Crime Clusterf@$k/ Political Pantomime 22mts, 7dys: Rest!

I taking rest today. No thinking about Mayorgate or We Have Oil so All We Problems Solved!

No thinking about how being female absolves you of any responsibility to run a country, or to be asked questions about why you nepotistic and corrupt.

No thinking about how coming from an extended family now justifies you supporting your family at the state’s expense.

No thinking about how the murder rate keeps climbing, rapes and robberies too and to date we have NO CRIME plan, and barely have a commissioner of police.

No thinking about any of the things that wrong with this country…..

Instead I going and contemplate the new Carib ad campaign…..

 

De Vice Cyah Done!

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Crime Clusterf@$k/ Political Pantomime 22mts, 6dys: 7 Pillars of Fuel Finds!

Before I hit vex  mode, let me greet my Spiritual Baptist Friends and Family this morning and ring a loud bell!

The PM in African garb in Parliament, in 2010, promising to deal with squatters....whatever happened to all those promises. Photo courtesy Newsday's website.

I can’t tell all yuh the last time I see a PM so relieved to be able to say her govt find oil! If I didn’t know better, I’d say Kamla led the exploration effort herself. In that press conference yesterday all she aint do is ring ah bell for freedom and justice and pure happiness!

For a PM leading a government that promised to diversify the national economy,  (because in in May 2010 she said, continuing the focus on our critical need for economic planning and development, our dependence on oil and gas and the unhealthy imbalance this has created makes our economy very fragile) her giddiness over the the Jubilee Discovery has me wondering what, prior to that fuel find, was Kamla and Dookeran (remember him? the finance minister?) planning to do about the current economic stagnancy that the country is experiencing?

Rumour has it that yet another business is closing down in Trinidad….a clothing giant….you can find their outlets all over Trinidad. I wonder how this oil find going to assist these workers who find themselves on the breadline now.

So, Kamla’s Giddy Gladness over the fuel find…the God is ah Trini comment had me trying to remember what she said in 2010 about what this government had in store for this country….Anybody remember the 7 Pillars of Development that this government claimed was their NEW POLITICS and new style of governance? the PM announced no squandermania….so Toppin, Vidwattie Newton, Gibb’s Crop Duster rental….what are these???? Investments?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cover of the PP's 2010 Manifesto that houses it's 7 Pillars of Development.

Let’s look at them briefly and you think about whether or not you the Govt doing anything it promised to do.

Kamla gave a speech  May 14th, 2010, and began her speech, in much the way all speeches by her govt are begun 2 years later….blaming the PNM. Here are some of her opening words: “

The PNM has governed this nation for nearly 40 years since 1956. And their model of governance is now outmoded and outdated.  It is ill-suited to confront the myriad challenges that now threaten the very foundation of our economy and way of life. 

The oil and gas based economic model of development is now on shaky ground. The recent volatility in the markets and consequential strong fluctuations has revealed the vulnerability of our economy. This lopsided approach to economic development is fundamentally flawed and is in urgent need of revision. 

So, according to the then Opposition Leader, soon-to-be-PNM, we needed to move away from a fuel-based economy because it is a lopsided approach to economic development!

Later down in the speech Kamla says: The PNM has governed this nation for nearly 40 years since 1956. And their 

model of governance is now outmoded and outdated. It is ill-suited to confront the myriad challenges that now threaten the 

very foundation of our economy and way of life. The oil and gas based economic model of development is now on shaky ground. 

The recent volatility in the markets and consequential strong fluctuations has revealed the vulnerability of our economy. This lopsided approach to economic development is fundamentally flawed and is in urgent need of revision. 

After bashing the spending habits of the PNM, and rightly pointing out that tall buildings don’t necessarily reflect development KPB then promised to look at the following areas:

  • a quality education that is relevant to the needs of the 21st century
  •  a safe society based on law and order where people do not have to live in fear of criminals but can enjoy the fruits of their hard work and sacrifice
  • good healthcare , with a dedicated focus on the elderly and children
  • a proper network of roads that minimizes the amount of time needlessly spent in traffic
  •  and basic amenities such as electricity and water

We aint reach the 7 pillars yet, eh….we aint start to touch them yet….now study your head good and of those 5 areas that improvements were promised how many areas have been even touched?

