Wednesday, August 14, 2013

MAKING A BETTER COUNTRY



Sometimes I find it difficult not to scoff at the views of learned and respected commentators who, from the absolute safety of their armchairs, pontificate on matters of State and politics as though the words that they commit to print ought to be treated with almost the same reverence as ordinary mortals give to the Holy Koran, Bible or Bhagvad Gita.

The latest offerings from local (as well as Caribbean) commentators is that the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) is not a bona fide political party because it doesn't have a proper constitution, has only "a few" members, no proper structure, no proper organization and is essentially a 'flash in the pan that will soon fade away. There are probably a few other choice criticisms, but these are the main ones that keep being repeated, probably in the hope that if they obey Josef Goebbell's dicta (remember him? Adolf Hitler's Nazi Minister of Propaganda!) that 'the bigger the lie and the more often it is repeated, the more people will believe it'.

What I find difficult to understand is why these armchair critics believe that the only way to build a political party is from the top down? Part of the success of Jack Warner (apart from the fact that he is an incredibly hard worker) is that he builds from the ground up. He spent the three months between resigning his seat in Parliament and the actual day of the bye-election literally walking every single square inch of his constituency. He literally went to every single house in the whole *&^#@&* constituency! He literally canvassed every single voter! And he literally found out what exactly were/are the problems in every area of his constituency (if he didn't know them already!).

The people of Chaguanas West (most unsurprisingly) responded overwhelmingly by giving him their collective vote. And why shouldn't they have done so? Because of unproven allegations made in a seriously flawed report by a former Barbadian jurist? The people really didn't and don't care about unproven allegations (and more on that later in another post). What the people care about is that the persons who they elect to represent them in Parliament (and elsewhere) actually do the jobs that they were put there to do.

I have said it many times: there is only one reason for politics. There is only one reason for Government. To make life better for the people!! Full stop!!! There is no other reason! What has been taking place over the last fifty or so years is that (except with one or three notable exceptions ... and, yes, I deliberately said 'one or three' because there are more than just one or two) just about every person that we have put into high office has become fat, arrogant and completely divorced from the people. There have been a thousand little things that could have and should have been done over the years to make life better for us ... which have been completely ignored by the politicians who, when they get into office, seem to forget completely the thousand and one little inconveniences that the average person must put up with every day.

The two big political parties ... the PNM and the UNC ... have existed for years on the politics of straight race, which they have barely bothered to hide. If you ain't an African or a Hindu then forget it! Crapaud will smoke your pipe! And as for that completely failed entity the COP, does anybody see after three long years exactly what they meant by "new politics" other than just a catchy slogan that sounded good on the campaign trail? Making life better for the people has been a concept that has been totally alien to our politicians of all ilks.

No. To the armchair critics who are saying that the ILP is just a flash in the pan (with absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back it up other than the certainty that whatever falls from their mouths or pens is absolutely right) I say get off your tails and go into the streets of the country. There you will find that the spark that Jack Warner lit in Chaguanas West has sped like wildfire all across the country (and, yes, Tobago is part of the country) in a way that is almost unimaginable. Sitting at the epicenter of "the storm" I will readily confess that I didn't expect the kind of positive reaction that we have been getting from all over. People are excited about the possibility that at last here is somebody who is putting his money where his mouth is and is really trying to make Trinidad & Tobago a better place for all of us. People want a better T&T!

Our problem is trying to manage the virtual tsunami of support, organize it and channel it into a credible political entity. And that we are doing ... from the ground up. Work is proceeding apace in putting down systems and procedures that will run and control the Party. We are planning to have our first convention by the end of September when the draft constitution of the Party will be presented to the membership for ratification. Coordinating teams (which will later 'morph' into Party Groups) are being formed every day. Plans are well advanced for rules and regulations that will govern and control the Party ranging from the screening of potential candidates to how the Party Groups will function and report back to the Central Executive ... and everything in between!

