How would you spend $36 million in four years, if you were in a position of governance?
Mr Live Wire might:
Pay all The Mighty Sparrow’s hospital bills and airfare to and from Trinidad and Tobago and use the extra money to more aggressively take local cultural expressions into schools, give free advertising to cultural shows and/0r place a pastor and mirror at the VIP entrance for every cultural event to assure Minister Lincoln Douglas that he is not God;
Offer free education to NGOs in related fields for which they are qualified, sue all persons employed by the State for earnings pocketed on the basis of false qualifications, execute a search of Wade Mark’s premises for his Arthur Lok Jack EMBA and all accompanying graduation photos and/or pay comedian Rachel Price to accept the portfolio of “picong” in the Senate and have her drill Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in the artform for the remainder of his term in office;
Satisfy the terms of the 2006 World Cup players’ bonus agreement with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), begin work on a cricket academy to nurture competent administrators, open legal proceedings against ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner for possible misappropriation of football funds, sponsor airfare for Warner to travel to Port-au-Prince for community service to the tune of over US$690,000, tell the FBI and IRS when Warner will be flying.
What the Trinidad and Tobago Government actually did with the money, according to the Trinidad Guardian:
Spent $8.2 million per year to rent an empty building and then a further $927,360 per year to guard the same unoccupied spot.
PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi’s wife, Mona Nahous-Al-Rawi, is allegedly listed as a director of the company that manages the controversial premises on 1 Alexandra Street, Port of Spain.
But, as a self-proclaimed man of impeccable character and over a dozen thesauruses, Al-Rawi promptly deterred any salacious endeavour to besmirch his good standing through the extrapolation that he too has realised pecuniary gain from State corruption or mismanagement.
“I personally have no interest in that entity,” Al-Rawi told the Guardian. “I am aware that the Government rented that building on or around 2010 and that it pays a market rental below the rate paid by the government to many entities…
“Any attempt to draw salacious references to me are futile… I am aware that there are many properties rented under this regime which are owned by family members of the UNC.”
For a man with no interest in “that entity”—and we assume he is not referring to Mona Nahous-Al-Rawi—the PNM Senator seems quite informed about its business over the years as well as its supposed market value. Naturally, he closed with the tribal response that the UNC does it too.
Of course, there is nothing illegal with renting property to government and certainly the landlord cannot be blamed for the tenant’s lack of vision. But Al-Rawi’s fumbling retreat from the scene of a fresh State scandal arguably told its own tale.
The current Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has already revealed himself to be a promising used car salesman. Perhaps the next one might be a real estate appraiser.
It only cost taxpayers $36 million to find that out.