Whispers of Corrupting Practices

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 28, 2019

“Whenever you ignore whispers, you do so at your own peril. Sometimes they may be the truth.”

—Eric Williams, PNM’s Founding father

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOk! Minister Colm Imbert, PNM party chairman, did not bouff Education Minister Anthony Garcia. Garcia was asked “a barrage of questions” and Imbert intervened politely, according to Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing, PNM’s public relations officer, “to remind him [Garcia] that the press conference was about party issues” (Express, May 20).

Necessarily, the reporters misrepresented the truth when they wrote: “Imbert arrived and reportedly interrupted the interview and told Garcia if he wanted to speak with reporters he could do so outside.” Camille Hunte, an Express reporter who witnessed this incident, wrote, “The brief exchange left reporters speechless.”

One can draw either of two conclusions: Imbert’s politeness left the reporters “speechless” because they were unaccustomed to his politeness, a rare phenomenon, or they were surprised that such politeness was uttered in such a disrespectful manner towards a colleague.

About two weeks ago, Minister Terry Deyalsingh, acting as the leader of Government Business at the Standing Finance Committee, seems to have mistaken Ancil Antoine, PNM’s member of D’abadie-O’Meara, for a little black boy. Antoine “disobeyed” Deyalsingh’s command to look for MP Daryl Smith who was absent from the room. Deyalsingh had to manners Antoine for not following his orders.

During the discussion that followed, Antoine left his seat to confer with Jennifer Baptiste, Minister of Labor, about constituency business when Deyalsingh demanded of Antoine: “Go and take yo’ seat.” He didn’t add “boy” to his command.

When Antoine demurred, he bouffed (sorry, berated) Antoine in such a loud voice that it attracted the attention of the members of the parliamentary chambers. Antoine responded to Deyalsingh forcefully after the meeting reminding him (Deyalsingh) that such condescending behavior towards fellow MPs who do not possess ministerial portfolios is unacceptable.

Then there was the unfortunate incident between Ministers Clarence Rambharat and Robert Le Hunte where the former is reputed to have bouffed the latter. I would not get into the details of this incident except to suggest that these exchanges highlight a pattern of continuing disrespect to colleagues who are not ministers and who happen to be black and seemingly defenseless.

This pattern of disrespect does not have to do only with color and/or ethnic affiliations. It also has to do with the role that money, the mother’s milk of politics, plays within the present PNM.

The non-white members of the PNM are wealthier than the black members. They are seen as the financiers of the party. Farris Alwari, Attorney General, just received a $23 million contract for three years for rental of his family building. He was not rude or impolite. He recused himself from the deliberations that allowed him to walk away guiltless with his millions.

It is reported that Minister of Works and Transportation Rohan Sinanan is expected to profit handsomely from the Curepe Interchange project. Sinanan, is a senator who no one elected, holds one of the most important ministerial portfolios in government, and stands at the center of political power in the party and government. He is a deputy leader of the PNM.

Then there is the case of NCB Global Finance, whose CEO, Angus Young, is the brother of Stuart Young, National Security Minister. His firm won a “$0.5 billion in transactions, including a $180 million loan to Udcott in November 2018” (Newsday, May 19).

Angus, I understand, is a good performer. However, he claims that “all business done by NCB is above board and can withstand scrutiny…like all other financial services; NCBGF pursues opportunities in line with its business and licenses and expects that, like other business enterprises, it should neither be included nor excluded from opportunities based on factors that are not relevant to the transactions themselves.”

It would be nice if Angus can tell us the distinction between political and economic factors, how one impacts upon the other, and whether his brother, a minister in the Prime Minister’s office to which Udicott was transferred from the Ministry of Housing, played any role in his winning this purely “business enterprise.”

I don’t know if arrogance and/or double speak has anything to do with the events above but their impact seems to have a disenabling effect upon the black members of the party.

The rabble is looking, listening and whispering that PNM continues to betray black people, its main supporters. It is whispered that when a black MP complained about the discourtesy that is being shown to black MPs, another black MP asked: “Could you give $8 million to the PNM to fight the elections?”

