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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

De Vice Cyah Done!

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TWICKS (This Week In Clusterf@$KS March 26th – 31st): Wardrobe Malfunctions!

Guiness anyone? Photo courtesy Trinidad Express website.

Jack Warner just got appointed to the National Security Council, so whether you are aware of it or not, we are officially a country of  April Fools. But to the victor (of the UNC Internal Elections goes the spoils). Jack is probably the only performing minister in Kamla’s government these days and since crime continues to plague her and us maybe the Minister of everything will be able to help….when he done solve we crime problem is best she give him Dookeran portfolio too.

My mother has this saying she uses when a person is unwittingly showing his or her true colours: “ahhhhh (insert name) yuh petticoat showing!”

This government has been having wardrobe malfunctions from it’s first month in office and it continues. Is like they need a seamstress. But the wardrobe malfunctions have been glaring this week and I want to discuss a few of them.

Gimme Ah Diesel Riddim to start….

If you missed the PM crudely waving 2 cannisters of oil and announcing that God is a Trini, then surely you heard the non-stop radio ads announcing the Jubiliee Discovery by Petrotrin all day Friday and Saturday….or maybe you managed to miss Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial on CNC3 Friday evening announce that we have an oil boom. It’s not uncommon for oil to be found off our shores…it’s how we’ve been making a living in Trinidad and Tobago for about a century. But last Thursday our leader of Government revealed just how desperate she is to give Trinbagonians hope in their economic future as well as to distract them from the chaos that is her government.

Keep in mind that this is a government that has promised economy diversification in their 7 Pillars of Development Plan, aka 2010 Manifesto. To date we have seen few signs of any real thrust at diversification…and we all know why, to diversify, you need to take the self same oil money and invest it into other areas…..but if that oil money being poured into projects to line the pockets of friends and cronies and to fund projects that are normally funded off international loans, then you aint have too much $$$$ remaining to invest, eh?

The PM barely rest down the cannisters before objections to her claim began. The Keith exposed her tactics as naked politics, and Colm Imbert, a man I often find annoying, gave a pretty comprehensive explanation as to why he’s not impressed by the oil find.  Couple Imbert’s comments with David Renwick’s article about our plummeting crude production situation and the comments from other energy industry heads about the PM jumping the gun on the oil find…not boom Ms Ramdial… and you’ll realise that Kamla is beyond desperate these days. The economy is stagnant. Add that to the TCL strike, on the heels of a 107-day SoE that crippled several industries and markets, and a less than stellar Carnival (don’t let CAL figures about arrivals distract you, Port of Spain’s streets were less crowded this year) and right now, people aren’t seeing any blue skies. So, being the spin and PR machine that they are, the Govt decided to blow the current oil find out of proportion and make it appear as if we turning the bend and soon everyone will be swimming in dollars again. It is economist Dhaneshwar Mahabir who tore Kamla’s claims down to its brass tacks when he announced that 48 million barrels represents about $150m in revenue….when you place that against our annual budget of $50bn….it’s not even a drop in the bucket. When you consider that almost $100m was spent just on Carnival….study yuh head good and ask how many members of the group Kamla keeps calling the “common man” going to really benefit from that oil find. Smoke and Mirrors folks….nothing to see here! We find oil…the solution to every problem….meanwhile the economy, that depending on this plummeting oil production still waiting to be diversified. But when PR music inside yuh brain…you feel no pain. Put yuh canister in the air and wave like yuh mad!

San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray

 

Gyal Bend Over….

This gyal, she wukking up ah storm

Wining in ah circle, watch how she perform

She leave COP and jump to UNC

Become deputy leader

got Prakash on he knees!

Marlene Coudray has without a doubt created a far bigger storm than this tea cup partnership can contain. Like many others, when Marlene jumped ship…or was poached…depending on how you want to look at it, I was unperturbed. I live through Rupert Griffith and Vincent Lasse crossing the floor, Marlene Coudray go stun me?

But is when COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar started to zest up he self and talk about poaching, and wanting back the mayorship whose “allocation” was given to him that I start to pause and check out the thing. It seems that Local Govt Politics has its own morality as well. at first I didn’t understand why Ramadhar felt it was his right to choose the mayor until I realised that in local government elections it’s the party with the most seats that consults with the councillors and other pertinent bodies to select a mayor. And since is a coalition government we have, and not a coalition party, the Fyzabad Accord (which beginning to sound like a kaiso) apparently delineated which parties within the coalition would get to determine which mayorships went to whom. So the COP got Arima and San Fernando as part of their historic 2010 scramble for Trinidad and Tobago. What startled me was that these arrangements were ironed out since May 2010, and Local Government Elections happened in July of 2010…so these parties were very confident of victory.

