Buying and selling government

By Raffique Shah
March 08, 2015

Raffique ShahThe bell has rung, the gates are open and the campaign for general elections 2015 is underway. Over the next six months, political parties that matter and those that don’t will spend an estimated $300 million in a frenetic bid to be elected or re-elected to power. The stakes are high: by the end of this fiscal year, the incumbent administration will have spent $337 billion during its five years in office.

Yet, for all the griping and allegations that will fly fast and furious—who thief what, who bribed whom, who owns what party—the issue of campaign financing, of how parties fill their “war chests” to woo and hopefully win the election, remains on ice.

Sometime last year, following debate on a motion on campaign financing reform piloted by Independent Senator Helen Drayton, the Senate agreed to the establishment of a Joint Select Committee, and actually named a few members of the Upper House who would sit on it. Thereafter, the issue ought to have gone to the House of Representatives for the inclusion of members from that chamber.

As far as I know, that never happened. The status quo remains. Outdated legislation applies only to individual candidates’ expenditure (I think the limit is $15,000). All candidates must submit returns to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) within a specified time after the polls. Most of them never bother to do so, and again, as far as I know, no one has ever faced action for not complying with this regulation.

So it’s a jungle out there, financiers pouring millions of dollars into the coffers of their preferred party, and in many instances both main parties, thus ensuring that they (the financiers) cannot lose, matters not who wins.

I am convinced that on a per capita basis, campaign financing in this country is among the highest in the world. While the $300 million is a “guesstimate” by political analysts and no proper study of the issue has been conducted, when one person claimed that he had “lent” $30 million to UNC during the 2007 campaign and he sought to have the sum repaid, he let the cat out of the bag in a manner of speaking.

With big money having controlling interests in the elections, the masses who vote hardly realise that they are mere pawns in the power game. Sure, they get T-shirts, transport to meetings and rallies, sometimes food and drinks, and always party paraphernalia—horns, whistles and so on.

But once the elections are over and the winners take office and control of the Treasury, it is the financiers who benefit most, exacting good returns on their investments. Check it out. Whatever party is in power, the contractors who corner the big projects are but a handful. Mostly, this is so because they have the equipment and expertise for such jobs. Maybe a better indicator of how political investment pays off is to monitor the relatively unknown, small operators who morph into big conglomerates under a particular administration.

Now, I should add that I don’t believe legislation on campaign financing would change the equation in favour of the masses, mainly because slick operators would learn how to circumvent the law. Hell, they run rings around Inland Revenue and the VAT administration, so why would they fear some new authority established to monitor campaign financing?

Besides, there is the age-old argument over the practicality of legislating for ethics, morality and integrity, all of which are encompassed in campaign financing. If the investors (financiers) are devoid of such qualities, and if the politicians have no qualms in receiving huge sums, some of which they may personally pocket, what law or regulation can convince or even coerce them into doing what is morally right?

There is an Integrity Commission established since the birth of the Republic in 1976. Its main function is “to ensure that persons in public life and persons exercising a public function comply with the laws governing integrity in the fulfilment of their duties and responsibilities to the people they serve.”

Almost 40 years later, that Commission has not identified or charged or successfully prosecuted a single public official for breach of its regulations. Can we therefore deduce that every politician since, every state-appointed director, every senior public official who has served, has been of impeccable integrity? That all allegations of corruption, of nepotism or delinquency, were hollow, unfounded, pure mischief?

In other words, all our politicians and public officials were or are saints?

Gimme a break!

What this one example I cited tells us is that while we might legislate for the lofty qualities we expect to see in those who govern and officiate over us, we are fooling ourselves.

Over the next six months, as the election campaign intensifies, tens of millions of dollars will be used to mesmerise the masses. Already, state enterprises that have no need to advertise are splurging in the print and electronic media. Ministries, too, are ploughing taxpayers’ money on froth. And it will get worse.

No law on abuse of State funds or transparency in campaign financing will deter the unconscionable from thinking they could buy power. Only an alert electorate can show the financiers and politicians who, really, is boss.

