Himself Still Investigating Himself

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

In the aftermath of Rowley’s allegations, instead of the government listening to the requests of

DCP Mervyn Richardson

DCP Mervyn Richardson

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

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

Thus far we have had:

The AG.....

The AG…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Himself Investigating Himself

The AG.....

The AG…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Richardson trying to make this investigation fail?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it that the Government wants it to fail?

Is it that Kamla and Co have something to hide?

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

Full steam ahead in Full Dotish Mode!

Happy Sunday!.

Watching Stopped Clocks

Power Outage 1Apparently my little blog post about a malfunctioning clock in the PR pictures of the PM inspecting the power plant in Penal on Good Friday morning has raised a shit storm. But I will let the storm take care of itself, while I raise some more questions.

Kamla’s government is well known for its use of PR and image management, but not necessarily its efficient use wpid-IMG-20130328-WA0001.jpgof it. If the government was successfully managing its PR, the population wouldnt even notice it. They would be swept up in the hype, not questioning it at every turn.

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

But let’s get back into this clock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nat Sec Minister.....

Nat Sec Minister…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave the explanation about the clocks to the experts.

We Full Dotish AND Full Dangerous.

 

Police State Inna 4D!!!!!

Daphnee Bartlett, head of the South businessmen association who thinks a Police State is the best option to dealing with crime spikes. Intelligent folk everywhere should be up in arms!Women should be applying to change their gender!

Daphnee Bartlett, head of the South businessmen association who thinks a Police State is the best option to dealing with crime spikes. Intelligent folk everywhere should be up in arms!
Women should be applying to change their gender!

There are daft people sitting in positions of power in this country and we’d better be afraid…truly afraid.

Imagine the San Fernando Businessmen ASSociation, comprised no doubt of businessmen and women from South Trinidad is eagerly proclaiming Better a POLICE State than a CRIMINAL State.

I immediately harked back to the SoE of 2011 when on the night Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Small Goal Team made the announcement many members of the middle, upper and business classes heaved huge sighs of relief because finally some government was brave enough to lock up all them black people and them….oh yeah…you better recognise that that is what all the relief about the SoE was…..that’s the same thing that fuelled the anti-Sea Lots rant by Darryll Heeralal and Renuka Singh the other day too….all these damn black people…let’s kill them and plant cabbage on them! YEAH!!!!!

Now, we have a group of businesspeople, or the body that represents them coming out to endorse a Police State because the PPG’s Defence Amendment Bill, is under siege both inside and outside the Parliament….and for good cause.

Apparently Daphne Bartlett’s knickers are in a knot about why we don’t want soldiers to have powers of arrest….and like the political leader of this country, Daphne Bartlett has just dealt a severe blow to all intelligent women in the world every where who happen to be attractive, for her colossal intellectual laziness.

I say this because I want to believe Ms Bartlett doesn’t know what a police state is and in her ignorance does not know what she is encouraging or endorsing.

The version of the Defence Amendment Bill that I accessed online says the following:

The Bill seeks to amend section 5 of the Defence Act,
Chap. 14:01 to confer on any member of the Defence Force who is
engaged in assisting any member of the Police Service in the
maintenance of law and order, with the same powers, authorities,
privileges and immunities as are given by law to members of the
Police Service.

In plain wording…the Bill wants to give the exact powers of the Police to a Soldier once he is on patrol.

One of the clever little things that this pdf of the legislation doesn’t quite outline is that Soldiers by law do not fall under the Commissioner of Police, rather authority for soldiers fall under three people: the Chief of Defence Staff, Minister of National Security and ultimately the President, who is Commander in Chief.

Soldiers searching a civilian during the 2011 SoE.

Soldiers searching a civilian during the 2011 SoE.

So the soldier will have all of the powers of a police officer: the ability to detain you, search you, arrest you, question/interrogate you, charge you and lock you up. But he doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Police.

Says it right here:

When any member of the Defence Force
having been charged under subsection (2) with
Enactment Short title Section 5 of
Chap. 14:01 amended the duty of assisting any member of the
Police Service in the maintenance of law and
order and is engaged in so doing, he shall have
the same powers, authorities, privileges and
immunities as are given by law to members
of the Police Service.”.

If he cocks up on the job he is only likely to face a court marshall. If you think Police doh face prison here…wait till Soldier Police arrive!

