I Out On De Road: Section 34 Style!

No, not lemmings, just right thinking Trinbagonians defending their democracy!

 

I’m marching today. And happily so. When I marched weeks ago I was told by people who consider themselves thinkers, humanists and buddhists that to march meant I was Pro PNM…..and even better, marching meant I was a lemming. If Rowley was so against Section 34 why he vote for it. At that point in time no one was willing to listen to the details of the story. That Cabinet had promised to implement certain conditions and further that the early proclamation was a breach of trust.

Today, as more and more details of the section 34 issue has been revealed and more and more people realise the extent of the conspiracy perpetrated against the country all of a sudden marching has become the fashionable thing. The people who wanted to make this about Keith Rowley and the PNM a few weeks ago are going to be out on the street en masse today because that’s how bandwagonists function. They diss an action that they are not in favour of in its early phases and then when they see the direction the wind shifts in all of a sudden their intellect kicks in and they find a plausible reason for joining and become even louder and more vociferous than the original members of a movement. It’s all good, once they pulling their weight. I guess the Lemmings have company today.

But there are people who are still detractors to the march. We’ve seen the government throw up distraction after distraction where Section 34 is concerned. Pre-Budget Rallies, Post-Budget Rallies, random attacks on the media from Jack Warner and Jamal Mohammed, Warner trying to block crime statistics….all in an effort to distract the electorate from the issue of Section 34 and what it means that an entire Cabinet conspired to mislead the Parliament….and now pretending they did nothing wrong.

Last night there was a last ditch effort on the part of UNC apologists. People arguing that the issue has already aired publicly, so let’s move on. Well neither Kamla nor the AG have answered my questions on this matter satisfactorily so I can’t move on. And apparently the launch of TSTT’s 4G that was meant to thin out the protest crowds has been put off as well. So it’s just lemmings in Woodford Square at noon today.

Another argument is that this March today is about causing political destabilisation….uhhh….YES….we don’t trust the Government. No electorate should have to be saddled with a Government it doesn’t trust, and to argue that we must put up with an untrustworthy government for five years is to play smart with foolishness. That’s why it’s called a democracy….we have the right to show our displeasure and I am going to show it.

And Section 34 isn’t the only reason. There are at least a hundred…but let me refresh your memory with a few reason why I will be out on the road.

1. Reshmi

2. Gopaul

3. Mary King

4. Cheryl Miller

5. Nizam Mohammed

6. Dwayne Gibbs

7. Gary Griffith

8. The Crop Duster

9. Raids on TV6, Newsday, Crime Watch and attacks on Asha Javeed and Denyse Renne

10. Chandresh Sharma’s London Taxi fare

11. Shoppin Toppin and Fuad Card!

12. The Soca Warriors $$$$

13. Jack as a Minister, Jack as a member of the National Security Council, Jack as Minister of National Security (this alone is a march in itself)

14. The bungling incompetence of the AG

15. Silk Gate

16. The dismantling of all of our border and coastal surveillance,

17. the deployment of national security helicopters as air taxis for the PM and her friends and family.

18. Vidwattie Newton

19. Janice Thomas/Marcia/Sasha Mohammed

20. The mess that is healthcare

21. The mess that is education

22. Fucking up our energy sector

23. Three massive budgets that have put us into deficit and saddling us with a debt my grandchildren will be paying.

24. Insulting our Caricom Neighbours with the ATM statement

25. Kamla being the most incompetent and ineffective, self absorbed, nepotistic and corrupt leader this Caribbean has ever seen.

 

I could go on for days…but I’ll stop there. See you on the road!

 

De Vice Cyah Done!

 

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100 Missteps in 2.5 years by Xavi Silva

I had to share this list with you guys. FB blogger Xavi Silva tagged me in this post and I thought maybe you’d want to take a read and add whatever you think is missing:

2 1/2 years 100 bad decisions here is our government:

