Pimping the Pooja

The notice for Hanooman Pooja in Trinidad Express, June 1st, 2015, p 17

The notice for Hanooman Pooja in Trinidad Express, June 1st, 2015, p 17

In the last 5 years Indian Arrival Day (not Arrival Day) has become the official holiday for Sat Maharaj to mouth off, with open encouragement from the Prime Minister, and make offensive comments to the rest of the national community while acting as if only Indians of Hindu descent arrived here, ever.

In light of this auspicious holiday, Sat’s comments this weekend, and an advert making the social media rounds, I feel compelled to write this piece.

The Pooja should not be pimped out for the purpose of politics. Not even by religious sects that think themselves the voice of orthodoxy.

In fact, no religion should be pimped out for the purpose of politics. Religion should at all times and in all instances remain a personal and private thing that you never wave in anyone’s face: unless they ask nicely.

Unfortunately, this government and its supporters are desperate. So desperate that they have shifted from the quiet campaigning which we all know happens in religious houses and have made it an open and national thing.So desperate, that all pretence at inclusiveness and ethnic harmony are out the door.

So come June 2nd, Hanooman pooja is going to be pimped out to help Kamla regain office. I didn’t say it, the pg 17 ad in the Trinidad Express did. Its purpose is to protect Kamla. From what, it didn’t say. Maybe tins of peas? Fake assassination plots? Hyper/Hypo/Hyppa glycemia?

And frankly, to use a religious ritual in this way is disgusting. But no less disgusting than the disdain and contempt with which this government has treated the nation in the last five years with the constant missteps, coupled with the abuse of the Treasury and Constitution. Now, we have the flagrant use of religion in the political gayelle; with Ministers of State no less, endorsing and hosting said poojas.

The implied meanings are clear. This is a government for Hindu citizens. Temples that are openly promoting such poojas are also implying that their devotees operate with a hive mind. And their altars and congregations are politically aligned. Try and imagine any of the Churches here holding novenas, prayer services and mass for Dr Rowley’s victory at the next elections? And having the temerity to advertise such openly? Imagine the uproar?
Have we forgotten our disgust at the Guanapo Church?
Have we gotten over the insult of Kamla handing over million to churches at Christmas time despite declining oil prices and massive deficit budgets?

Does the separation of Church and State mean anything at any level?

The dynamic duo: Sat Maharaj and Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The dynamic duo: Sat Maharaj and Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

It is unfortunate that these are the messages that Kamla and her Small Goal Side continue to send out. They have had numerous opportunities to help Trinidad and Tobago move beyond polarised, race-fuelled politics; but each time they have been contented to play the race card and pander to their base. This weekend, Sat Maharaj, in front of a rapt audience, called for the capital to be moved from Port of Spain. Of course, Port of Spain is seen as as an urban space. In Trinidad urban space is code for black. In Sat’s world, black is code for…well it isn’t code anymore. In his world black is a bad thing. And power, any kind of power, even administrative power, sitting in any other hands but his own is problematic. One of his arguments, hopelessly flawed, is that Port of Spain has no temples or mosques.

The flaws reside on two levels. Temples and mosques are built where there is a membership. The centre of Port of Spain does not have a significant Hindu population. So no temples were built there. It makes perfect sense. However, there are mosques in the heart of the city, contrary to his claim; because Port of Spain has long been home to a thriving Black Muslim community. But Sat does not acknowledge Black Muslims. Queen Street, close to Piccadilly, if I am not mistaken, is where the mosque is located. The outlying areas of Port of Spain, the town of St James, have mosques and temples. Yet the faithful and the myopic lap this bullshit up. Much the same way they could be seen arguing on Facebook over the weekend for the word “Indian” to be a part of the holiday name. Totally ignoring how exclusive and polarising re-naming a holiday “Indian Arrival Day” can be when you have Chinese and Portuguese who were migrant labourers as well.

The truly sad part of all of this is this holiday, like many other ethno-specific holidays, could have been used to teach the population more about the various groups here. Not just about where they came from, but about what has been achieved and done here. We know so little about ourselves. Instead, the holiday is now used to re-write history inaccurately, pretend that Enslavement and Indenture are one and the same thing; and drive a wedge between Trinbagonians.

In all of this, I hope the pimps are handsomely rewarded. It would be a shame to be on the losing end twice.



Crime Clusterf@$k/Political Pantomime 21mts, 27dys: Poached and Scrambled Eggs!