On the basis of this understanding, I felt that Prakash was well within his right to determine who is the mayor of Sando. The PP can’t determine it because it isn’t a party….but the COP and UNC are…and the COP was told Sando was under it’s remit. So, then, you ask yourself, what’s the problem? Well no one wants to say…least of all Winston Dookeran who living up to the nickname Duck and Run these days because he won’t answer any question you pose to him about the government or his party, the COP, straight……maybe that is the price you pay if you have your eyes on higher office. What is clear though is that Coudray’s claims that the COP didn’t elect/appoint/nominate her might have some truth to it, since a recent interview with businesswoman Daphne Bartlett indicates that the current leader of the COP may be misleading the country into believing that Coudray had been their pick. There is talk that Marlene wasn’t really the COP pick, that it was instead  a prominent doctor from South Trinidad. There is talk that the COP was forced to choose Coudray. There is talk that Coudray is tipped to run in the expected by-election for San Fernando East….earlier this week there was talk that the PM would give in to Ramadhar’s request, give him the mayorship, and give Coudray the position of Vice-President of the Senate…thereby bussing Lyndira Oudit’s throat. There has been much talk….so much talk that the heads of the coalition government talked for 5 hours on Friday evening and the COP executive, MPs etc are meeting at 9 am this morning to talk some more….and all of this becauase Marlene Coudray exercised her right to change her political mind!

Prakash Ramadhar (far left) and Kamla Persad-Bissessar (far right) in happier days.

In the last 22 months we have been bombarded with non-stop examples of how strong this political panchayat is. But it is during this week that the seams, cracks and petticoat hemlines began to show themselves to the rest of the country. An article in the Trinidad Express this week had top COP officials lamenting that the party was being destroyed from day one of the coalition government. Now, is time to ask yourselves a few questions. If the UNC was calling the shots from day one, or engaging in abusive behaviour, why get into political bed with them? Why wait so long to speak out on the issues within the party? Is it a case of a battered woman taking and taking and cyah take no more? Or is it a case of protecting your political privileges now because is not just your dignity that being taken away, is your money too?

The COP as a political entity has been a vast disappointment to its membership. Anyone can tell you that they were the Trojan Horse (Virus) in which the UNC came to power. All non-unc voters stained their fingers for the PP because they felt that the COP would provide a buffer to the UNC, a party that since it’s 1995-2000 term has been seen as corrupt, nepotistic and ethnocentric. And the current behaviour of many members of the party have established that the behaviour hasn’t changed. But, where the COP should have jumped in to provide checks and balances and be the voice of the people who voted them in and reflect their principles, the COP’s leaders and members have remained either sickeningly silent or eager to please in a psychophant way. Remember that it is Prakash Ramadhar who defended Reshmi Ramnarine’s appointment as the SIA head…then back pedal and say he don’t know the woman. The COP also supported the SoE wholeheartedly, even though within their ranks they knew it was a bad idea that would end disastrously. But on the evening that the  SoE was announced Prakash was sitting at the Pink Palace in Phillipines lending support. The COP recently helped defeat the Motion of No Confidence against the PM…and to date I have heard no comments from the COP about the PM’s abuse of  the official state residence, her use of her sister as a travel assistant, her maintenance of not one, but two residences as PM, the abuse of the govt travel card by 2 Govt Ministers and a whole host of other issues. Instead Ramadhar has joined the behaviour of the UNC in Parliament, calling the Opposition Leader names like corbeaux while delivering speeches…and I had to think et tu Prakash?

When the COP talks about country first politics, which country are they referring too? Is is some imaginary space that I don’t know about? Their entire approach to politics from day one has been just as selfish and abusive of the country, as the UNC’s has been abusive of them. They have bowed, scraped and fought to remain in the powers of corridor not to help the country but to be able to help themselves. This party has had numerous opportunities to retain its integrity and actually serve the interests of the people that voted it in to power. It’s 22 months and 8 days of governance by this PP government and the first time the COP took a firm stance on an issue was when the party felt it was going to lose the  Mayorship of San Fernando….and when you understand how local government projects run and the kind of money it can generate, you will realise that is not the political position they vex about so much as the economic and political largesse that they stand to lose once this mayorship is out of their hands…in short funding and contracts folks…yes…it boils down to $$$$$ and cents!

If Kamla backs down and gives Prakash what he wants, the COP may win a political battle, but for me, the mere fact that this is what finally galvanised Ramadhar into action shows me precisely where his mind is at…on the money…the ministerial positions…the power.

If Kamla doesn’t back down, then this is the COP’s last opportunity to salvage the little that might be left of its reputation with its core supporters. Make a stand, and position yourselves in Parliament in a way that you can effect real change when it comes to laws and legislation….and Prakash while you at it..can you and Vernon provide some real evidence to arrest Calder Hart….it looking bad that all all yuh produce since Jan/Feb 2010 is Sherine Hart’s birthpaper….where the evidence all yuh promise? Because like Anand Ramlogan can’t do the work that we giving him millions of dollars to do.

