Hart-aches by the numbers

By Raffique Shah
March 14, 2010

PM Patrick Manning and Calder HartIF I were Prime Minister Patrick Manning, I would fire my ‘spiritual adviser’ forthwith. I would instead hire a futuristic, 2020 model ‘secular consultant’, someone like, say, Raffique Shah. Before the howling starts, with every Tom, Dick and Harrilal shouting, ‘Shah looking for PNM wuk!’ or ‘We always knew Shah was PNM!’, let me explain why I offer the PM this advice.

I once knew a lawyer, as attorneys were then referred to, named Masa Khan, now deceased, I believe (humble apologies if the man is still alive). ‘Masa’, as everyone who knew the genial soul called him, was no big-shot lawyer. But he was court-smart.

Lawyers like ‘Masa’ stalked the corridors of the Magistrates’ Courts seeking out defendants who were charged with offences like stealing fowls or ducks or bicycles, or even riding the latter without licences or without lights at nights. Mostly, these petty offenders would appear before stern magistrates who would bark after them: ‘You have a lawyer?’ ‘No, sah!’ would be the usual reply. ‘Well, go find one! This is a very serious charge. I stand down the matter for one hour!’

The hapless defendant would wander into the court’s corridors…only to be accosted by someone like ‘Masa’. ‘Like yuh have a problem?’ the lawyer would ask. Discussions on the serious charge would follow, after which the defendant would agree to pay the lawyer, say, 20 guineas (a sterling currency no longer in existence). The lawyer would collect his fee, then ask the defendant to give him full details of the matter.

Having listened carefully, the lawyer would invariably pronounce: ‘I have carefully examined your matter. As your lawyer, I advise that you plead guilty and I shall beg for the magistrate’s mercy.’ The startled defendant, having parted with his or her ‘guineas’, would wonder why the hell he did not do the same in the first instance!

Should the Prime Minister agree on retaining me (my fee, by today’s standard, will be modest-maybe $5 million tops: I’m not greedy), I shall give him good advice. Really, couldn’t his current ‘spiritual adviser’ see the mess Manning would end up in? He is stricken with Hart-aches by the numbers-ten-digits-plus. Should a thorough enquiry, not to add forensic audit of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) follow, the result could be criminal charges and stressful trials.

Unlike his current adviser who could not see the collapse of the People’s National Movement (PNM) under the weight of corruption and make-believe spiritualists who don’t know their Matthew from John (I studied scripture, I’d have them know), I see the ruling party being wiped off the map should a general election be called tomorrow. Not that a winning combination of disparate elements who have no common purpose except removal of the PNM would last long in office. When man-rats and woman-mice start snarling and biting each other, when friends today become bitter enemies tomorrow, all will fall down. This process has already begun, and it will only get worse. In the end, the masses and the country would suffer.

So after he pays me my fee (I ‘ent stupid, eh), I would have him plead guilty to God and beg for His mercy. I would then advise the PM as follows. First, he must resign immediately-do a Calder Hart, except better. His next move will be to disappear in the mountainous wilderness of Tibet. He has made enough Chinese friends who would find him a secluded retreat there, where he would also act as the eyes and ears of Beijing. They pay good yuans for that, I am assured. I should add that neither Bob Lindquist nor Interpol has access to Tibet. That’s comforting.

‘What happens to the Government?’ he might ask. What government? I’d counsel him. Puppets are akin to puppies. Just as they wagged their tails, licked your toes over the past two years, they’d easily swallow their vomit and clutch Kamla’s skirt tomorrow. So forget them, much the way they’d soon forget you. Run yuh run, Kaiser Manning, I’d croon, like Lord Executor (don’t let the bard’s sobriquet scare you, PM).

‘What about my legacy?’ the PM might ask. ‘What legacy?’ I’d respond. ‘A Waterfront project that looks like a ghost town? A performing arts centre that is like a coloured sepulchre-impressive on the outside, empty in the inside? Get real, Mr PM!’ I’d add: your real legacy is to have left Trinidad with a murder rate that was unimaginable ten years ago. There are more poor people today than there were 20 years ago. There are also more educated asses today than 40 years ago when most people attended only primary school.

I peer into my cannon-ball, grab him by the balloons, and scream: ‘Let’s run, Patrick…run for our lives! The masses have no bread to eat. And Hazel didn’t bake cake….’ ‘Sh…!’ he bellows, as the angry mob closes in. And so we both run, heading east, where wise men, we are told, live happily ever after. And I am $5 million richer. I hope he didn’t pay me in two-dollar bills!

