True Silk

Dana Seetahal (SC)

Dana Seetahal (SC)

If the assassination of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal is a wake up call to you…..then something wrong with you.

If a little boy being raped to death in a swimming pool at a birthday party wasn’t a wake up call then, Dana’s assassination can’t wake you up to nothing. You in denial long time and using your moral panic over this latest killing to soothe your general inertia.

Or, you could be a member of the cocooned and protected upper classes here who only get hysterical when they realize crime doesn’t just exist Behind D Bridge or along the distant edges of the East/West corridors in the Malabars and La Horquettas of their imaginations. And then, if you’re a member of that just awakened group….it must suck to be you: having all those resources and still can’t ward off death.

 

Seetahal’s gruesome and shocking death is a marker. The act, along with Hamilton Holder/O’Connor Street, will become a part of a macabre and grisly list of checkpoints that heralded our descent while we sat shell shocked and panicked waiting for someone else….not us….to take back our power in this country. It will join markers like the Scott Drug Report; the 1990 Coup and the subsequent court ruling in favor of the Muslimeen; it will join the rise of the Muslimeen as a group that was consistently awarded Government contracts as part of every sitting government’s secret crime initiative, whether PNM, UNC or PP; it will join the Crowne Plaza agreement; the illegal SoE; Section 34; EmailGate; Ish and Steve and a very long list of markers that all point to us descending in narco state fourth world hell.

You hear it on the lips of citizens all the time, “Here getting like Mexico”, “Here getting like Colombia”. We not getting folks, we reach. That is what Dana’s death means. Final destination point. When a State Prosecutor is murdered in cold blood like that, in a country that is already awash in drugs, arms and human trafficking and has a corrupt and compromised police force and government…know that we reach. We not heading to hell anymore. It is here. It takes only one high profile murder like that to happen and go unsolved and you know we have arrived. Trinidad now has two: Selwyn Richardson in the 90s and Dana Seetahal in the early decades of the 21st century.

This is not to minimize or negate the murders, assassinations and senseless killings of so many thousands of citizens in the last decades. But, let’s face it. As a member of the legal profession and the wealthier upper classes, a society assumes Ms Seetahal will be safer and more protected, for all manner of reasons. Her  assassination in an upscale residential/commercial neighborhood at midnight is meant to send a message. And I’d vouchsafe from the social media reactions yesterday: message received.

We woke up Sunday morning knowing in a very concrete way, maybe more so than before, that a message was being sent to the legal profession, journalists, columnists, activists, anyone bold enough to question the criminal and corruption status quo. Toe the blasted line…or this will be you.

In assassinating Dana, we are very aware that persons with strong Independent voices are under attack. Dana, to my knowledge, never verbally lashed out at any entity , political or otherwise. But, she was a rare thing, a lawyer, who took elitist, legal jargon and made it accessible to the layperson. I didn’t know Dana personally, I knew her through her columns and media commentary. Dana helped me to understand this country’s legal system, without me ever having to meet her or pay her a red cent. You can’t downplay her contribution to this country just for the value of her column. Few lawyers or intellectuals here have been as lucid, accessible and relevant as she has been. That’s what made Dana true silk. She had a fearsome legal mind, and instead of keeping it to herself and her clients for handsome fees, she made it available to all of us for the price of a newspaper…less if you read her articles online.

This Hit will be a success not just because Dana Seetahal has been silenced, but because the wider public will silence itself, retreat further indoors, put more useless security systems in place…not understanding that in growing quiet and retreating indoors, that’s how we gave criminals control of this place. They have fed on and continue to feed on our fear and insecurities. Our very predictable response to violence, from enslavement to now has never been overt; it has been passive aggression. So we will lead trapped lives and break more laws in an unconscious lashing out at all that is wrong around us: more child abuse, more road rage, more petty crimes and more silences and looking the other way when corruption happens because suppose we end up like Dana?

I have no faith that the police going to really solve this crime. I aint mama guying myself. The first official response to Ms Seetahal’s murder was the AG…at 2 am he had a lucid statement prepared of how friendly he and Dana were, and how in the latest scandal involving him, she was actually in his corner, and, “I sorry Dana dead, but lemme take a selfie…” It was an extreme pappyshow on his part. A clear attempt at image management in the midst of what was clearly a national crisis. Then sometime after 2pm the PM roused herself fully to issue a bland cut and paste response from the government. Nothing to offer the victim’s family, or the shell shocked country consolation or hope. And then, by Sunday night, they were back in Media and PR mode. Whole television stations commandeered. Panels convened. Police press conferences, all over a background of National Security ads saying “Serious Crime is Down” despite the fact that we have 29 more murder in 2014 than we had in the corresponding period for 2013.