20 Responses to “Buying and selling government”

  • It is high time concerned people of this country start asking pertinent questions about this present government and Prime Minister. Most of the steps, missteps, allegations, confirmations, cover-ups, court rulings, judicial over-play, judicial incompetence, judicial-behind-the-scenes-backdoor-deals, judicial silence,special-judges-consideration-of-cases, police-coverups, police blind-sidedness, corruption, call-it-what-you-want-corruption, complicity-in-high-places corruption, giving-of-contracts, contractual-corruption et c etc etc corruption has been as a result of WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? – THE SELLING OF GOVERNMENT ASSETS TO HANDPICKED INDIVIDUALS BY THIS GOVERNMENTS. I SAY AGAIN…… ALL OF THE MISDEEDS DONE BY THIS GOVERNMENT WAS AS A RESULTS OF ASSET ALLOCATIONS OF ALL KINDS – Land, money, transactions, judiciary rulings, court settlements, contracts, special favors, special arrangements, appointments and so on GIVEN TO, SOLD OR MADE AVAILABLE to VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE WITH VERY SPECIAL TIES TO THIS GOVERNMENT. All one has to do, is look at the tenure of the last Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, almost ALL of his ‘achievements’, trials and tribulations had something to do with special favors afforded to special people like Ish and Steve, Gerald Ramdeen, Herbert Volley (using him as cover up), the Gopauls, the very special contractors (their names are called inmost of the favors). Section 34 and his defence of all these actions taken, is what eventually cost him his job. The unprecedented filing of lawsuits against the Opposition Leader is no accident, it is a deliberate strategy to have Dr. Rowley busy only with his defense and not concentrate on the affairs of government. There is not ONE notable achievement of this administration that has been done in the name and interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. I know my good friend Mamboo will take exception to this because he has a checklist of things like box drains, community centers and buildings of sorts to remind us that Kamla and Company have done for us. It is his perogative to believe that they are ‘working for us’ but one has to view that with a suspicious eye. The Central Bank – where are all the U.S dollars going? ….. Life-support Programme who accounts for the $400M? …..Why is the Prime Minister occupying the Mansion the People of Trinidad and Tobago built for her? Is she too good to stay home and work whilst the people want her to house herself in the house built for her? ….. Clues ….
    In the people’s house, all expenditure, movements, communications, receptions, invitations, transactions, deals, entertainment, receptions and appointments have to be accounted for. No such demands can be made on her if she occupies her palace in South! WE DO NOT NEED GOVERNMENT BY SMARTS. WE WANT GOVERNMENTS OF SERVICE FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND OF THE PEOPLE. NOT ONE ONLY WILLING TO MAKE D.E.A.L.S. Those are simple observations with major connotations. The sooner we wake up and keep asking questions, the better off we would be in holding to the people’s land, assets and integrity. Why in this day and age are we ‘selling’ of the Chaguaramas lands to wealthy individuals, when there are people in our living inner mids who have legitimate deeds to the land that the government is ignoring? Why? Why? Why? Is that JUSTICE? The rich and comfortable wants our lands for themselves, they taking the poor people’s ownership and giving it to the SUPER rich and wealthy friends? Frederick Douglas, when asked what should we do to forward the cause of justice? Replied AGITATE! AGITATE! AGITATE!

  • Election spending is good for the economy. The more the merrier. The media will benefit considerably from such spending. The PNM would spend and spend and so to the PP. The people will get a few months or weeks of good entertainment.

    • Mamoo, you do loose respect when you fail to address issues.
      I understand that you are paid for what you do but at least try to let us understand your MO. Yes, it is election time and that is no joke. It is the most serious event in the next five years and how we act, will determine which way the country goes. I love my country and definitely don’t want to see it go up in smoke. So, even though this is lightheartedly referred to as “silly time”, it is no joke for me. The clowns who want us to laugh are laughing all the way to the bank right now and many of us would prefer to see them residing at the new jail they are building in Arima. So, I’m not willing to share that joke with you.

      • Kian we live in the electronic age, you cannot escape advertising especially around election time. One politician even have his own newspaper, he is the king of Maco and mischief. The government always have the advantage. If crime is down and the economy is good the Opposition will have to find or create a scandal. Rowley tried with emailgate from 32 emails wrong email address, wrong dates and professionals saying it false after over 2 years the nation still waiting for the gas that Rowley expelled in Parliament to clear.
        The CoP say it is volumous, Google did not only give them the 32 emails but a year worth of emails including deleted emails, meaning the police has turned this into a full fledge criminal investigation aided and abetted by a PNM DPP. The hunt is on and another year will pass because they are not in a hurry to clear those implicated in Rowley’s emailgate symposium for the stupid and illiterate. But wait Kian soon the police who investigating emailgate will come under investigation too. God don’t sleep… Always remember that my friend.

        • You have a right to your opinions, and that is what they are – opinions. Your facts cannot stand the simple test of literacy because they are void of it.
          “The CoP say it is volumous, Google did not only give them the 32 emails but a year worth of emails including deleted emails, meaning the police has turned this into a full fledge criminal investigation aided and abetted by a PNM DPP. ” The problem with your kind of ethics and morality is that the only thing you consider “good” is what you can manipulate. Measured by any standard, in Trinidad and Tobago the ONLY institution that functions in normality and lacks confusion is the office of the DPP. But since Kamla, Ramlogan and Company are unable to BUY him! “He is a PNM”. Don’t that sound familiar? I doubt that you would say that about the CJ.

          • ” Measured by any standard, in Trinidad and Tobago the ONLY institution that functions in normality and lacks confusion is the office of the DPP.”–Kian.

            Since that office functions above the political fray and according to you Kian “functions in normality….” Explain to me why (1) Joan Yulles has not been charged in the $50 million scholarship fund? Joan files is in the DPP office.
            (2) why Calder Hart remains free” The documents – birth and marriage certificates – published last week in Newsday days before Hart resigned as Udecott executive chairman, disclose apparently conclusive links between Hart’s wife Sherrine and Sunway Construction Caribbean Limited, formerly CH Development, a Malaysian company which Udecott awarded the $820 million Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower project.”
            Who have the Calder file since 2010 and why has he not been charged? Those are questions your PNM brain must answer Kian… But that is just 2 there are others. Watch how they drag emailgate out till the end of the year or later or worst never.