This might be the prevailing wisdom of those at the top of the PNM but Eric Williams, in one of his early PNM party school lectures, reminded young, eager party members: “When you ignore whispers you do so at your own peril. They may be the truth.”

Whispers on the ground suggest that the higher echelon of the PNM feel they can wine on and insult its black supporters. At election time, all they have to do is “throw some corn for de fowls and de fowls go nyam it up” (Tobago saying). This behavior will not work in the next local and/or general elections.

PNM’s strength lies in the integrity and undying loyalty of its members not in money bags of the rich and the powerful supporters of the party. It is a distinction the leaders of the party need to keep in mind if they do not want the party to become an elitist enclave.

10 Responses to “Whispers of Corrupting Practices”


  • Professor, I can only imagine Dr. Williams crossing Georgia Ave. on a cold winter morning, on his way to work at Howard Univ. DC. with the warmth of Trinidad and Tobago on his mind.. Yes, that Prof. of African Studies, founder of that PNM..
    Since I was a kid, I have heard that Trinidad is where they sent the ‘bad’ slaves.. Could it be that Trinidad had more than it’s fair share of ‘Seasoning Plantations’.. is it why Black MEN are so soft and are pushovers there? Jesus Christ. How much more can they take?
    Bunch of darn… stuppes

    https://youtu.be/MWigLcAkZCI

  • While I do agree with some points, their is always positive and negative in all situations.Politics, seems to be a thriving business for the wealthy and the poor indians and africans in this country will continue to suffer, because they don’t comprehend politics.
    The destitute of this country have only to become further second-rate citizens, with the influx of Chinese and Venezuelans entering this country.
    The impoverished nationals of this country will continue to vote PNM or UNC thinking that there will be some magical change immediately.

    Well, after voting for the Peoples National Movement in the last general election. We all can see that the unemployment rate has exponentially increased and it seems to be high on their agenda to continue with it.

    Instead of restructuring Petrotrin and Tstt etc.
    This government displayed figures that only they can recognise, whilst other institutions showed otherwise.
    Are we to believe in the numbers while people go hungry?
    Are we to sit by and believe in these politicians, while they accumulate their enormous remuneration packages of over TT$2000.00 per day (TAX FREE)?

    The politics has to change and it is only then, can the wealth of the country be distributed more evenly to the people of this country instead of the Ministers, their families,friends and their financiers.

  • Yes they whisper behind closed doors. It goes back to the days of slavery when the slaves huddled in groups and whispered about massa. Everyone was hushed, silent and observant of massa behaviour but to lend voice meant certain death or worst a severe beating everyday.
    Today it is no different, PNM supporters whisper behind closed doors about the economy, over $40 billion borrowed in the last 4 years, Kamla increased the debt by $26 billion but left $32 billion extra in the HSF and Foreign Exchange. People were able to get foreign exchange back then. Today only a selected few gets any amount they want. Today over 40,000 job loss. One look at the malls more empty spaces a sign of the times.
    PNM supporters are also whispering about the high murder and crime rate. Over 200 murders and escalating crime sees businesses closing and people looking for green pastures. To avoid a whopping no one says anything, only whispers in the dark. Come election they will vote PNM again. Massa hold is strong.

  • The only consistent factor in T&T politics is the vote percentage which the PNM receives in every election, win or lose.Check the election statistics available online.
    The core “PNM till ah dead” vote is purely African and totally loyal, regardless of the economic and social conditions. The non-Hindu Indians, Chinese, Whites and mixed race people are not loyal to any political Party. They will decide the next election, subject to the PNM attempts to gerrymander and housepad in the marginals.
    Alwari, Imbert, Deyalsingh, Rambharat and Sinanan will eventually realize that like Kamaludin and Mahabir they are easily disposable.Their privileged status is fleeting and temporary because the present leader of the PNM is devoid of the political, moral and intellectual savvy to lead a nation. His dependence on them is a matter of survival.He realises that the so-called “Blacks’ in government are also incapable of holding sizable portfolios.
    The whispers will continue until a real leader emerges to expunge these non-African temporary stewarts.