Leader of Buffonery in Parliament

Before I run off, there is one more little issue I want to raise….Roodal Moonilal. As Leader of Government Business he is a failure. I have taken to thinking of him as Leader of Buffoonery in the Parliament. At first I thought Moonilal was just overeager and underinformed…but I realise now that Moonilal’s modus operandi is to actually use the cover of parliament to slander, libel and attack with impunity. The latest incident is his accusing Noel Garcia of abusing a Govt Travel Card and owing the govt $.5m dollars. Interestingly enough the Hansard Records of late 2010 show that Moonilal had raised the issue 2 years ago, within its proper context…as a loan from the HDC and had asked where the payments were. Two years later, under pressure because not one, but at least 2 ministers were caught abusing the public purse Moonilal used information he had at hand and misrepresented it in Parliament. Suddenly the loan Garcia was approved for from the HDC board (HDC is a bank?) becomes a government travel card. The travel card’s limit is US$10,000. So how would Garcia have been able to spend $.5m????? And let’s for the sake of argument say it happened…back in 2007….the new government aint do anything about it yet after 22 months in government? It was so obvious that Moonilal was using his parliamentary privilege to take potshots at a private citizen who was not in a position to immediately defend himself….and for that Moonilal you are NASTY! Because you haven’t even had the good grace to come out and apologise. And this is recurrent behaviour with you…I haven’t forgotten how you lied on the people of Beetham and how you blamed diesel bunkering activities on them and never came back to correct your lies. Is this what the Parliament has come to?  A place where we  lie on citizens and attempt to pass faulty laws?

Then is best we shut down parliament and open up a theatre of the absurd!

This govt has shown in the past week that it is self-serving, dishonest, abusive, nepotistic….and led by a “special needs” woman who will go to any end to fool the people, fool the people, fool the people! Somebody dress tail cock up!

 

De Vice Cyah Done!

 

TWICKS (This Week in Clusterf@$KS: March 19-25th) Elections, Ejections, Insurrections…and Good Family Values

And the parodies of Kamla continue. Photos today all courtesy memgenerator.net.

 

How you think Suruj Rambachan take he coffee this morning after Jack Warner’s win as party chairman? Black and bitter?

Well, as I predicted, Jack is Back and is not we say so, is the people say so!

Following a UNC internal election that was fraught with problems: voters being turned away,  

Voters not finding their names on the list even though some of them were lifetime members, and an extremely low voter turn out, that not even UNC Elections Chairman Khemchan Ramdath wants to comment on. According to Sampson Nanton, of CNC 3, who was at the Rienzi Complex last night, UNC voter turn out was approximately 13,000; this is from a list of 81,000 registered voters.  When questioned about the low turnout, Ramdath quickly corrected Nanton and said he “feel” the number is actually closer to 20,000. That didn’t make it better…this is a party that swept to victory in 2010 with hundreds of thousands of people voting for it….it’s registered list of voters is 81,000 and barely 20% of its electorate turned out to vote….Are the party members disentchanted? Is it that they didn’t know yesterday was the Internal Elections? That can’t be…because Herbert Volney text me twice and people from Jack Warner’s camp was actually making phone calls…even to PNM members, to come out an vote. So what, pray tell, accounts for the low voter turn out yesterday. And how can the PM claim that yesterday’s elections shows democracy when there were all of these flaws and discrepancies?

Is she lying? Being ironic? Or being disingenuous?

I can’t begin to tell you the concerns this raises for me with the 2015 General Elections about voter turn-out, as well as the transparency of voting lists. Why is it that in an election process that described itself as open, free and fair, so many people couldn’t have access to the voting lists? The UNC really needs to check itself, the party’s name has become synonymous with corruption, deceit, malpractice, litigation and lots of other generally nasty things. And considering that a significant sector of this country regards the party as the “Indian” party and representative of the “Indian” demographic, by proxy, people are going to associate the party’s negative image with its supporters….lemme break it down: If the party corrupt, then its supporters corrupt…..and you know how does generalise in Trinidad and Tobago…If people saying the supporters corrupt it will soon be “all indians corrupt”. Watch yourself UNC, you are doing a disservice to your supporters with your questionable activities.

Well, everybody know Marlene Coudray removed herself from the COP this week….a self-ejection that had the politics hot. Word is this morning that new comer Coudray beat Fuad “Card” Khan for the position of 3rd deputy political leader in the UNC internal elections. But that aint even the juiciest piece of Marlene’s story….after all that bluster and grand charge from Joseph Toney and Prakash Ramadhar this week; and all the comments about how the “poaching” of party members by the UNC is a dangerous thing etc…and Marlene taunting Prakash to say she is not an egg, she can’t be poached (10 pts to Marlene with that inaccurate response to a word whose meaning she unclear on)…is to wake up this morning and find out that is more than the pestle in the mortar and that COP’s relationship with Marlene Coudray very complicated and shaky since 2010.

