Does anyone remember how Herbert Volney entered local politics? On April 30th, 2010 the Trinidad Newsday published a cautionary opinion piece that said this:
"Both Senior Magistrate Ramraj Harripersad and High Court Judge Herbert Volney announced that they had resigned to become UNC candidates.
These developments are of great concern to us, and we share many of the concerns being expressed about these developments. We have no problem with former judges deciding to join political parties, and to run as candidates for these parties. ... How long have these consultations been ongoing while Mr Volney was sitting as a Judge? Would he have resigned his tenure if he had not been guaranteed a candidacy within the UNC? And what may we ask is the status of the cases he heard particularly in which he found against the State, even, as it now appears he was consulting with a political party? The situation has all the trappings of a “done deal” where a sitting Judge suddenly comes out a feisty anti-government candidate. There is something here which deeply offends our sense of ethics and indeed the impartiality of the judiciary. "
Long before Herbert Volney became the MP for St Joseph, a seat that was once held by Carlos John, a close friend of Volney's who was present with Volney at several political meetings during the 2010 election season and rumoured to be his campaign manager, it appears that his appearance as a political candidate caused problems and concerns for many in the legal fraternity. Volney in a 24-hr time frame resigned from the judiciary and showed up at Rienzi Complex for a candidacy screening the same afternoon....and the UNC, that party with firm ethical and moral resolve embraced Volney as a candidate. Perhaps much in the same way they embraced Marlene Coudray's candidacy.
The same Newsday article went on to say: "It is one thing to accept Mr. Volney’s complaints about the judicial system, it is another matter that he should have been making arrangements for his entry into politics while he was still on the Bench. We wait to hear reasoned opinion on this without the political slant. We expect the Law Association to provide us with comment on this unusual, but not entirely unprecedented situation. Quite frankly we are not impressed with the comments of the political parties on this, for we accept that their take will be hysterically partisan. "
Flash forward to Volney's tenure as Minister of Justice and begins to become apparent that his hasty decision to enter the political fray had some forethought to it. Volney's tenure as Minister of Justice has possibly two other milestones attached to it, the piloting of the flawed DNA Bill and the murder in Mt D'Or, a community in his constituency where he mouthed off at the police for being violent in a bid to show solidarity with his voter base.
For the last 2.5 years I thought Volney a colossal waste of time. Wondered why this Ministry of Justice had been created. Wondered too at the number of lawyers in our parliament and how so few of them seemed to understand the proper course of our legal and judicial system. Then last week, Anand Ramlogan and Herbert Volney's appointments began to make sense. Ramlogan, who during the Manning era had portrayed himself as the people's champion in his weekly newspaper columns, all of a sudden, seemed less enraptured with helping the people and more tied up doing nothing. Ramlogan, switching sides from the COP to the UNC didnt run for a seat, but entered Parliament as a senator and AG. His appointment becomes a crucial one. As Senator and AG he sits in both the Upper and Lower Houses for some debates. Ramlogan, it was thought would clean up the pool of corruption that they had blamed the PNM for committing. Hart, Pena, Manning, Sunway, Guanapo, UDECOTT, UFF Report and Squandermania became their constant mantras on the election trail. Yet, no sooner had they entered government and set up a Cabinet when Ramlogan's enthusiasm for rooting out corruption seemed to have dried up. In the last 2.5 years the only allegation Ramlogan has managed to throw at Manning is an alleged stolen piano that was at the Diplomatic Centre after all. The UFF report and its recommendations are all but ignored by this government. It turns out that the Guanapo Church lands remains as the property of the State, nothing is owned by Juliana Pena. Calder Hart remains in Florida untouched and unaccused. And UDECOTT is almost dismantled by this government, while they continue to give contracts to questionable people in all the wrong ways...pretty much perpetuating what they once condemned! The AG, it turns out, would be Volney's chief assistant in getting the Bill piloted through both the Lower and Upper Houses.
Now let's get back to Volney, who I like to call Teddy Ruxpin because of the silly "I just fart on all yuh and all yuh do know it" grin he sports all the time. It seems that for all Volney's loose cannon behaviour since the campaign trail, here is a man who understands our judicial system so well that he figured out precisely how to dismantle a decade-long case by the state against a group of persons with just one clause....chew on that folks....ONE CLAUSE would have led to our undoing against the perps in the Piarco Fiasco....and the one thing that tripped up Volney wasn't the Opposition or the Independent Senators....but a reporter, Denyse Renne. Had Ms Renne not buss the mark in last Sunday's Guardian, by Friday of this week the Piarco Perps would have had their petitions before the courts and today's headlines would have read: "Ish, Steve, John, Edoo, Kuei Tung, everybody and their Mother FREE!"
The country, I suspect, would have gone into melt down mode or just become completely catatonic...you see, what a lot of politicians just aren't getting is that Ish, Steve and the Gang walking free is actually akin to the Muslimeen 114 walking free. The nation went into shock after that verdict, and then it went into a social decline. Which shouldn't surprise us. Many members of the Muslimeen thereafter went into extortion rackets, were part of the illegal quarrying that runs rampant here, were part of kidnapping gangs, part of the "money-for"protection" game....part of all the major criminal activities that have been plaguing us for the last 20 years. If Ish and Steve walk free, how much you want to bet that over night fraud and other white collar crimes will jump up several notches, and blood crimes would have "gone clear".
Volney isn't just a smartman...he is a smart man. Volney understood that the Upper House would pass the Bill if they felt the Lower House had debated sufficiently on it and passed it. So he ensured that the wording seen by the Lower House was sufficiently (not totally) acceptable to them; he promised to put provisions in place; then took the Bill to the Upper House with new wording in Section 34. Had the COP and the Hansard records not confirmed it, I'd still be quarrelling bitterly with Colm Imbert this morning. Both the Upper and Lower House now smelling to high heavens of Volney's shit and really can't say a word....and the Government's only defence on this one is, The PNM Vote for it too.....but it is pretty apparent to everyone that is Kamla and them pass the bill...and it looks like they passed the bill to aid the legal cases of the Piarco Perps. There seems to be no other reason for enacting Clause 34 so soon.
Doesn't help either that Volney, the Minister of Justice, admitted this week that his Ministry booked rooms at the Hotel belonging to Ishwar Galbaransingh, a man the State has a corruption case against. So not only are we trying to free Ish, we putting $$$$ in his pocket. And Volney trying to skewer the issue with bullshit about whether or not he was drinking champagne....I don't care about the champagne...I care about the principle of the thing and the message it sends the citizenry. On the one hand we have people whose moral convictions are being raped every day, and on the other hand we have the "eat ah food" fanatics who see absolutely nothing wrong with the Government's behaviour, and and either defending it, or spending all their time deflecting PP Bullshit on the PNM.....because Manning caused this, yes?
This morning the shit thickened even further in an Express story that said, Volney Did It. And now we come full circle because the evidence is stacked up:
1. We know that Volney piloted the Bill with the help of Ramlogan.
2. We know that Volney presented one version of Section 34 to the Lower House and a different version to the Upper House with the help of Ramlogan
3. We know that Volney promised to implement all structures and frameworks before proclaiming the Bill and then reneged on that promise to Parliament.
4. We know that Volney requested that the Bill be proclaimed and then the Cabinet met and in a cloak-and-dagger fashion had the Bill proclaimed by the president while the population was distracted with Independence celebrations.
In short, members of Kamla Persad-Bissessar's Government appear to have conspired to hoodwink the population of Trinidad and Tobago
If Volney and Ramlogan don't go....then the Parliament should be dissolved!
De Vice Cyah Done!
A link to the Hansard Record pdf for interested parties.