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.

F@$K The Presses!

Gabriel Faria (left) with other members of the Guardian Media Ltd Board. We're down to one functioning daily newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago...a country that used to have 3.

Press and Media have taken a massive hit under this government in multiple ways. If we don't have journalists selling themselves off to the government and handling their PR, then we have Government Ministers and state figures threatening the media.

In just 3 short years we have seen Police officers raid newspaper offices twice!

We've seen Jack Warner, then Minister of National Security, threaten the safety of both Asha Javeed and Denyse Renne on state television using state resources. Yet today, that same Warner is being touted as a saviour by people too greedy to know true tyranny when they rubbing up against it.

Judy Raymond

Yesterday's meltdown at the Guardian, in which several writers walked off, and it is alleged the Editor in Chief has been reassigned,  is simply more evidence, to add to the ever growin pileg, that under Kamla's Small Goal side we have no real democracy and the dictatorship isn't creeping...it is already here. This isn't the first time since getting into office that people have had to leave media houses. Power 102 experienced mass firings in 2011. Whole programmes were cancelled and we even had political personalities replacing radio hosts.

And even with this...people still defend the party. Well aware that we need an independently functioning media to have a functioning democracy, they still support the antics of this government and its collaborators.

What the Guardian Meltdown should teach us though is how deep into government's pockets Big Business is.....clearly the folks at ANSA McAl are so dependent on Kamla's Government for handouts that independence in journalism and even loss of newspaper sales are a small price to pay, in comparison to losing Government patronage.....and we still think Beetham, Laventille and Sealots are the leeches in society?

Clearly the Guardian of Democracy tagline is just a front. Those of us old enough will know that this isn't the first time there have been meltdowns at the Guardian under a UNC Government. In 1997 editor Jones P Madeira led a walkout of several journalists from the Guardian. They eventually went on to form the short-lived Independent.

Guardian Managing Director Gabriel Faria seems to be talking out of several sides of his mouth. In one instance you are hearing he was fired, then last night you saw him speaking in his capacity as Managing Director saying everything was fine, the Guardian was still committed to the highest levels of journalism and that their two top investigative journalists had resigned because they were refusing to do more work and harder work.

Now therein lies the rub. According to Gabriel Fara, Guardian Media Ltd's idea of fair and responsible journalism is to have Sampson Nanton question just the Managing Director about a staff walk out. Not one member of the Guardian's staff was interviewed. Balance in we pweffen!

suruj in orange shirtAccording to Faria, the newspaper wanted its journalists to do more follow up and due diligence with its reporting. Yet today we have a story from Yvonne Webb  that indicates Suruj Rambachan has confirmation from Google that the emails brought to Parliament by Dr Rowley are fake.  Yvonne Webb fails however to do a few things:

1. She fails to ask Rambachan why someone with a HOTMAIL address wrote to GOOGLE?

2. She failed to ask to see the letter.

So, essentially we have yet another piece of writing, masquerading as journalism in the Guardian that only gives you one side of the story.

If lopsided journalism is the hard work people were running from, then I wish Misses Renne and Gumbs-Sandiford godspeed. These two reporters buss more mark on this government than any tsunami Warner has promised and it's sad they have to go through this kind of upheaval.

Im hearing that more people will join the three resignations that have already been handed in.

But for many workers at the Guardian is business as usual.....and not a word in the newspaper today really telling you about what has happened. The cover-up continues.

I really hope right thinking citizens hit ANSA MCAL where it will hurt.....his pocket. But I know how the thought of giving up Stag or missing CNC3 or 95.1 programming might frighten some!

Big Business and Big Government hug up tight tight in bed together...and the rest of we supporting them Full Dotish!

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!

 

…Can the Centre Hold?

  chinua-achebeI went to bed Thursday night to the news that Chinua Achebe had died. Many of us in Trinidad and Tobago may know nothing about Africa or being African, but we know Okonkwo, his most famous character from his most famous novel.Things Fall Apart is one of those rare books where if the words seminal, masterpiece, classic and canon are used to describe it, the description would actually be apt.

 

That novel was my introduction to Africa. Not the Africa showed on television at nights that showed malnourished children and their parents lined up for food, while words like famine, refugee camps and ethnic warfare were bandied about. Achebe taught me that Africa had, not just one, but many cultures and civilizations long before the Europeans arrived to dismantle it. He would go on to write several novels, poetry and essays; all of which explored Africa before and after colonization and before and after independence. What happened to Africa in the aftermath of European colonization and independence bears striking resemblances to Trinidad and Tobago, and to many other places that share a history of colonization and exploitation.

 

chinua-achebe (1)In the years since secondary school I have been privileged to not just read more Achebe, but to teach him as well. And to teach him to students who have no concept of Africa or African culture. Students who will easily identify as African or even black on a survey, and have no concept of what Africa or describing oneself as African means.

 

In 2011, as part of the marathon session during which the government justified using something as serious as a State of  Emergency to treat with crime, several ministers quoted the poem by William Butler Yeats that influenced the title of Achebe's novel. Lincoln Douglas in particular went on to recount the story of Okonkwo, and to explain why a society falling apart at the seams needed its constitutional rights taken away in order to put a check on crime. Had Achebe heard Douglas' butchered analysis of what is arguably his most recognized text, it may well have caused him serious discomfort. It set my blood pressure on boil; because it wasn't the spate of murders that signaled things were falling apart, but rather the very clear fact that a government was quite willing to tamper with the rights of citizens in order to further abuse them.

 

Since the SoE, I believe our country and quality of life have gotten worse. And there are many ways in which they have worsened. Crime we all know is at an all time high. And our government, who roundly abused Patrick Manning three years ago for relying on handouts and sporting facilities to solve crime have come and outdone the PNM at its own game. So much so that the Prime Minister in the space of a week has announced that a report done by Selwyn Ryan says more sporting facilities will solve the country's crime problem. I am hoping to see the report to confirm this myself. Because if that is the case, given the number of recreation grounds in Central and South Trinidad there should be no murders in these parts of the country. Certainly not any with dismembered bodies and heads lying about.

 

I would be interesting to see whether Dr Ryan and his team have made any mention of the other support systems that can assist in alleviating crime and the general societal break down that the President discussed in his inaugural address.

 

Having taught at the secondary level for eight years at both government and religious board schools, I've seen first hand how deviant behaviour develops and then leads to criminal behaviour. I have seen students at both prestigious and government schools learn to cheat, steal and lie. I have seen some of these students go on to become criminals. Sporting grounds and million dollar basketball competitions do not solve an already rampant crime problem; these things can play a role in curbing the tendency only at the early stages.

 

But what is also needed are a number of things: an effective and relevant education system; an effective system of counseling and social work; an efficient economy where money doesn't trickle down but is properly allocated to all the areas that require development; an employment environment that is free of nepotism and corruption, where people are promoted on merit and not their relatives. We also need effective border patrols, a criminal and judicial system that doesn't favour the wealthy and privileged, and a police service that is trained in better investigative and detection methods.

 

Everything I have suggested there is elementary. The average man in the street can tell you this. The current government promised it. Yet now they pretend not to know it.

 

And it is left to us citizens who hunger and thirst after that elusive thing called good governance so much that we voted out bad to go worse, to figure our way out of this problem.

 

The government has made it clear that it is not equipped, or even willing to solve any of the problems that challenge us. Tim Goopeesingh continues to make mistake after mistake with his education policies. His crowning achievement to date has been to order shipments of laptops. Thereafter...nothing. With every new medical crisis Dr Fuad Khan finds his way into radio and newspaper interviews, gives the big grand charge about cleaning things up, and then nothing.

 

Our Minister and Ministry of National Security have made us the joke of the Caribbean if not the Western world. And at every turn you have people still referring to Warner as the hardest working minister. Flooding is not a thing of the past, neither is crime. So what exactly has he been successful at? Nothing...

 

In Things Fall Apart, Achebe describes for us a society that is on the cusp of change. A new culture has come and is eroding the old ways and traditions. Exploitation, oppression and greed will soon become the order of the day in the Africa he writes about, and so will poor governance, weak leaders and military coups. Achebe wrote about an Africa that experienced terrible transitional pains. The kind of pain we are now experiencing. Will we fall apart, or will we hold our centre?

Legislating the Police State

20130222-161439.jpgI got up this morning and it seems like Full Dotish is the mode for Lent....the government is going to table legislation to give soldiers powers of arrest. Wednesday January 08 2012If we as citizens sit by and let this happen we are agreeing to a full fledged Police State!

Since taking office this government has sought to undermine our national security systems at every turn. At the Prime Minister's residence security cameras were removed.

On our coastlines patrol vessels were removed because the PM insisted that the war on crime and drugs was on land, not at sea. Yet last week in Haiti she was agreeing to more marine patrols in the region.

