Baying for Al-Rawi’s blood

By Raffique Shah
October 19, 2016

Raffique ShahTrinidadians, as they would themselves say, “like too much confusion”.

The latest bacchanal began when Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal displayed and tendered in Parliament two photographs that purportedly show the teenage children of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi “gallerying” (Moonilal’s word) with what appears to be a short-barrel rifle or a sub-machine gun.

The facts that have emerged thus far are that the AG and his family, whose security has been assigned to the military, were invited by the T&T Regiment to a “familiarisation” session at Camp Cumuto, during which specially trained soldiers exposed them to different scenarios that might occur while they protected them.

From my own knowledge, I would say these included some physical contact with the AG and firing of the weapons the soldiers use so that in the event they went into action, the “protectees” won’t mess their underpants. No member of the family will have been allowed to fire any of the weapons.

A likely scenario as to how the children ended up “gallerying” and being photographed holding the weapons is one or both of them asking the soldiers to so do. Foolishly, in my view, the senior person agreed. He should have politely but firmly denied the request. The issue of safety will not have arisen since the soldiers will have ensured that the weapon was not loaded.

Regarding who shot the photos, I’d hardly think a soldier did: more than likely the children did it, as youngsters are wont to, and they may have transmitted them to friends, which was how they ended up in Moonilal’s hands. The Prime Minister may well find that he was hasty in blaming the soldiers, for which he should unreservedly apologise.

While the details I outlined above are partly factual and partly speculative, how the discussion, or noise, blew out of proportion with the Opposition in Parliament demanding that Al-Rawi resign or be fired by the PM, defies logic. Confusion is the only word to describe the cacophony.

What law did the AG violate? None of those quoted by the “silks” or “bush lawyers”, as far as I see—not the Firearms Act, the Children’s Act, or any other such law. Those who quote chapter and section, not to add penalties ranging from hefty fines to 20 years imprisonment, conveniently omit a key ingredient: criminal intent.

At worst, the AG could be deemed to have turned a blind eye to an offence being committed—minors being allowed to hold firearms—although that is questionable. It was a soldier who handed the weapon to the children, no different what his colleagues do with children far younger during the Army’s “career day” or other expositions. In fact, all arms of the Defence Force as well as the Police Service accommodate curious children.

Besides, the military, through the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and those officers the CDS delegates authority to, wield considerable powers on bases under their command and control, in instances superseding the common law once there is no criminal act committed.

I write with authority when I say that children are fascinated by firearms and military equipment. I was.

I fired a rifle, a .22, for the first time at age 14 as a member of the newly-formed Presentation Chaguanas unit of the then T&T Cadet Corps.

By age 15, I was among hundreds of cadets who fired the powerful, bolt-action .303 rifle on the La Seiva range in Maraval. That weapon, which was almost as long as I was short, delivered a powerful kick, so we teens were closely supervised during such exercises, which were conducted annually.

Oh, if Moonilal is interested, I still have two black and white photos of 15-year-old me “posing” with a .303, which was not unusual among boys who were cadets then, and, I’m sure, the tens of thousands who came after us. Nowadays, with everyone owning a cell-phone, and every cell-phone being a camera, photographic records of teenage adventures, recklessness, and sometimes achievements, are universal.

I hope I have dispelled the nonsense being peddled by many persons that the law that prohibits young people below age 25 from owning guns, having firearms users’ licences, firing such weapons, or being trained to use them, applies across the board. If it did, then the entry age for recruits in all the services and forces that use firearms would be 25, not 18. In fact, children as young as 12 can join the Cadet Force, hence they carry and use arms on parades or during training.

What the Cadet Force does, additionally, is instil discipline and pride in its members, and teach them many military and life skills, one being weapons training. Maybe the Al-Rawi children could enlist and learn how to use firearms safely and professionally.

Meantime, the pot-hounds who are baying for the AG’s blood should go suck an egg instead, as one of their former colleagues would say.

5 thoughts on “Baying for Al-Rawi’s blood”

  1. “What law did the AG violate? None …..children are fascinated by firearms and military equipment…..Meantime, the pot-hounds who are baying for the AG’s blood should go suck an egg instead, as one of their former colleagues would say.” Uncle Shah

    Well what do we have here folks , but Uncle Shah,going way out on a limb ,to defend his AG , in Mr GQ himself, – Mr All Ah Wi.
    In de words of my late , extremely wise ,Tobago Granny-“Well Wonders never cease!”
    Not satisfied , our learned Editor at large , even deemed it necessary ,to give an over de top legal defense as to why kids can play with deadly weapons in T&T – since as he claimed , he too played with deadly guns , as a 15 year old kid, while he was a cadet.
    Yeah Uncle Shah , we get it , Cadet posing with guns , is quite the same , as pimple face ,runny nose , spoiled , privileged kids ,of our the nation’s AG, monkeying around with deadly weapons, under the casual- watchful eyes of members of T&T Tethron Ganggreen elites- who allegedly were training them , so that they’ll know what to do , if attacked ,in similar fashion, to the late , legal luminary Dana Sethahal- who was gunned down like a rival gang leader , before she had a chance to open her glove compartment to unlock her 9mm Glock, or is it Smith & Wesson?
    Yep , the All Ah Wi kids , should probably be sent to join the prestigious T&T Cadet force , and I can see that happening also. Ummmm hummm, and likewise,Mickela Panday , is a bout to marry Dr Rat grand son, but not before she relocate to a choice apartment , on Nelson Street.