So it appears that Marlene knew precisely what she meant when she told journalists earlier this week that she stopped being an active COP member almost two years now. And Prakash….I don’t need to tell you that the current story that bubbling up from through the cracks of your party’s information channels smelling bad!

It’s been another week of protests in south Trinidad, from Claxton Bay to Mayaro. we had that sterling bit of behaviour from MP Winston Gypsy Peters this week that indicated only too well the People’s Panchayat govt’s position on political patrimony…we only here to serve our people….not PNM people…..the PM, as ever, was mum on Gypsy’s outburst. Her refusal to address any controversial issue head on has become my favourite feature of female leadership. Because whenever I hear any of the feminists defending her cry for “special needs” as a female PM, I think yes, of course….sealant for her lips to avoid explanation or accountability for any and all matters of state that require actual leadership!

The strike at TCL has also taken on a sinister tone, with a lot of violence and each side labelling the other terrorist. Errol of Clan McLeod, aka the Labour Minister, is treading cautiously as mediator of the negotiations. I can almost hear him now…Boromir style: One does not simply intervene between TCL Management and OWTU Protestors!

But the biggest story this week has to be Squandermania inna 4D….aka Family Values…aka the PM the big spender and minder of her entire family on the State’s pocket.

This week several stories made it’s way to the surface:

It is alleged that Kamla used the Govt Visa Travel card to pay for her Machel Monday pumped up kicks..aka $5000 Louis Vs.

It is alleged that Kamla pays almost $2000 daily to have her hair done. It is also alleged that she fired Bally as her hair dresser mere weeks ago because he had become too pricey and has instead hired a Filipino woman to dress her hair. This hair dresser is housed in a hotel at the State’s expense. Mind you, the PM’s official residence has a hair dressing salon in it….why doesn’t the PM just use her hair dresser there? Could it be she doesn’t actually live there?

It is printed in the newspaper, that Kamla’s sister Vidwattie Newton, who she swears she pays out of her own pocket, received a check from the govt in 2010 that Nicole Dyer is now claiming is a per diem for travelling with her sister on some trip or the other. The PNM has promised to keep the heat on the matter.

It is alleged that Vidwattie Newton, 2 sons and 1 other nephew live at the PM’s official residence while the PM herself lives at her private home in Phillipines.

It has been stated categorically by Minister of Foreign Affairs, sew…Suruj Rambachan that the PM’s use of state funds to look after her family, and her use of not one, but two residences, is actually as a result of values she acquired from growing up in an extended family and therefore, we should be happy, and stop criticising the PM because in practising nepotism and abuse of state funds the PM is in fact an exemplar of good family values.

It is now alleged that an elevator that was purshased by the state to be installed in an HDC building has been deployed to another State building, the PM’s official residence. There will now be another elevator in the PM’s residence to allow her to get to her bedroom more comfortably.

This PM has surpassed Patrick Manning for her open abuse of public funds. To date the lavishness of the PM’s official residence is what can be pinned on Manning…and his defence is a simple one…it belongs to the State. How does the Kamla justify leaving her family to live at the state’s expense and then having taxpayers support  the upkeep, security and maintenance of a second home? And all of this money is being squandered during harsh economic times….so the the average Trinbagonian who ketching dey arse to make ends meet, gets to hear about the PM and her friends and family, living it up!

Kamla has gone quickly from being a breath of fresh air, and symbol of new politics to smelling like something decayed and stale. She is colonial politics dressed up in expensive clothes, hair and make-up and made to look modern. But the citizens know the difference….that’s what accounts for the low voter turnout even from her support base and the daily criticism from her objectors and opposition.

And in the manner of all foolish leaders in this country Kamla has now become a joke to be parodied around the internet in various jokes and memes….and at this rate….she’s going to be a historical footnote in our political history come 2015.

In other news, the murder toll is now 86 murders for the year thus far. TSTT CEO resigns under protests and West Indies beating Australia in One Day games…it could only be 2012 folks.

Have a great week!

DE VICE CYAH DONE!

TWICKS (This Week in Clusterf@$KS) March 12 -18th: Quarries, Cards and Cunning!

Too Little Money and too many problems with this Government!

A lot happened this week to paint both the ruling Government and the Opposition in a bad light, if you ask me. And in all instances the public’s reactions and responses revealed that as a country many of us are frustrated and despondent….and  even more of us are enabling and encouraging a particular old style of politics. This old style of politics….maybe I should say current, because it aint gone no where….is one that sees the supporters of a party defending their nonsense and wrong doing; finding spurious, trumped up, even ridiculous reasons to support the poor decision -making of their government; turning a blind eye to the sins of their government or constantly comparing and contrasting both of the major parties here and deciding who “more worse” than whom. And of course you have the people who just simply spout total propaganda regardless of the sense it makes because they refuse to be disloyal to their party. And these are symptoms in all of the camps: COP, PNM and UNC.