What is crystal clear to the ILP is that the electorate in 2013 is not the same as the electorate in, say, 1963, or even 1993. Most people are better educated and more sophisticated than they were a bare twenty years ago. And the people do NOT want 'politics as usual'. They want performance ... and that is the Jack Warner brand in one word. So, the Party is not properly organized .... yet! It will be ... and sooner than the armchair critics will find to be comfortable. (I do not mind confessing, by the way,  that I thought that I was a hard worker until I started working with the old Jack! Good grief! The (proper) demands that he makes on those who are with him really are enormous! And so they should be! The ILP team is working in a way that I have never seen a team work before!)

The slightest suggestion for change always means death to some status quo. And the ILP is threatening a heck of a lot of 'status quos' in the country right now. They should be very uncomfortable. But you know what? If the armchair critics are right and all the ILP ever achieves is that we force the other political parties to perform then I, for one, will meet my Maker with a smile and say 'we did it! We made the 'so and so's work for the betterment of our country'. And that's what it's all about!!

P.S. The ILP's "few" members as of today, number more than 106,000!! The tsunami is real!

10 comments:

  1. Mr. Montano,
    You are so right! I have to tell you that your joining the ILP has brought a lot of people into the fold. And what we want is just what you have said ... performance. We want the politicians to START to work.

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  2. Jack Warner is a worker. He doesn't need anything from the people, he has it all already. In taking on people like you and Lyndira Oudit he is showing his sincerity in building a truly national party. We are totally fed up with the "new politics" every five years. You are right: Performance! That's all we care about!

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  3. Jack Warner is very plain and simply a crook. Just because he is smart at evading the law does not make him innocent. He will be caught just like all the other eventually are. So Mr. Robin Montano, I am not a supporter of the ILP or for that matter any other political party in Trinidad and Tobago and would never sell my morals to join someone like Jack Warner. I never expected you to either. So I say to you, Robin Montano, I will give the ILP the benefit of the doubt and since you have the ear of Jack Warner, please let him explain to me how is a fee of 10 million justified to do a job that would otherwise cost $50,000.00. I am talking about spending 10 million to wreck a fire truck costing 2 million. Just give it to me in simple maths, that should not be too hard and you have my vote. Remember there is still the FIFA scandal. Center of Excellence Scandal. World Cup Ticket Scandal. TTFA Scandal. Haitii Scandal. 1 Million USD scandal. Chuck Blazer/Jack Warner Scandal, Darian Warner $400,000 USD Scandal. Should I go on Robin? 2 things either Jack Warner is a crook or like Jesus Christ people are iust out to crucify him and he is the most unlucky man in the world. I think the former is more applicable. But in any event let him just explain the 10 million deal. I can’t for one second believe that you Robin joined a man and did not do your due diligence on the aforementioned matters. In my heart I believe people are just jumping on the Jack Warner Band wagon because they see the opportunity to “eat ah food” as they say. Fooling people with trinkets and hand me outs don’t last forever. Is this the same Jack Warner that wanted Kublal Singh to die and now is embracing his cause? Please Robin please, tell me you have not got selective amnesia. You need to get out of the ILP and publicly state that it was a mistake unless you intend to throw your morals out the door and tarnish your family’s image forever. I have always posted on your blog and am a very disappointed individual in you particularly because I admire your honor and dedication as well as you being patriotic to Trinidad & Tobago. In many circles I have argued that you would be a great PM. Please don’t ruin your otherwise impeccable reputation. my email address is cheryleyes@hotmail.com
    I am not hiding.

