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!

 

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Distract and Discredit

Ken GordonEver since the last Motion of No Confidence wherein Keith

Rowley revealed the possibility of an exchange of emails between 3 senior government officials and their favourite lap dog, Kamla’s Fete Match Side has been in Distract and Discredit Mode…..going at Full Dotish pace too.

The discovery that Rowley and chairman of the IC had a twenty-minute meeting at Gordon’s private home to discuss whether or not Emailgate was a matter before the IC has played itself nicely into the government’s hands as yet another tool to discredit the validity of the alleged e-mails; and now, to discredit the IC and perhaps avoid going the route of an independent investigation. And while they aren’t in the wrong to question the occurrence of the meeting, the irony of this government querying private meetings is too rich. And it’s so obvious that their tactic will now be to use this meeting to avoid what the public and Opposition has been clamouring for: an independent investigation.

It didn’t take the AG more than a hot minute after Roodal Moonilal’s announcement of the

The AG.....

The AG…..

meeting in Parliament – complete with side (and snide) comments from the PM egging him on – to imply that Chairman Ken Gordon was compromised. And if you have followed the fate of this Integrity Commission it is always mired in mud and controversy….from inception. The Government knows well that the country has little faith in it; and further that UNC supporters will use any excuse to blame and label anyone and anything as PNM…..and so, a private meeting about a public matter between the Opposition Leader and the chairman of the IC takes on a particularly questionable face.

rowleyYou would think that seasoned men and politicians like Rowley and Gordon would be incapable of what is obviously a very rookie move. You’d also think that Rowley, fully aware of how the last Prime Minister shot himself in the foot would avoid moves that so remind one of Patrick Manning for its abject carelessness. You would think too that Rowley by now would realise that because he is a very black Tobagonian (yes, I said it…there is a lot of colour prejudice involved here where Rowley is concerned) he is always held up to a different and much higher standard by both PNM supporters and the rest of the country.

It is unfortunate, but that is the truth of it.

Kamla announcing SoEYou would also think too that UNC supporters and Government ministers would have less to say about public meetings being kept in private homes when:

1. Cabinet Meetings are held in the Prime Ministers home regularly.

2. The last emergency meeting to determine what happened to a Government Minister and MP was held in the Prime Minister’s home.

3. The State of Emergency was announced from the PM’s private home.

4. Budgets announcements are made from UNC political rally stages

5. The Prime Minister – a public official – works from her home and keeps sensitive and important public material there.

For the last 3 years protocol and good sense have been tossed to the wind, and because there is no Constitutional law that prevents it, the Prime Minister has gotten away with administrative murder.

Mind you, Gordon and the IC ensured there was an aide memoire that recorded the meeting. I wonder if we ever get minutes of Kamla’s private Cabinet meetings?

The AG’s hounding of the Integrity Commission’s Chairman today will have an impact on Emailgate. Two days ago the AG announced rather loudly that he was recusing himself from Emailgate. He was handing over the investigation to the Central Authority, a body that falls  within his Office of the Attorney General and headed by Netram Kowlessar. The AG has pointed out that the Central Authority is independent. My concern now is how independent is Kowlessar: a man who first shot to public attention as a member of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad in 2002, thereafter became a defence attorney and after a handful of cases was appointed by this regime as the head of the Central Authority. I’m concerned. I hope in his case it was merit and not cronyism that got him the job.

Having now raised questions about the integrity of Ken Gordon and the independence of the Commission itself, I feel quite certain that any call for an independent investigation into Emailgate by an Integrity Commission will be shot down by the AG and his government using this meeting as the reason.

I continue to maintain that the only thing that will lay Emailgate to rest is an independent investigation that allows us to get at DIGITAL files……but in the meantime we do have a by-election in Chaguanas West to entertain and distract us, not so?

 

De Vice Cyah Done!

Firetrucking Nonsense!

kamla and jackI remember the first time I paid attention to “firetruck” in the news papers.

The Express/Guardian/Independent/Express/Guardian columnist BC Pires had used it. It was his euphemistic way of saying fuck in the newspaper. Firetruck, firetrucking and firetrucked!

Almost 20 years later BC Pire’s firetrucked is so apt I can’t even smile.

In our latest Adeventures of Squandermania with Kamla we’ve got a damaged firetruck that cost $6m to wreck.

Yes, you read that correct. A fire tender….and get used to the word tender because it is going to feature regularly today….fell off the side of the road in Blanchisseuse, Trinidad…an area known for its narrow, poor roads. It went down the side of a cliff by a couple hundred metres on November 17th, 2012 and by November 19th had been removed to the tune of $6.8m.

Now let’s add in the rest of the salient details. The Minister of National Security under whose remit the Fire Services fall was then Jack Warner…remember him?

The company that did the lifting and wrecking was Junior Sammy Multilift.

If the name Junior Sammy sounds familiar to you it might be because the company gets contracts to pave roads and highways here all the time…except in Blanchisseuse obviously…or because Junior Sammy was once held for questioning in a murder.

