Malice over Nalis

The National Library

The National Library

Newsday Editorial
Saturday, May 15 2010

Had the National Library and Information Service refused the People’s Partnership request to use NALIS for the launch of the latter’s Political Manifesto, the matter would have passed relatively un-noticed. But that was not the case. NALIS accepted the booking for the Library’s facilities, accepted the payment for them, and met with the Party on site, all during the lead-in to the proposed manifesto launch. No questions were raised about the propriety of holding a manifesto launch there, beyond, we assume, the normal requirements regarding noise, decorum and a deposit against damage to property.

With all the conditions apparently met, and with NALIS having accepted payment for the facility, UNC Chairman Jack Warner, in responding to PNM taunts that the People’s Partnership had no manifesto, announced at a political meeting in Princes Town on Wednesday, that the manifesto would be launched at the NALIS Audio Visual Room on Friday morning. He took the opportunity to heckle the PNM for launching their manifesto at the Trinidad Hilton Grand Ballroom, referring to the expensive Scotch Manning and Calder Hart would have shared there! The People’s Partnership, Warner announced, would launch their manifesto in a “public institute of learning”.

Well, that was Wednesday evening. By Thursday evening, considerably less than 24 hours before the event, and at a time when initial preparations would have already been started, Warner announced that the permission, earlier granted, had been withdrawn—we cannot say denied, for it had been granted. There was no indication of a telephone call or other communication which might have given the Partnership a little more time to make alternate arrangements. A subsequent release by NALIS sent to the media, “posed” as a rejection of the application, when in fact it was a withdrawal of an agreed arrangement.

It stated: “We wish to inform you that your request to hold a media conference…cannot be accommodated at this time. The withdrawal of the use of the Audio Visual Room is in keeping with the established principle on use of government buildings during an election period…”. Two points arise: Does such a policy really exist? Former head of the Public Service Kenneth Lalla SC, said he was unaware of any such policy, and certainly no one has shown any evidence of this “policy”. Indeed, the Hilton Hotel is owned by the State, and the PNM launched their manifesto at that venue, so contradictions abound. Then, if such a policy does exist, we believe that it would have been written into the standard conditions of rental of NALIS facilities. We believe that NALIS was instructed to withdraw the permission granted, in an effort to sabotage the manifesto launch. But they obviously did not take into account how quickly the Partnership could have made effective alternate arrangements, and turn the whole childish episode to their own advantage.

We therefore reject completely the excuses given by NALIS with respect to the cancellation. In our view it reeks of political orders from someone on high and unfortunately has dragged NALIS into the dirty tricks of this political season. Over the years NALIS has gained much credit and appreciation as a seat of learning and it is a pity that it has now been so badly embarrassed by the Government.

According to its press release on Thursday cancelling the manifesto launch, NALIS clearly knew that the request for use of its facilities yesterday was to launch the People’s Partnership manifesto for the May 24 Election. NALIS agreed to make its facilities available and accepted payment for same.

On Thursday however, NALIS made an about turn with the excuse that there was an “established principle” of the use of government buildings during an election period. An official came up with the infamous “misstep” quote, another “misstep” like the $2million stadium flag?

NALIS also described the booking in the first place as an administrative “error” and that the use of government buildings to host political events is “not encouraged” during election period. Surely NALIS understands the difference between “established principle” and “not encouraged.”

We feel sorry for the management of NALIS which has had its excellent public image marred by the heavy hand of politics in what was clearly an attempt to deny use of a public facility to an opposition party whose members are also taxpayers.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,120790.html

12 Responses to “Malice over Nalis”


  • Nalis admits to error
    The National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis) said yesterday that an error was made when management initially accepted the United National Congress (UNC) coalition’s request to launch its manifesto at the National Library.

    Red card for Nalis
    THE embarrassing foul-up occasioned by the National Library and Information Systems (Nalis) over the arrangement with the United National Congress (UNC) for the launch of its manifesto yesterday raises major questions about political interference and manipulation.

  • Was there relaly malice in NALIS coming to the realization that they cannot allow their facilities for political rallies of ANY sort? Perhaps if Mr. Warner was not bragging, the error may have gone unnoticed, and somebody’s job may have been on the line, but brggadochio does not do the braggart any good, and in this case, the error was discovered and the permission withdrawn.