1) Reshmi
2) Sasha
3) Jack multiple FIFA bribery scandals(Bin Hamman, TTFF, Haiti)
4) Vasant Cayanne
5) Farmers without crops
6) A RedBull Flugtag Plane for 900k to replace a blimp sold for 50k how? What? Why?
7) Diversification what how where?
8) SOE
9) Assassination Plot
10) NP friends and family contract
11) Anand proposing to monitor social media and emails
12) Raiding media houses for sources
13) Verna locking up Cheryl Miller
14) Seizing guns/drugs locking up nobody and saying we on top of crime!
15) Frequent flyer trips with no solid results
16) 20% voter turnout in local elections called a success!
17) 0% Economic growth for 3 years!
18) Jack the unlimited bank account!
19) Dismissing the Transparency International Corruption Report
20) Vetoing the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit(FIU)
21) 2.5 million for 3 farmers to cut the Airport grass(I in the wrong field who have a whacker?)
22) Anand and Kamla say SILK wrong but still wearing them own.
23) Gift wrapping oil for India
24) Alutrint board appointed something smelting bad.
25) How come race talk so prevalent now? It was ever so?
26) Paid bloggers sound off how the Blackberry wokking?
27) What going on with the probe on Ish, Steve and Jack AG? We ever hearing that again?
28) Wait Verna doin the Back Peddle dance and welcoming back Ms. Miller but I thought she commit her?
29) so 48 million barrels is the answer to we economic problems? Well Barbados 2.5 billion find will make them richer than Apple Corp then!
30) Why Anand eh lock up Caulder Hart yet? That is a nex probe up somebody eh hem!
31) Protests by TCL and Unions watch out for a SOE jus now
32) Sunway! Whichway? Caulder Hart Way $300 million quarrying contract thanks Kamla we always knew your “Hart” was good.
33) Ag Superintendent Bisnath Maharaj is the new SSA director that name sounding familiar hmmm.
34) Omar Khan resign cause he unqualified! Why this sounding familiar?
35) “I hired my sister with taxpayer dollars that’s good family values” say it frequently an wine!
36) Before elections: “I will never move into the PM’s residence” After elections: “Put the elevator from the HDC building in my bedroom”
38) Aye! How I could forget Sat! Anybody know if he still seeing pantylines? He still like black people?
39) COP members say they fed up of the poor governance an they not settling so! COP have a backbone then?
40) Somebody pay me TT$1.5 million to paint a small building nah gosh boy look how much people getting handouts.
41) Oil Sands/Highway Re-Route
42) All files on Jack, Ish an Steve stolen from the SIA
43) Giving India a stake hold in Petrotrin
44) Hiring workers from China to pick coconuts
45) New CONCACAF president slams Warner for financial impropriety
46) Dwayne Gibbs find no evidence against Warner so the DPP can’t prosecute that’s a shocker…
47) Reducing NIS pensioners to $1,000 per month and less in some cases.
48) The purposeful allowing of taxpayer dollars going to waste from assets e.g. The Brian Lara stadium and the 4 water taxi’s simply because it was a PNM one.
49) Jack National Security? How?
50) Why no consultation on the SEA curriculum change?

51) Jack has no authority to command the armed forces and police
52) Why were environmentalists consulted on the destruction of the turtles nest?
53) Why is the gov’t considering a Tar Sands Mine?
54) New Central Bank Governor was on India trip too hmmm guess he real “independent”
55) Property Tax on or off on or off?
56) T&T Embassy, Washington, DC
Veterinarian, turned diplomat, Dr. Neil Parsan, nephew of Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma, has been using millions of dollars of taxpayers money to transform the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Washington to capture a piece of the “sunlit Caribbean.”
57) How much to renovate the US embassy here again??
58) Bobol at NLCB
59) Bobol at EMA Staff quitting and workers wearing red to protest!
60) New Traffic plan destroying business in St. James.
61) Four members of the Estate Management Business Development Company Ltd (EMBD) resigned from the board after raising concerns over transactions involving senior company officials.
62) Mt. Hope storing cancer patients tissue in water containers.
63) Why did Jack influence the firing of the COP and deputy COP?
64) How come exactly 50 to be released for our 50th Independence? 50 no more no less!
65) Flags that not really flags just modified 90 degrees.
66) Gov’t official under FIU probe ah wonder who hmmmm,
67) Sect. 34 sounds like a horror movie only worse.
68) The National Security helicopters is the new shopping car.
69) Shaq get $10 million to help crime go up!
70) Machel make more money that the T&T economy thanks Kamla!
71) Keshorngate everybody get even if yuh finish second to last. Oh wait Nijsane eh get nuttin.
72) Partap drunk nuff said…
73) Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reports suspicious activity in the amount of $500 million from Jan to Jun 2012
74) But wait crime back up I thought the SOE fix that? Where Steven Williams two crime plans? And Jack phantom one?
75) 21 workers responsible for the regularization of 4,500 cane farmers fired Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj denied such claimed. Unions have letters for all 21.
76) Wait we still giving out laptops to schools when the one laptop per child experiment proved no marked increase in test scores?
77) I feel iPads for all MP’s will fix all the nation problems.
78) Why the discrepancies in the auditor general report? http://www.auditorgeneral.gov.tt/documentlibrary/downloads/9/Vol%20%204%20-%20AG%20REPORT%202011.pdf
79) Jack new crime plan to outline how people dress…
80) How did we achieve developed country status in a negative economy again?
81) AUSTERITY MEASURES!
82) 50 criminals to be released coinciding with 50th Anniversary Independence.
83) Hubert Volney became the fall guy for Anand Ramlogan.
84) Pre-Budget Rally!
85) Post Budget Rally!
86) Attiba Phillips pay $1,335. to a taxi from his home to Mid Centre Mall in Chaguanas sample eh it have plenty more.
87) No drill in a major hospital that is all.
88) Jack Warner begins another job program in place of proper economic development ala color me orange, hoop of life.
89) The DPP states that that Section 34 “cannot stand on its own without absurdity” http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Breaking-News—Gaspard-Breaks-Silence-169487316.html
90) The AG, PM continue the rash of lawsuits in place of debating with the AG proudly compiling a list of those he has sued.
91) $1.3 billion requested for arbitration with BAE for the OPV’s
92) Reshmi! No wait Reshmi mommy and Anand Ramlogan creating a position of Clerk IV that does not exist.
93) The new tool to attack the opposition is race! Everybody saying they was racially discriminated even Jack say Rowley racial cause he focusing on Anand but Anand doing poor I think.
94) The Minister of Communications show his inferiority complex on paper writing claiming bias against reporters and finally the head of an independent news agency and oh yeah using racial slurs in referring to himself as a “Muslim Coolie”
95) The ink on the 2012/2013 budget still wet and the Ministry of Works done want to borrow $2.7 billion! Who say massive debt and IMF?!
96) Massive hirings an firings at our embassies overseas that bound to happen less attention http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/_I_will_take_you_to_the_PM_-176132371.html
97) Paid bloggers being recruited the usual suspects all there slithering around.
98) The same NAMDEVCO that giving Reshmi mommy a fake position fire the whole board real bachannal Among them are irregular hiring practices that have landed five board members before the Integrity Commission.
99) How come people so silent about how FIFA stop funding Trinidad & Tobago? Must be how Jack Warner still interfering in FIFA business when that was the condition of his being fired/resigning(same difference) that he dont interfer?!! http://www.wired868.com/2012/10/06/warners-controversial-letter-to-sport-minister-anil-roberts/
100) After all the Section 34 bachannal Anand still ent remove serious fraud from the statute of limitations look at that.

