Saturday, October 31, 2015

Questions for Roodal...

If one were to use Roodal Moonilal's logic as stated at the announcement of the throwing of his hat into the ring for political leader of the United National Congress, then would have to assume that all who had a part to play in the UNC's last five years should be taking responsibility for that party's (mis)fortunes and all should be vacating their positions and avoiding making themselves available for promotion or election as well.

Not so?

Without question the People's Partnership was at once the best and the worst government this country has ever had, and while it can be said without fear of contradiction that no government has done more to develop this nation in five years, it can also equally be said that no government has damaged the institutional framework of this country as badly as the UNC led People's Partnership has in such a short space of time and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. From the misuse of state funds to deify their leader to misusing the state communication machinery to engage in naked politicking for almost their entire term in office, nothing was spared.

I have scoured the news over the past five years searching for examples of Roodal's objection to the more glaring issues that the public had with the UNC and could find none. Rather, I found him a staunch defender of others that have brought shame and eventual defeat to the party, so how is Kamla the only one to blame? Did Roodal stand against Life Sport? Or against Anil Roberts when eventually exposed? What about the Section 34 fiasco that removed civil society's support for the government, what was Roodal's position on that? Did he call for investigations? Commissions of Enquiry? For those who conspired to pervert the administration of justice to be brought themselves before the courts and charged? History does not show that, and Roodal needs to defend that. Then there was the Run Off amendment proposal that looked to all like a government attempting to bend the Constitution to achieve a hegemony they could not otherwise at the polls, what did Roodal have to say about that? In the face of widespread public condemnation, did he side with the public? Or did he defend his government's position? What was Roodal's position on the firing of the government's most successful and popular Minister to shield the removal of publicly tried and condemned Attorney General? Did Roodal call for an investigation into Anand's activities? What was his take on Gary Griffith being fired for refusing to engage in a cover up? Did he publicly condemn it and call for a rethink of that decision? Did he call for a firing of Communications Minister Vasant Bharath for using the mechanism of a government release to propagate a lie? I cannot find evidence to suggest that, nor can I find evidence of Roodal condemning Vernella Alleyne Toppin's moment of ignobility, so to what does Roodal refer when he infers that Kamla is alone to blame? Did he take a public position against the nonsense being propagated by Rodney Charles in the foolish 'No Rowley' campaign that backfired so badly former supporters of the PPG ended up cheering for the same Rowley?

I think I have made my point, and I look forward to Roodal's responses to all of the above, but truth be told the United National Congress and People's Partnership's fall from grace was not accidental, it was deliberate and occurred through conspiracy over time. This country may never recover from what was attempted through Section 34, and the fact that a few Ministers are not cooling their heels at the President's pleasure because of it is an indictment against our ability to govern ourselves, but that is grist for another issue. In this one I hoped to make the point that thinking people need to do just that, think.

Stop being spoon fed nonsense regurgitated by a lazy media, ask of those who would seek your support for positions of power to defend their track records. Many in the know and even those with the most cursory of knowledge of how the PP was run would tell you that Roodal Moonilal was more than second in command and heir apparent but was in fact making the calls and pulling the strings.

I suggest to the contrary of his statement that Roodal is being selective in his memory and telling of events. If Kamla needs to step down for her decisions and directions that led the the failure of the government then others must as well, for collusion in and execution of those dictates.

So on that one point I agree with you Roodal, that Kamla needs to step down, but so do you.

Phillip Edward Alexander

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Convincing Untruths and Bold Faced Lies....

Well known novelist and story teller Stephen King once said "the trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool.'

In his witty ditty 'King Liar,' calypsonian wordsmith Lord Nelson referred to a man who was the best liar in the lying kingdom, able to best everyone in the annual lying competition. In the song he remarks of one well known challenger who told of a tailor who was capable of making clothes for people without measuring, and who claimed 'just show him a man standing on a corner, and he could make a suit and don't even measure,' which of course brought the crowd to its feet thinking with a lie like that surely King Liar would be losing the crown. But in trademark fashion the King Liar zinged how his tailor was far more qualified and did not even need to see the man before taunting – 'Don't show him the man my tailor is class, just show him the corner where the fella pass, and he could make a suit, that is tailor, yuh hear lie? King Liar?'