National Security helicopters have become her own private shuttle service. SAUTT has been dismantled to be replaced with an illegal police unit. SIA was headed by a woman with few qualifications than a cashier at a fast food restaurant. And this week we hear of a mid-level police officer who was advising the Prime Minister on how to reconstruct the police service and every new suggestion he made involved firing someone who was considered PNM and instead hiring someone who was loyal to the UNC. By happy coincidence, all the people fired or removed were afro-descended and all the new people hired were Indo......but we dont have a race problem here...Trinidad is a happy multi-ethnic space and this government is an all-inclusive government....right?

So now we going to give soldiers powers of arrest. why? Because SoE has failed, Flying Squad is now national news and Kamla knows that with crime spiralling out of control her days are well and truly numbered.

Smell the fear folks.....and now they want to create a gang of Police Soldiers? What next? Military Dictatorship?

Trinidad, this is where we reach? This is the change Kamla promised?

The Myth of the Amazing Crime Plan

The new Top Cop? Photo Courtesy Trinidad Guardian website. This Friday on the Trinidad Guardian’s front page, PSC Chairman Professor Ramesh Deosaran was quoted as saying the crime plans have failed. I didn’t even know we had a crime plan presented to us, far less multiple ones. What I do know is that since being appointed Minister of National Security, Jack Warner has announced the coming of a crime plan and even released a long list to the media of many crime initiatives that are under consideration. But to date, neither Warner nor the National Security Council has come forward and outlined for the country what will be the actual thrust to stem criminal activity in the country. And I mean all kinds of criminal activity: from corruption in public office, to the drug trade, to gang warfare to murders to robbery. Because you see, whether the government will be so bold as to admit it or not, everything is related.

 

On the Express’s front pageas well a severed head made the waves. The last time I saw a severed head on the front page of the newspaper it was in a whisky box at a cremation site and belonged to Thakoor Boodram, relative of convicted criminal kingpin Dole Chadee. Back then severed heads were a message; this week I wondered who exactly the message was being sent to and why. And while the nation gasped with shock over the severed head left in plain view of the public, with the body some miles away in a cane field, the town of Phillipine, the Prime Minister’s back yard, was rocked by the murder of a 70-year-old grandmother ostensibly for her car. Could that car have been stolen to commit a crime? Could the crime have been drug-related? Might gang members be the foot soldiers of the drug trade? And if they are the foot soldiers, then who are the middle managers and king-pins? Anyone seeing dots that might be connectable?

 

We are currently grappling with the possibility that our recently appointed Minister of National Security may have authorized an illegal police unit. Why is it every time Warner’s name is mentioned in the same sentence as the word Squad it leaves a bitter taste in our mouths?

The news papers claim to have documents sent to them. Contracts on NFSIU letterheads. There is evidence to show that newly-appointed director of the National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) Garvin Heerah gave the go-ahead for a fleet of vehicles to be released to the New Flying Squad Investigations Unit. As soon as Heerah started commenting on the Unit, he had to go to Argentina. And clearly internet and telephones don’t work in Latin America, so he can’t be reached for further comment.

Each news report or denial on the matter is carefully worded. Collin Partap, reports claim, was meant to oversee the unit; then got fired a month later for failing to take a breathalyzer test. Under his tenure the unit had no name. In the aftermath of his firing it assumed the name we now call it.

From Mervyn Cordner’s initial claim to the present, CoP Stephen Williams has been careful to say that HE, the Commissioner of Police, doesn’t know anything about the Unit. He never says the wider Police Service doesn’t know. After answering questions before the Police Service Commission last Thursday, a statement was issued that claimed they believed the Police Commissioner had no knowledge of the Unit. Not a person has yet denied the existence of the Unit or that Police know about the Unit. But everyone is denying knowledge of the Unit. And in a place like Trinidad and Tobago it is easy to believe that an entire illegal investigative unit would set itself up, get offices and other resources from the State, even liaise with members of the Ministry of National Security, and yet, the Ministry remains totally in the dark about the Unit.

This is Trinidad and Tobago, a country where an entire State of Emergency can be called without a plausible explanation. The same SoE will then be used as a crime fighting tool, target very specific neighbourhoods, arrest 8000 people without evidence, then release them; and at the end of it the country is still crime riddled and none the wiser as to the reason for the SoE.

Ish and Steve on Newday Front Page courtesy Newsday's Website

This is the type of country where the Cabinet can conspire secretly proclaim a law before the stipulated time and everyone points fingers at each other. This is a country where the Minister of National Security, a man with allegations of fraud and corruption hanging over his head, can calmly say to the country he is precepting soldiers and not a civil society body will make a sound. The same bodies that once howled for the heads of Howard Chin Lee and Martin Joseph, are now begging us to not blame Warner and give him a chance.

And if the story of this country not sweet enough, we suffered the exquisite irony this week of witnessing the Prime Minister deliver a speech to the region about crime fighting initiatives; quote unknown statistics about what crime is costing us; then return to Trinidad and announce boldly that her government is NOW ready to do something about the crime situation.

The same Prime Minister, who presided over the dismantling of SAUTT because it was illegal, now seems confused about the Flying Squad. So to make things better she has asked Minister Warner to investigate himself and report to her.

jakkam copy The same Prime Minister who cancelled the OPV contracts from BAE is now seeking to find new ways to protect the borders she left unguarded for 32 months. The same Prime Minister who called Manning a dictator is now endorsing soldiers having the same powers as the police. The army whose responsibility it is to protect citizens from external attack may now have the right to attack its citizens.

And Professor Deosaran thinks the crime plan has failed. I’ll ask again: what crime plan exactly?

....Aaaand She's Back!

The PM at a press briefing. Photo courtesy Jyoti Communications website. Did you think Kamla's Full Dotish mode went away? Did the appointment of Tony Carmona in the face of the 12-Zero SmackDown make you think that Kamla had decided to wake up and smell the coffee as opposed to sipping the Grey Goose?

Suckers!

We're not even a good month away from the THA Annihilation and already the government is back to its old tricks. But let me commend HRH for giving me a Kamla-free Carnival. Whereas from 2011-12 you couldn't attend an event without tripping over the lady or her entourage, this year the Kamla Posse  was as scarce as Traditional Mas in Tribe.

The one finals event the Rani showed up to was the stickfighting finals in Debe....indeed, public appearances for this government seem constricted to Debe since the Hunger strike of last year. Neither Kamla nor her Small Goal Crew seem capable of holding meetings or rallies north of...ummm....hmm....well...Barrackpore, anymore. Even Rienzi Complex and Mid-Centre Mall Carpark, once sanctuaries for the Rani, have become tainted grounds.

The PM in fete gear...

HD no longer has her as a special surprise act at his Machel Monday show. She no longer chasing him from fete after fete after fete to hand over checks. She isn't performing as Queen of the Band in the People's Band. Not even onstage at the Dimanche Gras with half the Cabinet behind her to yet again hand out checks while chipping. It's almost as if the Most Carnival of All Cabinets forget it had Mas to play this year?

Or maybe the cutass on January 21st woke them up enough. I noticed the annual I Beat Bas January 24th celebrations (which technically should be January 25th, because that's when the elections were held) didn't happen this year. In fact, not a peep was heard about it. And I am now waiting patiently to see whether the annual victory rally at Mid-Centre starring Aloes and HD will come off.

There is no denying that the nation heaved a sigh of relief in the aftermath of the Carmona appointment. From all accounts, Carmona is a suitable candidate. However, this is the judge that ruled to set Panday free from jail time on grounds of health, and a week later Bas was on platforms speaking. It is also rumoured that he and the PM are friends from way back. Both lawyers from south Trinidad etc etc. Nothing wrong with being friends, nothing wrong with being a lawyer, nothing wrong with being from south....but this is Trinidad and this is Kamla and the UNC. So, for now I will reserve judgement on Carmona. The shoe bound to drop. If Carmona is as he appears, then it will only be a plus for the nation because God knows Max Richards was the biggest let-down as a President....ever!

Emmanuel George: Works Minister and Misinterpreter of Reports

But just as we began to think that the 12-Sero Smackdown had finally put some sense into the PM and her Small Goal Posse's head up comes the Highway Review Report....and before Emmanuel George respected the arrangement and hush he mouth until NIDCO and the JCC sign off on the report, up jumps the boogie being done by Emmanuel as he misleads the public...oh hell, lemme say it plain....as he lies to the public about the contents of the report.

What baffles is this....What exactly did Emmanuel think he would achieve? Didn't he realise the truth about the report would be revealed? That Kublalsingh would respond? That the report would leak? That we would find out?

What on earth has he really achieved by lying about the report?

Why is Full Dotish such an easy default position for this Government?

