Cabinets and Cupboards

 Dr Keith Rowley poses for the cameras moments after casting his vote on September 7th, 2015. 

Dr Keith Rowley poses for the cameras moments after casting his vote on September 7th, 2015. 

 

In the space of one swearing-in ceremony we went from 31 to 23 Ministries, including the Office of the Prime Minister. The Treasury must be heaving a sigh of relief. But the country is abuzz in discussion and debate about what these changes and omissions will all mean. So, I've taken my blog out of its cupboard and dusting it off. Time to give the PNM a run for its money.

Elections 2015 came to an end last Monday (September 7th). It went for an hour longer than anticipated; and saw the UNC leadership and its support base descend into graceless and vicious behaviour that started off with Kamla Persad-Bissessar behaving like a spoilt and spiteful child:  grudging concession speeches, tantrums about state cars, petitions to nullify the electoral process and untruths about the popular vote figures. The UNC's support base doing them one better by kicking off a week of race and hate-filled diatribe all over social media platforms. Take a bow UNC membership and leadership, you have outdone yourselves. We should count ourselves lucky that Sat Maharaj and Brenda Gopeesingh had the good sense to offer far more tempered and positive congratulations to the incoming government.

The Cabinet was named on Friday, and the critics came out of their cupboards at the shot of the pistol; which is to be expected after five years of a corrupt, runaway government that was particularly abusive to its electorate. Team Rowley is under heavy scrutiny and they will have to get used to it. Some of the selections I understand, some of the selections left me with a semi-WTF face. But let's get into it.

The Cabinet/Ministerial portfolios are significantly fewer than the previous government's. Kamla gave us somewhere around 31 Ministries, with many of the most important ministries being held by Senators who had either lost their seats at the polls or outright never faced the polls at all. Since Senators are appointed and not elected officials it often seemed that their loyalty lay with Kamla and not the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Rowley has trimmed that gargantuan Cabinet the UNC had down to 22 portfolios, exclusive of the office of the Prime Minister. Thus far only 4 senators - Clarence Rambharat, Dennis Moses, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus and Paula Gopee-Scoon - hold ministerial portfolios, and one senator, Avinash Singh, is a Parliamentary Secretary. It is the leanest Cabinet the country has had in a decade.  Kudos to Dr Rowley for keeping that campaign promise. I expect Parliament Channel to become must-see TV, if only with the additions to the lower house.

 Upper to Lower: Fmr PNM Senators Faris al Rawi and Stuart Young have now graduated to the Lower House. The population will be looking out for their informed debates and....well....#sweg (Photo courtesy Newsday's website).

Upper to Lower: Fmr PNM Senators Faris al Rawi and Stuart Young have now graduated to the Lower House. The population will be looking out for their informed debates and....well....#sweg (Photo courtesy Newsday's website).



It is clear that Rowley's policies as outlined on the campaign trail from as far back as the THA elections were going to guide his ministerial portfolios. Platform speeches rarely, if ever, addressed soft/social issues like the environment, gender, LGBT or arts and culture. The scope was always far more macro and developmental, with an insistence on re-setting the country's economic and administrative course first. Having listened keenly to what was being said for three years, the Ministries named didn't surprise me, thought some of the ministerial selections did.

Some of the areas Rowley and his team addressed in their platform speeches for the last three years were:

  • Revamp local government
  • Establish a Revenue Authority
  • Revamp agriculture and improve local food production
  • Clamp down on fiscal leakage and public spending
  • Return order to the energy sector (still our main source of income)
  • Develop rural areas
  • Set a robust legislative agenda that includes whistleblower protection laws
  • Revamp the TTPS and restore data and evidence-based policing
  • Rectify the illegal distribution of state homes and lands
  • Tackle the inequity and dispossession in black urban communities
  • Revamp education from the primary level upwards
  • Bring reform to the public sector

These are only a few. And the party's manifesto does a much better job at outlining their policies than I can. What for me was immediately clear throughout the campaign season is that Dr Rowley expects to spend this first five-year term cleaning up the mess that was made over the last five years and attempt to put the country and its economy in re-set mode. Which means he is in it for the long game and already planning for a PNM return to office. 

With the government in re-set and austerity mode, several areas that got themselves a letterhead, a budget and a building under Kamla have disappeared. Those areas are Gender,  Environment, Diversity and Integration, Multiculturalism and my absolute favourite, Church&Fete (ok, kidding, it wasn't exactly called church and fete, but you get the picture). Gender and Environment activists were immediately up in arms about the removal of named ministries. The removal of the other ministries caused not even a ripple.

Now get me clear here. I am a complete supporter of movements and policies that serve to enhance our quality of life, bring dignity to people's existence and sustain the planet we live on. What I do not support is having ministries for the sake of having a ministry. Or policies that are not data-driven with tangible ways to measure their success. 

Can we itemise in tangible ways the impact these ministries have had on the wider public? I'm not talking about hiring staff and providing funding for NGO projects. I'm asking can we get a breakdown of these NGOs and their projects and a metric of the impact these projects had? In terms of the environment have there been campaigns launched to educate the public about basics like recycling, upcycling, sustainable living, reduction in plastic use, adopting rivers and beaches? How widespread were they? What kind of budgets did they have? What were the measurements for success? Did we meet those measurements?

And I can easily ask the same of Gender. When the ministry was brought into being, how did its various line ministers and advisers go about determining the goals of the ministry and assessing its success? Was the detention of Cheryl Miller in a mental asylum one of the Ministry's goals? The silence from the ministry on the many attacks on female journalists by male Ministers, was that another measure of success? Listen, I could go on and on; but my point is simple, if the Treasury is meant to be shelling out money to support initiatives and programmes under new ministries, then these Ministries owe it to the population to show how we benefit from their presence. And I do not mean in dollars and cents only; but in improved quality of life. And thus far, I'm not feeling it.

All of that to say, that a letterhead and building doesn't impress me. Rather, I am looking forward to hearing about gender and environment policy driven by data and research; and seeing how these policies into Dr Rowley's vision for enhancing the entire country. This is where Camille Robinson-Regis' Ministry of Planning and Development becomes very important; because she is now in charge of providing data and metrics.

I've never felt that either of those areas should be treated as independent areas. Gender affects everything. The environment affects everything. So I am expecting to see the Ministries of Agriculture, Housing, Energy and Rural Development all spearheading environmental policies; and to see gender policy affecting all 22 of Rowley's ministries, as well as his Office. I want to see an end to the slutshaming of women across the board. I want to see an end to women being judged suitable for only specific tasks and receiving less remuneration. I want to feel safe walking the streets of my country regardless of the time of day. And I want the way we discuss women and their bodies to change. If that doesn't happen, then Dr Rowley has failed in those areas for me. And I will remind him that the buck stops with him.

 Five years ago voters were convinced Kamla could run a country...five years later they question whether newly appointed Finance Minister Colm Imbert can plan a budget. 

Five years ago voters were convinced Kamla could run a country...five years later they question whether newly appointed Finance Minister Colm Imbert can plan a budget. 

As per the suitability or qualifications of the Ministers named, my response is: Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Figure it out.

Ministers have access to teams of advisers, I hope they use them. I do not expect them to know everything, but I do expect them to make data-driven decisions and policies....which leads me to Religion and Sex Ed in schools...but not tonight...tomorrow.


For now, we have a government. Let us keep a keen eye on them and hold them accountable.

#ProjectVigilance


Party Start for #BeatOut2015

The 2015 Trinidad and Tobago General Elections are finally here.

 

It has been a long and gruelling campaign filled with mudslinging, personal attacks and on some platforms the discussion of issues and policies. 

 

Today are the final national rallies for the two main parties, the People's National Movement and the United National Congress. Both parties are meeting at their traditional rally grounds of Eddie Hart and Aranguez Savannah respectively.  

 

 

This week just past featured many national and community motorcades and meetings. Stay tuned to here while we keep you up to date between now and the final result on the night of Sept 7th. 

 

 

 UNC Campaign manager is predicting a victory despite negative public reactionnto his vitrolic #NoRowleyCampaign.

UNC Campaign manager is predicting a victory despite negative public reactionnto his vitrolic #NoRowleyCampaign.

One of the electoral controversies featured this week was a call by former Senate President and attorney, Timothy Hamel-Smith, for citizens to spoil their electoral ballots instead of casting a vote for a political party. Trinidad and Tobago's voting ballot does not xurrently allow for a None Of The Above (NOTA) vote. The Elections and Boundaries Commission put rest to the idea of a valid NOTA vote and indicated that spoilt ballots go uncounted. Perhaps Hamel-Smith will seek to redress this through Constitutional reform via the Parliament.

 A group calling itself TT Citizens for Democracy has post this flyer that falsely implies NOTA is a legal option in Teinidad and Tobago.

A group calling itself TT Citizens for Democracy has post this flyer that falsely implies NOTA is a legal option in Teinidad and Tobago.

Some finale meetings in and around the country saw record crowds in attendance. Such as Diego Martin North East's meeting at Maraval Junction. Sitting MP Colm Imbert asked his constituents to return him to office an 8th time.

 High spirits at the Diego Martin North East Grand Finale in Maraval last evening.

High spirits at the Diego Martin North East Grand Finale in Maraval last evening.

Own Goals and Pension Penalties

Marcelo stunned by his own goal...the first goal of WC 2014.

Sometimes the beauty of a goal is in its build up, not the scoring.

Last week, on June 14th to be precise, Express journalist Ria Taitt revealed that the Lower House (MPs) had just approved amendments to two bills giving themselves fat new pensions. The story took about 48 hours to really generate interest because it's the middle of the first round of World Cup 2014 in Brasil. And soccer-mad TnT, caught up with the beautiful game, barely have time for Anil, weed stashes, prostitutes in hotel rooms, or Government programs that are funding criminals, far less to pay attention to debates in their Parliament. Oh, and we had a long holiday weekend. And Laventille and the Police/Army were at war.

