Police State Inna 4D!!!!!

Daphnee Bartlett, head of the South businessmen association who thinks a Police State is the best option to dealing with crime spikes. Intelligent folk everywhere should be up in arms!Women should be applying to change their gender!

Daphnee Bartlett, head of the South businessmen association who thinks a Police State is the best option to dealing with crime spikes. Intelligent folk everywhere should be up in arms!
Women should be applying to change their gender!

There are daft people sitting in positions of power in this country and we’d better be afraid…truly afraid.

Imagine the San Fernando Businessmen ASSociation, comprised no doubt of businessmen and women from South Trinidad is eagerly proclaiming Better a POLICE State than a CRIMINAL State.

I immediately harked back to the SoE of 2011 when on the night Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Small Goal Team made the announcement many members of the middle, upper and business classes heaved huge sighs of relief because finally some government was brave enough to lock up all them black people and them….oh yeah…you better recognise that that is what all the relief about the SoE was…..that’s the same thing that fuelled the anti-Sea Lots rant by Darryll Heeralal and Renuka Singh the other day too….all these damn black people…let’s kill them and plant cabbage on them! YEAH!!!!!

Now, we have a group of businesspeople, or the body that represents them coming out to endorse a Police State because the PPG’s Defence Amendment Bill, is under siege both inside and outside the Parliament….and for good cause.

Apparently Daphne Bartlett’s knickers are in a knot about why we don’t want soldiers to have powers of arrest….and like the political leader of this country, Daphne Bartlett has just dealt a severe blow to all intelligent women in the world every where who happen to be attractive, for her colossal intellectual laziness.

I say this because I want to believe Ms Bartlett doesn’t know what a police state is and in her ignorance does not know what she is encouraging or endorsing.

The version of the Defence Amendment Bill that I accessed online says the following:

The Bill seeks to amend section 5 of the Defence Act,
Chap. 14:01 to confer on any member of the Defence Force who is
engaged in assisting any member of the Police Service in the
maintenance of law and order, with the same powers, authorities,
privileges and immunities as are given by law to members of the
Police Service.

In plain wording…the Bill wants to give the exact powers of the Police to a Soldier once he is on patrol.

One of the clever little things that this pdf of the legislation doesn’t quite outline is that Soldiers by law do not fall under the Commissioner of Police, rather authority for soldiers fall under three people: the Chief of Defence Staff, Minister of National Security and ultimately the President, who is Commander in Chief.

Soldiers searching a civilian during the 2011 SoE.

Soldiers searching a civilian during the 2011 SoE.

So the soldier will have all of the powers of a police officer: the ability to detain you, search you, arrest you, question/interrogate you, charge you and lock you up. But he doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Police.

Says it right here:

When any member of the Defence Force
having been charged under subsection (2) with
Enactment Short title Section 5 of
Chap. 14:01 amended the duty of assisting any member of the
Police Service in the maintenance of law and
order and is engaged in so doing, he shall have
the same powers, authorities, privileges and
immunities as are given by law to members
of the Police Service.”.

If he cocks up on the job he is only likely to face a court marshall. If you think Police doh face prison here…wait till Soldier Police arrive!

Now let me explain how a soldier getting these privileges amounts to a Police State. Last night in Parliament Roodal Moonilal was again less than honest with the nation when he said even security officers are precepted. What he failed to explain is that precepted security officers….those allowed to carry weapons and make arrests are actually called Estate Constables and operate by a slightly different set of rules to regular security guards.

This Government, in trying to shove this bill down our throats, has gone into all kinds of arguments about how the army here has no purpose because we have no war for soldiers to fight except the war on drugs. Now, lemme ask you this…when this Government starts its “WAR on DRUGS” and deploys its soldiers to attack the citizenry….which citizens you think will be attacked? The people who bringing in the shipments of drugs….or the people who are used to control the drug blocks?

In all sane and proper countries the purpose of the army is to defend the citizens of a country, not attack them. If Kamla and Jack were serious about fighting crime and waging a war on drugs the country would have three OPV Vessels with a joint patrol of Soldiers and Coast Guard members on board these vessels protecting our borders from traffickers or drugs and guns….but the point of precepting soldiers and making Soldier Police here isn’t to fight crime or to wage a war on drugs….

If you believe that, then you believe the SoE was about fighting crime, protecting the PM from several assassination attempts and preventing Beetham from bunkering fuel.

