3 Degrees of Full Dotish!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nat Sec Minister.....

Nat Sec Minister…..

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

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

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

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

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

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Crime Clusterf@$k/Political Pantomime 22mts, 15dys: Waists Will Roll!

Imagine we still on holiday in Trinidad, when we does work?????

So, last night I bringing ah pardna up to speed on the Cheryl Miller case because he was in transit for the last few days and unable to read the blog (me woulda shame).
And as I recounting the information as it unravelled from Thursday evening (which is where he miss out from) when Fuad Khan gave an interview to I95.5, I and all had to pause at the sheer marvell

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan

ousity (word have to make up) of this story.

You have a situation where people used their clout to bypass rules and regulations to ward a person in a mental institution and up to last Thursday, while recounting this evidence, the Minister of Health was reciting confidently that all proper procedure had been followed. Mind you, is through Khan that we found out that the call to St. Anns came from someone high up in his office. And I am assuming that since Fuad knew where the call came from, and had a report in his hand about the Cheryl Miller incident that he was gleefully dropping juicy, yet inconclusive bits of information from, that he knew under what section of the law that Miller had been detained. All of the info had to be there. And up until Friday, Khan saw absolutely nothing strange about Miller’s detention????? Nothing at all? Not even that the sub-section under which she was detained was beyond stretching our imagination?

Listen, not even VS Naipaul could make this absurdity up!

Is only when Khan realise that the Govt have egg all over its face (and that must have come in the aftermath of the revelations in court on Friday evening and the comments made by attorneys Dana Seetahal and Nyree Alfonso on the matter, which indicated that the State’s case was shaky at best) he decide that heads will roll. Not his exact words, but an approximation of it. And as I contemplated Khan’s comments in the Express, it occurred to me that maybe even the Minister of Feelings, Verna St Rose Greaves, had to have known under what legal terms Miller was detained, and the ministry officials in her office, the ministry officials in Health and the personnel at St. Ann’s……and none of them thought that their detention of Miller was strange????? THEY MAD?????????

I get up this morning to read that Miller will be getting private tests done to find out if the drugs she has been given have harmed her in any way; and that Khan has called a Council of the Ministerial Suspects. If you ask me, that meeting isn’t going to be about finding out who is at the bottom of this, because something tells me Khan already knows, and has known since Holy Thursday. This meeting may well be to strategise on how to cover their asses, and find a way to placate a very angry public.

Min of Gender Affairs and Senator, Verna St Rose Greaves

People in positions of authority here have gotten to accustomed to banding together to suppress, hush up and sweep away bad things, that I am convinced from Ministers (and is two involved) to Perm Sec to Deputy Perm Sec felt convinced that they could detain Miller, and not a word would be said about it…because them in charge!!!!

Right now the game that the Ministries, with the aid of the Psychiatrist’s Association playing, is one of character smearing….and one only needs to take a look on FB and the online media comments to see how many “sick”chiatrists we have in Trinidad. Thread after comment thread have people focussed on determining whether or not Miller is mad, as their way to justify the action taken against her….and this is despite all of the obvious and damning information that the state authorities breached protocol to lock up an individual. Cheryl Miller’s mental state is not  and never has been the issue on trial here, but rather how she was detained. But the state is playing a sick game of twisting its comments in the media to suggest and imply that “Cheryl aint too right in she head yuh know, so we had was to treat she this way…is for she own good…really”.

But I think Miller’s lawyers have smelled blood….if this thing goes to full trial with testimonies from all parties it is going to be an interesting time as we hear detail by detail exactly how people in positions of power go about using their knowledge and contacts to breach it. We bound to hear about phone calls….and weird comments like, “Well, it not on the law books, but is so we always doing it.” Cheryl Miller’s case has unwittingly opened an entire can of worms not just about abuse of authority in state-run institutions but what precisely goes on with mental health care in Trinidad. Madness has a serious stigma and taboo here….people don’t like to talk about it, or admit to it….they fraid people watch them funny. And more often than not we too happy for the authorities to remove crazy people from our line of sight and consciousness.

Despite the many calls from people (most of whom for some reason saw this as a partisan, political, support yuh party issue) to leave the matter alone and “all yuh hush, nah. How all yuh so sure the woman not mad and deserved to be in St. Ann’s”, I’m glad that Cheryl’s colleagues and indeed many other citizens did make a fuss about this, and voiced their displeasure and kept questioning the authorities. At the bottom of it, this has nothing to do with UNCOP vs PNM (although Fitzie and Faris presence hard to ignore) and everything to do with how we as citizens are treated by people in positions of power.