    At this rate folks, it won’t surprise me one bit to see our good fellow, Uncle Shah, likewise shedding ‘crocodile tears ,’ for now disgraced, pro Kamla -PP Surrogate , in former Reality TV ,crime Journalist ,Ian Alleyne , due to his legally driven , financial woes , that were allegedly created, solely by his TV Media competitor, Inspector Alexander,si? This pathetic fool ,went of his way to defend a wife beating real estate/ car dealing millionaire, and now is begging so called fans, to bail him out.

    I made a pledge folks , as a budding advocate myself , never to loose too much sleep , over the unfortunate plight of criminal elites . My concerns , will always be for the neglected , downtrodden, desperate , socially disenfranchised , and powerless.
    As such the Jack Warners,Ish/ Steve ,Ex Chief Justice Sharma Ian Alleyne ,Basdeo Pandays, disgraced , dead beat dad/ female abuser ,PP Pundit MP Sharma , and AG All ah Wi’s of the world, won’t get much empathy from me.
    For those who see the Moonilal Parliamentary , photo displaying damblays, as indulgence in politics ? Well, that’s some breaking news, ain’t it? Politicians in T&T, plays politics, at every opportunity? Who would have guessed people?

    What de hell did they think was happening when a recently concluded , case ,was brought by the previous regime , for a recall of only five lost seats, in the recent elections?

    It’s called Politics. The Opposition knew they had absolutely no chance of winning,since no sensible , responsible Judiciary , would have subjected our Nation , to another costly election , bearing in mind our precarious, Post PP, financial situation.
    That wasn’t the prime goal/ their end game. It was INSTEAD, to build their typical , non patriotic , false narrative, as they sort to plant a seed of distrust , amongst their adoring fans ,against this new regime.
    It’s illegitimate , the EBC is corrupt , pro PNM, and worst yet,Democracy is dying- since 2015, as ‘We Was Robbed!’
    The fact of the matter is , that this too shall pass, folks. AG Al Ah wi ,will still be viewed as a good man ,by his PM, as the thinking might be , he most likely ,was distracted , due to his possible job loss , that would have occurred , had the government lost this Appeal.
    Now the man can get back to doing his job.
    Let’s just say the gloves are off! ‘Me think ,’ A now embolden AG Al Ah Wi, might be a dangerous man. Translation- watch out all you PP crooks , who have eluded capture,trial, conviction , and jail time ,thus far.
    Oh , and by de way Uncle Shah, don’t worry, for as you are quite aware , the Cabinet job of Mr Al Ah Wi , was never in Jeopardy anyway. Well …., neither was Errol Mahabir , the PNM Stalwart- Japanese Garden notwithstanding.
    Papa Deffy Eric , must be smiling up in heaven , or hell – if such truly exist. One of his admirers in Dr Keith , has done well, in emulating de Father of the Nation, si?
    Stay vigilant People,for it’s a jungle out there!

  2. Just like uncle Lenny Saith Shah they own Trinidad. They can do what the hell they want. There is one law for them and quite a different law for the rest of us. I wrote the goodly Minister on a far more important issue over one month now and he apparently feel that I can pay all the port rent in the world and he can answer me at his whims and fancies. But God doh sleep. He should pay attention to Manning`s fate.

  3. As a former member of the T&T Cadet Force myself, I thank Raff for talking sense.

    I received firearms training at age 12 and 13 with “Clemmie” and Lt. Lindo. I visited Canada as part of a T&T contingent at the age of 14, and there I well remember my first use of the very high-powered Fabrique Nationale SLR (self-loading rifle). I also got to represent T&T in international competition at La Seiva firing range in Maraval at the ripe young age of 15.

    Raff is right to remind us of the legal principle that without intent, there is no crime. And when the act in question is pursuant to a state-sanctioned purpose, it is hard to make a crime out of it.

    The UNC Opposition is merely making a lot of noise in pursuit of its insurrectionist strategy of “making the country ungovernable”; see Item #1 of the Indian Policy.


