Jack Warner just got appointed to the National Security Council, so whether you are aware of it or not, we are officially a country of April Fools. But to the victor (of the UNC Internal Elections goes the spoils). Jack is probably the only performing minister in Kamla's government these days and since crime continues to plague her and us maybe the Minister of everything will be able to help....when he done solve we crime problem is best she give him Dookeran portfolio too.
My mother has this saying she uses when a person is unwittingly showing his or her true colours: "ahhhhh (insert name) yuh petticoat showing!"
This government has been having wardrobe malfunctions from it's first month in office and it continues. Is like they need a seamstress. But the wardrobe malfunctions have been glaring this week and I want to discuss a few of them.
Gimme Ah Diesel Riddim to start....
If you missed the PM crudely waving 2 cannisters of oil and announcing that God is a Trini, then surely you heard the non-stop radio ads announcing the Jubiliee Discovery by Petrotrin all day Friday and Saturday....or maybe you managed to miss Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial on CNC3 Friday evening announce that we have an oil boom. It's not uncommon for oil to be found off our shores...it's how we've been making a living in Trinidad and Tobago for about a century. But last Thursday our leader of Government revealed just how desperate she is to give Trinbagonians hope in their economic future as well as to distract them from the chaos that is her government.
Keep in mind that this is a government that has promised economy diversification in their 7 Pillars of Development Plan, aka 2010 Manifesto. To date we have seen few signs of any real thrust at diversification...and we all know why, to diversify, you need to take the self same oil money and invest it into other areas.....but if that oil money being poured into projects to line the pockets of friends and cronies and to fund projects that are normally funded off international loans, then you aint have too much $$$$ remaining to invest, eh?
The PM barely rest down the cannisters before objections to her claim began. The Keith exposed her tactics as naked politics, and Colm Imbert, a man I often find annoying, gave a pretty comprehensive explanation as to why he's not impressed by the oil find. Couple Imbert's comments with David Renwick's article about our plummeting crude production situation and the comments from other energy industry heads about the PM jumping the gun on the oil find...not boom Ms Ramdial... and you'll realise that Kamla is beyond desperate these days. The economy is stagnant. Add that to the TCL strike, on the heels of a 107-day SoE that crippled several industries and markets, and a less than stellar Carnival (don't let CAL figures about arrivals distract you, Port of Spain's streets were less crowded this year) and right now, people aren't seeing any blue skies. So, being the spin and PR machine that they are, the Govt decided to blow the current oil find out of proportion and make it appear as if we turning the bend and soon everyone will be swimming in dollars again. It is economist Dhaneshwar Mahabir who tore Kamla's claims down to its brass tacks when he announced that 48 million barrels represents about $150m in revenue....when you place that against our annual budget of $50bn....it's not even a drop in the bucket. When you consider that almost $100m was spent just on Carnival....study yuh head good and ask how many members of the group Kamla keeps calling the "common man" going to really benefit from that oil find. Smoke and Mirrors folks....nothing to see here! We find oil...the solution to every problem....meanwhile the economy, that depending on this plummeting oil production still waiting to be diversified. But when PR music inside yuh brain...you feel no pain. Put yuh canister in the air and wave like yuh mad!
Gyal Bend Over....
This gyal, she wukking up ah storm
Wining in ah circle, watch how she perform
She leave COP and jump to UNC
Become deputy leader
got Prakash on he knees!
Marlene Coudray has without a doubt created a far bigger storm than this tea cup partnership can contain. Like many others, when Marlene jumped ship...or was poached...depending on how you want to look at it, I was unperturbed. I live through Rupert Griffith and Vincent Lasse crossing the floor, Marlene Coudray go stun me?
But is when COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar started to zest up he self and talk about poaching, and wanting back the mayorship whose "allocation" was given to him that I start to pause and check out the thing. It seems that Local Govt Politics has its own morality as well. at first I didn't understand why Ramadhar felt it was his right to choose the mayor until I realised that in local government elections it's the party with the most seats that consults with the councillors and other pertinent bodies to select a mayor. And since is a coalition government we have, and not a coalition party, the Fyzabad Accord (which beginning to sound like a kaiso) apparently delineated which parties within the coalition would get to determine which mayorships went to whom. So the COP got Arima and San Fernando as part of their historic 2010 scramble for Trinidad and Tobago. What startled me was that these arrangements were ironed out since May 2010, and Local Government Elections happened in July of 2010...so these parties were very confident of victory.
On the basis of this understanding, I felt that Prakash was well within his right to determine who is the mayor of Sando. The PP can't determine it because it isn't a party....but the COP and UNC are...and the COP was told Sando was under it's remit. So, then, you ask yourself, what's the problem? Well no one wants to say...least of all Winston Dookeran who living up to the nickname Duck and Run these days because he won't answer any question you pose to him about the government or his party, the COP, straight......maybe that is the price you pay if you have your eyes on higher office. What is clear though is that Coudray's claims that the COP didn't elect/appoint/nominate her might have some truth to it, since a recent interview with businesswoman Daphne Bartlett indicates that the current leader of the COP may be misleading the country into believing that Coudray had been their pick. There is talk that Marlene wasn't really the COP pick, that it was instead a prominent doctor from South Trinidad. There is talk that the COP was forced to choose Coudray. There is talk that Coudray is tipped to run in the expected by-election for San Fernando East....earlier this week there was talk that the PM would give in to Ramadhar's request, give him the mayorship, and give Coudray the position of Vice-President of the Senate...thereby bussing Lyndira Oudit's throat. There has been much talk....so much talk that the heads of the coalition government talked for 5 hours on Friday evening and the COP executive, MPs etc are meeting at 9 am this morning to talk some more....and all of this becauase Marlene Coudray exercised her right to change her political mind!