This precepting of soldiers and making soldiers into police is about something deeper and far sinister. It is about controlling the State.

From as early as June 2010 this government has faced Opposition. The first active opposition came from the THA. And to date the people of Tobago are down on record as having been the most successful at resisting this government thanks to solid legislation in the THA Act and a Chief Secretary who knows his Constitution and isn’t afraid to assert himself. But this Defence Bill will affect Tobago too…and I am yet to hear its position.

Persad-Bissessar announcing the SoE...pretty dangerous!

Persad-Bissessar announcing the SoE…pretty dangerous!

For several months the PP administration enjoyed a delicious honeymoon with both the citizens and the media. People couldn’t get enough of Kamla dashing about in hard hat and OSHA gear by day as she swooped in on  a helicopter to aid the flood afflicted, and by night would transform into an elegant Prime Minister. Haven’t we been accused often enough of “jealousing the PM because she pretty”?

But then came the Reshmi Ramnarine incident….the hiring of telephone operator to run the country’s highest intelligence -gathering agency. What accompanied it too was the thorough and deliberate dismantling of all the country’s security apparati: Blimp, OPVs, Surveillance Equipment, SAUTT.

Then the government brought in a CoP they could manipulate and under whom they could promote and appoint their own select police officers into positions of authority. We have on record a letter from a mid-level police officer who appears to be giving advice to the Prime Minister on who to hire and fire in both the SIA and the Police Service. The basis given for firing people is political. According to the letter, Persad advises the PM to fire people because they seem loyal to the PNM. And we were angry at the Jamaica Observer for talking about ethnic cleansing in our Public Service why?
What that letter outlined was that this is a government bent on political retribution and there is no space in the country for anyone who is PNM or resembles a PNM….and in Trinidad to resemble a PNM you need only have Afro-centric features….if that isn’t both partisan and racist, I don’t know what is….but that is the government we have…a government that is only for it’s people: the UNC/COP Base!

It doesn’t surprise me at all that both the PM and this Police Officer share a last name.

But I digress…I need to explain how precepted soldiers and Police State are linked.

Everywhere you turned during the SoE were images like this one....and oh how the middle and upper classes felt safe!

Everywhere you turned during the SoE were images like this one….and oh how the middle and upper classes felt safe!

So the Reshmi incident happens followed fast and furious by many scandals and then comes the SoE. From August 2011, I said the SoE was only the beginning of the Constitutional ills of this government. The SoE got citizens used to the idea of detaining and locking up people who “look” like criminals. In Trinidad a criminal “looks” like a black person, usually from depressed poor areas. Trust me, the stereotypes are there. In the very first days of the SoE I had several women of Indo descent telling me about how safe they were feeling….not a crime had been solved…but the mere fact that the government had taken upon itself to lock up people who “looked” like criminals made these women happier. And that’s when I realised that Hulsie Bhaggan’s myth of the African rapist who lusts only after Indian women was still alive and well. You go girl!

During that SoE we got accustomed to images of black men in the back of trucks; we got accustomed to images of the AG and Minister of National Security on our tv sets regularly. The AG went after a 14-year-old girl who used YouTube to verbally attack and curse the PM for the SoE….and on Facebook you had feminists lamenting how the PM and Indian women have no voice in Trinidad and couldnt speak out on issues.. they didn’t seem particularly perturbed that an impressionable 14-year-old, who did shit, now had the might of the State in the form of the AG trained on her. You see, these women were all glad that at long last something was being done about the crime….and that something was the random and baseless locking up of people who look like criminals….black people.

Granny Killa...the reason for the SoE????

Granny Killa…the reason for the SoE????

The next threat during that SoE was intimidating people on FaceBook and other forms of Social media. Social media takes power out of a government’s hands and puts it in the hands of its citizens. Imagine tens of thousands of Trinis able to say what they like about the PM and AG and Jack can’t stop them? Madness!

So they began to attack people on Social Media and trained their paid bloggers to attack folks who spoke out against the government.

What became apparent and obvious was fear…people became concerned about what they were posting and saying to each other online. Because folks began to lose jobs or get threats.

Now jump forward to Warner becoming National Security Minister. UNC people were joyful, they knew their government wasn’t performing and because Warner talks a good talk, without having little to show for any of it, they believed Jack would solve the crime problem.

Activist Wayne Kublalsingh at a protest sign in Mon Desir, the site of the controversial multi-billion dollar highway.