The story in front of us is simple. The Parliament - both Government and Opposition - chose to amend two bills: Judges Salaries and Pension Bill and the Retiring Allowances: Legislators. Nothing weird here. Law making, legislation, bill amendments etc are the business of the Parliament, yes? So, it stands to reason that if changes have to be made to a law, it's our legislators that should get in there and earn a salary, yeah?

Snapshot of what the old and new pensions look like. Infographic courtesy Trinidad Express.

By Saturday, Ms Taitt's stories of fat pensions, stopped being simply an issue of "them MPs tiefing from the Treasury again, wha we go do boy? Aye, the match start yet?" and started being likened to Section 34. You remember that fiasco, right? A Bill proclaimed in the dead of night during our 50th Anniversary Independence celebrations? That had both Government and Opposition support in Parliament, but didn't have Opposition support for the new declaration date?

By Saturday June 21st the swell of dissent had begun. Martin Daly SC and Reginald Dumas, former head of the public service, regular go-to advisors for the Trinidad Express, were out the blocks first. With Daly insisting that it was a breach of the Constitution, and that the integrity of judges - now reliant on MPs for their improved salaries - was in question; and Dumas questioning the adding of allowances to the calculation of pensionable emoluments and stating emphatically that there was no precedent for such.

But the real zinger that day came in the form of a public letter from Jackie Carr-Brown. In the letter Mrs Carr-Brown states:

These bills are unconstitutional. They pertain to the setting of compensation for judges, senators and MPs. The Government is not authorised to determine its own compensation, nor the compensation of the Judiciary.  

Only the independent, autonomous, Salaries Review Commission (SRC) which reports solely to the President, may make recommendations in this regard. In this way, the Constitution protects the country against executive abuse.

No democratic country in the world permits its legislators to determine their own compensation.  

Her statement couldn't be clearer. Himself was passing Amendments to pay Himself and bypassing the enshrined Constitutional arrangements. The Salary Reviews Commission was being sidelined by the Government, and worse yet, the Opposition was supporting this! For $$$$$$$$$.

Two important details to note here: the SRC weirdly enough is in a position to determine its own salaries according to our Constitution and Jackie Carr-Brown is allegedly married to a member of the Salary Reviews Commission, hence her knowledge.

The Conundrum

Up until Sunday morning (June 22nd) the issues surrounding this latest issue seemed pretty clear cut to me:

1. MPs had bypassed the SRC to give themselves pensions especially since the were displeased with the salaries recommended by the SRC in November 2013.

2. MPs had done the unprecedented thing and added allowances to their pensionable emoluments. The burden of these new fat pensions would cripple the Treasury.

3. In determining the pensions of retired Judges, the Parliament had breached the Constitution by threatening the separation of powers, a pillar on which our democracy (such as it is) stands.

Then by Sunday afternoon, in the midst of my baked fish and callaloo, just as I was prepping for the USA vs Portugal game information starts pouring out of my phone. Damn you Google Search!

1. This issue of the Government amending Judges' pensions isn't new. Anand Ramlogan announced he was doing this since June 27th, 2013. Almost a year ago the AG is on record addressing this issue as one of the changes the PPG was bringing on board:

He said the Judges Pensions Act, which was enacted in 1962, and judges pensions have never been revised upward since then.

“The Government is seeking to increase the amount of pension paid to a retired judge from 1/360th to 1/300th. The amendment would also provide for a periodic revision of the pension paid to retired judges of the Supreme Court, as well as a more favourable computation of the pension paid to judges of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Furthermore, the amended bill will propose a recalculation of the pension of judges who have retired for more than ten years. 

If the SRC objected to this announcement by government then, I didn't stumble upon any articles.

What is also noteworthy is that amending MPs pensions was not on the cards then at all. But somehow after the new salary recommendations made by the SRC November last year, it certainly got tabled quickly.

2. Several senior members of Government and even retired Judge, Zainool Hosein have insisted that the SRC, for at least two decades, has dragged its feet on reviewing salaries and compensation packages and has stated categorically it is not responsible for pensions. In yesterday's Express retired Justice Zainool Hosein stated: “We are no longer in office. The pension is only payable to past office-holders and therefore the separation of powers is not an issue,” he said.Hosein said in respect of the retired judges that SRC has consistently taken the position that the pension, of retired judges do not fall within their jurisdiction. “They took the view that that matter must be dealt with by Parliament,” he said. “Now it has been dealt with by Parliament, by both Government and Opposition (which agreed to it), and I am a little surprised that on a matter in which they (SRC) claim no jurisdiction they are reportedly expressing concerns,” he added.

According to Section 141(1) of the Constitution, the SRC, with the Approval of the President, can from time to time, review the salaries and other terms and conditions of services of the offices falling within its purview. I'm not a lawyer or legislator. I can't even begin to tell you if those words mean pensions are covered. I can't even say if those words mean that the SRC has jurisdiction over retired judges. What I do know is that apart from the SRC, there are specific Acts that address Judges' Pensions and Legislator's Pensions and the only people that can make changes to those acts don't sit on the SRC....they sit in Parliament. Opposition and Cabinet.

I'd recommend reading the 98th Report of the Salaries Review Commission if only to see what the purpose of the Commission is and what kinds of salaries and allowances are paid to Presidents, Prime Ministers, Commissions and senior Public Servants.

3. The Pension amendment comes from a contributory fund. This means its impact on the Treasury is different. Whereas mid to lower range Public Servants depend entirely on the state to pay their pensions, gratuity and lump sums, Judges and MPs have to contribute a percentage of their salary towards their pension, and the State provides the rest. What I'm still unclear on is what the ratios are and how much it is going to cost the State. I'm also keeping in mind that Judges don't pay taxes on their salaries at all and watching that reaaaaaaaaaal cockeyed.

4. With respect to the unprecedented nature of adding allowances to pensionable emoluments....it actually isn't unprecedented. According to the Pensions Act Chapter 23:52: ""pensionable emoluments" in respect of service under the Government of Trinidad and Tobago includes salary, personal allowance, inducement allowance, house allowance or the estimated value of free quarters and any fees paid out of the Treasury by way of salary ...". This is in the Pensions Act of 1934 that has been amended as recently as 2010.

So herein lies the crux of the matter:

1. Does the SRC have oversight of pensions? And if so, why were pensions not covered in their 98th Report delivered in November 2013? Was it an oversight? Because for the sub-category of Pension in their report they simply point to whatever pertains in the relevant Acts of the Constitution.

2. Was the SRC stealthily bypassed by the Cabinet and the Opposition in the aftermath of substandard salary recommendations in 2013? Does this ability to bypass the SRC and instead amend Pensions point to a flaw in our Constitution? Is the SRC still a relevant institution?

3. What financial impact will these pension packages actually have on the Treasury? In short, how much more burden will our tax payers have to bear? Especially in light of 4 massive deficit budgets from Kamla, and the likelihood of a fifth such Budget in September.

4. Has separation of powers been breached and the Constitution subverted? If the judges are retired, does this make a difference? Will sitting Judges feel indebted to MPs now for improved pension plans in years to come and give them a bligh because of that?

5. Is the addition of allowances to pensionable emoluments really unprecedented? And since they aren't,why do I feel as if the way in which these new pensions were calculated is going to give me indigestion and a tax burden that I can't stomach?

We are roughly a year away from the 2015 election period. In the last 4 years we have experienced too many instances of the Government brutalizing the Constitution and the Treasury for its own ends. We have been subjected to massive budgets and squander mania from Kamla and her Small Goal Squad. Most recently we found out that through the LifeSport programme the Government is funding criminals, and taking out loans against the treasury to pay these criminals and soon wants another $32m to pay off debts incurred by this same programme that funds criminals. Did I mention this government is funding criminals? Now, in under a week, we learn that both sides of the Parliament, not pleased with the recent salary increases granted to them earlier this year, are now sorting out their retirement.

I can't say it's illegal. Not yet. The SRC has to clarify whether Pensions really fall under its purview. The Constitution's language is too vague for me to say so convincingly. I'm hoping the Senate's debate today throws light. What I can say is in light of the burden on our treasury and our numerous labour and employment issues this leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.....and I'm giving you, Keith Rowley, a devious cut eye on this one.

De Vice Cyah Done!

** No footballers were hurt, or red cards given, in the writing of this post.

Performance and Personalities: The Campaign Against Rowley

conspiracy against rowleyEngineering dirt and flinging it into interesting patterns on the public wall aren't anything remotely new to politics; and certainly not new to ours. As early as 1961, our electoral process was plagued with ethnic tensions that led to questionable behavior. Rudy Capildeo, then leader of the DLP, overwhelmed by the tensions plaguing the elections, in a fiery call to arms in front of the Governor's Residence in Port of Spain, announced to his supporters, "You will be called to arms. Wherever the PNM holds a meeting, you will have to break it up." Throughout that election campaign there was the persistent rumor of a group of black men roaming the country looking for women to rape. Sound familiar? Echoes of Hulsie X?

In the course of the campaign, violence broke out and limited states of emergency had to be declared in St Augustine, Barataria,Caroni East and Chaguanas.

In the post-Williams era there was the infamous gun hoax created by ONR candidates Surujrattan Rambachan (Oropuche) and Unanan Persad (Caroni East). Rambachan and Persad claimed to be driving along Gaston-Johnson Street, Chaguanas, when shots were fired at their vehicle. Rambachan blamed the Panday-led ULF and accused the Prime Minister, George Chambers, of encouraging violence.  Shortly after reporting the incident to the police, and making much of the attack at political meetings in Diego Martin, it was discovered that the shooting was a hoax. Rambachan and Persad had shot bullets into their vehicle themselves and made a false report to the police. Neither was charged for wasting the Police's time or discharging a fire arm. The Trinidad Guardian of November 3rd, 1981 carries the story. Feel free to check it out.