So the talk is that Marlene Coudray say in a UNC forum last night that she is not an egg….she can’t be poached…..she knows who her leader is….does Prakash know who his leader is??????
Them’s fighting words boy!


Ummm, Marlene, when people talked about poaching, they meant illegal hunting, not cooking….just saying….I’m sure the UNC has gotten a gem of a political mind in you.

So the PM under heat for the house in La Fantaisie. Anybody remember that she had condemned the house? Called it the Prime Ministerial Palace and vowed that she would never live there??????
Well it seems like this may be the one promise the PM has kept from her 2010 campaign….it is alleged that the PM lives in South Trinidad, while the State has been housing  and feeding and transporting the PM’s sister and three of her nephews.
Yesterday the PNM’s right wing defender Marlene McDonald get a little touch of the political accusations football and make a dash down the flank, accusing the PM of abusing State resources once again. The PM seemed caught with her pants down when reporters questioned her. She denied  that they were driving PM1. Which is ironic since radio personality Tony Lee of i95.5 reported seeing Ms Newton exiting PM1 in the area of the NAPA building on Carnival Monday morning….and he admits he never saw anyone else exit the car….maybe he shoulda walk slower…because I feel he just missed the PM…she was there too…she really was…wasn’t she? Kamla wouldn’t lie about abusing state property would she? She did admit that her sister and family either visit or stay at the PM’s official residence from time to time. What does from time to time mean? Are we likely to hear in a couple days or weeks that in fact the reports we are hearing have more than a grain of truth to them and that the PM is indeed abusing state property? Will we hear too that the Govt Travel Card has been abused by the PM also?

Now, if the PNM follows its regular playbook, then they giving the PM rope with which to hang herself. On every occasion that this Opposition has laid accusations at the Government’s feet they have had documentary evidence with which to back things up….hark back recently to the Shoppin Toppin card scandal…Roodal Moonilal take plenty basket when The Keith raised the issue in Parliament and implied that the bill was $4000. Moonilal couldn’t scoff hard enough at the figure…ignoring that the real issue here is not the amount of money, but the abuse of the card….he loudly proclaimed to Rowley, that the card done pay off….what is $4000?  Days later when the statements were leaked to the media it’s almost $70,000 worth of credit card debt and at least 4 breaches of policy for use of the credit card…..so Kamla, for your sake, I hope the PNM aint have more dirt on you and you aint get ketch in a big fat dirty lie….oh, who am I kidding…I hope they have the dirt….because your constant misspeaking, misstepping, nepotism and corruption has me thoroughly disgusted with your failed brand of female leadership!

Me aint know about you, but Claxton Bay seems like more of a hotspot than Beetham and Laventille these days….between homes being firebombed, maxis transporting workers being attacked and general protest actions, that TCL Strike zone sounding like a war zone. And I fear it will only get worse as strikers become more and more frustrated over the continued running of the cement plant by strike breakers. Keep an eye folks. Unless some settlement happens soon, I am expecting a further outbreak of violence.

And speaking of Beetham, looks like reprisal murders are heating up in the neighbourhood and a turf war may erupt….but Maxis transporting workers should be safe.

Oh, CAL owing Airports Authority $60m. And there is the possibility that Cable & Wireless might be considering selling its stake in TSTT. These are two crucial business stories to keep your eyes on.

By the way, Kamla’s hope that new oil finds are going to boost the economy have been rubbished by Colm Imbert, who has pointed out that the country isn’t likely to see any benefits from it in under three years since exploration is only now underway.

Imbert also implied that the numerous anto-Govt protests in South Trinidad were actually orchestrated by UNC elements. If this is so, then Jack Warner has proven to be more savvy than the man who it is alleged is trying to oust him from the party, Suruj Rambachan. Rambachan claiming these days that he is at Jack’s mercy. Which is too funny and ironic. The other irony is that after all the grand charging and removal of the PURE programme from under Warner, the Prime Minister has returned it to him in order to return peace to the constituencies….one wonders who really advises Kamla and her Deck of Fools. Jack didn’t choose his ministry by accident. If nothing else Jack understands politics…he understands that the most prominent and visible ministry (apart from Housing) is Works and Transport. Jack Warner is probably the only government minister that appears to be working. And while he is involved in 3 Fifa-related scandals, most Trinidadians have justified it to themselves that the scandals Jack involved in are external to the Govt….no one can say his hands have been caught in the State cookie jar…..so in short, Kamla’s most obviously corrupt minister is also her hardest worker….And in interfering with the Ministry of Works she has undermined the appearance of efficiency in her government….if you can’t even fix roads and box drains then what is your purpose????? You know how Trinis like to see drain building, and roads paving….you stop dat too? Yuh Mad??????