The Road to Rock Bottom

Is not now people have been complaining of the underperformance of Dwayne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski. So by rights the lip synced announcement of PM Persad-Bissessar, her normal 20 minutes late to her public address, should be a cause for celebration. But there are many reasons why Trinis can’t celebrate their resignation. For the two years that Gibbs and Ewatski mismanaged our police force, they have been made accountable for nothing. Not the crime rate, not being absent when the SoE was called, not for wasting money on a crop duster, not for the unchecked murder toll, not for raids on media houses, not for the removal of crime stats off the police website…..not for a damn thing. To date all we know is that Dwayne and Jack came here, earned a hefty salary for two years for doing nothing, resigned….probably with a golden handshake, then left. The crime plan is yet to be unveiled…and in part of the public address that the PM seemed to be miming tonight we get to find out that Warner’s crime plan is still non existent. Wait for it…it coming.
And it is coming. After 2years of incompetence it took Jack Warner wielding his considerable influence to get the Canadians out.
Now Jack is free to put Dep CoP Stephen Williams in charge…and if all yuh feel was bobol before well is now self the vice go Cyah done. The police state not coming, it already here in subtle and not so subtle ways.
The police does not serve the public, it serves the policies of the government, that is a first sign. Look out for more public shows of force from both army and police. Look out too For the next COP being the Nat Sec Minister’s puppet.
In the upcoming months expect brute force, sudden raids, the breaching of our constitutional rights, and the pampered and selfish upper classes will praise the initiatives because it keeps them feeling secure while the average citizen will continue to be exposed to more violence and trauma.
Expect Jack’s PR machine to go into hyperdrive. Expect rumors of him being made PM while the next President may well be another person known for feting and drinking.
Don’t expect policing to improve.
Don’t expect that crime solution and detection will ever be a priority.
Don’t expect a coherent, well executed crime plan.
When you are detained without reason in a few months, don’t expect answers or a phone call.

Expect to see more threads to this story as Warner’s influence expands.
Expect the country to turn on itself.

De Vice Cyah Done!