Activist Wayne Kublalsingh at a protest sign in Mon Desir, the site of the controversial multi-billion dollar highway.

Within three days of becoming Minister of National Security what did Warner do? He used the might of the army to attack not criminals….protesters. Try and see the trend here folks….at every turn the people being attacked as criminals by this government are the people who are either seen to be PNM or to be opposing the government. anything remotely resembling Opposition has to be squashed.

Warner has since issued threats to a female journalist, the Opposition Leader and a private citizen, Donald Bell. The journalist was targeted in a live, state-sponsored broadcast featuring the Minister of National Security and several other government ministers all hell bent on attacking a journalist. The other two people he attacked under the privilege of Parliament.

On all three occasions what is implied is that Warner has tremendous state apparati at his disposal. He can spy on people and intercept information and use it to intimidate people.

To date, Warner, as National Security Minister hasn’t used any of the surveillance equipment at hand to uncover details about any criminals or to crack any cases….but we know that he knows who having meetings in their homes and who attending…right?

jack-warner-press-conferenceThe same man who doesn’t know a thing about the Flying Squad, can use intelligence to spy on private citizens.

So now we have a situation where a National Security Minister drunk on power and a Prime Minister drunk on….sighh….have taken it upon themselves to precept soldiers and give them powers of arrest and detention.

In a country where a State of Emergency can be called without due process or a valid reason and 8000 people, of whom 80% were of African descent, can be detained without evidence, do we want Soldier Police?

In a country where a Minister of National Security can use state surveillance equipment to spy on and intimidate citizens do we want Soldier Police?

In a country where a secret police Unit can be set up under the same Minister of National Security, complete with 75 officers and a private detention prison in Arouca that no one in the country knows about, do we want Soldier Police?

In a Police State the government controls the social, economic and political life of the citizens.

In a Police State the government imposes these controls on you claiming it is for you own security that your rights are being taken away.

In a Police State after you have given away these rights, even more rights are then taken away….at each point the state claims it is for your own good, for teh safety and security of the NAYYYYSHUN!

The first people targeted are those who oppose the Government publicly…thereafter anything goes as the government becomes more and more paranoid about the perceived enemies of the state.

Think of Nazi Germany, South Africa under apartheid; Haiti under Duvalier…..think Ton Ton Macoute, SS Officers. Think people being quietly arrested and detained and you don’t know which prison cell they are being held in and eventually their beaten or dead body shows up…their one crime being they didn’t agree with the government’s position on an issue.

A five-year-old can tell you that there are a number of ways this government could be tackling crime. Start with the money launderers and see where the trail ends. Clean up the police service so that corrupt officers are no longer protecting drug lords and their turf. Restrict the flow of arms and ammunition across our borders; improve detection skills in the police force and at forensic technology at crime labs.

But putting 1000 soldiers with the powers of arrest under the Ministry of National Security to wage a war against citizens isn’t the way. This isn’t about Warner alone….CDS Kenrick Maharaj doesn’t inspire me with confidence either, nor does Stephen Williams. And I won’t even bother to discuss PM Kamla. This is about an entire government  and its cronies that are drunk on power and will do everything to hold onto it, including removing the rights of its citizens. Section 34 ring a bell?

There is a reason the Sunset Clause lasts two years….by that time a new election is called. Two years to lock down and terrorise a country with an unofficial SoE. Two years to have the government’s specially picked Soldier Police run riot in this town.

If in 3 months the SoE managed to lock up 8000 people, imagine what this government will do in 24….

And this is the asinine decision that Daphne Bartlett and Associates are supporting?

Full Dotish Inna 4D!!!!!!!

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From Castara to Calcutta…

London and Charles...who will be victorious?

London and Charles…who will be victorious?

Tonight is the great THA Debate. All of Tobago and most of Trinidad is waiting with bated breath to see how Hochoy Charles, Orville London and Ashworth Jack will perform.

By now everyone is aware that the UNC has sent over a highpowered team to Tobago and they are all shacked up at everybody’s favourite high-priced love hotel Coco Reef. Jack Warner, Vasant Bharath, Suruj Rambachan and Roodal Moonilal are currently prepping Ashworth to answer questions tonight.

I expect Jack to come out swinging about how Tobago has been mismanaged under both Hochoy Charles (Ring Bang Adda) and London (MilShirv and PNM mismanagement for how many years). In both instances Mr Jack may well have some substance, but most of it will be lost in the fluff, stuff and nonsense that Moonilal et al will be prepping him to say.

