30 Jun 2020

That Hackshaw file

If the Express’ reports are correct, that there “were over 180 deposits amounting to $1.8 million spread over 18 RBC Royal Bank accounts, with more funds in an account at Scotiabank and the Unit Trust Corporation”, then DPP Gaspard is absolutely correct in requesting the file for review. [Express 29/06/2020]

Think about it logically – simple mathematics shows that the depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) deliberately kept deposits under $10,000. Why? Deposits of over $10,000 attract attention as to the source of the funds. Clearly, the depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) wanted to avoid undue attention, which indicates that the depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) ‘knew’ there might be questions to be answered. Pretty unusual when you consider that some of the money were given in cheques in sums way above $10,000.

I am pretty sure that the ordinary man on the street would have a very difficult time converting/depositing a cheque of over $10,000 in partial increments of under $10,000. Did Hackshaw’s depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) get special benefits from the bank by virtue of Hackshaw being a high-ranking police officer?

A further discrepancy comes from Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, who, with his usual blustering style, seeks to obfuscate the issue further. On June 8 he claimed that Hackshaw’s file would be sent to the DPP, then some days later claimed that the file would not be sent until all investigations are completed – the further investigation coming not from the police service, but from an independent organisation, the PCA. One can only wonder at Gary’s agenda. There seems to be an institutionalised “protection” racket going on, a police brotherhood intent on protecting their own.

Another question that comes to my mind is why is Hackshaw’s depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) depositing money into Hackshaw’s personal accounts, money contributed by private businesses that “were donations given to him by businesses to assist with police functions”. Surely such money should have been given to the coordinators and planners of those police functions?

The Hackshaw situation raises more questions than answers, and in the interest of transparency needs to be fully aired – in public – to the satisfaction of all that there is no jiggery-pokery going on. And if Hackshaw is found to be misbehaving in public office, then I hope that the full brunt of the law falls on him, retirement or not.

16 Apr 2020

What I found out

During this 'lockdown', I've found out:

1) I still love cartoons.

2) I still enjoy reading, even expanding to non-academic books (°_~)

3) E-books are not so bad, and I can store about 10,000 on my phone. My personal library in my pocket.

4) Audiobooks are overrated. The joy is in reading, my friends.

5) I can still lose weight by adjusting my diet. Down 12 kg.

6) Bonsai can be difficult, more than children.

7) A high-speed internet connection protects your mental health. Who knew?

8) I can creatively invent new meals, and I'm a badass in the kitchen.

4 Apr 2020

Fitter or fatter?

Oh well, in these times of lock down due to COVID-19 issues - I'm picking up dat people are falling into two camps. The fitter - and then there's the fatter.

Those who are already reasonably fit, will see the lock down as an opportunity to eat a healthier diet with less flour, more complex carbs, and more vegetables. They know where dey gettin' dat from. These folk will find a way to do more walking or running up and down stairs indoors, or same in their li'le gyarden.

Those who are on the fat side (a BMI greater than 28), will argue dat dey belly eh full - dat starvation is a bad ting.. dat dee government is to blame; make numerous excuses about aches pains and exaggerate medical conditions to avoid any form of exercise. Dey cyah plant a li'le gyarden becuz dey eh want to sprain dey back.

I don't expect ppl who live a fit lifestyle to get dat much fatter. Basically people will be expected to do more of what dey already did. The fit will do more fitness and proper dieting - whilst the already fat will gorge more on carbs and be couch-potatoes.

I'm open to arguments! Bring it on!

COVID-19: State of emergency for a brain disease?

If you see the levels of stupidity out there surrounding COVID-19, you might be inclined to think that this virus has caused a brain disease. That in itself would be a stupid inference or conclusion! How?

Stupidity was always present in the human race. It lives alongside intelligence as a separate and independent force. This means even the very intelligent are also afflicted by stupidity! Contrary to popular belief, if you put a bunch of intelligent people in a room - and present them with a crisis - a majority of times you'd get a decision that is not better than the average of intelligence in the room. In fact, you're more likely to get a decision that is far less than the average of the room. How this is possible at all, is explained in the domains of social psychology and mathematics - NO VIRUS REQUIRED!