One of the largest stories coming out of the news this week was Scott’s Quarry in Verdant Vale, Blanchisseuse. For most Trinidadians, the mining at Scott’s Quarry was an environmental issue…something for tree-huggers and desktop activists to get hot and bothered about. For me, however, what  bubbled up at Scott’s Quarry this week is yet another symptom of the corrupt political system that us citizens encourage.
Asa Wright Nature Reserve is one of a handful of green spaces in Trinidad (Tobago is a different kettle of fish) that’s managed with any effectiveness….and there is a lot of room for improvement, don’t get me wrong, but at least the folks there have a clear cut vision and mission….this aint no Debe Water Park that poorly planned, executed and counting on its friends inside WASA for tax payer subsidised water. But our environmental policies reflect both a government and a citizenry barely think about the environment or care about it. It seems that no clear link exists in most citizens’ minds about the role of the environment to their well-being….I guess because we don’t factor it in $$$$$ and sense!

So in 2004/5 thereabouts you had a Patrick Manning-led PNM reversing environmental laws for the sake of the construction industry. And we all know who the leaders of the construction industry are….these fellas needed aggregate for construction….and in order to quarry the EMA needed to give permission….so Manning decided to do away with the permission for any quarry under 150 acres. And since then, small to medium quarries have been set up all over the Northern Range, from Santa Cruz to Toco, blasting away, screwing up the environment, silting up our waterways, depleting our wildlife and water supplies and increasing our flooding issues annually.

Yet, talk to the average PNM supporter and these days Manning is the greatest thing since sliced bread because under him the construction industry was booming, people were working and things were getting done. As far as they are concerned is ungrateful Trinis who put Manning out of power.  Few PNM supporters want to remember or point out that there was a lot of questionable stuff going on with Manning, Calder Hart, UDECOTT and the company that has the mining contract for Scott’s Quarry, Sunway Construction. Perhaps this article from Andre Bagoo, or this story from the Trinidad Guardian or this flashback story from the Newsday in 2010 when the DPP requested an investigation will refresh people’s memories.

Now study yuh head good and start to ask some probing questions.
This is not the same Calder Hart and Sunway that Prakash Ramadhar, Vernon De Lima, Jack Warner and Kamla Persad-Bissessar carry on about and build their 2010 elections campaign on? Then how come this contract still valid and not under investigation and this government still doing business with them? How come this People’s Partnership government, that announced it had an environmental policy, has yet to fulfil any of that policy?

Where the re-planting of denuded hillsides from the 120-day plan?

Why are smelter plants still on the agenda?

Why are  our hillsides being mined and quarried for sub-par aggregate to fill the roads?

And on what grounds was the mining really shut down? Sunway has a legal contract and did nothing wrong….did you shut down the mining to distract people from the fact that you are in fact in bed with a company that you lambast Manning and the PNM for?????? Something smelling funny, Kamla, and is not your $5000 shoes.

The next major issue of the week is the spending habits of this government as evidenced in Vernella and Fuad’s credit card syndrome. Yesterday I printed a copy of Government Minister Salary and Allowances so that people could get an idea of the kind of money a minister makes either annually or monthly. I wanted them to see too that everything Shoppin-Toppin claims she was using her credit card for was actually covered by the State (read, tax payers and treasury money).  Shoppin Toppin and her husband have access to free travel to and from Trinidad, free meals, free accommodation and an expense account for entertainment…..so what on earth was the credit card being used for?

And couple that with the fact that she never read the rules of the credit card and keeps insisting that she did nothing wrong. You broke laws, Toppin….LAWS! And yet the leaders of this government turn a blind eye to this?

Then Fuad Khan jump up and take front and apologise before we find out about his crime….as if apologising for criminal activity in advance absolves you….oh, wait, under this government it does….so Fuad broke laws, and all he has to do is issue an apology and everything is ok? So if Amy Annmunthodo abuser and killer say he sorry…he could get out of jail free? Ask all yuh selves these questions, people. What are we  allowing and agreeing to when we defend and pardon these people?

Police brutality and violence came under scrutiny again this week and I going to boil this down real simple….in 2012 for 107 days the government of Trinidad and Tobago gave the TTPS absolute carte blanche to arrest and detain whoever they wanted, however they wanted without evidence or proof…mere suspicion was enough….it was called the State of Emergency…remember that? Citizen’s rights were suspended during that period and we were living in a police state…..nobody expected there to be any backlash from the Police Service in the aftermath of the SoE? 107 days they aint have to account to anyone for their behaviour and actions…..and brutal police raids shocking all yuh now?

The most major story this week though, had to be Kamla the Nepotist! In a series of missteps that have either played out in Parliament or are being covered by the local media, a larger picture is being painted of Kamla Rani doing precisely what she accused Patrick Manning of during his tenure as leader. It appears that the PM’s sister may be living at the official prime ministerial residence. This is the same sister that the State of Trinidad and Tobago has spent roughly TT$1m on to cover her travel expenses with the PM for 4 documented, cabinet-approved trips abroad.