Now let me explain how a soldier getting these privileges amounts to a Police State. Last night in Parliament Roodal Moonilal was again less than honest with the nation when he said even security officers are precepted. What he failed to explain is that precepted security officers….those allowed to carry weapons and make arrests are actually called Estate Constables and operate by a slightly different set of rules to regular security guards.

This Government, in trying to shove this bill down our throats, has gone into all kinds of arguments about how the army here has no purpose because we have no war for soldiers to fight except the war on drugs. Now, lemme ask you this…when this Government starts its “WAR on DRUGS” and deploys its soldiers to attack the citizenry….which citizens you think will be attacked? The people who bringing in the shipments of drugs….or the people who are used to control the drug blocks?

In all sane and proper countries the purpose of the army is to defend the citizens of a country, not attack them. If Kamla and Jack were serious about fighting crime and waging a war on drugs the country would have three OPV Vessels with a joint patrol of Soldiers and Coast Guard members on board these vessels protecting our borders from traffickers or drugs and guns….but the point of precepting soldiers and making Soldier Police here isn’t to fight crime or to wage a war on drugs….

If you believe that, then you believe the SoE was about fighting crime, protecting the PM from several assassination attempts and preventing Beetham from bunkering fuel.

This precepting of soldiers and making soldiers into police is about something deeper and far sinister. It is about controlling the State.

From as early as June 2010 this government has faced Opposition. The first active opposition came from the THA. And to date the people of Tobago are down on record as having been the most successful at resisting this government thanks to solid legislation in the THA Act and a Chief Secretary who knows his Constitution and isn’t afraid to assert himself. But this Defence Bill will affect Tobago too…and I am yet to hear its position.

Persad-Bissessar announcing the SoE...pretty dangerous!

Persad-Bissessar announcing the SoE…pretty dangerous!

For several months the PP administration enjoyed a delicious honeymoon with both the citizens and the media. People couldn’t get enough of Kamla dashing about in hard hat and OSHA gear by day as she swooped in on  a helicopter to aid the flood afflicted, and by night would transform into an elegant Prime Minister. Haven’t we been accused often enough of “jealousing the PM because she pretty”?

But then came the Reshmi Ramnarine incident….the hiring of telephone operator to run the country’s highest intelligence -gathering agency. What accompanied it too was the thorough and deliberate dismantling of all the country’s security apparati: Blimp, OPVs, Surveillance Equipment, SAUTT.

Then the government brought in a CoP they could manipulate and under whom they could promote and appoint their own select police officers into positions of authority. We have on record a letter from a mid-level police officer who appears to be giving advice to the Prime Minister on who to hire and fire in both the SIA and the Police Service. The basis given for firing people is political. According to the letter, Persad advises the PM to fire people because they seem loyal to the PNM. And we were angry at the Jamaica Observer for talking about ethnic cleansing in our Public Service why?
What that letter outlined was that this is a government bent on political retribution and there is no space in the country for anyone who is PNM or resembles a PNM….and in Trinidad to resemble a PNM you need only have Afro-centric features….if that isn’t both partisan and racist, I don’t know what is….but that is the government we have…a government that is only for it’s people: the UNC/COP Base!

It doesn’t surprise me at all that both the PM and this Police Officer share a last name.

But I digress…I need to explain how precepted soldiers and Police State are linked.

Everywhere you turned during the SoE were images like this one....and oh how the middle and upper classes felt safe!

Everywhere you turned during the SoE were images like this one….and oh how the middle and upper classes felt safe!

So the Reshmi incident happens followed fast and furious by many scandals and then comes the SoE. From August 2011, I said the SoE was only the beginning of the Constitutional ills of this government. The SoE got citizens used to the idea of detaining and locking up people who “look” like criminals. In Trinidad a criminal “looks” like a black person, usually from depressed poor areas. Trust me, the stereotypes are there. In the very first days of the SoE I had several women of Indo descent telling me about how safe they were feeling….not a crime had been solved…but the mere fact that the government had taken upon itself to lock up people who “looked” like criminals made these women happier. And that’s when I realised that Hulsie Bhaggan’s myth of the African rapist who lusts only after Indian women was still alive and well. You go girl!

During that SoE we got accustomed to images of black men in the back of trucks; we got accustomed to images of the AG and Minister of National Security on our tv sets regularly. The AG went after a 14-year-old girl who used YouTube to verbally attack and curse the PM for the SoE….and on Facebook you had feminists lamenting how the PM and Indian women have no voice in Trinidad and couldnt speak out on issues.. they didn’t seem particularly perturbed that an impressionable 14-year-old, who did shit, now had the might of the State in the form of the AG trained on her. You see, these women were all glad that at long last something was being done about the crime….and that something was the random and baseless locking up of people who look like criminals….black people.

