Battle against be-suited bandits

By Raffique Shah
April 21, 2016

Raffique ShahI find it almost amusing that some grocers who are caught dipping their greedy hands deep inside the inside consumers’ pockets, cry foul when their names and outrageously high prices are exposed through advertisements posted by the Consumer Affairs Division of the Ministry of Trade.

In immediate response to being named as selling certain foodstuff way above the norm in the business, they claim the prices attributed to their establishments were wrong, and they issued “corrected” versions that were between $5 and $10 cheaper-per item.

The Ministry stood by its published prices that were collected and collated some time after Government reduced VAT from 15 percent to 12.5 percent.

I must confess that I did not scrutinize the extensive list thoroughly. I browsed through looking at certain basic items and price differences that were significant. I expected groceries located in far-flung districts such as Toco, Mayaro and Cedros to charge more because they will have had to bear higher transport costs.

That turned out to be misleading: some of their prices were actually cheaper than those in the larger supermarket chains, and in more centrally located shops. And generally, the differentials were marginal.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Ministry’s publication of the list because I am aware of how influential some of these establishments are, and why the Government will not want to be seen as waging war against them.

So the decision to publish and be dammed was welcome. I hope the exercise continues relentlessly, preferably in the Sunday newspapers, at least on a monthly basis.

The purpose cannot be to have consumers chasing the cheapest prices for specific items across the country-only foolish people would do that.

It should have two aims: first, consumers could use the list to calculate the prices of a “basket of goods” at a few groceries that are conveniently located for them, and if they come up with savings of $100 or more per month, which is substantial for those in the lower income bracket, then buy from where it’s cheapest.

And second, the list must be seen as a legitimate “name and shame” exercise that will bring to heel the price-gougers who are exploiting the revised taxation schedules in the absence of price controls.

If the decreases announced by the “offended” grocers are anything to go by, the list has been an instant success.

In any recession or depression, there are businesses that thrive, a few by fair, innovative practices, but many by foul. Food is the easiest commodity to exploit in harsh economic times.

During the “Great Depression” that started in the USA in 1929, among the large corporations that made increased profits was the Campbell Soup Company. Its president, Dr John Torrance, declared in 1930: “People must eat even in less prosperous times…the only difference being that greater care is exercised in spending of the family income…”

There is nothing wrong about any business making profits. If they didn’t, they’d go bust.

But there is a critical difference between being profitable and making obscene profits off people, especially the poor and middle classes who must buy essentials like foods and medications.

The food business is characterized by high-volume sales with low profit margins-or so it ought to be. But there are always unscrupulous operators, and they are the ones the ministry must name and hopefully shame, in the absence of laws or regulations that make price-gouging a criminal offence.

Another basic commodity that some dealers who control it are exploiting is cooking gas (LPG).

Approximately 90 per cent of the 400,000 households in the country use LPG for cooking (the others use electrical ranges), and these include the very poor.

When VAT was reduced from 15 percent to 12.5 percent, the price of the 100-pound cylinder ought to have declined from $130 to $124.31, or say, rounded off at $125. It didn’t-which means the distributors were pocketing an additional $5 for every cylinder sold.

This may appear to be an insignificant sum, except that if the average household uses one pound of gas a day (I know it’s more than that), the distributors “pocket” an additional $20,000 a day, or $600,000 a month, or more than $7 million a year.

That does not include their profit-margin, which could be as high as 20 percent.

A final word on the increases in fuel prices: when the UAE removed the subsidy on gasoline last August, the Gulf State’s energy minister told motorists who grumbled, “If you can afford a vehicle, then you must be able to afford fuel for it…at market prices.”

And since the 15 percent increase in the price of diesel is only a miniscule proportion of overall transport costs, the impact on goods will hardly be more than one-to-two percent.

Anything more is highway robbery. And these be-suited bandits rob all of us every day.

24 Responses to “Battle against be-suited bandits”


  • Highway robbery is a two way street. If people dont care to save they wont.

    Cheaper prices can be had if you shop around. You can buy at a weekend farmers market for less expensive ground provisions, fish and vegetables. And you can buy liquor cheaper at a wholesaler.

    These avenues of cost saving have been around for at least the last 30 years. Why people don’t use them is beyond comprehension.