Now ask yourselves a few questions:
1. If the PM is allowed a personal assistant or Protocol Officer, why doesn’t she simply hire a female protocol officer that she can trust?
2. If it is state practice to pay for a travel adviser/assistant why all of the lies and where is the evidence to support your claim?
3. Who are these cabinet members that are approving this use of our state funds?
4. Where is the Minister of Finance in all of this? He has final say on State spending that includes the credit cards that Fuad and Vernella abused, as well as okaying spending on the PMs sister…..why is Dookeran not being made to answer questions on this issue?
5. Is Prakash Ramadhar and the COP in agreement with all this abuse of state funding and nepotism?

One of the disturbing things coming out of this issue with the PM’s sister is that supporters of her government are now volubly supporting this kind of disturbing behaviour. Hazel Manning’s appointment as a Senator and Government minister is now being cited heavily….Camille Robinson-Regis’s abuse of the government travel card is also being used as an excuse for the crimes of the People’s Partnership….As if in Trinidad TWO WRONGS MAKE IT RIGHT!

Since 2010 I have been saying that the foolishness Manning did in his tenure as Prime Minister set certain disgusting precedents in this country and now makes it very possible for Kamla and her Deck of Fools to do things that are illegal, underhanded and immoral and they will be excused simply because “de PNM do it too!” When I tell PNMites that is Manning have we in this monkey pants, they get vex with me. And their lame fall back response is that the UNC/COP coalition doing worse. At this stage we still making comparison’s? Bbut seriously, if Manning’s government had set higher standards, would the country now be accepting crime and criminal activity that passes for governance under the People’s Partnership?

So the question remains how is the current version of the PNM under Rowley  improving itself so that we don’t have a repeat of the negative parts of the Manning years to look forward to? You know, the nepotism, squandermania and arrogant leadership…..

And how are members of this coalition government helping this government to keep its nose clean? Apart from the MSJ…who nobody taking seriously because of its small numbers and lone senator…. why is no other member of the Partnership speaking out on the obvious corruption, nepotism and abuse of public funds? Is it that Prakash Ramadhar is in agreement with Kamla’s behaviour or has he sold out the trust of his supporters to protect his position in parliament and along the corridors of power…..Et tu, Prakash?

Kamla, in 2010, came into government on a campaign that promised to get rid of:

  • Dictatorial Leadership
  • Squandermania and abuse of State Funds
  • Nepotism
  • Crime
  • A single export economy
  • Bad environmental practices
  • nation wide flooding.

Study all yuh head good and tell me how much, if any of those goals has she remained committed to; and what progress she has made with any of them…..in the mean time, Prakash…any comments from you brotherman?

De Vice Cyah Done!

TWICKS (This Week In Clusterf@$KS): The Empress and the Top Shopper!

The PM.

It seems each week that the Politics and the Crimes here take on new levels…my jaw running out of floor to hit!

In the aftermath of the Motion of No-Confidence(MONC) the issues that would pre-occupy the national consciousness this week were:

  • Cpt Gallery Griffith was abusive to an Opposition MP,
  • Reshmi Ramnarine has changed her name and was/has been allegedly employed within a Govt Ministry again
  • Minister Vernella Alleyne-Toppin has abused the privilege of the Govt Travel Card.

Minister of Tobago Affairs Mrs Vernella Alleyne-Toppin. Photo courtesy govt.org website.

Now the interesting thing in all of this is that many people who often stood up for and spoke out against corruption, malfeisance and abuse under the past PNM regime have been virtually mum this week. Not a comment was made….even more interesting were the comments of people who saw nothing wrong with Minister Toppin using the card in ways for which it was not intended. The rules and guidelines are all there. The card is to be used for international travel, and even though Mrs Toppin is from Tobago, surely she remembers that it is a twin-island republic and knows that Trinidad does not count as international travel. Further, the card is not to be used for withdrawals except when overseas. The various newspapers and radio-programmes this week have painted a picture of total abuse of the card from June to Dec 28th, 2011. In Parliament, Roodal Moonilal fell for the trap created by the Opposition when The Keith said he had receipts to the tune of $4000. Moonilal crowed cockily about what was $4000? And the amount has been paid off in full. By Tuesday of this week we knew that the actual amount was $68,000.00 and that Toppin was in deed and fact overdrawn on the card, whose limit is US$10,000.00.

