14 May 2008

A reader writes, and defends

In response to my post on HCU (and UDeCOTT), a reader sent this information to me via email. Since I try to be fair as I can, I am posting this so that readers can themselves determine whether Madan Ramnarine is blameless in the HCU affair, and now UDeCOTT. I shall keep the contributor anonymous.

Whilst your article does highlight some truths, one wrong that it highlights is a coincidence between Mr. Madan Ramnarine being the former internal auditor of the Hindu Credit Union and his position on the board of directors of UDeCOTT.

Mr. Madan Ramnarine was actually the first auditor of the HCU since inception. He was all for the ideals of HCU uniting the Indo-Trinidadian community.

Just to educate you further, he was the first person who spoke out against the HCU's mismanagement of funds and he went so far as to resign as the internal auditor of the HCU.

Obviously as an accountant, he has professional obligations to his professional body (ACCA) to report any discrepancies to higher authority. This I know as I'm also a member of an accounting body. As an accountant, he has high ethical issues to adhere to, which he did. I've even read somewhere after that incident that he even received threats from Mr. Harnarine himself and I know for certain that he was run off the road shortly after he sent the HCU's books to the governing body for banks and credit unions in Trinidad and Tobago.

Like you, I also look for links as the one you have mentioned, but I have investigated this before to the point of contacting Mr. Ramnarine whilst I was in Trinidad on business last year and questioning him about his business on that board and the corruption surrounding UDeCOTT.

I came to the conclusion that not everyone on that board are 'yes' men and actually the two people on that board that are not yes men are Indians. I then understood what he was trying to tell me in our brief meeting.

Do you what everyone on that board to be yes men? Or do you want all the Indians on government boards to resign and let other people take all the positions? What can you see happening if they remove the few Indians on that board. More corruption or less?

My next question was how has he benefited from being on that board? As a forensic accountant, I have searched through all criteria and realise that he hasn't.

I am not friends with this person, nor do I claim to know everything about him, but what I can assure you is that if you remove 2 members from the UDeCOTT board, that board will do more damage than it has already done to the country of Trinidad and Tobago.

Only after writing this entire e-mail I read the six comments that was posted after your article. Do you realise that all six comments focused on the word 'Indian' and Hinduism. The article didn't even attract a comment about the issues you were raising. This is because you highlighted race.

Note: If it appeared that I highlighted race (for race's sake) I apologise. HCU was started and targeted Indians as an alternative to what appeared as black or Negro administered credit unions. I clearly stated so in my second paragraph.

The membership of the HCU was therefore racial (of a certain race and mindset) in composition and hence race has to be brought into the discussion.

I do agree though that the comments skirted the real issue of corruption in HCU and focused on race. But readers do comment on their perceptions and while I moderate the comments I try to be fair and post as many thoughts as I can. (Jumbie)