National Insecurity

I don’t know how many of us remember this, but the People’s Partnership came to power on a platform that campaigned against escalating crime and criminal activity. Both white collar and violent crime. If my recollection serves me well Prakash Ramadhar and Vernon de Lima were in the vanguard, acquiring birth certificates all the way from Malaysia to establish links between Calder Hart and Sunway Construction, and thus confirm for us that there were sinister links between the two. While my suspicions are that such may well be the case, there is no evidential material, beyond Sherrine Hart’s birth paper to substantiate anything, and so the party that once frothed at the mouth and chomped at the bit for Calder Hart, and by proxy, Patrick Manning’s head, have gone all but silent on Hart and white collar crime in general. Just look at the outcome of the extradition case for Galbaransingh and Ferguson or the imaginary inroads we are making into money laundering and drugs. Indeed, if we were to sit and examine their real actions where illegal activities are concerned, we’d understand what this government’s plan for our security really is.

Trinidad is a transshipment point between Latin America and North America. Let’s embrace that and move on. You’d think therefore that manning our borders, especially the ones that provide ease of access to the mainland would be a key priority under any regime. You’d also think that aerial surveillance would complement maritime border patrol. Well, under this government you’d be absolutely wrong. Because early initiatives by this government stopped the purchase of offshore patrol vessels, sold the ever controversial blimp and to date the air guard seems to be stalled. At least I don’t hear about them being a part of any crime initiative.

The appointment of the lady formerly known as Reshmi Ramnarine was yet another stage in the country’s crime plan. Get your friends to watch your back I expect. But it told me clearly that this government wasn’t remotely interested in securing the country, but is entirely interested in promoting and protecting themselves and their friends.

The appointment of Dwaynne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski as CoP and Deputy CoP respectively also seems to have helped secure this government’s ridiculous and untenable position when it comes to crime. Because of the contracts this government has signed with both men, it seems almost impossible to get rid of them lest the state face another law suit. And therein lies the rub. There is clear underperformance from Gibbs, Ewatski and the police force that the top men should be held accountable for but we can’t make them answer for anything or call for their heads the way we could a local CoP. Gibbs’s breached state laws when he spent $.9m on renting a crop duster. It appears that the probe into that has stalled and with the change in National Security Minister I seriously doubt that we’ll ever get any resolution. Further, the nation has never been told exactly how this light air craft was meant to fit into a larger crime plan. What we do know is that Jack Ewatski likes to fly. So my guess is that when the fecal matter hit the fan in January of this year, the efficient thing to do was claim the aircraft was being considered for national security purposes.

I’m also thinking too that the phrase “sting operation” must be a foreign word to Canadian crime officials. Consider how many busts you hear of where it’s only the drugs and ammunition that are seized, but never the owners. On an island as small as ours, where it’s less than six degrees of separation, there is apparently no way to figure who owns containers with frozen chicken and marijuana, or gun caches or marijuana fields. Everything owns itself here.

 

But perhaps the biggest blow to national insecurity has been the appointment of Jack Warner. A man with allegations of corruption hanging over his head, whose first act in his new ministry was to breach laws. It’s pretty clear in my mind that Warner had no authority to issue orders to the Chief of Defence Staff, because he’s not the commander of the Defence Force, the President is; and Max Richards has been suspiciously mum on Warner’s role in the Highway Re-Route demolition. Further, it’s the responsibility of the state land agencies here to issue eviction notices. Personnel in Lands and Surveys will tell you that it is virtually impossible to use force to evict squatters off land here. Yet Minister Warner was able to deploy both police and army, and unless my eyes have gone bad, we’ve got pictures in the public domain of soldiers, not police officers, arresting Kublalsingh. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj must be doing cartwheels. But this has me wondering what exactly is going through the heads of our defence and crime detection personnel here when they start breaking their own rules under the directives of politicians. Surely CDS Maharaj knows better. Surely the soldiers on that demolition site knew better as well. So then why flout the laws? Using soldiers to quell a protest implies that the protesters are a threat to the state. So if citizens of the country are a threat to the country’s security, did we have a coup a few weeks ago? Is it that Warner, in his first act as MoNS, quelled an uprising? Or did he take advantage of a group of villagers and environmentalists? And why is that highway so crucial that a show of force was necessary?

Warner’s apparent abuse of state laws isn’t the first time the state, or rather this government, has turned against the state. Let’s not ignore the 2011 State of Emergency. To date we have received multiple reasons for its calling. A clear and present danger from Columbia, then from imaginary diesel bunkers in the Beetham, then twice Robocop was bold enough to want to assassinate the Prime Minister. In fact, Robocop was so silly that the first time he was caught with pictures of the PM, the AG and a few other ministers with their faces crossed off. Who wrote this script, Michael Bay? The second time around, to make their selected villains appear more heinous they made them literate. Brand new copies of Sun Tzu’s Art of War featured in the police raids. The entire assassination plot, felt like a poorly conceptualised, cliched Hollywood movie.