That exchange came to mind listening to the spin being put on the remnants of the emailgate hoax by Keith Rowley and his trusted sidekick Faris al Rawi, and when the Prime Minister held up a glass of water in the Parliament to describe the fuzzy logic being applied to the request for continuing an investigation where no substance exists, when she asked, if the glass was no more, what would hold the water it finally made sense, Yet Keith Rowley is asking you to ignore the absence of any glass and focus on the water, but how can you? What would give it shape, form and mobility? How can a bus filled with children drive off a cliff if there is no bus? Yet Keith and Faris wants you to name the children and contact their families. How can a rocket deposit astronauts on the surface of the moon if the rocket does not exist? But to Rowley and al Rawi that does not matter, let's put moon rocks on sale. How much more can I belabor this analogy to make the point, that it is impossible to make a suit for someone based only on the information that he walked down a street?

But I have been toying with the idea of the conspiracy behind the emailgate hoax now out of morbid curiosity simply because this was not done by small children with idle time, but by grown up professionals of high stature seeking to commit the most heinous of crimes, to snatch power via subterfuge and trick. The question is not so much 'who did it?' The investigators at crime scenes usually ask, as the first question, who stands to benefit most for this crime to identify the most likely suspects. No, we have a fair idea as to who did it, the real question is not who, it is WHO?

Which human beings sat down together and drew this up? I want to know that information just out of dark respect for minds so devious.

WHO in this country has that type of talent, and why are they not writing scripts for Hollywood Blockbusters?

When the Integrity Commission took it upon itself to return the matter to the complainants out of a lack of evidence the complainants refused to accept that and instead are insisting on drawing the Integrity Commission INTO their conspiracy. They are not saying 'here is something, investigate it,' they are saying 'here is nothing, help us prove it,' to which the Integrity Commission is saying we are having none of that. But is that why His Excellency the former President refused to even look at it much less comment? Is it why the Judiciary is staying far away from it? Out of an abundance of caution so as not to be drawn into political machinations as unwilling pawns in someone else's conspiracy?

Which begged the biggest question of all. Did Keith Rowley as complainant in chief refuse to take the matter to the police out of fear that he could be and would be charged with wasting police time?

I find the desperation in the antics of Rowley and al Rawi laughably pathetic now. Every talk show host that gives them a hearing is actually demonstrating a willingness to discuss that clothes can be made for people based on where they might have stood, and this I find most dismaying. At some point the media is going to have to take a real and subjective look at what it is reporting, what it is being drawn into and ask, is this really worth it? Is this what my carer has been reduced to? Passing on someone else's lies?

Keith Rowley and Faris al Rawi are coming dangerously close to bringing the Integrity Commission into odium by their grandstanding and they are charging up their minions to go the whole hog. I would like to caution them both if for no other reason out of respect for the stability of our nation. The Integrity Commission has not adjudicated but has said there is not enough substance upon which to mount an investigation. Regardless of how they might feel about that the responsibility is not on anyone else to help them construct their fantasies and they need to stop it now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moving on... (Closing Email Gate)

It appears that, for the first time in our independent history, a political organization has been able to best the People's National Movement at its own games and the people behind the People's National Movement seem to have no clue as to what to do about it.

So now they attack who disagrees with them and quote who agrees, whining to everyone if things don't go their way when all they are trying to do is topple the democratically elected government or, failing that, attempting to smear the names and reputations of its members so badly that, despite and in spite of how much good work they may have done while in office, to the electorate, because of the tsunami of scandal and shaming allegations being mounted against them, the voters would have no choice but to vote for the PNM.

Problem is, it doesn't seem to be working. Worse, it seems to be backfiring, and instead of people losing taste for the People's Partnership and turning to the PNM, the public is turning away from the whole damned thing, disgusted by the shenanigans and fed up of it in its entirety. The most common cry to be heard is, can't we do better? Can't we find something else?

Now the rug has been pulled out from under them in the form of two lines from the Integrity Commission they swore would be the resolution they were seeking, and now that the top has rubbished what the bottom had already rubbished two years earlier, the whining has begun in ernest. Now PNM talking head Faris al Rawi is burning up the airwaves skating dangerously close to maligning the Commissioners of and the entire Integrity Commission as a whole, creating a new dimension to the scenario, and emphasizing that, if the PNM does not get their way, they are prepared to tear the whole thing down.

I think the public is fed up of that. Aligned media workers and journalists, tired of being ignored by a public fed up of biased journalism are inching their own way back to the center, leaving the few obviously biased and beholding practitioners isolated and glaring and answering unasked questions as to what the voters/consumers can really do.