In the last 22 months we have been bombarded with non-stop examples of how strong this political panchayat is. But it is during this week that the seams, cracks and petticoat hemlines began to show themselves to the rest of the country. An article in the Trinidad Express this week had top COP officials lamenting that the party was being destroyed from day one of the coalition government. Now, is time to ask yourselves a few questions. If the UNC was calling the shots from day one, or engaging in abusive behaviour, why get into political bed with them? Why wait so long to speak out on the issues within the party? Is it a case of a battered woman taking and taking and cyah take no more? Or is it a case of protecting your political privileges now because is not just your dignity that being taken away, is your money too?
The COP as a political entity has been a vast disappointment to its membership. Anyone can tell you that they were the Trojan Horse (Virus) in which the UNC came to power. All non-unc voters stained their fingers for the PP because they felt that the COP would provide a buffer to the UNC, a party that since it's 1995-2000 term has been seen as corrupt, nepotistic and ethnocentric. And the current behaviour of many members of the party have established that the behaviour hasn't changed. But, where the COP should have jumped in to provide checks and balances and be the voice of the people who voted them in and reflect their principles, the COP's leaders and members have remained either sickeningly silent or eager to please in a psychophant way. Remember that it is Prakash Ramadhar who defended Reshmi Ramnarine's appointment as the SIA head...then back pedal and say he don't know the woman. The COP also supported the SoE wholeheartedly, even though within their ranks they knew it was a bad idea that would end disastrously. But on the evening that the SoE was announced Prakash was sitting at the Pink Palace in Phillipines lending support. The COP recently helped defeat the Motion of No Confidence against the PM...and to date I have heard no comments from the COP about the PM's abuse of the official state residence, her use of her sister as a travel assistant, her maintenance of not one, but two residences as PM, the abuse of the govt travel card by 2 Govt Ministers and a whole host of other issues. Instead Ramadhar has joined the behaviour of the UNC in Parliament, calling the Opposition Leader names like corbeaux while delivering speeches...and I had to think et tu Prakash?
When the COP talks about country first politics, which country are they referring too? Is is some imaginary space that I don't know about? Their entire approach to politics from day one has been just as selfish and abusive of the country, as the UNC's has been abusive of them. They have bowed, scraped and fought to remain in the powers of corridor not to help the country but to be able to help themselves. This party has had numerous opportunities to retain its integrity and actually serve the interests of the people that voted it in to power. It's 22 months and 8 days of governance by this PP government and the first time the COP took a firm stance on an issue was when the party felt it was going to lose the Mayorship of San Fernando....and when you understand how local government projects run and the kind of money it can generate, you will realise that is not the political position they vex about so much as the economic and political largesse that they stand to lose once this mayorship is out of their hands...in short funding and contracts folks...yes...it boils down to $$$$$ and cents!
If Kamla backs down and gives Prakash what he wants, the COP may win a political battle, but for me, the mere fact that this is what finally galvanised Ramadhar into action shows me precisely where his mind is at...on the money...the ministerial positions...the power.
If Kamla doesn't back down, then this is the COP's last opportunity to salvage the little that might be left of its reputation with its core supporters. Make a stand, and position yourselves in Parliament in a way that you can effect real change when it comes to laws and legislation....and Prakash while you at it..can you and Vernon provide some real evidence to arrest Calder Hart....it looking bad that all all yuh produce since Jan/Feb 2010 is Sherine Hart's birthpaper....where the evidence all yuh promise? Because like Anand Ramlogan can't do the work that we giving him millions of dollars to do.
Before I run off, there is one more little issue I want to raise....Roodal Moonilal. As Leader of Government Business he is a failure. I have taken to thinking of him as Leader of Buffoonery in the Parliament. At first I thought Moonilal was just overeager and underinformed...but I realise now that Moonilal's modus operandi is to actually use the cover of parliament to slander, libel and attack with impunity. The latest incident is his accusing Noel Garcia of abusing a Govt Travel Card and owing the govt $.5m dollars. Interestingly enough the Hansard Records of late 2010 show that Moonilal had raised the issue 2 years ago, within its proper context...as a loan from the HDC and had asked where the payments were. Two years later, under pressure because not one, but at least 2 ministers were caught abusing the public purse Moonilal used information he had at hand and misrepresented it in Parliament. Suddenly the loan Garcia was approved for from the HDC board (HDC is a bank?) becomes a government travel card. The travel card's limit is US$10,000. So how would Garcia have been able to spend $.5m????? And let's for the sake of argument say it happened...back in 2007....the new government aint do anything about it yet after 22 months in government? It was so obvious that Moonilal was using his parliamentary privilege to take potshots at a private citizen who was not in a position to immediately defend himself....and for that Moonilal you are NASTY! Because you haven't even had the good grace to come out and apologise. And this is recurrent behaviour with you...I haven't forgotten how you lied on the people of Beetham and how you blamed diesel bunkering activities on them and never came back to correct your lies. Is this what the Parliament has come to? A place where we lie on citizens and attempt to pass faulty laws?
Then is best we shut down parliament and open up a theatre of the absurd!
This govt has shown in the past week that it is self-serving, dishonest, abusive, nepotistic....and led by a "special needs" woman who will go to any end to fool the people, fool the people, fool the people! Somebody dress tail cock up!
De Vice Cyah Done!