Riding West: Shooting soca stars, perverse AG and troubled PM

Former Sport Minister Anil Roberts made a surprise return to the public eye today at the memorial service for beloved television host Marcia Henville. No doubt it was not the funeral Roberts had hoped to attend.

Roberts was accompanied by his beautiful young wife and, by all accounts, they were able to make it in and out of the church without any major incident, inconvenience or sordid indiscretions. Even the priest was probably disappointed. Sigh. Just when you think you know people…

It was the worst comeback since “Hangover Two.”

Photo: Former Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
Photo: Former Sport Minister Anil Roberts.

Roberts’ low-keyed appearance capped a bizarre week in which former Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Ministry of Sport PS Ashwin Creed both decided to test the attention span of the populace by asking for their old jobs back.

Those might seem like ridiculously brazen requests if not for the fact that current Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar plans on keeping her portfolio later this year as well.

There is no easy way to say this, Prime Minister but there is a really cool movie called “We’re just not that into you” that you should probably watch.

Then there was a police shooting at soca star Benjai who violated protocol by speeding through the President’s escort. Which begs the obvious question: does the President’s office still have protocol?

Police Service Social and Welfare Association general secretary Michael Seales commended the policemen for shooting at an unarmed civilian. Or missing. Or both.

“The President of this country was being escorted at that point in time and these officers, the ones who are escorting him,” Seales told the Trinidad Express, “are trained to shoot into the car at a chest level, in order to neutralise any targets who could potentially be a threat to the dignitary who is being escorted at that point in time.

“So hats off to them (the police escort), I mean, these officers did breach their training protocol, but at the same time, today, the persons who may have suffered in that regard are now alive to tell the story.”

Photo: Soca star Benjai was almost shot down by critics on the highway. (Courtesy Peppertt.com)
Photo: Soca star Benjai was almost shot down by critics on the highway.
(Courtesy Peppertt.com)

So, the policemen were either bad at doing a stupid thing—slaying someone who was not a risk to the President at the time—or good for doing wrong while trying to do right. Either way, their inability to follow procedure, despite their best efforts, means Benjai will continue to thrill his female fans this Carnival season.

And it is not every day you can say that incompetence saved a life. So Live Wire would like to join Seales in congratulating the officers for not shooting an unarmed civilian.

Of course, it would have been difficult for lawmen to convince the public that, in keeping with the tired police cliché, Benjai was gunned down while attacking them with a knife during the course of their duties. But let’s not look too closely at that gift horse.

Rather, how about the real scandal this week: Attorney General Anand Ramlogan’s alleged misguided efforts to ride West in his Section 34 related lawsuit against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

Ramlogan, according to Police Complaints Authority (PCA) director David West, suggested that his employment opportunities within the public sector might be greatly enhanced if he did not file a witness statement.

If it was meant to be an offer that West could not refuse, Ramlogan needs to brush up on his Godfather routine. West did the right thing by promptly waiting three months for the media to leak the whole episode before remembering his civic duty to report an attempt to pervert justice.

And this is no little pervert we are talking about here. This is Anand Ramlogan!

Photo: Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. (Courtesy T&T Mirror)
Photo: Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
(Courtesy T&T Mirror)

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar called the allegations “troubling.” Mr Live Wire thinks troubling is not being able to find the television remote. An attorney general supposedly treating Lady Justice like an extra in a Lurbz video is something else entirely.

Bissessar said Ramlogan would remain attorney general “until whenever he’s no longer attorney general.” Which is as perceptive and useful as the weatherman saying that you should expect sunshine until it starts raining.

She followed that up with: “I’m not saying that that is the plan of action…”

What is not the plan of action, Prime Minister? That the Attorney General would remain the attorney general until he is no longer attorney general? Does the Prime Minister even listen to herself anymore?

Where is a policeman with a breathalyser gizmo when you need one?

Somehow, by the time the Prime Minister’s message reached to Facebook, it was reported as: The PM is going to sack Ramlogan and Gary Griffith and buy a large order of char siu kai fan, which was surely a textbook case of Chinese whispers.

Meanwhile, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams confirmed to the media that Deputy CoP Harold Phillip—not to be confused with the COP leader that cannot spell his name—has been asked to investigate allegations of Ramlogan’s perversion.

Mr Live Wire has another question: Since Ramlogan is now “a person known to the police” and “of interest to the police”, can Superintendent Johnny Abraham shoot him?

