21 Sept 2012

Mr President, fire them all!

In Trinidad and Tobago, we see at least two occasions where the State has intervened to the benefit of select members of the ruling party in power.

In the first instance, the Manning-led Government manipulated laws (amendment to the Home Mortgage Bank Act in 2007) which allowed a legal transfer of funds on behalf of Andre Monteil from Home Mortgage Bank (Monteil was chairman) to Stone Street Capital (Monteil is owner). This is factual information cited in Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector.

In the second instance, we have a UNC-majority/led government making laws to benefit UNC financial contributors currently before the courts on massive fraud charges to the tune of nearly $1 billion.

The now infamous section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offences) Act 2011 made it possible for Ish Galbaransingh, Steve Ferguson and others (Basdeo Panday, Sadiq Baksh, Brian Kuei Tung, Rene Pierre et al) involved in the Piarco Airport corruption affair to be ‘set free’ (matters dismissed) by the courts.

Notwithstanding the subsequent repeal of this brazenly proclaimed section 34, there still remains a loophole for said persons to ‘walk’.

In the interim, public outcry and the call for a scapegoat was answered when the Prime Minister gave the nation the head of Hubert Volney (of Brad Boyce fame). I suppose this is another instance where he ‘acted on his own accord’ and hoodwinked Parliament, Cabinet and several ‘Silks’, including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Legal Affairs and the Attorney General. Thus he is the easiest and most sacrificial ‘goat’.

What is unanswered is how 4 legal minds of the ‘calibre’ of Volney, Ramadhar, Ramlogan and Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who were awarded ‘Silk’, can be so obtuse as to fail to foresee the repercussions of the Act, including the section 34. Can we say they deserve ‘Silk’ for failure to recognise the legal backlash of this legislation? Or was it seen, planned and hoped that it would not be noticed for what it was?

Needless to say, this is a failure of monumental proportions, a ‘pile’ up the backside so big, sitting still is impossible. The ONLY answer is the resignation of the 4, or the unequivocal firing of the 4 by the President.

Giving the Nation the head of Volney, even if on a silver (or golden) platter, is denying the collective responsibility of Cabinet. If, as the Prime Minister has said in her Address to the Nation, the Cabinet was deceived, then it is a clear indicator that the Cabinet is incompetent to say the least, and downright corrupt at its worst.

The Prime Minister herself has said after the Reshmi Ramnarine fiasco, “When I assumed this position I said that the buck stops with me... so there is no point in laying blame or in pointing fingers. There is no apology that would suffice... In trying to remedy this mess, we embarked on a process. It was never our intention to deceive.”

The PM also said, "We should commit ourselves to learn from this and create systems that would ensure that something like this should never ever occur again.”

She also said, “I will always strive to do the right thing and, if things go wrong, I am willing to do whatever it takes to make things right

In previously calling for the PM’s resignation, Jumbie’s Watch stated:

Such commitment to doing what is right must be seen to drive the right kind of action. And what is that?

It is about a catastrophic failure of government and good governance, that has irreparably damaged confidence in the People’s Partnership. This faux pas by the Prime Minister (having taken responsibility for it) has etched itself deeply in the memory of the people. It will remain in their minds like a splinter under the fingernail, that no tangible explanation that accounts for it, was proffered. [No – ‘misstep’ doesn’t do it for us]. Is that what the people must endure? Is that what the people deserve? We think not. They did not deserve it under the PNM and they surely deserve better now.

Mrs Prime Minister, I have only to say that your resignation, and that of the AG, and the Minister of Legal Affairs are now way past due. I mean, how much lower can you go when you actually made Jack Warner look good?

Still, Jumbie’s Law states: When you think dotishness cannot get worse, someone will come along to prove it can.