ELECTION PETITIONS DISMISSED

…judge says the the EBC was wrong to extend voting time

By Rickie Ramdass
Aug 19, 2016 – trinidadexpress.com

PNM vs UNCVoters display their stained fingers after casting their ballots in the September 7 2015 general election. Photo: Trevor Watson

THE election petitions filed by the United National Congress (UNC) which sought to declare the results in five constituencies null and void as a result of the general election day decision of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to extending the voting time by one hour, has been dismissed.

The ruling came in a 53 page judgement handed down by Justice Mira Dean-Armorer in the Hall of Justice Port of Spain on Friday afternoon.

Justice Dean Armorer said: “I have, in these Petitions, strove to hold the balance to protect the will of the majority while ensuring that the patent mistakes have not reduced the election of 2015 to a mere sham. For reasons stated…it has been my view that the election of 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago were substantially in accordance with the prescribed law and it does not appear to me that the breaches affected the results. It is therefore my view and I hold that the Petition should be and is hereby dismissed”.

The ruling will be appealed, said attorney and political leader of the UNC, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

In her ruling Justice Dean Armorer said that there was nothing in law that gave the EBC the power to extending the voting hours and that it acted unlawfully.

She said that the decision of election officers to extend the voting time past 6p.m. was not lawful.

“Torrential rains and flooding on 7th September, 2015, may have impelled the EBC to issue the directive they did. Nonetheless, the uncontrollable weather conditions did not confer on the EBC the power to direct that the law be broken. The EBC, itself a creature of statute, ought at all times to abide by the clear dictates of the law and ought not to purport to dispense with those dictates even if faced with an apparently insurmountable problems. Accordingly, it is my view and I hold that the extension of the poll on the 7th September 2015 was illegal and election officers who failed to close the poll at 6p.m. acted in breach of Section 27(1) of the Election Rules”.

However, the judge said that based on the overall conduct of the election, this was the only breach, and that based on the number of voters who cast their ballot between 6p.m. and 7p.m. it meant the outcome of the results would not have been different had the polls closed at 6p.m.

The judge said that the breach was not committed out of malice but to accommodate the electorate due to an “act of God (bad weather) over which the EBC had no control.
Full Article : trinidadexpress.com

59 Responses to “ELECTION PETITIONS DISMISSED”


  • BYE ELECTIONS

    Result stands
    The independent body appointed to manage elections in T&T acted illegally when it took a decision to extend last September’s general election by one hour due to heavy rainfall in Trinidad.

    UNC loses election petitions
    Judge: Rule broken but process was fair

    EBC wrong but election result stays

    Kamla claims victory in spite of ruling

    AG: Elections were free and fair

    Both parties claim victory, UNC to appeal

    Rowley: I’m ready for 18 bye-elections
    THE People’s National Movement (PNM) is ready to fight for the 18 seats now held by the Opposition, asserted a confident Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in reaction to the High Court’s rejection of the United National Congress’ (UNC’s) election petitions for five marginal seats won by the PNM in last year’s general election.

  • The judge was clearly right in her judgment that the claimed breach did not materially affect the election result. Therefore the UNC petition to invalidate the election results (in the five constituencies contested) had to be denied.

    But IMO the judge is wrong in finding that the EBC acted illegally.

    I would not argue the principle that a power not granted is withheld. This must clearly be true and binding for any creature of statute, otherwise people and institutions acting pursuant to powers granted under statute would tend to overstep the bounds.

    What I do argue is that the EBC is not mere “creature of statute”. It is in fact creature of the Constitution. Section 71(12) thereof provides specifically:

    “In the exercise of its functions under this section the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”

    This clearly gives to the EBC a discretionary latitude not given to mere creatures of statute.

    Hence if the judge in her judgment found that the EBC did not act with improper intent, but exercised its best judgment given the inclement weather on election day, it seems to me inconsistent to then find the EBC acted illegally in exercising its constitutional discretion to extend the poll by one hour to 7pm.

    Yes we must be eternally vigilant in making sure that creatures of statute stay well within crease in the exercise of powers granted them. At the same time, we must also accept and indeed applaud the exercise of *discretion*, where that power is constitutionally granted, and to all appearances exercised well within the frame intended by the constitution, namely in this case “to ensure free and fair elections”.

    In that the EBC well succeeded, and they should accordingly have been upheld by the judge.

    Shalom.

    • Addendum:

      I think I may more precisely establish where the judge erred, as follows:

      1) The EBC exercised discretion given to it under Section 71(12) of the Constitution;

      2) The question at issue therefore, if a judge is to find that the EBC acted illegally, is whether the EBC abused its discretion;

      3) A finding of abuse of discretion in law turns on two things: the exercise of the discretionary power in question must be both (i) arbitrary, and (ii) capricious, for a finding of abuse of discretion to be sustained;

      4) The EBC’s action on Election Day was certainly arbitrary, since there was no provision in the election rules for a 1-hour extension to 7pm;

      5) That leaves therefore the question whether the EBC’s action was also capricious;

      6) It may be inferred from the ruling that the judge herself did not find caprice in the actions of the EBC on election day, since these were well motivated and intended, given the inclement weather on election day, to further the lawful mandate of the EBC, which is to ensure free and fair elections that reflect the will of the electorate;

      7) Therefore, the requirement of capriciousness having failed, the EBC’s actions were *not* abuse of discretion, under the judge’s own finding of fact;

      8) Therefore, a claim of EBC abuse of discretion must fail under the judge’s own findings; and

      9) Therefore, the judge cannot also find as a matter of law, that the EBC “acted illegally.

      Q.E.D.

      As a concerned citizen, I would urge the EBC to appeal those portions of the judge’s ruling which mis-characterize their actions on election day as “illegal”. The issue to my mind is simple. The framers of the Constitution in their wisdom gave the EBC clear discretionary powers. Such discretionary power is essential for the simple reason that not all contingencies may be anticipated in man-made regulations. Therefore it is wise for the EBC to retain discretionary powers, that it may apply all necessary judgment whenever necessary.

      There is no fear that such power will necessarily invite abuse, since the EBC’s exercise of discretion will remain subject to challenge on the grounds of abuse of such discretion.

      But to prove such abuse, the well established hurdle in law is that two things must be shown: (i) arbitrariness; and (ii) capriciousness. The latter hurdle of proof must be judged relative to the constitutional mandate of the EBC, namely to ensure free and fair elections that reflect the will of the electorate.

      As long as EBC stays within that crease, as opposed to mechanical rules, the public would be well served. Contrarily, if we rely on mechanical rules as the crease to be adhered to, there is every possibility that under unforeseen circumstances, one could have counter-productive outcome — the kind that proves the adage, the law is an ass. The constitutional framers were wiser than that.

      Therefore, this judge’s finding of law that the EBC acted “illegally” on Sep 7 2015 ought not to stand.

      • 2nd Addendum:

        I should also mention that if the judge’s “illegal” characterization of the EBC’s action stands, the Appeal Court may find in that characterization the loophole it needs to quash the judge’s ruling as to the UNC petitions, and indeed to declare the election results null and void.

        I go there because that petition ought to have been dismissed at the first, given there was no EBC abuse of discretion and the finding, which was evident from the beginning, as to the lack of materiality of the EBC action. But when it went up to the Court of Appeal, it was clear that Justices Jamadar and Mendonca were willing to make far-fetched leaps of legal logic tending to a desired result in favor of the UNC.

        There is 2-1 judicial bias at work on the Appeal Court. The Chief Justice saw from the beginning that the matter would turn on materiality, but was out-voted.

        The judge’s “illegal” characterization brings now a different principle into play: an outcome pursuant to an illegal action stands to be reversed in law.

        So the “illegal” characterization of the EBC’s action needs to be appealed, and before the petitioner’s appeal may go forward. The latter’s appeal may well be withdrawn altogether if there is a judgement that the EBC’s action, though arbitrary, was not capricious, and therefore NOT illegal.

  • This court challenge should never have been brought. The UNC was probably motivated by a disappointing loss at the polls.
    Withdraw the appeal and end the uncertainty.

    • The UNC was probably motivated by a disappointing loss at the polls.

      No. The UNC was carrying out the Indian Policy, Item #1:

      “Make the country ungovernable.”

      They are a disloyal opposition.

      They were a disloyal government also, seeking to establish a sectarian minority in permanent, full-spectrum dominance of the society. They should never again be trusted with the reins of government.

  • “This court challenge should never have been brought.” Tman

    Probably so , but we de more politically savvy, knows fully well why it was done. To say it’s merely because they “loss at the polls ,” is a bit too simplistic a response.
    That much is obvious, for they would not have done so TMan, if they had won, would they?
    The astute Judge , even alluded to the stupidity of the lawsuit. since the UNC only sort to get redress for a few seats they loss.
    If they had a problem with election fraud , then the demand would have been for fresh general elections , but again TMan , we all know why the political bandits, won’t dare request that , hmmmmm?
    They might now loose all their deposits in a backlash ,from a voter fatigue public.
    These country hating bastards, wants to put the country through more political uncertainty, make the country ungovernable, and worst yet, attempt to start an idiotic ,futile debate , of racial discrimination/ tribal victimhood , at the hands of dem Afro Kinky Head savages .
    Unfortunately , no one is buying! It was those save alleged barbarians – flawed as they might be- to helped preserve our democracy , even in the face of many criminal overtures , led by unmentionable country hating , ungrateful elites.
    Your point might be valid Brother Youba, but I’ll still applaud Justice Dean Amorer, for her decision.
    Don’t forget, that in the end , even learned Judges , must appear to publicly throw a bone for certain symbolic constituencies , ummmm ….. interest.
    In dis case ….? Well, I’ll let you fill in de blanks , since , I don’t have court clothes ,as we like to say on de streets.
    One would think that if the Kamla led PP , wanted to assume power again before her Grandson starts making babies,she would pull up her petit coat , revamp the party, introduce some fresh ideas for pushing the country forward, in preparation for an election , 4 years hence.
    Then again, it’s one thing one could never really accuse this lady of ,…. and dat is, of being too smart.
    Yet , many like Short Shirt , claimed in de past ,that “Chambers Duncy!”
    For de record , let me state in de interest of full disclosure ,that I was in de Piarco Airport ,4 years ago returning a rented Kaloo vehicle , when she ,along with the weed head / chief dougla Sports Minister Anil, serenaded Golden boy Keyshan Walcott, and promised the moon , and stars ,to help further T&T athletics.
    Well ,we saw how dat played out, and would be lucky if this kid ,win a medal for T&T.
    Oh , and by de way , they also trotted out Hasley Crawford , for the gullible public to think they cared about sports.
    In de interim , Don Curry won medals in 76 , at the same time, so fast forward to 2016 , and tell me if the Jamaican Sporting success , ain’t have nada to do with visionary leadership, and a culturally cohesive , patriotic people? As for Basdeo Boy , Senator Ato Boldon? Well…Nuff said!
    ‘Where you at,’ Dr Keith Rowley? Can’t keep leaning on dis Papa Nizza guy too much , for he might give you , a long healthy life, or as Uncle Shah ,Tman/ Mamboo, Trinidad Raw oils ,and similar others think , help you win elections, but you have to start to deliver , at some point- tumbling oil/ gas prices notwithstanding.
    Long live the Republic of Tobag… oooops , lo siento, T&T!

    I I luv dis land , Y tu?

    • Neal wrote –”
      Oh , and by de way , they also trotted out Hasley Crawford , for the gullible public to think they cared about sports”

      For the record no government in the history of TNT invested in sports more than the PP. The cycling velodrome, the aquatic center, tennis center, hundreds of pavilions constructed across the nation, hundreds of sport grounds received lighting so that games could be played at night. Yes Lifesport was hijacked by the PNM mafia, those same lil black boys it was set up help and lead away from crime took advantage of the government generosity. Then there was the great basket ball competition launch by the famous Shaq O Neal.

      The PP believed in a strong sporting program as a deterrent to crime. Kamla was a sporting giant herself being a netball champ during her school years. No one in their right mind could say that the PP did not care about sports. Except if they are a PNM fanatic.

    • “Your point might be valid Brother Youba, but I’ll still applaud Justice Dean Amorer, for her decision.”…..Neal.

      I think that you are too kind to that learned judge, brother Neal. She does not deserve our praise nor does she deserve a clarion applause as an exhibitor of judicial wisdom.
      Much to the contrary brother Neal, she needs to be seen as a poor example of those who stand in judgement of our laws. I think right thinking people should call out Justice Dean Amorer for her stupid decision.

      Justice Amorer had the first opportunity to make a wise decision regarding this petition filed by the UNC. She and fellow judges Peter Jamadar and Mendonca breathe life into it by saying that the case presented offered credence to move forward. In my view, none of these three judges showed or demonstrated correctness or judicial savvy in informing us as to why we deserve this case to be heard in a court of law.

      The first question I would like to ask these aforementioned judges is this: If the EBC was wrong in exercising a discretionary management function, on what available time, nature allowed us to get to the polling places to cast our votes, then who is empowered with such an authority?

      This must be taken in the context that, the EBCs decision was NOT capricious and NOT meant to take the law into their own hands. It was CLEAR that on election day we had inclement weather. Nature obstructed the natural flow and movement of the electorate with rain, floods and disturbance in movement.

      This given, as a clear indicator of obstruction, whom should the EBC look to, to earn validity to its decision to allow an extra hour to allow people an extra hour to get to the polling stations?

      What we are dealing with here, is a case in which a political party, the UNC, was unhappy with the results of a general election. The people had spoken and eloquently demonstrated their choice as to who they wanted to govern for the next five years. The UNC CHOSE, yes CHOSE to contest ONLY the results of the seats THEY DID NOT LIKE.

      Judge Amorer’s summation DID NOT contest the fact, that nature ‘stole’ valuable time from the electorate by not allowing them to move freely without obstruction to the polls. She heard not accounts of electioneering frauds conducted by any of the contesting parties on election day.
      Instead, she was asked by the petitioning party to ignore the fact that, Commonwealth Observers reported no election mishaps or frauds. This is a CLEAR case that the petitioning party was not interested in the conduct of the election.

      What judge Amorer did, was make a ruling that the Constitution did not CLEARLY state that the EBC had the authority to make changes to the hours of voting.
      This is where one has to question the wisdom or motives of judges Amorer, Jamadar and Mendonca. The Constitution CANNOT predict the destruction or obstruction that nature might impose on us. The only body allowed to exercise
      discretionary judgement on how we vote on election is the EBC by the Constitution. The Constitution did not doubt itself by offering the EBC to seek advice from another functioning body or person. So, why in judge Amorer’s
      judgement the EBC acted WRONG? Who had the authority to act RIGHT under these circumstances? Judge Amorer did not enlighten us on what the Constitution allowed the EBC to do in the time of such crisis. Therefore, her judgement lacked commonsense and alludes to motives other than the constitution. Seeing that all of the judges who alluded to the invalidity of the EBC were ethnic Indians, could the ruling be motived by something differently than constitutionality?

      Many view the judiciary with suspicion. In our country, no matter how evident a case might be put forward to a sitting judge, it is almost ALWAYS, the party with the most
      money that prevails. There is also the question on how the judges are stacked to hear a case. Depending on who the petitioning attorney or prosecutor is, there is some degree of certainty the venue of the sitting will give an indication of success or failure. What I am saying here is that we cannot look towards the judiciary for wisdom as Solomon did as as the judge in the case of Shylock.

      Politics rule supreme in this country and wisdom has nothing
      to do with the judicial outcome of cases. It is sad to say but judges do not need our sympathy or admiration.

      • Well said, Kian.

        The judge’s holding that the EBC acted “illegally”, although clearly wrong, may have been calculated precisely to leave opening for Justices Jamadar and Mendonca to overturn her verdict and hand “victory” to the UNC. For it is a principle in law that a benefit obtained through an illegal act stands to be reversed; in this case, the judge’s order may be quashed.

        Justices Jamadar and Mendonca granted leave to proceed precisely on this basis. I argued at the time that Mendonca had it upside down as to where the burden of proof must lie: recall Judges split on petitions appeal

        Judge Mendonca has it upside down. The EBC does not have to prove that a 1-hr extension did not materially affect the election result. It is the petitioner that must prove that it did. That is the threshold that is evidentially impossible for it to cross. Even if they could prove materiality to their disbenefit, there would still be a second threshold to cross: that the result was anti-democratic, i.e. not reflective of the will of the electorate. That second threshold test is a logical impossibility for the petitioner. They cannot argue that they were harmed because more people voted for their opponent when allowed to.

        Judge Jamadar: “Such a position elevates outcome as absolutely determinative of legitimacy and discards process as of no or little consequence. Therein lies a path to undemocratic rule.” This guy can’t be serious. EBC has the mandate to deliver free and fair elections. It has the obligation to take all necessary measures to allow *all* who want to vote to vote. That is why the poll does *not* automatically close at 6 p.m.: all in the line at that point are allowed to vote, no matter how long it takes. On the same principle, if inclement weather will have the effect of making it harder for people to get to the polling station, then the EBC, and in its sole discretion, guaranteed under the Constitution, may take such action as it deems appropriate. Extending the polling time seems well within the discretionary ambit of the EBC. In any case, the burden is on the petitioner to prove that the exercise of that discretion was arbitrary and capricious. Leave to proceed should only be granted if there is some reasonable chance that they could carry that burden. There is no chance of that because the first hurdle of materiality cannot be crossed. The second hurdle already mentioned is also impossible for them to cross, because they would have to be arguing that they wuz robbed because the EBC let the people vote!

        So Chief Justice Archie was right: petitioner had no chance of proving materiality and therefore the petition should never have been litigated in the first place.