Photo: Ahem, let's see if I remember this: If he is in a vest, beat him senseless. If he's in a suit, don't shoot...
Photo: Ahem, let’s see if I remember this: If he is in a vest, beat him senseless. If he’s in a suit, don’t shoot…

Elsewhere, House Speaker Wade Mark and Finance Minister Larry Howai must have breathed a sigh of relief as the media attention turned West.

The bacchanal season is in full swing now.

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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  2. Funny, and the funniest part? It’s the truth..lol

  3. The constitution has nothing to do with a culture of corruption – that is solely down to what we the people are willing to accept and tolerate.

    However, the missing pieces in the equation are the institutions that are supposed to safeguard us aren’t functioning. The Integrity Commission is powerful in concept but next to useless in execution. The same with the FIU and the BIR.

    The acts being condoned by these institutions aren’t sophisticated but they seem unwilling to take action.

  4. I would argue law enforcement is another matter. Nevertheless, I’m of the opinion we don’t have relevant laws to deal with transparency which leads to the corruption over the years. Then the media is hamstrung by dumb laws. Thanks for a great debate.

  5. Wase Kendall i posed a purely rhetoric question. No need to jump on your high horse and i was definitely not questioning your integrity etc. Sorry if my question came out the wrong way. Passions are certainly running high oui. Goes to show the tension in the atmosphere. I have also taken strong positions in the past to safeguard my integrity and some persons on this thread who know me well know what i stand for so no need for me to explaciate.

  6. The thing is Eric A St Bernard, we have so many rules that aren’t being used now. Our culture rejects those laws.

  7. Culture change may require the population to believe they will have genuine opportunity, protection and be treated equally. It will require some historic question marks to be resolved. It will require us to give a bligh to some. I think it’s bound to come after in time, but you’re right, it’s more important

  8. …won’t you say the constitution allows a culture of corruption and lack of accountability?

  9. I think changing the culture is even more important than constitutional reform.

  10. To be fair, politics is an occupation too so they deserve to be paid. So I think people getting into it are entitled to consider pay and I want them to be paid properly.
    That way we can have some harsh measure when we catch them stealing! I’d say jail time should be a must for anyone caught recklessly handling public funds even if we can’t prove it went into their pockets. Anil Roberts should be first to a cell.
    In every industry, there are good people. There must be a few in politics too. But the system (maybe the unwritten system) is stifling them and us.

  11. Unless we start talking constitution reform to make MP’s represent their constituents and not their party; remove the arcade media libel laws;campaign finance being public knowledge; and transparency in public spending with opposition votes needed to approve spending, we just waisting our time. We will vote out the PP and next government will be the same, as it was in the past 50 years. Have we forgotten O’Hollorand, Gean Miles, TESSRO and the list of issues from then to now ? Until we have meaningful CHANGE we will be having this discussion in two years again.

  12. Justin, if only ordinary people realised how much power they actually have to change things… don’t necessarily need the sanction of the elites when push comes to shove. History teaches us that. They will have to be dragged kicking and screaming too…Caribbean people -like people everywhere – kowtow far too easily to a hierarchical ideas of power, and forget that the power is also in their hands.

  13. As to the failed state issue, the definition internationally I think unclear. There will always be states worse off, but our revenue has been too great for us to be where we are. The persons on this thread might find it interesting to discuss whether our democracy would’ve been stable if we didn’t have an alternative corrupt system in operation that didn’t depend on who was in power. We have the Illusion of a stable democracy. But subtract the corrupt alternative system, and perhaps 18-18 would’ve been a big deal, not a presidential decision.

  14. One of the problems is that our constitution assumes, and depends, on what has been absent for years-integrity in office holders. They don’t have it and the population overlooks it. Then there’s a complex network of allegiances all built on self interest, race and depending on the absence integrity also. The righteous are apathetic and the dishonest uplifted. This applies outside the politicians. Sadly, the righteous are in a minority. And often the criticism and uproar comes from people who are themselves corrupt. It’s a cycle of corruption played out by a cycle of allegations. The truth is that our political metrics as they stand mean that you have to take that vow of poverty if you want to participate meaningfully and have an honest intent. The talk of a new party is not necessarily a solution unless the rules change. You wouldn’t here from that third party if it was anti-corruption and people believed they were. Who would finance that? The message has to be articulated to the very wealthy that to preserve their wealth they need change too. But a good start would be genuine consti reform. I’m glad to be privy to this conversation, it’s very helpful, many great minds here.