Granny Killa...the reason for the SoE????

Granny Killa…the reason for the SoE????

The next threat during that SoE was intimidating people on FaceBook and other forms of Social media. Social media takes power out of a government’s hands and puts it in the hands of its citizens. Imagine tens of thousands of Trinis able to say what they like about the PM and AG and Jack can’t stop them? Madness!

So they began to attack people on Social Media and trained their paid bloggers to attack folks who spoke out against the government.

What became apparent and obvious was fear…people became concerned about what they were posting and saying to each other online. Because folks began to lose jobs or get threats.

Now jump forward to Warner becoming National Security Minister. UNC people were joyful, they knew their government wasn’t performing and because Warner talks a good talk, without having little to show for any of it, they believed Jack would solve the crime problem.

Activist Wayne Kublalsingh at a protest sign in Mon Desir, the site of the controversial multi-billion dollar highway.

Activist Wayne Kublalsingh at a protest sign in Mon Desir, the site of the controversial multi-billion dollar highway.

Within three days of becoming Minister of National Security what did Warner do? He used the might of the army to attack not criminals….protesters. Try and see the trend here folks….at every turn the people being attacked as criminals by this government are the people who are either seen to be PNM or to be opposing the government. anything remotely resembling Opposition has to be squashed.

Warner has since issued threats to a female journalist, the Opposition Leader and a private citizen, Donald Bell. The journalist was targeted in a live, state-sponsored broadcast featuring the Minister of National Security and several other government ministers all hell bent on attacking a journalist. The other two people he attacked under the privilege of Parliament.

On all three occasions what is implied is that Warner has tremendous state apparati at his disposal. He can spy on people and intercept information and use it to intimidate people.

To date, Warner, as National Security Minister hasn’t used any of the surveillance equipment at hand to uncover details about any criminals or to crack any cases….but we know that he knows who having meetings in their homes and who attending…right?

jack-warner-press-conferenceThe same man who doesn’t know a thing about the Flying Squad, can use intelligence to spy on private citizens.

So now we have a situation where a National Security Minister drunk on power and a Prime Minister drunk on….sighh….have taken it upon themselves to precept soldiers and give them powers of arrest and detention.

In a country where a State of Emergency can be called without due process or a valid reason and 8000 people, of whom 80% were of African descent, can be detained without evidence, do we want Soldier Police?

In a country where a Minister of National Security can use state surveillance equipment to spy on and intimidate citizens do we want Soldier Police?

In a country where a secret police Unit can be set up under the same Minister of National Security, complete with 75 officers and a private detention prison in Arouca that no one in the country knows about, do we want Soldier Police?

In a Police State the government controls the social, economic and political life of the citizens.

In a Police State the government imposes these controls on you claiming it is for you own security that your rights are being taken away.

In a Police State after you have given away these rights, even more rights are then taken away….at each point the state claims it is for your own good, for teh safety and security of the NAYYYYSHUN!

The first people targeted are those who oppose the Government publicly…thereafter anything goes as the government becomes more and more paranoid about the perceived enemies of the state.

Think of Nazi Germany, South Africa under apartheid; Haiti under Duvalier…..think Ton Ton Macoute, SS Officers. Think people being quietly arrested and detained and you don’t know which prison cell they are being held in and eventually their beaten or dead body shows up…their one crime being they didn’t agree with the government’s position on an issue.

A five-year-old can tell you that there are a number of ways this government could be tackling crime. Start with the money launderers and see where the trail ends. Clean up the police service so that corrupt officers are no longer protecting drug lords and their turf. Restrict the flow of arms and ammunition across our borders; improve detection skills in the police force and at forensic technology at crime labs.

But putting 1000 soldiers with the powers of arrest under the Ministry of National Security to wage a war against citizens isn’t the way. This isn’t about Warner alone….CDS Kenrick Maharaj doesn’t inspire me with confidence either, nor does Stephen Williams. And I won’t even bother to discuss PM Kamla. This is about an entire government  and its cronies that are drunk on power and will do everything to hold onto it, including removing the rights of its citizens. Section 34 ring a bell?

There is a reason the Sunset Clause lasts two years….by that time a new election is called. Two years to lock down and terrorise a country with an unofficial SoE. Two years to have the government’s specially picked Soldier Police run riot in this town.

