Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The old saying "plus ca change, c'est la meme chose" (the more things change, the more they stay the same)came to my mind last night. What happened was that I made a call to my 91 year old Uncle Bobby just to have a chat, say hello, and give him the latest political gossip that I had heard over the last few days. To my (not so great) surprise I realised that my phone was being tapped ... again!!

 Some readers will recall that Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar announced in Parliament in or about September 2010 that the Manning regime had systematically and routinely tapped the phones of certain politicians and other prominent persons. My name was one of those read out in Parliament. Now, until that rather surprising confession I had absolutely no justiciable evidence whatsoever that my phones had been tapped. I suspected it strongly and had even indulged myself in a little 'scam' to see whether or not there was substance to my suspicions.

You see, around March 2002, after the December 2001 elections which had produced the 18/18 result when then President Robinson had (wrongly) installed Manning as Prime Minister, both Mr. Manning and Mr. Panday were having meetings in the Hilton hotel to discuss a possible way forward. I personally believed that the meetings were a total waste of time and that Manning had absolutely no intention of making any compromise with anybody. I also believed that my phones were being tapped. Almost everytime I made or received a call I could hear a very slight echo on the line (which is what I heard last night while talking with my uncle). So I devised a scheme with a friend of mine, which, if my phones were NOT being tapped would have been completely harmless, but if they were then it would cause a certain amount of political mischief.

The day before the third scheduled Hilton meeting between Messrs. Panday and Manning, I telephoned my friend as pre-arranged. Our conversation went something like this:

Me (laughing: Boy, you won't believe the trap we have for Manning tomorrow!
Friend: What?
 Me: Well, when Manning continues to block all of our proposals we are going to go to Robinson with a letter that will be signed by 21 MP's (members of Parliament) that says that the 21 MP's all support Rowley as prime Minister.
 Friend: You have 21 MP's?
Me: Yep! Our 18 (UNC) and 3 PNM including Rowley.
 Friend: Wow! But how will that work?
Me: Easy! The Constitution says that the President must appoint as Prime Minister the person who commands a majority of MP's in the Parliament.
Friend: So, how are you doing this?
Me: Well, we take the letter to Robinson and he is constitutionally bound to appoint Rowley as the prime Minister.
Friend: With no general election?
Me: That's right! We have been very careful. We haven't been meeting with Rowley but with his representatives. we don't want Manning to find out. That's why the negotiations are taking so long. everything is now agreed. The only Cabinet post left to agree on is who will be the Attorney General. We'll get agreement on that tonight! And then tomorrow we'll drop the bombshell on Manning!

Now, that conversation was real, but the events that it purported to discuss were entirely fictitious. It had all been pre-arranged. There had never been any meetings with Dr. Rowley nor his representatives nor had there been any kind of deal made with anybody to go to the President. But, my friend and I reasoned, if my phone was indeed tapped then Manning would cancel that last Hilton meeting. And you know what? He did just that! A few hours before the meeting was scheduled to take place a curt notice was put out from the Office of the Prime Minister announcing a postponement. That last meeting never took place! Of course, this was not justiciable evidence ... nothing that you can take to Court. But it makes you think, doesn't it? It certainly made me think!

And so, I realised then that I had to be extremely careful in whatever I said or did on the phone as I believed throughout the ensuing years of the Manning regime that I was being monitored. On the one hand, I knew that I have never ,and would never involve myself in any kind of seditious or illegal activity so that I would never have anything to worry about. On the other hand, it grated badly to know that my privacy was being so ruthlessly, cavalierly and illegally invaded. It really annoyed me. I couldn't even have an argument with my wife without the persons tapping my phones knowing about it!

And it still does. It annoyed the living daylights out of me last night to realsie that this is happening all over again. I am really cross. I can't prove it ... but I know that it is happening.

So, to the security services (who I know will read this) let me say this: I am not and never have been involved in any kind of seditious or illegal activity. I know that you won't do it, but if you really want to know anything about me and my activities,  come and ask and I will answer you truthfully. In the meantime, get off my case. It is really, really annoying. I am vexed about this. Really, really vexed! And if you are doing it to me, who else are you doing it to? Surely, I am not that important?

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