The same PNM led by the same Keith Rowley sanitized and publicly baptized by the same St. Faris of al Rawi that had no problem with Keith Rowley as Leader of the Opposition and prosecutor-in-chief meeting surreptitiously and clandestinely with the then Chairman of the Integrity Commission Ken Gordon cast in the role of Judge in this scenario as laid out by and called for on the behest of the PNM, is daring to question the means by which the same Integrity Commission might have arrived at the conclusion that there simply isn't anything in the allegations to investigate?

It appears that what the PNM wants is not so much investigation as validation for their position and seem unprepared to accept anything less regardless from whom it comes or what they have to do to get their way. In a world where he who alleges must first prove Keith Rowley got away with the complete opposite, 'chaining up' an entire country and all of its high institutions on a fool's errand turned wild goose chase (if the emails don't work, investigate the contents still), causing at least one high office holder to step outside her crease.

Today though, the sun rose on a nation where emailgate is behind us, save and except for the whining.

Many are expressing relief, glad to have this sordid chapter closed as am I, and the entire country should be tired of the nonsense, the double speak and the sleight of hand politicking we have been witnessing from Balisier House ever since PNM supporters tossed their former leader aside ignobly and crowned his slayer their new leader.

This king slayer though, has quickly developed the reputation of being all hat and no cowboy, of having plenty noise and odor but no substance, and has caused the country to say enough.

No amount of grandstanding and belly aching is going to prevent the coming investigation into the origins of emailgate, and I suspect chapter two is going to be far more revealing and possibly career ending than chapter one ever was.

Before we get to there I do hope for all of our sake the entire country is fed up of Faris al Rawi and his whining.

I know I am.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

House of Thrones... (Because Game of Cards was already taken)

The Leader of the Opposition has accused the Prime Minister and senior members of her government of having conspired, among other things, to murder a journalist to kill a story. In response, the government, through one of its members, accused the Leader of the Opposition of being a rapist and of being himself the product of a violent rape. All of this done in the sanctity of the highest space in the land, the seat of Parliament, and broadcast to the world at no risk to either side of slander, libel or defamation. The government through its spokespeople have accused the Opposition Leader of being corrupt and of hiding pertinent information from the Integrity Commission, the entity that is supposed to keep public officials corruption free. In response the Opposition Leader has accused the Minister of Finance of insider trading when he was the head of the nation's third largest bank. Two former Attorneys General from two former administrations have accused the former Attorney General of the current administration of serious abuses of Office amounting to billings totaling almost a half billion dollars, in response to which the current Food Production Minister has responded by asking the Integrity Commission to look into a list of suspicious actions of both accusers while they were in Office.

My mother just got back from a long trip to Canada, and told me that her friends want to know why I don't write anymore. As a creative writer of fiction, tell me, after reading that opening paragraph, short of introducing an attack on the Parliament by zombies or revealing that the Prime Minister may in fact be pregnant with the Opposition Leader's love child, how do I top that? Even the news stories these days are sometimes so impossible to believe that they require taking with a pinch of salt. Take for example the chair that the Chairman of the country's electricity commission sits on, rumored to have cost the country almost thirty thousand dollars, and while the Chairman has never admitted or denied sitting in the chair, she has distanced herself from its purchase. It gets worse. The leader of another political organization who now fancies himself a corruption buster has offered to purchase the very chair, ostensibly for political purposes, but this same leader was fired from this same government for corruption on an international scale, and who cannot answer for authorizing the retrieval of a crashed fire truck at more than five times the replacement cost of the truck. The chairman named in the chair scandal is married to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which many claim is the reason why the chair story is a story in the first place, while others are of the view that purchasing outrageously expensive furniture for the use of state officials with state funds is the issue in and of itself.

Where was I? Oh yes, my mother. I had to explain to her that my weekly commentary was hired by a weekly newspaper under a former editor (who is now a candidate in the upcoming election on the same team as the Opposition Leader), and that up until recently, my weekly contributions went there primarily. A few weeks ago after the Opposition Leader was accused in the Parliament of being a rapist and that he himself was a child of violent rape, the new Editor of that old weekly announced that henceforth, nothing that showed the Opposition Leader in a bad light was going to be published, and because I found it almost impossible to write something good about the now made over, newly gentle, formerly garrulous and bitter combatant, I resigned. Funny thing though, that same Editor of that same weekly did not seem to have that same integrity when it came to others or those she and he (her leader) might consider political adversaries, because while she had a serious problem with articles referring to the Leader of the Opposition as an alleged rapist, she had none whatsoever publishing a full page fully nude image of a deceased politician on the front page of that same newspaper with a headline that alluded that he died while on a sex romp.