    Hey folks, as de wisest woman , that ever lived , in my late ,Tobago Granny, would often say to yours truly, back in de day “if you can’t beat dem,join them,”and no where is more apropos (as we like to say on de streets )than in our T&T, where elections looms,around the corner.
    All I can say is -Way to go Brother Inshan Inshmael ,and you have just sold your soul ,to de highest bidder, in Her Majesstrick Queen K,and her Carbal controlled, UNC dominant- PP government.
    What does this mean in practical terms folks? Well since dem typical ,braying donkeys,such as Professor Emeritus, Dr. Selwyn Ryan,or Hamid Ghanny, who still past as objective political experts,won’t tell you, then it’s left to me,to do so.
    In one clean swoop, Kamla and her PP goons, just secured the entire Muslin vote,without having to touch that fast expanding Crony – financial -war chest,Uncle Shah,spoke so eloquently about.
    Two days ago,she solidified the Hindu ,and Christian votes,in another scintillating maneuver.She did her tribal duties ,in perfect fashion ,at the annual Pagwah Celebrations, and came out unsoiled ,unlike the Tobago Wajang ,Dr Rowley,who is still reeling from de fallout ,for having de audacity of touching de pam -pam lam, of an unaccompanied ,ID devoid, 17 year old Indo Trini Chica,who appeared to be on the wrong side of 35.
    Our Auntie K in contrast ,threw her colorful Abir,on enthusiastic revelers ,ensured her hair was in perfect order,and smiled for the friendly camera,when instructed ,so to do ,by one time Journalist, turned high end , PP Public Relations Chief /Spokesman ,Andy Johnson.
    She also remembered to keep a stiff lower loin.No sexually salacious , crazy gyrations, with PNM ,or Jack FIFA Warner IP supporting ,young hombres,for our Siparia Queen.
    One week ago,she wrapped up the women’s vote, by promising a whole lot of new legislation goodies ,to finally protect women,and children, against dangerous, abusive ,and neglectful males.
    Oh yeah, and who gives a rats behind ,about our security blokes ,and their sick out,when Lady Kamla -Margaret Thacher, is at the helm?

    As a matter of fact, it won’t surprise yours truly, one bit,if de good ,simply go for ‘de full political hog,’as it were,and force through a piece of legislation, that would legalize ,forced sterilization, in like manner to her lifetime ,ancestral land idol,Mama India Gandhi.
    All you foot loose,and fancy free ,morally callous ,fake victim ,non voting female bums,who cannot keep your legs close ,even after making 4 ,and five kids ,with ,non working ,absentee papas,watch out! I luv it!
    Seriously folks, I have said it once ,twice, and three times my lady, but it’s worth repeating,’dem political peons ,who choose to underestimate this Siparia Queen Kamla ,and we should add, budding Grandmaster,do so at their own peril.
    Your move Dr Keith Rottweiler Rowley! As Uncle Shah stated so astutely, “it’s a jungle out there!”
    Translation :-Papa Niza alone ,with his shiny African beads ,or Human skulls,won’t cut it! If such foolishness, was really a factor ,Tobago would be more like Dubai, as opposed to Haiti.
    To be frank Dr Keith, I’m not too sure ,if you can locate Papa Niza/he still have your back, or better yet,you can even find your neglected Tobago, on a map,but ‘dats another story, for a different occasion’-as we like to say on de streets, hmmmmm?
    Let me break it down in real terms for you ,my good man. Yesterday, I lost a debate,with an elderly octogenarian Tobago male,and staunch Kamla supporter, who ‘beat me to a frazzle,’as I unsuccessfully tried, to bat for you,and that self serving ,THA Chief clown from London,Mr Paris.
    The feisty man ,had nada but high praise, for his PM,and here is a not too closeted secret, Dr KR-based on my ethnographic studies/observations,this seems to be a growing sentiment all across de Island Ward.Your PNM,ain’t have no political monopoly here,so get cracking.
    As for Jack FIFA Warner, de political upstarts, Mizster Gary,along with Mizzes Nicole Independent Alliance -Griffith,and neo Socialist ,Labor musketeer,David Abdullah,Rowley new lawyer ,Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj? Totally irrelevant,in de grand scheme of things!!
    Wonderful /poignant article,as per usual ,Uncle Shah.
    Let me add my 2 cents ,in ending .
    It’s gonna be a tight race,but money damblay ,or not ,maybe only a juicy scandal ,might settle this one ,you know…ummmm …American style.
    Hey Uncle Shah,I just hope dat The Right Honorable Dr. Keith Rowley, MP for Westmooorings-and we can throw in Diego Martin ,ain’t have no unacknowledged, outside baby ,made with no underage school chick,he made back in de days,while he was a low end Roxborough teacher ,did he?
    As for Kamla? Let’s just say Uncle Shah,I enjoyed reading that Teri Mc Millan autobiographical novel,’How Stella got her grove back.’
    Tragic how it ended in reality ,huh? Just saying, since our PM enjoys jetting around de globe solo,with her overpaid sister in tow,wink ..wink ..capiche?,,20015708,00.html

    When White folks indulge in these interactions/amorous escapades , you guys in de media,and social scientists, refer to it as Sex tourism.
    Not certain what it’s called for Brown ,and Black folks,like Kamla ,and Terri.Do you?
    By de way ,Santo Domingo got 4 million plus visitors,annually,over de past 5 years.As for T&T,we are lucky,even with our boorish,overrated carnival,Tobago Jazz /Hiphop festival,goat race ,and colorful Hosay ,to get 400, 000 ,over that same time frame.
    Does this explain the penchant for foreign tours,by both Auntie K,and de PM in Waiting, Dr. KW?