Nat Sec Minister.....

And if Emmanuel George aint have it hard enough I see Captain Flying Squad in hot waters this morning with a Guardian story that linking his Ministry firmly to the Flying Squad.

What angers me as a citizen is all the people involved who only now coming forward with information because money not spending. So all of a sudden we have people who ready to do the right thing for Trinidad and Tobago and not help to impose a Police State on us.....after Jack aint pay them. That is Patriotism in yuh gaaar!

So between the Hafizool CV, the Flying Squad and the Misinterpreted Report....how many missteps we up to in 33 months?

Hold on tight folks, we back in Full Dotish mode and it's going to be a Bumpy Ride!

Mad Men with Big Stones

Master and Commander Far  Side of the Ocean: Dr/Mr Hafizool Mohammed I chuckled when I heard about a man stoning the Parliament. I wasn’t the only one. And that should disturb us. Why? Not because I am likely to stone the Parliament myself; but because the idea of stoning this current Parliament elicits not outrage or concern from portions of the citizenry, but rather a tacit understanding of what could lead a man – mentally disturbed or not – to dry dry so pick up two stone and pelt the Parliament.

On a daily basis the country is protesting in small ways and big. The two largest protests we’ve had so far were the Section 34 march and the THA 12-Zero smack down. Trinbagonians of all levels of sanity are letting this government know that they are sick, tired and fed-up. Yet the government seems not to care. Is full steam ahead in Full Dotish mode!

Dr Indira Rampersad whose go to analysis these days for PP incompetence is race!

You have Warner and Ramlogan blaming their losses not on incompetence, but race. You’ve got supporters of the government, like Indira Rampersad and Sat Maharaj propping up their incompetent and failed leaders by echoing the same race diatribes; and then you have supporters of Rampersad and Maharaj telling you to your face, don’t take them on when they talk race, you know how they stop? Well, actually, I don’t know how they stop. But I wish they would stop. I wish too that members of the Maha Sabha community would stop pretending that their leader isn’t talking race. Because the more silent you remain, the more it sounds like consent to me. Just saying…

I also wonder how Indira Rampersad, as a political analyst, can be taken seriously at her day job any time soon after that succinct piece of analysis two Monday’s ago; and whether the goodly doctor is still credible enough to teach courses in politics let alone grade examination scripts.

But Rampersad’s credibility issues paled in comparison to this week’s misstep. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Mr/Dr Hafizool Mohammed, Master and Commander, Far Side of the World. If you haven’t read his CV in Friday’s Trinidad Guardian, please find a copy now and avail yourselves. He’d make a killing on Kindle.

Here we have a gentleman whose resume seems more padded than a marginal seat ballot box. Mr Mohammed’s referrals are impeccable: one is dead; the other simply does not exist. His time at an American Military Academy is so flawless; there are no records of his presence. His work for NATO and the Pentagon so top secret that there is no proof. Why didn’t Her Majesty’s Secret Service not hire him instead of Daniel Craig?

Reshmi-Ramnarine-and-Tim-GopeesinghAnd this man of action is also an intellectual. A doctoral degree from an online, unaccredited University, and a thesis that quotes Wikipedia and Islamopedia liberally without even citing them as sources.

And you know the scary thing? This is typical, par for the course behaviour of the People’s Partnership. I remember John Sandy and Prakash Ramadhar in late 2010 heartily endorsing Reshmi Ramnarine’s appointment as SIA Director. When the Opposition did its job and opposed the appointment there was loud criticism. The accusation was Ms Ramnarine was being opposed for the job because she was a young, Indian woman. No government has proven to be more adept at waving the race card than this one. At every misstep and criticism they have raised the issue of race and been barely taken to task for it. The whole country fighting them down and jealous them based on ethnicity, not incompetence.

Within days of Sandy and Ramadhar’s endorsement we would learn that Ramnarine’s CV was doctored. She had no degree from UWI, she was in fact grossly underqualified for her job. Ms Ramnarine resigned and now lives and works under a new identity.

Omar Khan

By June 2011, Omar Khan, who had been appointed as Chairman of T&TEC, was also under the microscope for doctored credentials. It appeared that Khan’s first degree in engineering from UWI and his MBA from the Arthur Lok Jack School were both false and he had acquired his engineering qualifications through a correspondence course. And in much the same way Khan wrote his way to an engineering degree; he wrote to tender his resignation, listing personal responsibilities as his reason.

In July of that same year website ttonline.org asked the question “Is ‘Dr’ Suruj Rambachan suruj in orange shirtReally a Quack?” raising issues about the credibility of the doctorate which Minister of Foreign Affairs Suruj Rambachan had acquired from an unaccredited university in Hawaii.

You don’t need to be an ace detective to start seeing the trend of falsified resumes, unaccredited universities, fake degrees, high paying jobs and friends and family of the People’s Partnership. New Politics!

Not me nah, I only meet the man one inno!

In the case of every person I’ve named thus far their applications and credentials would have been vetted not by one, but several persons. Using Mr/Dr Mohammed, Master and Commander Far Side of the Ocean as an example: Winston Dookeran would have recommended him, then both the AG and the Prime Minister would have looked at his application and qualifications; then they would have sent on the name to the President. In short, neither Dookeran, Ramlogan, Persad-Bissessar nor the President (either Richards or Hamel-Smith) ever bothered to run a simple background check on Mohammed’s credentials. Or, maybe they were depending on the media and the citizenry to never ask or search and thereby get away with giving an unsuitable person a job he isn’t qualified for. It makes you wonder how many more unqualified hacks we have sitting in positions they have no qualifications for and will they too be unearthed.

It also makes you wonder about Presidential nominees and their qualifications. Two weeks away from nomination day and at the height of Carnival fever in the country neither the PP nor the PNM have announced their candidates. If Section 34’s proclamation is anything to go by, the Cabinet might use Machel Monday as a convenient time to hood wink the population. In fact, given that Budget 2013 was presented to us on a stage in the midst of a fete in Mid-Centre Mall, why not announce the Presidential nominee the same way. It would be in keeping with the style of governance of this lot.

And when you think about how this government operates, is almost as if they pelting big stone at the country for the last 32 months straight. So then, technically speaking, that homeless man last week was probably just practising self-defence.

We in Full Dotish Mode...Chupke Chupke!

3 Degrees of Full Dotish!

  Kevan Gibbs: The man behind Great Fete weekend and now the TOP THA Elections.

It is the middle of Silly Season in Tobago, in a THA elections that has been hijacked by the Central Government and turned into a full blown circus. TOP and the UNC are using the creative genius of the mastermind behind the Tobago Great Fete to run its THA campaign and  this genius has helped to turn the THA Election into a proper monster. Coupled with Silly Season are three other very serious issues happening here in Trinidad that I'm sure the Government is hoping no one pays attention to.

Full Dotish 1 Race Baiting to the nth Degree: If you've never experienced Great Fete Weekend in Tobago count yourself fortunate. I had the misfortune once. I was 18 and in Tobago visiting relatives when my sister and I decided to head down to Store Bay to lime and swim. We went about midday and stayed until later afternoon and got caught in the start of a beach party that was part of the Great Fete weekend festivities. It was at 18, on a beach in Store Bay, that I saw how easily women can be molested and sexually assaulted for being dressed in swimsuits and present at a beach fete. The attitude of the men around was that women were at the fete for sex or at least foreplay. We left the beach before sunset and I have thereafter carefully avoided Great Fete weekend. It's frowned upon by many Tobagonians. They see it as just another event where rude Trinidadians invade their quiet island for more rum and revelry. But Sandbox Promotions has a good thing going at Crown Point and it generates revenue. I guess it must be on that basis that Sandbox has been given leeway to shape the TOP campaign. A campaign that now resembles a ghetto fete gone wrong. The Calcutta Ship ad, that is helping to promote the same racism that the TOP and UNC claim to be against has finally been pulled...and I feel that ad has backfired on them. Because while Sandbox might know how to throw a fete in Tobago, I'm yet to be convinced that Sandbox knows how to throw an election campaign and I will explain why.

In an island as devoutly Protestant as Tobago, and suspicious of any practice that is Unorthodox, why on earth would you arrange for the PM who is both Hindu and Spiritual Baptist and rude to read at a pulpit. While that may be playing to a TOP audience, it's not likely to go off as well with many other residents of the island. Using children to send a rude message to the THA Chief secretary is another No-No. Tobagonians still admire things like manners, class and respectability. Sandbox entertainment has introduced a level of crassness and vulgarity to an election campaign that is normally never this heated or hectic. TOP's response to Hilton Sandy's Calcutta Ship has only served to take the race talk up several notches and anger Tobagonians and Trinis alike. Now to add fuel to the fire Skippy Barrington Thomas has asked the Equal Opportunities Commission to launch a probe into Sandy's comments. A move that is likely to go nowhere but will continue to stir up hate and disgust. It's almost as if UNC and TOP revelling in the morass now. Sandy has since issued two apologies for his race-imbued comments, yet that seems to matter little in the scheme of things....this from a party that is home to the likes of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Devant Maharaj, Nizam Mohammed and Jack Warner.