In fact, the more I think about our security policies and crime initiatives to date, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not just a really bad piece of slapstick we’re caught in. Friends are hired to run high powered agencies like the SSA and FIU, air and ocean surveillance are non-existent, the top cops are accountable to no one,  men with checkered reputations responsible for our security , and the guns and drugs got here on their own steam. The difference for us though is Hollywood movies have happy endings.

SEA Sickness

I have to admit that the hullabulloo that Grim Doopeesingh making about leaked SEA results has me amused. The leaking of these results, whether digitally or manually is nothing new. As a child when I did the Common Entrance (what it was called then) my parents knew my results two weeks in advance of the date it was released. Indeed, the exam has a history of its results being known in the underground days before it is actually printed in the newspaper or posted online, as is the case these days. And for Doopeesingh to act as if leaked results about which schools which children would have passed for is going to destabilise National Security makes me wonder where his head is at.

Yesterday at a post-Cabinet interview Doopeesingh fingered two employees, and when pressed further admitted that the leak was done to destabilise the good work of the Ministry and that it was politically motivated. Grim needs to work for CSI: Imagination! In less than 24 hours he has solved the case of the wikileaked SEA Results without a clue in hand. Further, Grim has gone past the leak being possibly accidental,or technical inefficiency and gone straight for the conclusion that another political party is attempting to sabotage him. So much for the integrity of an investigation, and waiting for the evidence and facts to come in before arriving at a conclusion. So long before the TTPS could fire up a desktop and begin to investigate, Grim, in his own inimitable style has already closed the case in the court of public opinion. And, here’s the rub, because he has said the crime is politically motivated, people automatically assume it’s PNM supporters behind it. Just look at the comment thread to the story link pasted above. And since is only “black people” does vote for the PNM, we already think we know the ethnicity of the one or two employees that Grim suspects. And since Grim has reported them as being unco-operative then it automatically sets up a scenario of stubborn PNM supporters undermining the poor hardworking UNC government. All the undertones are nicely set up now. And don’t forget that without so much as a touch of the ESC key, he’s already solved a case that hasn’t been investigated yet!

Interestingly enough when the Ministry of Finance and the Parliament’s website was hacked this hubbub wasn’t raised. There was no Minister fingering employees for being incompetent, for attempting to destabilise the government. No reports of it being politically motivated. No mention even of ministers having to call Top Cops to order investigations. And why the Minister of National Security has to be involved is beyond me. I don’t foresee this crime being solved. But I do foresee employees being transferred and UNC cronies being put in their places.

It’s the tampering with health and education that has me perturbed. Fuad Khan’s decision to scrap the examinations for nurses has me confused. In regular pedagogical practice if examination results reflect a high fail rate the usual process is to re-visit the curriculum, re-visit the teaching methods, re-visit the exams structure to assess what’s wrong. But in Trinidad, the Minister of Education scraps the entire exam; removes it as a requirement, and now we’ve set the stage for even more questions to be raised about the quality of the health care provided and for even more concerns to be raised by patients. And this is what I paying health surcharge for?

In the midst of all of this the country seems to have been distracted from the still very important issue of Jagdeo Warnersingh’s breaching of laws and abuse of state resources by deploying army and police to attack a group of environmentalist. I intend to be at the MSJ meeting on Saturday in Curepe to hear what lawyer Vashish Maharaj and express columnist Michael Harris have to say about the slippery slope we are currently on.

Supporters of this government can continue to duck their heads in the sand, blame the PNM and label everyone racist for disagreeing with Kamla’s All Four’s Team’s policies, I making sure I keep myself informed…..because you know De Vice Cyah Done!

Jack’s Splat

The new Top Cop? Photo Courtesy Trinidad Guardian website.

When a week ago Jack Warner was appointed Minister of National Security I wasn’t perturbed because all the signs to date had pointed to the inevitability of the appointment. Warner, after being sidelined in the wake of a slew of allegations last year seemed to be on his way out of the party. After securing a victory in the UNC’s internal elections and retaining the chairmanship of the party resoundingly the tide began to turn in his favour. It seemed as if the PM’s faith in Warner was renewed. He survived the PURE audit and was quietly placed on the National Security Council. An appointment that didn’t cause uproar, though it did cause comment. Weeks after Warner was appointed to the Security Council a SAUTT office was broken into. Files and equipment went missing. Some of the files were alleged to be related to Warner. The story first broke in this newspaper. The Government didn’t deny it, but they sought to downplay the seriousness of the incident. It was then I figured Warner was well on his way to political ascendancy.