9 Responses to “Hart-aches by the numbers”

  • O’Halloran’s ghost haunts PNM
    The ghost of former People’s National Movement (PNM) Industry Minister John “cockfighting” “Johnny” O’Halloran has come back to haunt the party almost 25 years after he has died.

    NAPA tragedy
    IT COULD TAKE as much as $80 million to correct flaws in the design of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, the interim President of the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) Rubadiri Victor, estimated yesterday.

    Hart’s back in town
    Jeremie refuses comment on next step: The Attorney General does not prosecute
    ATTORNEY GENERAL, John Jeremie said he could not confirm whether or not ex-Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) chairman Calder Hart has returned to this country.

    How the drama unfolded
    Two days after Attorney General John Jeremie, with the knowledge of Prime Minister Patrick Manning, launched an investigation involving UDeCOTT and its former chairman Calder Hart with the appointment of forensic investigator Bob Lindquist, he (Jeremie) declared in Parliament last September: ‘I promise the people of Trinidad and Tobago that … allegations of wrongdoing will be scrupulously investigated. There will be no sacred cows.’

    Hearts not trumps
    Mr Manning is also the duly elected Prime Minister of the country and he must be required to come clean to Parliament and ultimately to the electorate. He has made a mess of things, and there is a price to pay for that. Nemesis is closing in on Hubris.

    Does the PM have something to hide?
    As Prime Minister Patrick Manning stepped into the lights on Friday, the cameras rolled, but the action expected of a man whose world appeared to be falling apart never happened.

    Hart-aches by the numbers

    Ramesh: government destroying soul of nation
    The Government is “destroying the soul of the nation” by continuing to condone the wrongdoings of Udecott and its former executive chairman Calder Hart, Tabaquite MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj insisted yesterday.

    There’s no need to panic
    Housing Development Corporation (HDC) managing director Jearlean John is promising to put her heart and soul into managing Udecott’s affairs transparently.

    Dumas: John should not have accepted Udecott job
    Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas believes that Jearlean John should not have accepted the post of chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott).

    What a week!

    Udecott’s smoking gun
    The Congress of the People, a political party without any representation in Parliament, has succeeded in presenting our country with the “Smoking Gun” in the whole Calder Hart affair.

    How Udecott scandal happened

    Twisses and turns of political luck
    The Government should have been shaking in its shoes on Friday, but instead it was laughing all the way to the tea break. The Opposition was handed the perfect chance to humiliate the Government further after what had been a terrible week for the PNM. But they dropped the ball-again.

    Insiders talk of split within PNM ranks
    The national community is turning its back on politics, expressing both disillusionment with and mistrust of the current flock of leaders.

    ‘Rowley vindicated, but…’

  • If I were the PM I would run too. I have dug a pit like the one Malick dug for Gale Ann Benson, and, before Rowley and dem bury me alive like the British socialite I better vamooze, moreso to Timbuktu at least I’d see a few people who look like me up or is it down there. Run Patos run, even as the race is over.

  • The PM could run as far and fast as he desire for all I care , as long as it is in the same zandolee hole JAIL CELL ,as Basdeo Panday the lifelong national divider , and corruption Opposition head guru. For all those who conveniently forgot , and wish that we would to , he is the only one that is a committed felon awaiting appeal, pardon, or the Privy Council intervention in similar fashion to his corrupt Chief Justice pal.

  • Why this preoccupation with Panday? He is history…defeated, humiliated and out of the picture in spite of his childlike rumblings.The Courts will decide his eventual fate; however, it must be pointed out that his crimes pale in comparison to the enormity of what we are now faced with. And finally, in T&T it is highly unlikely that justice will be served in all of this.The people will lose again as an endless array of investigations, charges, dismissals, appeals,and foreign lawers present themselves through the sluggish, biased and inefficient justice system of T&T.