To see Tobago's politics fall into the this type of behaviour that is typical of Trinidad politics is saddening. To see the UNC/TOP that constantly describes itself as the NEW POLITICS/ALL INCLUSIVE party with no evidence to support such claims, continue to promote the race-baiting is beyond disgusting. But congratulations to SandBox entertainment members who have managed to extend the ethos of Great Fete into wider Tobago.

Nat Sec Minister.....

Full Dotish 2 Operation Police State: I wont go into lengthy details here but crime gone clear. And I am not just referring to murders, but to what is fuelling the murders - the gun and drug trade - trades that are closely linked to all kinds of white collar corruption here like fraud and money laundering. Trinidad rotten from head to tail, but the only Crime Initiatives ever implemented here are ones to deal with the poor working underclass in selected areas that are primarily black or feature people that resemble John Sandy. In 2010 when the PP decided to cancel the OPVs their comments were that the Drug and Crime wars weren't at sea but on land. And so they were moving the fight to the land. This same government implemented policies that made our borders porous. This same government created loopholes and gaps in our borders to allow for drugs and guns to enter Trinidad freely. These porous borders led to the crisis that caused 11 murders in 2 days and for Kamla in haste and fear to call a SoE and then use the cover of a SoE to target Afro-descended people living in poor urban and rural areas with the blessings of most of the wealthy and middle class of Trinidad. Now we have Jack Warner promising to give 1000 soldiers precepted powers and the setting up of not 1 but 5 military bases around the island. After this government's abuse of power during the SoE, after Warner abused his power as Minister of Nat Sec and turned Police and Military on a group of Highway protesters; after the fiasco that is Section 34, are we really to trust this government with this National security policy? Can Warner be trusted? Soldiers with arrest powers? Really? And no one wants to see that we are heading towards a state where too much power is falling into the hands of armed forces?

And of course you have members of the business community, such as Daphne Bartlett issuing the following statements:"president of the San Fernando Business Association Daphne Bartlett said the move to grant powers of arrests to soldiers was long overdue, and the army bases were being set up at key points where there could be careful monitoring of the coasts. “We support the locations that Mr Warner chose, because he acknowledged recently how porous our borders are,”. Clearly she forgot who made the borders porous and that the battles moved from the land to the sea.

Full Dotish 3 Abusive Vegendas: Women, Womanhood and the female psyche taking real abuse under this government. Back in 2010 the local feminist movement came out to speak about how chauvinist the PNM government was. That it had a very authoritative, oppressive and masculine approach to government. All of it true. To date, not a member of that same clique of women has come out to discuss the nature of the governance we are receiving under the PP. I have commented on the silence often. In a conversation last year with Gabrielle Hosein - a gender activist, lecturer in Gender studies at UWI, and in 2010 an open supporter of Kamla Persad-Bissessar as Prime Minister - I asked Ms Hosein why she had not written out against the atrocities to women under this regime and Ms Hosein explained that her workload coupled with her new-found status as a mother made it difficult for her to find the time to address these issues........are you hearing the crickets that playing right now?

Under Kamla's tenure - a woman who garbs herself in vagenda clothes all the time "As a mother and a grandmother", "we are a caring government, a compassionate government" etc - we have witnessed the rampant nepotism and corruption: excusing the abuse of state funds to pay her sister; gender-shaming the country into believing that she was being given a hard time during her campaign because she is a woman; the abuse of Sita Gajardharsingh-Nanga by Sat Maharaj with not a word said against it; the bullying and abuse of Cheryl Miller; the abuse and assault of women under the SoE by police and soldiers; and most recently San Fernando Mayor Navi Murad-Ali is reported to have physically abused his girlfriend in a public spat. Murad-Ali denies physical abuse, but admits to verbal abuse in a public sphere.

And like good Victorian-Era women, the feminists remain mute.

The Great THA Pappy Show Debate!

Ashworth Cheat SheetThis morning at Macueripe a group of above middle-aged swimmers were discussing last night's THA Debate and assessing the speakers. One man said he found Hochoy the best speaker, but overall the debate was boring and he switched to the cricket. His wife announced that she found Orville London...she couldn't remember his name at first....spoke English so well. Because I was in mid-stroke and not close enough to organically enter the conversation I didn't get the opportunity to ask the question, "Speak English so well as opposed to what language?" This lady is an example of the general attitude Trinidadians have towards Tobagonians...condescending, arrogant, rude...as if Tobagonians are stupid, uncivilised barbaric people with little to no education or indeed common sense.

It is this condescension and arrogance and general rudeness to Tobagonians I see in the TOP/UNC Campaign. Indeed the entire UNC?TOP media campaign seems to be run for the benefit of Trinidadians and not Tobagonians.

Take a glance at their Facebook Page and realise that more Trinidadians than Tobagonians engage in the conversations.

Listen to their radio ads and realise that many of the ads are playing on Trinidad radio stations whose signal never reach Tobago. WACK radio? 93.1/93.5? WACK Radio is based in San Fernando. Hott 93's audience listens to pop/rock, which is a decidedly Indo-dominant audience and listenership. The Calcutta Ship ads features the voice of Hansley Ajodha pretending to represent the interests of Tobagonians....and the list goes on.

But it was last night's debate that struck as particularly insulting and dismissive of Tobagonians....and I really wondered what the people at the Chamber of Commerce and the UWI were thinking when they organised the debate and drafted the questions.

The Debate had a closed off and select audience. All Tobagonians couldnt attend. Remember this is THA elections...it affects Tobagonians more than it could ever affect Trinidadians. The moderator was a Trinidadian of Indian origin. The panellists presenting the questions both sounded distinctly Trinidadian. The venue was the government owned Magdalena Hotel. The production team was Lisa Wickham, a Trinidadian consultant. The research team that came up with the questions were all from the UWI campus and the names I saw listed featured mostly Trinidadian researchers from the University's research sphere.

In short, everything about last night's debate was geared towards a Trinidadian sensibility. But we respect Tobago and want them to have autonomy right? Kamla and TOP aint fooling me with that rhetoric.

The message sent was that this debate was a production by Trinidadian for Trinidadians about a Tobagonian issue. The only Tobagonians voices heard on set were that of the debaters. A very curious thing. The debate claimed to be about economic progress yet managed to bring up the topic of race...a decidedly Trini pre-occupation. But the debate steered clear of corruption, nepotism and cultural difference. The debate also steered clear of addressing issues that are specific and unique to Tobago because the person who researched the questions focused posing questions that are relevant to Trinidadians. As a quick example....there were questions about Transport between the two islands.....not a question was raised about transportation problems on the island. How many Trinis stay beyond Store Bay/Bon Accord/Canaan? Very few. So the concept of moving around Tobago via public transport escapes them. And let's not discuss the issue of unemployment and the types of employment available. Ashworth Jack went on and on about Tourism and Agriculture because clearly the entire educated population of Tobago wants to become farmers, waiters and hotel managers. Not only are job opportunities limited, the industries are limited as well. Which means thousands of Tobagonians have to leave their homes to excel!

I sat through the debate waiting to see it change course and begin to address core issues and then it struck me. The Debates Commission didnt set up this debate for Tobagonians but for themselves. So now it can be said that we have held an election debate and everyone can pat themselves on the back for putting on a good show...but to me the Debate made no difference to the political landscape.

If you ask me who won last night's pappyshow of a debate, I'd tell you the production team.....because them eating a big food and the issues remain untouched!

Vote With Sense....Don't Vote Full Dotish!

Muje Maaf Kar Do....Mea Culpa?

This afternoon the PNM is putting on a grand Divali celebration in St James. The celebration will feature a tassa competition, a beauty queen show and deya lighting. For a party that is in opposition and considered to be more Afro than any other ethnic group in its appeal, it is refreshing to see the efforts that Rowley et al are making to appear more inclusive. Indeed, since the PNM Convention on October 28 th The Keith has been quietly relentless about showing his many facets and in showing his softer side, he is attempting to show the PNMs accommodating side. But how accommodating is it?

Is it going to be a seasonal accommodation? One that pops up only during popular religious festivals? Will other less prominent ethnic groups also be a part of this new accommodation? Will other religious systems that are less prominent as well be welcomed into the fold? After all the PNMs mantra these days is " Come home to the PNM".

But what exactly are we coming home to? Is this new accommodation a pappy show to give an impression of inclusiveness, or is the PNM serious about turning a new leaf?