Folks are rightfully upset about the obscene amount of money used to wreck a fire truck….but let me give you the other reasons you should be upset.

This is a contract that cost more than a million dollars. According to our laws any contract over $1m has to be put out to tender. So in short the job to wreck the fire tender had to be tendered for offers. Junior Sammy isn’t the only company in Trinidad that does this kind of wrecking…and the Trinidad Guardian, who broke this story, quoted at least 2 businesses that said the job could have been done for between $25,000 – $50,000.

So ask yourself this…if the truck fell off the side of the road on November 17th….did the government have the opportunity to get 3 quotes in time to do the job on November 19th?

And since we heard the original quotation was for $10m exactly when in that 2-day period did Cabinet meet to review the $10m quote from 1 company and then review the $6.8m quote from the same company? Or was a snap decision made to select a company to do a job and the assurance given that you will do the job and we pay you $10m and get everything approved afterwards?

Are you beginning to see that a job that cost us tax paying folk $6.8m never went through the proper procedure?

To thicken the sauce you have Fire Services submitting a report on November 29th giving the recommendation to not salvage the fire truck, but in fact abandon it and purchasing a new fire truck that would have cost us significantly less than $6.8m.

And despite this recommendation from the Fire Services, Cabinet still came after November 29th and gave the approval for $6.8m to wreck a firetruck.

COP JackSo let me ask some more questions.

Who in the Ministry of National Security took the decision to wreck the fire truck without the initial assessment report from Fire Services?

Who gave the go ahead to wreck and salvage by November 19th?

Was a tender for the job put out for wrecking and salvaging or was one company…Junior Sammy Multilifts….selected for the job?

If a company was selected without a tender process who did that selection and on what grounds?

Did the selector not find the $10m wrecking and salvage fee astronomical? If not, why not?

Why was the recommendation of the Fire Services to not salvage the fire truck ignored by Cabinet when they had to approve payment for the wreck and salvage?

Which Cabinet members were a part of the approval? All? Some? One?

Did the Cabinet members not raise red flags about the tender process, the recommendation by the Fire services and the price?

If this is what we paid to wreck 1 fire truck….what else is going on that we don’t know about?

How many other processes are being abused and ignored while Kamla and her Small Goal  Side keeps wasting our tax dollars?

Ken GordonThe hard part about all of this firetrucking nonsense is anthony carmonathat ideally the Integrity Commission should be investigating this because all the signs point to a breach in public life…but the new President, whose powers we don’t know he has, isn’t using his powers that we know he has to appoint a new Integrity Commission….so we could cuss and rant and rave as much as we want about this firetrucking nonsense…..but not one firetruck will be done because the President’s inaction has immobilised us. We are no longer in a position to even pretend we give a firetruck about the corruption because there isn’t the masquerade of the IC to hide behind.

So now that we have a clear as day story showing that Cabinet members and public servants misbehaved in public life and an entire Cabinet got together to approve the misbehaviour…..what are we going to do?

We Firetrucked and Loving It!firetruck (1)

 

Acting With Integrity

 

kamla and jackThe Integrity in Public Life Act will turn 13 in November of this year. Most of us view the Act and the Integrity Commission as useless. The average citizen thinks the purpose of the IC is to find out the assets of persons functioning in public life and to publish an annual list of those public officials who have transgressed the law. Indeed, the Integrity Commission has done little to dispel that public perception of its duties.

The opening sentences of the Act states that the Commission’s purpose is to provide “for public disclosure, to regulate the conduct of persons exercising public functions; to preserve and promote the integrity of public officials and institutions…” What many of us don’t know is that the Integrity Commission has real teeth. Their duties don’t just stop at publishing a list of miscreants and submitting a report to the Senate every year. Their power reaches far beyond financial disclosure.

The folks over at the Integrity Commission can scrutinise any person in public life or exercising public functions. This includes the Prime Minister, the AG, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, members of state boards, and persons working in the Public Service, Judicial and Legal Service, Police Service, Teaching service, Statutory Authorities’ Service Commission, Diplomatic Service and Advisers to the Government.

If you re-read that list slowly and digest its importance you will realise that the Integrity Commission has oversight of the activities of so many sectors of our country that if the Commission was properly staffed and working efficiently it should, theoretically, be able to root out a lot of the corruption and inefficiency prevalent in our society.

Ken GordonFurther examination of the Act reveals that an investigation by the Integrity Commission could lead to more than just your name being published in the newspapers. There is a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars attached to the offence of non-declaration of assets. As a person in public life, you also have to declare the assets and liabilities of your spouse and dependent children; and if you holding money or property in trust for another person you have to declare the trust, though not the specific details. Page 15 of the Integrity in Public Life Act has a long list of interests and must be declared. You have items such as contracts made with the state; companies or partnerships in which the person is an investor; beneficiary interest in any land; particulars relating to sources of income; and anything else that might cause conflict between private interests and public duties.