Now for the 7 Pillars…and all yuh read the words in italics well because these are Kamla’s words, not mine:

  1. People Centred Development : after the fuel find yesterday, the PM immediately started talking about how this will improve the life of the man in the street. How has public funds been used to help the man in the street? Currently it helps the PM’s Family, Friends, Cronies…..not the man in the street…it’s not likely to change. Maybe this is what was meant by people centred development…I’ll look after my people! Kamla says: We intend to create a knowledge-driven, technologically proficient society that will be the core and engine for a competitive and sustainable economy. Our manifesto will build a new society from the bottom up because we have seen the damage inflicted by the PNM’s top-to-bottom approach to economic development. 
  2. Poverty eradication and Social Justice: I don’t know that I even need to say anything in this area. The Trinidad Guardian is doing a report on poverty in Trinidad these days. It’s 2 years into their governance and the Government can’t even seem to table the Children’s Bill.  Glen Ramadharsingh’s Ministry of the People (what on earth is that) seems to only plan weddings or hand out hampers. There is poverty in Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of ethnicity and there is no social justice…or movements for it! Kamla says in her speech: Our plans and policies therefore aim to better the quality of life and raise the standard of living for all. They aim to reduce poverty and crime and deliver services to the people in an efficient and professional mannerwe will create a Ministry of the People that will be dedicated to ensuring a free flow of government services to the people. Most services should, for example, be accessible on-line, from the comfort of your own home. 
  3. National and Personal Security: Kamla says: There is also no point in creating economic wealth if people are afraid and unable to enjoy it. The terrifying crime crisis that has engulfed our nation has virtually prevented citizens from enjoying the fruits of their labour. We shall overhaul the criminal justice system to make it efficient and effective. This will be a major deterrent and weapon in the fight against crime. Criminals must respect the law. I would like to see a trial finish within 3-6 months of a person being charged so that criminals cannot make a mockery of our justice system and law-abiding citizens can feel the system is working. In light of this Kamla created the Minister of Justice. What has Herbert Volney done with his term in office thus far?
  4. Information and Communication Technologies: KPB says :Affordable internet access for every citizen will be a priority as we seek to create an educated society that is poised to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century. IT will be infused into every sector of our economy. We will thus encourage and develop strong linkages among our creative sectors, technological sectors, design sectors and our education and academic sectors. In light of the fact that TSTT can’t even get it’s 2G data service to blackberry phones under control, I am really not holding my breath on ever seeing this pillar erected, much less coming to fruition.
  5. More Diversified Knowledge Intensive Economy……i laughing folks…. because KPB said back then: We have immense untapped potential in agriculture and we intend to place the accent on food production and food security. We should be aiming to export food, instead of importing it! …our Industrial Policy will identify the areas into which we will diversify the Economy including : knowledge based Industries, Cultural and Entertainment Industries, Ethnic Products, Food Processing, the Maritime Industry, Services Industries, biotechnology, information technology, high-tech manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food production, processing and alternative energy and third and fourth generation renewable energy industries. The diversification of our economy for sustainable development will be a top priority of the People’s Partnership government. Tobago’s economy will be given special treatment because the fundamentals are different. A major initiative will however, be the regularization of land titles for Tobagonians so that they can own their land and gain individual economic independence. 
  6. People Participation in GovernmentWe aim to be a user-friendly, responsible and responsive government. We believe the government must not be aloof and removed from the people, but rather, part of the people, reflecting the will and consciousness of the people. To this end, we will promote a climate of national dialogue within a framework of civility and consensus building. We will initiate a process of consultation to rewrite the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago...This will move us away from the culture of maximum leadership and develop a politics of inclusion rather than the present system of winner takes all. Some of the revolutionary ideas we propose to introduce are: ·       A right of recall for non-performing parliamentary representatives ·       Fixed election dates for national and local elections ·       Mechanisms for a referendum process ·       Limiting the Prime Minister to two successive terms as head of  Government ·       Rules governing the conduct of the Government and political parties during an election period. ·       A stronger Integrity Commission ·       Local government reform 
  7. A Strong Foreign Policy: back then KPB said: … our voice must be heard as part of a wider Peoples Partnership that is based on mutual interests and objectives to advance common cause. We see the international arena and the world system as an opportunity to build diplomatic partnerships that can lead to trade and cultural exchanges. I wonder how much of her current international travel is fulfilling this.