If in 3 months the SoE managed to lock up 8000 people, imagine what this government will do in 24….

And this is the asinine decision that Daphne Bartlett and Associates are supporting?

Full Dotish Inna 4D!!!!!!!

….Aaaand She’s Back!

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

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...

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

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.....

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!

Beyond THA Elections

London and Charles...who will be victorious?

London and Charles…who will be victorious?

Monday’s THA elections, and the campaign that just ended have useful lessons in them for both our present and future political selves. The country has had the opportunity to see both PNM and UNC (forget TOP, Ashworth clearly attached to Kamla’s hip) in political action yet again and to observe the tactics and politics of both parties. If you have only been following the radio ads and media interviews; then your perception of what is being discussed and offered by both parties may well be limited. Much of what is actually happening in Tobago isn’t apparent to the Trini audience and is in fact happening at cottage meetings, not political rallies.

Either way, Tobago must be exhausted by now and certainly in a position to make decisions on Monday that will have serious impact on how the next 30 months of politics go here. Because in roughly that time both UNC and PNM will face the polls again in a general election. THA will determine the nature of the Local Government Elections….if we actually have one. And the outcome of the LGE will certainly set the tone for the next general Elections.

THA 2013 is a referendum for both parties. A loss for the UNC will tell Kamla and the UNC resoundingly that she has lost favour with the electorate, while a loss for the PNM may well lead to the undoing of The Keith and Orville London as Opposition Leader and Deputy Political Leader respectively. A win for the UNC will see them tighten their hold on the administration of the entire country; while a win for the PNM will mean that the PNM is beginning to regain its political footing in the aftermath of 2010′s crushing defeat. Either way, both parties have much to lose and gain from a victory on Monday.

But let’s look at what has transpired in the last 3 months:

At the time of writing a teenaged girl alleges that she was beaten up by an older TOP supporter for wearing A PNM t-shirt. As with all instances of female abuse under this regime’s tenure there is no comment by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Gender Affairs, Marlene Coudray or from the feminist activists in this country.

This happened in the week the government miraculously managed to bring the THA Bill to Parliament for discussion, 32 months into the PPs tenure and mere days before the most contentious THA election yet. The tabling of the Bill is largely seen as an election gimmick: a ruse by the TOP and UNC to mama guile Tobagonians into believing they matter. The Bill remains problematic for Tobagonians because it ignored years of public consultation undertaken by the THA on behalf of citizens, and has loopholes that undermine the autonomy discussion. That the UNC and TOP stalled on holding proper public consultations in the last 32 months, and then suddenly tabled the Bill during an election season, coupled with the the fiasco of Section 34, probably makes it hard for most citizens to not be skeptical about this government an its laws.

Hilton Sandy

Hilton Sandy

It is now approximately two weeks since the infamous Calcutta Ship statement by PNM official Hilton Sandy; and three months since Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar stood before an audience at Mid-Centre mall and began the race-baiting that has typified this THA election when she announced to the crowd gathered, “we know who the enemy is….get in yuh section”. Yet no one seems to remember that the person to throw the first salvo in partisan politics was none other than the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. The same lady who, after announcing that the UNC would only be providing logistical support to the TOP, has spent almost a fortnight in Tobago, campaigning and endorsing the TOP, not in her role as political leader of the UNC, but in her capacity as Prime Minister. The message being sent by the Persad-Bissessar here again is that she is PM for only those who favour her and no one else. One would swear that there are two versions of Trinidad and Tobago: one run by the UNC, and another one left to languish and suffer for good governance

Ashworth-JackHas it been a month yet since we found out about the amazing house that was built by pumpkin and cucumbers as well as the revelation that TOP leader Ashworth Jack had not submitted documents to the Integrity Commission in two years, around the time the Pumpkin Mansion was being built? Despite complaints to the IC, they are yet to step out and question Jack’s eligibility to run for the office of Chief Secretary, despite ignoring the provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act.

Two months have passed since the THA posted documents online about the Milshirv project. And since upload of the documents the Attorney General, who had alleged corruption on the project went silent. Until this week, when miraculously he began legal proceedings against London; legal proceedings that the Treasury of Trinidad and Tobago will have to pay for whether or not the Attorney General’s claims against London’s THA prove to be true.