How do I contribute to that mom? How do I write knowing that the allegations made against the Prime Minister that she was a willing and conspiring murderess came in the form of a series of email exchanges that were never verified before they were put scandalously into the public domain but which have since taken years in the digital age to determine if they were in fact real? Or the fact that the Commissioner of Police is rumored to have received correspondence from the largest Internet Company on earth weeks ago but still cannot reveal their contents, while the Prime Minister insists that she too received the same information that exonerates her in any murderous enterprise, leading to the Opposition Leader's chief spokesperson saying straight faced to the public, ignore whether the emails were in fact authentic or not, pay attention to what the (fake?) emails contained. And while you are wrapping your head around that, wrap it around this as well. That same spokesperson is currently courting the former Minister of National Security of the current government to join their team despite they having accused him of being a willing coconspirator in the same murderous conspiracy, his name called in the same Parliament by the same Opposition Leader now courting him.

Isn't this all too bizarre?

And doesn't all of this suggest that either the Opposition Leader's spokesperson knew full and well that the emails and all they contained were rubbish when they were read in the Parliament? Or is it that everything is fair game in this House of Thrones and he is willing to play fast and loose with his own personal safety, consorting with an alleged murder conspirator for political reasons?

And (believe it or not) it gets even more interesting.

In response to and in defense of the allegations that the Opposition leader was a rapist, the same spokesperson for the Opposition Leader 'produced' a video that he said that they had in their possession since last year in anticipation of such an 'attack,' a video starring the very woman that the Opposition Leader is alleged to have raped when she was still a minor and the child of that rape, now a full grown thirty nine or forty year old man (they were having difficulty in the video deciding which), despite the fact that the purpose of the video was to debunk the allegations. But ignore that for a bit. To hear her tell they the story they were in love, drunk with puppy love, and that the child of that union was conceived in love.

Isn't that just too romantic and cute for words?

And while I am even willing to accept that, what I found remarkably interesting about that video is, while the Opposition Leader's spokesperson claims that it was produced since the year before (2014), and that they have had it in their possession for over a year, no one has been able to explain how is it that is comes to refer  to events that only took place in 2015, trumping my zombie plot with a possible time machine and perhaps a working crystal ball.

Mom, the real reason I am not writing anymore is that, while I am a veritable virtuoso in creative writing and fiction, seriously, how do I top that?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Matter of Trust...

Before he was 'outed' in the Parliament Keith Rowley refused to acknowledge and in fact actively conspired with others to deny the existence of one of his children. And while you're thinking about that, and while those employed to distract and misdirect from this issue attempt to spin it as a simple omission, understand this also, that a lie by omission is a lie where one neglects to include important information; an outright lie is a lie where the truth is deliberately skewed so as to mislead. This was an outright lie.  How we deal with other facts surrounding the outing that may or may not have been true is for other conversations, but this needs to be put on the table naked and exposed and seen for exactly what it is, that over the course of forty three years of his first child's existence and at least twenty five years of his own political career, Keith Rowley set out to deliberately mislead and deceive the public by telling a lie.

The question then begs to be asked, how does one trust someone who is capable of this grand a lie on this epic a scale? How does one trust with public office someone capable of this sinister a conspiracy over almost half a century and who has as of this writing still has not personally acknowledged his lie and given an accounting of his actions?

In all of his biographies including his Parliamentary bio where he swore that the information he gave was the truth to the best of his knowledge, the Leader of the Opposition with forethought and planning lied to the public by claiming two of his three children. What else then has he lied about over the course of that time?

The Collins English Dictionary defines character as - “the combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing,” and in this regard and for this purpose we are now knowledgeable of at least one defining trait in his character, that for whatever else he might be, Keith Rowley is a liar and a teller of untruths. That he is willing and able to conspire with others to deceive, that he is capable of misleading an entire nation and would skew facts to distort reality as long as they served his needs or ambitions.

Are those Prime Ministerial qualities or the traits of a person that we want to trust with high office?

