Karma, boy, karma

By Raffique Shah
May 31, 2015

Raffique ShahIf, in what may be described as normal countries, a week in politics is a long time, in abnormal Trinidad and Tobago, a week can be likened to a lifetime. Last week, most scribes and commentators in the media engaged in heated exchanges over the latest bacchanal in the Integrity Commission.

Today, few remember what that furore was about or who the protagonists were.

The arrest, overnight jailing and legal action to have Jack Warner extradited to the US to face multiple fraud-related charges have, like a tornado, flattened and re-shaped the political landscape in a very fundamental way.

It’s not that those who closely monitor politics and corruption (some might argue that that’s redundancy) were taken unawares by the US Justice Department dragnet that spread from tiny T&T to shiny Switzerland last Wednesday, netting some very big fishes.

In fact, several investigative journalists-notably Mark Bassant and Lasana Liburd in Trinidad and Andrew Jennings in the UK-had all but written the script for the Mafia-style swoop that made headlines across the world.

In our case, though, Jack-in-the-box had an almost shattering impact.

Here was a man who straddled the country like a colossus, a veritable Prime Minister, albeit acting, a powerful Minister of National Security, and before that an emperor overseeing the Ministry of Works, being carted off to prison like a two-bit thief.

Until he resigned from Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Cabinet in 2013 (note well, he was not dismissed), he was seen as the most powerful person in the PP Government, some say even more powerful than the PM herself.

Never forget that on victory night in 2010, when she savoured the fist sip of power, before thanking God or the people or anyone else, Kamla thanked Jack not once or twice, but thrice.

I always wondered about that: did she thank him for conducting a campaign unparalleled in the nation’s history?

Was it some obeah he performed that delivered an overwhelming victory?

Or was he pivotal to raising the tens of millions of dollars that the PP spent, money that flowed like water during that campaign and ever since?

We may never know the truth.

The Prime Minister remains estranged from it too often for us to believe her, and Warner’s threats to “reveal all” remain hollow: not tonight, not any night.

What we do know as fact is that Warner’s rags-to-riches story is a very curious one, and allegations of irregularities against him pre-date his entry into politics.

From as far back as 1973, when T&T’s star-studded football team flogged Haiti on the field for a place in the 1974 World Cup finals, but lost the match through two officials who were later banned for life, the TTFA executive, on which Jack sat, did not file a protest.

And if that could be written off as a fluke, what of the fiasco of 1989 when, even if we had beaten the USA on the field, we risked being disqualified because of a dangerously overcrowded stadium and the vulgar over-selling of tickets for the game?

All of these misdemeanours took place before Jack and Basdeo Panday became tight as…’er, bosom buddies, and the latter plucked him from the murky fields of football and elevated him to the murkier arena of politics.

We know what followed: a safe UNC seat, riding partners on a FIFA executive jet to South Africa supposedly to have Nelson Mandela endorse the UNC (he did not), money flowing like water in a losing effort in the 2007 elections, and, as always happened with anyone who got close to Panday, estrangement, fight, cuss, break-up.

We also know the sequel, the making of Kamla, the joining of forces in 2010 that brought together my one-time comrades in labour and back-in-time brothers of the Black Power movement embracing so tightly, not even dollar notes could come between them.

There was one big, happy Fyzabad family that promised to deliver the nation from all evils-except that that never happened.

When things started falling apart, Jack still found refuge in the House of the Rising Sun (“…it’s been the ruin of many a man…”).

2011: US dollars being parcelled and shared like “parsad” at the Hyatt: bring me the evidence.

Strike Squad players denied their bonuses from 2006: let the court decide.

Australia football body asking for accountability for half-a-million-dollar donation: deafening silence.

More dollars for earthquake-stricken Haiti disappear: dem reporters wicked.

But there is something called “karma”, not to be mistaken for Kamla, which strangers to Hindi might find confusing.

Today, Jack is being called to account, and although the process between indictment, extradition, trial and a cell in some US jail is lengthy, it’s almost ineluctable.

Strangely, I feel sorry him even though I’ve never met the man.

I guess it’s because I know what prison is, which is why I’ve always counselled those who walk on the wayward side to “make jail when yuh young”.

But Jack will not be the only person who, having supped with him, will pay the Devil. Others who portray themselves as pious even as they raid the Treasury, will also pay. Karma, boy, Karma.