        Nevertheless, the petition having been heard, Judge Armorer had the opportunity to pronounce on the theoretical question of whether the EBC acted within its constitutional ambit. Having so pronounced, deeming the EBC action “illegal”, now comes the judicial possibility that Jamadar and Mendonca could do what they were apparently seeking to do in the first place, which is to quash the election result because of EBC error of process.

        As I have argued they would be wrong to do so, because nothing in Armorer’s summation could be construed as a finding that the EBC was capricious in its action. Quite the opposite they acted reasonably in the circumstances to further their constitutional mandate to ensure free and fair elections that express the will of the electorate. Therefore, although their action was arbitrary, there being no provision in the rules for a 1-hr extension on polling day, it cannot be maintained under Judge Armorer’s findings of fact, that they acted capriciously. Therefore the EBC’s action was not unlawful, given its constitutional mandate and discretionary power.

        Despite that, Jamadar and Mendonca may well, to anti-democratic but partisan effect, use Judge Armorer’s holding to quash, and indeed to go further and issue a ruling which at the least may diminish the legitimacy of the present Government.

        That would further Item #1 of the Indian Policy: “make the country ungovernable”, as the first plank of a strategy to remove the “nigga” government.

        It would be wicked for them to do so. I don’t think they would be so brave as to perpetrate such a contrived wickedness. Word to the wise: there is such a thing as the proverbial straw.

        May the Most High expose every wicked scheme of the wicked ones in our midst, and protect the innocent, that peace and good order may prevail in our land.

        Shalom

        • The administration of Kamla Persad Bissessar has been a very instructive one. If after governance of five years and three months, one remains indifference, then such mind might as well be considered politically dead.
          There is a difference between he and Basdeo Panday. Basdeo fought and promoted his people(Indian), but he has demonstrated time and again he possess a love for his country. But Kamla is another cup of tea. This woman LOVES POWER, especially the one that the State offers her. I must re-iterate this point. Without going to the people, or asking the people’s permission, she took it upon herself to govern for three months that the people people did not give her permission for and she boasts that it was within her ambit. IN other words, the loophole in the Constitution allowed it so she took advantage to do whatever she liked. But the EBC allowed one hour of voting to allow the population to use up lost time at the polling stations and that to her was a violation of the Constitution. WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE AND THINKING IS THIS? ARE THESE THE TYPE OF PEOPLE WEE WANT TO GOVERN US? ARE THESE THE KIND OF PEOPLE WE WANT TO HOLD THE REINS OF POWER IN THIS COUNTRY? ARE THESE THE KIND OF PEOPLE WE WANT GO INTERPRET THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY? If the answer to all these questions are true, then COBO SMOKE WE PIPE!
          She milked the country dry, no money for the proper functioning of the country. She maxxed out the credit worthiness of the country, so the incoming government could not burrow money beyond its credit line. She built hospitals and left them without equipment and staffs, yet she is calling on the new government to fund it. What kind of a woman is this?
          Now, she has little or no concern FOR THE PEOPLE.

          She always contended that her concerns are THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE but she has demonstrated that her real concerns are KAMLA PERSAD BISSESSAR, KAMLA PERDAD BISSESSAR, KAMLA PERSAD BISSESAR! She does not seek JUSTICE, she seeks SELF PROMOTION. That is as obvious as the morning sky. We must open our eyes and call out this woman for who she is.

          There is no doubt in my mind that the media sustains her viability. All one needs to do is read the Express, the Guardian and the Newsday. When matters of policy is announced, the media, instead of asking the Government that announces and promulgates policy to explain, they go first to Kamla, the ex-ministers and former heads of State interprises for their take on the issues first. When questions are raised by them, then the media goes to the government to explain. This is a daily occurrence in the media! We need to open our eyes to these occurrences.

          I95.5 radio station, a station that services the urban and sub-urban communities that has a listening audience of mostly non-UNC listeners, insists on having as it’s head commentator, Ralph Maraj. There is nothing wrong with that perse but what is Ralph’s message? His message is not to edify his audiences. If at all, his message is to convert his audiences to UNC sensibilities. That does not sit well with his audience and when he gives them a chance, they let him know that. But the powers that be at the radio station is totally blind to that reality.

          What we are seeing in this country is contradictory reasoning. NOBODY wants to give THE PEOPLE what they want. Once power is wrested in the hands of a few powerful people, they automatically try to convert our thinking to they narrow idioms of concentration. They want us to see and hear things not the way we see and hear it BUT the way they think and want it. That is why we shall NEVER BE A COHESIVE PEOPLE. They (the powerful), do not give us an iota of sense to think for ourselves. That is why we are at this akward stage in our lives where authority is questioning the acceptability of a worker’s grooming. The black (with power) still don’t know how he should ‘accept’ the haircut of another black man with a ‘strange’ haircut.
          This is madness!

          My brother always tell me “the troubles and problems of the world NEVER is caused by the humble man, it is always the learned and educated”. Yes ‘educated’. That is a word we need to explore and really investigate what it really means to be ‘educated’.
          To some it means going through the various academic stages and ultimately becoming matriculated. That, to them gives them the edge to become lords of the ‘unlearned’. Yet, when we look through the annals of history, it is almost always the ‘yet to be learned’ that made the big differences in our lives. Today, every man, woman and child all over the globe owns a piece of technology, technology that two men can be credited for iPhone, iPad, software, desktop you name it. The two men most credit for this change in our lives are college drop outs namely: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Unfortunately Steve Jobs passing was untimely but look at his contributions to the world!
          Bill Gates on the other hand is now giving something else to the world. His massive wealth is now being used to help make the world a better place. He gives to the uneducated, he gives to the so called backwards, he gives to the ecology of the world, he gives to the less fortunate and he gives to common causes.

          That is the kind of contributions men of goodwill make.
          Those are the kind of people we should admire and hold to the highest standards the creator endowed us with. Not the self seeking, hating moronic ones whose only interest is to empower only those who look like them, think like them and honor them.

          We must open our eyes to THE REAL WORLD. Not the ones the media wants us to focus on alone. While the media is a form of information, we must know how to ‘accept’ what they are selling. They are no different from the retailers in the produce market. The retailers exit the very good looking products but when you buy without examination, they package the old and rotten ones for you. The media is the same, they sell us a lot of rotten information but we must be cognizant of what they are selling.

      • “…..Her judgement lacked commonsense and alludes to motives other than the constitution. Seeing that all of the judges who alluded to the invalidity of the EBC were ethnic Indians, could the ruling be motived by something differently than constitutionality?”Kian

        You have made a valid case , and placed on the table , equally important questions, Mi Hermano Kain.
        I cannot really argue with the obvious conclusions ,as made by yourself , and Bro Yoruba.
        Now here is the million dollar question, one must be prepared to ask as we move forward.
        In light of all you have said , and with an inevitable Appeal pending , how do we move forward – win, or lose – with respect to addressing this bias /anomaly?
        We know why they adore the anachronistic Privy Council.( which thank goodness , cannot address this issue )We also are aware as to why they hate the much maligned CCJ- which ironically ,Guyana, and Barbados , aka Little England – is a part of.

        Brother Yoruba said also -“Politics rule supreme in this country and wisdom has nothing to do with the judicial outcome of cases. ”

        As I traverse the hills , valleys, and by ways of our country- doing my ever so subtle ,ethnographic studies – from Signall Hill, to Bacolet, Toco, to Carenage,Maracas, to Diego Martin ,Los Bajos , to St Helena , and Marabella, to Couva-I am here to report ,based on such observations -that there are those who would make a similar statement ,but only because of a ingrain fear, for taking meaningful individual, or collective actions,so as to initiate authentic change – and that’s a tragedy.
        I suspect that you too ,aren’t of that mindset , Bro YI?
        The time to organize is now.

        Tell you what folks, it’s simply naive to think , that these bias, tribal leaning activist Judges , my Progressive friends are lamenting about , or worst yet , the ‘self loathing ,psychologically insecure,agenda driven, unpatriotic -political bigots,’ we’ve been forced to periodically endure,over time,just emerged from Mars.
        Nope , they were nurtured, and allowed to blossom , right before our very eyes, while covered in their mask of phony culture,and misguided notions of tribal superiority.
        Stay Vigilant people!

        • Well put bro Neal! I suppose that the Court of Appeals is where this will end. If the ethnic judges insist that Kamla is right, we will still conclude that it is a matter of judicial activism. The law is not as shaded as they would like to have us believe. We are a nation of laws and we will have to obey the laws as the judges might rule. But we definitely KNOW THAT SUCH RULINGS WILL BE UNLAWFUL. The social fallout from such a ruling could potentially create social upheaval. But if our ethnic friends Mendonca and Jamadar so rules we would obey but not without protest.
          Good question though.

  • The judge rule in favor of the UNC because the EBC is a creature of the constitution and as such must function under a legal framework. They violated that constitutional framework and was correctly noted as committing an illegal act.

    This current PNM is set to take everything Trinis have and make everyone pauperized like Beetham and Laventille. The UNC cannot allow this to happen. They must use the merits of legality in fighting this battle. I don’t hold out much hope because the Prime Minister Office have a lot of power in the judiciary. Judges may be incline not to smear their name any further.

    This matter should have been dealt with from a court independent of Trinidad and Tobago. Justice cannot be administered when the Chief Justice is a PNM appointee and he had decided that this election petition was null and void from the get go, the judge perhaps inquired of him for a legal opinion. I think the appeal process will be an education to all future lawyers as to how power is held and administered in TnT.

  • A social science at Cornell wrote the following and unfortunately dinosaurs like Yoruba still deals in this type of politics.
    Colonial policies and racial theories continue to influence contemporary politics on the island. The division between the two major ethnic groups comprising Trinidad’s population, the Afro-Trinidadian and the Indo-Trinidadian, which is marked and reproduced by race rhetoric and ethnic stereotypes with both groups jealously guarding what they believe to be their legitimate terrain, can be traced to colonial policy. East Indians were brought to Trinidad as “scab labor” to drive down the bargaining power of the Afro-Trinidadians. Thus, East Indians from the beginning occupied a structurally antagonistic position to Afro-Trinidadians.

    Planters were also instrumental in creating particular kinds of discourses about the character of the “Indian” and the “Negro” in order to make their case for the need for indentured labor. Caricatures of the luxury-loving, lazy, immoral Negro and of the docile, hardworking and cunning Indian abound in planter discourses of the period soon after emancipation. Many of these derogatory racial stereotypes continue to this day as the two groups use these same caricatures to undermine one another. Unfortunately, as is the case with ethnic/racial stereotypes, these negative racial traits are thought to signify natural characteristics of the respective groups and the specific colonial history that led to the creation of such discourse is forgotten or remains unacknowledged.
    The fabrication of the Indian policy perpetuates this sort of thinking and discourse.

    • The question must always be, “what is true?”. However much it horrifies.

      The fabrication of the Indian policy perpetuates this sort of thinking and discourse.

      It gives me neither pleasure nor satisfaction to form the conclusion, based on the *evidence*, that the document was a genuine document coming forth from the twin bowels of the UNC and SDMS.

      Trust me, I wish it were a fabrication. What is your basis in fact and evidence for claiming that it was a fabrication?

      I have given fact and argument for dismissing the hypothesis that it is a PNM fabrication. And it would be a nonsense on its face to suppose that it was any sort of “Indian” fabrication.

      No. This document correctly reflects a monstrous evil within our society. It contravenes the laws against sedition, as I have broken down in an earlier posting on this blog.

      Further, in the course of moving this sedition, it *admits* at the least to past and continuing malfeasance in the spheres of education (SEA marking), commerce (tipping scales), and food violations (deliberate contamination of roti and doubles sold to “niggas”).

      Your Cornell social scientist will not dispute this clear evidence and reasonable inference therefrom.

      This does not conform to the insipid bim/bam formulation that imputes equal animus and equal wrong-doing to “both sides”. The reason for that bim/bam formulation is clear: we are afraid as a society to confront the sheer magnitude of the evil, so we reflexively turn from it.

      The only thing required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. Under cover provided by that moral failure, evil ones such as yourself find courage even to point fingers at the innocent. The consequence is a now overwhelming indo dominance of such commanding heights of the society as UWI, achieved through the wicked schemes outlined in the Indian Policy. This must be stopped if we are to save the society.

      Therefore, I will continue to shine the light of *evidence*, and reasonable inference therefrom, into this dark corner that you, along with the wicked who may prosper only in darkness, obviously wish to keep hidden.

      I continue to uphold the fundamental article of our founding social contract at Independence: “here ev’ry creed and race finds and equal place.”.

      My objection is to the sectarian insurgency that pays lip service to it, uses the protections it affords them, while working “assiduously” (per Item #2 of the Indian Policy) to overturn the house established at Independence. As a society, we let that insurgency fester at our collective peril, including those who seek to gain by it. To the wise, I mention but one word: Rwanda.

      May the Most High continue to expose the wicked, and protect the innocent, in all these matters playing themselves out in the society.

      I continue to withhold my peace from you, but to others as usual I say

      Shalom.

      “Thus saith thy Lord Yahweh, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.” (Isaiah 51:22-23)

    • “Colonial policies and racial theories continue to influence contemporary politics on the island. The division between the two major ethnic groups comprising Trinidad’s population, the Afro-Trinidadian and the Indo-Trinidadian,…….” blah blah , blah!
      Tman

      Yet TMan , even after all of your typical, useless diatribes , you, and similar ungrateful bastards ,will avoid the real fact that Indians in T&T thrived immensely,and the real reasons as to why.
      I’ll remind you jokers!
      It ain’t because of the role of ancestral culture, or efforts of creatures such as Capildeo, Basdeo Panday, his still incoherent , always intoxicated protege Kamla,or others like their racist, spiritual guru Sat Maraj .
      Nope , in actuality, it was the presence of Pandering , pro appeasing African leaders – from Deffy Eric Williams , to delusional Patrick Manning who repeatedly took for granted /gave members of their own race ,de symbolic middle finger , while pushing the interest of a ‘recalcitrant tribe ,’ all in their quest for power.
      The results?
      They won 97 out of 100 elections, since 1956, and allowed ‘greedy, me me , gemi gemi business bandits ,’to rape and plunder , willy nilly.
      They ignored the ugly penchant of ‘dog with a bone , corrupt civic/fake religious leaders,’from your tribe , to run rough shod over our laws , and peoples constitutional rights- while pretending to care about dem ,as they remain stuck in those- East dry river Brazilianlike favallas, or mosquito infested lagoons, in Caroni , El Secorro, and Los Bajos- all in their game of self aggrandizement.
      What comedians like yourself ,should be doing instead, is not perpetually howling like constipated , South of de Carioni, or Beetham Labasse maingy dogs,but being grateful dat de Fatel Rozack ,and similar Indentured ships landed in Trinidad ,and not Uganda, Fuji, Guyana,Africa de Sul, or heavens forbid ,Sri Lanka.
      Why don’t you begin the task of doing some good ,and seek ways to help build your underachieving country up ,from the ruins left by our destructive, neo imperial leaders, as opposed to wasting time regurgitating nonsense from Eurocentric folks?
      It’s pathetic ,that you – a so called QRC educated , globally travelled, and alleged sophisticated bloke- had to read some opaque ,social science study from Cornel, to realize that obvious White , evil ,conniving European Massa, played a stupid ,divisive game , on us all in La Trinity, and worst yet, the phony intellectuals ,comatose media gurus, and competing , modern day cross tribal elites , are skillfully playing out the revolting lose/lose shenanigans ,to perfection, even as we speak.
      Stay vigilant T&T, and better yet heed de following:- Love Humanity, and forget de tribe!

  • The PNM cannot rule TNT when oil prices are down. They had the largest budget last year with $63 billion and nothing to show. Where the money gone, 10,000 unemployed, gas tax, property tax, VAT, luxury car tax, no scholarship, laptops all gone, Point Fortin Highway closed, children hospital closed, UWI Debe closed, child benefit for unemployed mothers taken away, health card program closed. Highway abandon with grass one year tall. Tobago got huge increase in transfer payments average $80,000 per citizen compared to Trinidad $50,000 per citizen.
    The balisier brigade headed by Kian cannot be happier. The song he singing is “I dreamt of Africa”.

    That is why the UNC must eliminate this blight by all means necessary, five years of this would be the death blow to TNT economy, even if Sandals come to Tobago. The EBC has always been a creature of the PNM, from fixing boundaries to moving ballot boxes. That has not change. But what is done in darkness must come to light. And even the $5 million bribe to officials given to fix things will come to light. But in the mean time all efforts must be utalized to remove the balisier brigade. The Point highway must be completed before anything else.

  • The EBC, itself a creature of statute, ought at all times to abide by the clear dictates of the law and ought not to purport to dispense with those dictates even if faced with an apparently insurmountable problems…

    The EBC is a creature of the Constitution, not statute. I can’t believe the learned judge got that wrong, and so declined to comment earlier.

    Nevertheless, the matter is significant for the following reason: the Constitution constrains statute law, while statute law cannot constrain the Constitution. What this means is that since the Constitution gives the EBC wide latitude and discretion pursuant to Section 71(12), that discretionary ambit cannot be constrained by the statute law of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA). The rules laid out in ROPA must of course be obeyed. However, where a contingency arises that is not provided for under ROPA, the constitutional discretion allowed the EBC may kick in, as it did on last Election Day. Therefore, if the learned judge applied the law only bearing in view the rules of ROPA, she erred in the law.

    But ROPA itself I expect would have explicitly retained unto EBC the discretionary ambit already granted in the Constitution. It certainly could not presume to curtail such discretion, and to the extent it does so would be null and void and of no effect. EBC certainly were of the view that that discretionary ambit was available to it on Election Day.