  • Food is what everybody must have and of course water from WASA. So the government of the day if they are real should focus principally among other things of course on these two. And I read with disgust that hundreds of thousands of our mostly young citizenry are chasing only 30,000 houses out of HDC who is now most filthy filled with corruption. First I must conclude Jearlean loved it so much(I stand corrected as most are holding the truths closed to their chest)she is now horrorful it has gone from her. Nevertheless she is questionable for now. The evidence shows she was a total waste. I stand by to whom much is given much will be expected. As for water why does WASA NOT GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER AND RID THIS INSTITUTION OF THE CORRUPTION AND FRAUD that have been so absorbed there the last 50 years or more. Remember Seven Trent. But back to the food why can the government NOT yet get things right there. The only answer I can come up with is they are the problem. For years the PNM pushed the agricultural sector down the gutter because the Indians controlled it. Some will argue that through slavery and freedom of the slaves in the 1800s the Brits forced the African citizenry off the land and after this the USA promoted the trades with them. Hence our history set the preoccupation of the Indian communities on the produce from the lands, parlours, transport, and construction etc. The other citizenry were left out almost totally. In the 1960s and onwards the PNM re-focused on the oil and gas industry for their supporters gains and now we know the outcome of that. I preached about the greased hand effects there that literally sold them out and became a loss for us all i.e. their PNM supporters from real development. Hence they are now in the dumps again. We tried to go foreign for security. But their government has failed them immensely. However their Indian counterparts made in roads in other sectors like law, medicine, engineering, economics, business, transport, hardware, and groceries where food and pricing were inflated considerably. Once people found out where I lived prices on nearly everything went up 10-20% plus automatically. And the Indians in almost every area rips you off now. It was disgusting with their PP government. For instance take Carnival, I love my Carnival and from Calypso to Chutney to mass making to fetes, to transport to food …they controlled everything since George Bailey days. I do not envy their growth it is their greed and lick wish -ness for material wealth and money grabbing for failing value to us that grabs me the wrong way. Take a doubles for example it has gotten really small in size and the price has climbed over the years so ridiculously it is not funny. And they do not pay taxes on doubles; same on coconut water and it is by no guess roti shops have disappeared from the landscape of Port-of-Spain. Long ago in my youth they were on the surface so prayerful, considerate and helpful – that’s the past as now they seem to have now come of age with so much arrogance and venom in character. I often wonder if there is any going back for them as these two politically controlling races in our once beautiful T&T are now so dangerously charged and seem to want to get at each other throats. The pure arrogance on one side meets the thiefing and poor morals and ethics on the other side and we the mixed are in the middle of all of this with our families separated as to our chances of development seem to have all gone. Most of us were forced to leave our country as these groups have no intention of looking for peace. As with this food situation I fear for the worse.

    • Jerry C. Hussein your diatribe I hope is not endemic of my Africana brothers and sisters. Nappy head Alyssa I am sure will agree with you maybe even Neal and Kian engender such thoughts. I notice with my Africana brothers and sisters are more complainers than any other tribe despite racist Dillon firing over 50 Indians in the SSA. If it was the other way around there would be many headlines, marches and even threats of violence by the tribalist. Yes the PNM is high on ethnic cleansing having stolen the last election. Indians simply need not apply for any post in the government. It is back to the good old days where the boys and girls get to work with their mouth and draw huge salaries.

      A look at history will show that the Africana was the prime beneficiary of the state largesse. For 37 years of uninterrupted rule out of 52 years of independence. Here are the facts Jerry C.Hussein –(1) 80% of government jobs went to Africanas, (2) 90% of Government housing, (3) Almost all promotions were for Africanas during that 37 years. The Opposition areas suffered criminal neglect with very high rates of unemployment. The roads were in a total state of disrepair.

      When Kamla became PM the Africanas benefitted the most, since most were government employees, about 132 collective bargaining was settled with over $2 billion going to State employees who received raises up to 20%, along with preference to NHA housing. The army, prison officers, and police service were being offered government housing. We know who are employed in these services. Kams gave child benefits, laptops, increase GATE spending..who was the prime beneficiaries of this Jerry C.Hussein. Yet today if you ask Africanas about Kamla this is what you hear-(1) Worst Prime Minister ever, (2) Thief (3)Drunkard, (4)Whore… These ungrateful scumbs and racist ingrains are facing the true face of the PNM who is taking every penny given to them by Kams. Tax after tax, not a dog bark. Now people like racist Jerry C.Hussein and nappy head Alyssa are blaming Indians despite the PNM holding the reigns of power.