I am asking these hard questions because there are two major obstacles the PNM has to confront at some point in time publicly. Why? Because they are the obstacles that are thrown up all the time privately. The unspoken grouses the electorate has against the PNM as it were, and I think publicly confronting them will actually make the party appear stronger and serious about inclusion.

Right now the constant pictures of The Keith in koortah is window dressing for a deeper far more serious problem. Yes he looks very dapper and cuts a fine picture in ethnic garb. But as a half coolie that looks more African than Indian, I can tell you that there is far more to being Indian and winning the regard of the Indian community than donning ethnic garb. The PNM in particular and Afro Trinbagonians have always been viewed by the Indo community with skepticism and mistrust.

Social and political leaders of the Indo community have kept the mistrust alive with a constant reference to several grievances held against the PNM. There is the constant cry that the PNM has oppressed Indians, of course when you press for details and evidence the conversation always ends up the "recalcitrant minority" speech by Williams. A speech that happened. That it happened in reference to something else is irrelevant to the Indo community. What matters is that it was said and as far as Indians are concerned it speaks to the true feelings of both the PNM and Afro Trinis. Go to any FB group, especially UNC focused group and that's where all the conversations lead to. Pnm is a cult that don't like Indians and trying to oppress us. Ask the right questions and it boils down to the comment that has had Indians toting feelings against both PNM and Afros for half a century.

The Keith has begun addressing this grievance, but obliquely. It can't be a coincidence that at every opportunity he has been given in the last two weeks he constantly refers to the valuable contributions of the Hindu community. It is possibly a subtle, mea culpa....but this won't do.

You see Indians want their pound of fle......sorry, bhagi. And given the public way in which Williams made the comment, any addressing of it will have to be just as publicly. The PNM must make it clear that it is not now, nor ever will be, the party's position on Indians. It matters little that fifty years have passed since it was made. It matters little that much has been done to atone for it. Until the PNM faces that bogey head on, then it will always rear its head in quiet and not so quiet corners to be used against the party and Afro Trinis.

The tote is real The Keith, and the party must go on record as having addressed the issue. A simple Muje maaf kar do. To refuse to address it gives the comment and its offshoot behavior more power than it deserves.

When you go on record, you diffuse the strength of that comment made more than fifty years ago....and turn the tables on the whiners only intent on ethnic political mischief.

De Vice Cyah Done!

20121111-145758.jpg

Much Ado About Numbers

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It was all about the size and ethnic make up of the crowd yesterday. While de facto Prime Minister Jack Warner (oh, you mean you didn't realise that he is the person speaking on behalf of the government for EVERYTHING? When last you heard from Kamla?) is quick to tell the media otherwise, it's fairly obvious, just from the type of responses he has given that the size of yesterday's march and who was in it was important. And the larger and more representative of every demographic of this country the marches get, the more the PP Government will deny publicly what the marches mean. What makes this ironic is that back in 2010 Jack and Kamla lead much smaller protests for issues like the rapid rail transport sytem that was likely to displace farmers. Back then the size and ethnic make up of the crowd didn't matter, what mattered was that citizens, Trinbagonians were being displaced by the government.

On Friday, thousands and thousands of Trinbagonians took to the streets to voice their displeasure over Section 34 and the bungling incompetence of the PP Government. Long before the crowd started marching along the route there were estimates being given out online. A person calling himself Allan Karim, the name of a known UNC blogger claimed a crowd of 800. The FB page for Team UNC-COP claimed 1000. At around that time the crowd was easily double that and I was standing in Woodford square with a group of like minded and right thinking citizens discussing how this government for all its new politics talk, was using the usual racist propaganda scare tactics to corral it's voter base. Little did I know how my points would be underscored for me later.

The crowd coming from Wrightson Road side around the twin Towers heading to meet the Woodford Square posse. Photo taken by Andre de Silva.Just as the crowd was getting ready to leave Woodford Square the National Security helicopter showed up, and it stayed with the march the entire time. Part of what the helicopter was there to do was assess the size of the crowd, and interestingly enough some of these aerial photographs, that look like they were taken from one of the Twin Towers or by National Security personnel would eventually end up in the hands of UNC bloggers. The photographs - taken around 1pm, when one group of marchers was assembling on the Promenade having made it's way from Wrightson Road to the Promenade to await the procession that was coming from Woodford Square - was used to dispute claims of over 20,000 people. There are photographs aplenty from Andrea De Silva to support my claim. Interestingly enough the figure of 20,000 was given by the police. And that figure only started circulating at around 3pm. It's unfortunate that the UNC blogger's pic don't have a time stamp that I can see so I could corroborate times.

In any case, worried over the impact that a growing number of protesters would have on the psyche of the country, last night came this from TEAM UNC-COP:

**** Breaking News: EXPOSED! PNM, MEDIA, POLICE wrong on PNM March crowd! Irrefutable Proof! ***** Fellow Citizens: we expose the PNM-Media conspiracy and prove they are working in tandem against the Govt. The Police are, at best, clumsy oafs, poohar, backward, using flawed techniques for crowd estimates. We hate to embarrass the Police but we hope the Commissioner is shown this - by Minister Warner, and is convinced to train a few of his people in crowd estimation.

It's very simple but the PNM is illiterate and cannot help defrauding the people; the Media is slothful, lazy, and against the PP govt. Their wildly inaccurate crowd estimates expose the media for what they are: simpletons, backward, illiterate, very low standard of journalism, spiteful, north-centric, a bunch of 3rd world pretenders who try to convince the people they are "neutral" and should be allowed a free rein, above all else they must not be criticized. And, if you think we are attacking you: bingo, you got one right! We are attacking you for your woefully horrible standard of journalism, and you are free to prove us wrong. If you do, we will retract everything and praise you, advocating strongly for 50% raise for all media people in T&T! Seriously.

The Racist Letter submitted by Sunil Ranjitsingh to Jyoti Communications that he claims a PNM supporter handed to him.And if this attack on the Police and Media wasn't enough, then came the accusations that the PNM was distributing racist pamphlets in Woodford Square. According to Sunil Ramjitsingh in a letter to Jyoti Communications, the website responsible for all of Kamla's PR:
Dear News Editors, >; I am writing in my personal capacity to bring to your attention the attached document, which document was being distributed at the Woodford Square this afternoon during the assembly for the Democracy March. >; I walked through the square myself in the company of one of my colleagues. A tall woman in a red t-shirt handed my colleague this flyer and when I reached out for one she was hesitant but then she eventually, reluctantly handed me one. >; If you read it, you will see that the flyer contains very nasty racial content. I then understood why the woman did not hesitate to give my colleague but was reluctant to give me a copy - my colleague was of African descent and I, of course, am of East Indian descent. >; >; Respectfully Submitted, >; Sunil Ramjitsingh
What was curious about Ranjitsingh's letter is this....during the 2010 Election a similar letter was distributed in various parts of Trinidad. The point of the letter then, as it is now, is to stir racist sentiment. Ranjitsingh's choice of medium is curious. Jyoti Communications is Kamla's blog. Ranjitsingh is a known UNC activist, he ran for a position in the internal elections earlier this year. So, was the purpose of his story in Kamla's blogpost to inform the wider population or to inform the party faithful? I was at the Square, and saw no one distributing this flyer. In fact the only flyers I got was from the Highway Re-Route Movement. If we go with Ranjitsingh's story, then because I look african, I should have received a flyer. And I was in that Square from 11:45 until we moved onto the streets. Funny how no one ever gives me useful flyers.
The FB group TEAM UNC-COP also spent quite a bit of time yesterday race-mongering. In Sheila Rampersad's account of yesterday's march, that was careful to only focus on the trivial, the one thing serious issue she managed to note was a racist comment by a man on Frederick Street, who she reports as saying: A man speaking loudly to two women at the bottom of Frederick Street returned the country to its worst ethos: “This country! A Hindu demon leading this country! Is Kali puja!” Thankfully, the women refused to respond.
The administrators of TEAM UNC-COP took this quote and expanded on it and on their wall claimed that the PNM had said it without any evidence of such from Sheila Rampersad's column:

EVIL RACIST PNM PROPAGANDA! "A Hindu demon leading this country! Is Kali puja" Citizens of T&T - beware of the evil disgusting messages coming from the desperate PNM. And is this encouraged by Ramesh lawrence Maharaj, Abduallah, OWTU, and the PNM accomplices? This is typical of the PNM modus operandi. Divide and Rule. Decent patriotic Trinis must condemn the PNM or else our beloved and beautiful T&T will descend into a zombie 4th world hell-hole. The PNM will like nothing better than that since that's their natural environment, they love it that way.

In the last 24 hours the PP government have made certain thing undoubetedly clear.