    Long live the Republic of T&T!
    Stay vigilant people!

  • Hello there,

    Looking at the whole deal of TnT as a nation, I would just ask you people to wake the hell up. British, Spanish (if any) left your country ages ago at least physically. Black,brown,white still fight to who rules the might! Live,think,breed,feed together against a common goal of proving yourselves to be better than people might imagine. Does not make a difference if you are Indo-Trini or Afro-Trini, I want to find the difference between the both when x-rayed!Do not let any foreign govt. dictate terms for your existence for it will be dreadful! Do not end up like Iraq or the few other Middle Eastern Countries left to be exploited for their natural resources.
    I would love to guide through more, but I do not live in a democratic nation for me to express myself freely plus this whole internet is spied on conversations from normal people like me all the way to the top folks in govt.
    Wake up before it’s too late. Capitalism is the modern word for SLAVERY!!!


    Concerned Human.

  • A refreshing expose on the need for integration as a cosmopolitan country whereby the diversity acknowledged and equity sought by all should be encouraged and promoted in our plural society.

  • In reply to Mamoo, since he inquired about Calder Hart and Joan Yuille Williams being charged. My reply to him is this: You hold the key to instituting any kind of charge you want to. Kayla has indicated she wants to charge Dr Rowley for being a ‘bad’ Opposition Leader, she has indicated she wants to ‘fire’ David West. All under her domain and her watch as Prime Minister. So, I presume that if there is a legitimate case that warrants a charge, the UNC government can initiate it. Stop crowing Mamoo, you guys run the government and think you can decide right from wrong, legitimate from illegitimate , good from bad, moral from immoral, ethical from unethical and limited from limitless. Your UNC government is the most unethical, immoral, corrupted, racial, domineering and unGodly group of people this country has ever seen. You guys are bent on the Guyanaizatiopn of this country and the Almkight God will have to intervene at some point and time to save us all from the Devilization of Trinidad and Tobago under this vicious, and vile hindu government. Your turn Mamoo!

    • “…time to save us all from the Devilization of Trinidad and Tobago under this vicious, and vile hindu government.”

      Of course you would deflect Kian because that is what people from the balisier bush do, however the rising sun has burnt the balisier. By the way KPB is the only PM to give the churches $55 million. Manning funded Abu with quarries etc because he thought like u Abu is a Saint.
      Here is the PP record trying beating that. The whiner man can’t come near.
      No PNM old talk & Propaganda can beat this PERFORMANCE
      • Settled 83 wage negotiations 34 of which was left outstanding by the PNM
      • Settled $20 billion CLICO Crisis
      • Turn around a recession economy from negative 3.5% to positive 1.7% growth
      • Turn around the agriculture sector
      • Created the Children life fund
      • Reduced poverty by 4%
      • Created the Single Electronic Window for ease of doing business
      • Built the Couva Interchange
      • Converted Chancery Lane office complex into a teaching hospital
      • Replaced the Navet South Trunk Main which improved water supply to over 250,000 households
      • Paid $1.5 billion owed to contractors by the PNM
      • Completed the Aranguez Overpass
      • Constructed the St. Helena Delta Bridge connecting Kelly Village to Piarco
      • Completed the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway Extension
      • Constructed a Third Lane to Uriah Butler Highway
      • Rehabilitated the Tarouba Link Road.
      • Construction of the Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension from Golconda to Debe
      • Completion of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway/Uriah Butler Highway Interchange
      • Built 72 new schools
      • Built 8 new police stations
      • Provided 500 new vehicles to the Police Service
      • Created over 40 New Bus routes
      • Processed more than 1,000 Certificates of Comfort (COCs).
      • Commissioned 12 community centres at Gulf View, Marac, Waterloo, Union Claxton Bay, Malabar Phase IV, La Gloria, Hindustan, Bon Air West, Ste. Madeleine, Sisters’ Road, Second Caledonia, Duranta
      • Built over 30 Bridges
      • Ministry of Local Gov’t paved 1150 local roads in fiscal year 2012/13
      • FOREIGN direct investment increased by over 400% since 2010 from $3.5 billion to almost $16.1 billion.
      • Given out 95,000 Laptops to Form one Students
      • Reduced Inflation from 16% in 2010 to 4% in 2014.
      • Opened 17 MIC Technology Centre
      • Increased 24/7 Water Supply from 18% in 2010 to 69% in
      • Installed lights at 157 Recreation Grounds
      Delivery for Tobago
      • Completed the long awaited Tobago hospital improving health care in Tobago
      • Completed the Magdalena Grand improving rooms for Tourism
      • Opened a new gas station at Roxborough.
      • Fixing the problem with obtaining land title
      • $150 million upgrade for ANR Airport
      • New Fire Station for Black Rock (In Progress, See Udecott site for status)
      • New MET Office (In Progress, See Udecott site for status)
      • Opened the Tobago Technology Centre at Bon Accord
      • The establishment of an integrated campus for UTT
      and the list goes on…

      • How much money went into savings from the highest oil prices she got for four years as leader of government?