I expect that three or four bodies of victims of a murder will be discovered soon. Just like with the Selwyn Richardson murder. And whether we know it or not, those bodies would have belonged to Dana’s killers. It’s part of how here, a narco state, works. And the sooner we start noticing the patterns, the sooner we can either grow accustomed or fight back.

I’ve made the very conscious choice to keep fighting back. Dana’s assassination had me contemplative and sober yesterday, because I recognized immediately the threat to free speech and independent thinking this is for journalists, columnists, activists and bloggers like myself. But I’m not going to stop questioning this place and writing about the things that upset me. Dana’s Assassination is real….in fact, too real. We are in dangerous times. But silence and withdrawal has never been nor will ever be the cure for it.

This is it. This is it. This is it. She’s been hit….and Trinidad spread out on a wall bawling for the country it didn’t realize  it sat by and watched go.

#TrueSilk

#RIP

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A (Pappy) Show of Force

handcuffs

 

You couldnt miss the news on Sunday. The local police force, having learned quickly from this government, have become masters of their own promotion.

So, many of us woke up Sunday, or returned from places of worship, or the market to hear that East Port of Spain was under lock down. After nearly a month of killings – much of it lost in the news coverage because we were so busy following Warner’s by-election Campaign , oh, sorry, I mean Chaguanas West’s – Trinidad and Tobago began to notice that east of George Street was heating up again: Duncan and Nelson were at war and you could bank on hearing about at least two murders a day coming from that area. The news media, getting their information from the police, never ventured beyond the formulaic description of “gang-related” killing. We didn’t know what were the names of the gangs, or if the gangs were even from East Port of Spain…but you see, that doesn’t matter. This is Trinidad, where the myth is that all criminals are black and all black people are criminals. So the details don’t matter, just the big picture.

Burkey Burke, one of the major captures this weekend...he was released a day later.

Burkey Burke, one of the major captures this weekend…he was released a day later.

And it was the big picture the Police service was interested in on Sunday. Radio and Internet news headlines blared it out 90 Arrested in East Port of Spain Raid! Yuh see, they finally get their act together and doing something! Twelve arrested during the week and now, look, a whole 90 in one Sunday morning!

The 300 (officers) literally descended onto Nelson and Duncan, and according to residents, few saw a search warrant. They simply looked on while doors were kicked down, possessions were strewn about and their loveds ones were carted away. Many on just suspicion…no evidence. Which is why today, just two days after the raid, 59 of the 90 arrested are back out on the streets. And all 12 men held for the murders last week are back home as well.

Kamla announcing SoEThese past 2 days have been like SoE 2011 deja vu for anyone who happens to be black, from an urban community, and possibly from a single parent home…worse yet if you have dread locks. It is the second time in two years we have had a spike in the murder  toll lead to either a full fledged State of Emergency, or similar conditions. In 2011 for 3.5 months we were treated to nightly images of mostly young black men from urban and semi-urban communities being tossed into the back of police vehicles and carted off on suspicion of being criminals. Given the features and traits these folks had in common you got a good sound message of precisely what this Government and the wider society thinks is a criminal. You had the AG and Minister of National Security on television further endorsing the stereotypes too. And at the end of it all, 8000 victims of the SoE were released and sent back to their homes. No violent crime solved, no white collar crime solved. Big and small fish swimming normal normal.

This time around there was no official announcement of emergency conditions, no Kamla on tv nervously announcing from her kitchen that we under a limited state of nonsense, but the features were all there.

This weekend’s raid followed several months of the Minister of Housing, Roodal Moonila,l constantly alluding to residents of national housing units as criminals…specifically national housing units in black urban areas. Again…stereotypes from a Government Minister. You’d swear the Equal Opportunities Commission sleeping.

Moonilal has claimed that as Minister of Housing, with oversight for the Home Development Corporation, he is a landlord to thugs and criminals…which is why he needs his luxury Range Rover tricked out like he is the Commissioner of Police.

