WE CRINGE IN SHAME!
PETER O'CONNOR Sunday, March 11 2007
We are swirling down a spiral of chaos and shame. All of our institutions seem to be in collapse, and not through any natural disaster, but by the willful action and or gross neglect of our Government. And the breaking news of new calamities overwhelms us each day. No wonder that Pastor Manning did not want Cricket World Cup in Trinidad — the shame is too much to bear, what with the world’s media in our midst!
First, how can a person, who gave (presumably sworn) statements to a court, suddenly announce that he “does not want” to pursue the matter when called for cross-examination? And can a witness be the one to decide in which forum he will give evidence? I cannot comment further on the circus being created around the Chief Justice issue at this time, and wait in horror for further developments. However, the nation reels in shock and awe.
But what can we expect? The court system in TT that is now in crisis, as witnesses die or withdraw from cases, so why should the Chief Magistrate not play that game too?
Every day we see prosecutions fail on the appallingly poor development of the case, or because the witnesses are dead or afraid. How come, that after two years, the State is still “not ready” to proceed in the Dhanraj Singh corruption trial? Who can be called to account for this ongoing, acceptable slackness?
Then we had confirming news on the extent of corruption in the CPEP programme. This programme, created by the PNM as a supplement to the notorious ongoing URP scandal, has two primary goals: The first is to enrich PNM family and friends and the second is to keep the PNM faithful poor and stupid as they “rent their names” to “contractors” for a pittance, while the contractor becomes rich.
The people whose names are registered in this programme get almost nothing — which is fair enough, as they do almost nothing — while the contractors become rich.
No wonder people are getting killed for the right to “own” these, and URP contracts. This column has claimed, for years now, that the PNM (as the UNC before them) are the de-facto sponsors of crime through this billion dollar handout to elements who exploit the persons registered. Talk about still living in slavery! However, the PNM continues to live in denial, even as their own councillors are targeted in the war for contracts. And why should the PNM be concerned?
These people who rent their names will be trundled out on election day to vote for the same PNM which is keeping them poor and stupid.
And just when you think credibility could be stretched no further, we get the revelations that the kidnappers of Mrs Naipaul-Coolman want to surrender, because they fear for their lives.
It is alleged, by their attorney, that they murdered their victim, and now their lives are in danger. The source of the threat was named, but we need to know more — if in fact this is not another “draining of the pond” red herring.
Why are their lives in danger? Is it the vengeful family after them, or is there more intrigue yet to come? I certainly hope we do not offer this trio immunity for their story. With the exception of Parmessar in the Abdul Malik trial, and Clint Huggins in the Dole Chadee case, the granting of immunity has consistently led to the freeing of the confessed killers and their “employers.” This could be an elaborate plot to see everyone go free again.
And finally, we heard that the San Fernando General Hospital is about to get several million dollars worth of new equipment. This is to replace equipment which has been broken down for the last two years! Are they serious? How can we have life-saving equipment kept unworkable for two years?
I object to any replacement being done until the suppliers of the existing equipment are called in to examine and report on the causes of the “breakdowns.”
Let them tell us whether it is willful negligence, or whether parts have been removed to private institutions — check the comments of Commissioner Gladys Gafoor in this.
To simply replace the equipment would be to repeat the cycle. And we must endure all this confusion, incompetence and corruption while the world is here with us.
The Government is asking us to behave properly while our cricket visitors are here. They should follow their own advice. We, however, can do nothing but cringe in shame with each passing day bringing new and shocking revelations.