Thursday, August 25, 2011


I received the following e mail from a PP supporter last night which is self explanatory:

I received this YouTube clip and the sender captioned it as Kalipersad vs Ramlogan.
Kalipersad vs Ramlogan... I don’t think so! Now that I have seen/heard the interview (Youtube video clip attached below) I see it as a continuation of the PNM underground machine/war room which has always been aided and abetted by the Trinidad Express very active and very much at work.
The sustained attack by the Express Newspaper on the PM and the Government continues. This was not professional journalism, indeed, it was an abuse by Kalipersad of the electronic media, an abuse of the “freedom of the press” – he discarded all journalistic integrity!
Dominic Kalipersad should be ashamed and embarrassed by his unethical and unprofessional conduct!
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan must be congratulated for his very professional responses and for “keeping his cool” especially when from the very beginning it was evident that Kalipersad’s tone and intent were going to be confrontational and irresponsible.

Now, let me tell you what my problem is: Having watched the video I did not think that Kalipersad had "discarded all journalistic integrity" as stated by my friend above. I did think that he was tough and aggressive ... and could even buy the argument that he was totally unsympathetic to the Attorney General's (and by extension the Government's) position. On the other hand, I did think that the interviewer was wrong when he told the Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago "don't be rude". Even if you don't like the individual who happens to occupy the office, you ought at all times to respect that office. At the very least, I thought that the comment was disrespectful. I also thought that it was certainly not at all nice to say that the AG had invited himself onto the program. That may have indeed been true, but to say it like that!? When I heard that my reaction was "ouch"! Put another way, I thought that this comment was unnecessary and added nothing to the quality of the interview. But overall I did not have a problem with the very tough questioning of the Minister.

I also thought that the AG could have done a better job in explaining things. For example, thePolice Service Commission (PSC) had come out and criticised the Commissioner of Police (CoP) for being out of the country when the state of emergency (SOE) was called. Dominic Kalipersad questioned the AG on this ... rather aggressively and the AG obviously did not have the facts at his fingertips that have appeared in this morning's papers. (What happened, it seems, was that the CoP had indeed written to the proper authority informing them of his travel plans. The PSC was informed on the Friday before (i.e., 19th August) and the PSC did not deal with the letter until Tuesday 23rd August! But the PSC on Monday 22nd August decided to slam the CoP for not informing them (when in fact he had) of his plans to be out of the country!) Certain questions arise as to whether or not the PSC was correct in all of the circumstances to make the press release as hastily as it did ... for it was clearly wrong ... but that could be the subject of another post. Suffice to say at this time that if today's newspaper reports are correct, then the apparent or perceived bias of one of the members of the PSC ought now to be called into question.

And this brings me to the central point of this post. In the last four days since the declaration of the SOE you can tell who is a supporter of the Government and who is a supporter of the PNM merely by listening to or reading the comments as to whether or not the SOE is a good or bad move. Let's all take a few steps back and a few deep breaths. These are trying enough times without us all being at one another's throats. First of all, let us all acknowledge that if this SOE works and the criminal elements in our society are "licked up" that will be a very, very good thing and that the temporary sacrifice of giving up our civil liberties will have been well worth it. Let us understand that the real enemies are the criminals, not the PNM or the PP supporters. Everybody should be united on this. And I am the first to acknowledge that there appear to be serious problems with the way that this SOE was implemented. At the moment, though, I am prepared (probably because I recognise how desperate and how serious the situation is) to put aside any misgivings that I might have and give this thing a chance to work. If it does not work then we can all revisit all of the issues. For now, at least, I urge everyone else to do the same.


  1. Robin,

    I share your sentiments, but for those castigating DK when he requested that the AG not be rude. The fact that one is an AG does not insulate him from demanding questions or criticism, nor does it repose in him the inalienable right to be disrespectful to anyone, seemingly at his choosing.

    I judge that DK was very respectful in making his request. Indeed, his was not an admonition..."don't be rude" but again, a respectful request predicated by the word ..."please"....see the video and listen again!

    It would appear that the AG becomes somewhat hot under the collar when he is confronted with hard and direct questions, and in searching for forthright responses, DK may have been a bit overbearing, probably causing the AG to become even more agitated, but in general, I do not believe that DK was out of line.

    Far from it, the AG needs to assume a more decorous stature in most of his undertakings.

  2. I watched it and did not think either party behaved incorrectly.

    In the UK (and the US I am sure) interviewers hold no punches and can get very aggressive in pursuit of answers. This is the ONLY way to force politicians to answer a question SOMETIMES. If you do not adopt a VERY aggressive stance then politicians will NEVER answer a straight question with a straight answer. In TnT, through the Williams/Panday/Manning supreme leadership styles, everyone has grown accustom to being submissive and allowing our leaders to make us feel bad when demanding answers. That is not so in the First World, and SHOULD not be so. So, no, DK was nowhere near as rude or aggressive as he could have been. Thus the AG had no right to respond as he did to DK. Yes he could start getting rattled, as he was, for a change, being pushed for an answer. But I thought his behaviour was quite acceptable considering he was being pushed. TT politicians need to become more accountable and then they would not get so upset when pushed for answers.

    “I do not believe that DK was out of line” – I absolutely agree.

    “the AG needs to assume a more decorous stature in most of his undertakings” – Agreed except that the AG needs to get used to being pushed to answer the question. He was just being a typical TT politician

  3. Robin, I have always disagreed with this statement.

    "Even if you don't like the individual who happens to occupy the office, you ought at all times to respect that office. "

    Should I respect the office of the Chancellor of Germany when it is being occupied by a Hitler. What about all the President, and Prime Ministers... Mugabee, Edi Amin, Pappa Doc, Baby Doc, Chavez, Saddam to name a small portion.

    This is something a Tyrant uses to hide behind.... Even here in T&T.

    I say call tata, tata regardless of what crown it wears.

    This is probably most confusing in the military, where there is a strict chain of command, and you are taught to follow orders for the good of the whole.

    But then a Superior Officer orders you to do something Illegal and Immoral, and you can hide behind the Chain of Command and not be accountable for your despicable actions as a human being against other human beings.


    As for DK, what I saw of it I say not just rude and unprofessional, but he was being a bully....

    Why did he never interview the PM "Project Manager" like that.

    DK is atypical of the average Journalist in T&T, and instead of taking their Job as A Member of the 4th Estate Seriously. They look for more ratings than a politician.

    In my mind the T&T Media, should all be working for National Enquirer

  4. I believe that DK was doing his job while the AG was trying to play hide and seek.

    Let's move on to the SOE today. Why is it that numerous "Mr. Big" cannot be brought to justice?.

    It is time that the government past and present stop playing games with the public.