Between 1981 to the present, there have been numerous attempts at mud slinging, smear campaigns and conspiracies. During the May 2010 election campaign there was an alleged assassination attempt on the life of then Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Since then it seems assassination attempts on the PM, whether by tins of Matouk's peas, random Muslims or ghosts are the order of the day. These attempts are meant to encourage empathy and sympathy for the Prime Minister. Look at this poor, beleaguered, hard working woman. Everybody wants to kill her, even canned food.

Two nights ago (June 5th, 2014), at a public meeting in San Juan, a rare thing happened: Camille Robinson-Regis revealed the details to a smear campaign by the UNC against Opposition Leader Keith Rowley in the midst of its very failed execution.

The emails revealed a group that comprises government ministers, the Canadian High Commissioner, the former UK ambassador, advisers to the PM, media and public relations specialists and everybody's favorite Facebook racist:PEAnuts.

In an email dated Friday, May 16, 2014 12:02:25PM, sent from Rodney Charles to approximately 17 people, he says:

"We propose launching a full scale attack on Keith Rowley come the morning of May 19th 2014 ie the morning after his expected landslide victory. We absolutely need to bring down his polling ratings."

Then on Saturday, May 31 2014 in an email whose subject is, "Make this Happen and everybody wins", someone by the name of Roodal is enthusiastic and responds to an email sent to him by someone called Phillip Alexander by saying: "This is a great idea." 

The idea Phillip Alexander has pitched to him is:

Every evening from six to seven on CNMG there could be a one hour show called "Equal Time" hosted by yours truly..."

conspiracy against rowley 2

Apart from the concept of the show, what struck me about the e-mail exchanges are the time stamps.

Phillip Alexander sends his original message at 9:58 am on Sat 31st, May. Roodal responds at 11:23 am. And by 13:18:06, the emails have been sent to someone who has PNM sympathies. Chris Brown was right....these hoes aint loyal. Is this a case of surveillance and interception....or does the UNC ship have some major leaks in its very inner cabal?

If the final message forwarded came from Roodal's email, who did he forward the messages to?

An election is constitutionally due by September 2015. The UNC/PP Govt has not a chance in hell of winning it, despite Kamla's sustained popularity. There are simply too many scandals and missteps to sidestep during next year's campaign.

Usually an incumbent party campaigns on its track record. Boasting about its achievements with regards to new legislation and infrastructure.

This Government has a dismal track record with legislation. From Section 34 to Soldier Bill, to DNA Bill to Dangerous Dogs, no one is happy with how inefficient a Cabinet filled with lawyers are at drafting legislation.  And in terms of infrastructural development, the SNC Lavallin fiasco colors one planned hospital and the Point Fortin and Debe to Mon Desir Highway routes are riddled with protests and accusations of corruption.

We need not even go back to their 7 Pillars of Sustained Development Manifesto to know that every promise made remains unfulfilled.

What is patently obvious is that they are extremely aware of their poor track record, but will stop at nothing to return to power.

Their strategies though, have not improved with time.

They include:

1. Circle the wagons of support around the leader and have the party base lash out in a wild, incoherent frenzy at anyone who dares to criticize her. Go to any of their support pages on FB - True Trinis Discussing Real Issues or even the UNC Group administered by Allan Karim. See what passes for debate and idea exchange there.

2. Raising the race bogey - a topic i intend to touch on in a later blog. Despite the numerous acts of race-baiting by Kamla herself and members of her government, her party has now started a campaign that seeks to paint the Opposition as racist. The hope is that their support base will continue to support them.

3. Target and smear the leader. In 2010 it was Manning. Manning's Squandermania, Manning and Calder Hart, Manning and Juliana Pena, Manning and Duprey/CLICO, Manning  and the Guanapo Church, Manning's secret love child, Manning, Manning, Manning. It's simple really. You need to give the electorate a focus. A symbol of what they hate or resent about their governance. Because the UNC is now the government, the focus will be on Rowley and all of the secret racial tensions and fears will be played upon: a black man in power will mean suffering for Indians; blacks in charge will mean less access to resources, rape, violence; we can't put back a black Prime Minister. Already the messages are there, subliminally and overtly. And unfortunately, most of our electorate  will make no effort to separate truth from fact and examine issues.

What needs to happen during this campaign year is that the focus must be kept solely on performance and track record. We, the electorate, must rise above the noise and examine the UNC/PPs track record from 2010 to whenever an election date is called; and we must examine the PNM's track record, specifically Rowley's achievements and skills, because Manning has been removed from all leadership positions and has stated he won't be running in the next election. Compare the track records of the two leaders before us: Keith and Kamla.

Let's make 2015 about performance, not smear campaigns against personalities.

#DeViceCyahDone!

Banking on Bare Sat

The PM and the PM.... Imagine you playing a high stakes game of politics, winner gets all, and the only card in your hand is Sat Maharaj?

That is pretty much the predicament in which Kamla and her government have found themselves.

Both Labour and Jack Warner have abandoned them: so the popular support and the deep coffers Warner (once) had have both disappeared.

The COP, we all know, is a dead and riderless horse. Its two choices for leadership are Ramadhar and Dookeran. Need I go on?

The numerous other civil society groups that sung Kamla praises and supported her have all but disappeared and several of them now march against her in very public rallies. In short, all of the public good will that Persad-Bissessar had garnered after beating Panday at internal elections has disappeared. Well, except Hazel Brown.

At this point the PP or UNC, whichever name it chooses to go into election 2015 with, is reliant on two groups: the criminal element and die hard UNC supporters.

Even with die-hard supporters Kamla has a hard road to travel. In spite of what the many Facebook UNC walls (all with the same fake profiles of PEA and Allan Karim) attempt to spin and say, even supporters of Kamla have grown fed up of her style of non-governance. Why else would you need to pull out your trump card of Maha Sabha religious leader, on Indian Arrival Day, in a predominantly Indian electoral seat unless.......Sat is your only trump card and things so bad, you need to rally your base?

Trouble in the heartland? Are folks disenchanted with your less than stellar record?

Let me quickly remind you of what Kamla campaigned for in 2010. 1. Good Governance, Transparency and accountability. The country still waiting.

2. An end to wastage of public monies and Squandermania. Have you read the last two Auditor General Reports on the spending of Public Monies? We are $30 billion dollars in debt. Yes. $30b.

3. An end to violent criminal activity and white collar crime. Two words: Dana Seetahal.

4. The right to recall MPs if they are underperforming. Cabinets shuffling and reshuffling and realigning every year, but no talk of the right of recall anymore. I wonder why?

Those are just four items from their very glossy and colorful 7 Pillars of Development. Remember that document?

The PNM votes that Kamla's PP got in 2010 to sweep her to government have returned home. The marginal voters cussing themselves and avidly searching for reasons to vote in 2015, and this means pressure has to be put on Keith Rowley to show that his game is superior.

This leaves Kamla with her heartland. And that's what? 15 seats? After winning 29 in 2010?

Then there is the other group. The criminal element. This is the one group we cannot underestimate. Abu Bakr of 1990 coup fame has often alluded to the role his organization, the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, has played in mobilizing votes for political parties.

As reports on the Life Sport Programme have shown, Kamla's government has gotten very cozy with a group that has criminal shadows over it. As an electorate, we have to ask ourselves how many other groups like this is the UNC govt bankrolling and at what cost.

Today's Guardian claims the Life Sport Programme is being audited a third time. As a result, payments from the programme are on hold.

If this is the only such programme under this government, expect frustration when "at-risk youth" from "depressed" communities cannot get their monies.

But I sincerely doubt Life Sport is the only programme doling out monies to criminal elements. The very same hand out syndrome Kamla lashed out at and despised in 2010, has become a key feature of her government. So, I expect a reporter to soon find another programme or slush fund in some remote corner of a Ministry that is bank rolling less than savory elements.

Consider now, that Kamla really only has two bases to rely on. And it is only one she can rally and call out to publicly...the party faithful. A group that  nurses great resentment towards the larger community. A group that at every turn is quick to point out that no one likes them because they are Indian, or Hindu or both. That they are oppressed and marginalized and persecuted because of their ethnic and religious identity....as if oppression, marginalization and persecution belongs to any one group here. This is the group Sat Maharaj represents, and this is why showering him with public accolades is important. She has to reassure this group she is still one of them, hasn't forgotten them and needs them. If Sat were speak out against Kamla, consider what that would do to her chances at the polls next year in her heartland seats?

After running a slick PR campaign in 2010 that pretended to be about issues, Persad-Bissessar has gone back to basics and is going to run a race platform. In reassuring herself of her heartland base Kamla has resorted to reactivating the Race Bogey. We are back in 1961 all over again. Sat Maharaj remains one of the most polarizing and divisive individuals the country has produced. His racist comments are now being described by the PM as free speech. And the PM is yet to apologize for the many instances she has used race baiting and prejudiced comments on the campaign trail during last year's 4 elections. When calypsonians and satirists practise the same freedom of speech I hope she is just as openminded.

It is now up to us, right thinking citizens, to reject race rhetoric and force the coming political campaigns to be about the glaring issues that are sinking us daily.

We in Full Dotish mode to 2015. It will get tense. It will be sticky.

Sharma's Karma

MP Chandresh Sharma at a recent cycling event. If you are from South Trinidad, Pundit Chandresh Sharma isn't a new name to you. And you'd also be very familiar with the numerous stories that fly around about infidelities, outside children and even less than kosher behavior in public office.None of the rumors particularly recent.