  • “The non-white members of the PNM are wealthier than the black members“
    You saying black folks ain’t good at thiefin?
    Wealth is obtained by hard work, it is the underlying theory of materialism. However, wealth can be obtained by who you know and what position you hold.
    It is now a fact that the PNM has a spousal club. That club is the prime benefactor of wealth. They enjoys the privilege of contracts in the millions just by forming a company. Examples about, Marlene with Calabar foundation, Imbert with the $19 million power washing contract of Lara, Franklin last wife $60 million housing contract, and now a rental property in Fyzabad, Well the Al Rawi clan and their raiding of the treasury for years, Deeyalsingh wife beneficiary of contracts to the company she works for, Camille and a $143,000 mystery. Yes I could go on but this is all in the public domain.

    However Dr. Cudjoe knows full well those who top the cake, enjoys the whole hog is Dr. Rowley close Syrian friends. They laugh all the way to bank, drowning in money. Here is just a small example. ost over­run–five-month de­lay
    Joseph Ra­hael–de­lays and cost over­runs on sev­er­al of those projects–Cou­va Ju­nior Sec­ondary ($172 mil­lion), Barataria Ju­nior Sec­ondary ($149 mil­lion), Pleas­antville Ju­nior Sec­ondary ($150 mil­lion)Note this is cost over run on these 3 projects. $472 million. These folks are PNM made billionaires. This was during the Manning era. Yes they came to Kamla and she resisted them. Gerry Brooks AnsaMcal game now sits on several state boards determining the economic agenda in favour of the 1%.

    • Trivia…..

      Before the UNC attaining power in 2010, Jack Warner was reported to have said that he paid for Moonilal’s wife school fees. Youtube’s videos of the ten richest people in Trinidad named Moonilal in the top five. Similarly, Anand Ramlogan was also in the top five. It is interesting that when they quoted sources of income, politics was stated as the main contributor.

      Wow! thats real hard work!!!!!!!

  • Where is my contribution?
    Is this censorship?

  • It is clear that only Pro UNC contributions are allowed in this space. Bias reigns.

  • “…the so-called “Blacks’ in government are also incapable of holding sizable portfolios.” TMan

    I do not often agree with TMan, but this statement has a ring of truth to it. While it is true that the PNM depends on the turnout of black people to win elections, the executives of the government does not seem to be representative of the black population. I happen to believe that black people are wanting in understanding their role in politics. The UNC (the Indian party) is almost homogeneously Indian and steadfastly hindu in the hierarchy of leadership. Conversely, the PNM leadership (apart from Dr. Rowley) has little to show in terms of black political talent and shows almost no elevation of black talent in future leadership roles. While on the political landscape of the PNM names such as Antoine, McDonald, Hinds and Cuffy standout, their competence as talented executives lack quality
    and substance to render them as future leaders of the party.

    The PNM has stalwarts of past administrations with outstanding reputations. Names such as Robinson, Constantine, Motely, Valley, Solomon and Donawa comes people who were not leaders of the party but could very have been considered for PNM leadership role. What about young leadership within the PNM? Where do they go to for talent? If the PNM want to maintain their hold on the black vote, they need to do a better job of recruiting talent (black talent) that can shine and inspire.

    • Kian, I must ask…do you actually expect reason,shame,guilt or compassion from INDIAN white supremacists such as Mamoo\Stephen? Their psyche is shaped from a Deep,Evil malice for african people!Lying,cheating,stealing,twisting of facts,history etc…as long as they believe it undermines african people they take great JOY in doing it! You cannot reason with insidious spirits such as those,they will drain you!These are the spirits that inhabit the Indian Social-Political-Economic entitiy that takes the form of DLP,PDP,UNC,COP,NJAC… whatever letters ,they choose to name themselves,there are 400,000 like minded/spirited who ENJOY and support their “work”.

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