      Strange that Jerry attacks the poor doubles man who have to pay increased taxes for goods and transportation, it is wrong for him to cover the cost, he must still sell as cheap as possible. Jerry do you know at what time the doubles man wake up? He is up at 3:00 a.m. In the morning while you are in a deep sleep. His wife must prepare the food cooked in hot oil over a stove. Do you know many times her hand get burned, do you know standing in front that hot stove for over an hour dries her beautiful face. You attack the doubles man for earning a meager wage but say nothing about the taxes that are increasing daily and taking away the good life… That is how a racist mind functions.

      • Mamoo, you crying again – wipe the tears away for the the lies you entertain do not hold water. Goopeesingh (the mInister scorned black people for years) made endless plenty monies on the blood, sweat and tears of poor black T&T people through thievry contracts over the years; so too Kirpalini, and the hardware so many Singns all over the place. And johnson and SIS and the many indo road pavers off many WASA, NGC, TrIngen, Petrotrin contracts, or in the local agriculture or in oil and gas sector; or in HDC and the housing markets of T&T; or in industry like in Ramco; or even in in tourism like the scams in Maracus and Las Cuevas developments recently; or in the box drains; or as we well know in food industry like the many grocery/parlour chains; in Carnival events like lighting, tents, trucks, food, music, mass making, in drinks etc. All indo business. They hate afro trinis but they make all their monies off them. They would say being a public servant, policeman, fireman etc. were jobs we cannot make the money we want on thats for the blacks not we. Instead we look for big grease hand wuk where we can exploit the system. We can launder the monies in places like Panama. So Mamoo you ain’t fooling nobody. Instead you must be the biggest arse in town spewing your hate and venom on the afro community who suffers from their own the uncle toms who will suck on anything to please the white man’s greed.

        • Jerry I expect better from you, as a blogger you failed to impress. The Afros in TNT behave like everybody owe them something. I fail to understand that type of reasoning. They own the treasury for over 37 years, experience 2 oil boom and the father of the nation boasted “money eh no problem”. The last election the third father of the nation after Manning in the drivers seat and promising to “fix Laventille” that should put a sweet smile on your sour face Jerry.
          But I find you people to be ungrateful.

          The PNM stole more money off the treasury, more than any other party. Nobody knows where the money went, the twin towers in Scarborough Ontario Canada provide a clue, some went there for sure.

          Jerry because you are a tribalist you are forever doomed to play the role of victim hood. Nuff said.

      • With the UNC and its sycophants, racism is a one-way street. When Kamla gave ‘Africana’ (Moomoo’s favorite description) the pink slip, retirement, buyout and replace them with ONLY Indians, there is NO RACISM THERE. Even though most of the replacements are not even qualified.
        But that is OK, it is UNC politics!. The UNC’s ONLY concern is how Indians prosper. The Ministry of National Security is one that is of utmost importance in protecting the integrity of our borders and national security. Being Indian should not be a qualification for staffing.
        Being a loyal and dedicated citizen of Trinidad and Tobago should be. But Moomoo, Kamla and all the racial players always use the RACE card for all occasions. Ha! ha! ha! ha! so now Dillon is a RACIST? Sick, sick, sick. Are these people for real? Their only concern is that they are Indians who are born in Trinidad and Tobago. What a sick group.

