2013 Focus

It is common knowledge that when the coalition government came into power in 2010, the Security Intelligence Agency was given special focus.  As is the established pattern, Reshmi Ramnarine was put in charge not necessarily because of her technical competence and extensive experience but perhaps because she was considered trustworthy given her close relationship with the political elite.  What is not commonly discussed is that some openly voiced concerns that the coalition government’s actions were systematically weakening the national security infrastructure within the administration.  I am reliably told these concerns were voiced, and they were subsequently dismissed as it is common knowledge that the weakening of the national security infrastructure continued.  The most recent installment in this ongoing saga is the $1 billion hole left by the apparently mishandled OPV deal.

In 2010 and 2011, there were sensational drug-related headlines in Trinidad and Tobago.  Most remember the $2 million in drugs hidden among car parts and the $34.6 million in drugs hidden among chicken parts in another container.  To date, I am unaware of anyone being convicted of these crimes.  But perhaps, the biggest headline for 2010 should have been the investigation by British and Spanish police into the 1.5 tonnes of cocaine, worth close to $1 billion that left Chaguaramas aboard a yacht headed for Spain.   The yacht was traced across the Atlantic Ocean by satellite after it left Trinidad until Spanish Police intercepted it.  It was reported that this drug haul showed similar signs to one of the biggest drug cases in Ireland in 2008, which also had strong links to T&T.  Again, I am unaware of anyone in Trinidad and Tobago being convicted in connection with this crime.  In August 2012, Officers from Malta’s Security Services played a major role in an Interpol seizure of an estimated tonne of cocaine on board a luxury private jet in the Canary Islands that had previously landed in Trinidad Tobago. USA Tax Singapore

Was it a coincidence that in August 2012, just days after this incident with the private plane, 15 ‘small fish’ were quickly rounded up to give the impression that something was being done to stem the flow of illicit drugs?  I say ‘small fish’ because, according to the press reports, most were held on between one and three felony counts of distributing a controlled substance.  Hardly the kind of ‘big fish’ that could hire a private plane and pack it with a tonne of drugs.

Despite the many many missteps, however, history will remember this administration for one thing and one thing only – Section 34.  Section 34 will forever define this administration.    Even the most devoted apologist for the present administration cannot defend the depth of corruption suggested by the Section 34 fiasco.  If certain allegations surrounding this Section 34 fiasco are true, it may be the single most corrupt act in 50 years of the nation’s independence.

Please do not misunderstand me.  It is not my intention to point fingers at the administration.  I have said many times in the past, and I will continue to say that politicians were not, are not, and will never be the source of any problem.  A population gets the government it deserves, and if there is a need for any focus, the focus should be on the electorate who installs into positions of trust, individuals who fail to live up to unrealistic expectations time and time again.  All too often, we seem to forget that the great advances of mankind do not come from governments but ordinary men and women.

So as we wave goodbye to 2012 and welcome 2013, it is as good a time as any to remember that the problem and the solution lie in the people, not in any particular government.  Even the COP’s 2013 priority is not to address allegations of corruption or the failure to implement all the Uff Enquiry findings or to publish the findings of the Piarco Airport Enquiry or to ensure that the accused political financiers wanted by the US Government are extradited.  No – that would be too easy.  Their priority is constitutional reform.  One can guess that central to their draft constitution would be a form of proportional representation that assures their organization a place at the feeding trough no matter which party wins the majority at the next election?

Regardless, voters in the upcoming THA election must ensure that they cast a vote against corruption.  It is also important that voters in Trinidad hold their elected representatives to account, and should they continue to fail – vote them outcome the next general election.  Despite our current challenges, I continue to have the audacity of hope that we will all enjoy a brighter tomorrow.

Read more on derrenjoseph.blogspot.com.   

Note: The blog that used to be here is now at https://htj.tax/.

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