  • There are two uninformed PNM diehards from ancient times continuously spilling their divisive hate propaganda on this blog from their foreign podiums, all the while pretending to be residents of T&T. The sources of their questionable,incomplete and usually false information are the three major daily newspapers(rags). which often contradict each other.
    Neal is obviously a brilliant intellect who effectively manipulates the language with ease, humor and witty sarcasm.His contributions are often quite objective, in spite of his PNM aka Rowley bias, based on the Tobago heritage.
    Kian, however is a stilted dinosaur in his logic and thinking.He is an admitted racist, and a religious bigot.The sentiments and unsupported opinions and gross generalizations which he presents are punctuated by name-calling, abuse and exaggerations.
    People of all races go about their daily lives interacting with one another with civility and acceptance.Kian should get off his high horse and quit longing for a T&T which no longer exist, due to the changing demographic realities.

    • Oh! by the way TMan. I notice that the word “demographic” seems to be popular with people like yourself and those with the same political philosophy. Another of your newly introduced word is “mixed” to describe people of mixed heritage. I hope you don’t quote me as dinosauric or opinionated on this, because it is one of the measures currently being used by the UNC in it’s polling strategy.
      Those are inherently purposed words to derive at some kind of racial consensus. I am not sure if you and papa Sat are ready for some of the realities of the ‘demographic’ ‘mixed’ intent. While politically purposed, they can produce societal and social outcomes that you and Sat may frown upon.

    • “The PNM leader­ship (Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley) expects its mem­bership to get up and vote PNM… the membership was saying it was “unrea­son­able…they were being slighted, and they were being used……The process they went through to arrive at a candidate has gone to nought. That is the issue. It is not about getting Pennelope Beckles.”
      Distraught/disgruntled, Arima Constituency blokes