        • Kian, i had originally written a rebuttal to your post in support of the TTUTA president and in the process of submitting, the post was lost as has happened many times and i refused to rewrite another. However, an issue directly tied to that and the points i made has conveniently popped up in the public domain and i will address it here. The Archbishop Joseph Harris, a public figure who is a sanctioned representative of Christian Values, one who tries (as he understands it) to embody that value system in his public utterances and positions with regards to T&T’s political social an ethnic issues. So, he publicly calls for at least some justice for citizens held at the remand yard. As many know, T&T has an archaic justice system, overcrowed prisons and a nasty underbelly that has been created through this…the remand yard is meant to TEMPORARILY hold a person UNTIL their trial is complete. In T&T we have a dist6rbing Injustice system where, as the archbishop gave an example, there are people who were charged for a relatively petty offense which may carry a MAXIMUM sentence of lets say…2 years…BUTTTTTTTTTTTT These persons are STILL currently on ‘remand’ for 5,6,7+ years WAITING for a Trial that at the worst possible outcome they would or should have been released AT LEAST 4 years ago!!! I.e. There are people who are currently in prison for triple, quadruple the maximum sentence they would have been given had they had a punctual trial IF…IF they had been found guilty by he courts!!! This is MADNESS!! It is unjust!! Anyway, so the African Chrsitian Archbishop publicly lobbies for a Psych evaluation/social services and release/pardon these specifc cases…Now, The head of the Hindu Inter Religious Organization i.e. HINDU I.R.O. “Brother” Harripersad Maharaj has subsequently PUBLICLY DENOUNCED
          The African Christian Archbishop’s Petition. Now, EVERYONE in T&T Knows that the VAST Majority of citizens who are incarcerated in the prisons and remand yard are in fact DARK SKINNED AFRICAN People!!…
          Kian, Yoruba, Rodwell….Does This surprise You????How classless! How Disrespectful!! How Transparent & Typical!! This Head Of The Hindu I.R.O. (H-i.r.o.) gives the excuse for his Petition of the petition by the Archbishop, that “his members” are against it…..WHO ARE HIS MEMBERS??? (Hindu I.R.O.) are these the same UNCOPP 340,000 supporters??The same people voted for Kamla, Suruj & Anand to return in office??? Kian, Yoruba, Rodwell The Hindu Organizations and their devotees do not want to dismantle the church-state relationship for the reasons that they would sell to you i.e. democracy, fairness etc….It is part of the Boorish,shameless, Racist, Hindu Supremacy Agenda as seen with the flooding of all media with only INDIAN/HINDU TV shows 24/7 to program the minds of our children. It is also a religious hedgemony agenda to subjugate Christianity in particular and all non hindu organizations…The Attack on The Archbishop’s petition for justice CANNOT be seen OUTSIDE of these realities… What kind of people would petition AGAINST justice?? For african people! What value system does “Brother” Harrylersad represent?? Not officially but functionally…it may appear that irregardless of the name of his organization or its STATED goals, it is essentially a Hindu organzization…an Arm Of the Maha Sabha?? Is the “Brother” a devotee/functionary of Sat??? This merely crystallizes in the minds of peolle such as myself that whenever a Hindu/Indian, more so a Pundit gets in charge of an organization, it becomes Primarily & Secondarily a vehicle for Exclusively Hindu and wider Indian community interests, which usually run contrary to the interests of African people/Genuine christianity!!
          Kian, how does this issue tie to my unposted rebuttal of your support for TTUTA’s president’s call to dismantle the church-state relationship??? Kian, it is my firm belief that Whomever “his members” are…The Hindu I.R.O (H.I.R.O.) said that “his” members don’t support The Archbishop Joseph Harris’s petition to release UNjustly incarcerated citizens (Mostly if not all African) so let us say that “Brother Harripersad”
          has Racist, Narrowminded UNCOPP supporter MEMBERS of his Hindu I.R.O. (H.I.R.O.) are Petitioning The Archbishop Harris out of racism & out of disdain for the STATUS that The Archbishop’s christian organization has!!Their posotion is meant to jndermine his authority…to challenge his status with theirs…..All “They” care about is
          (1)Land, Skin colour, Power, Status, Money
          (2) Skin colour, money, land Status, Power
          (3)Power, Status, Money, Skin Colour, Land

          NAZIS (The Originals)

          • Alyssa,
            In reply to Jerry, where he chided me for attacking the church in the dismantling topic, I wrote in part “To cement my point Jerry, you need to go no further than this article in the Newsday