16 Responses to “Karma, boy, karma”


  • Jack’s troubles with the U.S Justice Department is symptomatic of the inevitable decline of not just Jack Warner’s persona but also that of our civilization as well. Our decline began around 2009 – 2010 when Patrick Manning believed that he would change the system to his way, without the reckoning of the tried and true.
    Those who replaced him promised change but only for the worse.
    Change can NEVER be for the better when it is based on hate, revenge, vengeance, lies, racial preference, ignorance, demagoguery and the degrading of the human spirit. When all else fails, we depend on our inner values such as love, kindness,
    hope, beliefs and most importantly our confidence to steer us through the inhumanity of man towards man. I have often stated that “nothing from nothing leaves nothing”. So, Manning left us with nothing and what we inherited in return is less than nothing, if there is such a condition. One of the architect of this state of nothingness was Jack Warner himself. Because of his hate for Manning, he surmised that since Manning could not see things his way, he introduced Kamla Persad Bissessar to us as “Mother Lakshmi” and told us that this was the way forward. We were promised “the yellow brick road” to prosperity only to realize that we were thoroughly fooled by sweet words and empty promises. As young children, my mom always said to us (my brothers and sisters) “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. Jack did introduce them as “his friends”, to convince us and “them” of his sincerity, he even converted from his belief (a catholic) to becoming a Hindu. At one time, he is quoted as saying to the nation, that if Keith Rowley were to attend festivities planned by the Indian community for Divali, he refused to be at the same place with him (Rowley). Those are the kind of behavior that he helped introduce into the “new” value system that we have come to know. Today, these same people are even denying that they knew him personally. Such is the demise of the body politic in our country. Today, we are void of simple courtesies of engagement, those who command the schedule and menu of the nation’s business in our parliament are arrogant, deceitful, uncaring, undemocratic, derogatory and dismissive of others who do not think and act like them. No matter how moronic their behavior, they believe that they are superior. So, as Jack’s fortunes deteriorate, our media would want us to believe that it is just Jack’s. I so NO. The course that we chose in 2010, is what is responsible for our downfall. Just imagine Moody’s Credit ratings tell us exactly that and there are those (even in the media) who would have us believe that Moody’s is telling us lies. What utter nonsense!.
    In the eyes of Moody’s International, Trinidad and Tobago is just a pin the haystack, what does Moody’s have to gain by downgrading? Nothing! We need to face reality and reject those who would continuously lie to us. When you build on lies, ONLY more lies will follow, nothing else. So, today, we are inundated with lies from those charged with the responsibility of governing us. They have dismissed democracy. They got rid of the democratically elected Opposition. The only menial opposition left, as their friend Jack Warner and that too was not good for them, so they connived to get rid of him too! So, arrogant of their leadership that the leader in the parliament told us that he will get “representation” for Diego Martin. Is that democracy? Is that leadership? Is that governance? Is that action building? Is that anything we know to be good?
    Whether we like it or not, this is part of the legacy of Jack. As a christian, I say this with a heavy heart, but we can’t fool God. As Raff put it “Karma, boy, karma”.

    • http://www.businessinsider.com/moodys-analyst-conflicts-corruption-and-greed-2011-8
      “In the eyes of Moody’s International, Trinidad and Tobago is just a pin the haystack, what does Moody’s have to gain by downgrading? Nothing! We need to face reality and reject those who would continuously lie to us.”

      Moody has down graded most oil based economies. Since you are the expert read what a former employee of Moody wrote in the businessinsider.

      • Mamoo, this is classic defensive doublespeak. Harrington was an Executive with Moody’s during the Housing collapse in the United States during the 2008 – 2009 Wall Street fiasco. Moody’s, like all other Credity raters in that era were grading companies with better grades than they deserved. It was EXACTLY what brought the U.S financial sector to its knees. They have since learned and corrected their behavior because not to adhere to correctness means that the world financials can go down the drain. But I see that you would prefer a pre-Wall Street collapse than an honest undertaking. So classic of the tribe.

    • “Because of his hate for Manning, he surmised that since Manning could not see things his way, he introduced Kamla Persad Bissessar to us as “Mother Lakshmi” and told us that this was the way forward. We were promised “the yellow brick road” to prosperity only to realize that we were thoroughly fooled by sweet words and empty promises.” Kian PNM apologist.
      Here is the truth Kian, stop peddling lies, learn to speak the truth.
      All this was done just in the last 4 years where your brothers live.
      East west Corridor.
      The following major projects have been done under the PP Government in The East West Corridor:

      1. UWI Costatt Campus – SANGRE GRANDE
      2. New Arima Hospital (under construction) – ARIMA
      3. Completed the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway Extension – ARIMA
      4. New Arima Police Station – ARIMA
      5. Valencia bypass Road (under construction) VALENCIA
      6. New Walkover – OROPUNE
      7. New Walkover – MALONEY
      8. St. Barbara’s Spiritual Shouter Baptist Primary School – MALABAR
      9. Nursing Academy – EL DORADO
      10. Tunapuna Promenade – TUNAPUNA
      11. Upgraded Tunapuna Market – TUNAPUNA
      12. National Tennis Complex (under construction) – TACARIGUA
      13. Churchill Roosevelt Highway/Uriah Butler Highway Interchange – GRAND BAZAAR
      14. Completion of the Aranguez Overpass – ARANGUEZ
      15. National Oncology Centre (under construction) – MT. HOPE
      16. Mango Rose Homework Centre – EAST PORT OF SPAIN
      17. Nelson Street Police Post – PORT OF SPAIN
      18. Diego Martin Highway Extension – DIEGO MARTIN
      19. Diego Martin Technology Centre – DIEGO MARTIN
      20. Chaguaramas Boardwalk and Recreation Facility – CHAGUARAMAS
      21. New D’Abadie Bridge (B1/23) – D’ABADIE
      22. New bridge B1/14 Churchill Roosevelt Highway – TRINCITY
      23. Creation of three lanes out of Port of Spain by building a third lane on Bridge at Sea Lots
      24. Creation of Roundabout at Lok Jack School of Business
      25. Repairs to the Blanchicheuese Road improving connection to Asa Wright Nature Center
      26. St Joseph River Bridge being reconstructed
      27. Valencia Stretch repaved along with several sections of Eastern Main Road as well as widening of CR HIghway into three lanes going East
      28. Upgrades to Hollis Main for an improved water supply along corridor
      29. Water projects to expand pipe borne supply 24/7 for all.
      30. Wastewater treatment plants in Matura, Arima, POS
      31. The reconstructed bridge 2/10 Toco Main Road

      • I see you guys leave nothing for the civil servants to do.
        You want to claim victory for the work that they are supposed to do also. Whey sah!

        • Kian u more stupid than I thought,you have to stop drinking that dirty Balisier mud water, then you will become wiser.

  • “Until he resigned from Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Cabinet in 2013 (note well, he was not dismissed), he was seen as the most powerful person in the PP Government, some say even more powerful than the PM herself.

    Never forget that on victory night in 2010, when she savoured the fist sip of power, before thanking God or the people or anyone else, Kamla thanked Jack not once or twice, but thrice.

    I always wondered about that: did she thank him for conducting a campaign unparalleled in the nation’s history?”

    This article almost sounds like an apologetics course done to make Jack look and Kamla bad. The writer conveniently mentions only Jack relationship with the PP. There is no mention of Jack relationship with Rowley and the PNM. Just a few weeks ago Jack was holding hand with Rowley which seem like a romantic interlude for two young lovers as the marched for Chagaramas. Jack then went to Parliament and file a motion for the return of his buddy Rowley. Rowley on several occasions gave way for Jack to file motions. The romance between the two was obvious to all except this writer.
    As for Jack giving money to any political party for his part it was an investment that yielded many happy returns. He was able to operate 25 companies and get contracts for all his family and friends. Out of political power and not getting those contracts he decided to bite the hands that fed him. He engage in a shameless display of consistent attacks on the PM. That started with the ILP as he sought to bring down the PP. Every week some kind of accusations about contractors, houses, money….
    He went so far as to say 2010 was a mistake….

  • “They got rid of the democratically elected Opposition. The only menial opposition left, as their friend Jack Warner and that too was not good for them, so they connived to get rid of him too!”(KIAN)

    This comment is simply absurd. Any sensible and informed reader knows the facts.No further remarks needed.

    • You are absolutely correct. No further remarks needed.
      Because democracy for your kind means doing whatever you want, just because you have the majority to so do.

  • I noticed that None of you Brahmins made any comments on Sat’s Maharaj’s Indian Arrival Day Speech and the “Bad Cop, Good Cop”
    follow up by Her Majesty Queen Kamla I, of Trinidad and Tobago.

    Much more to come on that!

  • When people are called ‘paid propagandist’, it means that they are given MONEY by those whose interest they seek, to propagandise on their behalf. It also means that ‘good’ cannot be seen through no other eyes but theirs. Such is the case of those who says the most damnest things on this blogs.

  • Yess Kian. And you know what. I have just read that there was a parallel practice in Guyanaa where the PPP had people on the OP and Publicly Owned Media payroll, whose sole purpose was to generate propaganda for that party, some under assumed names, in social networks and newspapers.

    I have always seen a close parallel between the governance of the PP of our Republic, and that of the PPP of Guyana. Sometimes I wondered whether they were so arrogant that the deliberately coind the name in a manner where the abbreviation would be like a back handed slap to those Afros in T&T, including those they had managed to sucker unto their political slave plantation with promises of being oversees like in the olden times.

    This Caribbean region is being disfigured, I believe, by the emergence of an aspiring imperial like entity that sees itself as the inheritors of the slave master role in primarily T&T and Guyana. We have allowed ourselves to be guilt tripped into evading a reality that is as clear as day.

    We will have to wake up, soon, and I believe this is happening, because as the said, when the missionaries went to Africa the people had the land and they had the bibles. When they left they had the land and the people were left with the bibles. It would seen to me that we have some missionaries plying the trade in these two countries, that are even worse than their predecessors. At least they were diplomatic about it, were not crass and uncouth, and tried to present an appearance of good will to all. These fellas today are like the devil incarnate, absolutely pathological in their idiotic supremacist beliefs, and determine to convert life in those two countries into replicas of ancient India.

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