As you pondering where them 7 pillars are, where they going to be, and if is Grecian or Roman in style….remember that Moonilal just yesterday self in under the protection of Parliament, accused a former HDC head of abusing the Govt Credit card. Now Noel Garcia has responded asking Moonilal for the credit card records. Is either Moonilal uses his privilege in Parliament to lie…or he is the most misinformed Leader of Government business ever and misspeaking, misquoting and general misinformation is the only way he knows to operate. The PM needs to do something about Moonilal. This is the same man who told us that a concrete bunker of  diesel and cache of guns was under Beetham….he’s also the man that told us the government had bought a plane for surveillance to find  squatters…and then it turned out Dwayne Gibbs had rented a crop duster….anybody remember Gibbs and the plane? Remember it was being probed?  Remember Anand was supposed to get a report on it…and he did…what every happened to that issue? because Gibbs still here…where the plane? Where the $.9m.

We still waiting to hear whether or not COP getting to appoint a new San Fernando mayor….

Anyhow, why I hotting up my head.

We Find oil!

We cyah escape them Petrotrin ads for the next week.

All we problems solved…ent Kamla?  You even sure when the country will start to experience the benefits of the find? Blue skies ahead, right?

Because God is ah Trini…ent!

De Vice Cyah Done!

Crime Clusterf@$k/Political Pantomime 22mts, 5dys: Make up or Break up???

Today the partnership meets….well except Daaga, he fell ill.

Will they make-up or break-up?

Yesterday Ask Anil came out  from his corner swinging  away roughly at his leader, openly criticising Ramadhar on his position on Marlene Coudray and the mayorship of San Fernando.

But last night on CNC News like the Prakash  grow a big hairy pair. Flanked by the other remaining COP MPs  – Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, Winston Douglas and Roger Samuel – Prakash addressed Ask Anil’s comments, pointed to the importance of the UNC keeping to its promises on the Fyzabad Accord.

Now I have a question….of the remaining COP Members, three still hold ministerial portfolios: Ramadhar, Roberts and Dookeran……WHERE IS WINSTON?

Minister of Finance, Winston Dookeran....where is he these days? Photo courtesy Newsday's website.

When last have we seen our Minister of Finance? He has been noticeably and conspicuously absent from Parliament. The talk is when Winston not in Trinidad he is in India….is he running his Ministry from India…he certainly isn’t running his constituency, that much I can tell you because I can’t see him for love nor money. What’s his take on the current impasse? Especially since he was leader when Coudray became Mayor and the Fyzabad Accord was signed….the last time I hear anything was Dooks was a mumbled response to reporters that implied that Shoppin Toppin didn’t really abuse the card because the created for the uses she put it too…thereafter he disappeared.

So, if anyone knows where he is, give me directions. I have questions for my Minister of Finance!

The big rumour circulating FB yesterday was Anil Robert’s alleged defection from the COP for the UNC…no evidence yet to support the rumour; but many claim it won’t surprise them since in their minds Anil has been UNC in everything but name since he received his ministerial portfolio in sport. One commenter on FB even calls him JAck Jr…..I thought that funny, but fitting.

In yet another “The-PNM-Do -It-Too” finger pointing session, Roodal Moonilal – while answering questions about Shoppin Toppin’s expenses and assuring the Parliament that the bill has indeed been paid off – under the protection of Parliamentary Privilege accused former HDC Managing Director of owing $500m on the Govt Travel card. Opposition Leader The Keith accused Moonilal of lying, indicated the conditions under which Garcia borrowed the money, and said the money has been paid off.

Minister of Housing Roodal Moonilal...hard to believe.