But let's not dwell in the realm of rumors. Let's deal with the tangible story that the Guardian, of all newspapers, spilled all over our laps this week. You may well question my skepticism of the Guardian. With Dr Hamid Ghany, politics lecturer and close colleague of the People's Partnership, at the helm of their editorial decisions, it struck me as interesting that the newspaper would have scooped the Express on this particular story. Not that the Express didn't carry the story early enough....they just didn't have as much juicy details. And considering the flagrantly obvious modus operandi of the Guardian since Walk Out Wednesday 2013 that involves more govt friendly coverage, it intrigued that they had the better story.

But back to the main story. In 2010 it was woman power....remember that? Vaguely? I do. And ironically, or maybe justifiably, since Kamla's tenure has done nothing to improve the lot of women, it seems that women are going to be the downfall of her govt. Last week it was Glen Ramadharsingh, the Hamper Man, breaching civil aviation rules, threatening a CAL flight attendant and grabbing at her breast in the process of issuing his threats. His excuse, fatigue....yes Glen, all tired men, small or grown, does reach out for tot tots.

This week we have an equally lurid scandal downing Sharma. Sacha Singh, his now ex-

Sacha Singh

girlfriend, forced a confrontation between Sharma and a woman with whom he allegedly had a relationship and a child. The child is now 12 years old, and the implications are that he has not met his responsibilities where the child is concerned.

You have to pause for a moment and understand the shame this must be causing the orthodox Hindu community and UNC supporters. For the orthodox Hindu community, it is knowing that a pundit, indeed, a self-proclaimed Brahmin (imagine in the Caribbean Brahmin and caste are still used), fell from such a great height. Theirs is a community known for publicly espousing strong family values and kin ship ties. Note I said publicly.

For UNC supporters it is something far more base. You see, much of their chatter on their walls centers around attributing particular traits to persons of African descent. In fact, to give you a brief glossary of terms for a UNC wall, PNM is a word that has little to do with a political party and everything to do with race and bigotry. So it's not so much PNM policies that are ever discussed, but slurs that are tossed. So on a UNC wall when you see the word PNM it's normally used euphemistically to mean black, criminal, worthless, poor, uneducated etc.

Generally, UNC supporters, people who described themselves as openminded, inclusive and intolerant of racism and corruption in 2010, spend most of their days defining the Afro-descended community of Trinidad and Tobago as ghetto rats, prone to violence, poor, always seeking handouts, deadbeat dads etc. So imagine the irony, when a government minister, who claims to be of the highest possible social caste in Hindu society, turns out to be a hitter of women, a philanderer and possibly (if the child is his) a dead beat dad? It kinda turns the myth sold to us about the wholesomeness of the Hindu community on its head. It makes us realize that dysfunction doesn't belong to a race, it can happen in virtually any ethnic community and at all economic levels....because surely lack of money can't be the reason he isn't doing his duty? Right?

You see, MP Sharma, you hurt women, several women. The first of whom was your wife. I suspect if you have any daughters you have hurt and violated their trust as well. In not providing full disclosure to Ms Singh, you hurt her as well. And then, as a man, and alleged upstanding member of the community, you brought your office into disrepute by assaulting citizens of the country. It matters little if it is a public space or not. Hitting is a no no. And to not expect that one day one of these women would stand up to you, shows just how unintelligent you must be.

So when Sharma, in his resignation speech today talked about Karma, I smiled. Why? Because as a pundit he would know it only too well, and had he read his astrology charts, like Miss Cleo, he should have seen this coming.

Between Glen and Chan Kamla is now limping to elections 2015 like a cripple with a stone in he right shoe. It isn't pretty. And no matter how much she tries to make these firings and resignations put her in the light of a strong leader they don't. The constant abuse of women under her tenure tells me that she doesn't have a gender policy and that the men under her don't respect us. We have seen far too many young, articulate women bullied by this government: Asha Javeed, Denyse Renne, Anicka Gumbs Sandiford, the women of the Highway ReRoute Movement, and now, Ronelle Laidlow and Sacha Singh. In the midst of this, the feminists who loudly and proudly supported Kamla's 2010 bid for office are deafeningly mute. I'm almost tempted to purchase iPhones for them so at least Siri can be their voice. Mind you, if we only so much as criticize Kamla's wardrobe or lipstick choice, they have strong positions on that. But abuse and oppression of women? Not tonight. Let's move on.

How many more women have to be attacked by this government before we get rid of them?

#BeatOut2015 Can't Come Soon Enough!

 

What is a MATT?

One of the status updates that fuelled the public's response to claims of government interference at Guardian Media Limited. Editor in Chief Judy Raymond...giving it another try.

Today is the internal elections for the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago, the same organisation that was commandeered by Sheppard, Raymond, Hawkins, Mathur, Dowrich, Baldeosingh et al (i forgetting somebody in there I'm sure) months ago into telling the one version of GuardianGate.

Since Walkout Wednesday, as Sheila Rampersad has referred to it in news reports, the entire board has resigned. When you listen to the comments from members of the board, no clear picture emerges about what really went down that week. Sheppard, as then President of the organisation, has accepted full responsibility for what went down....but responsibility isn't the same thing as transparency and accountability. And I am afraid as a member of the public, who has to rely on the media to get it right, MATT's previous board is still very much in the wrong.

To the best of my knowledge to date there has been no explanation about who exactly took the decisions and gave the ok for those releases to have been sent out. Word is Ms Sheppard was on vacation leave when this entire thing began...so who called her into office? And when she "wrote" the press releases, or instructed someone to write the releases - see, we still don't know for certain who wrote the relaases..everything is hinted at and alluded to - was she writing it with her Guardian employee cap on or her MATT cap?

If it was the MATT cap (which is what it should have been), who was she getting her info from, and what cause exactly was she lobbying for? You see, at the height of the scandal that week the impression the entire country...in fact region...had was that press freedom was under threat. And the public didn't make the story up...it was brought to them via MATT press releases.

I have had several arguments with Guardian personnel about this issue, because I felt the then MATT board was extremely dishonest and disingenuous with the public and very irresponsible. The Board was quick to give us a particular side of a very salacious story...but not so quick at clearing up and ending the speculation.

Board members took a decision to run with a story, and then a day or two later the entire story they ran with and delivered to the public as factual was shot down as being false and misrepresenting the truth....and in all of it, the key players at the Guardian all happen to be MATT Board members.....from captain to cook!

In a serious country, with a serious media, the outgoing MATT Board would have had to submit a report upon leaving office. Instead, when questioned, Judy Raymond, at the heart of the shit-storm that was walk out Wednesday, directs queries to an editorial she wrote that answers none of the really salient questions about MATT's role in the entire fiasco.

And for me that is my bone of contention. It is obvious to anyone who looked on that MATT, in the hands of Guardian Media Limited personnel, was used as a tool to tell one side of a story. Then when the shit began to swirl too thick and too fast, it was just as quickly discarded and the MATT Board hoped we would forget it was also made up primarily of Guardian reporters and editors.

The question that again begged itself at the end of this fiasco is, What is MATT?

Sometime in 2011, when the issue with Ian Alleyne using live footage of a rape occurred, I had asked Ms Raymond what was MATT. You see, it isn't a union, because it cannot assist with wage negotiations, or even improving conditions at a media house. It isn't quite a watchdog group either, because it picks and chooses the media issues it speaks out on in random ways.

What I have been told is that MATT is an organisation of media workers; it doesn't have a lawyer; it runs workshops for its members; it attempts to protect press freedom.

The new MATT board that is hopefully going to be voted in today has to work on defining itself. Having a clear vision and mission; properly articulated for itself and the public. It needs to establish a code of ethics for its members and a code of conduct as well. While I know individual media houses determine the standard of the stories they publish, MATT should seek to become a body that is similar to the Law Association and Medical Practitioner's Association in terms of safeguarding its profession.

Because from where I stand, one of the prominent threats to a free and independent press at this moment are the employees themselves.

A (Pappy) Show of Force

handcuffs  

You couldnt miss the news on Sunday. The local police force, having learned quickly from this government, have become masters of their own promotion.

So, many of us woke up Sunday, or returned from places of worship, or the market to hear that East Port of Spain was under lock down. After nearly a month of killings - much of it lost in the news coverage because we were so busy following Warner's by-election Campaign , oh, sorry, I mean Chaguanas West's - Trinidad and Tobago began to notice that east of George Street was heating up again: Duncan and Nelson were at war and you could bank on hearing about at least two murders a day coming from that area. The news media, getting their information from the police, never ventured beyond the formulaic description of "gang-related" killing. We didn't know what were the names of the gangs, or if the gangs were even from East Port of Spain...but you see, that doesn't matter. This is Trinidad, where the myth is that all criminals are black and all black people are criminals. So the details don't matter, just the big picture.

Burkey Burke, one of the major captures this weekend...he was released a day later.

And it was the big picture the Police service was interested in on Sunday. Radio and Internet news headlines blared it out 90 Arrested in East Port of Spain Raid! Yuh see, they finally get their act together and doing something! Twelve arrested during the week and now, look, a whole 90 in one Sunday morning!

The 300 (officers) literally descended onto Nelson and Duncan, and according to residents, few saw a search warrant. They simply looked on while doors were kicked down, possessions were strewn about and their loveds ones were carted away. Many on just suspicion...no evidence. Which is why today, just two days after the raid, 59 of the 90 arrested are back out on the streets. And all 12 men held for the murders last week are back home as well.