            http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,227104.html

            There are those who blind themselves into clothing their beliefs that in this country, all we need to say is “all ah we is one” and it becomes so.” This was in direct response to the now H.I.R.O’s position, in opposition to the Archbishop’s ‘christian’ motives in seeking redress of the remand Yard situation. You may recall, many times in the past I have questioned the validity of maintaining an institution like the I.R.O. While the intent of a functioning church related organization, to foster the needs of its members seemed viable, its purpose cannot be achieved because christian values are vastly different from that of muslim and hindu values. It was the “all ah we is one” syndrome that promoted that idea to form that organization. But since the inclusion of the hindu especially, its charter and purpose have shifted to a hindu value concept. The same thing is what is happening to all institutions in Trinidad. While I understand the christian motive to inculcate inclusiveness as a lasting goal to humanity, they never won any guarantee from the hindu to accept this as an article of incorporation. So the demonstration of inclusiveness as an instrument of objectivity by the I.R.O, really functions in the hindu’s favor, because they gain by not making any guarantees. It is only the christian who insists that “all ah we is one”. I remember in one of your blogs you chided the Archbishop for the un qualified support he gave to the same Harripersad man. The African man needs to understand RELIGION and religiosity lies at the base of behavior in Trinidad. All one needs to do to prove this point is look at hindu behavior, hindu talk, hindu practice, hindu beliefs, hindu approaches, hindu goals, hindu ethics (or lack of it), hindu morals (or lack of it), hindu motives,
            and the results will ALWAYS BE – Power, Status, Money. Skin Color and Land. We need to ask the
            Christians in the I.R.O, what are their objectives and where do they intend to lead us through this organization? It would appear that the I.R.O is ready made for hindu progress and christian backwardness.

  • Mamoo you are sad excuse for a recounter of history and analyst of events of how and then. You have the same kind of racist hallucinations as Hitler’s Goebbells, and I dare say, might actually be some distant offshoot from his Aryan genes.

    Who complains more than those who yell monkey and other racist expletives when they are home in India, but cry and and whine when similar treatment is meted out to them in places like Australia.

    How many Indians were active in the struggles to open the US. And how many benefit today. That is the formula that determines who whines and sneaks in to feed from the trough after the hard work gets done, and who does that hard work.

    • “How many Indians were active in the struggles to open the US. And how many benefit today.”

      Prior to the 1960s signs on restaurants in the U.S. read simply “whites only” “no nigg*s” “nigg*s to the back of the bus” etc. In addition the KKK hang many negroes… It is a very sad part of American history. I remember looking at Mississippi Burning and seeing the terrible conditions black folks lived in and the vicious attack of white supremacist.

      The start of the civil rights movement by MLK was born out of his study of Gandhi’s struggle against the British in India. MLK hero was Gandhi and as such he used Gandhi “satyagra” meaning none violent struggle to take on the might of the American racism. Barrack Obama paid special tribute to Gandhi when he visited India and said Gandhi had a tremendous impact on his life and the lives of African Americans.

      Roddy u asked how many Indians were involved in the struggle. I say all it took was one…

      • Malcolm X, MLK were heroes in their own rights ,for disenfranchised Afro Americans ,
        and we should give them credit. Gandhi , my rear end, who cares? Centainly ain’t the millions of Dark skin Indian Untouchables, who he , and Nehru , gave the middle finger to / threw dem under de symbolic bus, in their ride to power.
        Why didn’t he show the same fight against racist,White Europeans, when he, and his typical parasitic- fringe race – ‘colored ‘others , were benefiting from Apartheid ,in South Africa?
        Here is the deal, for you revisionist ,delusion comedians. Without Belmont born Stokley Carmichael, African Americans ,would still be riding at the back of de bus, and eating outside of restaurants in America.
        Just wish his former Howard University Professor , in Pappa Deffy Eric , didn’t ban him , from his own country.
        If so , we would not be stuck with the tribal problems we have to daily confront today.
        Yeah Uncle Shah- real Black Power , would have taken place- not the whitewash one, you like to boast about engaging in.
        Ooops , I take that back,I was supposed to be responding to the addle brain Mamboo.
        Evil , deceptive ,conniving ,White folks ,have done great harm to folks of color, but never underestimate the role played by neo imperial , self serving elites ,folks- and no I don’t give a hoot about their ideological, or worst yet , fake religious , complexion.
        Stay vigilant T&T!

    • Hema ramkissoon conducts a disgraceful, politically vicious interview with geriatric, former government minister Marilyn Gordon. Marilyn Gordon, like most Africans are incapable of fathoming or deali g with the mindset of Maha Sabha UNCOPP sycophantic cult members…WHY are african people,supporters
      of the PNM, ALSO Supporting the UNCOPP Racist, Apartheid Indian & Hindu Agenda by Appearing ON and Tuning in???
      (I didn’t see it voluntarily or on my premises). Hema brings the lady under the guise of talking about PNM’s upcoming anniversary, and sticks Mrs. GORDON LIKE A PIG (VERBALLY, POLITICALLY) and it visibly shocks her BUTTTTTTTTTTTT I do not feel empathy for her…..keep groveling for racist Indian acceptance!