Now the thing is, Moonilal is the same person who came to Parliament at the height of the SoE and blamed scrap iron dealers from Beetham for being the masterminds behind the diesel bunkering, he also accused Beetham Residents of having built an underground bunker and having diesel, as well as guns and ammunitions stored in it. Thus far we have never seen a picture of this alleged bunker. It has turned out that any diesel bunkering taking place in Trinidad is certainly not taking place under a scrap iron yard in the Beetham. Moonilal, in essence used the protection of Parliament to lie on and falsely accuse an entire community with no evidence. In short….Moonilal does lie….so I find it hard to believe him on the Noel Garcia accusation and will wait and see if any more comes of the accusation. Further, the constant  finger pointing at the PNM after the PP promised “new politics” is just disgusting really.

And even further, I think all Govt Travel Cards should be cancelled. Let the MPs and Ministers use their own damn credit cards and put an end to this abuse of public funds. Because if it is true that Mr Garcia’s son had an accident and was loaned the money by the Govt to assist him, that certainly isn’t a facility that I, as a tax payer, am afforded if something were to happen to a loved one. I’d have to throw a barbecue or a cake sale to be able to afford health care!

Not to be outdone, Herbert Volney jump on the Keith back too alleging that Keith likely to have another court case soon. Rowley spent some time denying that too.

Economist Gregory McGuire is predicting a period of political instability…I think the period here long time! We need Midol!

Tim Goopeesingh taking heat for some tendering procedures.

Diego Martin man and a Tabaquite youth. The Diego man brings the murder toll to 87, last year this time was 99…and the young boy was killed by a police bullet, and his parents claim it is a case of mistaken identity…since 2000 the Express‘ Gyasi Gonzales says, almost 300 people have been killed by the police.

Folks, apparently to caribbeanaxis.com, the Government will soon be the major shareholder of One Caribbean Media and The Citadel group of Companies… This could mean that TV6, i95.5, Red 96.7 and their other subsidiaries will soon be government owned. However sources inside OCM are saying that there is no validity to this article. We will see.

And for you online shoppers out there….zip codes coming soon.

As per this Partnership mashing up…too much at stake folks. Kamla will give Prakash what he wants, Marlene will lose the Mayorship and gain something else….the ambition is strong in her, keep an eye. Is the Partnership going to mash up? No…is the Partnership in crisis…hell yeah, it flimsy as hell. they staying together to secure their position at the feeding trough. Prakash Ramadhar, in protecting his opportunity to eat ah food, will squander the trust of his membership. Prakash will ramajay himself, and attempt to project the idea and ideals of leadership; but he what he is seeking today is to secure not the party and its ideals, but his position in government.

By the end of today Prakash and Kamla will emerge flushed, happy, triumphant, holding hands, rings back on fingers, declaring themselves stronger than ever…..wait for the big fete on May 24th.

De Vice Cyah Done!

Crime Clusterf@$k/Political Pantomime 22mts, 4dys: Partnership or Jump Ship?

COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar

It’s getting closer and closer to the day of reckoning for the COP in this political alliance that they in. Will Prakash Ramadhar make the decision to jump ship? Or will he boil down like a pot of young bhagi and continue to accept the UNC’s brand of political friendship?

In remaining as an active partner in the People’s Panchayat Govt Prakash stands to secure benefits only for people who are sitting ministers and in the government’s good books; and at the same time be tainted by the foul smell that seems to accompany much of the policies from this government.

This current impasse between the COP and the UNC over Marlene Coudray may well be the COP’s last chance to prove itself an independent political body as opposed to the political parasite it now appears to be. The COP squandered similar opportunities in the past when it supported and endorsed the SoE and further rallied behind the UNC-dominated government in the recent Motion of No Confidence. Perhaps more than any other opportunity, the MONC was their biggest opportunity to credibly establish themselves as the voice of reason in a Parliament that seems to have gone mad….instead, many of the current COP members chose to get up and defend questionable PP policies and this is bound to come back to haunt them.