Greg Bissessar at TOP rally in Mason Hall

Greg Bissessar at TOP rally in Mason Hall

The UNC has made it absolutely clear that a THA victory is extremely important to them. Some believe that it will be a psychological blow for the PNM to have lost general and local government elections and now the THA. Winning will give pro-partnership supporters something to gloat about; but given the amount of energy and resources being thrown out behind Tobago, and the PMs personal interest in fighting the campaign on Jack’s behalf, I sense Tobago is far more important than playground bragging rights.

A lot of Tobago’s importance to Trinidad is wrapped up in the THA Bill. The quest for autonomy by Tobagonians is one that most Trinidadians do not understand, and the UNC and TOP seem to be counting on that misunderstanding. Most Trinidadians are unaware that Tobago had autonomy for more than a century before being warded to Trinidad. In short, autonomy isn’t new to Tobagonians, and for us to refuse them a political status they once had is to treat Tobagonians with intense disdain and contempt. We talk of respect for Tobagonians, but refuse to let them handle their own affairs.

Another little known fact about Tobago, but one that is now coming to light with the fight for maritime boundaries, is that since the 1970s our governments have been aware that there are fuel deposits in Tobago’s seabed. When you consider what fuel revenues can mean for both Tobago’s development and Trinidad’s failing economy, you can appreciate why the TOP and UNC have come together to lay siege. As with everything else, follow the oil trail and the story becomes clearer.

Sat-Maharaj-Kamla-Persad-Bissessar

In this past week we also saw Sat Maharäj and the Indian High Commissioner become entangled in another diplomatic snafu. Maharaj wants funding for a Hindu temple in Tobago, and he is seeking this funding from India. Ambassador Misra has instead advocated for a cultural centre: a suggestion that promotes cultural awareness about all of India, not just one aspect. Why is a Hindu temple more important than a cultural centre that promotes knowledge, learning and perhaps even acceptance of a culture that is for the most part foreign to Tobago. One wonders at Maharaj’s aggression towards the High Commissioner; and his decision to go directly to Delhi for funding also raises questions about the various MOUs between the two governments in the now infamous 2011 state funded trip to India. Will we ever get a complete breakdown of what was agreed to and why a temple in Tobago is now so important?

32 months into the UNC’s tenure and we are facing another election: one filled with mudslinging, race baiting, corruption allegations, underperformance and unaccountability. Crowds are being rented, election goodies are being distributed. The major difference between January 21st and May24, 2010 is that we have had more than two years of the People’s Partnership in Government. Tobagonians are now aware of what the PNM is capable of and what a UNC/TOP government is capable of. Let’s see what choice they make.

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!

Vernansi Stories

 Verna St Rose Greaves swearing in as a Senator and Government Minister.

Verna St Rose Greaves swearing in as a Senator and Government Minister.

 

I really worried about the image of female leadership in this place you know.

 

Last week Saturday, on its premium news page, page 3, the Trinidad Guardian announced a special in-depth interview from a former government minister. Even though we swimming in former government ministers after just 2.5 years of The PPs term in office – Sandy, Cornelis-Baptiste, Ramgoolam, King, Partap, Volney – female instinct told me that the interview had to be with Verna St Rose Greaves. Here was a chance for the public to get eye witness accounts of the inner workings of the Cabinet on issues like the SoE, the Cheryl Miller Affair and even the gender policy that is quietly making its way through Parliament. Though Greaves’s term in office lasted just shy of a year, she is known to be bold and outspoken. Finally, clarity.

 

Instead what we got sounded like the script to a Lifetime Movie. A female PM surrounded by oppressive men, with both mental and physical health problems fighting to be the leader we all hopes she can be. The victim narrative is back!

 

Rumors of the PMs alcohol problem are probably greatly exaggerated, but the public may never know because no one has ever commented on it authoritatively. It remains in the realm of gossip and conjecture. Her weaknesses as a leader however are played out in the public sphere daily. Greaves took the opportunity this weekend to link the two, without any solid evidence. It was my deepest hope that St Rose Greaves’ lengthy interview would shed light on these things. Only to read for two days a column that dwelt firmly in the realm of hearsay and conjecture. Not even fully fleshed out anecdotes about instances during her tenure as the Gender Minister. Instead what we get only adds fuel to the rumour mill.

 

 

A major feature of this PMs tenure is a lack of personal responsibility and accountability. Any mistakes and missteps are always the fault of the overwhelmingly male Cabinet around her. If the public is lied to or there is evidence of corruption or nepotism these actions are cleverly re-worded to be misspeaks, missteps and good family values.