Kamla has missed her window of opportunity to get rid of Warner….there was a time when she had the majority of the population behind her, convinced that this Minister was too corrupt to be in government…but in recent months Jack, who has been battling a subtle plot to oust him from the party, appears to have a cleaner nose than most. How can Kamla justify removing Jack now in light of missteps from Shoppin Toppin and Fuad Card? Especially since Jack can point to numerous road projects that have made a difference to citizen’s commuting daily. Sorry, Kamla, opportunity gone…Jack is here to stay….the level of support the rest of the party has to throw behind Ashvani shows that Jack has a  stronger following in the party than even I anticipated. So I think that Jack is going to be back after March 24th.

The behaviour of this government in general has serious implications for the rest of the society. When the average citizen is struggling to manage an existence here with poor roads, bad health care, constant traffic, poor customer service, a flawed education system, and so many other facilities and infrastructure missing it has to grind and grate on people’s nerves to see the PM and her ministers abusing state funds and living luxuriously, sharing the wealth with their close friends and family, while little to no economic growth takes place in the country….couple that with the continued criminal activity and murder toll…and well….This Govt HAS FAILED.

In fact, while the No Confidence Motion received a thorough beat down in the Parliament on March 2nd and 3rd….it seems that in the Parliament of public consciousness Rowley’s actions have been far more successful. More and more citizens are fed up with the government, fed up with the almost daily scandals and bussing of new marks. Every morning I get up and turn on my computer to read the newspapers I wonder to myself, what new and disgusting thing going to come from this government today….and they haven’t let me down. The only confidence I have in this government is that it is going to continue to fail.

De Vice Cyah Done.

Das Boots: The tale of Kamla Rani and Louis V…

The National Mother and Grandmother: Looking Prime Ministerial

There’s been a lot of talk online and in person about the Trinidad Express’ story on Kamla Rani’s Louis Vuitton gold hight tops. In many quarters, some believe it was a non-story. In my case, I think it was a cleverly played game of inception (whether the reporter knows it or not). The Express gave us the simple facts: here are the shoes, this is what they cost, this is where you can buy them…and oh, here’s a picture of our PM on stage holding Machel Montano’s hand wearing them….make of it what you will! The real story is not Das Boots…..but what Das Boots represents. Marie Antoinette’s symbol is cake, Imelda Marcos’ is a closet of shoes and Eva Peron’s is everything. These Louis Vs may well be the way we remember the PM’s reign in years to come: a garish, coskelle display of inappropriateness. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Kamla_s_pricey_boots-139413813.html

People like their leaders to look and act, like, well, leaders?

Compare and contrast the two looks to your left.
What a lot of people are choosing to ignore in whether this story about the PM’s shoes is a non-story or not is that, the shoes in and off themselves aren’t the story. But what they symbolise to the population are.
Panday had a billion dollar airport, a London Flat and a bank account become the symbols of his tenure in office. Patrick Manning’s was the waterfront project and the Church in Guanapo. Kamla’s reign may well boil down to what is symbolised by these boots…..opulence and inappropriateness.

From the beginning of her term in office one of the things that has NEVER characterised the PM is hard work. She is seen as a fashion plate…dresses up a lot, flies a lot, has a large entourage and seems to be as blinged out as a rockstar. Not more than two weeks ago newspaper stories arose that since her return from India, where true to form she seemed to be on parade, the PM was hardly in office. Her insecurity adviser flew gallantly to her defence to say that the PM works from several offices. She is the hardest working PM the country has ever had. Yet, while Kamla couldn’t be found at any of her offices during the day and her husband and grandchildren keep asking for her, she has been found at many fetes this past week.
And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with the PM or citizen Kamla  enjoying entertainment. There is a lot wrong when your PM’s behaviour is unseemly. It matters little that the boots cost TT$5000. It matters little that the PM can afford them, or that Citizen Kamla can afford them. The real crux of the matter with these boots is what they represent: opulence, luxury and inappropriateness in a time when the citizenry needs examples of austerity and strong leadership.
It is a time of crippling economic austerity for most. We’ve had 0 per cent economic growth for the past 3 years and at every turn Dookeran is promising a blue sky. Daily people can afford less and less on their salaries. In the last 2 years several important industries have either ground to a halt or are experiencing severe pains. Construction is at a halt, the advertising industry is feeling the pain severely, as are farmers, taxi drivers and retail store owners. And these are just the areas that I can personally attest to.