Kamla announcing SoEThese past 2 days have been like SoE 2011 deja vu for anyone who happens to be black, from an urban community, and possibly from a single parent home...worse yet if you have dread locks. It is the second time in two years we have had a spike in the murder  toll lead to either a full fledged State of Emergency, or similar conditions. In 2011 for 3.5 months we were treated to nightly images of mostly young black men from urban and semi-urban communities being tossed into the back of police vehicles and carted off on suspicion of being criminals. Given the features and traits these folks had in common you got a good sound message of precisely what this Government and the wider society thinks is a criminal. You had the AG and Minister of National Security on television further endorsing the stereotypes too. And at the end of it all, 8000 victims of the SoE were released and sent back to their homes. No violent crime solved, no white collar crime solved. Big and small fish swimming normal normal.

This time around there was no official announcement of emergency conditions, no Kamla on tv nervously announcing from her kitchen that we under a limited state of nonsense, but the features were all there.

This weekend's raid followed several months of the Minister of Housing, Roodal Moonila,l constantly alluding to residents of national housing units as criminals...specifically national housing units in black urban areas. Again...stereotypes from a Government Minister. You'd swear the Equal Opportunities Commission sleeping.

Moonilal has claimed that as Minister of Housing, with oversight for the Home Development Corporation, he is a landlord to thugs and criminals...which is why he needs his luxury Range Rover tricked out like he is the Commissioner of Police.

Then this week he made the comment that he was cracking down on migrants from Port of Spain to Central and South Trinidad. Anyone reading that article would be forgiven for thinking there was zoning in Trinidad and Tobago and that people from Port of Spain aren't allowed to move and live in other areas. Moonilal should give up the Range Rover and get a cork hat, khaki suit and horse.....get his Boer act over and done with.

Aware that several arms of the state - Police and Govt - now looking patently bad, there are rumblings from the police that they may re-arrest some of the released persons. Almost as if Sunday was a dry-run and later this week will be the real deal. Let's hope they have evidence this time and not a "feeling".

The Prime Minister is returning to East Port of Spain on Wednesday. She may dissolve into tears again. Following her loss in popularity, coupled with this spike in crime, she must feel the need to do some serious PR and cajoling.

The irony is that every one is patently aware of why East Port of Spain is this way....a combination of neglect and total disrespect from regime after regime. But many of us don't care. Once the crime not affecting us, is ok.

But briefly pandering to and then largely ignoring these areas has become a game...and if you were keeping score this weekend you'd realise that everyone is tied at a big fat zero.....except the ones that were murdered.

 

Full Dotish Mode in Overdrive!

The MATT Who Cried Wolf

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond...giving it another try. Soooooo...all that fuss at GuardianGate....you know....about Government interference at the newspaper? And about Managing Directors and editors being fired and then reinstated and there being an impasse in the newsroom and reporters walking off the job etc etc.....it was a hoax.

Yes folks, we're being told today by Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago, whose President is Suzanne Sheppard and Vice President is Judy Raymond....that ALLLLLL those press releases they sent out earlier in the week to keep us abreast of the situation in the Guardian newsroom....well they were mistaken.

So MATT, once again, is a tool, being absolutely abused by its executive. Nothing to see here folks...move along.

Take a read:

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) seeks to correct previous erroneous information released specifically about the alleged resignation of the Managing Director of Guardian Media Gabriel Faria. Further investigation into the matter has revealed that Managing Director Gabriel Faria and Sector Head David Inglefield have not resigned as previously reported by MATT.  The impasse between the publishers of the Trinidad and Sunday Guardian newspapers and senior journalists has been reportedly resolved following discussions between the two parties. Apart from the resignation of Public Affairs Editor Dr Sheila Rampersad, the newsroom is now functioning as before with Judy Raymond as Editor in Chief. Investigative reporters Anika Gumbs and Denyse Renne, who were initially reported as having resigned, are on the job. Managing Director Gabriel Faria and Sector Head David Inglefield have not resigned as previously reported President of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) Suzanne Sheppard, who is the Business News Editor at the Trinidad Guardian, described the events of the last 24 hours which led to speculation of political pressure on journalists at the daily newspaper as case of a “massive miscommunication” between the publishers and journalists. Sheppard said she is convinced, following discussions with senior executives, that the events of the past few days when Judy Raymond was asked to go temporarily “off-line” to review editorial standards in the newsroom had “nothing to do with political intervention”. Sheppard said freedom of press issues were raised only due to an unfortunate combination of events that will be revealed in a press conference on Monday.  Saturday 13th July 8.00am

And while you pick your jaw up off the floor...and realise that the MATT who cried wolf really just saw a canary....keep in mind these cryptic words from Judy Raymond, Guardian's EIC last evening.."Don't believe everything you read..."

Full Dotish....Full Dotisher....And More Full Dotish!

Slap in the Face...

One of the status updates that fuelled the public's response to claims of government interference at Guardian Media Limited. Editor in Chief Judy Raymond...giving it another try.

If YOU were the Editor in Chief of a newspaper whose motto was "The Guardian of Democracy" and it was reported by members of your staff and the media association you belong to that there was evidence of government interference at your newspaper.....would that be grounds to resign?

And if that isn't grounds for resigning, what would be?

Today Trinbagonians pretty pissed off with the Guardian newspaper....why? Because they feel they have been taken for a ride by the company's Board and its Editor in Chief. They feel they have been pissed on from a great height and slapped in the face by the antics of the board and the editorial team at the newspaper.

They are also coming to terms with the bald truth that the newspaper isn't about good independent journalism, so much as it is obsessed with its bottom line....and no amount of soft soaping from the Editor in Chief, or even from her Business News Editor, Suzanne Shepherd is going to make the reading public feel good anytime soon.

In fact, both yesterday and today you had a Guardian whose content was very much toned down. No stories about government malfeasance or any other kind of misbehaviour at all in its pages. It would be easy to mistake The Guardian's political stories for the Ministry of Communications' FaceBook page now.

In the meantime, Denyse Renne and Anicka Gumbs-Sandiford who have been doing a fairly reliable job of unearthing and revealing government misbehaviour are resigned...and I can only offer a pray that the Express grabs them up so that their investigative skills aren't wasted and the public can have some level of consolation over this absolute fiasco.

There is a lot I could say about the actions or in-action of Ms Raymond and Ms Shepherd. There is talk that this is being done for the sake of the staff. Some members of staff that I have spoken to scoff loudly at that notion.

But what I will say is this...you have severely disappointed the public. You have been less than forthcoming with them about the true details of this fiasco and you have led them on. You owe the population an explanation. And if you have been guilty of poor information dissemination....an apology and your resignations from MATT's board. Because nobody going to take MATT seriously after this debacle with the two of you serving as President and Vice President. Can you really continue to represent the interests of journalists after this?

Suzanne Shepherd, on Wednesday 10th at 1:42 pm posted this: The most vile attack imaginable on freedom of the press now in progress and I am in the midst of it.

The public didn't imagine this crisis...they didn't fuel it themselves....they didn't ask for it.

As President and Vice President of MATT both of you have a huge responsibility here for the information fed to the Trinbagonian public, the region and the world.

No one is going to forget your behaviour this week, or what it means for our confidence in media and press freedom.

In the meantime, I will get my news from Jamal Mohammed...at least I know his propaganda is solid and undiluted.

Democratic institutions crumbling around us at Full Dotish Speeds!!!

What Khadija Could Mean

khadijah  

I have been saying to my friends more than a week now that Jack Warner isn't going to win Chaguanas West, nor is he likely to even run for the seat as an Independent because politically, for both him and the UNC, it doesnt make sense. If Warner runs in this by-election it will be because of pride....not because it makes good political sense.

Kamla Racist statement At Pepper Junction

The PM, in between delivering comments that remind us of Paula Deen : " The PNM has chosen one of your children to come up against us. I ask you to show him the error of his ways and vote for UNC." just announced Khadija Ameen as the UNC's Chaguanas West candidate for the by-election.

I think lots of folks are hoping Warner will run as an Independent....but I doubt it.

Warner running as an Independent means UNC votes are split even further down the line. No PNM or marginal voter will stain their fingers in all good conscience...rather it will be die-hard UNC supporters willing to ignore all the corruption allegations in exchange for hand-outs and box drains.

Warner running effectively pits him against the party he finances and helped to bring to govt. Warner running against Ameen, puts him out of the UNC.....that would be playing into the hands of his detractors.....so, unless Warner has decided that he going to bring this government down....and that seems counterproductive to me, because it could lead to his undoing....I suspect that he will gran dcharge a little and then bow out of the by-election race.

Him bowing out does several things: it allows the UNC to be rid of the corruption albatross that is Warner, and to put a fresh face in Parliament that has no large corruption allegations attached to it. What folks will say about Ameen is that the is very inept at her job at the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation. We've all seen the video circulating of her asleep at a Regional Corporation meeting.

They might also tell you that her relationship with Warner goes back a long time....since her Guild Politics and LGE councillor days...So if Ameen wins the seat.....it's almost as if Warner won it....almost.

What I'm not sure about though is what will Jack do? Will he go quietly into that good night? And if so, is that a good thing or bad?

What I do know is this...UNC cant afford to lose this seat. The fight going to be messy and nasty....Kamla has fired her first "We Vs Them" Salvo and it is openly prejudiced. It's Calcutta Ship all over again.

If Warner runs....he has cut ties with the party.

If he doesnt....this is all part of a larger strategy to clean up the party's name.

Prepare for a month of Full Dotish!

 

Himself Still Investigating Himself

Kamla announcing SoEDespite the AG's bold and brave response to Opposition Leader Rowley a few weeks ago in Parliament that the emails were fraudulent and he (and his govt) have nothing to hide; all the actions thus far of both him and his Prime Minister are forcing me to draw a different conclusion: like people have cocoa in the sun? In the aftermath of Rowley's allegations, instead of the government listening to the requests of

DCP Mervyn Richardson

the population and calling for an independent investigation and stepping aside, they have instead asked Mervyn Richardson, the man responsible for investigating Assassination Gate, who is on contract, to spearhead another investigation involving Kamla and the AG.