      In my best ,outraged ,Dr Kieth Rowley -Rothwiler voice:-‘Ok you bottom feeding -political bums,and I ,de Right Honorable, Dr.Keith Rowley, aka de Tobago Wajang, MP for Westmooorings-and we can throw in Diego Martin, just for good measure.
      I here you,or as our one time ,young,Sandhurst Coup School trained ,Lt. Raffique Shah would say -‘read you loud and clear,’and so ,how do we move forward, from here,in this tumultuous elections season?
      The question you idiots,should be asking yourself- instead of continuously bawling ,like a fatherless, runny nose,spoiled toddler, who is unable to get to his/her mamas teties-are you guys better off today , 5 years later ,since you gave delusional Sando Political Chieftan- Geologist Manning, and his PNM , de middle finger, for dumping on Penelope,after calling her ,an old bag lady?
      If you feel that way,then go down a similar part,and vote for the PP,otra vez.
      Now if you clowns thought that Papa Deffy Eric Williams, or Black people despising-Tobago hater Manning, were vindictive, as far as punishing Tobago,just wait until I ,de Mason Hall kid,and Parliamentary Tea Room brawler, get sworn in, as your country’s next PM,come September,after beating de petitcoat off my dear Angel smile, and devil heart amiga ,Sistaz Kamla- with the help of course, of my God-faddah, Papa Niza.
      First thing on my agenda would be, to move the smelly ,Beetham La Basse,and St James Madhouse,to Arima.
      Secondly, I am putting toll boots, all around your Borough, to charge drivers ,exorbitant fees,for entering and leaving.
      To top it off,I am going to instruct my new AG in ex police, turned Ball/headed -Rastaman ,Fitzgerald Hinds,to push through a law ,for a Parang tax,but only in Arima.This will be quickly followed by,immediate ,deportation of all remaining Caribs,back to Hispanola ,and conversion of de Arima Veladrome, into a permanent, multi-religious Center.
      That would essentially destroy all cultural fun activities in Arima,and gut the population by half,since most of the comedians there -who originally emanated ,from crime dens in Upper Gonzales Belmont, John John ,Basilon Street, and similar environs- naively think,they too have Carib blood, running through their veins.
      The audacity of ‘dat ,do nada of consequence ,for women,or anyone,across T&T,but for her criminal, gun running hermano-in Afro Kinky Head Carib – Penelope ,’who thought that she could jump de line, and challenge yours truly,for the head leadership job,after the political demise of fake Christian Manning, and his wife Hazel,then choose to turn around, and like an incipient fire, become a rivaling,destructive/ destabilizing force, as an MP!Over my dead body. Deffy Eric didn’t tolerate such nonsense, neither did Manning,or Ahhh wee Bouy Robbie, and I most certainly won’t,after our people endured four long years of neo- Schizophrenic, Kamla rule.
      As de Tobago Granny, of dat ‘witty sarcastic, humorous, brilliant intellect,’ call Neal,would often remind us ,via her wise councils to him ,back in de day -“never cut your nose to spoil your face, “and I ain’t about to ,for a PNM upstart.
      Hey by de way,thanks TMan, for showing a little Cyber luv, to my neo Progressive -Humanist piasano Neal.
      Then again, let me take that back ,for you also referred to him as one of two.”.. uninformed PNM diehards-propagandist .,” and yet ,objective blogger , all in the same breath.
      Let me add,in his defense TMan, the following ,if I may:-If that guy Neal, is a PNM diehard ,then I as PM in waiting, in addition, to my enjoying ‘a lil bit ah wine ,on ‘salacious ,underage,free spirited,un-escorted, non ID carrying – Indo Trini chicks,during Carnival, is also dating de closet -enticing, Malika Panday-de
      politically ambitious hija ,of Kamla’s mentor, Basdeo.
      Additionally, both PM Kamla, and I,unbeknownst to members of our comatose media,and her UNC carbal,would often have secret rendezvous, all across our country,until the wee hours of the morning, to discuss…ummmmm,important/mutually beneficial matters,of critical importance, to our nation . It’s that outrageous.
      Tell me something TMan ,would a guy who belonged to de vote Tobago Keith Rowley fan club, be stirring up trouble, by asking, about possible illegitimate baby I might have had, in Roxborough, during my youthful, oat-sowing days,as a teacher?’Me think not.’
      The guy is simply a passionate patriot.
      As you have said, our T&T, 1.3 million citizens /plus 110,000 ,desperate ,illegal immigrants population, is evolving.
      To prove your point, the fastest rising ,demographic is not Indo/Afro Trinis, but dem ‘put your fingers in your mouth,then raise same in the air,to see which way, de wind is blowing-mixed /Dougla-swing voters.
      Let’s just say ,that within maybe, the next 15, or less years ,the words African, Asian,and Caucasian, would no longer be relevant in describing any Trini ,hmmmm? Here is a suggestion Calaloo -rainbow people. How about de acronym CRP, for short?
      Por ejemplo,Trini Chinese women,are still running down their Trini -water down White men.
      Indian women ,be they in Tobago, or Trinidad, are defying the edicts of their loving ,concerned parents,and making babies ,left, right ,and center, for African males,without a care in the world,if such men have land ,education,money,or business property.
      Escaping ISIS Arabs, and Jewish males ,fed up with Zionist warmongering leaders,are snatching up dey Trini Latinos, to secure a more peaceful futures,right here in our more harmonious, La Trinity.
      Latina Chicas,from Caracas,Bogota, Punta Cana,Panama City,and such,are abandoning their machismo ,sperm bank -hombres, and bambinos ,back in Central, and South America, for Indo,and Afro Trinis,tired of their own sexually timid,Anglo women.
      As for de racial-com -socio/political dynamics ,of historically neglected Tobago,Bro TMan?
      Tobago is what can best be called a diamond in de rough ,Tman,ready to take off ,behind sound ,visionary leadership.There is that uncanny interest,by all and Sundry, from across de global front-and yes ,I am taking copious notes.
      Well,let me just add for the record – that you guys should take god,Krishna, Buddha, Moses,or Mohammad, out your thoughts, and vote back this Kamla led, UNC dominant PP to power, and you will see how this script will end!
      Long live the Republic of T&T!
      Like Neal,I too love this land,Y tu? ,

  • TMan….”People of all races go about their daily lives interacting with one another with civility and acceptance.” I may surprise you unreservedly agreeing with your statement. I will even go further to say that I’m not just in agreement with you a good portion of my family enjoy love, marriage, relationships and friendships in this very said condition that you so eloquently stated. Just last week we had such a marriage in our family in Fyzabad. But make no mistake about it, RACE is the political Achilles heel of the UNC and those who trumpet the the politics of race into a kind of superiority. Like your friends Sat Maharaj, Kamla, Ramlogan et al. You are not fooling anyone with your acerbic description of me as dinosauric in my comments on race and religion. That is EXACTLY where you guys are coming from when you get on your high horse and use the most horrific descriptions you can find to describe black people. You have become so ‘diplomatic’ about it, that the codes ‘PNM’, ‘Laventille’, ‘Unwed’, ‘gang’, ‘poor’, ‘under-privileged’, ‘small islanders’ are just a few of the adjectives you use to negate, falsify, castigate and derogate the black experience in Trinidad and Tobago, even though we were there long before you came and also accepted you with open arms. My writings are unabashedly political in nature because it is the same forum you and people like you use to castigate us. I am not worried about your distinction of me and Neal. We approach the same conditions in different ways BUT our goal is the same – a good and peaceful Trinidad and Tobago where all live in harmony. I want to belabor the point of RACE and RELIGION. Everyone belong to a race and most of us chose religion in which to condition our inner being. The teachings of religion defines our inner quality but we form individual rationals as to who or what we want to be. While I cannot define who you are by your race, nor can I define who you are by your religion, I CAN certainly define you the thoughts you express and by the qualities you exhibit in your words. You said that I am an admitted racist. Let me correct you with with what I said. I SAID, if by my statements of fact you deem me a racist – then I am a racist. Your statement is in fact subjective and NOT objective. As long as you continue to lie, cheat and misrepresent the truth you will be hearing from me about it, make no bones about that. The people of Trinidad and Tobago collectively are wonderful people. BUT your politicians who exploit RACE as their means of achieving power will feel the wrath of my pen as long as I am afforded the forum to so write. You know full well (because I am explicit about that) that it is foolish to paint everyone with a broad brush with negative connotations. It is the politicians that you so heartily defend that I write about and I hope you are man enough to acknowledge me that opportunity.