    I love our National Library, a place that is tribute to our love of learning and is really open to everyone. I was there just two weeks ago reading my poetry to a small audience. I was not selling anything, pushing a political agenda or any such thing. I was visiting family for a week and offered to do this. We worked it out over two weeks or so, and it was an enjoyable evening, using the facility for the purpose for which it was intended- the free exchange of intellectual ideas.

    I also launched my second novel in that very room, in 2005. That too was non-political, just love of country made manifest.

    At a time when the opposition demands to know, according to the current gossip, how many Indians are employed in every department of every government office, including NALIS, the staff there might have been overzealous in trying to accommodate the request to show AN ABSENCE OF BIAS, and thus the error.

    Why was Mr. Warner, a former educator and Mausica Teachers’College Graduate, seeing the use of this building as somethinG to boast about? The history of the building reveals that a certain amount of work was done on it when the UNC was sin power- that was when they were trying to name it after our renegade son, V.S. Naipaul. That was nixed. This was and is our national pride and joy- a place were it is a joy to see young peole at the end of the school day, investigating books, using computers and occasionally, eyeing students of the opposite sex. They were quiet and studious when I visited. I always go there when I am home. Putting this building into the political arena, is wrong; and if NALIS erred in giving permission first, they retracted the error. Visions of posters all over the place, placards dropped at leaving and the general mess that is politics, gives me nightmares.If Mr. Warner wanted a less expensive place, and not specific bragging rights, why not The Crown Plaza Hotel, or the one owned by Ish in Chaguaramus?

    Regardless of their motives, I think it is wise that buildings that form part of the national heritage of the people, should not be used to advance the cause of ANY party. Public squares have always been part of the political arena. Lord Harris Square is also in Port-of-Spain, has an interesting history(Paul Robeson gave a free concert there many many, years ago,after realizing that the crowd at the old Globe theater was mostly white-the five dollar charge was too much for the rest of us) and with enough noise of loudspeakers, they may have made the prisoners at the Royal Goal cower about their criminal fate when power is transferred to the UNC_COP_NJAC etc etc etc..

    Oh well, opportunity lost.

  • desperate situations calls for desperate measures. How sad the PNM has come to this. Things not looking good Patos

  • A subsequent release by NALIS sent to the media, “posed” as a rejection of the application, when in fact it was a withdrawal of an agreed arrangement.

    It stated: “We wish to inform you that your request to hold a media conference…cannot be accommodated at this time. The withdrawal of the use of the Audio Visual Room is in keeping with the established principle on use of government buildings during an election period…”.

    Commenting on this issue at their political rally in Sangre Grande tonight, Mr. Jack Warner said that on May 02, 2010, the PNM used City Hall, a government building, for election campaign purposes.

    PNM presented their candidates in Woodford Square on May 02, and they also used the City Hall to finalize their candidates.

    Is City Hall a government building? Is there really such a policy? Does this policy apply to all political parties?

  • If you live in an electoral riding which usually elects Opposition Members of Parliament, you would be accustomed to the endless discrimination, with respect to services, shovelled out by this and former PNM governments.The rejection by NALIS comes as no surprise, since it was obviously engineered by some government hack, after the fact.