Are you wondering where I am going with this? Think Jack Warner, his spouse, their children, his assets and many affiliations that might be in conflict with his public life.

Mr Warner has been serving in public life since November 5th, 2007. His activities as a member of the Caribbean Football Union, Concacaf and FIFA are public knowledge. Since becoming a member of government in 2010 there have been allegations and speculations hovering over Warner. We have an Integrity Commission in Trinidad and Tobago that is at least a decade old. Why did it take a report from Concacaf to unearth information that Warner has been less than forthcoming about his business interests and financial transactions dating back from 2006?

Back in November 2012 there was a local newspaper report indicating Warner was the subject of a probe by the IC. Fixin TnT’s Kirk Waithe has been at the forefront of calls for Warner to be investigated based on discrepancies with public monies.  In his complaint to the IC, Waithe pointed out funds being transferred from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation into private accounts, and the transfers were often in the range of millions of dollars.  Millions of dollars of public monies that we still await accountability on. And mind you, these discrepancies happened under a PNM regime; not UNC or PP. So we can’t even claim that it is Warner’s cronies who might be protecting him or smoothing the way.

When questioned about the nature of the probe, Martin Farrell, the Registrar of the IC, responded saying: “The Integrity Commission is not in a position to comment on your request. As you will appreciate, having regard to the nature of its mandate under the Integrity in Public Life Act, the Commission is required to treat with all matters with the utmost confidentiality.”

Fast forward now to April, 2013, in the aftermath of the report from Concacaf’s Integrity Committee and there is still a deafening silence from the various bodies and authorities here. The last we heard from the DPP on the matter of Warner, the police had been instructed to look into whether Warner had breached Customs and Excise laws. The probe by the AG into Warner seems to have stalled. And the Integrity Commission remains as enigmatic as ever. Saying little, but alluding to an ongoing probe that has thus far yielded little satisfaction to the public.

After reading the Concacaf Report you have to ask yourself what exactly is the problem with us here that we can have so many institutions and systems in place, and have them constantly fail us. Why is investigating Warner and making him answerable to the public so difficult? Why does an Integrity Commission, enacted with so much power on paper, often seem so weak? When exactly are these bodies responsible for public oversight actually going to start earning their keep? Or are we going to have to launch a probe not just into Warner, but into the integrity of our Commissions?

We spinning top in mud in this place….Full Dotish Mode!

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.

 

The Rogue Prime Minister

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

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

Trinidad and Tobago is no longer a banana republic…..as of last night with Reuters news service confirming that Warner’s son, and possibly Warner himself, are indeed under investigation, her vague press release in which she says she will wait on an official corroboration is just too hollow for words.

The Prime Minister spent last month in Haiti, right next to the US AG and even members of the FBI. Talk of Daryan Warner’s detention in the US had begun since December 2012 on the day he was caught at the airport with an alleged lump sum of money he had failed to declare at customs….allegedly. And yet in February, with the US AG sharing the same meeting space as you, not a question was asked?

kamla and jackThen you return to Trinidad and the Leader of the Opposition asks you to follow up on these allegations and still nothing?

You’d think that we don’t have diplomatic relations with the US….that they don’t have an Embassy here.
You’d also think that Kamla Persad-Bissessar is daft, or slow minded that she would still have someone with as much shadows over his head as Jack Warner still serving as a government Minister.

But, you see, we aren’t a banana republic anymore…we are THE BANANA REPUBLIC.

In future when films are being made where the setting or crime taking place in a banana republic, it is Trinidad and Tobago’s name that will be used. The film companies will spend their money and go somewhere safe, and name the location Trinitario…watch and see.

But the question we should be asking ourselves this morning isn’t so much will Kamla fire Jack, or will the Prime Minister act on this latest report.

Rather ask yourself why is the PM not acting?
Why is she continuing to keep Warner on as Minister of National Security?
Is she protecting him….or is she really protecting herself?

And then ask yourself this….if the Prime Minister is putting herself, or her minister, before the good of the entire country….what does that make her?

At the time of writing, Communications Minister, Jamal “Insignificant Muslim Coolie” Mohammed has announced that the Cabinet….complete with COP members like Prakash Ramadhar and Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan….stands firmly behind Warner.

 

We in Full Dotish Mode this Easter Weekend, folks…find ah bobolee and beat it!

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!!!!!!!

Breakingest News: Jack Probes Himself

Hot off the press, or off the porcelain throne, the breakingest news is that the MoNS isn’t going to issue a statement on the Illegal Flying Squad Unit that it is alleged he set up without Parliament’s knowledge. Rather, the Prime Minister, in another breath taking power play has announced that the Minister will now probe himself.

Stay tuned for further details of this anal probe that no doubt will lead to the country’s biggest prostate massage, ever….

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The Myth of the Amazing Crime Plan

The new Top Cop? Photo Courtesy Trinidad Guardian website.

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

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.

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!