Friday, November 17, 2017

THE CHINA SYNDROME (with apologies to Jack Lemmon)

Sometime in the late sixties/early seventies the famous movie actor Jack Lemmon starred in a movie called 'The China Syndrome'. Jack Lemmon was the manager of a nuclear plant in the United States where something goes wrong and a melt down in the central nuclear reactor starts with all the attendant drama. The movie got it's name from the theory that the melt down, if not stopped would put a hole through the earth all the way to China. High drama and all sorts of politics were in play in the movie with politicians and technocrats telling lies about why the plant was approved in the first place.

Although the current brouhaha taking place in Trinidad & Tobago over the delay of Prime Minister Rowley's trip has nothing in common with that (really good) movie, some how I couldn't help thinking about it when I heard about Minister Stuart Young's latest comments on the cancellation/delay/suspension of the Prime Minister's proposed trip at the end of this month.

Minister Young is quoted as criticizing persons such as Mariano Browne, Mr. Reggie Dumas, the former Head of the Public Service, and me for questioning the reports about the trip. He is quoted as saying that we ""should get our facts right". Fair enough. But what are the facts, Mr. Young? Here is what the public knows as reported in the nation's newspapers:

1) On Thursday 9th November, 2017 you announced that the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago
    was going to China on an invitation from the Chinese Government to attend a conference of ten
    (count them - ten) world leaders. The conference was to last from 30th November to 3rd
    December. Thereafter, Dr. Rowley was going to stay in China for a five day State visit.

2) Unfortunately, there was no report anywhere else in the world of such a high level conference
     taking place anywhere in China (nor anywhere else for that matter). Further, there were no details
     as to who the other nine world leaders were. Certainly, there were no reports of any world leaders
     going to China in that period for any reason, much less a conference.

3)  This week the Chinese Ambassador to T&T is reported as saying to the T&T Government that the
      visit scheduled for the end of this month has to be rescheduled for reasons that, quite frankly, do
      not appear at first blush to make a lot of sense, especially when the previous reports are taken into
     consideration. But whether or not the reported reasons make sense or not, those are the facts in the
     public domain.

So, Mr. Young? What other facts are there that we didn't get right? More specifically, what facts exactly did any of us get wrong? For the record, let me ask again the following questions, which, if you would be so kind as to answer clearly and without obfuscation, everybody would be able to say 'Aahh! Okay. Now we understand'. Because as it is right now the reports are such that because of a lack of clear and forthright statements from you (and I hate to say it, but you really are to blame here for being less than clear in the first place) people are going to wonder just what the heck is really going on? Some people are even suggesting that there was never a trip in the first place! Can you believe that? But the level of distrust in politicians has now reached such a height in the society that very ugly and most unnecessary suspicions are arising over this absolute confusion which you caused in the first place. So, here are the questions:

           -  Where did this idea of a conference come from?
           -  Who initiated it? The Chinese? If so, who sent out the invitation and when and by whom
               was it sent?
           -  Where and when did you personally find out about this conference? When was it brought to
               the Cabinet for approval?
           -  Who prepared and presented the appropriate note for Cabinet approval?
           -   As no State secrets are involved and in the interests of absolute transparency is there any
                good reason why we can't get a copy of the relevant Cabinet note?
           -   What was the conference going to be about?
           -   Who were the other nine world leaders going to be attending? (Because I can't believe that
                our Prime Minister would go to a conference not knowing in advance who would be there!)
           -   When was the invitation for the State visit made?
There are other questions ... obviously. But answers to those will go a long way to calming people's suspicions that something is amiss.  And you do realize, don't you Mr. Young, that frank and forthright answers would go a long way to putting to bed the very ugly rumors that are circulating in the country. (And, no, you really don't want me to repeat them here. Suffice to say that some of them are scandalous if not downright defamatory.) I mention them only because it is not in the country's best interests that these ugly rumors not be put to rest by putting ALL of the facts into the public domain. Not to do so, but to handle the matter by proverbially 'shooting' those who have dared to ask questions or to comment on the published facts is not happy and not democratic. That's not the way our little Republic is supposed to work. I agree, it would be a lot easier if people like Mariano Browne, Reggie Dumas and me would just shut up and let you and Dr. Rowley do whatever you want. Fortunately, it doesn't work like that ... at least, not yet.


  1. on point ... as always

  2. Keep looking for the truth, Jane Fonda

  3. All perfectly sound questions. Clearly there is more to this than meets the eye. The question is if this was not a meeting of world leaders then what was Dr. Rowley travelling to China for? Stuart Young, the truth will come out. Its better if you manage the fallout now.

  4. Mr. Stuart Young provided an arrogant update to this China trip.

  5. Keep them coming. I love it!

  6. My friend who migrated to the USA tried to impress on one of his visits back home,,, when asked what job he was doing in the USA ,, he whipped out a impressive business card with his name and job title Environmental Specialist.. great job ,, he topped off his presentation "complete withYankee accent" with some fantastic pics of his Lincoln Contental "" big time ride"" and his fancy apartment and nice looking chicks.. Hmmmm well you know we trinis kinda it was a few years later that I learned that my friend was a garbage man. My point here is that ,, we trinis are environmental specialist to the hilt. These damm lying,, corrupt politicians throw out their garbage and we pick it up,, lock, stock and barrel ,, even though we know it's bullshit to distract and confuse. These guys are going to take TnT to a place not to far from absolute hell. It's just a matter of time.. Lord please put ah hand.