A lot happened this week to paint both the ruling Government and the Opposition in a bad light, if you ask me. And in all instances the public's reactions and responses revealed that as a country many of us are frustrated and despondent....and even more of us are enabling and encouraging a particular old style of politics. This old style of politics....maybe I should say current, because it aint gone no where....is one that sees the supporters of a party defending their nonsense and wrong doing; finding spurious, trumped up, even ridiculous reasons to support the poor decision -making of their government; turning a blind eye to the sins of their government or constantly comparing and contrasting both of the major parties here and deciding who "more worse" than whom. And of course you have the people who just simply spout total propaganda regardless of the sense it makes because they refuse to be disloyal to their party. And these are symptoms in all of the camps: COP, PNM and UNC.
One of the largest stories coming out of the news this week was Scott's Quarry in Verdant Vale, Blanchisseuse. For most Trinidadians, the mining at Scott's Quarry was an environmental issue...something for tree-huggers and desktop activists to get hot and bothered about. For me, however, what bubbled up at Scott's Quarry this week is yet another symptom of the corrupt political system that us citizens encourage.
Asa Wright Nature Reserve is one of a handful of green spaces in Trinidad (Tobago is a different kettle of fish) that's managed with any effectiveness....and there is a lot of room for improvement, don't get me wrong, but at least the folks there have a clear cut vision and mission....this aint no Debe Water Park that poorly planned, executed and counting on its friends inside WASA for tax payer subsidised water. But our environmental policies reflect both a government and a citizenry barely think about the environment or care about it. It seems that no clear link exists in most citizens' minds about the role of the environment to their well-being....I guess because we don't factor it in $$$$$ and sense!
So in 2004/5 thereabouts you had a Patrick Manning-led PNM reversing environmental laws for the sake of the construction industry. And we all know who the leaders of the construction industry are....these fellas needed aggregate for construction....and in order to quarry the EMA needed to give permission....so Manning decided to do away with the permission for any quarry under 150 acres. And since then, small to medium quarries have been set up all over the Northern Range, from Santa Cruz to Toco, blasting away, screwing up the environment, silting up our waterways, depleting our wildlife and water supplies and increasing our flooding issues annually.
Yet, talk to the average PNM supporter and these days Manning is the greatest thing since sliced bread because under him the construction industry was booming, people were working and things were getting done. As far as they are concerned is ungrateful Trinis who put Manning out of power. Few PNM supporters want to remember or point out that there was a lot of questionable stuff going on with Manning, Calder Hart, UDECOTT and the company that has the mining contract for Scott's Quarry, Sunway Construction. Perhaps this article from Andre Bagoo, or this story from the Trinidad Guardian or this flashback story from the Newsday in 2010 when the DPP requested an investigation will refresh people's memories.
Now study yuh head good and start to ask some probing questions.
This is not the same Calder Hart and Sunway that Prakash Ramadhar, Vernon De Lima, Jack Warner and Kamla Persad-Bissessar carry on about and build their 2010 elections campaign on? Then how come this contract still valid and not under investigation and this government still doing business with them? How come this People's Partnership government, that announced it had an environmental policy, has yet to fulfil any of that policy?
Where the re-planting of denuded hillsides from the 120-day plan?
Why are smelter plants still on the agenda?
Why are our hillsides being mined and quarried for sub-par aggregate to fill the roads?
And on what grounds was the mining really shut down? Sunway has a legal contract and did nothing wrong....did you shut down the mining to distract people from the fact that you are in fact in bed with a company that you lambast Manning and the PNM for?????? Something smelling funny, Kamla, and is not your $5000 shoes.
The next major issue of the week is the spending habits of this government as evidenced in Vernella and Fuad's credit card syndrome. Yesterday I printed a copy of Government Minister Salary and Allowances so that people could get an idea of the kind of money a minister makes either annually or monthly. I wanted them to see too that everything Shoppin-Toppin claims she was using her credit card for was actually covered by the State (read, tax payers and treasury money). Shoppin Toppin and her husband have access to free travel to and from Trinidad, free meals, free accommodation and an expense account for entertainment.....so what on earth was the credit card being used for?