  1. They aren't practising any new politics since their policy is obviously to continue to lie to the electorate; ignore the complaints of the population; and to use scaremongering and racism as a tactic of divide and rule.
  2. They have no plans or policies beyond Position Hulsie X aka "We Not Moving". There is no thrust to run a country or manage a budget. the only thrust is to line pockets.
  3. Their default position is always going to be Blame the PNM and Black People Hate we and trying to Oppress We.

Once you keep these things in mind, it's pretty much easy to manoeuvre from here.

In moving forward the the other political parties....and by that I refer to the PNM and MSJ....will:

  • Continue to rally public support to the point where the financiers of the current government become concerned about their investment and put pressure on Kamla.
  • Continue to build develop their policies and party's vision for the future because and present a slate of candidates that the thinking electorate will believe in.

Let's face it. UNC/COP has squandered all of its political currency. As soon as any one of their ministers speak the electorate starts looking for the lie. The PNM faithful have returned home, it's the swing voters or fence sitters that The Keith has to reach out to. The MSJ will now have to consider its voter base and reach out to undecideds in PNM and UNC/COP seats. If you ask me, short of a massive rigging that eclipses S34 or Prakash Ramadhar and the rest of the Section 34 Gang of Thieves managing to hoodwink the population into Proportional Representation (and that campaign coming, watch and see), the UNC has corrupted its way out of a chance at election 2015. Kamla may well have out-Basdeoed De Bas!

De Vice Cyah Done!

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I Out On De Road: Section 34 Style!

 

I'm marching today. And happily so. When I marched weeks ago I was told by people who consider themselves thinkers, humanists and buddhists that to march meant I was Pro PNM.....and even better, marching meant I was a lemming. If Rowley was so against Section 34 why he vote for it. At that point in time no one was willing to listen to the details of the story. That Cabinet had promised to implement certain conditions and further that the early proclamation was a breach of trust.

Today, as more and more details of the section 34 issue has been revealed and more and more people realise the extent of the conspiracy perpetrated against the country all of a sudden marching has become the fashionable thing. The people who wanted to make this about Keith Rowley and the PNM a few weeks ago are going to be out on the street en masse today because that's how bandwagonists function. They diss an action that they are not in favour of in its early phases and then when they see the direction the wind shifts in all of a sudden their intellect kicks in and they find a plausible reason for joining and become even louder and more vociferous than the original members of a movement. It's all good, once they pulling their weight. I guess the Lemmings have company today.

But there are people who are still detractors to the march. We've seen the government throw up distraction after distraction where Section 34 is concerned. Pre-Budget Rallies, Post-Budget Rallies, random attacks on the media from Jack Warner and Jamal Mohammed, Warner trying to block crime statistics....all in an effort to distract the electorate from the issue of Section 34 and what it means that an entire Cabinet conspired to mislead the Parliament....and now pretending they did nothing wrong.

Last night there was a last ditch effort on the part of UNC apologists. People arguing that the issue has already aired publicly, so let's move on. Well neither Kamla nor the AG have answered my questions on this matter satisfactorily so I can't move on. And apparently the launch of TSTT's 4G that was meant to thin out the protest crowds has been put off as well. So it's just lemmings in Woodford Square at noon today.

Another argument is that this March today is about causing political destabilisation....uhhh....YES....we don't trust the Government. No electorate should have to be saddled with a Government it doesn't trust, and to argue that we must put up with an untrustworthy government for five years is to play smart with foolishness. That's why it's called a democracy....we have the right to show our displeasure and I am going to show it.

And Section 34 isn't the only reason. There are at least a hundred...but let me refresh your memory with a few reason why I will be out on the road.

1. Reshmi

2. Gopaul

3. Mary King

4. Cheryl Miller

5. Nizam Mohammed

6. Dwayne Gibbs

7. Gary Griffith

8. The Crop Duster

9. Raids on TV6, Newsday, Crime Watch and attacks on Asha Javeed and Denyse Renne

10. Chandresh Sharma's London Taxi fare

11. Shoppin Toppin and Fuad Card!

12. The Soca Warriors $$$$

13. Jack as a Minister, Jack as a member of the National Security Council, Jack as Minister of National Security (this alone is a march in itself)

14. The bungling incompetence of the AG

15. Silk Gate

16. The dismantling of all of our border and coastal surveillance,

17. the deployment of national security helicopters as air taxis for the PM and her friends and family.

18. Vidwattie Newton

19. Janice Thomas/Marcia/Sasha Mohammed

20. The mess that is healthcare

21. The mess that is education

22. Fucking up our energy sector

23. Three massive budgets that have put us into deficit and saddling us with a debt my grandchildren will be paying.

24. Insulting our Caricom Neighbours with the ATM statement

25. Kamla being the most incompetent and ineffective, self absorbed, nepotistic and corrupt leader this Caribbean has ever seen.

 

I could go on for days...but I'll stop there. See you on the road!

 

De Vice Cyah Done!

 

Rowbama vs Kamnesia

It's the Battle of the Re-Brands folks, and Keith Rowley is ready to rumble.

In 2010 we saw a rejuvenated UNC re-brand itself after getting rid of Basdeo Panday. A lot of money, effort and Ernie Ross went into making over Kamla. On the campaign trail she was constantly surrounded by foreign security guards. Her normal attire was a yellow sweater twin-set and black pencil skirt, with perfectly coiffed hair. An accent, not bought from Honda, became readily apparent and we became the NAY SHUN. Persad-Bissessar, desperate to prove to us that she was a breath of fresh air, the chayyyynge that was blowing through the nayyyshun would lip sync Bryan Adams and Celine Dion for us: A New day was coming and Everything she was doing, she was doing for us. Her supporters were ecstatic over the re-branding. They were happy for the new image, and for the opportunity to prove to the rest of the country that the Panday era was behind them.

Tonight the PNM's Keith Rowley reinforced Jamal Mohammed's fears of a re-branded PNM by unveiling just that. This is my first PNM Convention ever, I have no idea what normally takes place. But the presentation of the Political Leader this afternoon was an interesting concoction of fanfare and substance. The PNM, a party that I have often considered to be stuck in the Jurassic era used a lot of multimedia this afternoon, and I was happy to see that. There were two documentaries: one on Section 34 and another on Rowley the Man.

Section 34 gave us a synopsis of the Constitutional crisis facing the country complete with man-on-the-street and informed talking heads (Faris Al Sexy and Justin Jwoww Phelps). the documentary on The Keith sought to show Rowley in a new light. Not the aggressive parliamentarian that earned him the name of rottweiller, but the man that Tobagonians see. Last week after returning from the Tobago meeting I commented to a few friends that the Rowley seen in Tobago and the one seen in Trinidad are two different beasts. Tobago is where he relaxes, stands up and limes with a crowd of people after a meeting and smiles and jokes.

Today the gathering at the QPS Grand Stand got to see some of that as the documentary showed Keith in his Mason Hall home, looking very much the gentleman farmer on land inherited from his grandfather, surrounded by other Tobagonians, family members and with a cameo from the Anglican archbishop. You saw Rowley as husband, father and neighbour.

Then there was the short video introduction to his speech that showed Franklyn Khan calling The Keith on his Blackberry. The Keith getting ready, and poking fun at himself several times pretending to comb his hair and even pausing on his was to the Savannah to pet a vicious looking dog. Who knew the man had a sense of humour? Then he and wife Sharon emerged on stage, and you don't have to like Rowley to admit that he and his wife are a very handsome couple.

Then came the speech. And what it was, was a well crafted manifesto. It is the second time in a month that The Keith has presented an energy and debt servicing policy as a counterpoint to the abysmal budget Larry Howai delivered on October 1st. And when you consider the Ministry of Works asking for $2.7b since the Budget was read, and today's announcement that the AG needs $1.3b to pay for the OPV arbitration; Keith's policies and plans re the country's finances begin to look far more attractive than the mismanagement and misstepping that Kamla and her small goal side have given us.

Between Independence Day to the present the Opposition Leader has used every opportunity at his disposal to present himself as Prime Ministerial; to show that he has the intelligence and leadership skills necessary to, as he said today, put the country back on track. And it doesn't help the UNCs cause that at every turn they are doing absolute crap and Kamla....the epitome of female leadership remains the mum mother and grandmother.

Indeed,  the Prime Minister is probably hoping that Ernie Ross can give the country a dose of Kamnesia and make us forget the non-stop missteps of the last 2.5 years. In this upcoming week, when a massive protest is planned expect more wild statements from her ministers, especially Ministers who until now have been quiet. Expect all manner of distraction. And expect Rowley's new look and his manifesto to be bashed even though the PPG has nothing by way of actual policy in the entire term to date that can compare. In fact, Rowley seems to be doing the Government's homework time and again.

