Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Indecencies...

It started off as a vote of no confidence in the Opposition Leader but by the time Vernella Alleyne Toppin took to her feet it became more, much more. In her contribution allegations were made regarding a school teacher in Tobago, a guest at someone's house, an underaged child with whom sexual relations resulted in a pregnancy, rumors of which have been making the rounds for years and for which the existence of the child of the union has now been confirmed.

In 2013 when the pictures of Keith Rowley's alleged son Garth first broke it was met with the most vehement of denials that it was not in fact so. In a conversation on my social media wall Diego Martin North East Member of Parliament Colm Imbert told a PNM supporter named Dane Wilson who appeared willing to agree and dismiss the fact that there could be further Rowley progeny that he was talking utter nonsense. That the allegations were baseless and without merit and fabricated to add life to a story that was untrue. Colm Imbert said then categorically that he has known Keith Rowley for many, many years, and that if he did in fact have another child outside of his two daughters he (Imbert) would know about it.

Fast forward to now, and as of this writing Colm Imbert has said nothing on the subject to either qualify or clarify his previous statement. Perhaps he will at the next sitting, one can only hope, that is, if he does not lead another walk out of the house in protest of matters the People's National movement's members do not seem to want to have discussed but which a large proportion of the country seems to want and which some say must be had before a general election. How unthinkable to have a candidate for the highest office in the country face the electorate with allegations of rape and that he may have molested an underaged girl swirling around him? What if, in a worst case scenario he were to be elected and then the allegations proven true? Would we have then been faced with the scandal of a sitting Prime Minister being arrested for forty something year old crimes? Like it or not, Vernella Alleyne Toppin did the nation a favor by at least forcing this matter to be ventilated as the confusion surrounding the entire affair was being used politically as wanted as was demonstrated by the Chaguanas West Member of Parliament's Jack Warner's flip flopping on the matter.

Aggrieved and insulted at the level of the discussion, he castigated the house before he too made his exit, demanding that this not be the level of the discussion or that it served no useful purpose. Yet the same Jack Warner said on this matter in the very same House of Representatives in April 2013 directed at the same Keith Rowley that “some of us had a lot in our private lives to answer for.”

Inferring the same rumors and allegations surrounding the Opposition Leader, according to the Trinidad Express of April 26th 2013 Warner went on to say “I heard from the last speaker, something about paedophile... and if a paedophile ends up in the classroom... Did I hear correctly about a paedophile? A classroom? A teacher? What classroom? What age? What teacher? How old is the child? What year? Because yuh see it have a lot of investigative journalists here, you know. And they must investigate. So when I heard about paedophile and classroom, it jolted me, as if of course the member (Rowley) tried to refresh his memory.”

Warner said there were 43-year-old allegations. “Eh, Vernella (Alleyne-Toppin)? You can’t be selective in allegations. He (Rowley) said fraud is not statute-barred, but so is rape,” Warner declared.

See why I said Vernella did us a favor? And while much of what she inferred was hard to hear it had to be said if only to clear the air, and to hear some of those who themselves have said worse to and about others pontificating as to Ms. Toppin's future is downright amusing. The same Martin Daly who is calling for Vernella to be fired is the same Martin Daly who hit then witness in the CLICO Commission of Enquiry a broad side as to his (Assam's) sexuality, causing the Commissioner to intervene and caution him. Is it a case of one standard for PNM and another for the PPG? The media does themselves no good service by playing arbiter of the discussion and guiding its outcome. That is not the role of media and they ought to know it. I know for a fact that many letters have been written asking for clarification on the matter but they are not being published, while letters demonizing the Member for her contribution are getting center stage. Faris al Rawi's scandalous behavior that the nation has been scandalized is a joke when compared to the PNM's track record over the course of the last five years. Ms Toppins' tale of rape and molestation is no worse than the PNM's allegations in the same house under the same privilege that the Prime Minister, her Attorney General and members of her government conspired to murder a journalist among other things without the remotest shred of evidence. At least for her part Ms. Toppin was able to provide a picture of a house. All the Leader of the Opposition brought to support his accusations during his rape of decency when he attacked to malign and injure reputations was the flimsiest of pieces of paper. What contempt for the foundation rule of justice that he who alleges must first prove. What is instructive then and should be to all is the media's handling of both situations. While giving 'emailgate' prominence and top story billing, the only treatment that 'Rapegate' is getting seems to be the burying of the story and the killing of the messenger, the twisting of the facts to suit reality, and a politicizing of an issue that still needs clarification and open discussion.

To be continued....

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