Too often in matters like this the state authorities does wine on us….and wine hard too. So, sorry Khan is not heads alone I want to see roll.
I am hoping, that given the details of this case, and Cheryl Miller’s battery of lawyers that she aint just get to wine back on the state, I want she tremble it and raise a leg too….because they damn well deserve it!

De Vice Cyah Done!

TWICKS (This Week In Clusterf@$KS April 1st-7th): Get Mad Now!

Members of the Partnership last week....not a word from them on Mayorgate this week...in fact they now discussing "Peace" talks.

 

Anybody even remember what was big in the news at the start of last week? News happens so fast and furious in this place now it dizzying to keep up.

Last week around this time, wasn’t Mental Health issues we was vex about, it was The COP and Mayorgate…..everybody was on tenterhooks, COP was in an emergency meeting on April Fool’s Day to prepare for their Partnership meeting come the Monday…and by the time that Monday Meeting ended, we all knew that Prakash Ramadhar (who left the country for a 3-week vacation the next day) and the COP had changed their minds about “principled politics” whatever that means and had decided Eat Ah Food was still their road march of choice. Imagine in the midst of what the party called a crisis the political leader hop ah plane to go on vacay…..Prakash you pull ah Kamla there boy….very fitting.

Oh, and Jack Warner is still on the National Security Council

George Nicholas III threw a hissy fit and resigned from CAL again and less than a day later Devant Maharaj, who claimed he was caught by surprise over the resignation had installed Min of Finance Winston Dookeran’s cousin, Rabindra Moonan. Maharaj was open and upfront with us. he admits that Moonan knows nothing about aviation, but what he forgot to reveal as well is that Moonan’s business acumen (the purported strength on which he got the job) aint so hot up either. Check the company records. Ask them how the US feel about them…ask questions.

Folks at Mt D’or held a fiery protest and blocked the bus route. Since 2000 police here have been responsible for the deaths of more than 300 people. Atiba Duncan is just another statistic to that list. I’m still wondering if he was being taken in for questioning on outstanding warrants how bullets in his back was making it possible for him to be questioned….but that’s just me.

Then there was the protest from the Cunupia Residents Association over a cement batching plant….heavy industry in the middle of a residential area.  Since the resumption of smelter talks last year, I’ve been asking questions about this government’s environmental policy…in 2010 on the election campaign trail they talked a good talk about Environmental sustainability being one of their 7 pillars of development. To date, just as with economic diversity, constitutional reform, agricultural reform, technological innovation, gender issues and a number of other areas, Environmental management policies have fallen off the radar. Disgruntled Chin Chin Road residents have been trying to get action on this illegal plant from their MP, Tim Goopeesing since 2011, to date they are being stalled, more so by the Chaguanas Borough Council. On Thursday, April 5th, at a public meeting the residents revealed that the batching plant or Motilal Ramhit and Sons has no EMA or Town and Country Approval, nor does it have any Certificate of Environmental clearance. In fact Motilal Ramhit, a known UNC financier, friend of Roodal Moonilal and holder of many lucrative government contracts (this was all announced at the meeting) seems oblivious to the concerns of the residents and it was only in March of this year that he sought to get approval for his illegal plant. according to T&C regulations, batching plants count as heavy industry and cannot be situated in a residential area, yet this plant has been up and running since last year and the noise and dust emissions are making residents ill. It is alleged that Ramhit first purchased the land for a housing development and then decided to put up a batching plant instead. Ramhit has also built a roadway close to or over a ravine, filling it up and thus obstructing the course of the Cunupia river. All serious implications for the environment….but neither he, nor his friends in Government care. It is ironic that Roodal Moonilal, the Minister with the Environment portfolio, is good friends with this man and has turned a blind eye to the issue. But then again so has the EMA, Town and Country, the Chaguanas Borough Council, The President of Trinidad and Tobago and the Leader of the Opposition, all of whom have been given a file on this current issue. One wonders, with all of the environmental and planning laws being broken here by a man who is clearly a UNC financier why more is not being made of the issue? Is it not juicy enough?

Thanks to the Newsday I’m now advised that Sunway Construction (that company linked to Calder Hart….shhhhhh, the govt does get scared when they hear it) has been granted permission to resume their quarrying activities. In the midst of Mayorgate and Millergate, who really have time to take on the environment….much less a 2010 campaign promise…..

Of course, the story that kept us riveted this week was Cheryl Miller’s weird admittance to St Ann’s Mental Hospital. The Government, with the exception of Health Minister Fuad Khan, has been very quiet on the issue. And the COP’s return to deaf/dumb/mute status tells me that they are firmly back to being the UNC lapdog.