And if it wasn't bad enough that we have a police officer with questionable investigative skills leading the investigation, the AG and the PM are now trying to influence and thwart the investigation at every stage of the game.

Thus far we have had:

The AG.....

1. Richardson seizing Rowley's compute: I can only assume it is to ascertain that Rowley didn't create the typed transcripts himself. Yet he didn't seize the printer to examine it to see if the documents were printed from it...because you do know printers have their own identification marks.....Richardson baffles me, he truly does. Mind you he hasn't seized any computers from the AG, the PM, Suruj Rambachan of Gary Griffith just yet.

2. The AG paying two local IT persons to produce reports to say the typed e-mails are fake.

3. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, through her lawyer Israel Khan hiring a foreign IT Expert, Jon Berryhill, to say that the documents presented in Parliament by Rowley are fake. Mind you in his report he does say: “The authenticity of an e-mail message requires corroborating information from multiple sources. “If the authenticity of an e-mail is in question, a single-source printed copy would never be sufficient to resolve the issue,” it added. “The analysis of printed e-mails in the absence of other data can never prove its authenticity.”

4. The PM refusing to have her data devices examined unless she and her attorney are present. So much for a free and fair investigation by the police.

So, unless Persad-Bissessar and Ramlogan provided a digital archive for Berryhill to sift through how on earth can we know what is or isn't authentic?

The saddening thing is the government will continue to interfere with this investigation and try to influence its course. We have had Anand and Kamla bring in local and foreign experts. What next? A keynote address from a Steve Jobs hologram to say Apple thinks the e-mails are fake based on typed transcripts?

And while they are busy trying to skewer this investigation they are also fighting the Integrity Commission on another front. And making much of the meeting between Rowley and Gordon. If it's that problematic then replace the chairperson, Kamla...but stop tampering with the investigation. And stop investigating yourself so publicly. It isn't solving anything for anyone.

To the members of the media, I truly hope you ask Mr Berryhill the right questions:

1. What were his instructions? To form a view on the authenticity of the document handed to him or the method to authenticate the existence of the emails?

2. If his job was just to examine the printed documents, then what is the point of his report and investigation?

3. If he had access to digital files, why was he given access and not the police who are investigating?

4. Did he access reports from Google, Microsoft and TSTT, and if so, through what channels.

5. Why are the PM and AG investigating Emailgate themselves? Are they attempting to pervert the course of justice and influence the outcome of this case?

See Kamla and Anand, your hope is that the public either too stupid or too tribally  loyal to ask the right questions. But we see this for what it is....whether or not those emails are true....you and your government are acting very guilty.

herbert volneyPity the Law Association, DPP, President and Chief Justice wont step forward and tell the Silkened AG and PM to cease and desist. Because it seems that the silkened twins are attempting to pervert the course of justice and no one is pulling them up. Pity too that Herbert Volney of all people seems to be the most sensible voice in this enter fiasco.

Step Down and Step Aside AG and PM....or else I might start to think you've got something to hide.

Like we heading to Perversion of Justice in Full Dotish Mode!

Distract and Discredit

Ken GordonEver since the last Motion of No Confidence wherein Keith Rowley revealed the possibility of an exchange of emails between 3 senior government officials and their favourite lap dog, Kamla's Fete Match Side has been in Distract and Discredit Mode.....going at Full Dotish pace too.

The discovery that Rowley and chairman of the IC had a twenty-minute meeting at Gordon's private home to discuss whether or not Emailgate was a matter before the IC has played itself nicely into the government's hands as yet another tool to discredit the validity of the alleged e-mails; and now, to discredit the IC and perhaps avoid going the route of an independent investigation. And while they aren't in the wrong to question the occurrence of the meeting, the irony of this government querying private meetings is too rich. And it's so obvious that their tactic will now be to use this meeting to avoid what the public and Opposition has been clamouring for: an independent investigation.

It didn't take the AG more than a hot minute after Roodal Moonilal's announcement of the

The AG.....

meeting in Parliament - complete with side (and snide) comments from the PM egging him on - to imply that Chairman Ken Gordon was compromised. And if you have followed the fate of this Integrity Commission it is always mired in mud and controversy....from inception. The Government knows well that the country has little faith in it; and further that UNC supporters will use any excuse to blame and label anyone and anything as PNM.....and so, a private meeting about a public matter between the Opposition Leader and the chairman of the IC takes on a particularly questionable face.

rowleyYou would think that seasoned men and politicians like Rowley and Gordon would be incapable of what is obviously a very rookie move. You'd also think that Rowley, fully aware of how the last Prime Minister shot himself in the foot would avoid moves that so remind one of Patrick Manning for its abject carelessness. You would think too that Rowley by now would realise that because he is a very black Tobagonian (yes, I said it...there is a lot of colour prejudice involved here where Rowley is concerned) he is always held up to a different and much higher standard by both PNM supporters and the rest of the country.

It is unfortunate, but that is the truth of it.

Kamla announcing SoEYou would also think too that UNC supporters and Government ministers would have less to say about public meetings being kept in private homes when:

1. Cabinet Meetings are held in the Prime Ministers home regularly.

2. The last emergency meeting to determine what happened to a Government Minister and MP was held in the Prime Minister's home.

3. The State of Emergency was announced from the PM's private home.

4. Budgets announcements are made from UNC political rally stages

5. The Prime Minister - a public official - works from her home and keeps sensitive and important public material there.

For the last 3 years protocol and good sense have been tossed to the wind, and because there is no Constitutional law that prevents it, the Prime Minister has gotten away with administrative murder.

Mind you, Gordon and the IC ensured there was an aide memoire that recorded the meeting. I wonder if we ever get minutes of Kamla's private Cabinet meetings?

The AG's hounding of the Integrity Commission's Chairman today will have an impact on Emailgate. Two days ago the AG announced rather loudly that he was recusing himself from Emailgate. He was handing over the investigation to the Central Authority, a body that falls  within his Office of the Attorney General and headed by Netram Kowlessar. The AG has pointed out that the Central Authority is independent. My concern now is how independent is Kowlessar: a man who first shot to public attention as a member of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad in 2002, thereafter became a defence attorney and after a handful of cases was appointed by this regime as the head of the Central Authority. I'm concerned. I hope in his case it was merit and not cronyism that got him the job.

Having now raised questions about the integrity of Ken Gordon and the independence of the Commission itself, I feel quite certain that any call for an independent investigation into Emailgate by an Integrity Commission will be shot down by the AG and his government using this meeting as the reason.

I continue to maintain that the only thing that will lay Emailgate to rest is an independent investigation that allows us to get at DIGITAL files......but in the meantime we do have a by-election in Chaguanas West to entertain and distract us, not so?

 

De Vice Cyah Done!

Himself Investigating Himself

The AG..... I've been watching Emailgate evolve, because I really wanted to see if the PP Govt would actually launch an independent unhindered investigation....and Kamla and her Small Goal squad haven't let me down.

The PM at a press briefing. Photo courtesy Jyoti Communications website.

Today's Express story should get you angry...because we have yet another instant of the Attorney General interfering with an investigation.

The AG says the emails are fake.Now In a serious and sensible country lemme tell you what would have happened.

1. The investigation would have been suruj in orange shirthanded over to an independent body.  If not, it certainly wouldnt be put into the hands of a police officer whose credibility is already compromised in the public's mind and who is on contract with the Police Service and therefore dependent on the good will of others for his job to be renewed.

2. The investigators would be attempting to determine if the PHYSICAL TRANSCRIPTS that Dr Rowley produced actually have DIGITAL versions. Not the bullshit we have been getting over the past weeks of people looking at type written pages to determine whether they are real or not. There is NO WAY you can determine if the e-mails are real from typed pages. Instead, what is needed is an expert in Forensic IT, someone who can tests the computers/cellphones/ipads etc of the various parties involved to find the corresponding digital files. Instead we have Kamla, Anand and Suruj making asses of candidate_keith-rowley-lgthrough Richardson. To date the only computer he has seized is Rowley's. Is Rowley's name on the e-mail thread? Then why was his computer seized? Why haven't the computing devices of the folks named in the email threads seized? Why are typed pages the only thing being examined by Richardson?

Is Richardson trying to make this investigation fail?

3. If I am to believe everything written in that Express story today, then it seems too that the AG is spearheading this investigation. The Office of the AG doesn't have the power to investigate an alleged crime...that is the DPP's job, yet here we have a case of Ramlogan not only providing a statement, but:

1. Drawing a conclusion in his official statement, while a matter is still under investigation.

2. Hiring his own "experts" and paying them to produce a report that says typed pages are not the real emails. Is a court case going on that we don't know about? Why are experts being paid to give evidence? Why are experts being hired to examine typed pages?

How can a public official who is under investigation be leading and influencing the investigation? Is that legal? Is it ethical?

Why is it that the Police investigation refuses to do the first practical thing and seize the computing devices of the persons named on the email thread and have the email archives for these people retrieved and checked?

In short....why is the Investigation being done Ass Backwards?

Is it that the Government wants it to fail?

Is it that Kamla and Co have something to hide?

anthony carmonaWhy wont President Anthony Carmona appoint a new board at Ken Gordonthe Integrity Commission so the public has the chance to call for an independent investigation? The powers we think he have disappear?

Full steam ahead in Full Dotish Mode!

Happy Sunday!.

Firetrucking Nonsense!

kamla and jackI remember the first time I paid attention to "firetruck" in the news papers. The Express/Guardian/Independent/Express/Guardian columnist BC Pires had used it. It was his euphemistic way of saying fuck in the newspaper. Firetruck, firetrucking and firetrucked!

Almost 20 years later BC Pire's firetrucked is so apt I can't even smile.

In our latest Adeventures of Squandermania with Kamla we've got a damaged firetruck that cost $6m to wreck.