Ashworth-JackJack’s biggest achievement tonight will be to distract the Tobago Audience:
1. His association with the UNC, despite the fact that he is being financed and prepared by the UNC

2. All of the corruption, squandermania and mismanagement that has taken place under Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s tenure.

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

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

Jack will be trying hard to switch focus from Section 34, the SoE, Reshmi Ramnarine, Gopaul Contract, the $7b Highway, and the most recent move to breach our Constitution, Warner’s announcement that soldiers will be given powers of arrest. That announcement has occurred with nary a comment from any corner. It’s either the Opposition waiting on Warner to shart in his own pants and cause a Constiutional crisis, or everyone so distracted with THA Elections and getting Hilton Sandy to apologise that they;ve missed the implications of Warner attempting to usurp the power of the President  – Commander in Chief of the Army – as well as pervert the purpose of the nation’s Defence Force.

Hilton Sandy

Hilton Sandy

Between now and January 21st you will notice the TOP Campaign will shift from the Milshirv issue…which is a non-issue because they really have no evidence on which to accuse London of corruption…Nice try Ashworth and Anand….and instead they will ride Hilton Sandy’s Boat from Calcutta comment to the death.

Let me say unequivocally that Sandy’s comment was asinine. And asinine on many levels. It is common knowledge that Tobagonians are clannish and protective of their culture and space…even Afro-Trinidadians are treated like outsiders. It is also common knowledge that in the past decade the Indian population in Tobago has increased steadily and since the last election there have been more and more Indians moving over to Tobago and island that historically they didn’t develop or have any real interest in. But for Sandy to make the comment is to indicate that:

1:Indians aren’t considered to be part of Trinidad and Tobago and;

2: The PNM is openly indulging in race politics as well.

As a political move that is particularly stupid given the PNM’s history. And from an individual perspective Hilton Sandy showing his petticoat.

But let’s also not lose sight of the fact that Tobagonians have ample reasons to be wary and cautious of a UNC government. And unfortunately, UNC has come to be equated with Indian, just as PNM is equated with African.

The UNC has unfortunately become a caricature of all the stereotypes that abound where Indians are concerned. There are the rumours of alcoholism, the nepotism and corruption, the constant pre-action protocol letters to subdue and silence criticism, the constant lies and the mishandling and disappearance of public funds.

From a Tobagonians point of view it’s all well and good if that happening just in Trinidad. Because all Trinidadians to their mind tricky and corrupt….but when you want to shift that sort of culture over to Tobago en masse then Houston, Castara going to have a problem.

There is also the issue of land settlement. Tobagonians are notorious for not administrating for land. Vast tracts of land pass from generation to generation without any paperwork being processed. What has been happening of late is members of the Indian community in Trinidad going over to Tobago and taking advantage of this land situation. So no one holds a deed for land and they go over and pay the taxes for it, occupy it and eventually own the land.

It seems like the dispossession of Emancipation all over again for some and underneath this land issue seethes the fears and insecurities of almost 200 years of history.

Couple that with Devant Maharaj who writes columns filled with racist prejudices every chance he gets like this one here in South Asian Outlook.

Imagine an entire article that focuses on complaining about CSO stats…when it is his government that has been responsible since 2010 for conducting the survey and releasing the stats.

Ironically enough, no one ever seems to think it necessary to call for the resignation of Devant Maharaj, Sat Maharaj, Jack Warner, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Neil Parsan or Nizam Mohammed. Yet as of this morning everyone and the NJAC calling for Sandy’s head.

Sandy did shit….but if none of the abovementioned people have to step down from their position then on what grounds are we calling for Sandy’s head?

But Ashworth going to hope hell hard that he can continue to distract the voting population with the race talk, while the corruption and competency discussion gets swept under the mat.

London would do well to establish that no one has raised a question about Milshirv since he released documents and continue to warn Tobagonians about the implications a UNC-led TOP has for corruption and competence in the island’s affairs.

As for me…..I can’t wait to hear Hochoy Charles tonight….I feel he going to be in ripping form!

 

Vote with Sense, don’t vote Full Dotish!

Muje Maaf Kar Do….Mea Culpa?

This afternoon the PNM is putting on a grand Divali celebration in St James. The celebration will feature a tassa competition, a beauty queen show and deya lighting. For a party that is in opposition and considered to be more Afro than any other ethnic group in its appeal, it is refreshing to see the efforts that Rowley et al are making to appear more inclusive.