  • T-Man is beyond laughable with his repeated , so call unfairness , and nonsensical ,discrimination bellyaching mantra ,with respect to paltry services ,for -some particular phantom -segments of our society claims , that the ludicrous remarks does not even warrant a response by anyone.
    Who are you kidding T-Man? You can afford to sell that garbage to the gullible members of the Western Toronto Rotary Club my friend , and not sensible Trinis, whose heads where not stuck in some crab hole in Beetham or Caroni over the past 47 years .
    The PNM was able to hold political power since 1962 , simply because it has done whatever was necessary to ensure that East Indians get whatsoever they wish ,as far as governmental spoils in terms of jobs, elite positions of influence, and freedom to expand and dominate their economic fiefdoms in our country unfettered.
    If you are serious about preventing another Sri Lankan , or Rwanda fallout ,because of the stupid incitements you and others like Caroni’s Dr. Goopiesing , are trying to inveigle amongst the competing tribes, then I want you to take the best social scientist from your Toronto, or Ontario University, coupled with a few from your great, noble Queen Elizabeth’s Cambridge , and Oxford , then let them do a survey to show how many jobs, or symbolic bones in terms of sponsorship to socially conscious programs, East Indians have encouraged via their business advantage in our country ,to others that are of different racial or ethnic background. From my own anthropological ethnographic studies conducted through the decades , I already know the answer to this.
    Pay attention good folks , and see if this comedian, and recent Kamla bandwagon cheerleader , will respond to my question or suggestion , any time soon.
    Good Lord , how I despise insecure phonies , country haters, and these Trini national destabilization agents, that naively think that the newly adopted lands they were fortunate to settle in through lies and deception ,are so much greater that the land of their birth!
    Can someone tell him, V.S. Naipaul, and similar self loathing , non patriots , that anything that they find reprehensible , and disgusting about their country , is the results of the unsavory demons than the children and grandchildren of all our multifaceted ancestors – from India , China , Middle East , Africa, Spain ,and the rest of old colonial Europe- were unable to exorcise?
    T- man , to repeatedly attempt to palm off all our country woes-in overt and covert fashion -to the kinky headed ,big butts Kings and Queens descendants of the Virgin continent , is nothing short of disingenuous.
    Nuff said.
    I wish you well my friend, and remember to always love country over tribe!

  • “The PNM was able to hold political power since 1962 , simply because it has done whatever was necessary to ensure that East Indians get whatsoever they wish ,as far as governmental spoils in terms of jobs, elite positions of influence, and freedom to expand and dominate their economic fiefdoms in our country unfettered”

    This is slowly becoming true, Neal, but only after excessive lobying, lawsuits, political action and international exposure and embarrassment.

  • I done have mi say aready.Let Neal and t-Man fight it out from here. Here also. i live abrioad for the simple economics of family and self.At age 50,I was able to buy a house that was built from scratch in 6 weeks. There is never a shotage of police, fire or ambulnce, or the veggies that now form the mainstay of my diiet. There are no lines in the bank, and my banker recognizes my voice, and offers me coffee or tea when I go in. Lovely service. been banking there twenty years. Now which bank in Tnt wll recognize me and do the same? Don’t know.

    Love of country is something inbred in me, its like the love of a mother for her firstborn. Men don’t know the depth of that love.

    So fight on guys. There will still be a country after May 24, the old Empire Day, but what sort of a place it wil be, we’sd have to wait to see. Meanwhile, the politicians, those with power, and the wannabees are asked not to make this too dirty a slugfest.Our children and grandchildren are watching. Meanwhile I am trying from abroad to persuade a niece that none of the above is not a political choice.

  • T-Man I am now convinced that you are either crazy, or the reflection of the ungrateful national tribe , that though successful throughout the decades,can never have the courage , and decency ,to give the credit where it is due in part.
    Yes , the resilience , and the Motherland’s inherited ,strong cultural cohesion spirit ,in face of a myriad of obstacles , might be a factor.
    It was also a tolerant , all embracing , pragmatic,and yes, black political leadership, that played a contributing role , whether you wish to admit it or not.
    Likewise ,your African brothers and sisters – as inevitably reflected in the PNM political party-were able to also rise up like Phoenix from the ashes of a demonizing legacy of white European savagery, defined as slavery, and become something for themselves .
    While the white colonial white tribes , decided to cuddle indentured laborious with lands and other benefits,in contrast they punished ex slaves with banishment ,no compensations,and limited survival skills .
    Yet , over time,both camps were able to beat expectations, and carve out a nice niche for themselves , where possible- all be it with some expectant problems as befit a collective people trying to build a nation.
    Today therefore, instead of us celebrating what we have aspired , and achieved thus far, here you are along with others behaving like immature , half drunk , naive, 17 year old virgins, on prom night ,about to get their first kiss, and already thinking about the real sexual actions they are certain is about to occur. In our case ,divvying up the spoils , that are not yet within reach.
    This is politics my friend, behave like you have a clue.Of course our East Indian brothers , and sisters,are justified in demanding more , as Panday , Kamla , Sudama, Ramnath, Rambachan, Nizam , never delivered over the years , but so has Eric, Robinson, Kamal, Errol Mahabir, Chambers, Manning, Karl,Cutty, JonhD, Padmore, and the whole host of PNM big wigs through the decades for the thousand of members that voted for them religiously.
    You and know that with all the idle talk , with the exception of about 10 or less percentage , the majority of East Indians and Africans are basking in squalor , neglect , and poverty , while neo colonials on both sides of the divide, took them for a ride, as other invaders enjoyed the wealth of our country , at the behest of our political ,and business elites.
    So T-man , try and enjoy this moment of fortunate post Panday development of party unity, and political policy coherence, but do not be fooled into believing that anyone on the opposite side would be loosing any sleep if they too wake up in the morning and hear that a special earthquake occurred, and took away Manning , his wife Hazel, and two pompous , carefree kids, all in one swoop , never to be seen in public office or the political stage ever again.
    Hopefully it’s a two feet earthquake , in much the same manner as Madame K did. Now you and I are fully aware as to who that can be , based on the full fledged scuds missiles that are being lobbed his way since. Whether the sleeping , comatose jokers that make up the PNM party hirachy , and the voting population in San Fernando East and West can do the right thing , is a horse of a different color-as my wise granny would say to the Mason Hall kid’s mom.
    Live and let live , my friend, and again- love country over tribe.
    Warm Regards.