    Discretionary authority conferred under law, is never (well hardly ever) absolute. Where there is an abuse of discretion, actions taken pursuant to a discretionary authority, may be challenged. And as I have been at pains to point out, to prove abuse of discretion, one must prove that the action in question was both arbitrary and capricious. The latter hurdle, as I have been at pains to argue, was not crossed in this instance, as the judge in her ruling implicitly held. Therefore, EBC is innocent of the charge of abuse of discretion.

    Whether the EBC ought to have such discretion is another matter. I have argued yes … I actually think it is easier to subvert mechanical rules, and democracy thereby, than to subvert honest men sworn to fulfill a constitutional mandate. But in any case, to change such a provision, one needs a constitutional amendment. It cannot be accomplished through statute.

    I hope the learned judge was not somehow misled on this point.

    Shalom.

    • But in any case, to change such a provision, one needs a constitutional amendment. It cannot be accomplished through statute.

      Addendum: Neither ought it to be accomplished by rulings of the Judiciary, as opposed to Parliament. In the U.S., they call that “legislating from the Bench”.

  • The EBC has not been a creature of the Constitution but rather a creature of the PNM. Dr. Williams once boasted, “if I put ah crapaud dey, dey go vote for he”. Williams put in party hacks in the EBC to fix the boundaries always ensuring a PNM victory. Sometimes the margin of difference in these boundaries was over 5,000. The PNM knows how to win elections going through the voter list checking Indian names and doing their compilation, building housing and bringing in voters from other PNM strongholds to fill those house six months prior to election. They understood maths clearly when it came to elections. Even now their plants in the EBC are analysing data and coming up with various strategy.

    In the last election the UNC waited too long to select candidates for the marginals and did not have a clear strategy as the PNM did for those areas. It was said the PNM candidate canvass six times with mike and meeting the people before the UNC candidate show up. Kamlamania was the strategy to win without full realisation that the people eating bake and salt fish was everyday on the front lines. Yes the UNC depended on their long list of hard work to ensure a certain victory and ran a poorly administered campaign, even not campaigning when people were listening. The PNM summoned the demons of hate rallying the troops with Warner and Gypsy the featured act. The PNM hate Kamla campaign was successful as multitudes of the faithful took to social media spewing as much hate as possible.

    Today the nation is in economic decline, taxes keep rising and the murder rate already 300 with 4 months to go. The employed are not getting paid on time and the gloom and doom. Government is suppose to bring the good life to the people. This administration is without vision and mission so please note nothing is going to get better except balisier house.

  • I stated earlier:

    But ROPA itself I expect would have explicitly retained unto EBC the discretionary ambit already granted in the Constitution. It certainly could not presume to curtail such discretion, and to the extent it does so would be null and void and of no effect. EBC certainly were of the view that that discretionary ambit was available to it on Election Day.

    I’ve taken a look at ROPA. It is confusingly drafted in the relevant parts, so I sympathize (only a little) with the learned judge. But I still cannot get out of it that the EBC acted “illegally” in extending the polling time to 7pm.

    “Section 35(1): The proceedings at an election *shall* be conducted in accordance with the Election Rules.” (emphasis added)

    As drafted, this would strait-jacket the EBC. There is no provision in the Election Rules to extend polling hours in case of torrential rains, floods and etc. on election day, affecting the ability of voters to get to the polling stations on time. Therefore, such extension is not in accordance with the Election Rules.

    But as already argued, if the Constitution granted wide discretion to the EBC, ROPA cannot constrain that discretion. To the extent it would seem to do so, it would to that extent be unconstitutional and therefore null and void in the affected areas in question.

    The escape from the statutory strait-jacket is provided by the materiality clause, which may certainly be construed as restoring EBC’s discretionary authority:

    “Section 35(3): No election shall be declared invalid by reason of any act by a Returning Officer or any other person in breach of his official duty in connection with the election or otherwise or of the Election Rules if it appears to the Court having cognisance of the question that the act did not materially affect the result of the election.”

    Indeed, it is on this materiality provision that the UNC petition failed, That it had to fail was known when leave was granted for the petition to proceed. The Chief Justice, again, was quite right in that regard, though voted down by his colleagues on the Appeal Court.

    But really, in my opinion, this is an in-delicacy of drafting.

    In the present case, materiality hinges on the simple arithmetic that establishes that PNM would have won in any case, given the margins of victory in the constituencies in question were sufficient for PNM to prevail even if all the votes cast in the extension period went against them. So the proof of non-materiality is clear and undisputable. No nimble legal argument may overcome simple arithmetic.

    But what if the matter were not so clear-cut?

    EBC would in that case under ROPA, have been censured for an “illegal” act, and there would have been no guarantee that the election was not materially affected. At the same time, the EBC would have acted, wisely in my opinion, well within their constitutional mandate to ensure free and fair elections that express the will of the electorate.

    Hence statutory strait-jacket would have been pointing one way, while constitutional discretion would have been pointing the other.

    I am clear that common sense and legal principle ensure that such a tug-o-war ought to resolve itself in favour of constitutional latitude.

    Therefore, as stated, it is an in-delicacy in the drafting of ROPA that could even allow such a dilemma.

    The criterion ought not to be the negative formulation where EBC in some act that is challenged, is not reversed if its act “does not materially affect” outcome.

    Rather, it should be the positive formulation where the EBC is upheld, in some act if the act is reasonably calculated under the circumstances to fulfill its constitutional mandate to ensure free and fair elections that reflect the will of the electorate. That is how a non-absolute discretionary authority ought to be formulated. An discretionary act is lawful if not capricious, even if arbitrary. It is capricious only if not reasonably calculated to further the mandate for which the discretionary authority is granted.

    ROPA ought therefore to be amended accordingly by Parliament, to uphold EBC’s constitutionally mandated discretionary authority.

    In the meantime, EBC ought not to be hamstrung by a ruling that, in passing, characterizes its act as “illegal”, when in fact it was quite reasonable in the circumstances, and moreover clearly contemplated as a permissible exercise of constitutional discretion.

    And the Opposition ought not to have given to it a club with which to beat the Government as being “illegitimate”, when as a matter of simple arithmetic, they would have lost regardless.

    May the Most High expose the wicked in their wicked devices intended to “make the country ungovernable”.

    Shalom.

    • Where I wrote

      The escape from the statutory strait-jacket is provided by the materiality clause, which may certainly be construed as restoring EBC’s discretionary authority:

      … is in error, and should be considered deleted.

      The materiality clause (Section 35(3)) gives EBC some latitude for immaterial error, but it does not “restore EBC’s discretionary authority”.

      There remains some apparent discrepancy between the ROPA strait-jacket (Section 35(1) even when read together with 35(3)) and the discretion apparently conferred upon EBC by Section 71(12) of the Constitution.

      That discrepancy must be resolved, and by Parliament, not the Judiciary.

      Shalom.

  • Here are 2 great quotes to chew on , which gives us some insight into the ugly , do noting prison, most countries – especially in the underdeveloped Global South , finds themselves in :-
    1. “The true nature of bureaucracy may be nowhere more obvious to the observer than in a developing country, for only there will it still be made manifest by the full complement of documents, files, veneered desks and cabinets – which convey the strict and inverse relationship between productivity and paperwork.”
    ― Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
    tags: bureaucracy 8 likes Like

    2. “But the plans were on display…”
    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
    “That’s the display department.”
    “With a flashlight.”
    “Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
    “So had the stairs.”
    “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    Let the record show folks, that there has never been a Fox in de history of the world ,that did not consider ‘grapes,’they were unable to (get at) obtain,as anything,but sweet. Care to hazard a guess, as to who they would blame for this high T&T murder figure?

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20160825/news/420-murders-since-pnm-election-victory

    The neo elite cretins , that control the lives of de Indo Trini competing tribe , are no exception to dis symbolic rule, Brother Youruba.
    When they win a High, or Lower court case,the Judicial system is excellent, but if – heavens forbid-they loose ,then the DPP , Chief Justice, and Solicitor General ,are nada but bias , partisan /Afro- PNM stooges. Feel free to correct me , if I’m wrong Mamboo.
    Likewise , if they win any election , then the Electoral system was perfect , and there is no need to force feed the nation ,their stupid ,Proportional Representation idiocies, disguised as some opaque ConstitutionL Reform.
    Should they do a job interview for a much coveted post, or one of their -budding corrupt – young ,made an attempt to get a Scholarship,and fail , then it’s because racial discrimination is the norm, and quasi educated , Afro savages , are trying to keep them from achieving power. Ain’t dat de truth Trini Raw Oils?
    If one of their Business blokes , made a stab , and one of the billion ,&20, lucrative, governmental contracts -out of the reach by others-and he /she did not obtain same , then it can only be one reason , and we know why. Dey hate we, and wish to deprive us of our due, ehhhh TMan?
    Presently the fake intellectuals, media gurus , and other self serving elites , that make up their ranks , are crying to the high heavens for Dr Keith Rowley, and his National Security big dog Dillion, to make a dent on , and or ,finally eradicate all crimes in La Trinity.
    If however any of our Law enforcement department heads , decides to push an initiative ,to tighten up on runaway criminality,and in so doing , go after a few of the bandits, that look like HCU criminal ,Harie Harrinarine, ex CJ Sharma, his pal Basdeo Panday , or any such , then SG Ban Ki Moon , the UN Human Rights Council, plus ,every White Euro PM/ President ,or still living ,’Pax Americana’ President , will hear about dem Genocidal Afro Trini -maniacs ,that are trying to turn our T&T , into a Fiji, Uganda, Kashmir, or Sri Lanka.
    The last five years , we all saw patriotism on steroids,(as it were ) chiefly by the tribe- even as their political ,business ,and civic leaders , continue to ( as we like to say on de streets)stink up de joint.
    While draped in the national flag colors , we repeatedly heard how fair , and or wonderful, Democratic T&T was, since everyone can reach their full potential.
    Now dat an Afro Kinky head bloke, and his party ,is ruling de Political roost , just pay close attention this Independence cycle -and as my late , extremely wise ,Tobago Granny would often say to yours truly – back in de day- “It’s a horse of a different color!”
    Jack FIFA- Warner, his one time Gerry curl head ,cousin , Winston Peters ,and TOP -Tobago -Duck man Jack,were much admired by Auntie Karma / the rest of the tribe , in like manner to self loathing – Afro- eat ah fooders-Wade MBA Mark,de late Makandal Dagger , and National Awards -Labor Guru/ULF founder Errol Mac Loud.
    Well, we know how those scripts worked out , once these comedians , became expedient, were no longer useful.
    Not too long after they ferret away, billions of Jack Warner loot,- NONE of which was ever spent elevating de lives of a single African across T&T- they suddenly agreed, with the FBI,he too was a crook.
    Not too long after de culture vulture MP Gypsy ,help destroy Kaiso, steel pan , and Carnival,they knew he was a Mayaro big thief,who kept disaster relief donations / supplies , and that de anti Little Black Boy extempo champ, was an unsuitable as a Candidate , for his long held ,Mayaro safe seat. Go figure!
    Hopefully ,now irrelevant ,Tobago Jack ,was able to finish that 15 bedroom Whim house ,he was constructing , while touting de virtues of Kamla- solely from raising ‘South of de Caroni Ducks,’ for if not ,he would have to find a real job – maybe planting peas near Keith Rowley 50 acres, inherited , Mason Hall estate- since the ungrateful , Kamla led ,UNC dominant PP, not only gave him de Post PP – THA loss-middle finger , but de middle toe , as well.
    Just keeping it real mi Piazzano.

    I Luv dis land , Y Tu?

    Stay vigilant T&T!

  • The Constitution is a necessary and important part of our national foundation. What we do, say and express in public have implications on how it is interpreted by institutions and and professionals alike. We look to the judiciary as the exemplars ad foremost authority on how we conduct ourselves in accordance with the word and spirit of the law. The Constitution will NOT and CANNOT guarantee that it can cover EVERY situation in life. But what it does is leverage responsibilities to institutions and bodies to execute with accuracy and aplomb. In the case of the EBC, the Constitution give it the sole authority to conduct elections. If the framers of the Constitution felt that the discretions of the EBC were to be guided or monitored by another authority, such provisions would have been enshrined to allow oversight protections. As it now stands with the rulings of Judge Mira Amorer, it appears that the judiciary now has authority to overturn elections, thereby in essence nullifying the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. Such precedence is dangerous and too encompassing to put in the hands of practitoners of the law. The right of the people should be protected by the Constitution by all costs and should not be tampered with by politics, judicial activism or mere convenience of practice. We need to be vigilant to ensure that our Constitution is interpreted bearing in mind not just the word of the law but also the spirit of the law as well. Too many times the Spirit of the law is ignored just for plain selfish and personal reasons. Kamla’s 5 years and three months is s case in point. She willfully boasts that her actions were within the ambit of the Constitution. The Constitution NEVER gave her the willful authority to extend her mandate by three months. What it did was allow her within reason of extenuating circumstances to extend the calling of new elections. Therein lies the WILLFUL ignoring of the Spirit of the law. The reason why we should be vigilant is to make sure the Kamlas of this land do not ABUSE the loopholes that the law allows for nefarious purposes. That is the reason why Amorer’s reasoning is troubling.

  • In the case of the EBC, the Constitution give it the sole authority to conduct elections. If the framers of the Constitution felt that the discretions of the EBC were to be guided or monitored by another authority, such provisions would have been enshrined to allow oversight protections. As it now stands with the rulings of Judge Mira Amorer, it appears that the judiciary now has authority to overturn elections, thereby in essence nullifying the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

    This is a good point. However, the principle must be accepted that no constitutional entity has absolute discretion. The EBC is not an exception to that. All exercise of discretionary authority may be challenged, and it is to the Judiciary we must go to arbitrate such challenges. (Except in the case of Presidential exercise of authority, which may be challenged only by a special court of impeachment comprising House and Senate and four senior Justices.) That is right and proper, and I for one do not argue the legitimacy of the Judiciary’s role in this kind of matter.

    However, I do think in this case that the “system” has been gamed to even allow judicial consideration of the election petition in this case.

    Why do I say so? Because the petition had no chance of success under the materiality test. It was destined to fail from the outset, and as a matter of simple arithmetic. This was the opinion of the learned Chief Justice when leave to proceed was appealed and being heard by the Appeals Court. Nothing subsequently happened to change that opinion. Therefore the petition ought never to have been heard.

    That however would have denied the theoretical question to be adjudicated, whether the EBC had indeed the discretionary latitude to act as it did on election day.

    This is the theoretical question that has now been adjudicated and answered in the negative. “The EBC acted illegally!”. That is the judgment that was sought. And the system was gamed to have that theoretical question addressed and answered in the way that it was.

    That is the “victory” claimed by Kamla and the UNC. It was achieved by gaming the system, with the collusion (alleged) of the trial judge, and two justices of the Appeals Court.

    The difference it makes is that even if the petition could not overcome the materiality test established under statute, it gives life to another challenge, namely that the proceeds of an “illegal” act arguably ought to be deemed null and void and of no effect. Under this legal principle, the materiality test itself could conceivably be overturned.

    All of this gaming of the system flies in the face of another legal principle, which is that only real controversies ought to be brought to court, not theoretical ones. In this case, the petition was doomed to fail when considered within the narrow borders of the statutory law (Representation of the People Act, Section 35(3)) wherein the materiality test is established. Therefore under statutory law, there was no real controversy, and the petition was doomed to fail.

    Butttt…. the in-principle theoretical question of EBC discretion and its limits nevertheless beckoned. That question has now been pronounced upon by the learned judge.

    In the process, it appears that the *constitutional* basis for the EBC claim of discretionary authority has not been judicially addressed (I stand to be corrected on this point). The judge even stated, “the EBC is a creature of statute”, which is still baffling to me, given Section 71 of the Constitution, which creates the EBC and grants its powers, later codified under the rules and regulations promulgated by ROPA statute. Thus, it seems to me, that if one is to address the abstract theoretical question whether the EBC had the discretionary authority it claimed and exercised on election day, this must turn on the *constitutional* grant of powers,not merely on the provisions of statute law codified by ROPA.

    To the extent the statutory law appears to go contrary to the constitutional grant of power, then the theoretical question may not properly be answered taking the statutory limit as binding. Certainly it may not be answered while proceeding apparently on the (false) premise that “the EBC is a creature of statute”.

    I say all that to conclude as follows: The only interesting outcome of the petition having proceeded when it was known ab initio that it was bound to fail, is a ruling by the judge on the theoretical question as to the discretionary power or lack of the EBC. And that ruling, delivered en passant while denying the petition, ought to have been based on a parsing of the Constitution, Section 71, rather than only on the parsing of ROPA and the Election Rules promulgated therein. Moreover, to the extent the Constitution and ROPA give different answers on the theoretical question, this ought to be flagged for corrective action: Either the Constitution must be changed, or ROPA. That is a matter for Parliament, not the learned judge, obviously. IMO, Government ought to act post-haste to amend ROPA so that it specifically allows the EBC the discretionary authority to act as it acted on Election Day. They did well in that regard and ought not to stand judicially reprimanded. Obviously there is a danger of abuse of discretionary. The Judiciary must retain power to adjudicate challenges to the exercise of discretion by EBC, should those ever be seen to be capricious and not in reasonable furtherance of its constitutional mandate.

    Shalom.

    • So Yoruba, based on our conversations and what appears to be obvious judicial activism in giving life to this issue, it can safely be assumed that it can be the intention of the trio judges (Amorer, Jamadar and Mendonca) to legislate from the Bench. However, you look at the issue, if Judge Amorer was at pains to conclusively rule with certainty, why didn’t she rule that that is a matter for the legislative branch of government? Which such judgement is handed down, it is imperative that we call out the activities of the judiciary.
      They too are NOT the ultimate arbiters in matters like this.

      • why didn’t she rule that that is a matter for the legislative branch of government?

        I don’t think judges ever do that… but I stand corrected if I’m wrong.