Yesterday Prakash Ramadhar issued his first real threatening growl… and not surprisingly, it happened not over some issue of policy or political illegality…but because the COP thinks it is losing its grip on power. In  The Express‘ lead story today Ramadhar is quoted as saying:

“The allocation of the mayorship of San Fernando to the COP was an essential element of the agreement that led to the coming together in other areas such as Tunapuna and Diego Martin.

“The issue, therefore, is really the attempt to take the mayorship of San Fernando and abandon the People’s Partnership by trampling on the Fyzabad Declaration. If this is not redressed, it could well mean the destruction of People’s Partnership and the dashing of the hopes of the nation. The COP will not be pushed aside and allow this hijack to take place.”

The bit in the quote that intrigues me is “the allocation of the mayorship”…kill me dead a local government election took place and people “voted” a mayor and councillors in….I didn’t realise that the mayorship was allocated. Is it that part of the Fyzabad Accord was that the various sectors of this partnership cut up a map of Trinidad and Tobago and decided, “Here Prakash, this your territory. And here Kamla, you see all here so, that is your territory…Jack, you could hold on to Tobago…” Really? I’d be interested to find out what Mr Ramadhar means by the “allocation of the mayorship”.  No wonder he and Joseph Toney have been using the word poached.

If the signing of the accord is dim in your memory check it out here. And I am hearing that the mayorship of San Fernando was part of the accord….not sure how one party can promise another party the allocation of a mayorship. If anyone knows drop me a line.

But judging from the recent story in the Trinidad Guardian that documents the break down of relations between Coudray and the COP since 2010….there are a lot of questions to be answered on either side….especially since Coudray is saying that the COP never helped win the mayorship….and she seems well prepared to take up her mayorship marbles and join the next team. but there is a coalition meeting today…let’s see what transpires. I could tell you this….I can’t see Marlene giving up her Mayorship, or returning to the COP…..

Maybe the PM will find a way to placate both….give Prakash what he wants and give Marlene a more prominent, juicier post? Is Lyndira under the axe?

In light of this political analyst Winford James thinks the Fyzabad Accord needs to be revisited.

I also think that the COP is on shaky ground in other ways….in light of the revelation yesterday by CoP Gibbs that there isn’t yet enough evidence to arrest Calder Hart one wonders where is all of the documental evidence that Ramadhar and de Lima promised in 2010 after securing the birth paper of Sherrine Hart? Is the birthpaper thus far the only evidence to link Calder Hart to Sunway?

In other news, it seems Min of Health Fuad Khan intends to seek cabinet approval to sell the property that the St. Ann’s hospital is on. He has stated an intention to use the money from the sale to build similar centres/hospitals in communities throughout the country. That’s a prime piece of real estate folks, I wonder which private consortium of local businessmen interested in buying it?

It appears that PantyGate has gone onto another rounds in the battle between the Maha Sabha and Sita Gajadharsingh-Nanga. It appears that the beleaguered principal has taken legal action to prevent her transfer.

Law Association elections have been put off to accommodate State Lawyers.

The Tobago tourism industry is still experiencing the backlash of the SoE and they are insisting that a better marketing thrust is needed to bring income back up to the pre-SoE levels. They are also concerned about the impact the attack on the UK couple has had globally.

And in media news it seems that Ken Gordon’s One Caribbean Media is buying Louis Lee Sing’s Citadel group of Companies….will Tony and Dale be muzzled now?

De Vice Cyah Done!

 

UPDATE: ok, folks, quick and dirty update….I am advised that while councillors are elected, the mayor of a borough, city or town is actually appointed. This means that from since May 2010 the PP was convinced they’d be successful at the Local Govt Elections and were well within their right to say they would allocate the San fernando Mayorship…and having promised such an allocation, Prakash is well within his right to ramajay….in this light, I think the PM will accede to Ramadhar’s request and give the COP the San Fernando mayorship and give Coudray another post….no mash-up!

Crime Clusterf@$k/Political Pantomime 22mts, 3dys:

Calder Hart

Folks, I have been asking for months now, actually more than a year, where is Calder Hart? Why has Anand Ramlogan not yet arrested him?