In this time of economic slowdown, with population morale at a low over all the many issues plaguing the society: inept SoE, corrupt and inept police force, regular missteps from COP Gibbs, blunderings and blusterings from the AG, missteps and misspeaks from the PM herself, incompetence from the President, our non-Integrity Commission, raids on media houses that no one but Sgt Koon Koon will accept responsibility for, it just wasn’t the right time to see the PM parading herself in a way that seemed frivolous and inappropriate.
It was silly enough that she came onstage to present an award to soca artiste Benjai that no one seemed to know anything about. To date we don’t know why Benjai got the award or what the award was for and if it was cabinet-approved. And the PM was onstage in her official capacity, not as Citizen Kamla…along with an entourage that included her husband and Minister of National Security. The talk within the HD camp (and I aint naming my sources, Sgt Koon Koon) is that her arrival onstage wasn’t scripted….in short, the government stormed the stage demanding to be let on to make a presentation…..that we are still in the dark about.

The PM in her Louis Vs

And take a moment to really assess Kamla’s image that night: gold boots and camel toe….no one told her the pants weren’t fitting well? Do we really want a PM who dresses like the girls in music videos? Is this what we want to see our PM looking like? Is this the best we can do as a PM: a person who shirks her duties, but finds time to party? Is there a difference between the PM and the average teenager who is all about the look with no substance?

Now down to the boots of the matter. How many of us can say that they are comfortable with Kamla’s constant parading, gallerying and politicking. 20 months and 24 days into her governance and she hasn’t started to do any  real work yet? The most amount of work the PM has done for her tenure seems to be handing out checks and awards during the Carnival season. I can’t wait for Soca Monarch.

There is no crime plan in sight (despite her announcing the unveiling of one 2 weeks ago), no action on Gibbs or Warner (probes that are all still pending), and there is a looming crisis in the energy sector. Yet she appears on fete stages regularly to sing Bruno Mars’ songs into microphones or to pass out nameless honours. And the dress code is inappropriate. People want their Prime Ministers to look like leaders, not like mutton dressed as lamb. Something discreet and tasteful, not garish and pricely. I maintain the only thing the PM seemed to be missing that night was powder on her chest and gold teeth…..then she’d be the rockstar that she clearly wants to be….and stop pretending to be the Prime Minister and Stateswoman that she is clearly not cut out to be.

So lemme send a special request to my PM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ

(TWICKS): This Week In Clusterf@$KS – Feb 6th- 12th, 2012

The calm and unflappable face of the TTPS: Sgt Wayne Mystar. Photo courtesy the Newsday's website.

This wasn’t a good week for the Trinidad and Tobago Police service inspite of the straight face and neutral voice of Sgt Wayne Mystar. Just as the public seemed to be coming to terms with their brutal handling of members of the Panorama semis crowd came the announcement of a raid on Newsday’s office that targeted specifically reporter Andre Bagoo.

The cornered Jack Warner

Fmr Fifa Vice President, Jack Warner also had a pretty screwed week, what with Fifa suspending his pension plan, the Soca Warriors seizing his property in lieu of payments owed and now his name being linked to a Haitian aid scandal. I’m not sure that Warner can build enough roads and bridges to dig himself out of the hole he in. http://wired868.com/868/index.php/volley/item/91-warner-named-in-haitian-aid-scandal

Justice Gladys "De Badiss" Gafoor. Photo courtesy Newsday.

Deputy Chair woman of the Integrity Commission, the badiss Gladys Gafoor, has gone from admonishing Ken Gordon to being in the centre of a $hit storm so magnificent it may well put an end to Intergrity Commissions. It is alleged that Mrs Gafoor has been leaking information to the media: specifically journalist Andre Bagoo. In light of this President Fete to de Max Richards dismissed Justice Gafoor from the IC (and that dismissal in and of itself rife with kuchoor, because the media release was intercepted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Communications and doctored before being released to the public. No one knows who did the doctoring or why…just that it was done). The IC then called for a full investigation. This investigation led to a raid on a media house and the entire People’s Panchayat Govt rushing to condemn the police’s action, and for the AG to go so far as to deny association with the Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau (who carried out the raid) even though they fall within the ambit of the AG’s office. Ramlogan has gone on record to the Trinidad Express as saying he, “he viewed any continued connection between his office and the ACIB as an “embarrassment” and intended to speak with Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs to once again assume full control of the unit.” http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/NO_CONTROL__OVER_COPS-139168474.html. If indeed Justice Gafoor did leak information to Andre Bagoo then she has single handedly created problems for the Integrity Commission, the Government and the Media…..and people wonder why the Pantomime say Gladys is a Badiss or Epic Proportions!