        But now that the learned judge has branded the EBC act as “illegal”, the ball is now in the Government’s court, and/or EBC’s court, to challenge that ruling.

        IMO, the EBC did well on election day, and remained within constitutional discretionary latitude wisely allowed by the framers, for addressing precisely the kind of contingency that occurred. Therefore, the EBC ought to be rescued from the judicial reprimand.

        In any case, if anything good is to come of this, it is that the tug-o-war between constitution and statute ought to be resolved once and for all. IMO, the Constitution is more reasonable in its grant of discretion to EBC than the statute that seeks to impose, unconstitutionally, a strait-jacket.

        Some people see a danger in the grant of discretion, and safety in the adoption of mechanical rules. I see the opposite, because a system based on mechanical rules is not fault-tolerant, and also may actually be more easily gamed, than a system that allows and trusts men of integrity to do what’s right.

        At the end of the day, we cannot save the Republic by fashioning mechanical rules of “process”, that roll back discretionary action at every turn. That way lies fat briefs for ever more lawyers and legal actions. The Republic will not be saved that way. Rather, it may be saved only by having people and institutions of *integrity*, unafraid, and empowered, to act in its defence. Every so often we need an ANR Robinson that says, “Attack with full force!”, and without first obtaining a legal opinion!

        I’m with you where this “judicial activism” is concerned. We’ll see where it leads. But for right now, I would say, back to Parliament, for necessary amendment of ROPA, and rescue of the EBC from statutory strait-jacket.

        Shalom.

        • There are several points arising out of this ruling and some questions that are to be answered because of the contradictory nature of Judge Amorer’s interpretations:

          1. While I CANNOT quote accurately where the Courts in Trinidad and Tobago referred or refused to rule on matters that lacked legislative clarity, I am certain that there are cases where the Supreme Court in the United States do refuse or referred some matters back to the house and Senate of the United for legislative authority.

          2. If we are to be constitutionally guided on matters of importance to the people as the management of elections, we MUST have clarity. Vagueness or unconstitutional rulings CANNOT be allowed by the judiciary to be used in favor of clarity. The judiciary MUST NOT be a place where we are playing “russian roulette” with our lives. It is the ONE place where appointees should be free from political influence in their discovery and rulings. A famous case that should have been challenged is the one in which Herbert Volley left the bench and immediately got into politics. That is a dangerous precedent that opens all kinds of shenanigans for our political future. There should be clarity on such transfer of power.

          3. As I have stated before, there should be no contrariness between constitutional intent and statutory allocations. The statutes should expand on constitutional intent not restrict the allocations. Statutes should also create oversight institutions where there is vagueness is not spelled out in the constitution.

          4. What is vexatious to me in Judge Amorer’s ruling is her use of the words “illegal” and “wrong”. What English grammar teaches us is that it is important when words are put into context. There are ‘definitive’ and ‘undefinitive’ word when use alone to express a desire. For example when the words ‘maybe’, ‘should’, ‘could’ and ‘may’ are used in a narrative context, we expect conditional explanations to complete intent.
          Similarly when the words ‘shall’, ‘right’, ‘will’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are used they are in fact definitive in use and nature.

          5. So when Judge Amorer stated that the EBC acted “illegally” or was “wrong” in their actions, it must be taken that she knows who the “legal” or “right” entity should be when such situations occur. But she failed miserably when she did NOT or CANNOT identify who the “right” or “legal” entity should have been when such an incident occur in the future. If she could not identify who would have been the ‘right’ entity to have the authority to take such action how could she in good conscience say that the EBC was “wrong” or “illegal”?

          6. Without a corresponding correction or showing a lack of education to identify the qualifying entity, Judge Amorer CANNOT in good conscience say that the EBC was “wrong”. These, in my mind are structural mis-alignment in the judgement of her findings. In terms of the materiality of the matter, there are many flaws and misconceptions that were allowed to bring the case forward as worthy of a hearing. In my mind Judge Amorer erred in the structure of her arguments and worse in materiality.

          7. One must conclude in good judgement that the judiciary’s handling of this case was not instructive,
          nor was it guided by principled intent. And because of those concerns her rulings had to be seen as
          judicial activism or legislating from the bench.

          We depend on the wisdom of the Judiciary to guide us through the intent of the Constitution. It is therefore imperative that those who are elevated to such office be people of knowledge, principle, commonsense, reasoning and of a learned nature in defining the laws of this country. This approach should not be a “win” or “loss” one. It also cannot be approach in the way judge Amorer handled it by trying to give everyone a little bit of justice. There MUST be clarity in judgement and nothing short of this will suffice.

    • Yoruba wrote “This is the theoretical question that has now been adjudicated and answered in the negative. “The EBC acted illegally!”. That is the judgment that was sought. And the system was gamed to have that theoretical question addressed and answered in the way that it was.

      That is the “victory” claimed by Kamla and the UNC. It was achieved by gaming the system, with the collusion (alleged) of the trial judge, and two justices of the Appeals Court.”

      My friend the judge have to adhere to the laws of the land when addressing any issues. She could not say the EBC acted legally because that is simply not true. The EBC for its part looked at the weather and thought it best to continue for an additional hour. Upon that reasoning they could have decided on a Two or Three hour extension. Let us say that they opted for a two hour extension based on their judgment that it was raining, the Constitution simply does not allow such powers. If the PNM lost the election base extension, you, Kian and Neal would have been singing a diffrent tune.

      • She could not say the EBC acted legally…

        To say the EBC acted “illegally”, in the common understanding of that term, certainly is misleading. The same judge in her ruling, also said of the EBC:

        “there is no evidence to suggest that the conduct of the election was not free and fair”, that “there was no allegation of intimidation or of the unavailability of election material such as ballot paper or ink” and that “there was no evidence of trickery or fraudulent counting of votes or false declaration by election officers”. Source: Indira Rampersad column. (If anyone has a link to the full judgment, please post so I can peruse the whole thing myself.)

        There was nothing at all to suggest that the election result did not reflect the will of the electorate, freely, fairly and fully expressed. There was no evidence of t’iefing or tampering.

        Here was the fault as held by the judge as a finding of fact: “ … even though the extension was illegal, the law did not permit the court to declare the election invalid where the court finds the occurrence of a breach or breaches of an official duty, or of the Election Rules, and it appears to the court that the breach did not materially affect the result of the election”.

        If the law did not permit the judge to declare the election invalid, then how, pray tell, could the EBC have acted “illegally”? That’s the problem with that language. There was a “breach” of ROPA 35(1), but of an immaterial nature, constraining the judge, under ROPA 35(3), to let the results stand.

        She knew well the proper term to use, namely “breach”. That is where she should have left it. This way, the petition(s) still have life, and indeed Kamla intends to appeal, no doubt using as lever the judge’s –improper, in my view– characterization of the EBC’s action as not mere breach, but as “illegal”.

        they could have decided on a Two or Three hour extension. Let us say that they opted for a two hour extension based on their judgment that it was raining, the Constitution simply does not allow such powers.

        I have not so far seen any commentary where the judge considered Section 71 of the Constitution. That is where a grant of discretion is given. And that is what the EBC claimed when the matter first arose. The judge’s characterization of the EBC’s action as “illegal”, is based entirely on an examination of the ROPA statute, not at all on the Constitution. That is another reason why it is misleading, also improper, to characterize the EBC’s action as “illegal”. There is mischief afoot in that phrasing.

        As I’ve been at pains to explain, where a discretionary power is granted in law, it does not mean absolute discretion that may not be challenged. Any discretionary act by a creature of constitution or statute, may be challenged in a court of law. For the discretionary act to be deemed illegal, or ultra vires the discretionary mandate given, the act must be both arbitrary, and capricious. It must be arbitrary, otherwise it is already allowed under rules. It must be capricious, otherwise it is reasonably calculated in the circumstances to fulfill the mandate for which the discretionary power was given.

        In the instant case, the EBC’s discretionary act, of giving a one-hour extension, was not only reasonable in the circumstances, but well calibrated. No one suggested it was too short an extension. No one suggested then that an extension was “illegal”. The UNC on election day welcomed the extension and issued notifications via cell phone and email to its people, while the PNM did not.

        As general principle, there ought be no fear that a grant of discretion is an invitation to absolutism. So we need not consider speculative what-if scenarios, to scare ourselves into disallowing all discretionary power. As I have argued elsewhere, I consider it easier for determined miscreants to game a rules-only system, than to game one that is rules-plus-discretion.

        All of that said, the simple sum of the matter is that UNC/PP lost. Fair and square. The EBC acted well within discretionary crease, and were well justified and well calibrated in their response to an unforeseen circumstance. They should be commended for their efforts, not sullied by the term, “illegal”.

        It is unfortunate that a trio of judges has conspired — I so allege — to breathe life into this ridiculous set of petitions that was a stiff corpse from the get-go. That the stiff corpse has been made to move a little is testament only to an unfortunate but all too familiar bias at play.

        If the PNM lost the election base extension, you, Kian and Neal would have been singing a diffrent tune.

        I am consistent in supporting whatever is true, just and beautiful. I am equally consistent in being against untruth, injustice, and ugly.

        That is why I am *against* the UNC and their sectarian Indian Policy, which is a dagger at the throat of the Republic in my humble but insistent opinion.

        Nevertheless, if UNC were to win in a full, free and fair election, and the EBC acted well within discretionary crease, I cannot see myself supporting an appeal to the Judiciary to breathe life into an electoral corpse. I grew up playing cricket, football and other sports. It is supposed to teach fair-play and sportsmanship. T&T has done as well as it has because enough of us have exemplified those virtues, despite continual sectarian provocation.

  • I just finished reading the editorial in the Express of Emir Crowne’s article entitled “The EBC ruling in-depth” in which he contended that Justic’s Amorer’s rulings were in-depth and sound.
    His contention was due in part because he found “With all due respect to those social media lawyers (some with law degrees, many without), Justice Dean-Armourer’s reasoning is rigorous and balanced.”

    I happen to be one of the “social media lawyers” “without”degrees (his words). And my contention remains that it is a case in which the UNC, the Judiciary and practitioners of Law used up a chunk of State funds in order for the Elections of 2015 to be considered “illegal” in five districts chosen by the UNC to be invalidated, even though the reasoning they contended applied to every single district in the country. It is true that those of us who apply logic may not be as prepared as the “wigged” professional employed to adjudicate on petitions such as this, but consider this: If a lemon is dressed up as a cake, presented as a wedding cake to be honored with all the trappings of ceremonial customs to be cut by the bride and groom, would it still carry the same taste as a “wedding cake”? Most will surmise that it was still a lemon and not a cake and therefore the ceremonial “wedding cake” is a lemon. That appears to be an analogy of the petitioners argument.

    My mother always taught us that “sense was made before book”.
    The references made by Justices Jamadar and Amorer of precedence of case in earlier times in England do not appear to matter to most of us who are NOT “degreed lawyers”. As stated by Emir Crowne the meat of the matter placed before the Courts was

    “was the EBC empowered to extend the polls by an hour?”

    That is the million dollar question to be answered. Many of us non-lawyers are of the opinion that the Constitution ONLY empowered the EBC to deal with conducting elections, not the judiciary, not the executive and definitively not the government.
    It is also true that the wording of the law states that elections are to be conducted between the hours of 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. The Constitution is NOT PERFECT in this setting this period of time as Law. The Constitution CANNOT dictate what the conditions of weather will be on Polling Day. What if we had a hurricane? a storm? mass fires across the land? an earthquake?
    The point is yes, we understand that between the hours of 6:00 am and 6:00 pm are of course the best possible times to conduct elections, but to invalidate it is stretching the matter way too far of the intended purposes of conducting an election.

    One might contend that there was a breach based on the reading of the law but to contend as Justice Amorer did that the EBC was “wrong” or “illegal” is stretching the breach way too far. As Emir stated, “The key consideration is the materiality of the breach in question.” It would appear that Justice Amorer had problems with the written wording and the intent of the law and felt safe in contending that anything contrary to the wording MUST BE INVALID, so she contended that the EBC was wrong. BUT the question is, since it is VERY POSSIBLE that inclement weather will affect the hours proscribed by the Constitution in the future, how should this rule (of 6 to 6) be applied? This is where Justice Amorer failed us in knowing how the law should be applied and who is the correct entity to make such decisions.
    Common knowledge will tell us that in order to have a “wrong” there must be a “right”. You CANNOT have a “wrong” without knowing what is “right”.

    Emir went on to suggest criminality:
    “There was a breach of the Electoral Rules. But that, alone, is not enough to declare an election invalid. The breach must be accompanied by some form of criminal activity, or have substantively affected the outcome. None of which was present in 2015. The EBC’s decision to extend the polling hours due to inclement weather was well motivated and in good faith. ”
    In law, there are elements of what is considered criminality
    Scope of criminal liability
    Severity of offense
    Inchoate offense
    Offense against the person
    Crimes against property
    Crimes against justice
    Victimless crimes
    Crimes against animals
    Defences to liability
    Other common-law areas
    and
    Portals
    and it does not appear that the actions of the EBC warranted that designation.

    In summation, we must understand that democracy is always a work in progress, it is NEVER complete. After the law of Nature, the Constitution is the only document all of should be guided by, the house of representatives make the laws, the judiciary interprets it and we are guided by such interpretations in order to be model citizens. The intent of the Constitution is to cover as much content as they possible can to deal with law, process, statutes, justice, ownership and other living situations that we face daily. Intent is where the spirit of the law is to be applied. There are occasions where the spirit of the law MUST be applied to the wording and this is such an occasion that should have been the case. The case of the UNC vs Trinidad and Tobago’s election of September 7, 2015 should NEVER have been allowed in a Court of law.

  • I earlier remarked:

    it appears that the *constitutional* basis for the EBC claim of discretionary authority has not been judicially addressed (I stand to be corrected on this point). The judge even stated, “the EBC is a creature of statute”, which is still baffling to me, given Section 71 of the Constitution, which creates the EBC and grants its powers, later codified under the rules and regulations promulgated by ROPA statute.

    Having now got hold of the full text of the learned judge’s ruling, my bafflement is eased, but only a little.

    My bafflement is eased because the learned judge is well aware that the EBC is a constitutional creature, albeit guided by statute law under ROPA. In para. 2 of the ruling: “The process of elections to the House of Representative is set out in minute detail in the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), Chapter 2:01 6 and is subject to the direction and supervision of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) which is a statutory body, created by Section 71(1) of the Constitution and is independent of the direction or control of any person or authority.” Hence the term, “creature of statute”, is not used in a sense to derogate from the EBC’s constitutional origin or grant of constitutional discretion. Fine. So that’s not a point of confusion.

    My bafflement remains, however, because the question of the constitutional exercise of discretion and whether there was abuse of such discretion, was not addressed in the ruling pointedly in those terms. Recall that the EBC responded soon after the UNC/PP brought the petitions, as follows:

    The Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has responded to the People’s Partnership petition to render the September 7 general election null and void.

    In a release, the EBC says:

    Section 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which establishes the Elections and Boundaries Commission, also mandates its autonomy over the registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency.

    Additionally, the constitution allows the Commission to exercise their powers in an unfettered manner.

    Therefore, the decision to extend the hours of the poll finds its basis within the constitutional supervisory jurisdiction of the Commission in all election management matters.

    Constitutional “autonomy” or discretion was EBC’s defence. And so did EBC’s Senior Counsel argue in court. This argument was considered and rejected by the learned judge as follows:

    120. It was however widely accepted in these proceedings, that both the ROPA and the Election Rules provide no guidance to the EBC where emergencies occur on the actual
    day of the poll.
    121. I have no doubt that Section 71(11) confers such power on the EBC. In my view however, the exercise of such residual power must be in accordance with the plain directive of the ROPA and the Election Rules

    This holding is a bafflement to me. For in one breath, she accepts EBC’s Constitutional discretion conferred in Section 71, but in the next avers that the exercise of that power “must be in accordance with the plain directive of the ROPA…”. This is baffling because she earlier accepted that ROPA is silent as to what EBC should do where “emergencies occur on the actual day of the poll”. Surely, it is precisely where such emergencies occur, regarding which ROPA does *not* provide guidance, that there is call for EBC to exercise “residual” discretionary power. The “plain directive of ROPA” is lacking where there is torrential rain and flooding, affecting the right of the electorate to vote.

    This is precisely where the burden must be on petitioner to show that in its exercise of discretion, the EBC not only acted arbitrarily,– as is in the nature of an exercise of discretion, there being no specific rule to guide action,– but also capriciously. An exercise of discretion is capricious if not reasonably calculated to further the constitutional or statutory mandate for which the grant of discretionary power was provided.

    In my understanding, that is well established and well settled legal principle. Thus there is a limit to the license that discretion provides. But equally, discretionary power is provided precisely because not all contingencies may be anticipated in the relevant rules.

    On that basis, it is my respectful view that the judge erred in law. Statute (ROPA) cannot constrain Constitution (Section 71). Therefore, if the Constitution grants a discretionary power to EBC, and the EBC uses that discretionary power to address a contingency regarding which guiding statute is silent, then the question that must be addressed in law is whether the EBC abused its Constitutional discretion. That test was not applied by the learned judge.

    The commentator, Emir Crowne, writing in the Express, opined that the learned judge’s ruling was sound and well argued. I beg to differ. On a proper consideration of the discretion question, it is clear that it cannot be maintained that the EBC acted “illegally”. That holding of the judge is in error. She was of course right in her application of the materiality test under ROPA Section 35(3) to deny the petitions. That part of her ruling ought not to be reversed. But the “illegality” holding is clearly wrong, and potentially a legal mischief that may upset the peace and good order of our fragile Republic.