      • Hema working for Maha Sabah. Aly you are an idea that has gone too far. Hema sat with Rawi and other PNMites and giggled like a school girl. She did not ask them any tough questions but when UNC ministers came on she peppered them with questions…that is a fact.

        • Mamoo…just because you WISH i were a fool, does NOT mean that i am. Faris Al Rawi is Lightskinned and Goodlooking….THAT and not his PNM position is likely the origin of her ‘schoolgirl giggling’.Hema is Wade
          Mark’s Indian wife’s Niece…hema IS a UNCOPP Agent!

          • Obviously u believe in the “herd mentality”. Let me say I have family that are on the opposite side of the fence. Does not bother me!

  • Yes Mamoo, your propaganda machinery is working at its best.
    “When Kamla became PM the Africans benefitted the most, since most were government employees.” What was the name of that African girl who got the big National Security job again? Was it Reshmi or something like that?

    Do you recall the name Cheryl Miller? That is the young African woman who was removed from her office and taken to the Mad House, and our non-racist then ‘Monster’ of Health said that was normal, while real, real mad people running around the country. Not a word from Kamla.

    Africans call Kamla – Worst Prime Minister ever, thief, drunkard, whore. Tell me if I am wrong. The money fell through a hole in the Treasury. Kamla never took a drink in her life. All the whores in T&T are African women on George Street, and the worst Prime Minister ever is anyone whose name is not Kamla or Panday.

    Now tell us what the Trini-Indians call Dr. Williams.

  • http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-04-24/soldier-two-civilians-charged-attempted-murder

    Be careful for what you wish for Lavantille. Even our Uncle Shah,as much as he occasionally grow nostalgic for his Gangreen Tethnon military boys / gals, he ain’t want any hanging around his gated community there in Federation Park, or is it upscale 20 million per mansion Lange Park/ Westmoorings, or St ANNS?
    We see that you are naively requesting soldiers to guard your neighborhoods, to save you from gangbangers,as opposed to demanding a Police station , and frequent patrols by trained police officers.

    http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2014-07-04/soldiers-patrol-threaten-media

    Least you forgot , these said soldiers , had your community on lock down ,a few months aback ,when one of their own was murdered.
    Sometime , what you see ain’t always what you’ll get.
    1st a 32 year old soldier, with 8 kids , and now this. To be forewarned , is to be forearmed.
    Let NJAC UNC eat ah fooder Makandal Dagger , earn his salary. OOOOPS, lo siento, his UNC / PP is out of power, and so his food basket ,is now dried.

    http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-04-24/soldier-two-civilians-charged-attempted-murder

    Keep your head up T&T,and your eyes on the prize. Take back your community .

  • Shah these bandits or vultures are not only in the food industry. They are in all our major industries just like in North America. We love to copy America. I beg to hold on to my own ways. America and the UK have messed up my country and continues to do so in so many ways it just is not funny anymore. And these jack arses want to bring back the IMF and the World bank just like in the NAR years to screw us once more. When will it end.
    We copy all their sicko ways and we leave our people helpless in the end. We are two tiny islands in the ocean with only 1.3 million people. North America has over 360 million people with endless spin doctors. Trump is only one AND AMERICA WILL FALL JUST LIKE THE ROMAN EMPIRE …..LIKE NOW AS THEIR LEADERS ARE A PACK OF BASTARDS. The arse did not feel this will buss in his face.

    But take a read for this so called Muslim feels we are boo. Like his friend says I AM NO IDIOT. The article below begs him to answer the questions. We are employing him.

    DID YOU WORK FOR ARCELORMITTAL?
    By Richardson Dhalai Wednesday, April 27 2016

    click on pic to zoom in

    THE ArcelorMittal saga deepened on Monday night when Opposition and UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked whether Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi had prior knowledge of the multi-national steel giant’s intention to pull out of the country and throw over 600 workers on the breadline.

    Addressing the party’s Monday Night forum at the Tableland Secondary School in the Moruga/ Tableland constituency, a fiery Persad- Bissessar also queried whether the company was one of Al-Rawi’s financiers during the 2015 General Election and signalled her intention to refer the issue to the Integrity Commission. Al-Rawi, also the PNM’s San Fernando West MP, denied both allegations at a press conference at the Parliament building, Port-of-Spain yesterday.