Then this week he made the comment that he was cracking down on migrants from Port of Spain to Central and South Trinidad. Anyone reading that article would be forgiven for thinking there was zoning in Trinidad and Tobago and that people from Port of Spain aren’t allowed to move and live in other areas. Moonilal should give up the Range Rover and get a cork hat, khaki suit and horse…..get his Boer act over and done with.

Aware that several arms of the state – Police and Govt – now looking patently bad, there are rumblings from the police that they may re-arrest some of the released persons. Almost as if Sunday was a dry-run and later this week will be the real deal. Let’s hope they have evidence this time and not a “feeling”.

The Prime Minister is returning to East Port of Spain on Wednesday. She may dissolve into tears again. Following her loss in popularity, coupled with this spike in crime, she must feel the need to do some serious PR and cajoling.

The irony is that every one is patently aware of why East Port of Spain is this way….a combination of neglect and total disrespect from regime after regime. But many of us don’t care. Once the crime not affecting us, is ok.

But briefly pandering to and then largely ignoring these areas has become a game…and if you were keeping score this weekend you’d realise that everyone is tied at a big fat zero…..except the ones that were murdered.

 

Full Dotish Mode in Overdrive!

Himself Still Investigating Himself

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

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

DCP Mervyn Richardson

DCP Mervyn Richardson

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

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

Thus far we have had:

The AG.....

The AG…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Himself Investigating Himself

The AG.....

The AG…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Richardson trying to make this investigation fail?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it that the Government wants it to fail?

Is it that Kamla and Co have something to hide?

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

Full steam ahead in Full Dotish Mode!

Happy Sunday!.

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)

 

#Keep Calm and Change Yuh Password!

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

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

Three days ago Keith Rowley had my jaw on the floor….three days later it’s still there, but for entirely different reasons.

By now you’ve heard about EmailGate, or as I like to call it: Keep Calm and Change Yuh PassWord!

Opposition Leader Keith Rowley lead another No Confidence Motion against Kamla and her Motley Crew, this time levelling allegations that were nothing short of criminal against the Prime Minister, the AG, the Minister of Labour, Works, The Kitchen, The Kitchen Sink Toute Bagai and everyone’s favourite lapdog and baggage carrier, Gallery Griffith.

candidate_keith-rowley-lgAccording to 30+ email exchanges read out by Rowley in Parliament on Monday, the PM and AG were well aware of the implications of S34, and were so pissed off at the diligence of reporter Denyse Renne, and DPP Roger Gaspard that they were conspiring to tap the phones of the DPP’s office, offer him a position on the judiciary as a bribe, and were considering doing harm to Ms Renne.

At the centre of this latest political shitstorm seemed to be the AG…or rather, his email accounts. One appeared to be anan@gmail.com while the other was a TSTT address.

Much ado was made about whether or not a person can have an email address shorter than 6 symbols in Parliament…had any of the MPs on either side of the house deigned to use their Ipads to conduct a Google search (see what I did there?) they would have gotten the answer in quick time and spared me sighing heavily at the monstrous stupidity of the proceedings. But you see, the last three days showed me in blatant terms how little we know about technologyin this country…and further how little we know about using it to build a case.

The AG.....

The AG…..

Dr Rowley took a massive gamble accusing the government of conspiring against the office of the DPP and conspiring to harm a citizen of the country with just a pile of transcripts. To have pulled it off successfully what was required were digital files or actual screen shots of the e-mails so that the members of the doubting public would have irrefutable proof, create a significant hue and cry and catapult the powers into action. In Rowley being the accuser, he had to realise that the burden of proof fell on him, and like the proverbial victim in a rape case, it was he who was on trial and not the perpetrator of the act of violation….unless of course, he playing coy and allowing the PP to hang themselves with their exuberance. But, again, even that is risky, unless he holding all the trump in his hands.

Without those digital files it all boiled down to playing the blame game….yet again. It is a game the country has been caught up in for the past 3 years and it has gotten old and tired. Despite the numerous scandals and missteps this government has gotten itself embroiled in, this Motion of No Confidence had the potential to land a PM, an AG and a senior government Minister in jail had it been handled right.

suruj in orange shirtNow, three days later, with Keith pointing fingers and Kamla sticking out her tongue and saying prove it, we have the country right back where it started…wondering who lying. And all of this just mere months away from a Local Government Elections and a By-Elections.

