By Raffique Shah
March 13, 2023
Surely, we deserved better than that, Leila sighed audibly as she aside the device on which she had been reading a news report. I thought I knew what report it was, but I felt in the baiting mood, so I asked ‘What are you upset over? Who deserved better?’
‘I’m talking about the twenty year old corruption matter involving the state vs Basdeo Panday and others. The state under which heading the DPP must fall, withdrew one of the corruption matters yesterday.’
‘I know that,’ I responded. ‘What people deserve better and why?’
‘We, the people. The citizenry. Call us what you will. It cannot be fair either to those charged or to us citizens who have been funding all costs and charges related to the many matters involving the Piarco Airport project. These must run into millions and millions of dollars that could have been better used to build not just an airport but a country. And now after all these years DPP Henderson is saying the state does not have sufficient evidence, that some witnesses have died or migrated to other countries and so on. We are left holding an empty bag.’
‘I say again, we deserve better.’
‘You are wrong,’ I replied, ‘The people of this country live and die by seven-day-wonders. That’s the shelf life of issues as grave as murders and other violent crimes. Only Carnival engages their attention for maybe a year.
‘And I say this with deep shame for my country, for what it has descended into- a den of one million plus thieves- who are stealing from the public’s purse, regime to regime, governments change but not one person in this huge ‘Ali Baba’ gang is ever held responsible far less punished with a stiff jail term.’
I raise my arms as she’s about to make a point I continued: ‘The bandits who routinely break into the vaults and make-off with varying but always significant sums of money may come in different political underwear but the same stamp on their foreheads, THIEF. Meanwhile the people, your people say nothing, do nothing as the bandits rampage and pillage the treasury. So when a matter ends the way this one has ended every Tom, Dick, and Harrylal, depending on the colour of his undershirt will either applaud loudly as the accused office holders walk to freedom with smiles larger than their faces and your people continue to stay silent.’
‘In this matter involving Panday, my friend Carlos John and others, they knew that the evidence was weak and that by ensuring they use every legal hurdle they could to put in the state’s way, they will bring around a decision such as happened.’
‘This will be the fate of almost every corruption charge in which big people are accused of big fraud and escape with ease. The people, meanwhile, the same people you want ‘better’ for, could not give a damn whether the defendants ended up in jail or snoring in their palaces, while burglaries aplenty continue unabated. These are reasons why I say, a citizenry such as ours deserves nothing but the worst form of democracy there is. They have repeatedly voted in pirates, rapists, child abusers and sundry such criminals into office. So while they may grumble and pretend to be offended by the way certain similar cases have gone asunder, they will with relish, vote the same people, and most certainly the same party as their choice for government. Nothing that has happened in the courts recently -several such cases have been abandoned by the state- will persuade them to vote for candidates of integrity because they are comfortable to be among the very thieves they condemn today.’
‘I say again, the people deserve wuss dan dat.’
‘So you have given up on the people to bring about change? The same people who you mobilised way back in their thousands to fight corruption, you now see them as obstructions to progress.’
‘You got it precisely correct. The beneficiaries of the struggles we waged in the closing years of the twentieth century have surrendered to greed. For them and for most others with only a small number of patriots stabilizing the center, means going into the polling booth once every five years. Nothing more, nothing less.’
‘If there is no hope for our country then there can be little or no hope for any other in the world. How can that be?’
‘Not only will it be, mark my words, unless there emerge powerful, well intentioned leaders anywhere in the world, we will as a civilization revert to an animal kingdom with the rule of beasts, the new world order. I don’t wish for this sordid fate to befall my fellow human beings. The criminals will become the new world dis-order, the new ruling class.’
3 thoughts on “Wuss dan dat”
The idea of corruption and the PNM fighting it is an oxymoron. When former Prime Minister Manning opened a 20 year probe into Piarco corruption and 20 years later found nothing to send anyone to jail. For that crime alone of wasting taxpayers dollars the PNM should never occupy the halls of power again.
The Linquist report cost tax payers $770 million, the cost to prosecute Ish and Steve was a staggering $220 million a figure former AG Anand Ramlogan revealed and that was 9 years ago. Plus the cost of the inquiry, 20 years of it must be in the multiple millions. Tax payers need all the facts and figures. Altogether at least $1.8 billion was spent (this is an estimate could be more could be less).
The cost of the airport was $1.6 billion and it has pretty much paying for itself from revenues generated. “Piarco International Airport has been ranked the third best airport by Skytrax, edged out only by Panama’s Tocumen International Airport and Costa Rica’s San Jose International Airport” —2022. Named the best airport in the Caribbean. The Brian Lara Stadium cost $1.6 billion to build but it terms of usage cannot be compared to Piarco International Airport.
THE COST of the Port-of-Spain waterfront project doubled to $3.4 billion (US$551 million), with the cost overrun on the project, considered to be the jewel in the crown of the Patrick Manning administration, amounting to a massive $1.8 billion (US$286 million).
Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel Plant. Original estimate when the project was embarked upon, $708 million. It has now gone to $2.4 billion. Project administration— original estimate, $192 million. That has now gone to $427 million. Upgrade of the Fuel Catalyst Unit, the estimate there is now up to $2.1 billion. The CCR Platforming Unit, there is not an estimate—$665 million. It is now at $1.592 billion.
Just to give you an idea how the PNM scumbags spent tax payers dollars. PNM is synonymous with corruption even when they investigating corruption… they waste and waste then tell the children no laptops for you we don’t have $93 million to help you with your education. It is no wonder 50% of children made under 50% marks. But they don’t care, their financiers are well cared for from the empty treasury.
Gaspard did the right thing at the wrong time, this probe should have been stopped 10 years ago. But I suppose the political pressure was too much for him to handle. His second in command at the office is a Rowley loyalist. As well the honorable Prime Minister was not too happy with the probe coming to an end. In true PNM style they looking to lock up another UNC MP. They talk about trafficking but ignore the boats with Vene girls going every week to West Moorings loaded with drugs and girls. And what happened to the case with Stewart Young step daughter? Gary paid a price for it poor guy.
The sulleying of the justice system leaves much to be desired. The reason for such is state agencies have the perception of independence but in reality their masters are controlled by the office of the Prime Minister.
Once someone acts outside the preview of that office they will lose their job. Sat Sharma as the former Chief Justice felt the sting of that office when helicopters swirling, special forces with heavy guns came to his house to arrest him. Abu was given a phone call and politely asked to come in. Then there was Ramlogan with the Nelson matter arrested and charged case against him approved by the DPP in less than 24 hours. A staggering achievement by any means. The police with several squad cars and heavy guns came and search every nook and cranny of the man house. Then there was emailgate that dragged on for years. Nearing an election and looking towards a possible arrest and charge. They wrote Google and cleared their name. Even with the wrong email addresses they still kept the gauntlet hanging over their head.
Any office can be corrupted at anytime in the exercise of power. Jawla felt that when he was given the boot as Central Bank governor. Now they have a loyal lackey who is approving everything. It would be a shock for tax payers to find out how much money they borrowing. The word independence and PNM does not go together.
On the Panday matter he was the first Prime Minister to be put in jail. After 20 years of finding nothing but helping the PNM to win elections by being paraded around election time. The message the UNC corrupt. Bas was thrown under the bus by Ram…and he suffered for it.
The State justice system sucks, paying the killers of Vindra Niapaul millions. Joel Balcon had 80 charges against him and for a decade he killed. rape, tortured women in Central. To date accusation of a corrupt judicial system has been swept under the carpet. The current PM sullying the name of Balcon last murder victim. So much so her father had to rebuke him publicly. With the candle light vigils and speeches condemning the murder of women.
Trinidad is sinking into the economic abyss. Whilst the 1% getting all the government contracts and making millions. The middle class is disappearing. Malls are empty people are not sprending. But those in power are savoring the fatted calf. If you dare oppose him a former Prime Minister once said he turns into a raging bull. Rodney Charles was call “lice head” a reference to those of my ancestors who came as indentured laborers. The reconstitution of the PM office to expose his blunt side should have received strong condemnation but it ain’t going to happen. Father Harvey protested crime during the UNC term of office. Where are all the religious voices. They fraid Goliath. Crime is like a runaway train but they all take a douse of seinne and can’t be found. Sh*tting is now their preoccupation. As for the balisier juice drinkers your time is coming.
“Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Science without humanity, Knowledge without character, Politics without principle, Commerce without morality, Worship without sacrifice.”—Gandhi
The great Indian movie on politics Raajneeti depicts the nature of politics and the politician. The political family was in rivalry with another political family. The son who had no interest in politics living abroad came back and was coaxed into leading his father’s party. What follows next was insanity as they sought to destroy each other. In the end the young man cringes his hand bends his head in total disgust as to the human being he became. I cold callous calculating politician without any moral compass.
Politics without principle can take a man or woman and turn them into subhuman characters. It is not for everyone. As Gandhi once said politics is like a snake wrapped around us, we have to struggle with it even if we don’t want to.
One must not look towards a politician as a symbol of moral uprightness. There is a picture with the PM and AG in the home of a brothel owner circulating in the internet. The owner and PM sitting on a couch his hand upon the man leg with a boyish grin. Yet the PM stood on a political platform and denied any knowledge of this man. That is an example of politics without principle.
I can go through the list of inconsistencies in political statements. But let me urge politicians in sweet TnT to please regain and start operating with principles when dealing with the business of the nation. Find ways to communicate more effectively instead of telling lies, we live in the age of information and nothing can be hidden. It is shameless and wicked to take the citizenry for fools.
Comments are closed.