    “Six hundred and forty-four workers were laid off, fired, gone out of this plant, left suffering and there are some questions that I need to ask because in spite of all the talks from the Government, no action has taken has taken place to try to help those workers who lost their jobs from ArcelorMittal,” Persad- Bissessar declared.

    GOVT IN BED WITH STEEL GIANT

    Alleging Government was “in bed” with ArcelorMittal, Persad- Bissessar said such actions, if proven to be true, “will compromise the integrity of the Government and will go to the root of the Government’s credibility and honesty.” The Opposition Leader then called on Al-Rawi to answer several questions about his working relationship with the Pt Lisas-based steel company, and if he knew of their plans to fire workers and close down its operations.

    “Was the Attorney General the legal adviser to ArcelorMittal? I know for a fact that he was because he wrote letters to TTEC on behalf of ArcelorMittal complaining about the rates for electricity that ArcelorMittal was being asked to pay,” she declared, continuing, “And so if he was their legal adviser, for what time period was he the legal adviser to ArcelorMittal because you realise when ArcelorMittal put out their press release about why they were firing their workers, one of the reasons they gave was the rates were too high for electricity and gas.” “And that was just last year before elections but I am asking him to tell us the exact dates. I know up to March last year, he was their legal adviser, lobbying on their behalf to get the rates down and so we are asking him what period was he the adviser and what legal fees did he receive in that time-frame,” she said.

    Persad-Bissessar then raised the question of if ArcelorMittal financed Al-Rawi’s campaign in the elections.

    “Did they finance it Faris?” she asked. “Did you charge them exorbitant legal fees to disguise any financial assistance… Did Faris Al-Rawi have prior knowledge about ArcelorMittal’s plan to shut down their plant and lay off the workers? Was he ever consulted by ArcelorMittal to lay off and thereafter to terminate the workers at ArcelorMittal?” she asked.

    QUESTIONS FOR PM

    Persad-Bissessar also posed similar questions to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley saying his private attorney, Reginald Armour SC was also a legal adviser to ArcelorMittal.

    (Armour ceased being Rowley’s attorney when he was elected president of the Law Association) “Did he (Armour) help to advise them how to go about avoiding having to pay termination benefits to the workers and, of Faris (did he advise the company) to take legal action of declaring bankruptcy in order to deprive workers of their benefits,” she said.

    Persad-Bissessar also raised concerns, implying conflict of interest, about Government’s plans in which Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus was “now talking about new legislation to deal with situations like the ArcelorMittal layoffs.” “Is the Attorney General part of the deliberations and discussions? Did he recuse himself when these matters arose for discussion in the Cabinet…in the Legal Review Committee with respect to drafting of legislation,” Persad-Bissessar asked.

    In March 2015, Al-Rawi – then a PNM Senator – dismissed any idea of a conflict of interest when he lobbied in the Senate for ArcelorMittal which was engaged in a $33 million dispute with TTEC. He had then raised a complaint about electricity rates for industrial consumers, which he claimed TTEC had raised across the board but the commission had denied, saying the then increase of $125.40 per kVA or 1,000 volt amps applied only to ArcelorMittal.

    Al-Rawi only disclosed Arcelor- Mittal was his client, among many others, when pressed by then PP government senators during a debate on a Panama trade agreement, when he compared the cost of power with the Central American country with those of Trinidad.

  • And the Malcolm Jones story with Petrotrin is another cover upwith the PNM. I predict like the PoS mayor they will over time force the hand of Small. But first we must talk about Khanhai…………

  • And of course all in the family hires like Harewood senior electrical engineer who pulled in his son as the new GM of Petrotrin …the man to handle Small.