    It is in fact quite possible, given the tenor of Justice Jamadar’s and Justice Mendonca’s guidance given at the
    “leave to appeal” stage, that these Justices may well use Justice Armorer’s holding as to the “illegality” of EBC’s exercise of discretion on Election Day, to void the election altogether. I may opine further separately on that matter.

    May the Most High frustrate any wicked machinations that may be afoot in that regard.

    Shalom.

    • It is in fact quite possible, given the tenor of Justice Jamadar’s and Justice Mendonca’s guidance given at the
      “leave to appeal” stage, that these Justices may well use Justice Armorer’s holding as to the “illegality” of EBC’s exercise of discretion on Election Day, to void the election altogether.

      May the Most High frustrate any wicked machinations that may be afoot in that regard.

      Prayer answered. I refer to the decision in the news today that the appeal has been denied.

      Accordingly, we give thanks that those involved retreated from whatever machinations may have been afoot.

      Shalom.

  • “it is my respectful view that the judge erred in law. Statute (ROPA) cannot constrain Constitution (Section 71)….if the Constitution grants a discretionary power to EBC, and the EBC uses that discretionary power to address a contingency regarding which guiding statute is silent, then the question that must be addressed in law is whether the EBC abused its Constitutional discretion. That test was not applied by the learned judge.”
    Brother YI
    Excellent analysis , and if I dare say , learned opinion , Brother Yoruba. Tell you what , the stupid claims , by these political clowns, would have been given some credence, if they had demanded a totally new election, in light , of what they perceived as abuse of power, as played out by an alleged bias EBC.
    Instead, they only saw a problem , in the areas they lost. The fact remains , that irrespective of their actions, via bias , party hacks , or partisan judges, there shall never be a Kamla , and worst yet Panday led government ,in T&T.
    As I read your blog , I’m reminded of a story of a frog , giving a stranded scorpion ,a lift on his back , across an expanse of water, only to be rewarded with a deadly sting , by said passenger , half way to his destination. When asked ,as to the reason for such a stupid move , which was guaranteed to kill them both, the scorpion responded with- ‘it’s my nature.’
    ‘Me think ,’at times , we underestimate the ways of the people we are forced to co exist with , since White , evil, conniving Massa , departed our shores. They are not evil per se, but simply mark time to a different drum.
    Dats all.
    In 1986 , after languishing for decades in the Opposition wilderness of irrelevance , Basdeo Panday ,decided to join camp , with the more Politically palatable Statesman , in Ahhhh Weee Bouy, ANR Robinson, and thus the NAR was formed.
    To form his government , the ever astute ANR , gave Basdeo and his band everything , outside of his Jockey shorts, and loving wife Margaret petit coats.
    Not fully satisfied with 2 Tobago Seat ANR ‘s interpretation of the Westminster System , Basdeo, and his fellow pals , Ramdath, Sudama, Tabla head Nizam, and Suraj, decided to wreck havoc , and destroy the Alliance, then to compound that encouraged members of the unpatriotic tribe, to run to de Norte Americana hills , with bogus Refugee claims. The whole pathetic , destructive action ended , when a former Horse police , football goalie name Lennox Phillip, aka Yasin Abu Bakr, in 1990 attempted to destroy our Democracy. , with the aid of other
    Because of such stupidity , even today, one has to now get a Visa, if nostalgic for visiting Montreal , to experience some of the exotic ladies, that parade the streets.
    Just Kidding TMan ,you can have them all.
    It is in this context , one must view folks like this learned judge. Attempting to hide behind Bureaucratic jargon, as she do her bidding for the tribe.
    Surprise , surprise at the way Bas protege Kamla, used and attempt to destroy Jack Warner, Justice Volney, Tobago Duckman Jack, Mama Verna St Rose,Winston Peters, and Transparency International High priestess, Mama King,Y por que? It’s their nature.
    Fast forward to 2016 , and the PM , and his regime , are having a hard time grappling with runaway criminality, and so , up comes the former PM, Auntie K, pretending to care, and so Dr Rowley- typical African that he is- with that’ persecution complex,’most are so fond of, is willing to jump into bed with this woman.
    What good can come out of this media posturing exercise,with a leader who talk though all four sides of her mouth, is my question?
    Let’s dance she says, but at the same time , gives Dr Rowley’s 1 year old government,an E,even though he had to not only take the tough measures ,to rectify the precarious economy, but do so while paying for her cherished, White elephants pet projects, and less money in our treasury.

    May good sense prevail , in our underachieving, tribally fractured Pias ,si?

    • One of Rowley’s major problems is the incompetence of Cuffie, his PR minister.
      A Minister of Communications should be able to communicate effectively. This Minister needs a crash course in effective speaking in English. He has repeatedly muddled the explanations of government policy and programs resulting in the appearance of these programs being less effective than they are.
      Rowley’s government is being perceived by the population as one which is in a holding pattern, doing nothing but waiting for a resurgence of oil and gas prices.

      • I happen to concur with that sentiment TMan. One of the continued failures of the PNM has always been its inability to state what it has done for the nation. Its ability to communicate with the people has always been poor. It is not that they don’t perform, they usually fix the problems, no matter how difficult but with no platform to inform. The current Information minister, Max Cuffy is intelligent and capable but NOT as a spokesman. We need someone with true communication skills to enunciate government policy and achievements.
        That is a skill few people have. It has nothing to do with intelligence. One either has the ability or you don’t. That is what makes comedians so effective – the ability to connect. Being a politician is a serious job and while we do not want our politicians to be comedians, they should nevertheless be able to capture the attention of those who look to them for answers.

  • I fail to understand the controversy emanating from this election fiasco. One has to look at how other democracies manage similar situations. There are numerous precedents where polls are extended for a variety od reasons, snow storms included.
    Notices of these extensions by the media may or may not reach all communities, especially rural communities.
    I maintain that this case should never have been brought. The plaintiffs also have a responsibility to weigh the consequences of their legal challenge. Would the results of the election be different if the polls were not extended? The intelligent answer is in the negative. The plaintiffs should have considered the instability this action would create, the waste of the court’s time, and the fact that the case may still be pending after the government’s term is completed.
    I am no legal expert like the other bloggers on this site, but common sense tells me that the PNM decisively won the election and that the Opposition is trying to improperly use the courts to change the results.

  • “One of Rowley’s major problems is the incompetence of Cuffie, his PR minister.”
    Hey folks , ‘me think,’ our TMan , has been residing in Cockroach infested ,down town Toronto ,for too long, and so he is getting carried away, with his typical escapist rants.
    You are sounding more ,and more ,like Sir Vidia Naipaul, dat Shakespearean literature bloke ,from Chagurnas.
    You know de one. He became famous from writing two readable books – Miguel Street ,and The House for Mr Biswas, then transformed himself into dis opaque , anti Muslim, Anti African , high end prose writer, while fully perfecting his English Yorkshire accent.
    Give it a rest , mi country hating Piazano.
    It is often said , by folks much smarter than us both, that a people , will get the government- and by extension ,de Communication Minister -they deserve.
    Our don’t give a darm , if Good friday falls on a Sunday Trinis ,don’t give a hoot, about such trivialities TMan. They know that Kamla , and her economic barbarians , inherited a Surplus, and squandered same in 5 years, when our natural resource prices were high.
    They might indeed despise Dr Rowley , and his fat cutting , pro austerity / belt tightening / neo self reliant ,government, but appreciate that this was what de doctors ordered , to stop de bleeding/ prevent our dwindling economy from grounding to a halt.
    We’ll hope that de greedy , selfish , country leeching , pro UNC/ PP,business oligarch , that represent the tribe , don’t do a number on us here in T&T, as was done in CUBA, Haiti, and Venezuela.
    I’m talking about holding citizens ransom ,with their cheap , chiefly unhealthy , foreign import goods, while trying to force revolt against the government.

    You said , “Rowley’s government is being perceived by the population as one which is in a holding pattern, doing nothing but waiting for a resurgence of oil and gas prices.”

    So which segment of the population feels this way TMan? Is it the one that voted the PNM into power , or rather that which voted out your UNC dominant PP?
    Just imagine how much further advance our country would be , if you suddenly evolved, arm chair political gurus , were this much on top of your game, during Kamla , and her party tenure in office.
    Silent , as a Siparia mouse , during the incoherent PM , and her gangster party/ government ,& cronies , rape of our country , but suddenly loud in condemning a leader/ government , that barely did 1 year in office- while being forced to waste useful energies in our courts, addressing bogus EBC Power abuse claims/trying to hold on to their majority.
    Thankfully , dis too shall pass!

    You also stated de following:- “I maintain that this case should never have been brought….common sense tells me that the PNM decisively won the election and that the Opposition is trying to improperly use the courts to change the results.
    It’s rather refreshing to see you feel so strongly about the foolhardiness of de Kamla led tribe , lawsuit, TMan.This can only mean , that maybe there is hope , that a previously non progressive , intransigent ,Party hack , can be encouraged,to call a spade , a spade.
    Who knows , maybe the Appeal court , would share your view, and do de right thing.
    Irrespect, it does not really matter, for Basdeo Panday, Kamla , Malika Panday, and no one from that non- patriotic brigade, with sit in the PM’s chair , this century, and we can live with that – spiraling oil / gas prices , or not. Non diversified economy notwithstanding.
    We wish our people well, & may good sense prevail, in La Trinity – be it presently, and for the long term future, si?

    • Neal, it was Naipaul himself who referred to Trinidad when he eloquently stated that it is a place where racial redemption “obscures the problems of a small independent country with a lopsided economy, with the problems of a fully consumer society that is yet technologically untrained and without the intellectual means to comprehend the deficiency. It perpetuates the negative colonial politics of protest. It is , in the end, a deep corruption: a wish to be granted a dispensation from the pains of development, an almost religious conviction that oppression can be turned into an asset, race into money”.

  • Excellent analysis , and if I dare say , learned opinion , Brother Yoruba.

    Thank you for the kind remark. I am not a lawyer, but took time out over a long professional life to study some of the basics of law. It remains an interest of mine, especially the nexus between the law — common law in particuar — and its antecedents in Scripture.

    For example, the idea of lesser courts and higher courts is found here:

    “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, …And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge…” (Exodus 18:21-22)

    And the idea that the law ought not to be an ass:

    “If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” (Deuteronomy 25:1)

    There is no room here for some idea that the law may lead to a clearly erroneous judgment, because “those are the rules”.

    I am of the firm view that the safeguarding of the Republic is too important a matter to be left only up to the lawyers, in the same way that war is too important to be left only up to the generals. So I tend not to retreat when the learned lawyers speak what to my mind is clear nonsense.

    In this case the EBC wisely did what clearly needed to be done in the circumstances. So it sticks in my craw a ruling that deems their act “illegal”. Yes, there is a legal pathway that may lead to that conclusion, but the conclusion being a clear non-starter, one merely has to look for error in the premises. The law is indeed an ass, but only because so many lawyers allow common-sense to stay at home when they put on the lawyer’s robes.

    Let me follow up on what earlier I intimated:

    It is in fact quite possible, given the tenor of Justice Jamadar’s and Justice Mendonca’s guidance given at the
    “leave to appeal” stage, that these Justices may well use Justice Armorer’s holding as to the “illegality” of EBC’s exercise of discretion on Election Day, to void the election altogether. I may opine further separately on that matter.

    The judgments handed down at the leave to petition stage by Justices of Appeal Jamadar, and Mendonca, precisely sought to establish legal pathways that could lead to the conclusion that the EBC acted “illegally”, pursuant to the rules, although commendably, pursuant to discretionary common sense.

    I start with Chief Justice Archie, because he framed the matter in the common-sense way that ROPA obviously intended, namely that no election ought to be voided because of breaches that did not go to “materiality”. In the common sense of the common man, you void an election where there were corrupt practices — intentional t’iefing amounting to electoral fraud of one sort or another — that rendered the election results an essential fraud upon the electorate. You do not void an election where there are minor breaches that in full context clearly did not impugn the results as representing the will of the electorate, freely, fairly and fully expressed.

    Furthermore, where there is an election petition, the remedy sought ought to be commensurate with the alleged breach. Thus, if the alleged breach is a 1hr extension contrary to rules, then the remedy sought ought to be tied in some way to the number of votes cast in the 1hr extension. If a quantitative remedy would at best leave the election result unchanged, then the motion would to that extend be considered “frivolous and vexatious”, and leave to proceed ought to be denied.

    ROPA wisely provides for all of that. The Chief Justice in parsing narrowly the relevant Law, without even going into the question of EBC Constitutional discretion, and while assuming for the sake of argument that there was indeed a breach committed by the EBC as alleged, concluded that there was no realistic prospect of any of the petitions succeeding. In the event the trial Judge had to form the same conclusion. Quite simply, despite breaches by EBC under ROPA, in no case could the materiality hurdle be overcome.

    Here is how he guides himself as to philosophical bias:

    As judges, the purpose of interrogating our own
    philosophical and jurisprudential biases is not to impose
    them, but to act as a check on our reasoning process in an effort to achieve a measure of objectivity. Often, we
    arrive at different conclusions, even though each finds his
    logic compelling, because we start from different premises.

    This was part of a response, it would appear, to JA Jamadar’s own statement setting out his ideological — philosophical and jurisprudential — bias. CJ Archie went on to make the remark that we are all on common ground so far as seeking to safeguard the Republic. The difference is what I earlier articulated in a previous blog, namely that between those who think safety may be found by crafting and following rules-only systems, and those who think rules-plus-discretion is the wiser course, if only because the former way lies the certainty that the Law will be found to be the proverbial ass whenever contingencies arise that were not forethought, as the torrential rain and flooding on Election Day. No, what we need to save the Republic is wisdom, truth, and sometimes a little courage.

    Here is how Jamadar outlines his ideology:

    In my opinion, equally if not even more important than pure
    outcome, is the process by which elections are conducted,
    and in particular, that that process be seen and known by
    the citizenry to be free and fair and in conformity with
    the core constitutional values of equality, freedom and
    fair participation, values that underpin the constitutional
    vision of democracy in TT
    ……..
    Thus the appellants’ contention that no degree
    of non-compliance with the Constitution, law or rules
    governing parliamentary elections can be the basis for
    invalidating an election, unless it is shown that the
    result (per se) of the election would be different, is in
    my opinion anathema to the core constitutional values that underpin the democracy intended in TT. Such a position elevates outcome as absolutely determinative of legitimacy, and discards process as of no or little consequence.

    This appears to elevate process — rules-only system — as the best way to safeguard the Republic. And he uses strong language — “anathema” — to convey his depth of feeling in the matter.

    It appears to me that JA Jamadar is being disingenuous. He doth protest too much. It is *because* he desires strongly a certain outcome, that he must deflect attention from that bias by preaching “democracy and the rule of law”, and calling it jurisprudential philosophy/ideology.

    Respectfully I must protest. As a citizen of the Republic I demand that all judges, whatever their “philosophy”, simply adhere to their judicial oath of office. In biblical terms, they must “fear God, be men of truth, and hate covetousness”. In terms of the oath of office, they must uphold the law and do right by all manner of people without fear or favour. Keep your ideology to yourself. Uphold the law! Period!

    If the law in its wisdom or lack, allows for discretion, adjudicate accordingly. If it allows for a test of materiality, ditto. If there are rules that must be followed before leave may even be granted to bring an election petition to the court to be heard, then apply the rules — fairly and with truth and righteousness before a living God — whatever they be. In that way, Parliament has done its job, and the Judiciary theirs. That is the best way to safeguard the Republic. It is like sport, you will win some you will lose some, but all may be friends and go home smiling whichever way it goes. How hard is that?

    Justice Mendonca JA for his part reasoned as follows, in granting leave to petition:

    If an election is therefore not conducted so
    as to be in substantial compliance with the law, it is
    impossible to say that the result was not materially
    affected.

    Take that snippet to its logical conclusion, and what it implies is that, if EBC acted “illegally”, as Judge Armorer held, then the election was not in substantial compliance with the law, and therefore it is impossible to say that it was not materially affected. Ergo, the election is voidable.

    Yes, perhaps … but only as an exercise in schoolboy logic. We expect more gravitas from a JA.

    CJ Archie puts the matter in context, as follows:

    Again, context and common sense must be employed. There is
    no indication of the widespread disquiet indicative of the
    threat to democracy or breakdown of public confidence that
    the petitioners claim to apprehend. One is entitled to take
    judicial notice, I believe, of what is in the public domain
    with regard to the September 7th 2015 general election. The
    elections were monitored by international observers who
    pronounced the process to be fair and acceptable. The
    election was conceded by the outgoing political party that
    same night and there was a smooth transition of government.
    If the elections in the 6 constituencies whose results have
    been challenged were fatally marred by the extension and
    its consequences then the same defects would apply to all
    39 constituencies in Trinidad. The filing of petitions in
    only 6 of the 39 constituencies does not signify widespread
    rejection of the results or the election process. I accept
    that none of these things directly answers the question but
    they are a part of the context to be considered in deciding
    whether these petitions are really about process or about
    outcome and whether there is any or any realistic prospect
    of success of the argument that the whole process was so
    flawed as not to be a valid election at common law or by
    reason of the application of the doctrine of substantial
    non-compliance.

    That puts the whole thing in context. In the event, the trial judge was simply unable to cross the materiality hurdle, even after holding that the EBC acted “illegally”. She was well able to parse the materiality test provided for, and ended up constrained under law to dismiss the petitions. That is an answer to JA Mendonca as to how a logical “impossibility” may well be overcome by common sense.

    But wait! Kamla is going to appeal the dismissal of the petitions! On JA Mendonca’s logic, we might well see a successful appeal and the voiding of the challenged electoral results. Why? Because Judge Armorer held that the EBC acted “illegally”, giving Messrs Mendonca and Jamadar the opportunity, should they seek to exploit it, to engineer the outcome that they clearly wanted from the outset.