Now, it’s pretty clear to everyone that making Warner Minister of National Security is a huge gamble on the PM’s part especially because of his international reputation. British and American newspapers have been having a field day with the antics of this government ever since Warner became an elected member of parliament. And the Prime Minister, who travels regularly to promote Trinidad and Tobago internationally, doesn’t seem to be even slightly worried about Warner’s impact on our reputation. When pressed by the media to explain her selection of Warner despite accusations of corruption and bribery, Persad-Bissessar’s response was that allegations are allegations. Yet in 2010 the allegations against Calder Hart, who her government can’t seem to charge, were reported by her constantly in Parliament as if they were facts. Facts that de Lima and Ramadhar no longer seem able to substantiate in a court of law. To date all this government seems to have on Calder Hart is perjury. I guess yesterday was yesterday and today is today, riiiight?

Yet, as much as Warner’s appointment was a gamble, I felt that perhaps this was Persad-Bissessar’s boldest move yet. In the aftermath of two annual Eat Ah Food Fetes popular opinion was now against her. People were fed up of the constant masquerade and pappy shows and were beginning to wonder when her government was going to buckle down and actually try and run the country. Even her staunch supporters and financiers in the online groups were beginning to openly grumble. And after the psychological blow that Abdulla’s MSJ hit her governance and government by withdrawing from the party and speaking out against the corruption and nepotism, the PM needed to regroup.

 

So she regrouped and reconfigured; and made two significant changes to her bloated and redundant Cabinet. She brought on Larry Howai to fix the damage done by former finance minister Dookeran: who gave us the two largest budgets and deficits in the history of the country. That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially from a former Central Bank Governor. And of course, she moved the effete John Sandy and put Warner in his place.

Warner has both detractors and supporters, but what they both agree on is that he is a man of great cunning. Capable of doing the impossible. Action Jack! And so, both sides waited to see what exactly would be his first strike. Gang warfare? Big Fish? A large drug haul and sting operation? A meeting with all the community leaders with pictures of them hugging up Warner and promising to keep an eye on their community? No. Not even close. Warner would voop for a big six and miss when he decided to attack a small, defenceless group of environmental protesters with a full team of soldiers and police. And not only did Warner issue the orders and possibly breach both the Constitution and the chain of command for both police and army; he struck the first blow and oversaw the demolition of the camp site.

What Persad-Bissessar’s greatest weapon against crime has shown us is that “Action Jack” likes more gallery and show than even his boss does. He has made a grave mistake. And angered not just detractors of the government, but supporters too. No amount of damage control PR and marketing by the Attorney General and Sat Maharaj is going to wipe away the image of smashed murtis and Dr Wayne Kublalsingh being detained by police. No amount of mindless blogging can change the fact that Kublalsingh and the Highway Re-Route group aren’t the criminal threat that’s holding this country to ransom with murders and robbery. Criminalizing them to defend Warner’s behavior isn’t going to help this government or the country.

Warner has shown us that as Minister of National Security he’s just as ignorant of the laws as the average citizen. Ramesh LAwrence Maharaj never takes cases he can’t convincingly win. Kublalsingh has indicated that the land they were evicted from belonged to a member of the re-route movement. While the land would have been claimed by the Government under the Highways Act, the Land agencies here don’t have government approval to use force to remove squatters or occupiers of lands using police and army. Further, for Warner to deploy police and army in the way he did is to imply that the State was itself facing a threat from this group of environmentalists. Even further, for Warner to issue orders to both Army and Police violates separation of powers. If as Warner has defiantly stated, we aint see nothing yet….then I’d be afraid, very afraid. But as a first move with his new portfolio, Action Jack looked and acted the Fool! And had to rely on imported celebrity power to be a weapon of mass distraction!

Doesn’t matter how many Shaquille O’Neal’s and Nicki Minaj’s the government flies in to walk through depressed neighbourhoods. That’s not going to solve crime. The PM’s greatest weapon missed his mark this week and will continue to do so. And in the meantime, to hide their lack of a crime plan they will gallery and entertain with sport heroes and hip hop stars. Warner already knows how to wear his cap to the side. All the PM has to do is develop a limp and throw on some gold teeth.

De Vice Cyah Done.

 

The Re-Shovelled Deck :A Govt on All Fours…

The Re-Shovelled Cabinet. Photo courtesy Guardian website

(2years, 29dys)

I grew up in a house where All-Fours was a serious game. My uncle played tournaments. It would irk him to no end to see how casually his nieces and nephews would play things like Rummy without a properly shuffled deck, removal of the Jokers and proper cutting. It was from him I learned to play cards, to understand the signs of the game of All-Fours, and to know that even if I was dealt a weak hand, if my partner had a stronger hand, and we both understood the mechanics of bluffing and kept straight faces, we could come out with solid wins.