But new image a side, there was another aspect to today's convention that was more satisfying to me and it is an area that I would like to see The Keith and his executive address. I had the pleasure and honour today of meeting Rick Rampersad and it was all accidental. I'd gone into the media room to charge my phone and ipad when a colleague brought in a young man to do an interview. The gentleman was from the West Orupouche seat (same one as Stacy Ramnarine). What started as an interview between him and the reporter quickly became a conversation between him and several people. Rick Rampersad talked about Indians in politics, particularly Hindus in politics in a way that isn't discussed on the campaign trail. It was frank, respectful and refreshing. Not just the party's voter base, but the entire country needs to be hearing more voices like Rick Rampersad's. the face of the PNM is too often seen to be Black and Christian. It never looks as all inclusive as it claims to be and voices such as Rampersad's and a host of others NEED to come to the fore.

As I write the COP is having it's internal elections and no doubt the UNC is ensuring that it gets as many of its people into the party's key positions that way Kamla can continue to call the shots. Once Kamla can call the shots she assures herself several things: no COP walking out before the next elections; and no COP to split votes then either.

This weekend the PNM showed that it can and will evolve in order to survive. It's leader has shown that apart from being bright and incisively intelligent he is also  flexible enough shake up his own image. THA elections are around the corner. Time to see if the UNC has more to offer the electorate than really bad PR and an empty treasury.

De Vice Cyah Done!

The significance of Muslim Coolie

I am part coolie and proud. Blame my grandfather. He is the one that led the charge to break the unspoken rules of race purity that people think should exist here. He saw a woman of Portuguese and African descent and decided he was making young Ms Ribeiro his wife. Of course it led to his family disinheriting and shunning him. But I hope it was worth it for him. All of his children, my father included, kept the misbehavior going and continued the tradition of making mixed children. In fact, my father went to the extent of ensuring that his children could lay claim to Tobagonian roots as well. So when we plant our feet on the soil here we have no qualms about saying we are Trinidadian AND Tobagonian. Shout out to Mommy! Perhaps it is this heritage that makes me feel I belong to this place and the place belongs to me. So when people like Jamal Mohammed make comments about being “insignificant Muslim coolies”, I  have to stop and wonder. You belong to the largest ethnic group in the country and are a part of the ruling government. How exactly are you insignificant?

The Indian male has always been a confuffling creature for me. VS Naipaul often describes the Indian male as weak and cartoonish, reliant on his privileged place in a patriarchal system; secure only in the rituals and traditions imported from India. Now to be fair, this isn’t an accurate description of all Indian males. But Naipaul’s description of more than 50 years ago give the impression that only when insulated by their specific sub-culture does the Indian male feel secure. Of course Naipaul is probably really referring to the Hindu male; just as Bhoe Tewarie does in 1987, when he too talked about Hindus still being insular and having a responsibility to open up an understanding of Hinduism to the rest of the country.

After 167 years, with all of their strides in business, education, culture and politics why do Indian men still feel so insecure here? Why too, after more than a century and a half of sharing the same space is there still a fear of mixing. I’m not making this up. Listen to any of the radio stations and the code is there. I have longstanding friends of Indian descent who admit sheepishly that they can’t take home a non-Indian boy or girl. When you probe further you find out though that non-Indian there is really code for African. Chinese, Syrian/Lebanese and European are just fine.

Mohammed’s “insignificant Muslim coolie” annoyed me on several levels though. You see, having grown up in a mixed family, in a predominantly Indian village of Hindus, Muslims and Christians, I can tell you that when it is so easy for an Indian to call himself “coolie” in a self-deprecating way, it is even easier for him to call someone a “nigger”. And Mohammed’s easy use of racial epithets in a letter to the head of news at a media house tells me that he probably uses the language more often than we can imagine. And this man sits in our Senate and functions as a government minister? When I consider too that the Prime Minister never came out to publicly condemn the statements and actions of the Mohammed, I am even more concerned, because it tells me that the leader of this Government is really past caring what we think of its behavior.

Mohammed’s subsequent apology rings hollow for me and I will tell you why. To write to Dominic Kallipersad in your unofficial capacity – whatever that means for a government minister – is to imply that you and Mr Kallipersad have an unofficial relationship. That perhaps the two of you are friends or former colleagues. There is nothing to suggest that. So, then, when Mr Mohammed says he is writing in an unofficial capacity, what capacity did he mean?

Further, you write a private email in an unofficial capacity using politically incorrect language and fundamentally threatening the media, and when informed that the intention is to let the e-mail go public your response amounts to a shrug?

I think Jamal Mohammed wanted that e-mail to be released to the public and for the simple reason of appealing to the party base. Jack Warner started this several weeks ago when he held up the Express with a story by Asha Javeed. In doing that Warner sought to achieve several things: begin a witch hunt of both Ms Javeed and the Express and distract the country from discussing Section 34. It didn’t work. I don’t want to make light of the idiots trolling and harassing Ms Javeed online; or of the public officials requesting the phone records of media workers; but even with all of these atrocities, the public’s attention remains fixed on Section 34.

In making his comment, Mohammed was again reminding the voter base, this time a direct appeal being made to the “insignificant muslim coolies”, that the enemy right now is the media: Tv6 and Express. This government never fails to take an opportunity to reinforce ethnic divisions in their quest to remain in office. A few weeks ago it was “get in yuh section” from the PM, now it’s Jamal Mohammed subtly reminding the Muslim voter base from San Juan that the government is under siege and they must rally to defend it.

Ignore the fact that this government has access to state tv and radio stations and regularly buys out air time to spread its message. No the focus must be the enemy. The enemy is CCN, and to make sure that people accept that CCN is evil he links the media house with the PNM. Anything linked to the PNM is evil and therefore makes it acceptable to rally against.

Don’t get tie up  folks, Jamal Mohammed’s outburst this week was very calculated. It was done to distract from the motion being brought against the AG that is linked to Section 34. Look out next week for another distraction in the lead up to the march. This government is now so desperate to cling onto to power that it will even call itself names and denigrate its identity. It will prostitute good sense, rely on racist slurs and epithets to rile up the electorate, all in a sad pathetic attempt to distract from their failings.

De Vice Cyah Done!

The Motion of Censure against the AG

Tomorrow our Parliament will see the Opposition bring a motion of  censure against the AG, Anand Ramlogan. The Opposition is charging that the AG was part of the Cabinet that promised to not enact the Bill before all measures were put in place and was also part of the Cabinet that then ignored these measures and facilitated the early...and secretive...proclamation of 5 sections of the Act one of which created an Amnesty for Ish and Steve Galbaransingh. As you well know, Ish, Steve and about 13 other people are facing charges of corruption and bid rigging over the billion-dollar Piarco Airport. They are currently seeking legal action against the repeal of the Indicatable Offences Act...the law that holds Section 34 in it. The following is the actual petition submitted by the Leader of the Opposition:Motion: 1. WHEREAS Section 76(2) of the Constitution specifies "that the Attorney General shall, subject to section 79, be responsible for the administration of legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago and legal proceedings for and against the Sta

te"; AND WHEREAS the Attorney General participated in the presentation to Parliament of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Bill 2011 which contained a clause that created an amnesty for certain legal proceedings [referred to as Section 34]; AND WHEREAS the Attorney General had knowledge of and supported the Government's solemn undertaking to Parliament that no part of the Bill would be brought into force until such time as all supporting rules, administrative and physical infrastructure were in place and stakeholders consulted; AND WHEREAS in the absence of the discharge of the said undertakings, the Attorney General had knowledge of and/or involvement in the unexpected proclamation of Section 34, thereby prematurely bringing into force an amnesty with consequences for certain legal proceedings involving certain persons; AND WHEREAS earlier, the Attorney General made certain decisions in an extradition matter involving those said certain persons; AND WHEREAS as a consequence of this series of developments there is widespread unease, anger, disappointment and a general sense of loss of confidence in the Attorney General among a large cross-section of the national population; AND WHEREAS the Attorney General has accepted no responsibility for the improper discharge of his constitutional duties: BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House express its strongest disapproval of the flagrant breach of Parliamentary trust by the Attorney General's involvement in the premature proclamation of Section 34; AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Honourable House express its loss of confidence in the Attorney General and call on the Prime Minister to immediately relieve him of the portfolio of Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.

...And a Boddle of Rum!