    CJ Archie make dem out long time! He observed that exactly six petitions were brought, although the same claim ought to have been made in truth and fairness, if they were genuine, in all 39 seats affected by the extension. He was too judicially correct to mention further, that six from 23 PNM seats leaves them with 17. UNC/PP have 18. Hence the number of petitions brought were evidently calculated beforehand to accomplish a judicial coup as it were, merely by voiding six PNM seats. A whole new election would have to be called, or else the UNC/PP installed with an 18-17 majority pending six new elections to correct the void.

    Oh what a web!

    I pray these JA’s desist from what to all appearances is ill-motivated judicial activism, only thinly veiled by claims to ideological bias in favour of safe-guarding the Republic. I disagree most vehemently. What will safeguard the Republic is all constitutional actors, in this case the Judiciary, simply doing their sworn duty, and without fear or favour, by upholding the law. The chips may then fall where they may, and the public will accept it. Trouble will arise if the Judiciary seems to be re-engineering the law to suit some half-baked judicial ideology trotted out as disguise to hide the evil intent of judicial coup.

    In any case, to my mind, the issue of “illegality” ought never even to have arisen, had the EBC’s defence of Constitutional grant of discretion pursuant to Section 71 been properly parsed by the trial judge.

    No one saw any “illegality” on the day of Election, not even the petitioners, who conceded defeat on the night. And the trial judge found as a matter of fact that there were no corrupt practices anywhere implicating the EBC or its election officers.

    We have it so good in T&T! But some people evidently can’t take it. In that context, I take note, Neal, of your story of the frog and the scorpion.

    May the Most High protect us from the scorpions in our midst, even and especially if they can’t help themselves.

    Shalom.

    What did our esteemed President once say? “Do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do…”. JA’s should understand that better than most.

  • The link previously posted is faulty. This is the article which I wanted to post.

    Independence: Celebration or Consternation?
    PETER O’CONNOR

    Wednesday is the 54th anniversary of our being granted Independence by Great Britain.

    We did not fight for this presumed privilege, indeed Britain seemed quite pleased to shed us and many other colonies. We were bright-eyed and innocent, with our new Flag, Anthem and the Emblems of Nationhood. We were a literate, reasonably industrious, and relatively happy people and our future shone brightly, as indeed it should have. While of course there were naysayers, most of us believed in ourselves and in our prospects as a Nation.

    What happened? Who failed us? Or did we just fail ourselves? Of course, I am writing on the strong assumption that most of us overwhelmingly acknowledge that our dreams and visions have not been fulfilled. In 1987, for our 25th anniversary, Lord Funny sang “Twenty-five years have passed. How you feel?” Well, how you feel today? Another oil boom has come and gone. And we still do not get it, do we? So we are going to celebrate on Wednesday, heap accolades on some, the deserving maybe, and others maybe not. We will have our fireworks and make believe that things are going to improve in our country. As a matter of fact, that is what the government of the day is going to tell us: That we need to celebrate and be proud of ourselves because we are still here as a nation. But the truth is, and we all know this, we are in deep trouble as a nation and as a society. And our financial situation should be the least of our concerns. Money has come and money has gone, and we continue to slide into crime, corruption and incompetence. Indeed, we have encouraged these ills to grow like cancers in our society.

    Murders and violent crime are the single most attention-grabbing ills we have brought upon ourselves. We have become numb to the children shot dead, the severed heads discovered on restaurant tables, the blood on our streets. And we are numb now to the insipid “grandcharge” statements of a lengthening line of failed Ministers of National Security. Get real folks, there is no one, and nothing on the horizon that is going to overcome our violent crime in the short term.

    But the Minister is pleased with his troops’ “commitment”.

    If violent crime is our most frightening failure, corruption is the most enduring. Every aspect of almost every government “service” is embedded in graft and corruption. From the simplest transactions like passing a driving test, all the way to the multi-billion construction or purchase contracts, everything is corrupt.

    Much of our government “service” is deliberately manipulated to be totally incompetent for the sole purpose of facilitating bribes so that the public can finally “get through”. And people flaunt their corrupt wealth proudly in the faces of the poor and the disadvantaged.

    You think this is going to stop? You think changes in government are going to end corruption and fraud in our land? Who is going to stop this corruption? And when? And how? You know better, the best you can hope for is “your turn”, so you can steal too.

    Our health service is a chronic disaster. We all know this, but Party comes and Party goes, and the only difference is different people get the riches, but the same old people get the illnesses and die. You know of someone who is going to fix this? Who, when and how? Education is in crisis, from collapsing schools, to the production of illiterate graduates, to children filming themselves copulating in their classrooms. How are you going to fix this? Government buildings and their services are dirty and broken.

    Ministers have to decide when to clean toilets. Citizens abuse and damage facilities put in place for their use and comfort.

    Our countryside is filthy, and we harbour no shame about this. What is wrong with us that we damage, destroy and litter everything, everywhere? This is our country now, our buildings, our beaches and roads. Why do we hate this place so? What is wrong with us that we have sunk into this slime of corruption and incompetence? It is not that we cannot do better, for in every field we have individuals who rise, like brilliant stars, to international acclaim. We momentarily cheer them on and then return to our crooked, incompetent selves, a condition we proudly acclaim.

    And what might be the solution to all of these failings? A Day of Prayer on Republic Day? Give us a break! They say God helps those who help themselves.

    A society content to wallow in crime, corruption and filth is not going to attract help from any Deity.

    Take up thy bed and w a l k , TT ! C l e a n up the countryside instead.

  • I want to start my contribution by commending Yoruba for his thoughtful insights into the judicial, philosophical and of course the intent of the judiciary in contemplating one this matter. Brother Neal did a masterful job in analyzing the social and political nature of our plural public in matter of national concerns. Last but not least, I commend TMan for appearing to be objective on a matter that I am sure must be difficult for him to come to terms with. Nevertheless, all the contributions focussed on objective analysis, as it ought to be.

    In all seriousness, this matter is extremely important for the progress of our democracy. As I have stated before in previous blogs, the judiciary acts a navigator to our legal rights as citizens in this country. Therefore they have an important function to perform in leading us through the intricacies of constitutional law. There should be little or no room for error in this process, be it philosophical, logical, jurisdictional or common-sensical. Rulings emanating from our high courts of justice must be of such that it strengthens our democracy. It must not appear to be tilting on intent by those whom we depend on to guide us towards a clear and justifiable consciousness.
    When petitions are brought to our Courts of Appeal, we expect wisdom and justice. We know when politicians bring political matters before a court of law, they expect the outcome to be a case of “win” or “loose”. But “win” or “loose” do not suffice, in this matter of the EBC. It actually sets precedent for the future. The only problem is that, Justice Amorer’s ruling does not appear to have done us any good because it provides no indicators on how the EBC ought to act in the future when confronted with the same or similar situations. And that is bound to occur sometime in the future. Thus, Justice
    Amores did not do justice to our concerns about the legality of the EBC’s actions. Yoruba sums her rulings well when he said:
    “For in one breath, she accepts EBC’s Constitutional discretion conferred in Section 71, but in the next avers that the exercise of that power “must be in accordance with the plain directive of the ROPA…”. Here, she appears torn as to which of the laws she should take guidance from. As a layman reading her perspectives, I feel compelled to conclude that there was no puritanical approach to making her decisions. It was in clear in my mind that what she was doing was exercising her will and authority to give life to this vexatious petition.

    There is no doubt about it that this petition was NOT a case where “the people” sought to have clarity, as the Petitioner Kamla Persad Bissessar claimed. This was partisan in nature and intent. It might even have been racial and biased, one could add when considering which seat results they chose to contest. The people spoke loud and clear about their choices. No one can claim that the people did not intend to elect the PNM. So, one might want to look at other motivating factors as my brother Neal so well articulated:
    “I’m reminded of a story of a frog , giving a stranded scorpion ,a lift on his back , across an expanse of water, only to be rewarded with a deadly sting , by said passenger , half way to his destination. When asked ,as to the reason for such a stupid move , which was guaranteed to kill them both, the scorpion responded with- ‘it’s my nature.” Too often we see through the disingenuousness of people who disguise their evil intents by claiming bias. Reading through the scripts of Justices Jamadar and Mendonca, it can clearly be seen a sort of philosophical
    leaning towards using process and rules as precedent, over the intent of the constitution. In other words, one does not get the impression that they were intent on finding justice. They appear to build a case for the kind of justice they really wanted to serve.

    Chief Justice Archie summed up this case well, when he hinted that this petition was a waste of time and therefore did not deserve the time and money spent to bring it before a court of law. As a matter of fact, most fair-minded citizens are of the firm belief that the UNC could not have been serious when the indicated that the election should be invalidated and basing their evidence only on the results of the seats they lost.
    Man summed it up well when he said:
    “I maintain that this case should never have been brought. The plaintiffs also have a responsibility to weigh the consequences of their legal challenge. Would the results of the election be different if the polls were not extended? The intelligent answer is in the negative. The plaintiffs should have considered the instability this action would create, the waste of the court’s time, and the fact that the case may still be pending after the government’s term is completed.”

    The judiciary is clearly at fault here in allowing this petition to be given the kind of life to it’s simple intent to overturn the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. If the Appeals Court continue to give credence to this stupid matter, the consequences could and would be great. The country is already on a fragile course of trajectory. The last government had no compunctions if keeping us functioning they way a democracy should. Tampering with it, they way Justices Jamadar, Mendonca and Amorer have done it like playing with fire without understanding the consequences of the volatile nature of judicial activism.

    • It actually sets precedent for the future. The only problem is that, Justice Amorer’s ruling does not appear to have done us any good because it provides no indicators on how the EBC ought to act in the future when confronted with the same or similar situations. And that is bound to occur sometime in the future.

      Kian, actually it admonishes EBC not to do it again, no matter how much sense it may make, because ROPA 35(1) purports to restrict EBC’s discretion as to the hours of polling. ROPA 35(1) uses the word “shall”, which conveys the force of strict requirement, which does not allow for discretion in the matter.

      This is ultra vires the Constitution, since the Constitution gives a grant of discretion. And what the Constitution grants, statute cannot take away.

      Therefore, EBC is in a box. It ought not in future merely disobey Judge Armorer’s “illegality” ruling, and do it again should there again be torrential rains and flooding or other similar contingency affecting an election. But if it accepts the ruling limiting its Constitutional powers, then the Judge would effectively have repealed, from the bench, a Constitutional provision.

      The EBC, as a creature of the Constitution, is duty-bound, and honour-bound, to challenge the ruling. It would be within its constitutional rights simply to ignore the ruling, and indeed ROPA, to the extent both traduce its Constitutional grant of discretion. For the Constitution itself says that any law which is inconsistent with it is void to the extent of the inconsistency. But it would not be seemly within the behavioural norms of our Republic, for one Constitutional actor to simply ignore an act by another Constitutional actor which invites conflict. Thus, as a Constitutional actor, the EBC is duty-bound to resist the curtailment of its power. I am sure the oath of office will make that plain. But as a matter of courtesy, it is honour-bound to find an appropriate resolution that sets aside the judge’s encroachment.

      As a Republic, we must decide one of two ways to set aside the conflict. One is to change the Constitution. Parliament is free to do so of course. But I for one would disagree. Note to the Mamoos: this is not a matter of personalities, nor of race. The other course is to amend ROPA so that the conflict is removed. That would set aside the judge’s ruling in effect, without having it reversed as such. The third is for EBC to appeal that holding of the judge, and rely on the Court of Appeal to correct that error in the judge’s ruling.

      Btw, EBC was to decide and announce what it wanted to do. Has that been done? I might have missed it.

      Shalom.

  • Our Hermano Yoruba , has certainly ‘hit this one out of de Ball Park,’ as we like to say on the street. I too could not hold back, commending him for a great job, as you can see, Kian.
    There comes a time in every country , where the National Interest, must always take precedent , over all selfish tribal concerns.
    In comparing the Siamese Twins,of Mamboo, and TMan, I always take great pains to make a distinction.
    This Super trolling , Mamboo creature, ain’t as dumb as he tries too hard to project.
    TMan in contrast , ‘knows what time it is,’ and so , even though , he is forced to grapple with his inner – tribal demons, still has the ability – as in this specific case-to present a coherent , rational thought. Irrespective of any possible skewed motive, one should applaud him.
    In these austere times ,our voter fatigue citizens , are in no mood to return to the polls , to vote in some costly election. Any political idiot , who force them so to do , will pay a huge price. Trust me on that.
    We’ll see , how independent our local Judges really are.Hopefully they won’t kowtow , to Kamla , and her political gang.

    • Neal:

      In these austere times ,our voter fatigue citizens , are in no mood to return to the polls , to vote in some costly election. Any political idiot , who force them so to do , will pay a huge price. Trust me on that.
      We’ll see , how independent our local Judges really are.Hopefully they won’t kowtow , to Kamla , and her political gang.

      I think you’re right on that, and we shall see.

      And in the news today, I see this in the Guardian –http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-09-06/unc%E2%80%99s-appeal-court-next-month:

      The UNC also contends that the judge was wrong to dismiss its evidence of the unknown consequences of the EBC’s decision as speculation.

      “It was not known from the evidence before her how many people were aware of the commission’s directive and how those people who were aware of it would have reacted to it.

      “These unknown consequences meant that the learned judge could not properly have found with certainty that the breaches did not materially affect the outcome of the election,” the appeal states.

      So the UNC appeal is being grounded on the dubious legal principle that the judge should have been guided in her decision on what she did not know, and could not know. In other words, because there were “unknown consequences”, she could not in logic find that the election was not materially affected by the EBC’s “illegality”.

      This precisely is the opening invited by Justice Mendonca JA at the leave to petition appeal, when he said:

      If an election is therefore not conducted so
      as to be in substantial compliance with the law, it is
      impossible to say that the result was not materially
      affected.

      As an exercise in schoolboy logic that may seem persuasive, but the issue would remain, in law, that the burden of proof remains with he who alleges.

      In this case, it is for the petitioner to prove that the election result was materially affected, and moreover the playing field tilted against petitioner. To appeal to “unknown consequences” is to call upon the judge to find for the petitioner on the evidential claim of the unknowable! That is, the unknown — and unknowable — is in itself advanced as evidence in the case, for the petitioner to meet its burden of proof!

      What is a respondent to do? How does one defend against the unknown and the unknowable? The answer of course is that one can’t.

      Hence under this curious logical and legal doctrine (if it may be called that), what would cleverly be accomplished is the shifting of the burden of proof.

      No! The law is very clear that it is he who alleges that must prove. The unknown and the unknowable cannot be advanced as evidence in seeking to carry that burden.

      THe Express — http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20160906/news/unc-challenge-gets-court-of-appeal-dates — also carried the story, where we see this:

      The UNC contended that it was not possible to know, from the evidence provided, how many people were really aware of the EBC’s directive and it was also unknown how people would have reacted to it.
      In a press release then, UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said her party’s Queen’s Counsel advised that it has “a strong appeal” against Dean-Armorer’s views on the consequences of the illegality committed by the EBC.

      So we have a Senior Counsel, being advised by an imported English Queen’s Cousel, that there is a strong appeal resting in a logic which amounts to cleverly shifting the burden of proof from petitioner unto respondent — a burden furthermore that neither petitioner nor respondent could carry, because in logical principle based on that which is neither known, nor knowable!

      Oh what a web…! Shakespeare would have such a time if he returned to 21st century T&T.

      The law need not be an ass… although in the hands of the merely clever, that exactly is what we have. THe SC’s and QC’s in service to wicked clients may of course always “try a ting”. But God is His wisdom made the matter plain. The duty of a judge is stated simply as follows:

      ” … they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” (Deuteronomy 25:1)

      And the qualifications required of a judge are equally plain:

      “men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…” (Exodus 18:21)

      A judge must fear God, love truth, and hate covetousness. So here is the question in the instant case: who is covetous, petitioner UNC/PP or respondent, EBC? And to know what the UNC/PP covet and why, take a look at the Indian Policy, Items #1 and #2.

      Who is truthful, petitioner UNC/PP pleading the unknown and unknowable as if it were evidence, or EBC taking reasonable and clearly justifiable action given the Election-day contingency of torrential rain and flooding, well calculated and calibrated to further its mandate of overseeing free, fair and full elections?

      The law is not as ass. It is only the wicked, and occasionally the stupid, who would make it so. But the honest judge who fears God, loves truth, and hates covetousness, will not make it so. Rather he is obligated to God and man to justify the righteous and condemn the wicked.

      May the Most High make it so in this case, and spare the Republic this grievous and wicked assault upon it. This matter should never have got this far, but perhaps we should be thankful, because it certainly has helped to expose the wicked.

      Shalom.

  • This case will go no further than the Supreme court of T&T. It is not eligible for an appeal to the Privy council.
    The decision will be against the UNC. It is predictable based on the political leanings of the majority of the judges. Court decisions are always predictable in T&T based on the identity of the presiding judges and their well known political affinities.