Kamla’s much anticipated re-shovelling of the Cabinet yesterday, went far beyond my expectations, and yet fell short of it in some ways. She was right to call it a Cabinet Reconfiguration, because that’s what she did. Kamla took her old cabinet to a joiner and basically asked, “How I could make this thing look and function different, without wasting the material?” After announcing the cabinet last night, the focus of everyone, from layman, to political parties to political gurus, was the appointment of the Minister of National Security. Supporters of the party hailed it as a good move, detractors frothed at the mouth, and some dashed off hastily written press releases. I was more interested in the details of the entire cupboard. My father is a joiner, is so I stop!

By now we all know who the players are in this NEW CABINET…and that’s what it is. Yes they are still calling themselves the  People’s Partnership, but the 2010 Cabinet and the 2012 Cabinet look very different. It’s almost as if we got a new government, without going to the polls…..that can’t be good, because it means that 2 years and 1 month into office, Kamla and her even larger Small Goal side are starting from scratch.

In the midst of an economic meltdown, spiralling crime rates, rising unemployment, meteoric food prices…..this government that promised to bring change, is attempting to press the re-set button and act like the last two years of misstepping didn’t happen.

The Old Cupboard….

Kamla, as card dealer, revealed two things last night: she knows that her government and governance is failing; and she knows she has to make her boldest move for Ejection 2015 (it’s not a misspelling) now!

Her speech last night was filled with the usual campaign rhetoric, but in a more subdued tone; because while Kamla’s words stated that her government had been working hard and achieving much, the Cabinet she was about to reveal said louder than anything else in the room that the PP has failed. Kamla referred to a depleted treasury, yet, we know that Dookeran came and met a stable economy; just as Devant Maharaj met a Caribbean Airlines that was in the black. We know too that in 2010 she met a crime rate that was lower than what we have right now.  But of course, this government never admits to making a mess of things, just like the last regime. So Kamla segued into listing her changes by implying that she consulted with the people and was now taking the criticism on board.

Understand that this Cabinet Re-Shovel comes in under one month since they spent $9m patting themselves on the back for being in power for 2 years and staying stronger than ever. In less than a month of that Eat Ah Food Fete the Partnership was destroyed when the MSJ broke ranks. It’s something she didn’t make mention of last night. Indeed the four parties that remain don’t like referring to the MSJ anymore because they know that in truth and fact they are no longer the People’s Partnership, but rather a UNC Alliance All Fours Team. And in future that’s how I’ll be referring to them.

This UNC Alliance is now faced with a significant task, turning the tide of public opinion that is growing against it. You see there are several levels of dissent Kamla has been coping with and her reconfiguration last night was meant to address all issues:

1. The MSJ Split

2. The COP discontent

3. The Muslim Vote Discontent

4. The Swing Vote Discontent over an under performing economy, spiralling crime, and corruption.

 

The MSJ Split means that the 5-party Panchayat is dead. This of course means that Kamla hs to pull the troops in tighter, closer, give the impression of being a tight-knit unit that includes everyone. Couple this with COP discontent over the San Fernando Mayorship and general feelings of being sidelined and ignored and the solution becomes clear: increase the number of COP members in the Cabinet, while giving Marlene Coudray a ministerial position. Look closely at the list of appointees and see what’s going on. No wonder Lincoln Douglas denied he agreed with Nalini Dial’s comments…and no wonder COP Cabinet Members and Executive members attacked Dial’s comments in such a savage way. In exercising her right to post tasteless comments on her private FB wall, Dial was upsetting the apple cart of new Eat Ah Food positions. Douglas publicly agreeing with Dial might have cost him a ministry. Now the COP has almost doubled the number of previously held positions and gone from 6 to 10 Cabinet posts. Several of those positions are held by people who never faced the electorate at the polls such as Bhoe Tewarie and Ganga Singh. To see Ganga Singh, whose name is synonymous with corruption at WASA be let back into our government has to be one of the most galling things on the face of the earth. Now Kamla’s Corruption Chorus Line of Goopeesingh, Ramadharsingh and Singh can just call themselves the Three Tenders.

The Cabinet still remains predominantly Hindu in terms of its religious make-up, but in the Jahaji Desi groups of late there has been a lot of complaint about the lack of Muslim representation. Whether unwilling or unable to add more Muslims, Kamla decided to kill two birds with one stone and add a COP member who comes from the most prominent political Muslim family. Her new Minister of Communication, Jamal Mohammed is the great-nephew of PNM stalwart Kamaluddin Mohammed, and nephew of former PNM Senator Nafeesa Mohammed. One member of the Mohammed Clan in Parliament must be the equivalent of about 50 muslims at least, right Madam PM? I hope those ratios work out for you.

