Archive for February, 2015

Sober Up: Party Done

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

After almost 2 months of non-stop feteing, the nation is finally (hopefully) out of the Carnival mood and ready to sober up and get back to reality. A good time for those who took out Carnival Loans or didn’t pay their Rent/Utilities I’m order to live it up for the season, to reflect on what their Priorities should have been for the month. Like a morning hangover we wake up as a country to find many missed calls on our phone, all of which last night we laughed at and ignored but realizing now that they are real and quite serious. Rising Crime, Economic Strife, and Unsettled Scandals have the place in turmoil, but apparently Kamla’s stocking and Dr. Rowley taking a wine is worthy of front page news. In any case we as a people should be able to enjoy ourselves but at the same time need to think beyond the days of Mas or we will forever be in this Carnival Slavery Mentality.

AC1Now before we make the call backs, while the shower is still refreshing us, the latest gossip being shouted to distract us from the world is the political leader of the PNM taking a wine on a young lady. To sum up what I think of this is: His wife would have every right to be against him doing it which would make it wrong, just as she would have every right to allow it making it okay, In other words, that is their business and says nothing about him as a man, leader, etc. A complete non-issue as I see it, although we trinis have this habit of walking into a burning house and cussing that there are dishes in the sink. What is past disturbing and very much disgusting however is how many persons had (whether outright or surreptitiously) seen the young lady as what was described by one grown East Indian woman described as an: “Indian slut,” and claimed that “Them Africans coming to take we daughters.” Those comments made show us just how far we have to go as a nation, and how pockets of society still grip onto racist ideals (even against their own race). Until we stop discriminating against our own people at the very least, there can be no progress anywhere else.

AC2On to the issue of Crime, first I have to give much credit to the TTPS for turning out in force, Despite wage negotiations with the government pushing the Police to threaten a no-show for Carnival, they came, they served and did so with pride. Yes a couple used their ‘service pistol’ to fend off a threatening wine, but both parties seemed to leave happy (see how much baccanal a wine causing this season). However Gangs are making mas the other 354 days of the year, Murder rate is 400 a year, Kidnappings on the rise, and Stabbings/Shootings from fights/robberies no longer make news unless there is arson or a serious horn involved. Every Minister to take office has boasted that Crime is the lowest it has ever been under their watch and further that this is the safest season ever. If this was all true then a schoolboy sprangin’ a bobby from the cafeteria jar would be breaking news, and a masquerader could be seen handing his phone to the person next to him saying “pass this to the man next to you, till it reach the back and make ah rounds,” just in case someone in the band didn’t have credit on his phone but needed to make a call.

AC3Now the Economy. Well other than the falling oil prices, according to the Government, and the Minister of Finance (who is still being accused of insider trading, and proven to have received a $10M ‘gift’ from the First Citizens Bank board), things good. Imagine watching an ocean during a drought and a fish pops up and tells you to chill, there is plenty water around. In any case US dollars are still harder to find in TnT than Wade Mark in an exam room, the Drug Trade is flourishing through our unprotected boarders. Do the math, Drug dealers aren’t paid in TTD… As for the scandals, there is still no resolve, and the Government has already punished honest witnesses, seeking still to punish the victim, and let the offenders through the back door as an easy escape from the public eye. Issues such as the Range Rover duplicates, and Prison Litigation scandal still involve matters of criminal conduct but are swept under the rug but a well timed resignation. Worse yet it seems the resignation was more about resigning the title and less about no longer being able to call the shots.

Sober yet? If not, then live for the next carnival season. Although without public safety, economic stability, and a stable state administration, there would be a lot less of a cerebration to enjoy. Nothing is wrong with enjoying yourself for the season, but understand that there is Life after Carnival. In the world of George Chambers “Fete done, back to work.”

re4If it can be said that World War 1 was a build up brewing since the French Revaluation, then it is by no means a stretch to say that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s address to the “Nayshun,” was a build up from Section 34 to now. A lot was said, not said, and needs to be said, so let’s just dive right into her speech shall we? The PM showed great consistency in starting late as usual (don’t want to change up things too much so close to an election), and her opening statement that she has “No Compromise on Integrity,” caused the population to be uninterested from the get go. She did see it fit to mention that she has been criticized for removing Ministers (about 20 at this point), and tried to play it off as being firm when it really just boiled down to her being a poor judge of character in the first place. In any case before we go into the Fires and Hires of the shuffle, it is important to understand what basically went on:

re1David West was appointed head of the PCA by the decision of the PM and Opposition Leader. A media leak months later claimed that (former) AG Anand Ramlogan had made several calls to West, attempting to trade chips that weren’t his to trade, i.e. the appointment of PCA director, in exchange for him (West) withdrawing a witness statement in the Emailgate Defamation case Ramlogan vs Rowley. Presumably West withdrawing his statement would have given Ramlogan a huge advantage, especially in settling the case before an election. Ramlogan is caught with no response to the media and issues a statement the following day. Enter (Former) National Security Minister Gary Griffith who was asked by Ramlogan to simply ask West “Did you withdraw the document.” This casual message was anything but as Ramlogan attempts to make it a political stand-off against West. West being someone less interested in politics takes another approach, to report Ramlogan’s attempted/alleged ‘bribe’ to the police as what he was asked to do in withdrawing the witness statement can be seen as perverting the course of justice. Griffith as a voluntary witness to the matter says what he saw, which was against the wish’s of certain cabinet members to the extent that they wanted Griffith to see if his military drills applied to politics and ordered an about face (180 degrees turn) on the issue. In other words “Lie and be thrown under the bus.” Griffith refused and as it stands; West alleged, Griffith witnessed, Ramlogan is under police investigation.

'Scapegoat Convention.'Our beloved PM says that she will not be judging the matter as she is in no position to, then goes on to fire everyone involved that she can (except Communication Minister Vasant Barath who was engaged in a public war of words with Griffth, under official ministries’ letterheads earlier that day). She judges not, but yet passes judgement. The lowest common denominator’s (Ramlogan) punishment was applied across the board, down to the PM going out of her place to suggest that West’s appointment be revoked as well (which only the president can do). Imagine you get robbed and then must share a jail sentence with your attacker, plus the man who saw what happened and opened his mouth… The focus however was kept on West and Griffith, as in why didn’t they come forward earlier. Seeing as Ramlogan was trying to play in the yard with the PM’s marbles, it appeared as if they did not take him on at all…until he tried to implicate them as being dishonest to cover his tracks. For those who agree still at this point with the Prime Minister, that all involved in an investigation should step down, I agree to this extent; The PM should also herself step down as she is currently the subject of investigation over the Emailgate incident, as well as her Minister of Finance Larry Howai for the FCB insider trading. The Former AG allowed to resign for being implicated in criminal activity, and the Former Minister of National Security Fired for telling what he saw, actions that make Jack Warner green with envy that he himself couldn’t have orchestrated such a savage hypocrisy. And just in case all of the above didn’t fool you, she throws in a small ‘Blame Rowley’ segment in the mix.

re3 Forest Park Puncheon Rum must be considering legal action now over the PM copyright infringing on their slogan “More Fire,” as the AG and MoNS were just the start. The poor lady nearly fired herself, but ended up just firing herself as Minister of Social Development, much to the disappointment of the nation when it followed her proclamation “I have advised the president to revoke my appointment…”. She then proceeded to fire every man jack who was even seen sharing a chocolate digestive cookie with Griffith. Almost at an instant from there we shift from a “Fire for Spite” to what can only be seen as a totally dominating mandate. The President of the Senate Timothy Hamelsmith (who has often acted as the President of the Nation), was removed, yet Lower House speaker Wade Mark who just last week was caught in what appeared to be lying to his own Parliament to safeguard a debate against a Minister, is still there. At least Hamelsmith can exit knowing that there was no monkey business over his own degrees. What then follows is a line up of those who have little capacity to take their officers any further but rather just need to hold on and brace for elections ahead.  The PM reshuffles cabinet yet again, and as usual she ends up being the Joker. (Full list at bottom of page)

A look back on what we learnt here today:
Ramlogan taught us that loophole is the real supreme law of the land
Griffith taught us that if you tell the truth and stick by it you will be fired
Hamelsmith taught us that being a good presiding officer means little over having good friends in the chamber

All in all, this address and ‘action’ brings us right back to square one: poor governance, marked by corruption, nepotism, rum and roti politics. Have on fear though. Carnival is next week, and if that doesn’t distract you for long enough as per the plan, then stay tuned for more baccnacal in our fast rotting Bananna Republic… And a bonus food for thought, this seems to be the first time the PM has made a decision without saying “I have been advised,” points fingers to who was advising her all along not so?

Government Carnival Band 2015:
Loss dey wuk crew:
Anand Ramlogan – Attorney General
Gary Griffith – Minister of National Security
Kamla Persad-Bissessar – Minister of the People And Social Development
Embau Moheni – Senator and Minister In The Ministry Of National Security
Rupert Griffith – Minister Of Sport
Stacy Roopnarine – Minister In The Ministry Of Works And Infrastructure|
Emmanuel George – Minister Of Justice
Timothy Hamel-Smith – Senate President

Get ah wuk crew:
Prakash Ramadhar – Minister Of Justice and Legal Affairs
Christine Newallo Hosein – Minister Of People and Social Development
Brent Sancho – Minister of Sport
Kwasi Matuma – Minister in the Ministry Of Works and Infrastructure
Carlton Alfonso – Minister of National Security
Garvin Nicholas – Attorney General
President of Senate- Reiza Ahmed
Stacy Roopnarine – Minister In The Ministry Of Gender