  • And if the PNM wins on May 24, Trinis will awake to more of the same.People will live in harmony,some will continue to pressure for more, and others will celebrate. There will be no civil wars, calypso will still be loved by all, and 2011 carnival will be looked forward to with great anticipation.That is what makes T&T a special place with unique characteristics. T&T is no Guyana,Fiji or Uganda. And yes, the PNM government will play the same games and capitulate to the demands of certain groups, Indians included.

  • Of course T-Man ,T&T is not Guyana, Fiji, and Uganda,for the people in our country are way smarter, and most importantly, we have what none of these country ever had in the past- oil and gas. We’ll have WW111 before ‘dem closet country haters,’give up their country in full , even with all their cyber denunciation.
    We are on the same page however, the PNM deserves to loose this election, especially due to the stupidity ,and arrogance of a PM who was not required to hold and election for the next two years, yet held one without being fully prepared. Talk about idiots, a 65 year old man, with his wife two days younger in politics since he was 24 years old , calling a 48 year old well loved woman old. If he loose , the party should call ‘one o dem,’ old time Lavantille bad john , who can take a knife and skin him alive , after castration , for making them loose their cherished ‘gang enabling, post prison 5 days programs.’ Congrats Caroni, it’s now your turn!
    However, please do not get too carried away , and begin giving undue praises to the Opposition , it’s leader, and the hodgepodge of recent ,once irrelevant ,conveniently adored , yet secretly despised ,and unloved, new entrees.
    As another blooger said, dismissal of Manning and his PNM , is not necessarily an endorsement of Kamla ,and her crew , but a reflection of the disgust folks have for Manning and his clueless tag team wife.
    The victory that the Opposition stands to gain come the 25th would never have occurred if the divisive , corrupt, hate-monger, political dinosaur, was still head of that party. Many of the swing voters you flippantly referred to , are holding their breaths as they vote for Rambachan, Dr. Goopiesing , Volney , and of course Kamla , as they are fully aware that she especially,stood silently by in support ,admiration , and utmost loyalty to Bas her life time mentor, all the way down to the end ,until it was no longer politically expedient.
    Let peace reign.

  • We who have not travelled anywhere do not realize how blessed we are. We do not pay professors $5000.TO GET OUR TRANSCRIPS AFTER PASSING EXAMS, AS ONE YOUNG LADY I HEARD OF WAS ASKED TO DO IN WEST AFRICA.(The person she asked for the money, as a married woman, is my friend, and her husband asked her to try to get it from the chief of her village, so she would not have to sleep with the professor at his weekend cottage to get the transcript. Which husband in TnT must make those choices? WE DO NOT LIVE LIKE THE CHILDREN IN SLUM DOG MILLIONIARE, WHICH ACCORDING TO MY FRIEND VIVEK IS NOT THE WORST OF IT, WE DO NOT NEED TO SAVE FOR FIBVE YEARS- EVERY PENNY OF ONE’S SALARY, WHILE LIVINg WITH PARENTS- TO GET ONE YEAR OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION AS THEY DO IN THE PHILLIPINES.(Testimony of an oil company magnate who lives there.

    WE ARE TRULY BLESSED. When things change for the worst, if they change for the worst, we will know.There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I pray not.

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