 

 

The column starts melodramatically, ” There are elements within the Cabinet of the People’s Partnership Government that are trying to engineer a national crisis in order to sideline Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and ‘slip in and do what they want’.”

 

So, if Kamla wasn’t there as PM, things would be worse? She is the only thing saving us from chaos? Say it ain’t so! The entire time I thought Persad-Bissessar’s leadership was part of the problem, it is actually the solution to our issues? In that one opening sentence we are once again fed the image of a beleaguered Prime Minister. Poor Kamla. Surrounded by sinister people who only want to do her in. Mind you, this is a Cabinet that from all appearances the Prime Minister chose. And if Greaves is suggesting that Persad-Bissessar didn’t chose her Cabinet, then she should come out and tell the public who are the people calling the shots behind the scenes. But bandying about words like “elements within the Cabinet” without supporting evidence really should remain on the pages of Tom Clancy’s novels.

 

Later on in the interview, Greaves calls for the PM to “stand up and step up”, another suggestion that Persad- Bissessar is weak willed and not doing her job. When Greaves is asked who is in charge she responds, ” It depends on what is being discussed….At any time it’s a group of people who is in charge.” No names. Nothing. So the myth of the secret, shadow cabal persists. Then Greaves goes on to say that the PM is not charge and fearful, but fearful of whom or what, Greaves cannot say. So, then you ask yourself after reading the entire Sunday column, if you don’t know, why exactly are you repeating mere conjecture? To what end?

 

Greaves refers to the uproar over Vidwattie Newton as, ” all the drama about money…” Perhaps conveniently forgetting that the money in question was State funds and that no one objected to Ms Newton accompanying her sister whenever she travelled, we objected to it being done at state expense, especially since a travel companion isn’t covered by the PMs budget. In overlooking this crucial fact, Greaves belittles the public’s very real concerns about state nepotism.

 

She then discusses the flawed processes in Cabinet. The fact that no minutes are taken and the general lack of transparency even within the structure of the Cabinet. Again, Greaves does not speak as if Persad-Bissessar is actually culpable here. Instead the talk is about collective responsibility.

 

Imagine the head of the Cabinet and Government is not ultimately responsible for the flawed processes within it? Greaves is quick to point out that the PM must have strengths and skills, because she has survived in the very masculine world of politics for so long. Again a quiet plug for the poor beleaguered female unable to perform because she is surrounded by men.

 

Ironically, by the second part of the interview St Rose Greaves is saying that it is time to move beyond gossip and whispers about the PMs and treat with it. What the “it” is she never specifies. and the article heads right back down conjecture cul-de-sac.

 

Hundreds of words later we know that there is a conspiracy against the PM within her own government…but we don’t know who the conspirators are. The PM hasn’t been able to lead her government because of these ‘elements’; however she has great people skills…but has not been given the chance to lead. Nepotism really isn’t that big a deal when compared to having family around. And if the PM would only give St Rose Greaves a chance, she could help her.

 

The entire 2-day column becomes a study in weak female leadership using the same shadowy rumors and scandals already in the public’s consciousness to explain, and even justify, why Persad-Bissessar’s tenure has been so spectacularly poor. And from a minster who was present for a year and could easily name names and describe events we instead get the subtle message that it is a shadowy cabal, no doubt male, coupled with frail health won’t let the PM run her government as she sees fit. If what Greaves says is true, then Persad- Bissessar should step down. If what Greaves says is true, female leadership is down for the count.

 

I can say this though, the Cheryl Miller conspiracy might be a trilogy!

Guest Column: Wayne’s Way, the Highway, and other Take-Aways…

by Christian Hume ( A Pantomime Guest Columnist)
on Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 7:51pm ·

Like everybody else, I’ve watched with rapt interest the unfolding saga of Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh’s hunger strike. Like everyone else, I’m not exactly sure what is the reaons behind this hunger strike. You see, when Wayne first started fasting, his stated reason was because Kamla refused to meet him as promised. Then the reason shifted to being because Kamla promised to stop work until certain conditions were met, and now these are the minimum conditions he listed to the Opposition Leader before he would break his fast – “…the announcement of a multi-component technical group with some element of independent professional/technical, input, detailed to review the alternatives….” When the reason for the fast evolves from “meeting the Prime Minister” to “the announcement of a multi-component technical group”, what is the Prime Minister supposed to do??