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  4. I have read a lot in the newspapers and have heard a lot spoken about Jack Warner and the fact that he has not been convicted of anything so how can we condemn him. I say to those who say this, how do you view the village fowl thief, who had never gone to jail but the villagers knows he steals their chickens and sells them. What about the local piper who will steal your clothes from the line or your gas tank from the backyard and who has got licks many times from people who have caught him. Well he has never been locked up so I guess these 2 would qualify to run for office too. But in any event my purpose to write here is to enlighten people about this Jack Warner character. I happen to have a unique perspective to bring to this argument. You see I am a nobody, just a stupid Indian as they say but fortunately for me my uncle worked with the contracting firm of Lutchmeesingh Contractors for donkey years now, and him and the Managing Director Parry Lutchmeesingh were literally hand in glove. When I got out of UWI and was finding a hard time to get a job, my uncle arranged a job for me at Lutchmeesingh Contractors Ltd. They called me the expeditor. In short, because I was in the close circle of the boss I was the man that handled the bribes and kick backs, for want of a better term. You heard me right. This job I started just around when the PNM came into power and people such as Franklyn Khan and his wife, Colm Imbert and his wife and some CEO’s and Suprentidents at the County Councils became very good friends with me. Just to let those who don’t know. I still have home phone numbers, so maybe they can explain how come I do? A contractor getting a contract is only one part of the whole corruption/bribe/kickback scenario. Once you submit your claim you need to get paid quickly. Here is where knowing the Minister can mean you get paid in a day rather than a year. Once the contractor got the contract, I would be the one liaising with the government checker to collect dockets, then go back to the office, prepare the claim, go to the Ministry or other government office, submit it through the regular route, then make a call to the Minister who in turn would call the accountant to fast track the claim through accounts and have a check cut and VOILA! You are paid! Sometimes the same day. I collected the check, took it back to the office. They made up the deposit and gave me another check to cash which I would cash and then take in a nice envelope to those receiving their pay off. They prefered U.S. and Pound Sterling since the envelopes were much more compact! There are also other ways in which the claims were over inflated with imaginary costs which were signed off by people in the feeding trough but that explanation would be too long to put here. Franklyn got, his wife got, Colm got and his wife got. The head of P.U.R.E. Hayden Philipp got a lot too.

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  5. PART 2.


    When the P.P. government came into power, I thought things would change, I know Jack Warner was advised of what Hayden Philipp was doing but he ignored it and did everything in his power to keep P.U.R.E. alive. Jack Warner came into the Ministry of Works and did no differently than Frankly Khan or Colm Imbert. With the high spate of crime in Trinidad I have decided to migrate to the USA and have now decided to come out with what I know. I am smart enough to have kept all of my phone records of my post paid phone, so the evidence is very obvious in calls to all of the aforementioned. I don’t know how Jack Warner will explain the lengthy calls and meetings we had. As I said I am a nobody. I worked with both Lutchmeesing and Junior Sammy are they are the two main contractors I did all the wheeling and dealing for since the owners are related for those who don’t know. You will note they got hefty contract from the Min of Works, and in some cases under questionable circumstances. I was also smart enough to have photos taken with theses individuals and in some instances when they are receiving some very thick envelopes. Meetings with said individuals, especially at Jenny’s are also recorded on video and photo print. There were also nice trips paid for by the contractors. Anyone can check the mansion Hayden Phillip is building in Gulf View, supposedly on an engineers salary. My first inclination has been to go to the F.B.I. in the U.S.A. I know how TT police works so let it be started in the U.S.A. and it already has as most of you already know. The information will also make its way to the TTPS. I would like anyone who wants to challenge me on my evidence that Jack Warner is not crooked. I know first hand he is. And for those who would like to know it is usually 10% he got so go figure on the multi billion dollar Pt. Hiway. 50% on the Fire Truck Fiasco. So we know how he is financing his election and party endeavor. The people of Chaguanas West should also realize that although Jack Warner does a lot in the community, the money is dirty money. I can not comment on anything relating to F.I.F.A. and those other matters but I can state for a fact that Jack Warner received hundreds of millions of dollars in kick backs during his stint at the Ministry of National Security. People should not be deceived to believe Jack Warner is a saint. I am not here to pass judgement, thats the readers choice. I put out the information, you do with it what you like. My information does not only incriminate JackWarner but also the past Ministers and a lot of other senior government people. For those who want to know more. I am happy to share it with you.

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  6. PART 3

    He received his hundreds of millions at The Ministry of Works not the Ministry of National Security as I mistakenly wrote!

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  7. Robin, talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. Since according to the previous posts all politicians are crooked then if you go into politics all your colleagues will be crooked. And to join with any politician to do anything will cast you as crooked. The flip side is to stay out of politics because they are all crooked. And that means we leave politics to the crooked people. What a quandry.

    I understand what is being said but what is the solution??

    I would go a step further and say then all members of the justice system is crooked, otherwise most of these people would be arrested and in jail. But it seems like the analysis that this is a corrupt country stands because one cannot go to the police and there is nowhere to go.

    Robin, my sympathies. I say stay the course and try your best to change things. One drop at a time otherwise you will be overwhelmed.

    Al

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