  4. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

    Keep the faith ,Bro Hussain.Simply redefine your end game, and if still desirable , then find a more effective strategy, towards achieving same.
    You may find upon further reflection , that the thing you once desired , no longer seem necessary . In that case , move on, si?
    I’ll leave you, with a wonderful quote , I stumbled upon, as I put the finishing touches ,for my ‘ZNENDrii -Post Trauma Foundation,’ together, and here it is:-
    “Everything can be taken from a man but … the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Victor Frankl
    Something to chew on.

    Here is the deal folks.Everyone of us traversing ,on dis here ,Trini Center Information Highway, has encountered ,some form of emotionally devastating ,Neo Traumatic situation, during some phase of our lives- some ,more excruciating, than others. Trust me on that, for I too , have the scars to show, from various losses , disappointments, and let downs.
    A word of advice to any , who faces such bleak situations, wherein it feels as if ,it’s a “me against the world,” reality. Remember, a bit of optimism won’t hurt.


    There’s always a light at the end of the dark tunnel, so in the words of one of my Black Socrates, musical poets-” keep your head up, stick your chest out, and handle it,” si?

    Your call, mi Hermano.

    Ain’t life a thing of beauty people? ‘Me think so,’ especially if you can reach out , and lend some semblance of solace ,to another fellow human being- without any prompting , I might add.
    Everyday , across La Trinity, and de Little Sister- Island Ward, there are hundreds of folks , grappling with issues,and major problems. Many do not have any where to turn for help.
    Take the time where feasible , to reach out ,lend an ear, or if within your direct powers -offer a hand.
    It might start the process of healing, they so desperately need.
    Luv Humanity People!
    A bit of empathy , can make a difference ,to troubled souls.

  5. “We cannot have a demoralised Defence Force and security services in this country. Not now! Repair the damage from your recklessness, Prime Minister”……. Ralph Maraj

    When people of importance hold the mantle of a persuasive position, like being a super host of a nationally broadcasting talk show, they owe it to us to be convincing in the arguments they put forward. When they make claims, their arguments must NOT appear to be motivated by political party affiliations or political favoritism or lacking in objectivity. This appears to be the case in which Ralph Maraj has attacked the Prime Minister, because he scolded the Defense Force for being careless in allowing a photograph of the children of Faris AlWari to get into the hands of the Opposition. Delightfully of course, the Opposition used the picture, not as a matter of objective weakness of the military’s protocol but as a show of carelessness on the part of the Attorney General. It is to this matter that Ralph Maraj, who on I95.5 radio show boasts and brags about his right as a citizen to criticize the Prime Minister, should be exposed for his undeniable campaign for UNC acceptance. In his criticism, he poses this incident as a moral one in which Dr. Rowley incites the wrought of military personnel which could “demoralize” their performance as a security force.

    Such arguments must not be mere words of support or rejection. They should contain substantive objectivitism to sustain the meat of his case. He obviously dislike Dr. Rowley. This we know and understand as his right but when one talks about a body of people becoming demoralized, the arguments must be supported by facts, not words to suit his feelings of political favoritism and his dislike for Dr. Rowley. If he wants our understanding of his reasoning, he should state the facts pertinent to his convictions before opining his condemnation of the Prime Minister. I am not aware of his knowledge of the military nor am I aware of his expertise in that respect, but I have an aggregate of ten years in the military. Most of my time was spent in the administrative, security and weaponry areas of service. My understanding of the Defense Act is firsthand, my understanding of military personnel is firsthand and how public and national issues affect the morality is also firsthand. It is because of this, that I take issue with Ralph Maraj’s characterization of Dr. Rowley’s words to mean that it is “demoralization”. His characters of reference were Anand Ramlogan, Dr. Roodal Moonilal, Lawrence Maharaj, Kamla Persad Bissessar and an acknowledgement of support for his opinion from Raffique Shah. Only thing wrong about his stated Shah’s support, is that Shah does not support his ideas of rebuking Dr. Rowley. As it turned out, all of his supporting cast are people who are diametrically opposed to Dr. Rowley and are UNC related. Meaning, Ralph Maraj was purely political in his column with no meaningful objectivity to his conclusions.

    This is what passes for journalism in our corrupt media world. Journalists write with no meaningful objectivity to their stories. They are critical to whomever their bosses deem as their enemies. The job of journalists is to report news primarily. We are more enlightened when they are informed about the matters they write about. When their knowledge is weak, it encourages suspicion of the motives to which they are trying to lead us to believe is the case. Ralph Maraj epitomizes this syndrome. He castes himself as “a political dougla”, which means that he can be found on any side of an issue. But his motives are never douglarized. His motives are always UNC dominant and his reasoning cast with a self-aggrandized claim to being a researcher, which he thinks would make him objective. The reality of his show on I95.5 is NOT douglarized, his columns are not douglarized and neither are his motives claiming objectivity. He is in fact no better than Capil Bissoon. At least Capil Bissoon states his objective as a journalist representing UNC or UNC related issues.

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