  • Jerry C. Hussain

    This is a worldwide issue (not just Trinidad and Tobago). If we wish we can learn from what pertains in other places in the world. Prince with all the fame and fortune and stardom fell to nothing other than drugs. IT IS ALL CHEMICALS THAT AFFECT THE HUMAN BODY ADVERSELY OVER TIME. Just like in the case of Michael Jackson and these things are covered up quite nicely to the rest of the world. and of course before them was Ray Charles. But then again there is Bill Crosby (THEIR BLUE EYED BOY) and his game and his demise. However I remember that the down fall of Drugs (CHEMICALS) that come in many forms generally legal and illegal and illegally obtained and are sold legally from the filthy rich that are in league with the bastard foreigners in our country…NOT THEIR COUNTRY. THEY ARE THE PROFIT/LOSS BEASTS THAT CONTROL EVERYTHING IN OUR COUNTRY. IN THEIR COUNTRY IT IS COMPLETELY A FAR DIFFERENT STORY. YET THEY ARE ONLY A BIG BUNCH OF DISGUSTING LIARS AND OBAMA LOST IT RECENTLY WITH HIS LAST MEET WITH THE PRESS DINNER (RIGHT ON N… comment) . Under all of this is a flawed system emanating in North America into radicalism. TRUMP IS JUST BRINGING ALL OF THIS OUT. And we copy them in every which way. Nevertheless I am a problem solver in my profession … a root cause specialist. NOT RECOGNIZED IN MY COUNTRY BECAUSE I DID NOT PULL THE RIGHT STRING WITH THE RIGHT FOREIGN GANGS MANAGING AND BLEEDING MY T&T EVER SINCE I KNOW MYSELF. It is not only the drug boys bleeding my country. It all started with the Brits, THE USA, the filthy french creole elements, the Syrians, the uncle toms and recently the recalcitrant minority who grew rich over time off the sweat from all or backs AND NOW FEEL THEY HAVE REACHED OF AGE AND ARE cheating us over time and still doing so. YES IT STARTED WITH DIVIDE AND RULE POLICIES IN OUR SLAVERY DAYS. And it is still here …divide them by spinning the truth into lies keeping so that we keep the poor poorer and poorer over time so that they remain the church rats. WHO ARE THEY SERVING? And in addition they are over taxing us all the time and are blowing all our tax dollars all the time. GOD DOH SLEEP. AND WE MUST CARRY ALL THE BURDENS POSED ON US BY THEIR LOUSY DECISIONS. And I will say this without prejudice. Unless the G8s stop the shit they continue to do in this world and not force the poor human being conditions on the third world and still that condition of today that leave us penniless and lawless because of those policies in exchange for exporting huge profits into their own country causing their own to turn to drugs then we all in the world will not pay darely because of this drug WORLD WIDE problem world. And of course we become refugees of the world. You know we are faced daily with policies like endless multitasking when our brains are clearly NOT designed this way is leading to this shit. Things like the bar is lower in your country…..WHEN FORT Mc MURRAY IS BURNING TO THE GROUND AS WE SPEAK. I REMEMBER THIS WAS A FAILED PROJECT BACK IN THE 70s WHEN I WAS A STUDENT AT THEIR LEADING UNIVERSITY. IN USA how many of the billions of USD pumped into the now presidential fight for the USA President will go into drug use? Places like Trinidad are the main supplier of those drugs either as a supplier or producer of these drugs. Yes we use some and yes we have gangs but WE DO PROVIDE ALL OF THE G8s. Do you not think that Joe Biden and Barrack Obama do not know the key money making players in the game in these G8s. They knew every detail of where Bin Laden was, did they NOT? A dottish former PM once told us he knows the big man, …WHAT DID HE DO ABOUT IT? And that is only one side of the huge equation. We know about the money laundering in Panama and generally Central America,,,,countries who are in a worse situation to ours. It is all about the rich and their limited heaven here on earth. God just does not say to us …do whatever you want with all his freeness given to us (in our free will). Instead He has allowed you in your life to look to Him when you are lost here. He also says to you I will be your greatest strength in your deepest lows. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS LOOK TO HIM. HE IS EVERYWHERE. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. These are laws as quoted in the bible but there have consequences related to these laws. And we learn over and over all that our entire protected life is connected to respecting these consequences. Yes our entire life and our fairing in this life is related to how we address these laws. God forgives us all the time when we fall short for we are expected to fall short (we are imperfect, ALL OF US. Some bloggers here blame the Catholic Church for our predicament when we are in charge of our own consequences. But the problem with us is that we think we can hoodwink God and there is a thing called spin that we use to distract others (diversionary tactics)….BUT WE ARE NOT FOOLING ANYONE IN THE LONG TERM. WE GENERALLY END UP LOOKING LIKE FOOLS. So Rowley needs to learn to deal with the problem AND NOT GIVE US MORE SPIN.

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