  • As a society, with a contrasting and polarized past, subjected to invasion by the conquerers, white cultural domination with a superiority complex of color, preaching of inferiority of the natives, colonial rule by the conquering forces and now Independence, there is one behavior that remained constant throughout our history, no matter what class, ethnicity or race that held power – the feeling of superiority by the invading class and inferiority of the native or darker skinned peasants. Under that structure there was always that certainty of who is boss and who is subject – the ones who held the reins of power always considered themselves superior, not necessarily subject to rule of law but by the power entrusted by the functions of their authority. Today, we see that raw power and authority exalted in no lesser person than the current Prime Minister, Kamla Persad Bissessar. In the politicking of her authority, she shows no natural regards to her profession of law, or respect for the protocols to which it is guided. With authority that she exudes as limitless, she castigates her enemies with little or no regards for the decency of professionalism, telling lies after lies with no restraint for the dignity of admissible evidence. Her behavior bears not compunction to the office she occupies and can brazenly lie with an answer of no knowledge than impart information that might be enlightening to the nation. Our history never considered the amalgamation of cultures as a means to creating social structures with a Trinidadian identity. As a matter of fact society learned to make distinctions between acceptance, so, when a professional of dark complexion holds authority, he/she is accepted in the hierarchy of the ‘accepted’ and the darkness of his/her skin is temporarily forgotten. The black elite, never acted or considered themselves black. It is only very recently have there been any move by blacks to form any type of organizations that was meant to further the well being of black people. That is a tepid advance towards self acceptance and self pride. The slave master ‘allowed’ carnival to be a time of rejoice for the black man because, he had his country clubs, chamber of commerce and other well-meaning institutions for the higher echelons of society. For fear of reprisals, the governing class never allowed the black man to engage in community or social development, because to do that would have been to challenge his authority. 1956 was the year that European culture in Trinidad was first faced with a challenge for political change in the structure of the Trinidadian society. Prior to that, we knew our political representatives to be men like Albert Gomes, Roy Joseph, Norman Tang and people of that elk. Uriah Buzz Butler had to fight hard like hell to gain concessions for the working class, against a backdrop of the governorship, representing her majesty, the Queen of England. That was no easy means to encounter for an uneducated brave black man. He had to employ subtle means of invasion, distraction and collusion to gain respect before negotiating for the acceptance of unions as a bargaining body. The unions consisting of ordinary workers, few with an advanced education fought for better conditions of work for their fellow men. Worse, those in that category were mainly from the black lower working class, their counterparts being descendants of the privileged class, who in just a few years back never gave consideration of social integration or discussions of working conditions. So, unions became the medium by which the working class can negotiate and formulate conditions of work with their privileged counterparts. But what about social intervention, social understanding and social structures to make everyday life more communicable? No such entity was ever developed. The closest we have seen to that is the political alignment of the spiritual baptist with the hindu political organizations. That understanding was borne out of the similarity of treatment meted out by the British towards African baptists, considered lowly on the christian scale of acceptance and the hindu religion which was considered foreign to our way of life. So, that alignment had some commonality of purpose.

    With a history like that, it should come as no surprise to anyone, that those who hold power today feel the sense of empowerment and enrichment that they are now entitled to because the competing race (black) was responsible for denying them that opportunity before. There are few, if any, throughout our history, that fought or founded any dedicated movement to eradicate ignorance, misunderstandings or racial prejudice in the society. What our experience shows is that most groups form their own ethnic organizations to look after themselves in order to maximize their clout in the political and cultural aspects of life in the country. Organizations like the Chinese Association, Portuguese Association, the Lebanese, Syrian associations have all used that clout to further their societal and commercial standings in the society. The Indians have done it just a little differently in that they have stressed race, religion, ethnicity and culture as their means of advancement, without compromising the authenticity of their history. However, in recent times, as they gain political and economic power, they see little or no reason for compromise as part of an obvious diverse and qualified multi-ethnic, multi-racial and built-cultural mix. Kayla Persad Bissessar, taken her cues from her racial, cultural and religious background. There is very little in her modus operandi that causes her to integrate her thinking, so as election time comes around, her religious and racial experience will become more evident as she perceives power to be “her time now’.