Indeed, since the PNM Convention on October 28 th The Keith has been quietly relentless about showing his many facets and in showing his softer side, he is attempting to show the PNMs accommodating side. But how accommodating is it?

Is it going to be a seasonal accommodation? One that pops up only during popular religious festivals? Will other less prominent ethnic groups also be a part of this new accommodation? Will other religious systems that are less prominent as well be welcomed into the fold? After all the PNMs mantra these days is ” Come home to the PNM”.

But what exactly are we coming home to? Is this new accommodation a pappy show to give an impression of inclusiveness, or is the PNM serious about turning a new leaf?

I am asking these hard questions because there are two major obstacles the PNM has to confront at some point in time publicly. Why? Because they are the obstacles that are thrown up all the time privately. The unspoken grouses the electorate has against the PNM as it were, and I think publicly confronting them will actually make the party appear stronger and serious about inclusion.

Right now the constant pictures of The Keith in koortah is window dressing for a deeper far more serious problem. Yes he looks very dapper and cuts a fine picture in ethnic garb. But as a half coolie that looks more African than Indian, I can tell you that there is far more to being Indian and winning the regard of the Indian community than donning ethnic garb. The PNM in particular and Afro Trinbagonians have always been viewed by the Indo community with skepticism and mistrust.

Social and political leaders of the Indo community have kept the mistrust alive with a constant reference to several grievances held against the PNM. There is the constant cry that the PNM has oppressed Indians, of course when you press for details and evidence the conversation always ends up the “recalcitrant minority” speech by Williams. A speech that happened. That it happened in reference to something else is irrelevant to the Indo community. What matters is that it was said and as far as Indians are concerned it speaks to the true feelings of both the PNM and Afro Trinis.
Go to any FB group, especially UNC focused group and that’s where all the conversations lead to. Pnm is a cult that don’t like Indians and trying to oppress us. Ask the right questions and it boils down to the comment that has had Indians toting feelings against both PNM and Afros for half a century.

The Keith has begun addressing this grievance, but obliquely. It can’t be a coincidence that at every opportunity he has been given in the last two weeks he constantly refers to the valuable contributions of the Hindu community. It is possibly a subtle, mea culpa….but this won’t do.

You see Indians want their pound of fle……sorry, bhagi. And given the public way in which Williams made the comment, any addressing of it will have to be just as publicly. The PNM must make it clear that it is not now, nor ever will be, the party’s position on Indians. It matters little that fifty years have passed since it was made. It matters little that much has been done to atone for it. Until the PNM faces that bogey head on, then it will always rear its head in quiet and not so quiet corners to be used against the party and Afro Trinis.

The tote is real The Keith, and the party must go on record as having addressed the issue. A simple Muje maaf kar do. To refuse to address it gives the comment and its offshoot behavior more power than it deserves.

When you go on record, you diffuse the strength of that comment made more than fifty years ago….and turn the tables on the whiners only intent on ethnic political mischief.

De Vice Cyah Done!

20121111-145758.jpg

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!

 

Rowbama vs Kamnesia

The crowd at PNM Convention 2012

It’s the Battle of the Re-Brands folks, and Keith Rowley is ready to rumble.

In 2010 we saw a rejuvenated UNC re-brand itself after getting rid of Basdeo Panday. A lot of money, effort and Ernie Ross went into making over Kamla. On the campaign trail she was constantly surrounded by foreign security guards. Her normal attire was a yellow sweater twin-set and black pencil skirt, with perfectly coiffed hair. An accent, not bought from Honda, became readily apparent and we became the NAY SHUN. Persad-Bissessar, desperate to prove to us that she was a breath of fresh air, the chayyyynge that was blowing through the nayyyshun would lip sync Bryan Adams and Celine Dion for us: A New day was coming and Everything she was doing, she was doing for us. Her supporters were ecstatic over the re-branding. They were happy for the new image, and for the opportunity to prove to the rest of the country that the Panday era was behind them.

Tonight the PNM’s Keith Rowley reinforced Jamal Mohammed’s fears of a re-branded PNM by unveiling just that. This is my first PNM Convention ever, I have no idea what normally takes place. But the presentation of the Political Leader this afternoon was an interesting concoction of fanfare and substance. The PNM, a party that I have often considered to be stuck in the Jurassic era used a lot of multimedia this afternoon, and I was happy to see that. There were two documentaries: one on Section 34 and another on Rowley the Man.

