Tuesday, November 23, 2010
SPYING AND KAMLA'S HOUSE
Being one of the persons whose name was called in Parliament some 10 days ago as one of the citizens whose telephone conversations and e mails were tapped and spied on, you will undoubtedly appreciate that I had more than just a passing interest in the debate on the new wiretapping legislation that began in the House of Representatives on Friday last. I was particularly interested when I heard that former Prime Minister Manning was going to speak and as a result I made it my business to tune into Channel 11 (the Parliament channel on TV) in order to hear for myself exactly what this man had to say.
My "flabber" was completely "gasted" however, when I realised after a little while that the former Prime Minister had absolutely no intention of dealing with the very serious issue of the terrible breach of the rights of all those individuals who had been spied on so callously and illegally. Instead, the man spent some time in justifying the existance of the SIA and the history of how it was originally set up during the Panday regime. (In this regard he seemed to be making the extremely questionable argument that as Panday had started the spying, his regime should not be blamed for continuing it!).
Assuming (though certainly not accepting) that everything that Patrick Manning said about the history of the SIA was true, he never touched even lightly on the illegal spying on citizens by his regime. Instead, he succeeded in pulling the wool over a rather gullible press by producing large glossy photographs of Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar's new home under construction for the last 8 years or so, and making the terribly outrageous suggestion that not only did it cost a fantastic amount of money ($150 million), but that the Prime Minister had financed this palatial mansion from contributions of Drug Lords! And the press fell for it!
Speaking for myself (and many others who have expressed similar sentiments to me) I do not for one minute believe any of the outrageous allegations of Patrick Manning as regards Mrs. Persad-Bissessar's new home. I do not believe that it cost any where near $150 million or even 10 per cent of this sum. I do not believe that Mrs. Persad-Bissessar has ever had any dealings with any Drug Lords, much less taken money from any of them. I consider Manning's allegations as scandalous in the extreme and extremely dangerous in that it appears that he is prepared to say and do anything that might take attention away from his own terrible actions. This is awful, and quite frankly beneath the dignity of a former Prime Minister. He ought to be ashamed of himself.
The wiretapping scandal is outrageous. Ramesh Deosaran was right when he said that it was more dangerous than the 1990 coup attempt because of its insidious and secretive nature. The persons responsible should be made to pay ... and pay dearly. There is a great suspicion that Manning himself was involved in the spying. After all, just about every name on the list (including mine) were persons who either opposed and continued to oppose Manning, or who at some time or the other had opposed him. There was absolutely no justification for spying on those persons on the list.
Mrs. Persad-Bissessar has caused a pre-action protocol letter to be written to Manning for his terrible and defamatory remarks about her. Good! I hope that she sues him for every penny that he has got. I will sue him too ...as soon as I get the evidence that will stand up in Court that proves that he caused my phones to be tapped.
Posted by Robin Montano at 10:11 AM
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The deep significance of Divali and all that it stands for ... the ultimate triumph of light over darkness is a beautiful and universal message for all mankind. May I extend to all of my readers a happy and holy Divali. I pray that Mother Lakshimi may shower you with her choicest blessings, now and forever more.
Posted by Robin Montano at 1:56 PM
Monday, November 1, 2010
ANALYSIS: SHOULD THE PEOPLE'S PARTNERSHIP BE
PAYING ATTENTION TO THE U.S. MID-TERM ELECTIONS?
The short answer to the above question is a definite 'yes'! President Obama came to power in the November 2008 Presidential elections preaching change (sound familiar?). The American electorate was war weary and justifiably terrified at the economic precipice that their country (and the world) was falling into. They were looking for new leadership, a new direction, and above all, hope that Obama would "deliver them from evil".
Enter Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the beginning of this year with a very similar message to a Trinidadian/Tobagonian electorate that was simply fed up with the leaders of both of the main political parties. The electorate basically felt that the leadership of both the PNM and the UNC was arrogant and out of touch with their needs, wants and desires. If you had asked almost anybody of whatever race, creed or religion in the street this time last year whether he thought that either Manning or Panday genuinely cared for him and his family you would have been met with a resounding 'NO'! And it wouldn't have stopped there. If you had asked whether either of the two leaders had his feet on the ground, his finger on the pulse of what was going on, again you would have got a shouted 'NO'. (Nobody was really taking any notice of the COP which was whithering on the political vine until Kamla handed them a lifeline.) It was therefore (especially in retrospect) hardly surprising that Mrs. Persad-Bissessar's message of hope and change would resonate so resoundingly in the country or that she would win so convincingly in the May election.
People were worried about almost everything: Crime, the economy, their future, corruption! You name the problem and you would have found a sizable segment of the population concerned about the particular issue.
But the new Government has now had some five months "to settle" and you are beginning to hear concerns that nothing is happening. Everything seems to be at a standstill and there is a lack of direction ... a lack of leadership that is disturbing to say the least. And most of it is emanating from a lack of movement in the economy. The banks are reporting that borrowing is way down and that everybody is in a 'wait and see mode'. The budget that was presented in September was long on rhetoric but very short on specifics, and the failure to get the new State boards up and running has crippled many businesses who are depending on getting paid monies that are now long overdue. Real estate values are declining by the week and the 'engine of growth' that has traditionally been the government seems to be in the repair shop for an unduly long length of time.
Like most people I voted for the People's Partnership. Like most people I genuinely want them to succeed. Unfortunately, like most people I am now beginning to become concerned. The appearance or perception is that they do not have their act together, that they do not understand the basics of governance. I genuinely hope that this is not so. I do not want them to fail. It is not in this country's interest that they fail. On the contrary, it is in all of our interests that they succeed. But if they continue in the direction that they are heading they are going to find (as Obama is now finding) that the people who supported them and voted for them will turn against them as sure as night follows day.
What is causing the "dithering" (for want of a better word) is not yet in the public domain ... although we are all hearing the rumours which are daily gaining strength as well as credibility. And the "boys" ought to be aware that effective opposition to a government rarely comes from within the Parliament ... it usually comes from outside. Therfore they should not count on the fact that Keith Rowley is proving himself to be an ineffective opposition leader. Dr. Rowley's lack of leadership potential will not save them. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the same can also be said about politics. In fact, the lack of a credible alternative often leads to greater instability.
Let me repeat: It is in our collective interest that this Government succeed. But they need to get the message early, rather than late, that they have to "get off the pot" and begin performing. Their honeymoon is over. And they have only to look at the U.S.A. to see what can happen when you don't deliver on your promises!
Posted by Robin Montano at 12:24 PM