Such is the influence of the “Badiss” that COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar suddenly remembered that he too had a mandate in the Parliament not as Kamla Rani’s stooge, but as the representative of a demographic, and he took to the television to make clear that his party in no way supported the attack on reporter Andre Bagoo and the Newsday.

Andre Bagoo: the little reporter who could, and may well be the straw to break the IC's back! Photo courtesy Andre Bagoo's blog.

This latest snafu with the IC has many calling for an end to the institution. What’s the point of this committee if we clearly no longer have citizens with integrity. It seems every week there’s a new problem with a member of the integrity commission. From priests who plagiarise, to entire Commissions being found lacking and having to dismantle. If we don’t have the people to man the board….then dismantle the Pappy Show! http://newsday.co.tt/news/print,0,155132.html

Another niggling issue has to be the invincibility of Hot Shot Top Cop Dwayne Gibbs. This man like Teflon! HE remains untouched by a failed State of Emergency, questionable dispensation of public funds, support of Police intimidation of the Media and general incompetence. Every week there is a new installment to the Dwayne Glibbs’ show and no one seems motivated to fire him. The Government studiously ignores all calls for Glibbs’ removal…and I’m beginning to think that Glibbs’ job isn’t to deal with crime, but to act as the Government’s Fall Guy for all breaches in the protective services…..so it’s never the People’s Panchayat’s fault….just that damned foreigner from Canada, ent Kamla Rani?

Apart from the issues with the FIFA, TTFF, Police, Media and IC, the energy industry has been having a tumultuous week that has been overshadowed. Ministers Bhoe Tewarie and Kevin Ramnarine are embroiled in transactions with Saudi Arabia that led to the US having to levy a boof on the PM and now moves to privatise Trinmar seem suspicious. Is the national patrimony being sold? And if so are members of this govt lining themselves up to benefit from the sales while the country continues to suffer?

Sita Gajardharsingh-Nanga. Photo courtesy Trinidad Express.

The Principal at the Tunapuna Hindu School, Sita Gajardarsingh-Nanga, got her transfer, then decided that she liked Sat Maharaj’s mistreatment of her more than she wanted to transfer; and so has declined the opportunity to transfer. Expect fireworks in the coming week on this issue….because with no more feral cattle to rustle in Icacos, Sat can now return to the issues that he loves best: blocking school gates, searching for visible panty lines, ferreting out non-Hindus, and managing wilful Hindu women who don’t know their place under him! http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Sat__Sita_can_t_be_principal_at_2_schools-139168464.html

And with all of these issues occupying our minds we still have:
*Dwayne Glibb’s crop duster plane rented at $.9m and the reasoning behind it.
* An explanation for the Newsday raid.
* TV6 Board of Directors being called in for questioning on the Crime Watch Rape tape.
* Dwayne Gibb’s assessment by the PSC….how this man still have ah wuk?

* 3 violent murders this week.
And the usual bacchanal leading up to the festival that defines this country, for better or for worse, Carnival!

De Vice Cyah Done!

Clusterf@$k Flashback: Notorious Gary G and the PM’s Residence!

The oh-so-notorious Capt G, Minister of Insecurity

Long before the notorious G was hired to book helicopter trips for the PM’s entourage, he used to be the Head of Household for a previous administration!

Yes, study yuh head good…is not now you hearing about the Minister of Insecurity. Captain Griffith was once a UNC Senator, who minutes after being sworn in staged a walkout with other Senators….and if you throw your mind even further back he was also the Head of Household under former PM Panday and during his tenure at the then PM’s residence a massive food and alcohol bill was racked up.
There were whispers and rumours even of a skirmish and fight at the residence involving the Notorious G and at least one female.
Following his cat fight days the G-Man revamped himself by becoming Mr Nicole Dyer….now he’s right back where he always wanted to be…running the PM’s residence.