Ironically enough, it is Rowley who may be hardest hit from this, because once again the question of the type of leader he will be is raised. In fact, Kamla had a ball with that question in Parliament today..and showed us just how petty and vindictive she can be.

The further irony is that with some team work from his small bench of MPs, the Opposition could have come out looking better. Instead, with the formidable Mr Imbert missing they seemed unprepared to properly discuss and dissect the implications of an electronic paper trail of a conspiracy.

You see, while it is possible for the email accounts of 4 people to be hacked and controlled remotely….it is impossible for the owners of these email accounts to not notice the emails that are being sent to and from their accounts…unless they were never checking them. And if, as the AG admits, the TSTT account is his primary account, then surely he should have noticed all of those e-mails moving back and forth…unless they want us to believe that they don’t check email at all and Keith was controlling 4 accounts remotely and e-mailing himself all hours of the day and night through their accounts.

See, here’s my take on where these e-mails came from…and I am using myself as an example.

I have a tablet and a smart phone….I have all of my email accounts stored on both devices. If I lost a device I’d have to change the password on all of the accounts through my computer or another smart device, and hope that my files weren’t all saved to the device’s internal memory storage. If I bought a new device like say a smart phone, I’d have to make sure I wiped the old phone before selling it or giving it away….something tells me that a device from one of the persons got lost, stolen, sold or misplaced….and friends of the Opposition got their hands on it and got the information.

Given that the starring figure in all of these e-mails seems to be the AG….I’m willing to bet it is either his blackberry or tablet…..I’d faster go with phone because so many messages were sent late in the night and were one liners….the larger a device is, the more we type. We tend to keep our phones on or close to us late at nights. Also, on phonse we tend to send quick, one-line  responses.

If Stephen Williams wasn’t such a compromised Commissioner of Police, if we had a serious cyber crimes unit here, if the Integrity Commission actually functioned and if the President had the power he thinks he has….there would be an independent investigation and the first thing to be done would be to confiscate the devices of these individuals and to ask their email hosts for transcripts on the dates Rowley gave….

But this was a rape trial. Rowley accused them of fucking us over….it was up to him to prove there was unwanted penetration…and before he managed to accomplish that in Parliament…he pulled out.

Keep Calm and Change Yuh Password!

Clock Back and Roll

 

Power Outage 2It’s been a hectic 3 days….and it has nothing to do with Christ’s resurrection…

We are still to receive any answers from the folks at PowerGen, NGC or Phoenix Gas as to how the fuel levels dropped to so sharply Thursday evening to lead to the black out in the late hours of Thursday night into Friday morning…..

As you know, I’ve questioned the clock on the wall at Powergen Penal and the times on the wall and the times of the PM’s visit and what it says about best practice at PowerGen and what it might imply for the PMs visit to PowerGen.

So, I’m going to raise a few more questions again this evening.

You know that everytime a camera takes a picture it does a time stamp of the picture on the file. In older cameras you would actually see the time stamp on the image.

In more advanced cameras the time stamp….or meta data remains hidden to the human eye.

If you upload pictures to FB the date stamp is removed…but not all sites remove the time info from pics.

So let’s say you sent pictures to a site like TT Energy Update your time stamp remains.

If you click on those pictures and copy and paste their link into a website like Find Exif.com then you can see the date stamp on a picture….by that, I mean the time the picture was taken.

I got time stamps of 8:13 am.

Take a look at these screen shots and then try it yourself using the links i provided above.

Check out the time stamp on this...

Check out the time stamp on this…

timestamp3

Now the time stamp says 8:13….AM….the clock says 21:13:58…..factor in that these clocks are attached to satellite computers and so daylight savings time pushed the clock forward by an hour…then the PowerGen clock is 12 hrs off plus 1 hr for the daylight.

Even if you don’t accept that….I seriously doubt that the internal clock on the camera that took the PMs pictures changed its time to show 8:13 am….

Tell me what you think the timestamp data tells you.

In the meantime, you think PowerGen can send any senior technicians to explain what really happened last Thursday night?

Full Dotish and Full Dangerous!

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.

 

…Can the Centre Hold?

 

chinua-achebeI went to bed Thursday night to the news that Chinua Achebe had died. Many of us in Trinidad and Tobago may know nothing about Africa or being African, but we know Okonkwo, his most famous character from his most famous novel.Things Fall Apart is one of those rare books where if the words seminal, masterpiece, classic and canon are used to describe it, the description would actually be apt.