 

That aside, as a native of the area under the direct orbit of the Debe – Mon Desir stretch, let me make it unequivocally clear to all and sundry that I WANT that stretch. I want if BADLY. The ability to drive to Port-of-Spain without passing on the South Trunk Road will make sense only to those of us who have lived with the increasing burden of traffic along that road. Up to when I left Presentation College in 1996, I could get to school on time for 8:00am if I caught the maxi “Black Diamond” which usually passed my house around 7:15 to 7:20am every morning. Today, if I were DRIVING my own vehicle, I would have to leave home by 6:30am to be SURE of getting to school on time, and this from a point that is just FIFTEEN MINUTES’ drive from San Fernando if there is no traffic on the road. So you can imagine what people from Point Fortin have to go through, being a good 45 minutes’ drive from San Fernando on a clear road. I won’t attempt to describe in detail the woe people from Siparia, Penal, and Fyzabad, because I’m not from those areas – except to say that when they too decide to use the South Trunk road to get to San Fernando – it makes life much more difficult for people like me and the people coming from Point Fortin.

 

I also wish to make it unequivocally clear that while I want the Debe – Mon Desir stretch, I remain resolutely opposed to the secrecy, nepotism, and corruption that seems to be part of the mix right now. Unconfirmed figures are popping up on facebook that seem to suggest that the cost per mile to build that stretch os way above and beyond anything that obtains anywhere else in the world. As a nation, we need to ask ourselves a collective “Why”?? Is it because of the corruption that I just alluded to, is it becase the highway’s propodes path includes taking it THROUGH the Oropouche Lagoon as opposed to AROUND it?? What’s the reason?? If at the end of it all, this issue of cost is not interrogated, we would have missed a major opportunity to continue the process of fighting back against the systemic corruption that has bedeviled all admininstrations of this country and kept us back from being the leading beacon in the WORLD that we can be.

 

In a strange twist of irony, I am personally happy that Mrs. Persad-Bissessar is the Prime Minister who has to deal with the highway in its present stage, and not Mr. Manning or Dr.Rowley. This is yet another opportunity for UNC supporters to interrogate the propensity of their representatives to flip-flop on major issues depending on which side of the Speaker’s face is closer to them in the Parliament Chamber. We recall Panday’s flip-flop on the Carribbean Court of Justice some years ago, having opposed it in Opposition and then going on to continue with it while in Government. Today we are treated with the spectacle of Dr. Kublalsingh, having been utterly consistent in his positions with respect to the Smelter, the TCL matter in Claxton Bay, and the Debe – Mon Desir stretch of highway; going to bed in a political threesome with Kamla and Moonilal on the night of May 24, 2010, only to wake up on the morning of May 25, 2010 to find them both scrambling to shove him off the bed. How long will UNC supporters continue to put up with this level of flip-flopping?? Kamla early in her tenure as PM proclaimed Roodal Moonilal as her heir apparent, but based on the evidence of his stiff-necked flip flop on the Debe – Mon Desir stretch of highway, if Roody is the best the UNC can come up with, then the UNC, and the entire country by extension, is in a pretty deep cesspool. Can we use this Highway impasse as another opportunity to interrogate ourselves as a country and start holding our leaders to a higher standard??

 

As a native of one of the affected areas, I can say with an authority that people who are not from the area cannot possess, that Kublalsingh’s Re-Route is nonsense. However, this matter has long since ceased to be just about the technical details of the “Re-Route”. There are many questions that need to be answered. Why did Kublalsingh reject the findings of the technical review implemented by the government?? Why have the findings of this review not been made available to members of the public?? Why is this stretch of highway being made to pass THROUGH the Oropouche Lagoon instead of around it?? Why does the HRRM not seem to have a problem with the decimation of the very same Oropouche Lagoon to facilitate their proposed re-route through the Mosquito Creek?? Why does this stretch of Highway have to cost so much more than any other highway anywhere in the world?? Why has the process of awarding contracts for this stretch of highway been so shrouded in secrecy?? Why have Roodal Moonilal and Kamla Persad-Bissessar been given a free pass to perform a naked about-turn from opposing the Highway when the PNM was in government, to suddenly insisting on it now that the UNC forms the government?? Why are the views of the residents of Point Fortin, Erin, Cedros, Buenos Aires, Penal, Siparia, Fyzabad, and surrounding areas not being courted as aggresively as people are tuning in to Kublalsingh and the HRRM?? Why are the people who actually want the Highway not being as vocal about their want and need for the Highway??

