Tuesday, March 16, 2010


You really can’t say that life in good old T&T is boring. In the last two weeks we have been inundated with all sorts of developments in or on the country’s political landscape.

First of all, two days before the judgement in the UDECOTT judicial review case the allegations burst on the scene with documents that if true show that Sherrine Hart, the wife of Calder Hart, is related to certain directors of Sunway Corporation and CH Development. The allegations are serious indeed. Then, before we get a chance to breath the judge hands down her ruling in the UDECOTT matter. She said in essence that while Uff and his fellow Commissioners were negligent and while they did exhibit bias, that was not enough to set aside the Enquiry report. UDECOTT has still to decide if it will appeal. Then, the very next day (Saturday), Calder Hart resigns and leaves the country. Chaos appears to ensue in the Government camp as Prime Minister Manning also leaves the country for England to attend a Commonwealth function.

In the meantime, there is also the story of a $30 million church being built by a small Christian sect in the heights of Guanapo. What makes this news is that the sect is headed up by the Prime Minister’s spiritual adviser/prophetess/ seer woman (whatever you want to call her). Also, the church is being built by Shanghai Corporation. The obvious question: where did this little church get the money to build such a huge church has remained unanswered and as a result ugly and unnecessary suspicions and rumours are circulating all over the place. In addition, it was reported on hearsay that the Prime Minister himself has been seen up there “several times”.
Mr. Manning, in what can only be described as an extraordinary performance in Parliament, lambasted his critics on the question of the church likening their criticisms to “religious persecution”. Had it not been for the Calder Hart revelations the following week no doubt this matter would have continued to dominate the news. As it is, it has not completely gone away.
Then, just when we think that we have heard it all, out comes the news hard on the heels of an announcement that the President was going to appoint a new Integrity Commission on Monday 15 March, which he did. On top of this, we learn that “a former Government Minister” is being investigated for breaching the Integrity Act. Still with me?

The allegation is that the former Minister failed to declare a very large Cayman Island bank account run by his wife in which there was over US$6 million. As rumours began circulating as to the identity of this former Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley came out almost immediately and said that the rumours were all pointing at him but that they were not true. He said he does not have any money at all outside of Trinidad & Tobago.
That might be true, but I don’t think that that was the exact allegation. I believe that the exact allegation was that it was the wife of the former Minister who has the alleged account. But let’s face it, I certainly do not know the identity of this former Minister and I certainly can’t say that it was Dr.Rowley who was being targeted. I did find his denials though a bit strange in that they were very specific in one way -- ‘I don’t have any accounts outside T&T" -- but vague on whether or not he was connected in any way with this alleged Cayman Island account. E.g., through his wife or some corporation ultimately controlled by her.
Again, let me be clear: I am not saying that this is so, just that I found it a little strange that Rowley was not specific in one regard while being very specific in the other. In any case, my guess is that we will soon find out who the alleged former Minister is when the charges come down. And I have been told by persons who should know that charges are coming. We’ll see! If it is Dr. Rowley who is charged, that will be a political earthquake equivalent to the Haiti and Chile quakes combined. Any other former Minister would only be passing headlines.

Then the Prime Minister goes on a walkabout in San Juan and tells the nation that there is basically a war going on between his Government and certain elements in the construction industry. In this war, he says, “some soldiers may fall”, but he made it clear that this will be a fight to the finish! Wow!

No right thinking person can be happy with what is going on. There is an old African saying: “When elephants fight the grass gets trampled”. Most of us are grass in this fight between the elephants that are on the stage right now. But grass has a way of catching fire when there is too much heat and the elephants themselves can end up being burned in the ensuing conflagration.

In 1990 then Prime Minister Robinson started mounting a series of political attacks on the then opposition PNM that made everyone very upset. The explosion finally came on 27 July. I don’t want to sound as if I am condoning corruption of any kind. Neither am I advocating or condoning revolution. I am not. But I do think that everybody should take a deep breath and step back a little. We need to turn down the heat.

Life in the Tropics does not have to be a constant carnival.

1 comment:

  1. As the Jamaicans say, "When yu throw stone in a pig pen, the one weh squeal is the one weh get lick!"