  • “The decision will be against the UNC.It is predictable based on the political leanings of the majority of the judges.” TMan

    Seeing that you are trying to go out on a pro victimization limb here , let me asked the following questions:- 1.What exactly ,are the “political leanings,” of your neo tribal UNC party , and by extension your Indo Trini race?
    Contrary to what some intellectual midgets- like yourself – might believe, I personally don’t see an ideological difference , between the PNM ,and UNC, or Afro Trinis , and Indo Trinis.
    I look at situations, more so in terms of Class. The elite Indo Trini, is actually no different ,from a similar bloke , that’s African, water down Euro -local Whites, and privilege Trini Arabs.
    Both parties emerged from Labor roots, and were controlled , by neo Imperial , self aggrandizing bums , who have ridden the backs of chiefly poor ,desperate , gullible , uneducated masses , obsessed with pagan religions , that contributed in keeping them subjugated , drunkenly happy, and more importantly ,angry with each other publicly- while grabbing every opportunity, to caress under the sheets, to produce an even more confused , self hating, mix ethnic bunch.
    H
    Speaking of which- how is that weed head , ex MP, and one time UNC -Chief Dougla , Anil Roberts, doing these days folks? For all of the idle , pre election , anti corruption talks, can someone from our present government ,make a push ,to see that he return, and or account ,for millions stolen from his department?
    2. When former UNC Justice Minister Volney resigned his judicial post , one month before the 2010 elections , what racial criteria , or political leanings ,were considered appropriate ,to bring him on board, then discard him quickly,after he failed to deliver?
    3. Did Dana Seetahal, ex COP Pal , and now glorified ,High court Judge Lucky, fit that appropriate tribal identity,and political leanings , when she too was elevated to the bench, by your party ,and leader?
    4. Are these identities , and political leanings a major factor ,in preventing our T&T ,from becoming part of the CCJ as yet, even though Barbados , and similarly tribally fractured Guyana ,are both members?

    Did you hear that folks? I assumed you did. Those are the screeching Crickets ,we are hearing, during the eerie silence ,by the resident , flame throwing coward , TMan .
    I am firmly convince , that both him ,and Mamboo ,are one and the same ,country hating , neo tribal ,highly paid ,ultra trolling, cyber creatures, with as much credibility as flees , encircling the rear ends , and or ,under bellies ,of any South of de Caroni, or NNE of the East dry river / Betham Labasse Mangy dogs.
    Tell me again folks- with citizens like these , who need enemies, eeehhh?
    Attempting to start a ‘false narrative ,’ and failing miserably, one might add.

    .

    • ” while grabbing every opportunity, to caress under the sheets, to produce an even more confused , self hating, mix ethnic bunch”( NEAL)

      Careful now Neal. You are hitting hard below the belt with this deliberate insult. This “mix ethnic bunch” is what makes our country fascinating. This mix ethnic bunch happens to be the moral and ethical conscience of the nation, deciding elections objectively and contributing to the formation of our unique culture. It is bad enough to persistently berate the Indo community, but now you are journeying into an area which I consider sacrosanct.
      You are now attacking many who are close to me.

      • ” It is bad enough to persistently berate the Indo community, but now you are journeying into an area which I consider sacrosanct.
        You are now attacking many who are close to me.” TMan

        Ahhhh , mi Primo Tman, & just who would have guessed that he too had Afro -Mandingo-Housa -Fulani-Ibo-Kikuyu blood, running through his South Asian -Trini veins? Then again , dense as I am sometimes,it’s possible , I simply misinterpret what he is trying to say, ehhhhhh? I get it TMan , de love of your life is of de ‘African persuasion.’
        Good for you.

        http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/forum/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=3955

        Some 8 years ago, I wrote a piece extolling the virtues of plain speaking. ‘Me think, ‘it’s still applicable today TMan.
        You simply got to say what you mean ,and mean what you say- as we (the less politically correct )like to say on the streets.
        Now mind you, I too have embraced many of the common Neo Diplomatic gobbledygooks , that is most common across the globe , after working some 2 plus decades ,within the corridors of a certain glorified INGO, but enough of such.
        As for ‘berating the Indo Community,’ I’ll leave that alone , since I know that comment was a broad brush error on your part , as you must be mixing me up with unmentionable others, fixated on lose/lose agendas.
        I more than most on this forum , takes full pride in holding all tribal leaders accountable, and has not hesitated ,to call out where warranted ,individuals, groups ,or overall citizens – when it came to what I perceived as failings/ short comings , on soc-economic – com political affairs.
        Now , don’t take my word for it. Go through the archives.
        There are reasons why I’ve told folks repeatedly, when ending a blog on this forum , to ‘Luv Humanity, and forget the tribe.’
        As for this bogus story of EBC foul play, let’s ‘quit beating this dead horse ,’ shall we? It’s getting beyond tedious .
        The learned Judge spoke , and later this month , the Appeal Court , will give it’s final ruling. Win , or lose , both political parties, and their fans , will live with it, for dat is how we roll here in La Trinity.
        Like you, I am happy for that…”..moral and ethical conscience of the nation,” who might get another chance to decide another elections objectively..”
        Just kidding! Both you and I know ,that this entire statement is hogwash. Political elites,pundits/ handlers, from either of these two major Political parties ,aren’t sitting around , loosing sleep ,over the role , or actions , or more so non actions,of our ‘put your fingers in de mouth, then raise dem in de air , to see which direction the wind is blowing- to decide where we belong-ethnic Dougla tribe.” Trust me on that.
        Take it from me , mi Primo-Outside of the typical brain washed Mulattos in North America , and Europe, or the mixed breed – White wannabe crazies in all of Latin America, no other group on earth , is more confused, and psychologically scarred , as members of our National Dougla Population,and the reasons are simple.
        Let’s start with a lack of a clear identity, coupled with uncontrolled venom, against their selfish parents who brought them into this world,and worst yet , self hatred -the result of being unloved.
        They know deep in their souls ,that the African sides of their family will never trust them, and the Indian half, despise them.
        They themselves , will only identify with their African roots , if said half ,has enormous wealth, power, and fame.
        In contrast , for various Sociological reasons, they’ll do any ,and everything, to be accepted by their Indo Straight hair cousins – which won’t ever take place- for obvious reasons, that our numerous local academic , social science ,and lazy -fat cats-ntellectual midgets , won’t ever explore.
        Sadly, no two topics brings fear into the souls of Trinidadians, and Tobagonians , as that of sex, and race.
        In Guyana , as you know TMan , this entire taboo subject- Dougla debacle , that you spoke so glowingly about ,is look at in derision , as they have openly claimed, that 99% of the human products ,emerged from Afro Guyanese rapes ,committed on their more delicate Indo Guyanese female citizens.
        Any opinion on that?
        If you disagree with such conclusions, are you firstly saying , that in your T&T ,these interactions are done by choice?
        Secondly, are most with the blessings of parents- in our society where decades after indentured arrivals in T&T, Arrange marriages ,are still at with glee?
        Thirdly, who stands to gain more politically , by this continued ,Douglarization , upward projections?
        Yep , and where the hell is my Indian Policy copy that , Brother Kain send me . Chap 25 , page 108? Nope Nada.
        A word of caution TMan , it was you who opened this Pandora’s box, and remember , you ain’t talking to some Afro Trini, high school drop out bum , from behind the East Dry River Bridge ,or worst yet , one of your typical White disingenuous , Kiwani Club ,fake progressive , liberal pals in Boston, or Ottawa Starbucks.

        Glad you and I , might get a chance to do so , moving forward. It might help bring about the post Traumatic healing ,that is needed , to help push our underachieving nation ,along the part of elusive ,Sustainable Development.
        Tell you what folks, a traumatized mixed breed himself , Dr Fanz Fanon ,did a masterful job, on the subject decades ago .
        The Black / Jewish ,American Author ,Walter Mosley ,likewise did a few excellent frictional works ,on the subject.
        One of my old College Prof Stephen Steinberg, did a class a few year ago on Sociology & Race,of which I never got a chance to do , due to class clashes. His book Ethic Myth , is a must read.

        http://qcurban.org/faculty/stephen-steinberg/

        Can you imagine , a collaborative research , and eventual publication between yours truly , and Tman , with regards to T&T , along with a follow up Think Tank , for the wider Anglo/Latin American regions?
        Well , there it is . Trini Center Nation, opening doors, and expanding win/ win , Symbolic Bridge building Initiatives ,to a brighter future.

        https://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Myth-Ethnicity-Class-America/dp/080704153X

        Who is ready to open the ugly under belly of T&T ,aka Baby America, re the subject of race , ethnicities,and Immigration? No Se.
        Yeah , I know , let’s await the White experts-saviors, and continue to trash each other ,across main stream ,media and popular Social media , while naively believing that we are superior to each other- as if that will make us safer, healthier , or more financially secure.

        Make it happen Neal!

        I luv this land, Y tu?

    • Once again the deliberately skewed mind of our prolific contributor Neal is driven to assume that my reference to predicting legal decisions is restricted to the political leanings of PNM judges only. Not so mon ami. My reference was meant to be all inclusive.
      Your assumptions are indicative of everything that is wrong in T&T….racial and political interpretations are severely restricting progress, cooperation and one of your favorite themes, nation building.

  • One last word about this EBC thing! Laws do have and are derived from a hierarchical structure. Most of what we adhere to as ‘law’ are in fact subsets of the ten commandments given to Moses in the old testament. Most of European Laws are in fact derivitives of biblical beliefs and not necessarily traditional traits. Statutes are a subset of the structure to uphold and practice law. Statutes, therefore must look to the constitution of law for authority. We are guided by natural law in order to function in our daily lives, therefore our habits are formed by the atmosphere of what nature provide for us to function. So, without any argument, in the hierarchical structure of laws, the law of nature MUST BE FIRST. All other laws become are subservient. So too is the Constitution. Constitutional laws are the pillars under which all other laws have to depend in order to have a properly functional society. By this reasoning, ROPA must be considered subservient to the Constitution. So, if we are to be guided by the likes of Amorrer, Jamadar and Mendonca who appears to rely solely on ROPA to base their reasonings, how can we be sure that our Judiciary have professionals who profess to have wisdom?

    It is therefore obvious, to the lay mind that these people (in the judiciary) operate with cunning rather than structural arguments to arrive at the conclusions that the EBC, a creature of the Constitution, is wrong using procedure set forth in ROPA.
    I agree that based on wording, there might be need for legal adjustment to make the law more definitive but to argue that the EBC was WRONG, is to decide that they are ‘putting the law into their own hands’, and that is called judicial activism.

    The practice of law should NOT be judged merely on a ‘win or loss’ proposition. The practice should always venture to seek justice. The outcome should always be predicated on the merits of justice. When judges seek to bend the law to reflect their traditional thinking, then we as a country is headed in the WRONG direction and therefore, it becomes dangerous because our guidance is based on untruths.

    As law abiding citizens, Justices Amorer, Jamadar and Mendonca have done us no favors and definitely no justice, in rendering the kind of verdicts that this outcome is predicated upon. It is with this in mind WE MUST PROTEST THE FINDINGS of these judges and call for better reasoning from our learned body, to teach us as ordinary laymen to understand how our Constitution works.

    The People spoke. The Constitution spoke, The EBC spoke.
    We should respect that and it should operate firsthand foremost in our minds. Politicians WILL try and continue to try ‘any means necessary’ to gain power. The Courts MUST NOT BE SEEN as the avenue to take the law into their own hands, after the People have spoken an then turn it over to greedy and unpatriotic politicians.

    BY THE SAME TOKEN WE NEED TO CALL OUT JUDICIAL ACTIVISM especially when it is so obvious in our eyes!

  • Mi hermnano:

    Brother Yoruba said also -“Politics rule supreme in this country and wisdom has nothing to do with the judicial outcome of cases. ”

    As I traverse the hills , valleys, and by ways of our country- doing my ever so subtle ,ethnographic studies – from Signall Hill, to Bacolet, Toco, to Carenage,Maracas, to Diego Martin ,Los Bajos , to St Helena , and Marabella, to Couva-I am here to report ,based on such observations -that there are those who would make a similar statement ,but only because of a ingrain fear, for taking meaningful individual, or collective actions,so as to initiate authentic change – and that’s a tragedy.
    I suspect that you too ,aren’t of that mindset , Bro YI?
    The time to organize is now.

    I think you meant Kian, not me. I do not distance myself you understand, because I’ve been quite forthright in my allegations, but your quote above was not from me, but Bro Kian.

    I’m not sure all what you mean about “fear” etc.

    In any case, I’m called as a servant of the Most High, and so I must speak truth, however unpopular, and fear God only.

    The only organization I’m about is that of the congregation of Israel. The entire drama of which we are not just a part, but the very centre, is that foretold of the scattered Israelites. That is who we are, and what the whole drama is about.

    On that basis, the only “political” action that I care to take is to call upon the Most High… and of course to continue to preach and teach the truth that I have been given as to who who we the “Negro” are, and the simple, and radical, cause — and therefore solution — of all our problems.

    If you think that is ineffectual, you haven’t read Scripture and with understanding. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLHP6uGVMwQ . And especially for Buddhists, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfYiBTeMZ6o .

    Shalom.

    “Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord Yahweh, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.” (Isaiah 51:21-23)

  • Apologies are in order , re the quote .Certainly came from Kain. Not an excuse , but let me add , that often times -due to my initial tiredness,perhaps while writing- some of the best blogs I have written , came long after I saved, re read/ edit, then pressed send, a day or two later.
    Translation:- driving on our Trini Center Information Highway , is just as dangerous as driving on our nations roads ,especially if tired.
    We call it ‘sleep deprivations,’ and in the case of the latter ,might have cost many lives ,& injuries,as a result.
    There are unfortunately those , who look at ideological , cultural, tribal, ethnic , Gender, age , and even class differences, and see a humongous mountain.
    I,in contrast don’t, and instead view such as opportunities, to grow , learn,advance, and ‘build symbolic bridges,’ to a better future.
    Not a big fan of proselytizing myself , and so would like to refer to myself as a mere ‘Agnostic Buddhist,’who have been trying to ‘walk the part,’ for some 25 years.
    Not only do I embrace the simple yet important , philosophical notion, of ‘the inevitability of change ,’ but also accept an urgent need, to ‘end suffering of all sentient beings.’ Emphasis should be noted ,”all!”

    Let me for the record also state that I too , like the best of them,care about the pathetic state of my maligned , long suffering people,scattered all across this globe, but neo Pragmatic / Political Animal as I am , recognize that- especially in a Democracy- one must work within the confines of prevailing realities ,one exist in.
    Got to respect the rights ,and concerns of fellow earthlings .
    Can’t ignore the plight of ‘the other .’
    Don’t wish to be some stupid Martyr, and so ,got to appreciate the forces that one must inevitably grapple with – good , bad , or ugly.
    Oh , and by the way, the thought never entered my mind , Mi Hermano , that you were gingerly, trotting around ,with your important message , under some cloud of ‘fear.’
    My major point , was that from my observations,and yes conversations ,too many of us were reluctant to even talk , much let attempt to stand up to be counted , because of ‘FEAR.’ Therein lies the challenge ahead , for prospective Game changers. The masses would never be fully liberated , unless they can be re educated, and or motivated enough, to push back at the oppressors – who aren’t still always going to be WHITE ,evil conniving Massa.
    Don’t get me wrong, the latter must be held accountable, for his past historical misdeeds, or present day actions , via glorified INGO’s,like say the UN,or greedy Corporate thugs , working hand in hand ,with self serving leaders.
    In like manner,the hands of neo elite leaders ,that look like the oppressed masses , must be held close to the fire, if progress is to be made.
    There is work yet to be done. The choice ahead is clear if winning a the Human Security level , is the end game :- I am talking about the need to organize, advocate , and where feasible, join in solidarity with progressives.
    A few would laugh , at my last suggestion of “Solidarity,” but who can blame them?
    They weren’t fortunate enough , to get councils , by de Wisest woman that ever lived, in my Late, Tobago Granny.
    Remember Neal, she would often say -“One hand can’t clap!”
    Truth be told folks, even Socrates , and King Solomon, didn’t have nada , on that woman .
    Let’s keep redefining the end game , mi Hermano.
    Luv Humanity People!

    • Neal:

      The masses would never be fully liberated , unless they can be re educated, and or motivated enough, to push back at the oppressors – who aren’t still always going to be WHITE ,evil conniving Massa.

      Unfortunately, it is already written that not all of us will be “saved”/liberated. Enoch so wrote even before the Flood. And Yeshua:

      “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

      This suggests, sadly, that most of us will *not* be “saved”/liberated.

      We make the mistake of thinking that our socio-political “liberation” is somehow different from our spiritual “salvation” as spoken of in Holy Scripture. They are in fact one and the same. Our forefathers, the Israelites enslaved under Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, were “saved” out of it at the hand of God, through the “saviours” Moses and Aaron, who with nary a weapon available to them, nevertheless forced Pharaoh to “let my people go”. It is something similar that is to happen, here on earth, when the Chosen of God, notably and principally the so-called “Negro”, are again “saved”/liberated out of our miserable condition as a people, everywhere to where we have been scattered.

      But those who will be saved must indeed be re-educated. The first tenet of re-education must lie in knowledge of who we are as the Chosen of God, and why we are in the condition we are in. This is fundamental. If one does not know the Cause of a problem, one may only guess as to the Remedy.

      And as a people, we have been guessing and guessing, never coming to a sure diagnosis. We have had any number of would-be saviours, each sincere, and the followers believing. But none has succeeded. The closest was perhaps Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who fulfilled his task of waking us up as a people, but as to raising us back up, that task remains. (Btw, Garvey’s movement, spanning every continent, encompassing millions of our people, and embracing tangible self-help accomplishments like an inter-continental shipping line, at a time when there was no tv, and no internet, was truly a remarkable accomplishment; our own Prof. Tony Martin made a career as a historian documenting that movement).

      Assuredly, any movement grounded in agnostic buddhism misses the core diagnosis, and by a mile. Therefore, any proposed remedy arising therefrom also is sure to fail. Sorry. Garvey’s “Arise, you mighty people, accomplish what you will!”, was closer to the mark.