Yes, you read that correct. A fire tender....and get used to the word tender because it is going to feature regularly today....fell off the side of the road in Blanchisseuse, Trinidad...an area known for its narrow, poor roads. It went down the side of a cliff by a couple hundred metres on November 17th, 2012 and by November 19th had been removed to the tune of $6.8m.

Now let's add in the rest of the salient details. The Minister of National Security under whose remit the Fire Services fall was then Jack Warner...remember him?

The company that did the lifting and wrecking was Junior Sammy Multilift.

If the name Junior Sammy sounds familiar to you it might be because the company gets contracts to pave roads and highways here all the time...except in Blanchisseuse obviously...or because Junior Sammy was once held for questioning in a murder.

Folks are rightfully upset about the obscene amount of money used to wreck a fire truck....but let me give you the other reasons you should be upset.

This is a contract that cost more than a million dollars. According to our laws any contract over $1m has to be put out to tender. So in short the job to wreck the fire tender had to be tendered for offers. Junior Sammy isn't the only company in Trinidad that does this kind of wrecking...and the Trinidad Guardian, who broke this story, quoted at least 2 businesses that said the job could have been done for between $25,000 - $50,000.

So ask yourself this...if the truck fell off the side of the road on November 17th....did the government have the opportunity to get 3 quotes in time to do the job on November 19th?

And since we heard the original quotation was for $10m exactly when in that 2-day period did Cabinet meet to review the $10m quote from 1 company and then review the $6.8m quote from the same company? Or was a snap decision made to select a company to do a job and the assurance given that you will do the job and we pay you $10m and get everything approved afterwards?

Are you beginning to see that a job that cost us tax paying folk $6.8m never went through the proper procedure?

To thicken the sauce you have Fire Services submitting a report on November 29th giving the recommendation to not salvage the fire truck, but in fact abandon it and purchasing a new fire truck that would have cost us significantly less than $6.8m.

And despite this recommendation from the Fire Services, Cabinet still came after November 29th and gave the approval for $6.8m to wreck a firetruck.

COP JackSo let me ask some more questions.

Who in the Ministry of National Security took the decision to wreck the fire truck without the initial assessment report from Fire Services?

Who gave the go ahead to wreck and salvage by November 19th?

Was a tender for the job put out for wrecking and salvaging or was one company...Junior Sammy Multilifts....selected for the job?

If a company was selected without a tender process who did that selection and on what grounds?

Did the selector not find the $10m wrecking and salvage fee astronomical? If not, why not?

Why was the recommendation of the Fire Services to not salvage the fire truck ignored by Cabinet when they had to approve payment for the wreck and salvage?

Which Cabinet members were a part of the approval? All? Some? One?

Did the Cabinet members not raise red flags about the tender process, the recommendation by the Fire services and the price?

If this is what we paid to wreck 1 fire truck....what else is going on that we don't know about?

How many other processes are being abused and ignored while Kamla and her Small Goal  Side keeps wasting our tax dollars?

Ken GordonThe hard part about all of this firetrucking nonsense is anthony carmonathat ideally the Integrity Commission should be investigating this because all the signs point to a breach in public life...but the new President, whose powers we don't know he has, isn't using his powers that we know he has to appoint a new Integrity Commission....so we could cuss and rant and rave as much as we want about this firetrucking nonsense.....but not one firetruck will be done because the President's inaction has immobilised us. We are no longer in a position to even pretend we give a firetruck about the corruption because there isn't the masquerade of the IC to hide behind.

So now that we have a clear as day story showing that Cabinet members and public servants misbehaved in public life and an entire Cabinet got together to approve the misbehaviour.....what are we going to do?

We Firetrucked and Loving It!firetruck (1)

 

#Keep Calm and Change Yuh Password!

The PM at a press briefing. Photo courtesy Jyoti Communications website. Three days ago Keith Rowley had my jaw on the floor....three days later it's still there, but for entirely different reasons.

By now you've heard about EmailGate, or as I like to call it: Keep Calm and Change Yuh PassWord!

Opposition Leader Keith Rowley lead another No Confidence Motion against Kamla and her Motley Crew, this time levelling allegations that were nothing short of criminal against the Prime Minister, the AG, the Minister of Labour, Works, The Kitchen, The Kitchen Sink Toute Bagai and everyone's favourite lapdog and baggage carrier, Gallery Griffith.

candidate_keith-rowley-lgAccording to 30+ email exchanges read out by Rowley in Parliament on Monday, the PM and AG were well aware of the implications of S34, and were so pissed off at the diligence of reporter Denyse Renne, and DPP Roger Gaspard that they were conspiring to tap the phones of the DPP's office, offer him a position on the judiciary as a bribe, and were considering doing harm to Ms Renne.

At the centre of this latest political shitstorm seemed to be the AG...or rather, his email accounts. One appeared to be anan@gmail.com while the other was a TSTT address.

Much ado was made about whether or not a person can have an email address shorter than 6 symbols in Parliament...had any of the MPs on either side of the house deigned to use their Ipads to conduct a Google search (see what I did there?) they would have gotten the answer in quick time and spared me sighing heavily at the monstrous stupidity of the proceedings. But you see, the last three days showed me in blatant terms how little we know about technologyin this country...and further how little we know about using it to build a case.

The AG.....

Dr Rowley took a massive gamble accusing the government of conspiring against the office of the DPP and conspiring to harm a citizen of the country with just a pile of transcripts. To have pulled it off successfully what was required were digital files or actual screen shots of the e-mails so that the members of the doubting public would have irrefutable proof, create a significant hue and cry and catapult the powers into action. In Rowley being the accuser, he had to realise that the burden of proof fell on him, and like the proverbial victim in a rape case, it was he who was on trial and not the perpetrator of the act of violation....unless of course, he playing coy and allowing the PP to hang themselves with their exuberance. But, again, even that is risky, unless he holding all the trump in his hands.

Without those digital files it all boiled down to playing the blame game....yet again. It is a game the country has been caught up in for the past 3 years and it has gotten old and tired. Despite the numerous scandals and missteps this government has gotten itself embroiled in, this Motion of No Confidence had the potential to land a PM, an AG and a senior government Minister in jail had it been handled right.

suruj in orange shirtNow, three days later, with Keith pointing fingers and Kamla sticking out her tongue and saying prove it, we have the country right back where it started...wondering who lying. And all of this just mere months away from a Local Government Elections and a By-Elections.

Ironically enough, it is Rowley who may be hardest hit from this, because once again the question of the type of leader he will be is raised. In fact, Kamla had a ball with that question in Parliament today..and showed us just how petty and vindictive she can be.

The further irony is that with some team work from his small bench of MPs, the Opposition could have come out looking better. Instead, with the formidable Mr Imbert missing they seemed unprepared to properly discuss and dissect the implications of an electronic paper trail of a conspiracy.

You see, while it is possible for the email accounts of 4 people to be hacked and controlled remotely....it is impossible for the owners of these email accounts to not notice the emails that are being sent to and from their accounts...unless they were never checking them. And if, as the AG admits, the TSTT account is his primary account, then surely he should have noticed all of those e-mails moving back and forth...unless they want us to believe that they don't check email at all and Keith was controlling 4 accounts remotely and e-mailing himself all hours of the day and night through their accounts.

See, here's my take on where these e-mails came from...and I am using myself as an example.

I have a tablet and a smart phone....I have all of my email accounts stored on both devices. If I lost a device I'd have to change the password on all of the accounts through my computer or another smart device, and hope that my files weren't all saved to the device's internal memory storage. If I bought a new device like say a smart phone, I'd have to make sure I wiped the old phone before selling it or giving it away....something tells me that a device from one of the persons got lost, stolen, sold or misplaced....and friends of the Opposition got their hands on it and got the information.

Given that the starring figure in all of these e-mails seems to be the AG....I'm willing to bet it is either his blackberry or tablet.....I'd faster go with phone because so many messages were sent late in the night and were one liners....the larger a device is, the more we type. We tend to keep our phones on or close to us late at nights. Also, on phonse we tend to send quick, one-line  responses.

If Stephen Williams wasn't such a compromised Commissioner of Police, if we had a serious cyber crimes unit here, if the Integrity Commission actually functioned and if the President had the power he thinks he has....there would be an independent investigation and the first thing to be done would be to confiscate the devices of these individuals and to ask their email hosts for transcripts on the dates Rowley gave....

But this was a rape trial. Rowley accused them of fucking us over....it was up to him to prove there was unwanted penetration...and before he managed to accomplish that in Parliament...he pulled out.

Keep Calm and Change Yuh Password!

Yes, Opposition Leader...

candidate_keith-rowley-lgAnother too good not to share posting from Wired868 Scene: Office of the Opposition Leader

PNM Senators Faris Al-Rawi and Fitzgerald Hinds walk in and stiffly shake hands with Opposition Leader Keith Rowley. Al-Rawi sits closest to the door, which is slightly ajar.

Rowley walks behind the two seated Senators and slams the door shut.

Keith Rowley: You two think you’re in a savannah?! You don’t respect this office?!

Faris Al-Rawi: My good sir, it was only my intention to permit the free exchange of oxygen through your esteemed bureau so as to deliver a metaphor as we provide life to a position of the highest prominence.

Fitzgerald Hinds: He still feels a little nervous about being in an enclosed setting with you, boss. I told him that he shouldn’t worry and you’re a great guy once he gets to know you better.

Rowley glares at both men.

Rowley: Well, what is it? I still don’t understand why it is taking two grown men to deliver one point. You think this is a URP job or what?

Hinds laughs loudly and slaps his knee.

Hinds: Good one, boss.

Rowley: I wasn’t joking.

You can read the rest here.