Section 34 gave us a synopsis of the Constitutional crisis facing the country complete with man-on-the-street and informed talking heads (Faris Al Sexy and Justin Jwoww Phelps). the documentary on The Keith sought to show Rowley in a new light. Not the aggressive parliamentarian that earned him the name of rottweiller, but the man that Tobagonians see. Last week after returning from the Tobago meeting I commented to a few friends that the Rowley seen in Tobago and the one seen in Trinidad are two different beasts. Tobago is where he relaxes, stands up and limes with a crowd of people after a meeting and smiles and jokes.

Today the gathering at the QPS Grand Stand got to see some of that as the documentary showed Keith in his Mason Hall home, looking very much the gentleman farmer on land inherited from his grandfather, surrounded by other Tobagonians, family members and with a cameo from the Anglican archbishop. You saw Rowley as husband, father and neighbour.

The Keith takes the stage at sunset

Then there was the short video introduction to his speech that showed Franklyn Khan calling The Keith on his Blackberry. The Keith getting ready, and poking fun at himself several times pretending to comb his hair and even pausing on his was to the Savannah to pet a vicious looking dog. Who knew the man had a sense of humour? Then he and wife Sharon emerged on stage, and you don’t have to like Rowley to admit that he and his wife are a very handsome couple.

Then came the speech. And what it was, was a well crafted manifesto. It is the second time in a month that The Keith has presented an energy and debt servicing policy as a counterpoint to the abysmal budget Larry Howai delivered on October 1st. And when you consider the Ministry of Works asking for $2.7b since the Budget was read, and today’s announcement that the AG needs $1.3b to pay for the OPV arbitration; Keith’s policies and plans re the country’s finances begin to look far more attractive than the mismanagement and misstepping that Kamla and her small goal side have given us.

Between Independence Day to the present the Opposition Leader has used every opportunity at his disposal to present himself as Prime Ministerial; to show that he has the intelligence and leadership skills necessary to, as he said today, put the country back on track. And it doesn’t help the UNCs cause that at every turn they are doing absolute crap and Kamla….the epitome of female leadership remains the mum mother and grandmother.

Indeed,  the Prime Minister is probably hoping that Ernie Ross can give the country a dose of Kamnesia and make us forget the non-stop missteps of the last 2.5 years. In this upcoming week, when a massive protest is planned expect more wild statements from her ministers, especially Ministers who until now have been quiet. Expect all manner of distraction. And expect Rowley’s new look and his manifesto to be bashed even though the PPG has nothing by way of actual policy in the entire term to date that can compare. In fact, Rowley seems to be doing the Government’s homework time and again.

But new image a side, there was another aspect to today’s convention that was more satisfying to me and it is an area that I would like to see The Keith and his executive address. I had the pleasure and honour today of meeting Rick Rampersad and it was all accidental. I’d gone into the media room to charge my phone and ipad when a colleague brought in a young man to do an interview. The gentleman was from the West Orupouche seat (same one as Stacy Ramnarine). What started as an interview between him and the reporter quickly became a conversation between him and several people. Rick Rampersad talked about Indians in politics, particularly Hindus in politics in a way that isn’t discussed on the campaign trail. It was frank, respectful and refreshing. Not just the party’s voter base, but the entire country needs to be hearing more voices like Rick Rampersad’s. the face of the PNM is too often seen to be Black and Christian. It never looks as all inclusive as it claims to be and voices such as Rampersad’s and a host of others NEED to come to the fore.

As I write the COP is having it’s internal elections and no doubt the UNC is ensuring that it gets as many of its people into the party’s key positions that way Kamla can continue to call the shots. Once Kamla can call the shots she assures herself several things: no COP walking out before the next elections; and no COP to split votes then either.

This weekend the PNM showed that it can and will evolve in order to survive. It’s leader has shown that apart from being bright and incisively intelligent he is also  flexible enough shake up his own image. THA elections are around the corner. Time to see if the UNC has more to offer the electorate than really bad PR and an empty treasury.

De Vice Cyah Done!