  • We as a society have never experimented with solving problems. The way we deal with social problems is either to blame the other party or ignore the problems until they are no longer hot topics on everyone’s minds. We have problems in education, health, environment, agriculture and food production, with no sociologists worthy of mention to even write an analysis of them, we continue to dabble with political inputs that only make things worse, with no coordination with public and private interests to elevate or eradicate issues. The corporate sector is out of step with the population and find itself in bed with the government most of the times. The health sector remains stagnant with innovative for healthful living but rich in the business of profits from its commerce, agriculture is also stagnant and lacking innovation because the powers that be are only looking for conglomerate solutions and not local input by the small farmers. Education has less to do with living and is more consistent with counting profit and loss. The population is less knowledgeable about the structures of government and the civic responsibilities of municipalities. For example, I doubt if you ask the average man in the street what are the responsibilities of a mayor, assemblyman or councillor is, very few would be able to answer with any degree of correctness or knowledge. Politics has become the do-it-all and know-it-all of our systems of behavior. One of my favorite TV shows is ‘The Indian Doctor’. I have never missed an episode of its showing because every aspect of life in a small town in Wales called Trevilin, where this doctor from India is has taken over a practice from a departed colleague and is confronted by racism and ostracism, but battles his way to find acceptance and understanding. Every aspect of life is covered. Corporate greed, workers health, sickness, diseases, love, marriage, unwed motherhood, corruption, development, agriculture, religion, science vs religion, teenage pregnancy, cultural differences, music etc etc etc are covered but the big difference is that problems are discussed and people towards a solution. Much much of what happens in our society, where we would rather not have a discussion than to acknowledge that a problem exist at all. With the coming election we are very likely to hear of all the niceties that lay in stock for us if we only re-elect the incumbent, inspire of the obvious shortages and short falls that lay in front of our very faces. We are faced with a less vibrant economy with the short fall in gas and oil prices but we are primed to hear that that does not mean a thing because everything is going to be alright. When asked to address corruption, we would be told what corruption? when asked to address spending, we are likely to hear how much has been spent for our betterment. As the commercial on TV every minute of the day reminds us “you government is working for you”. We are not expected to hear that even though we enjoy natural resources of oil and gas, we are not the richest island in the Caribbean. We are not expected to hear that even with all our riches, we do not enjoy the best education system in the Caribbean because the well-to-do sent their children to Barbados, U,S and Britain for that reason. We are not expected to hear that our pharmacies are stocked with placebo medicines from India that offer no cures or relief from the diseases that afflict us. We are not expected to hear that the quality of crime has gotten worse, crime has in fact become one of the fastest growing business. But we will hear that the numbers involving crime are less prolific than it was in 2010. We are not expected to hear how we came about the matter of emailgate, what we are expected to hear is that it is fabrication. If it is fabrication, we are not expected to know or hear who the REAL fabricator is but we are expected to hear that it is Dr. Rowley who read the emails in parliament. We are not expected to hear of the massive spending in the office of the attorney general is under the stewardship of Anand Ramlogan. With most of the money going to his friends with no one case to show in the win column. We are not expected to hear how Anand facilitated the escape of Ish and Steve from being extradited to the United States to face trial for their involvement in the airport scandal. We are not expected to hear of the performance of the PP or how they expended more than 337 billion dollars. We are not expected to hear what was the reasoning behind Jawaralal Rambaran changing the rules of foreign exchange at the Central Bank, where there is daily shortages of U.S dollars. We are not expected to hear, after five years why Kamla appointed a clerk with no qualifications or experience to head the SSA. We are not expected to hear why Kamla fired Anand and wanted David West fired too. We are not expected to hear why Kamla, as a jurist goes to public meetings and talks about witnesses in cases before the courts. Isn’t that a form of malpractice? We are not expected to get a good reason why they must be returned to office after appointing lots and lots of unqualified people to hold substantive managerial posts. We are not expected to be given a good reason why Kamla is not living at the prime minister’s residence. If she does not want it, then why run for office?

  • Tman and Mamoo are like the Tea Party racist Republicans who engage in both overt and covert racist narratives in their political pronunciation and denunciations against Obama, and then shout that he is racist under some illusion that will stop him from responding to their odious supremacist crap. He and Mamoo are two of Queen Kamlas’s Aryan knights arguing that “them black folk in this blog are racist” for daring to challenge what they consider their right Aryan right to be racist. He is wasting his time, because that is akin to David Duke or some other Aryan supremacist employing the same strategy to silence African Americans.

    The fact is, go back as far as you want into our heritage and you will not find any relationship with race or caste stratifying baggage wrapped irremediably around our necks as it is wrapped around theirs. Africans came to T&T on the victim end of racism. Mamoo and Tman are descendants of those who came with imbedded concepts of group superiority and inferiority, and huzzaah, when they got off the boats and espied them black folk, they were overjoyed because they saw themselves positioned between the black folk who they immediately classified as inferior, and whose presence meant that they could rise up a few castes into the highest level of the Indian Social stratification system, and the white power structure. So when the white man departed from the power structure in T&T, the congruent sense of upward mobility into the vacant role was natural.

    What they must understand, is that the politically correct tendency to refrain from pointing out that which is evident, that which is historical, that for which an abundance of proof exist in the past and present, has been sun setted a while back. The dusk of that sacred cow behavior has fallen. The dawn of calling a racist based on the true meaning of the term and its corroborating history, has come. No more are you being allowed to have two bites of the cherry. To exhibit and engage in heritage prejudiced behavior, and then be able to silence rejection and exposure of it with accusations of racism against those exposing you.

    We know the definition. We are experts in recognizing it, because no group in this world has had our experience with it. We have had centuries of exposure to the same kind of racial prejudice and attitudes, and when there will be no difference in our classification of it, regardless of whether it comes from white, or those who have the same hair texture, but just have a little bit more melanin in their skin.

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