Watching Stopped Clocks

Power Outage 1Apparently my little blog post about a malfunctioning clock in the PR pictures of the PM inspecting the power plant in Penal on Good Friday morning has raised a shit storm. But I will let the storm take care of itself, while I raise some more questions. Kamla's government is well known for its use of PR and image management, but not necessarily its efficient use wpid-IMG-20130328-WA0001.jpgof it. If the government was successfully managing its PR, the population wouldnt even notice it. They would be swept up in the hype, not questioning it at every turn.

In fact, the government's use of hype is often so vulgar the only reaction it provokes is disgust.

But let's get back into this clock.

I got up this morning and the first thing I did was pull the battery out of my phones. I waited about 10 minutes, popped the battery back in and switched the phones on. The phones booted up and switched to the correct time.

I then did the same thing with my microwave and electric stove. Pulled the plug and then plugged them back in. Both the stove and microwave went back to 00:00.

I then pulled out a Nokia phone that I keep stored safely away for the end of the world. This phone isn't charged regularly, once every few months; and it is switched off. I switched it on after months of no use and it immediately had the correct time.

Why am I going into all of this? To show you how ridiculous the government's response about the clock at Powergen having shut down and not re-started properly is.

All afternoon yesterday my blog and anyone on FB or Twitter who dared share my thoughts and questions on why the clock was telling the wrong time was ATTACKED by supporters of this government.

Some folks came along and offered their counter-scepticism, which is fine...but the vitrolic attacks is where I draw the line. When I can't question my government in peace, on a private or public medium, I know that something is wrong.

The irony is that the blog post didn't just question the PM's visit, it also raised questions about the efficiency of operations at PowerGen. But Kamla's Minions were deployed to attack...not think.

Nat Sec Minister.....

So we have a situation wherein a nation experiences a power outage. It is classified as a Level One National Security issue, but there were absolutely no signs of Jack Warner during or after the black out....a rare occurrence if you ask me. There was also no sign of the Minister of Public Utilities, Mr Nizam Baksh. Good governance and accountability in we pweffen.

The power outage happens and the PM whose ratings have plummeted sees this as the perfect way to curry favour with the population. It's almost as if, in the aftermath of  WarnerGate, this blackout showed up as a gift.

poweroutage7According to most reports the black out happened around midnight. The Prime Minister shows up at around 5 am dressed as if she dropped everything and hustled out of the door....4 hours after the black out started. And she just happened to remember to bring along a photographer along to document the trip. And in the midst of working assiduously to bring power back on to the suffering citizens the engineers and technicians at PowerGen Syne Village Plant had time to pose for several group pics with the PM. I couldnt make this thing up if I tried.

But what I have just described is only mildly annoying. This, after all, is a government that holds ribbon-cutting opening ceremonies for refurbished swings in parks in Cocorite. This is a government whose Ministers and supporters mark and measure success in box drains.

If nothing else, that clock at PowerGen tells us that something very sloppy went down at the Plant. This is a plant responsible for providing electricity to an entire grid. That grid would comprise various villages. Time in a control room at an industrial plant is a serious thing. When incidents happen or readings are taken, you have to register times.

The report that the PM and Minister of Energy has requested will require the measurement of times and time frames. If the clock....and members of Kamla's PR team keep telling me it's a satellite and GPS clock....if the clock in the control room isn't telling the correct time. Then whose time are they going by? Is Penal operating out of time? In a separate time Zone? Are we to believe that PowerGen not operating up to international standards and not using Satellite Clocks that have a DC power back up in the case of power loss?

Today we read in the Trinidad Guardian that there have been 3 major black outs in 3 years. How often is THE CLOCK IN THE CONTROL ROOM not working or telling the correct time? And has the government realised that it's under their tenure that PowerGen seems to be regularly malfunctioning? Why?

In an effort to further spin the issue of the malfunctioning clock, they then deployed some bigger guns.

Roger D Ramcharitar, who describes himself as a former adviser in the Ministry of Energy, posted a response to my blog post that insisted:

As a former Advisor at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, I sought clarification from colleagues within the industry and I have been able to ascertain that the clock in the photograph was actually a satellite clock which displayed an INCORRECT TIME as a result of the power outage knocking it off temporarily.

You can check out how an Atomic/Satellite Clock works here or here. And then you will understand why that clock should never have stopped working.

You should also know that Roger Ramcharitar, worked as a communications adviser for the Ministry of Energy. In short, he was responsible for speeches and PR. He wasn't a technical adviser or someone who understands the operations of a plant and why a clock is so important, so I will forgive his enthusiasm. But Roger you should know better and inform your supporters better.

But let's say the clock did stop at the time of the outage...even though we know the plant had its own back up generators and should have been running anyway...

Let's say the clock stopped at 00:37 or 00:45 which is the time most newspapers have given. When exactly did the power come back on at the Penal Plant for the time to be registered as 21:13:29?

You feeling me yet? The time on the clock, regardless of what argument, makes no sense.

It implies that who ever is responsible for maintenance at that plant is poohar! Sloppy at best...and heads should roll over the fact that the clock isn't telling the correct time!

And for Roger Ramcharitar to insist that in the presence of Kamla no one remembered to re-set the clock tells me that the technicians and engineers at PowerGen don't have their priorities straight and aren't interested in best practice and high standards...not when it have a PM and a camera around.

The clock on the wall is actually a damning indictment of operational procedures at PowerGen Penal.....unless of course the clock telling the correct time and the Prime Minister was there at 9 pm instead of 5 am....which is a whole other can of worms.

We now have the PM grandcharging and calling for a full investigation and report. We know how that goes here.

Madam PM investigate that clock first....no report can be valid if the clock aint set right. Penal was clearly in a different time zone to the rest of the country.

I expect that the investigation is just another way to put money in the pocket of another government shill who will say nothing went wrong and the power outage was just a misstep.

NGC and Phoenix Park Processors needs to tell us why PowerGen experienced a gas shortage at midnight. What stopped the flow of fuel and why is no one from NGC speaking to us yet?

We also need to know why a problem that originated in Penal shut down the ENTIRE COUNTRY? Especially when the majority of the country is served by the Point Lisas and PoS Plants.

You need to tell us why every time anyone questions the actions of your government we are attacked an threatened?

And you also need to explain the absence of Minister of National Security, Jack Warner the night and morning of the outage since this was a National Security emergency as well, and we know how much Minister Warner cares about the country.

Leave the explanation about the clocks to the experts.

We Full Dotish AND Full Dangerous.

 

Clocks and Current

We had a power outage last night....even the Miami Herald hours later when barely half of the country had electricity again was reporting it....and for good reason. The excuse given by the authorities thus far is that our supply of natural gas to the power plant generators was cut off. And that led to the shutting down of not just one generator or plant...but all of Trinidad and eventually to most of Tobago...Apparently only Courland had electricity in the entire nation. Interestingly, Tobago's electrical plant runs on diesel...so I'm still unclear as to how their plant stopped working.

Power Outage 1Not surprisingly, the Prime Minister, who was too ill to attend Cabinet Meetings yesterday or address the nation on the latest gaffe surrounding National Security minister Jack Warner, because her majesty has the common cold, was out and about dealing with the emergency brought on by the power outage. So much so that her twitter account was active for most of the morning, she released a statement to the media by 7:44 am and has a full album up on FB showing behind the scenes activity to get the power back up.

Power Outage 2The curious thing is this....power went at 37 minutes after midnight.....but the clocks at this power plant shows the PM and engineers and Minister of Energy onsite at 21:13:29.

Power Outage 2 poweroutage3Now unless the efficient folks at this professionally run power plant keep the wrong time on their clocks....The PM and crew were at the plant since 9 pm last night working on an outage that still hadnt happened....what gives?

poweroutage4

Power Outage 1

Can anyone explain?

We outta timing? Innna Timing? Time Running out?

Are the conspiracy theorists who I was laughing at on to something?

Have we gone from Full Dotish to outright Dangerous Governance?

The Rogue Prime Minister

The PM at a press briefing. Photo courtesy Jyoti Communications website. Trinidad and Tobago is no longer a banana republic.....as of last night with Reuters news service confirming that Warner's son, and possibly Warner himself, are indeed under investigation, her vague press release in which she says she will wait on an official corroboration is just too hollow for words.

The Prime Minister spent last month in Haiti, right next to the US AG and even members of the FBI. Talk of Daryan Warner's detention in the US had begun since December 2012 on the day he was caught at the airport with an alleged lump sum of money he had failed to declare at customs....allegedly. And yet in February, with the US AG sharing the same meeting space as you, not a question was asked?

kamla and jackThen you return to Trinidad and the Leader of the Opposition asks you to follow up on these allegations and still nothing?

You'd think that we don't have diplomatic relations with the US....that they don't have an Embassy here. You'd also think that Kamla Persad-Bissessar is daft, or slow minded that she would still have someone with as much shadows over his head as Jack Warner still serving as a government Minister.

But, you see, we aren't a banana republic anymore...we are THE BANANA REPUBLIC.

In future when films are being made where the setting or crime taking place in a banana republic, it is Trinidad and Tobago's name that will be used. The film companies will spend their money and go somewhere safe, and name the location Trinitario...watch and see.

But the question we should be asking ourselves this morning isn't so much will Kamla fire Jack, or will the Prime Minister act on this latest report.

Rather ask yourself why is the PM not acting? Why is she continuing to keep Warner on as Minister of National Security? Is she protecting him....or is she really protecting herself?

And then ask yourself this....if the Prime Minister is putting herself, or her minister, before the good of the entire country....what does that make her?

At the time of writing, Communications Minister, Jamal "Insignificant Muslim Coolie" Mohammed has announced that the Cabinet....complete with COP members like Prakash Ramadhar and Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan....stands firmly behind Warner.

 

We in Full Dotish Mode this Easter Weekend, folks...find ah bobolee and beat it!