Toppin, following the examples set by her Prime Minister and other govt colleagues  spent the majority of the week ducking the media, and instead claiming she had to attend to her ailing husband….is this the same husband who it is alleged functions as her personal driver and is so in receipt of a government salary? When she eventually emerged from attending to her husband, her response was to send a press release to CNMG in which she indicated that she was not aware that she had done anything wrong. In short, Shoppin Toppin is using ignorance of the law as her defence. But it’s stupidly ingenuous if only because she has to sign a document that iterates all the rules of the card. So is Toppin saying that she signed off on the card and never read the rules? Is she saying that as a Govt Minister she is allowed to abuse the system out of ignorance and not have to deal with the consequences?
It is alleged that many of the withdrawals at ATMs were done by a close relative of Toppin’s and if anyone were to ever get the ATM video footage we might find out who precisely has been using this Govt Travel card all over the country. When reached for comment, the PM insists that the card has been paid off, ignoring the fact that the issue is not the amount owed on the card, but the flouting of the rules and conditions that show that Shoppin Toppin and the government that supports her are capable of corruption and turning a blind eye to it.

What troubles the Pantomime about this is the message it sends. This Govt is corrupt, doesn’t care and won’t do better. In fact, when a member does wrong, the other members will rush to defend and protect the wrongdoer….all in an attempt to retain its hold on power.

When people voted for the COP, it was hoped that its presence in the Government would provide the voice of reason and restraint and ensure such things didn’t occur under a UNC that everyone saw as predatory and parasitic….instead the COP has turned out to be the greatest disappointment…..the Trojan Horse that brought this UNC into Govt….the date rape drug to end all date rape drugs.

The Commish!

If Shoppin Toppin’s abuse of the public coffers wasn’t enough, we then had issue with Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs being told that he was wrong to rent a plane to the tune of TT$.9m. Mind you, this is in the aftermath of AG Ramlogan gallerying heself in Parliament and saying that Gibbs had full authority to sign off on a deal and that Gibbs didn’t have to answer to anyone on the matter of how much he spent because he was in total control of his budget. Now, weeks later we are hearing from the Solicitor General that Gibbs was in the wrong…..Am I to assume then that the AG didn’t know what he was speaking about? Then what’s his purpose? Isn’t he supposed to be providing legal advice to the Government? If he doesn’t know the laws then how can he do his job? Why are we paying him a salary?

The AG.

Another nasty thing happened this week too that involved the AG. The former SAUTT Head’s reputation was attacked under the cover of Parliament. The AG implied that Brig Peter Joseph ( a man that the govt had to shell out $1m to in legal matters surrounding his dismissal if I’m not mistaken) was incompetent and that SAUTT was malfunctioning. Under the cover of Parliament the AG can say all of these things without providing any evidence. But a high ranking source within SAUTT has accused the AG of lying. What’s new with this govt? If is not a lie is a misstep, or a misspoke, or a let’s move on, or an I did nothing wrong!

The PM and her sister, Vidwatie Newton. Photo courtesy Express news site.

The latest scandal coming from the Prime Minister is three-fold. Apparently the Prime Minister’s sister is he travel advisor; and when questioned the Prime Minister, not even acknowledging the flagrant nepotism involved…the same nepotism that she said her government was against on the campaign platform in 2010….defended her actions by saying she needs her sister. Mind you, it’s the taxpayers again that have to shoulder the cost of the PM’s needs…and Mrs Vidwatie Newton has been costing the country a pretty penny on each international trip she makes with her sister.

Even Kamla’s neighbours are complaining about the helicopters, the parties…and her razor wire fence!

The latest issue that should cause concern too is the PM’s comment that Executive Presidency is on the table for her government….the same Executive Presidency that she campaigned and railed against when the PNM was in power? Will it be an Executive Presidency a la the US where there is a Congress and a Supreme Court to keep the President in check….or will it be like Guyana’s? A system that is malfunctioning and only favours a limited section of the society? Talk to us Prime Minister dearest? Are we also switching to proportional representation? Is your government going to make all of these changes under cover of night and then inform the country?

Another issue that also remains out of the spotlight but is a burning issue is the matter of Tobago and Internal Self Government….the Central Govt is interfering….they’ve issued a greenpaper on the matter that raises questions about who qualifies as Tobagonian and what qualifies as the land mass that is Tobago…this greenpaper, spearheaded by Attorney General Ramlogan (why does his name keep cropping up????) has implications for Tobagonians, their land and their self-governance….the Pantomime watching how this issue panning out.

In the midst of all of these issues the world celebrated International Women’s Day….I thought of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, Norma Greaves and most of the women we have in Parliament on both the government and opposition sides and considered a sex change….then I called my mother…and all was right with the world again.

This was a tough week to be Trinbagonian. The govt continues to be glib, corrupt and uncaring. The light at the end of the tunnel seems to get more and more distant simply because De Vice Cyah Done!

This Week in Clusterf@$kS (TWICKS): Reshmi Reloaded!

Shashi Rekha and Tim Gopeesingh. Photo courtesy the TnT Mirror website.

 

 

February 26th – March 3rd

Listen….and listen well…if Hollywood make a movie based on Trinidad, no one….and I repeat, NO ONE, will go and see it because it too unbelievable!

Let me start in proper order:

At the start of the week Kamla Rani kick off the travelling Comedy Caravan aka  I Have Confidence in ME! Campaign that I like to call UNConfidence 2012.
It was a week of ads in the news papers, public meetings, television interviews all designed to remind the public that this government is the best thing since sliced bread and Kiss Sada Roti!