 

Take it Away!!

 

NOTE:

 

While I was doing this note, the Higway Re-Route Movement issued the following clarification on my wall of the reasons for Dr. Kublalsingh’s hunger strike:

 

 

“…Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh never asked to MEET with the PM. The reason for this is that we HAVE met with her. The aim of the hunger strike, stated many times by Dr. Kublalsingh on several occasions to the press in my presence, was to get the PM to honour her promise to put works on “hold” as she put it until a review was done. You see, in the 2-3 meetings with the PM and/or Ministry of Works/NIDCO since March of this year, the Movement has never seen a Technical report, Cost-Benefit analysis or Hydrological report from the Govt, all of which we requested and never received. We therefore ask “what review was done, and if so, where is it?”..”

Dear Kamla….Sincerely, The Keith

The PM responded again today insisting that Kublalsing does not want to meet with her and here are some excerpts from her comments at a luncheon given for the media at the Diplomatic Centre:

A synopsis of what the PM said minutes ago during an address to the media at a media appreciation function at the Diplomatic Centre:

-”I am not above meeting with Wayne, I have done so and would so again but that is not what is being asked of me”.

- Kublalsingh has insisted from the very start that he doesn’t want to meet with me, he wants highway work halted and review undertaken.

- I refute claim from Highway Re-route Movement that I reneged on promise to halt work. Work was halted, and meetings were held.

- after work on Pt. Fortin highway halted, it resumed months later after several meetings and a report from a technical team.

-we simply cannot give in to the demands of Kublalsingh and his team to stop a project which could benefit generations.

-we have tried to reason with the Highway Re-route Movement more than many would allow.

-I make an appeal to Wayne’s parents, wife, to take on “personal obligation and duty” they have for his actions & not transfer it to the State.

-I am fortified in my oath of office. I cannot favour any one group or allow fear to control my actions.

 

then later today Opposition Leader Keith Rowley sent a letter to the PM. Here are it’s contents:

22nd November, 2012

 

 

Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar S.C.

 

The Honourable Prime Minister

 

Office of the Prime Minister1

 

3-15 St. Clair Avenue

 

PORT-OF-SPAIN

 

 

Dear Honourable Prime Minister,

 

 

As you will be aware the whole issue of objections to certain aspects of the routing and construction of the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway has been with us for some time now. This matter of the State versus those directly affected has escalated to a point where a life might be at risk.

 

 

It is now a matter transcending the objectors of Delhi-Mon Desir to one of the national conscience relating to how we deal with one another and how the might and patience of the State is exercised in service to the people, all the people, even those who may be perceived to be stubborn, unreasonable or taxing.

 

 

Yesterday, Wednesday 21st November 2012 I was contacted by Dr. Kublalsingh and requested to speak with him. I subsequently visited him and I am very concerned that if something positive is not done very soon the ultimate tragedy of irreparable harm would most certainly occur. Notwithstanding the antecedents of this situation, it is my view that it is possible for this matter to be defused without the pain, shame and stain which it harbours and promises to promote.

 

 

I asked Dr. Kublalsingh what is the minimum condition attached to his request and he informed that the announcement of a multi-component technical group with some element of independent professional/technical, input, detailed to review the alternatives will suffice to break his fast.

 

 

Honourable Prime Minister in the fullest appreciation of your onerous responsibility and expressed empathy, it is my sincerest suggestion that this is a situation where the age-old principle of “nobles oblige” could be applied for the wider good of not just those directly involved but for the peace, respect and reputation of the nation as a whole. It enriches us all when we see and appreciate, as we always know, that it is far easier for the king to reach down and touch the commoner than for the servant to reach up to the master. A simple request on your part, to have the issue brought back to your office, just one more time, may suffice to save a life and disembark us all from the pathway of destruction upon we may have wittingly or unwillingly entered.

 

 

This is not a time for anger, blame or bombast. This is a time for reaching out and protecting us all from the pain of failure. Ultimately this is a matter of the State versus the people where numbers and dollars may not be all that matter. It may finally boil down to who we are, how much we understand each other and how well we would have served all the people.

 

 

There is no shame in seeking a solution mixing authority with humility and this final effort as requested ought never to be viewed as a diminishing of your esteemed office. It is in this vein that I strongly recommend that you intervene, one more time, and may God bless us all.

 

 

 

Yours in service,

 

 

 

 

Dr. Keith RowleyLeader of the Opposition andMember of Parliament for Diego Martin West