This post has been triggered by responses to Israel Khan's letter in TT Express of 29th March 2020, in which he calls for a State of Emergency. He reasons very well about this.

But then you have other 'folk' who have reasons for saying things like 'It eh go help' or 'It eh go work'. The letter of response in TT Express 4th April 2020, is a fine example. Importantly it relies on a sort of quasi-logic leading to a statement, "Secondly, the absolute restriction of movement of people theoretically may only cure our country of the pandemic in the short term." I'll deal with this one only because I don't have time to waste debunking the brainlessness of the other items of supposed 'reasoning' in that letter. One does not argue with stupidity.

'Theoretically' - yes - of course - because nobody knows 'actually' or will be able to see into the future.

'Cure' - a totally nonsensical concept to apply in this.

'In the short term' - well hello: nobody is aiming for a short-term cure. The world and T&T needs (to aim for) a long-term lock down of the virus to facilitate its death. If it can't spread - and humans are the main vehicle - then those who survive and develop immunity will cause it to die.

In other words - we are the long-term CURE (a word I don't like) or CONTROL. I'm not even going into vaccines and treatments, because that's estimated by the best scientific minds to be at least a year away. We can't wait a year and act lethargically about this because thousands in T&T - millions worldwide - could be dead by then.

So - for people who do not comply - mainly those whose stupidity will come to the fore - and we only need about 20% of them, there is no point arguing and educating them while thousands locally are killed. Why? Because stupidity is not something one can 'educate' away! You have to treat it with brutal force. In other words: LOCK DOWN EVERYBODY! SOE IT IS.

And I would go even further to suggest the declaration of martial law - where people can be beaten into submission.

15 Mar 2020

Incursions into impropriety have begun

I see that the first ‘incursions into impropriety’ have begun. Those small incursions that chip away at the rights of the individuals, with the approval of members of society who will never think that those incursions will turn against them later on. It is the beginning into the slide on a slippery slope, where people give up rights to authority to ‘feel safe’ but those rights are never ‘returned’. Nazi Germany, Zimbabwe, apartheid South Africa are some places that comes to mind.

The police ‘raid’ on the office of the Express newspaper is the perfect example of rights being trampled upon by authority figures. Freedom of expression (section 4(i)), and freedom of the press (section 4(k)) are both guaranteed rights under our Constitution. Now that the police can no longer bring charges under the Sedition Act, they are going for the vague charge of “Tipping Off” found in section 51 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2000.

A quick review of the Act showed that the charge of “Tipping off” is designed to prevent prejudice at trial for a person charged under the Act. Not to seize evidence which might prove detrimental to the person under investigation, for the purpose of withholding that evidence. No one has been charged in this matter. There is a possible defence under section 49 – a person, acting in a professional capacity and reporting through the relevant supervisory personnel at their workplace, is exempted from this charge.

A point to note: – there is no similar charge or section in the U.K.’s Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Instead, it prohibits authorities from breaching fundamental human rights even in the course of their investigations.

Coming back to the actual search and seizure of material at The Express’ office, there will of course be judicial review of the actions of the police, as ordered by the High Court. The court will decide on the balance between rights of the police under their investigative powers, and the rights of the press with respect to its freedom of expression and public interest in what was published.

The fact that the search was conducted under the authority of the very police officer suspected of and under investigation for financial impropriety is an important factor. Under what conditions and what evidence was presented for such a search warrant to be signed off and who was the judicial officer who gave authority to the warrant? These are questions that have to be answered. Search warrants cannot be granted – or rather, should not be granted – willy-nilly. There must be just cause, and evidence presented, for fundamental rights to be breached. The right to privacy is one such fundamental right.

Of course, we know that some judicial officers (magistrates and judges) merely rubber stamp the requests by police, without conducting due diligence questioning. It is these scenarios where the slippery slope comes into view. Eternal vigilance is demanded from those who live in this society.