Now  to issue number 4. Kamla is trading on a few givens with the Trinbagonian psyche. We have a high tolerance for corruption in this place, once our pockets not affected directly. Once we benefitting from a corrupt act or a corrupt person, Trinis will more often than not look the other way (Dear Lord thank you for my Tobagonian mother) and give people a bligh. And to the Europeans and Americans who don’t understand how there can be citizens of this country who’d support a man as obviously corrupt as Jack Warner being a member of government….that should now answer your question. Jack is beloved in his constituency because he gets things done…temporarily. And Trinis love a quick fix. Long term goals and vision does make them impatient…we like things to happen one time…and see immediate results…even if they worth fuck all. So an action man like Jack, who willing to put Fifa money where his mouth is will be immensely popular here. You want a wall built overnight? Jack will get it done….it’ll fall down the next time rain fall hard, but the point is he built the wall…and that’s what Trinis will remember. You want your national football team to get to the World Cup…easy peasy, Jack will get it done…but they don’t care that he has screwed over present and future generations of young local footballers to do so. So, Kamla, aware of all of this, appoints Warner as Minister of National Security. This appointment is an admission that John Sandy has failed and Trinis are fucked when it comes to the crime situation. Forget the SoE folks….the ultimate weapon in Kamla’s arsenal is about to be deployed. I feel quite certain that Jack has been given the mandate, by fair means or foul, bring that crime rate down! And this appointment is a double edged sword. If Jack succeeds, Kamla has 2015 in the bag….if Jack fails, he gets the axe and so does Kamla….if ever someone was relying on the strength of their partner’s hand it is Kamla.

Unfortunately this appointing of Jack as Security Minister means that the country will suffer in the short and long term. The appointment will further tarnish our international image. Even if Jack makes inroads into crime, it’ll be quick fixes. Downturns that will be quickly trumpeted all over the media, while the longterm side and after effects might just kill our children….23 years later local football still reeling from November 19th, 1989.

Larry Howai’s appointment as Minister of Finance is a better calculated risk. When the foreign team hired to turn FCB around from financial failure couldn’t do the job, it was Larry Howai that was promoted to do the job.  And I sincerely believe that he has been brought on board by Kamla to clean up the colossal mess that Dookeran made of the economy. Howai’s mandate has to be put a halt to the decline….and try and stimulate some growth, please. If he does that, he’ll be the PM’s blue eyed boy, because the two fronts on which Kamla was all geared to lose Ejection 2015, was crime and the economy…..sounds like PNM 2010 deja vu doesn’t it?

Mindful of the fact that she was getting rid of two Afro-Trinbagonians (and all yuh could cry for Verna all all yuh want, after what happened to Cheryl Miller under her tenure she deserved to be fired), and was likely to face a pounding for the ethnic make up of her Cabinet, Kamla ensured that she did the requisite window-dressing….and I want you guys to note that she ensured that the two (redundant) ministries that deal up with issues like culture and diversity are headed by Afro-Trinbagonians. Game to Kamla….let the black people and them complain now….Eintou if you aint get no money for you Support a Bad Habit Committee is because Douglas, not Kamla, turn you down.

She has also set herself up nicely to ensure that the grassroots battle for Tobago and Local Elections can be efficiently fought. The offensive Shoppin Toppin has been moved from everyone’s sight and put under Glen Ramadharsingh (shudder) and Delmon Baker is now at the forefront. It’s now up to Assworth Jack and his spinning TOP to do the necessary and try and bring home that THA Elections….Kamla depending on your hand boy!

Suruj Rambachan, who was  spectacularly inefficient as a Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communication Minister has now been made Minister of Local Government…..he’s close to all the plum Regional Corp contracts that make pocket lining so easy, and he can overseer the pack setting for next year’s local government elections. Chandresh Sharma has been given Transport, lucrative contracts and kickbacks for party financiers in that ministry as well.

So, now that we’ve arrived at this point I hope that the reader sees that the Reconfiguration exercise on the PM’s part was actually well thought out. She’s battling on several fronts and knows this. Yes, Jack Warner’s appointment as Security Minister is a big deal….but the even bigger deal here is that Kamla has begun to battle for 2015. Whether it will be effective now depends on performance. It is this that both the PNM and MSJ have to contend with.

Watch out too for the disappearance of the COP. With the MSJ gone the remaining members of the All Fours Alliance will begin to merge and morph and all sound the same. The COP’s identity is now entirely subsumed. No more standing up for principals and rights and Mayorships in San Fernando (ent Navi Murad-Ali?).

With a bigger Cabinet though comes more salaries to pay and more mouths to feed.

De Vice Cyah Done!