  • “Panday…is history…defeated, humiliated and out of the picture in spite of his childlike rumblings.” Yes T-Man, you say it long enough, then you might begin to believe such nonsense. I hope Madame Kamela , immediately take you , and anyone that subscribes to such naivety off her pay roll as a political advisors.T-Man, seriously,if you stupidly think that a crafty political stalwart like nepotistic king Panday ,would sacrifice 44 of his 77 years on earth ,to Trini power politics, so as to have the rug unceremoniously dragged out from under him , even before his loving daughter or close brother are given a chance at respective coronations, then you are more shallow then I thought. Better yet , I will sell you the CN Towers .
    Let me make something absolutely clear to you jokers that are justifiably bawling out for justice if this issue develops some teeth , as some more acquainted with the facts seems to think. Your best bet to see the PM off the political stage , and possibly in long overdue prison garbs , is to simultaneously demand that the procrastination ends on Uncle Panday’s delayed trial , and inevitable conviction begins forthwith. Outside of that , you are pushing a very tenuous political pipe dream. ‘Equal rights and justice,’ my friends. This is not some illiterate John, John weed smoker , Penal fowl thief , or Aranguez petty smuggler . Your cress move play. Bishop A captures your Knight B.
    I told you clowns to learn to play this game, or stay out the heated kitchen . I hope that Auntie Kamela did not see smoke ,and allowed herself to be misled by you , and similar others ,into thinking that it was a Canadian Cherokee Red Indian rain dance T-man.
    She of all people should know that ‘one cannot be half pregnant,’Eh? The price for political victory, and or obtaining some credibility ,legitimacy , and long term viability , is complete alienation, debasement, and total destruction of Panday and his entire political clan ,once and for all. No more of that putting fingers in her mouth , then circling same into the air to see how the political winds are blowing , and or directions of editorial opinions , before taking decisive actions in keeping with her stature as a former tough AG – for hard core blue color criminals.
    Panday’s …”crime pails in comparison?” You are certainly getting more pathetic by the moment T-Man. I however have some semblance of sympathy for you, and why? Scientists at the prestigious Toronto University of Social Science have proven conclusively that any one who did not finish high school, and spent more than two decades in the hot sun trying to maintain a living , then migrated to a country that consistently experiences more than eight months of winter snow per year for approximately the same periods, tends to degenerate mentally in rapid fashion ,and might be an early candidate for a brain transplant.
    I wish you well.

    THE Hart documents are real, according to Malaysia Interpol officers. The documents including birth and marriage certificates showing a family link between then Udecott chairman Calder Hart and two directors of Sunway Construction Caribbean Limited, which got $820 million in Udecott contracts, were handed over to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard by the Congress of the People (COP).

    Malaysian firm Skrine undertook searches
    CONGRESS of the People (COP) member and attorney Vernon De Lima yesterday displayed the original invoice sent to them by Skrine — the Malaysian company which successfully conducted searches with the Companies Commission of Malaysia for the Hart documents.

    Hart not back but coming home ‘soon’
    Former Udecott chairman Calder Hart has not yet returned to T&T, a relative and a government spokesman confirmed yesterday.

    No sign of Calder Hart

    Even his neighbours remain in the dark

    Mary King: Change but no change

    Repentance rather than revenge
    When I heard of Keith Rowley’s allegedly undeclared, and therefore unlawful foreign back account, I dismissed it…

    Beyond the feeding frenzy
    Mr Manning’s press conference last Friday, called to deal with the resignation of Calder Hart and the whole UDeCOTT issue, turned out to be an exercise in avoidance and obfuscation. Nor should we have expected anything else.

  • Thank you, Raf. I hope that the PM takes up your offer as he is in deep trouble presently.
    Seriously, you are doing a great job enlightening the public in a simple, clear and humorous way. Continue to be a light in the darkness that clouds T&T.

  • “This Game People Play, Never meaning What They Say” !!!!!!
    My biggest Question To This Newly Appointed Integrity Commission- Is Why these Lawyers them Doubling and Tripling their fees as soon as they hear The Client calling in from outside and not in Trinidad.???
    This is ridiculous, for some people who have to deal with issues in Trinidad, but due to circumstances are not always in Trinidad.
    We need some investigations here.
    “Oh the Games People Play, Never Meaning What They Say”
    Get To Work-

  • Soft on the public interest
    It is accepted that public officials cannot use their office for the improper advancement of their own or their family’s interests. From the moment therefore that a Member of Parliament, Mr Ramesh Maharaj SC, disclosed in the House, in early 2008, circumstances to suggest that a public official had advanced family interests, law enforcement authorities should have swung into action to investigate whether there was a case to answer that such advancement had taken place and had done so in improper circumstances.

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