And couple that with the fact that she never read the rules of the credit card and keeps insisting that she did nothing wrong. You broke laws, Toppin....LAWS! And yet the leaders of this government turn a blind eye to this?
Then Fuad Khan jump up and take front and apologise before we find out about his crime....as if apologising for criminal activity in advance absolves you....oh, wait, under this government it does....so Fuad broke laws, and all he has to do is issue an apology and everything is ok? So if Amy Annmunthodo abuser and killer say he sorry...he could get out of jail free? Ask all yuh selves these questions, people. What are we allowing and agreeing to when we defend and pardon these people?
Police brutality and violence came under scrutiny again this week and I going to boil this down real simple....in 2012 for 107 days the government of Trinidad and Tobago gave the TTPS absolute carte blanche to arrest and detain whoever they wanted, however they wanted without evidence or proof...mere suspicion was enough....it was called the State of Emergency...remember that? Citizen's rights were suspended during that period and we were living in a police state.....nobody expected there to be any backlash from the Police Service in the aftermath of the SoE? 107 days they aint have to account to anyone for their behaviour and actions.....and brutal police raids shocking all yuh now?
The most major story this week though, had to be Kamla the Nepotist! In a series of missteps that have either played out in Parliament or are being covered by the local media, a larger picture is being painted of Kamla Rani doing precisely what she accused Patrick Manning of during his tenure as leader. It appears that the PM's sister may be living at the official prime ministerial residence. This is the same sister that the State of Trinidad and Tobago has spent roughly TT$1m on to cover her travel expenses with the PM for 4 documented, cabinet-approved trips abroad.
Now ask yourselves a few questions:
1. If the PM is allowed a personal assistant or Protocol Officer, why doesn't she simply hire a female protocol officer that she can trust?
2. If it is state practice to pay for a travel adviser/assistant why all of the lies and where is the evidence to support your claim?
3. Who are these cabinet members that are approving this use of our state funds?
4. Where is the Minister of Finance in all of this? He has final say on State spending that includes the credit cards that Fuad and Vernella abused, as well as okaying spending on the PMs sister.....why is Dookeran not being made to answer questions on this issue?
5. Is Prakash Ramadhar and the COP in agreement with all this abuse of state funding and nepotism?
One of the disturbing things coming out of this issue with the PM's sister is that supporters of her government are now volubly supporting this kind of disturbing behaviour. Hazel Manning's appointment as a Senator and Government minister is now being cited heavily....Camille Robinson-Regis's abuse of the government travel card is also being used as an excuse for the crimes of the People's Partnership....As if in Trinidad TWO WRONGS MAKE IT RIGHT!
Since 2010 I have been saying that the foolishness Manning did in his tenure as Prime Minister set certain disgusting precedents in this country and now makes it very possible for Kamla and her Deck of Fools to do things that are illegal, underhanded and immoral and they will be excused simply because "de PNM do it too!" When I tell PNMites that is Manning have we in this monkey pants, they get vex with me. And their lame fall back response is that the UNC/COP coalition doing worse. At this stage we still making comparison's? Bbut seriously, if Manning's government had set higher standards, would the country now be accepting crime and criminal activity that passes for governance under the People's Partnership?
So the question remains how is the current version of the PNM under Rowley improving itself so that we don't have a repeat of the negative parts of the Manning years to look forward to? You know, the nepotism, squandermania and arrogant leadership.....
And how are members of this coalition government helping this government to keep its nose clean? Apart from the MSJ...who nobody taking seriously because of its small numbers and lone senator.... why is no other member of the Partnership speaking out on the obvious corruption, nepotism and abuse of public funds? Is it that Prakash Ramadhar is in agreement with Kamla's behaviour or has he sold out the trust of his supporters to protect his position in parliament and along the corridors of power.....Et tu, Prakash?
Kamla, in 2010, came into government on a campaign that promised to get rid of:
- Dictatorial Leadership
- Squandermania and abuse of State Funds
- A single export economy
- Bad environmental practices
- nation wide flooding.
Study all yuh head good and tell me how much, if any of those goals has she remained committed to; and what progress she has made with any of them.....in the mean time, Prakash...any comments from you brotherman?
De Vice Cyah Done!