Then recently with the issue with Scott’s Quarry in Blanchisseuse I asked why, if Sunway was linked to Calder hart, was the contract to quarry in Blanchisseuse not suspended pending an investigation….only to have confirmed this morning what I have been suspecting for quite some time…..this government has no evidence to substantiate their claims made in elections 2010 about Calder Hart. Their accusations and allegations were likely fabrications. Which means that they probably committed libel and slander on the hustings, having made accusations against both Manning and Hart that cannot now be substantiated.

But my question now is, if the allegations weren’t true, why didn’t Manning out them on the campaign hustings in 2010?
Why didn’t Hart himself come forward and call the then Opposition liars….and what does Prakash Ramadhar and Vernon de Lima have to say in light of  these revelations because they were the pair that spearheaded that “sting operation” of documentation linking Calder  and Sherrine Hart to Sunway?

I wish Trinidad was a place where you got answers to questions.

 

 

Well the PNM the PNM and mainstream media keeping the pressure on the government. Sunday was the elevator in the PM residence; with Rowley questioning the appropriateness for the space and the communications team at UDECOTT responding to justify it.  Yesterday Rowley announced that the AG is using his $95m budget for cronyism and he named some of the lawyers who are benefitting directly from this budget that the AG has sole responsibility to disburse.

The Opposition also pressed the PM to answer questions about activities at the Diplomatic Centre with The Keith describing it as as a den of iniquity, as well as pointing out that the helicopter trips cost the public purse $3000 per ride.

I think the general picture of the Prime Minister living a lavish lifestyle and being an abuser of the public purse is pretty well established now. Many would say that she is merely following in Patrick Manning’s footsteps….or maybe this is an example of good family values….who knows.

Kamla’s neighbours, who we met removing a razor wire fence from their property a few weeks ago, have now put their home up for sale as they have found living next to the PM unbearable. The allegations of parties all weekend and sometimes during the week, the constant noise of helicopters hovering overhead, along with aesthetic issues were all listed.

It seems the armed forces under some pressure these days. Seven soldiers have under probe for robberies in Tobago; prisons’ officers are about to launch a protest; and Coroner Nalini Singh is advising that three cops be charged with murder.

On the TCL Strike front, it appears that cement supplies are running pretty low. And workers are up in arms about being labelled terrorists.

The last bit of news I will leave you with is the comment from COP chairman that the People Partnership Govt is fragile. I’d much have preferred to hear this come from Ramadhar’s mouth than Toney’s. Too often Ramadhar is slow to speak or reluctant to comment on the more pressing and glaring issues in this party. Let’s hope that he steps up soon enough so that his party membership know what is what….or is this another red herring announcement?

 

De Vice Cyah Done

 

Polls and Opinions: When the people are a metre…

During the week February 27th – March 3rd I ran a poll on this blog. Now, I don’t necessarily trust or believe in polls because a long time ago a friend of mine whose area of research is qualitative data analysis in the social sciences told me polls can be manipulated. She also said, but people never believe you unless you can quote statistics and figures. So generally I avoid quantitative data and go for qualitative data: interviews, comments, observations etc. But, having spent some time in the trenches of academia, I know how much people prefer to see numbers over opinions….and in fact, numbers here have come to represent public opinion as is evidenced in the numerous polls used in print, audio and visual media on a daily basis. The tricky thing is that how you shape questions can easily shape how people respond and even whether people respond. I’m sure anyone who regularly views the TV6 News complains regularly about the wording of its questions; wonders at the sense of them at times; and probably even wonders how exactly are they meant to answer them.

Anyhow, the week of the No Confidence Motion I decided to use a poll on my blog to get an idea of what the numbers were like in terms of who was pro or anti the motion or the government from the readers of my blog.

I’ve since been taken to task for using a poll on my site and labelled cognitively dissonant for being against polls, yet using one on my blog.

What can I say….is my lot in life to be labelled.
But I am going to fulfil my promise and give a breakdown of the polls results and discuss a few other things that I feel are pertinent.