I’ve said so much about this issue all week that I’m not sure that there is much more left to say. While most of the country has been embroiled in diagnosing Cheryl Miller from the safety of their web browsers, my interest has never been whether she is mentally unstable or not. In my mind that’s an issue for Cheryl and her medical practitioner. My issue has always been, was proper procedure followed….the trial will clearly shift away from whether Miller is insane or not, to one of either breach of Human Rights or breach of Industrial Regulations.

But because the Govt knows that it in a tight monkey pants right now you have Health Minister Fuad Khan talking out of every orifice this week, blaming the PNM for politicking the issue, revealing details from Cheryl Miller’s report that the public should not be privy too, and threatening to make people accountable. Dr Khan, are you going to take the fall? Because it is alleged, by you self on i95.5 last Thursday evening that the call to St Ann’s came from your Ministry. You have been insidiously attempting to get Cheryl Miller to be judged by the public with the information about her mental health that keeps slipping out of your mouth.

Even the Psychiatric Association got in on the politicking this week, without looking at the details of the case, they issued a statement saying that proper procedure had been followed…then we find out on Friday that Cheryl Miller, who had been sitting at her desk writing a letter was detained under the section of the act that refers to people found wandering on roads and highways. I can only assume from this that Tower D does lean onto Wrightson Road.

Attorney Dana Seetahal wrote a column on the legal implications of this case that was so juicily succinct, I may commission a statue in her honour! And it doesn’t help either that Reggie Dumas, albeit carefully,has indicated that the Govt’s about as steady as a pile of Sunway Construction aggregate!

For the people who need to convince themselves that Cheryl Miller is mad, you missing the point. This was never about the woman’s mental state and always about people in positions of power within the state’s structure abusing their power. Anyone of us could be Cheryl Miller and have a bad day at work and find that because of an abuse of authority we are detained, incarcerated, denied our rights, with no idea of when we might be free again….Oh wait, that happened for 107 days here last year….no wonder Verna and her Perm Secs felt they could get away with it in a smaller capacity this year…oh, silly me!

I can’t wait to see what this week will offer folks.

De Vice Cyah Done!

Crime Clusterf@$k/ Political Pantomime 21mts, 6dys:

Minister of Agriculture in the onion fields. Photo courtesy Trinidad Express website.

The PM keeps insisting that she in unfazed by UNConfidence 2012 yet last night she hyterically blurted out that this government is saving the country close to $100m in….onions….this Govt have me close to tears, oui!

When Sandy could glibly dismiss $60m being spent to house 7000 people in a facility for 1 month and then release them, you think we not smelling eau de corruption? Now Volney saying the government looking to buy the facility???
An entire building refurbished for 1 month…..somebody eat ah food and it sounding very Walla Walla Ding Ding to me!

The Govt is also engaging in a media blitz. Three nights in a row they have booked airtime on all local stations….you can’t miss Kamla’s election campaign for confidence even if you tried!

And in a desperate attempt to head off whatever she feels The Keith has to say about her the PM has promised bombshells! Which tells me that Friday’s debate is going to be about Blame the PNM and Accept No Blame for the shitty governance they are giving us! Where Verna St Rose Greaves????? That is female leadership ent? Irresponsibility? Unaccountability? Lying? Hysteria…..Verna you should shame!

Ever the disingenuous clown An& jump up and say that if the govt loses the UNConfidence 2012 motion Kamla Rani will be fired by the President and there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’m assuming that An& believes his supporters are illiterate fools….or maybe they are…because the mob certainly swallowed it up wholesale last night.

 

Cable Tv for prisoners as part of the rehabilitation venture????

UNC faithful at the Siparia meeting where PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar promised to buss Rowley mark....

And the TCL strike heating up between protesters and police.

Last night the PNM held their walkabout in St Augustine and scoffed at the hysteria coming from the govt. The Keith insists that the purpose of UNConfidence 2012 is merely to inform the population. Rowley faced questions about gay marriages (which he sidestepped), sustainable development (which he deflected with reference to encouraging more young people to come back to the Public Service….how you getting rid of the old ones?) and the way forward for the party. The PNM is clearly in campaign mode. Moving from community to community to drum up support, not for the UNConfidence vote. No one under any illusions about the party winning the motion…people are more concerned by what will be revealed as a result of the motion. But the PNM is obviously attempting to bolster support for a brand that is aging and seeming to fail. What plans they have in store for their next fifty years of growth and development are still very much up in the air. This party is going to need to rally more than the faithful if its going to be a force to be reckoned with come 2015. And Rowley acknowledged much of this. In between discussing the party he did manage to throw some barbs at the ruling cabal.

Bussing the mark that Government MPs have been using Federation Villas as bachelor pads…..what does the Rani have to say about this?

How is it that a party can come to government on a particular platform and manifesto of ending corruption, promoting transparency and solving crime….fail on all 3 and still people can have confidence in them?