      I am here to preach, and teach, and to be an intercessor for our people, called to service as a Nazarite servant of God. I am a preacher and teacher of “the true faith”. I am by no means perfect, and indeed a confessed and repentant sinner. But, in all simplicity, the true faith by which we shall “live”, i.e. be saved, is simply that we the scattered Israelites failed in our duty of obedience to God and His exclusive covenant with the children of Jacob/Israel. Exactly as prophesied, we have therefore been reduced to the condition in which we find ourselves, here in T&T and in every other country to which we have been scattered, including but not limited to all over Africa. We are Israelites, not Africans. Understand that clearly. For example, our brethren the native Fijians are not “African” in any useful sense, for their Israelite forebears never set foot in Africa when they too were scattered out of the land of Israel. They look like us because we are both Israelite peoples, not because we are both “African”.

      It is no coincidence that the Fijians and we have similar problems, down to and including our indo problem. That is because we are under the same curse: “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.” (Deuteronomy 28:43)

      Now, I have no problem with your admonition to “luv humanity”. But I cannot agree with your admonition to “forget tribe”. We are not allowed to forget tribe because it is as a tribe that we are called to obedience, and it is as a tribe that we have been punished for disobedience, and it is as a tribe that we will be “saved”/liberated, i.e. raised back up, and indeed to rule. That is God’s Word; I do not and cannot mince it.

      The simple fact is that, exactly as foretold in Scripture, there are three great enmities abroad in the earth: One is the enmity between the seed of Adam and the seed of Satan, the serpent; Genesis 3:15. Another is the enmity between Jacob/Israel and his twin, Esau/Edom; Genesis 27:41. And the third is that between Judah and Ephraim; 1 Kings 12.

      The serpent seed are children of the fallen angels; Genesis 6:2, more fully elaborated in the Book of Enoch; these today are notably and principally the Khazar so-called Jew. They are the rulers of the earth today, and literally seek to destroy mankind; all the world wars have been to that end.

      The Edomites are allied with their fellow so-called Jews, and were those who, together with the Ishmaelite Arabs, black and white/red, most implicated in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which also was prophesied; Deuteronomy 28:68, Psalems 83:1-7. But not all Edomites are so-called Jew; they also include notably the Brahminist Aryans who conquered India before their British Edomite brethren, became “brown sahibs” under the British Raj, and today have re-asserted their caste rule over India. They remain in a state of enmity against true Israel.

      As to the third enmity, that between Judah and Ephraim, both Israelite of the seed, that is the only one that Scripture foretells will end in reconciliation; Isaiah 11:13. Today Judah is notably and principally the so-called “Negro” of the former British colonies of the West, namely the U.S., Canada, and the West Indies. And Ephraim is notably the so-called “white” people called derogatorily rednecks, crakkas, hillbillies, and the like. They have been made to think of themselves as “white”, just as we have been brainwashed to think of ourselves “black”. Some of our would-be liberators raised the cry of “black power”, just as some of theirs raise the cry of “white power”, and have been deceived into joining the KKK and etc. In our case, a genuine movement such as Garvey’s had to be derailed by the for-the-moment rulers of the earth, the so-called Jews that contol the U.S, the U.K and the other world powers. Fake movements such as the NAACP were put in its place. They are fake in the sense of being beholden to and ultimately guided by the rulers of the earth. Sad to say, but the decolonization movement of which T&T is “beneficiary”, also was of that nature. We are “independent”, but only up to a point. Eric Williams understood that. Patrick Manning was made to understand it when Kissinger came knocking. Manning was getting too close to Chavez at that point, and had to be yanked back into line. I do not rail against that subjection, for the time is not yet; the time of the gentiles must be fulfilled, as it is written.

      What is my point? Anodyne slogans such as “luv humanity” are all well and good, and I do not advocate hate by any means. We did not have to hate Pharaoh for his rule over us to cease. But in all our “love” extended to our enemies, we must also understand that our obligation under Covenant law to “love our neighbours”, will not change the prophecies. There is an ultimate end foretold for the serpent seed. There is one also foretold for the children of Esau/Edom. And there is a cross-“racial” reconciliation foretold for “black” Judah, and “white” Ephraim, actual brethren of the seed. How that reconciliation will work out I cannot know exactly, but the clues are that the it will be to the undoing of serpent-seed folks such as Kissinger and Soros. Scripture refers to them also as “Gog and Magog”, another long story. The point is that they are the ones bent on fomenting “race war”, as well as WW III etc.

      Nevertheless, what we must do is preach and teach, and pray. Yes, “re-education” is called for, but not in the way you imagine. Inter-cessory prayer is called for, for that will be very much a factor in our raising back up as a people. And again, when that raising back up takes place, it will be very much a “tribal” matter. For so it is written, like it or not.

      I hope that clarifies where “I’m at”, as you asked in another post.

      Shalom.

      “Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord Yahweh, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.” (Isaiah 51:21-23)

      • “Unfortunately, it is already written that not all of us will be “saved”/liberated. Enoch so wrote even before the Flood.” Yoruba

        I can sense that you won’t ever really be a huge fan of say ,a Franz Fanon , but likewise,only sees merit in attempting to get into that futuristic land , which allegedly ,is laden with Milk, and Honey , and where the streets are paved in Gold,huh?
        Just for the record , please note that the admonition was also given , in Matthew 7:21-23, that many, who spend a lifetime proclaiming to be on the correct part,doing what they perceived as his will- a la -casting out devils, prophesying , in his name , will – for obvious reason-likewise, be in for a rude shock, with the rebuff to -“Depart from me I know you not.”
        Just thought I’ll put that out there on Front street.

        I like this Dr Fanon quote, which is in no way a contradiction of my earlier point , on the need to “educate the masses ,” as a way to nudge them towards a part of true liberation, from real, and or phantom enemies.
        “To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
        ― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

        Interesting analysis of my frequent rallying ‘cries in de Wilderness ,’of – “Luv Humanity, and forget the tribe.”
        At least , you did not resort to name calling ,like a certain unmentionable , female SISTAZ of ours , who has since disappeared off de Trini Center Nation radar , perhaps to some Saint Mother Theresa reclusive convent ,in Bengaluru Kamataka,or has decided to show solidarity, with long suffering ,16 year period – fasting Cousin ,Irom Sharmila,from Manipur,NW India.

        http://qz.com/742978/irom-sharmila-can-indias-most-famous-prisoner-of-conscience-become-a-new-political-star/

        You see , said over zealous blogger, in her quest to dismiss my point , decided after reading some 4,999, of my 50010 plus blogs , as promoting a KUMBAYA exercise climate.
        I Neal , de guy who grew up with an extremely wise, late , Tobago Granny ,who warned him to “never cut your nose to spoil your face,” will then choose to get into symbolic beds ,of self serving cretins ,while blindfold, knowing what can occur?
        I do not need to be forced fed ,a notion of promoting the interest of one’s own folks first ,/ or better yet ,the need for self love , over other wider gestures ,for I as a big fan of Bro Stokley Carmichael aka Kwame Ture, is quite aware of that.
        Didn’t he wisely warned that -“Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks?”
        I subscribe to that- even as my patience is running thin.
        The fact is , that getting dem horses to drink ,while they are at the water’s edge ,where they were dragged – kicking ,and screaming – can be quite a tedious exercise, and my patience is running out.
        I just might have to leave that mammoth exercise to you.

        Loving Humanity, while forgetting the tribe ,does not mean , putting the interest of others, over your own.
        Here is the deal, and I don’t care who disagree, for this ain’t some opaque theory- and trust me when I say , I’ve studied them all – from domestic , to International Politics.
        99.9 % of the barbarian wars,ugly acts of terrorism, genocidal savageries , and dehumanizing beat downs, of the disenfranchised ,that has occurred throughout history- especially since the end of the Cold War ,were directly linked to to obsessive tribalism.
        I subscribe to the view extended to me by a former A’Level teacher , back in the day ,dat ‘something is good if it works.’
        You in contrast claimed that unlike anything Buddhist doctrine has to offer ,as far as liberating an oppressed people, that of,Black savior Marcus Garvey’s “Arise, you mighty people, accomplish what you will!”, was closer to the mark.

        Ok, and with millions of scarce TT dollars used, maybe, 60 plus sporting folks,out of our 1.3 million plus population, qualified to represent , and was dispatched to Rio Brazil, to perform, in the recent Olympics.
        However ,only one came back with a Bronze medal. When compared to less economically stable Jamaica, do you believe our efforts should be classified as successful?What in the end did Marcus Garvey achieved?

        This is one of the reason as to why Politics is one of my favorite Blood sport. In it’s purest sense, is a cause for finding one’s way , in a complex world ,of competing needs, and wants,while ensuring that others likewise feel, that they too, are getting an equally good slice of the pie.
        Optimist in me say, we’ll get there one day eventually. As important as religion is ,let me in ending state , that Politics is everything.
        Even fostering a climate ,where you ,can freely practice your religion, to pray,and await blessings from your God above, as you await his triumphant return to earth one day,” as a thief in the night, “to burn the evil disobedient blokes, and save the good guys.
        In most societies across our globe , competing forces, and tribes , must coexist with their varying political// religious ideological views, beliefs,and customs-unless of course , they wish to replicate that which took place in the Balkans, Sri Lanka , Sudan,early,and present day India , Bangladesh, and Pakistan , the craziness in Nigeria,and the Balkans.
        Aren’t we happy that La Trinity , tribally fractured as we might be -we are doing fine ,well….thus far?
        Warmest Regards.

        Stay vigilant folks!

        • My brother Neal:

          I like this Dr Fanon quote, which is in no way a contradiction of my earlier point , on the need to “educate the masses ,” as a way to nudge them towards a part of true liberation, from real, and or phantom enemies.

          “To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
          ― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

          Fanon, in his atheism, and you in your agnosticism, have it wrong I’m afraid. And all other would-be liberators likewise, who admit no role for the “demiurge”.

          The simple fact is that our wretchedness is due to the punishment of a just God. And our liberation, likewise, already foretold, will be a redemption ordained and brought about by that same, and merciful, God.

          Here is the problem with atheism/agnosticism in a nutshell:

          “Reason obeys itself; and ignorance does whatever is dictated to it.” (Thomas Paine, Rights of Man)

          Thomas Paine is a “dead white guy” but in this he is absolutely correct.

          Atheism/agnosticism is ignorance raised ignorantly to an -ism. All who are caught up in such willful ignorance will fall variously for every vain ideology that comes along, and obey the dictates of this or that demagogue, according to latest ideological fashion. Nowadays, not even a demagogue is required, for the masses fall easy prey to the media manipulators via tv, radio, Hollywood etc.

          As against ignorance, there is reason. It is through the exercise of reason that one may come to know, confidently, that there is a God. Just look around you. Contemplate the creation, in all its plenitude, in all its inter-locking dependencies, and in particular its arrangements for procreation, and the idea that it all came about without the agency of a willful and intelligent Creator (demiurge) would be seen by any common man as a nonsense, a non-starter. In this the common man is wiser than Fanon, wiser than all the agents of Satan (sorry) somehow persuaded that no Creator is necessary to explain creation.

          I say “agent of Satan” because at bottom the urge to deny God is simply the urge to rebellion against God, following in Satan’s footsteps. For God is among others a law-giver. He ordained laws for His creation, in particular natural laws, and moral laws. By contrast, Satan maintains, “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!”. The irony is that in seeking such “liberation”, we end up enslaved to this or that dystopia.

          The same irony exists in the program of every would-be liberator of our people that starts off denying the “demiurge”, or casting the Creator as the problem.

          No my friend. Use your reason. God exists. Seek therefore after His word. For His word will be the testimony of the the doer of the deed. One does not have to look far to find that testimony. It lies in Holy Scripture, nowhere else. Reason further is required to test Scripture. For His word must needs be consistent with Reality as we know it — existential reality, historical reality, prophetic reality — otherwise it is not His word. Apply those tests to Holy Scripture, and you find that there is a tribal reality there spoken of, that applies in particular to the children of Jacob/Israel. Our wretched condition, in all essential particularities was prophetically ordained (through Moses) as a rider that went along with our Covenant obligations, which we broke. That is the Cause of our wretchedness. The “essential particularities” are sufficiently numerous to assure Reason that there is no “coincidence” involved. The odds are simply too great, when all the particularities are enumerated … as in DNA matching used to establish the perpetrator of a crime.

          Reason fails many an atheist/agnostic, because they are unaware of this simple Scriptural principle: to God, a thousand years is like a day; Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8. Thus a certain long view, and a certain patience, are required when contemplating prophecy. Thus, in God’s eyes, what Moses prophesied before the children of Israel even crossed the Jordan to go into the promised land, took place only about three days ago. The passage of time therefore ought not to stand as offering any nullification of the Word. Quite the opposite, it is with the passage of time that we may see the unerring unfolding of history exactly as foretold by His word.

          The simple fact is that Ignorance cannot stand before Reason:

          “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)

          Therefore, with all due respect to Fanon, and others of his ilk professing this or that doctrine grounded in an ideological objection to God per se, he is misguided. And by Satan. The doctrines of “progressive humanism” are of like nature. So too are the doctrines of feminism, of batty-manism, trans-genderism, miscegenationism (e.g. dohglarization as solution to tribalism), liberalism, marxism-leninism, buddhism, brahmanism, and every other -ism that goes contrary to the plain word of God, given to and through His Chosen seed, the children of Israel. Every -ism is essentially objection to and rebellion against that simple arrangement ordained by God, the keeping of which will ensure peace, harmony and good order. It is from disobedience to that order that flow all the ills of the world.

          That is what our liberators and would-be saviours must preach and teach. It is as simple as that.

          Shalom.

          “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)

  • Both Neal and Yoruba have made important and salient points that we needs to ponder upon if we are seriously interested in change. Neal has gone on so far as to illustrate many agents of change, to which humanity has benefitted tremendously. To the average Trinbagonian, basic needs are first and foremost security and making a living. When a resident of Laventille gets up in the morning, his/her first instinct is to ascertain that the family is not run over by burglary or gun shots, before proceeding to making a living for that day. The family in Couva follows the same routine and concerns. When viewed nationally, our main concerns are safety of our selves then safety of our country. Because in today’s world none of us are safe from internal or external aggressions. None of us is sure that some madman leader can emerge next door to us and decide to take over our country. So, from the point of our national security, we need to be assured that our borders are safe from such predators and adventurers. We also have to sure that our air space and shipping lives are not inundated with pirates and hijackers to prevent our goods from reaching us.

    Most of our business people are not entrepreneurs like the DuPrey family. They are mostly traders who depend on goods coming from overseas to retail to the local populace. This means that their concerns would mostly naturally be, bringing in goods at the most economical rate and retailing with for rates that would render great profits. It also means that shipping and transportation would be of intense interests to their prosperity. In terms of shipping and transportation, they are the same means used by lords of the underworld to import and export their guns, ammunition, drugs and prostitution. So, what we have here is an interest shared by both legitimate and illegitimate interest groups. They both depend on the same means to sell their products. In order for the legitimate business people to get their products in hand with speed and regularity they face controls. These controls involve taxes, immigration, customs and regulations. Controls, are where the underworld leaders have the advantage. Because of their methods of delivery, they get their products to the desired destinations, without having to go through the formality of controls. The legitimate business people use persuasive means to have their goods delivered without having to pay heavy penalties. The underworld do not have to worry about that.

    Most of the times legitimate business people, befriend and use politicians to make the transition from import to delivery as inexpensive as possible. Remember with all the trading and transportation going on there is still a responsibility to keep the population safe from aggressions and illegal activities. This means that the Government has a responsibility to provide the best defenses to safeguard our security and safety from foreign imports. Most governments do that by having aggressive security apparatus gather intelligence and data to analyze for the defense of the country.

    Enemies of the State, challengers, opportunists, smugglers, drug dealers, career criminals and profiteers look to the same data and intelligence with deference in order to continue in their illegal activities. It is for this same reason, the Manning administration was building our national defenses to protect our country from the ills of these unhealthy practices. the OPVs were meant to protect us from illegal shipment of goods and drugs. SAUT was meant to identify those belonging to the category stated in the earlier part of this paragraph. SSA and other agencies are and still is important in identifying members of the public who may engage in espionage or are agents of the enemies class.

    With all this in mind, we should be made to question the Kamla led PP administration as to why on their first act of desperation did they choose, to disband SAUTT, cancel the OPVs and appoint ‘a little Indian girl’ as the new administrator, to replace a career intelligence expert, to head these agencies?
    Where is the national interest served, with is move? Whose interest was served with the administration’s actions? Is it the people’s interest,l the government’s interest or the interest of others? When she was elected, the people (regardless of tribe) shared great interest in electing the ‘first woman prime minister’. She had a 68% approval rating, which means that she had support from many outside her base. But Kamla went on further to later define herself, not as a Prime Minister but as an Indian prime minister when she addressed the Jamaican people by stating, in no uncertain terms that ‘Trinidad is not an ATM’.
    Meaning that under the Manning administration other island of the Caribbean received help but under her administration such ‘help’ would not be seen. By the same token, she wasted no time in inviting Guyana and Surinamme (both with large Indian populations) to join her in trade and solidarity. Her hostile attitudes towards Jamaica created a stalemate, which until recently Dr. Rowley had to travel to Jamaica to resolve. To further indicate her real identity, Kamla went to India, with a large Indian contingent and in an effort to show the Indian people that one of their own have made outside of India. To further seal her identity, she forced many in the civil service to retire and replaced them with people with whom she shared the same racial identity.

    The many ills committed by her administration left us with an infrastructure that has been diminished to rubbles. These same people had the gall to rate the Rowley Administration with an “F
    “. Coming back to my original argument. We need to be safe from those who exploit our weakness. We need to be safe from those who exploit our fears. We need to be safe from those who challenge our way of life and we need to be safe from those who do not have the national interest at heart. n Could you imagine, if Donal Trump were to be elected President of the United States and he decided to get rid of the CIA, the Secret Service and the FBI? Such a move would be considered treasonous. Compare that with what Kamla did with her dismantling with our internal and external Security?. Her act did not serve our national interests nor did it serve to maintain good governance.

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