According to Section 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago - "A Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary shall not enter upon the duties of his office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance and oath for the due execution of his office." The last hurdle before receiving the instruments of office, can a convicted teller of untruths be trusted to be guided by an oath?

The People's National Movement for their part owe an explanation to the country regarding their choice of political leader and an accounting of what steps if any are going to be taken to deal with this. For a little while at least they have ownership of the matter even though it should also be one for the public domain. We the people of Trinidad & Tobago have been worn down over the years and our standards have been eroded to the point where many do not seem to have a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Political expediency should never be the filter through which one makes important assessments that could govern one's future or, put another way, it is unwise to apply temporary solutions to a permanent problem.

It comes down to trust. Can Keith Rowley be trusted now that we know he has demonstrated that he is capable of lying and of conspiring to deceive?

In times of strife and other national concern what holds power to the Office to which Keith Rowley aspires is the faith the public has that their leader can be trusted to do the right thing. Now that trust is broken, can the aspirant be considered fit for the position? How we answer that question ultimately reflects our own character in how we view issues such as right and wrong.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Roti Chronicles...

There is a hidden malaise in this country, a quiet struggle being played out at every level of society that needs to be addressed and ventilated once and for all.

Few things impact the lives of so many people as positively as roti, and this must be taken into account whether choosing either a life partner, embarking on a new relationship, or deciding who to vote for at election time. 

Many people make choices based on things other than love of roti, and these decisions are doomed to fail. It makes no sense to hide it, and my greatest pity is reserved for those who have to hide to eat their roti and deny that the love exists in the first place. What type of existence is that? I suggest being open and honest from the beginning, and see if your new partner shares your feelings for roti; you may be pleasantly surprised.

In his book "Seeing is Believing," Harvey Glasses remarked - "ahhh, curry mango, are you sweet friend or spicy foe?" to which i respond "neither, my good man!" This confusion is systemic of a devious group dedicated to the undoing of the roti movement, and their most notable triumph to date has been the removal of roti from Religious, National and State functions, with the introduction of knives and forks to the consternation of many.

We must not let this prevail.

I have written to the head of most churches and religions on this issue, strongly suggesting the word roti, or better yet roti itself be included in the actual marriage ceremony as the unifying symbol of love it is, but to no avail. 

The closest I have come to success in this is in a thinly veiled attack on my love of roti by the Archbishop's Office in a letter that ended with the confusing "for the love of God, Jesus and Mary, Please stop writing to us."

As I am not sure what they are trying to say I will keep writing to them until they make themselves clear.

On the political scene, at least two ex-Prime Ministers publicly displayed their affection for roti on the campaign trail, only to distance themselves once in Office. I am not saying anything and people are invited to draw whatever conclusions they choose, but maybe that is why they are 'ex' Prime Ministers today. 

We live in enlightened times, and the High Courts of the land intervened on behalf of those who felt slighted by the highest national award, and it has been replaced by the 'Order of Trinidad'. With no apologies I say to the Government 'not good enough!' We need an award that exemplifies love of all things Trinidadian, and I humbly suggest the creation of the 'Order of Roti', to be given in recognition of people who have reached the highest level of national contribution while openly admitting to their own roti love affair. (Please note the 'Order of Roti' should not be confused with 'ordering' a roti, because then everybody will want an award).

In closing, and I do not believe for one minute that this is the end of this very contentious issue, I would like to encourage all citizens to wear green (and a kinda pale biege with brown spots) in solidarity with roti lovers throughout this land as we call for a national Roti Day holiday to recognize the importance of roti once and for all.

The significance of this movement will grow to be seen for what it is, and if the Government refuses to lead from in front, we may have to have a roti march every Friday, around lunchtime, from your closest roti shop.

In the immortal words of Dr. I. P. Freelie - "Never underestimate the power of the people to change the world, and never eat buss up shut in long sleeves".

Stand strong, brothers and sisters, we struggle on....

The Color of a Gun...

How long is a perfect day
How much does a bullet weigh
What is the color of a loaded gun
How fast can a dying or a dead man run

How many jumps does it take to touch the sky
How many tears does a broken heart cry
What does it cost in copper and lead
How many dying, how many dead

Tears of the children washing away
The one that kills, how much does it weigh.
Blood in the moonlight, blood in the sun
Tell me my friend, what is the color of a gun...