In the midst of the advertising and politicking TCL on strike, somebody try to kill Ian Alleyne, and a man who survive 9 bullets get murdered……No Crime Plan in sight, the Economy Stagnant, we Commissioner of Police doing pure lala…but  I have confidence in Kamla….

So Friday, UNConfidence Day reach and ppl park up by radio, tv and internet….FB and Twitter was hottttt no tail…..and is 30 hours we get in we pweffen….in that 30hrs Rowley and his Gang of Ten (or is it 9…do we count Patrick? He wasn’t present, but he name well get call up!) presented their case, buss ah mark and take real licks from Kamla’s Joker Deck of 29.

During that debate, besides listing all the issues the Pantomime complaining about a while now, Rowley make we to know that when Kamla said “Let’s Move On”, what she really meant was, “Let’s get a new name and start over!” Anybody remember when Reshmi ramnarine resigned in Jan 2011? Well according to the mark The Keith buss,” She’s BAAAAACK!” But this time you have to call her Shashi! Mind you both Reshmi/Shashi and Tim Gopeesingh deny she’s employed with the Govt.

ME aint mind the girl change she name you know…..but is my tax $$$$ paying the salary of someone who was as dishonest as Reshmi Ramnarine was?
Is someone who was part of one of the biggest scandals and cover-ups this Govt was embroiled in still working in our govt?

Needless to say the Kamla and her Deck of Jokers pretend like is not an issue….it not smelling bad or looking bad.
Instead they spend our precious time refusing to answer a question posed by the opposition and instead resorted to Blame the PNM rhetoric and even use Louis Lee Sing as a substitute on their small goal team…..

The Keith take good jamming from the govt benches over the letter that Mayor Lee Sing issued to the PNM executive questioning Rowley’s No Confidence Motion…but the Keith shrug off Lee Sing as a non-issue.

In the midst of the UNConfidence melee it is alleged that Gallery Griffith try to gangsta MP Donna Cox. I wonder what they feeding Griffith?

The latest with we Commish is that is water more than flour with Glibbs….he was wrong to rent the toy plane… and mark my words, they still not going to fire their favourite Fall Guy!

I hear I am a Gladys the Badiss suing fete to de I-Max and the Integrity Commission. So Max wasn’t getting legal advice? Nobody aint remember this lady title is Justice Gafoor?

The Parliament Pappy Show barely die down and the Vice Cyah Done start up again!

TWICKS (This Week In Clusterf@$KS) Feb 20th – 26th: Oh Bacchanal!

 

 

 

The PM sharing Carnival cheer at Mas camps.....

It was the week of our Carnival

And all through the land

We feted and partied

With drinks in our hands!

Normally the week of Carnival is a slow news week.
The major headlines focus on who’s won the Road March title and Band of the Year.

Not that these things weren’t also considerations. But in the space of a carnival week we had:

  • A government minister injuring a woman with his vehicle and driving off on Carnival Monday.
  • Police arriving late for Carnival duty
  • Queries about whether Gibbs’ $.9m Crop Duster was actually used for surveillance during the carnival season or to spray White Oak over the crowd!
  • Prof Ramesh Deosaran bashing Gibbs for being incompetent
  • Anand Ramesar calling for Gibbs and Ewatski to be removed
  • The Govt remaining mum on complaints about Gibbs
  • Announcements that Trinmar was being farmed out and Petrotrin as good as sold…with Energy Minister Ramnarine waffling about the details and sounding very shady!
  • Jack Warner going almost silent after weeks of mouthing off and analysts predicting his imminent demise.
  • Reginald Armour having to recuse himself from the Tribunal that’s investigating Gladys Gafoor because he also counselling the President
  • And Sat acting up again where his Maha Sabha schools are concerned.

 

In all of this the issue that has the Pantomime the most intrigued is the Motion of No Confidence (Wave Yuh Hand Up in De Air) that the Keith of Rowley is bringing on Friday March 2nd. Since it’s announcement Puss in Boots has virtually gone underground….no comments, no sightings, no Louis Vuitton to the Nines in the public face! Knowing The Keith, he doesn’t grand charge….if he is bringing a motion, he’s bringing a motion and the word on the street is that the inhabitants of the Pink Palace have held a pow-wow to figure out what trump card the Keith has up his sleeve. Want to bet they spend the week toeing the line, attempting to be low key about their mishaps while dredging up  meaningless red herrings?
The Opposition doesn’t have enough numbers to get the motion passed…but my guess is The Keith isn’t bent on passing the motion, but on getting information out to raise enough concerns in the minds of the citizenry…as if the daily missteps of this government hasn’t been enough.

Short of that Kamla Rani may well orchestrate another SoE to get the heat off her.

Time will tell.

De Vice Cyah Done!