Hear nah, i feel 3 Zero have to be the official drink of the People's Partnership and all man Jack Warner and Jamal Mohammed taking it through an IV. I thought today's low point was people from East Port of Spain telling reporters frankomen that if the Government aint give better paying jobs they will loot out Port of Spain....but no, it got better than that. Because angry citizens threatening to pillage and sack is one thing. But when you have your Minister of Local Government saying normal normal on TV that $69 a day is minimum wage you have to read between the lines and get what he saying. After Kamla and she small goal side pound Manning and the PNM for encouraging dependency, "gimme gimme" attitudes, and perpetuating a culture of handouts, Suruj Rambachan will come and admit that they government willing to pay people to work for 4 hours a day! because suruj cyah mean that people going to work an 8-hr day....which is the length of a normal working day....for $69. And if you telling me you hiring people for 4 hours a day, then the UNC is not only part of the problem, them IS the problem! Is not them self complain about this shit? Really?

And all of a sudden Jack Warner, the minister of everything, can't be found to address a National Security issue.....well look thing!

But in the middle of TV6 news tonight i see the extent of this government 3 Zero problem. Imagine COP member, appointed Senator, Minister of Information, Jamal Mohammed will send a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister to the head of news at TV6, couched in racist language attacking the media and issuing  a not-so-subtle threat?

Take a read at CCN TV6's post:

#ProtectThePress Government's Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed writes CCN Group Head of News a letter of complaint which he said is not the government's position but "just the vides of an insignificant muslim coolie from San Juan". He said the letter was not for publication but CCN Head of News informed him that that was not possible given his position in the Cabinet. CCN regards the letter

to be an act of attempted intimidation and, therefore the contents deserved to be made public. The e-mail pointed out the following: 1. 'Something seems to be going on at TV6 and the Express and it is not too nice.' 2. 'A blind man can see that there is a clear bias at both TV6 and the Express.' 3. '...reports are being presented in the name of investigative journalism and the only rationale for these reports is to embarrass certain individuals." 4. "It is clear to me that there is a specific agenda to discredit Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and members of her government." 5. "Since May 2010, I have seen for myself a deliberate and targetted barrage of accusations and misrepresentations about the People's Partnership as if there is an ultimate objective to make the Government fall." 6. "To make matters worse, a deliberate programme has appeared on both TV6 and the Express, where the PNM is being re-branded, refreshed and re-aligned so that it will become a new PNM ready for governance with the fall of the People's Partnership". 7. "I have noticed that anytime (without exception) there is a perceived problem concerning the Partnership Government, there is always a PNM Official ready, willing and able to make comment. This is most unfortunate."
Should Jamal Mohammed be put on suicide watch? Better yet, should we put Kamal Mohammed on suicide watch because I sure Cha Cha want to dead with shame right now.
I hope that after penning that particular letter he write a letter of resignation one time too.
This government gone clear! and yet our biggest critic on media and culture can't manage to do a proper column yet about how the UNC and Media. In 1996, within the first 90 days of his government Panday attacked Jones P Madeira because he was pissed off at how often pictures of him with a glass in hand appeared in the newspapers. Panday issued a ban on the Guardian and all of its reporters from all Government functions until Madeira was fired. That was the ultimatum. In a scramble some of the top news paper editors and publishers of the region flew in to Trinidad to meet with Panday and assuage his feelings by offering to be media watch dogs. His relationship with the media thereafter didn't improve.
Flash forward to UNC 2010 and though Kamla started off on a positive note with the media in the last 3 years her government has issued attack after attack on the press. It started with appointments to state media boards, then the changes at CNMG, then the firing of Fazeer Mohammed. Then the death threats from Sasha Mohammed/Janice Thomas to Express editors and reporters. Then the raid on the Express. Then the raid on the Newsday. In between you had the government restricting all advertising funding to the Mirror Newspaper and Gayelle.  Then there was the firings at Power 102.1 FM.  Then recently there have been the attacks on Asha Javeed and Denyse Renne by UNC bloggers.  And I feel quite certain that I have missed a few.
Jamal Mohammed must have lost his mind. Or maybe he is just an example of a meltdown within the government. I mean really...."insignificant muslim coolie"? Does that mean "recalcitrant minority" off the hook now? Study yuh head good....you think if Keith Rowley was to ever put God out of his thoughts and use language like that to describe a citizen here he or his party could live it down? Yet Mohammed felt the need to use reductive language, of a racist nature and then pretend he wasn't doing so in his official capacity as Minister of Information? Is it that he and Dominic Kallipersad are penpals and often discuss politics together? In what capacity other than his official one could Mohammed have been writing a media house?
He has brought the Senate, the Cabinet, the Government and the Country into disrepute with this letter, and he has also threatened our democracy by issuing this veiled threat to the media. Express and TV6 are doing their jobs...plain and simple....and it would have been great if Jamal Mohammed....a member of a bloated and overstaffed Cabinet...had actually done his!
JAMAL NEEDS TO GO, NOW!!!!!!!!!
De Vice Cyah Done!

Down Town Top Ranking...

Doh get fooled with them fiery protests in East Port of Spain and feel is just the natives acting up, eh. And no, don't get yuh knickers in a knot, we reach that point in the political nastiness where the nigger vs coolie talk back on the forefront normal normal. When Sara An Majid Khan, who is the same complexion as me, could be complaining on FB that the new Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe black and ugly, you know we cooking with gas and election season pumping.

Real people watching the action in town and figure well, is black people, they acting up again.  Them political analysts aint lie when they say Jack bounce he head  with he forays into East Port of Spain. You see, one of the things with Jack Warner is he always on ah ranking scene. Warner not just happy being the big man, he like to be seen to be the big man. Everbody must know he is the HNIC. So Jack wouldn't do like others and quietly meet with residents of Port of Spain. Nah...home boy does have to roll with camera crew and entourage. Neighbourhoods does get forewarning of the imminence of Warner. He like crowd, he like lights, he like camera. If soca was paying as much he woulda take over HD work and all, Yeah Yeah!

Just watch he actions in Chaguanas West. Jack aint satisfied being a popular MP, he also have to be THE MOST POPULAR and THE MOST HINDU MP of Chaguanas West. If politics had the same categories as beauty contests, Warner would be Mr Congeniality. And Trinis does see Warner posing, posturing and mamaguy as hard work...because we is Trinis...that is we idea of hard work....the best poser is the hardest worker, not so?

But Jack aint bounce he head normal with East Port of Spain, yuh know...he fall down and break he crown....and lemme maths it out for you.

As a smart man, Jack supposed to understand and honour the code of all smartmen. Town...specifically East Port of Spain have the reputation of being the roughest neighbourhood in Trinidad...whether is actually so is not the issue here...is the perception. Jack, trying he hardest to pose off as the toughest most effective Minister of National Security needed to appear to conquer East PoS....anybody who coulda look like they bring peace to that art of Town coulda boast in all four corners of the island that they making inroads on crime. That is thing to hold Crime Stats Rally for...ent?

Jack done make out that he didn't have to really bring down crime figures, he just had to make Town seem quiet. So he move in Laventille and East Pos and he try to buy people silence. And he buy their silence with the promise of jobs.

Now get this clear, it have plenty people in East POS who working and working hard. I wanna large up meh Crew from the Harpe and from Bath Street and from Darcueil Lane. Yeah, one is one, strength and powers!

There is also an element of these neighbourhoods where the real work doh happen during 9-5 hours. Jack, being Jack, decide he going and offer these non-workers ah wuk. Them fellas in Town know their reputation. They know how the rest of the country view them. They know that even if they is not real gangsters everybody else does see them as gangsters. Jack come to them with a proposal. He go give them work on the condition that they keep things cool. And they agree. Jack aint the first politician to make them offers. Them accustomed to negotiating with politicians to behave. Is a normal scene.

The difference between past government officials and Jack is that Warner decide to pull rank. Yuh doh disrepect man so. A smart man supposed to know not to pull no ranking scene with smart men. Doh come and make big announcement about 500 jobs that will change lives for the better, get we to agree to it publicly and then when we show up you offering 100 jobs at $69 an hour in full view of the media. Yuh Mad? No Saddis, it doh happen so. Is not that we ever thought you was going to give all 500 jobs with big salary, but you was supposed to meet we halfway....and if you want to pull a fast one on we, doh pull it to make we look like ass. You go have fellas from East PoS looking like punks to the rest of the country. Then next thing you know goontas from Beetham, Sealots, La Horquetta, Malabar, Pinto, the Congo, all them places, laughing at we because we in pussies?

So we hadda represent Jack....you on a ranking scene? We go show you ranking scene. You feel you run things, no horse, we run things, things nah run we. If we you feel you could come and buss style in East Port of Spain, think again. We is not no ass here. You offering we 100 jobs at $69/day for two months and if we did settle for that Kamla woulda throw a Crime Rally that costing we millions just to say, "Look, see, we conquered East PoS". Nah hoss. Keep yuh $69 a day. We go find something else to do. And in the meantime tire going and burn on a regular and doh let we ketch yuh in Piccadilly.

De Vice Cyah Done!