct in respect of Office. The Opposition Leader’s response, in an attempt to take the heat off of the Chairman of the IC, says “put all the blame on me,” yet in the same breath stands by what he did bearing no recourse. If the person you met with has compromised himself to the extent where he is a hair away from having to resign to preserve any decency, and you say you will bear his (plus your own) burden…what now does that leave you to do? Come on Keith, nobody will ever respect a Prefect who signing off on his own detentions.

So there we have it for now, the Political Leaders of both parties showing us grade A school yard strutting, with many of their parties falling in line behind them. There are many however that have broken rank in the face of these instances seeing the situations for what they are, that being the puffing out of chests, saying “Hit meh nah,” while under the protection of school rules and clever tricks. Our “leaders” have like many in society, older yet no wiser, getting where they are by right of age once they are along a beneficially chosen path. Now we are left with little more to view, than these Short Pants Politicians, in Long Pants Politics.


This week of madness in our sweet Banana Republic winds down with a Shooting at the Port of Spain General Hospital which leaves 3 persons injured and the suspect neither caught nor recorded on security cameras in the area. One victim, a nurse was grabbed onto by the target and used as a human shield, receiving a shot directly to the face. Security slow to respond, technology non-present at the point to fill the gap and the irony that a victim who was shot in the face had to be transported out of public hospital to a private facility says worlds about the sad state at which we find one of our nation’s most prominent public hospitals to be in.

Of all the things lacking in the Hospitals, among the sanitation issues, administrative nightmares due to poor management, and of course short staffed medical officers, security is an aspect that only those who have experienced an incident or are long working there would notice. This however doesn’t make it any less of a serious concern. Security who are slow to react are like a surgeon who is trying to figure out how the procedure is done after opening up your chest. In other words, you are the one left exposed, quite literally in both instances. Cutting them some slack (for nothing further and we are all human, albeit proving to be purposeless in their function), one would think that security cameras would have at least been present. Think again. The area in which the shooting took place had no CCTV cameras to record the incident or the person. Another grand accomplishment in the field of negligence for our Public Health Sector.

Of all grand jokes that could be made of this, such as the laughable claim that people weren’t sure if the victims were better off or worse, being that they are in a public hospital, there are some concerns that really did arise. What does it say when one of the nation’s 3 Main Hospitals has to send someone who was injured in their facility immediately to a Private hospital for a CT (head) scan? Well it says something that Trinis know beyond anything in health care to be true, that the Private Hospitals are readily equipped and can be trusted to function better than the public system when called upon. What does this mean seeing as many Doctors operate at the same time in the Public and Private sector? That the facilities are in a sorry, sad state. Alas, we already knew that….

3 injured, and “the suspect escaped.” Can we even call him a suspect however? Who suspects him? At this point the Police will still need to question the main victim (the 2 others being innocent to the incident), and most likely will have an idea. As for now however, a lapse in security measures and performance has left innocent persons with bullet wounds and possibility further injuries, and a our health care system shamed as usual with a health budget of over $5 Billion and a continuation of non adequate facilities. We can only hope that this will serve as a wake up call for all stakeholders and our country at large. Measures need to be put in place immediately to prevent these atrocities from happening in the future, before more are injured and lives are lost.