I used the website Poll Daddy, which allowed me to choose from one of their templates. The decision to use the poll  as I stated above was to have a sense of numbers, to go with the comments and observations that I had taken note of on FB. In the months since starting the blog I had noticed a significant trend…fewer and fewer people actually clicked “like” or commented on my FB wall….but the traffic from FB to my wall was higher and higher. So I felt looking for figures on FB would be less successful because people would have to “openly” give an answer; whereas a poll allows for some level of anonymity.

On the day of the poll more than 1100 people actually visited the blog, and according to Poll Daddy’s statistical report on the blog 851 people voted.

Now, the questions I used were as follows:

Do You Have Confidence in the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led People’s Partnership Government?

The response options were:
No,  this government is not leading us or living up to its responsibilities.

Yes, I think they doing a great job. Three thumbs up!

We have a government or running on autopilot?

If you read those response options well you can see that my wording of it was geared to influencing opinion and how people decided to choose to respond. Only the most die-hard supporter of this government would click on yes….and I wanted to find out how many die-hards were out there because on my wall I was only hearing that people didn’t have confidence in the government. But, I am aware that the blog gets a wide cross section of readers, both locally and internationally; so, I wanted their feedback.

Was the poll objective? No, but the ironic thing is, the response that I was hoping most people would select – option C as it were – was in the lead for all of 15 minutes. Thereafter, the poll seem to fall out of my control. I posted to several group walls on a daily basis for 6 days. Every day giving the the statistics for whichever response was in the lead. Friends posted to their wall and friends of friends posted to their wall as well. Many of these group walls had political activists or supporters from the three major parties here. By the Wednesday of that week, people in support of the Government were ahead by a significant number. I posted this figure first thing that morning. On a pro-PNM group wall, a gentleman who claims to be versed in statistics and polling said that the UNC blogging machine seemed to be working overtime and that give him an hour and he could reverse the results of the poll. Immediately I switched to inbox messages and asked him if he was serious, and he said yes, he had worked with polls and statistics for a long time and could influence any eletronic poll. He went even further to say ( and I am paraphrasing here)  that if the PNM was willing to pay him he could ensure that every politically-oriented media poll came out in their favour. He then told me give him an hour and go back to the poll.

As he predicted the poll had swung back to reflect that voters were not in favour of the government, and remained that way for the rest of the week. I wracked my brain to figure it out. I had adjusted the settings on the poll to ensure that no isp number could vote more than once. To date, I don’t know how he did it…I just know it was done.

The poll’s results, that was available to anyone viewing the blog went as follows:
No Confidence in the Govt: 53% (451 votes)

Confidence in the Govt: 43.24% (368 votes)

We have a govt or running on autopilot: 3.76% (32 votes)

I had hoped that most people would have gone with the sarcastic “we have a govt???” response to show their lack of faith in the system entirely. But some thing struck me during the week. The voting on the blogpoll seemed to take on a tribal tone. It was almost as if political lives depended on the opinion of the blog. I saw it in how the link to the poll was posted along FB and even in some of the comments sent to me on the blog, on FB walls and in my inbox.

And it made me wonder about public opinion, and how important it is for people to feel that others agreed with them, and maybe how important it is for the government to feel that the population agrees with it as well.

A common assumption these days, ever since a Trinidad Express story last year buss the mark that the UNC hires people to blog for them is that many of the media polls (print, radio and visual) are influenced by paid bloggers. Indeed many of the TV6 People Metre questions come back with responses sometimes that baffle me. Take last Thursday’s question that asked, in the aftermath of Minister Rambachan’s comments about “good cultural values” whether the PM was indeed reflecting good cultural values, the result came back that 70% felt that the PM was exhibiting good cultural values, while 30% disagreed.

A friend of mine sent me a bbm message saying “Marsha’s minions working overtime tonight, boy”. And I wondered to myself, were the bloggers working over time? Or is it that people honestly don’t see anything wrong in the PM’s behaviour. It’s hard to tell now.And it further leads to my apathy where polls are concerned.

Prior to Faine Richards’ story about bloggers being paid to sway public opinion, I’d have said it was just poor/crafty sentence construction on the part of the media or pollsters that was influencing public opinion. Now that running polls and taking polls have become full time jobs for people, I’m even more confused and question their validity even more; even though I work in an environment that requires you have figures to back up what you’re saying.