 

That novel was my introduction to Africa. Not the Africa showed on television at nights that showed malnourished children and their parents lined up for food, while words like famine, refugee camps and ethnic warfare were bandied about. Achebe taught me that Africa had, not just one, but many cultures and civilizations long before the Europeans arrived to dismantle it. He would go on to write several novels, poetry and essays; all of which explored Africa before and after colonization and before and after independence. What happened to Africa in the aftermath of European colonization and independence bears striking resemblances to Trinidad and Tobago, and to many other places that share a history of colonization and exploitation.

 

chinua-achebe (1)In the years since secondary school I have been privileged to not just read more Achebe, but to teach him as well. And to teach him to students who have no concept of Africa or African culture. Students who will easily identify as African or even black on a survey, and have no concept of what Africa or describing oneself as African means.

 

In 2011, as part of the marathon session during which the government justified using something as serious as a State of  Emergency to treat with crime, several ministers quoted the poem by William Butler Yeats that influenced the title of Achebe’s novel. Lincoln Douglas in particular went on to recount the story of Okonkwo, and to explain why a society falling apart at the seams needed its constitutional rights taken away in order to put a check on crime. Had Achebe heard Douglas’ butchered analysis of what is arguably his most recognized text, it may well have caused him serious discomfort. It set my blood pressure on boil; because it wasn’t the spate of murders that signaled things were falling apart, but rather the very clear fact that a government was quite willing to tamper with the rights of citizens in order to further abuse them.

 

Since the SoE, I believe our country and quality of life have gotten worse. And there are many ways in which they have worsened. Crime we all know is at an all time high. And our government, who roundly abused Patrick Manning three years ago for relying on handouts and sporting facilities to solve crime have come and outdone the PNM at its own game. So much so that the Prime Minister in the space of a week has announced that a report done by Selwyn Ryan says more sporting facilities will solve the country’s crime problem. I am hoping to see the report to confirm this myself. Because if that is the case, given the number of recreation grounds in Central and South Trinidad there should be no murders in these parts of the country. Certainly not any with dismembered bodies and heads lying about.

 

I would be interesting to see whether Dr Ryan and his team have made any mention of the other support systems that can assist in alleviating crime and the general societal break down that the President discussed in his inaugural address.

 

Having taught at the secondary level for eight years at both government and religious board schools, I’ve seen first hand how deviant behaviour develops and then leads to criminal behaviour. I have seen students at both prestigious and government schools learn to cheat, steal and lie. I have seen some of these students go on to become criminals. Sporting grounds and million dollar basketball competitions do not solve an already rampant crime problem; these things can play a role in curbing the tendency only at the early stages.

 

But what is also needed are a number of things: an effective and relevant education system; an effective system of counseling and social work; an efficient economy where money doesn’t trickle down but is properly allocated to all the areas that require development; an employment environment that is free of nepotism and corruption, where people are promoted on merit and not their relatives. We also need effective border patrols, a criminal and judicial system that doesn’t favour the wealthy and privileged, and a police service that is trained in better investigative and detection methods.

 

Everything I have suggested there is elementary. The average man in the street can tell you this. The current government promised it. Yet now they pretend not to know it.

 

And it is left to us citizens who hunger and thirst after that elusive thing called good governance so much that we voted out bad to go worse, to figure our way out of this problem.

 

The government has made it clear that it is not equipped, or even willing to solve any of the problems that challenge us. Tim Goopeesingh continues to make mistake after mistake with his education policies. His crowning achievement to date has been to order shipments of laptops. Thereafter…nothing. With every new medical crisis Dr Fuad Khan finds his way into radio and newspaper interviews, gives the big grand charge about cleaning things up, and then nothing.

 

Our Minister and Ministry of National Security have made us the joke of the Caribbean if not the Western world. And at every turn you have people still referring to Warner as the hardest working minister. Flooding is not a thing of the past, neither is crime. So what exactly has he been successful at? Nothing…

 

In Things Fall Apart, Achebe describes for us a society that is on the cusp of change. A new culture has come and is eroding the old ways and traditions. Exploitation, oppression and greed will soon become the order of the day in the Africa he writes about, and so will poor governance, weak leaders and military coups. Achebe wrote about an Africa that experienced terrible transitional pains. The kind of pain we are now experiencing. Will we fall apart, or will we hold our centre?