The Motion of Censure against the AG

Tomorrow our Parliament will see the Opposition bring a motion of  censure against the AG, Anand Ramlogan. The Opposition is charging that the AG was part of the Cabinet that promised to not enact the Bill before all measures were put in place and was also part of the Cabinet that then ignored these measures and facilitated the early…and secretive…proclamation of 5 sections of the Act one of which created an Amnesty for Ish and Steve Galbaransingh. As you well know, Ish, Steve and about 13 other people are facing charges of corruption and bid rigging over the billion-dollar Piarco Airport. They are currently seeking legal action against the repeal of the Indicatable Offences Act…the law that holds Section 34 in it. The following is the actual petition submitted by the Leader of the Opposition:
Motion:
1. WHEREAS Section 76(2) of the Constitution specifies “that the Attorney General shall, subject to
section 79, be responsible for the administration of legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago and legal proceedings for
and against the Sta

te”;
AND WHEREAS the Attorney General participated in the presentation to Parliament of the
Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Bill 2011 which contained a clause that created
an amnesty for certain legal proceedings [referred to as Section 34];
AND WHEREAS the Attorney General had knowledge of and supported the Government’s
solemn undertaking to Parliament that no part of the Bill would be brought into force until such
time as all supporting rules, administrative and physical infrastructure were in place and
stakeholders consulted;
AND WHEREAS in the absence of the discharge of the said undertakings, the Attorney
General had knowledge of and/or involvement in the unexpected proclamation of Section 34,
thereby prematurely bringing into force an amnesty with consequences for certain legal
proceedings involving certain persons;
AND WHEREAS earlier, the Attorney General made certain decisions in an extradition matter
involving those said certain persons;
AND WHEREAS as a consequence of this series of developments there is widespread unease,
anger, disappointment and a general sense of loss of confidence in the Attorney General among a
large cross-section of the national population;
AND WHEREAS the Attorney General has accepted no responsibility for the improper
discharge of his constitutional duties:
BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House express its strongest disapproval of the
flagrant breach of Parliamentary trust by the Attorney General’s involvement in the premature
proclamation of Section 34;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Honourable House express its loss of
confidence in the Attorney General and call on the Prime Minister to immediately relieve him of
the portfolio of Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dear Guardian Editor….a Trinity Cross in your future!

Dear Guardian Editor,
I write in reference to an article published September 1st, 2012, and entitled “Rowley Defends PNM Independence Ceremony”. In the article’s last sentence your reporter Andre Alexander wrote, “Shortly before midnight, as the Union Jack was lowered, suporters chanted “Come down, Jack (Warner), come down.”
This part of Mr Alexander’s recounting is erroneous and a dangerous fabrication to print in a society that is as politically volatile as ours .
I met Mr Alexander at the venue and stood next to him and several other journalists, several of whom I know and have worked with from around 11:30 until the flag raising ceremony began at midnight. At about 10 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony the calypsonian who was performing onstage indicated to the crowd that they should head over to where the flagpoles were located for the flag raising ceremony. The calypsonian, Skatie, then said, “We are going to lower the Union Jack and raise the red white and black, not the red white and Jack.”
That was the only time any comment that could be construed as being related to Mr Warner was made. During the actual flag raising ceremony there was no chanting. The Union Jack was lowered to the sound of a bugle and the national flag was raised to a lone bugle as well. After our flag was raised there was bell ringing, cheers, applause and then the anthem was sung. Again, I repeat, there was no chanting, as indicated by your reporter, who was mere feet away from me and the flagpoles. I took the opportunity to tape the flag raising ceremony and can back up my statements.
In a country such as ours, where political tensions are high, it seems to me that responsible journalism plays a crucial role in helping our public to formulate balanced opinions and also to keep us democratic. When a paper such as yours chooses to misrepresent events in a manners such as this I must comment. It is not a situation of the reporter misinterpreting events, but in fact an entire fabrication. Considering where I stood in relation to Mr Alexander and the flag, had there been chanting I would have heard and the video tape I made of the event would have picked up such. Since the chanting did not occur, one wonders why the reporter, or indeed the paper, would print such an account.
In the interest of a correct and accurate account of the events, I do believe the Guardian should apologize to the event organizers and print a correct version of the events as they transpired.

If the inaccurate information was deliberately written and published, I expect is Trinity Cross for all yuh next year!

De Vice Cyah Done!

Regards,
The Pantomime

In an update the Editor of the Guardian responded to clarify two things…that the reporter was Richard Lord….his byline was not on the digital story….and that Mr Lord insists that “some people” present were chanting….they went from a general supporters to some people present.
http://www.guardian.co.tt/letters/2012-09-04/no-misrepresentation-here