Then this weekend another poll of sorts came in and it had me wondering even more. The UNC, as part of a coalition government has been in power for 22 months. On the basis of all the polls I read and hear about around me, as well as on the basis of the comments you read on many blogs and group walls on FB they are still immensely popular and liked by their support base….but the support base I interact with are be a couple thousand, who have internet access. This weekend was the party’s internal elections. This is a party that has a voter base of at least several hundred thousand, and a registered voters’ list of 81,000. Yet, on elections day Saturday roughly 14,000 people actually made the effort to turn out and vote….if that isn’t a public opinion poll. I don’t know what is. And somehow, I doubt it was manipulated.

De Vice Cyah Done!

Crime Clusterf@$k/Political Pantomime 22mts, 2dys:

Nothing new to see here folks, the country still buzzing over Jack Warner’s sound beating of Ashvani Mahabir at the UNC Internal Elections. 12,000 votes, and in his own inimicable style, Warner has promised to find the 14 people from his constituency who voted against him and try to meet their needs.

Of course Warner’s win has sparked off conversation about whether the UNC is a post-race party….a term that’s being bandied about loosely. But until the UNC stops treating with Trinidad andTobago as a bi-racial country, until they stop acting as if the only two ethnic groups living here are Africans and Indians, then I can’t consider them anything but “racial” in how they approach the politics of the country. Please note the use of the word racial, as opposed to racist. Like governments before them the tendency is to focus on only the two major ethnic groups of the country….very few people acknowledge the many other ethnic minorities that live here….and until the UNC moves away from their bi-polar/bi-racial approach to national politics….they aren’t post-race…..and the party really isn’t a viable option for the many people in the non-Indian demographic. Many non-Indian supporters of the UNC will actually tell you they are COP who just want to see the back of the PNM.

In light of the low voter turn-out, one wonders if this internal elections is something for the UNC to be proud of. The UNC is the major party of  a govt coalition, and on a Saturday, a day that allows people enough flexibility to slot in the time necessary for voting, didn’t vote. The election was plagued with irregularities, yet both Warner and Moonilal have been talking about the party’s integrity, transparency and generally saying that the elections were a success for the party. I’m not so sure….and whether it’s sour grapes or not, at least Fuad Khan had the good grace to note that 80% of the party’s support base rejected the party over the weekend. And it seems that even David Manning, son of former PM Patrick Manning, was overwhelmed with joy over Moonilal’s victory as Deputy Political Leader of the party. Moonilal insists that the young Manning is not being poached by the party…it really would make little difference to the party’s or Manning’s credibility if you ask me.

So, Marlene won, and I feel quite certain that this lady’s political ascent has only begun. Keep an eye on the Coudray folks, from troublesome mayor, to troublesome COP member, too…follow where I going with this…keep an eye on it. I still find it hard to understand how after joining the party a week away from its internal elections Marlene managed to drum up over 7000 votes….are we saying that UNC members vote for slates and not for the policies and values that the individual stands for?

The greenpaper on Self Government for Tobago is out. The AG, who we aint hear from in a while, couldn’t resist pointing out that the PNM didn’t consider this in 2010…and that the PP making good on it’s manifesto promise of 2010….I’ll wait to hear Orville’s word on it An&, especially since the last I heard the paper not really in the interest of Tobagonians at all.

Permanent Secretaries came under fire in Parliament on Friday and I and all wondering what responsibility if any do these people have to properly managing our government? Should the state abuse of public funds we’ve been seeing under this regime and other actually fall into their lap of responsibility?

And the latest on the strike is that TCL, 5 weeks into strike action, is on the verge of financial collapse. How did that happen….how can 5 weeks of strike cripple a company this bad, unless it was being mismanaged before?

And finally, Machel could stop hugging up he “boddle of rhuummm” and hug up Kavelle and give thanks for his many victories this year….and we looking forward to the HD remix of the Wedding March…Heh HAAAA!

The week now start folks…it early yet.

De Vice Cyah Done!