  15. Based on the personalities I see, there’s little that is inspiring. There are no noble patriotic ideals, no appeal to the public to rise above the race divisiveness, no core values that we feel instinctively and collectively. Its there. And there are lots of disaffected people. But who’s appealing to them? Instead we have the party of Jack, which is precisely that (same old) and then the CoP (which missed a massive chance to do just this). I can’t see how the establishes pol classes already having all tasted the trappings of power, are going to be inspired to change from the status quo any time soon. Even if these parties get re-elected, its v hard for them to reform themselves into visionaries if they never had it in the first place. Btw, I think the youth are still the source of our hope. Prob is with our brightest and best is that if they get fed up, they eitther migrate or join one of the established parties and learn the tricks from the old masters. All rather depressing.

  16. I think the young are already tainted. That is why most of ILP supporters are young.
    Remember the kids today are growing up in this era of greed and corruption. They might instinctively grasp it better than us!
    I do think you have a point about needing fresh blood Kala. But i do feel we can try forcing change from the institutions too.
    I am not sure if starting over from scratch is better. I could be wrong of course.

  17. Our problems are different to Greece;s to be sure. But the point is that if we’re talking how to get T&T invigorated again, and actually realise its fullest potential, I think our current and past political elites have shown themselves more interested in lining their pockets and that of their friends, rather than have any sort of vision thing – even when they say they do. This prob is amply illustrated by the generous and selfless Mr Manning offering himself to us, yet again. I mean, are we really serious? It’s not age-ist either. We’re just bereft of new innovative ideas for the country and its development. WHen you have political parties who singularly fail to paint a big picture for the nation and are still hamstrung by ethno-politics, not sure where the prospects lie, except with the young who are willing to break from the mould and seize their own future from these tired old political antediluvians..

  18. But Kendall Tull the middle class is revolting and the PP is showing that it feels confident enough to hold on to power through “the lowest common denominator”.
    So the middle class might not be able to exert itself through the ballot alone. And I think waiting four or five years to make a point to the government will always be a lesson in futility.

  19. Lasana we talk about race politics and party die hards but the biggest problem is the middle class vote that goes AWOL. That allows the lowest common denominator to decide the elections and that is a recipe for disaster.

  20. Kala – it seems to me that Syria merely pandered to the masses by promising an end to austerity measures without practically explaining how. Last I heard was that they want debt forgiveness which is a nonsense to me.

  21. But more and more people are having this discussion. That is progress.

  22. I don’t think it is necessarily the party at fault. It is us for not holding them to account.
    I think the problems would occur no matter who is in power. One bunch might just take more liberties than the other.
    We have to learn how to bring them to heel and have them work for us. I see that as our real challenge.

  23. Unfortunately, Kendall Tull, many Trinis do not have the skill, objectivity and patience to engage in productive discourse. There is a low tolerance to engage in fruitful discussion with folk of differing view points. Hence the use of weapons to resolve impasses in many instances. That’s what happens when ignorance meets arrogance. It’s cyclic, I believe, because our adults behavior is learnt by our youths. Trinidad needs help.

  24. New political party with entirely new youngish faces. Time to move on from the current regime and the ancien regime. Someone has yet to capitalise on the economy and crime as central planks. A few brave people from all walks of society, intellectuals, professionals but people who actually have a vision and are not in it for the money, but to raise the debate and move the country forward from this tired old morass. Exhibit A: Syriza in Greece, for those who think its not possible.

  25. And I’m not convinced that the wider public doesn’t see politicians as Gods Paolo Kernahan. Or else the PP won’t think it useful to have Kamla’s face smiling at you from every billboard and bit of merchandise.

  26. What I don’t get is why ppl descend to personal attacks when you disagree with them. I haven’t questioned anyone’s integrity or patriotism but yet as aoon as you espouse an opinion different from theirs, you have to put up with nonsense. Comically, each side accuses you of belonging to the other. Apparently you can’t call a spade a spade without having an agenda.

  27. I don’t mean imposing ourselves only by voting Paolo. Yes, there is greater scrutiny. But I think we are just getting started. I have mentioned boycotts before as something that isn’t really used locally.
    A politician might feel confident to survive boos and protests. But what if people decided to dissatisfaction by targeting companies associated with the ruling party for instance. Like if everyone cancelled policies with Beacon?
    I’m sure that will get their attention and those companies will immediately demand action from the PM. (To be clear, I’m not calling for a Beacon boycott).
    I’m referring to a general principle Paolo. It is up to us to decide where we want to go with it.
    The sentiment is as empty or as loaded as the people who act on them.

  28. Excellent points, Lasana Liburd, for us to move forward. We need to hold them accountable for performance. We have been tolerating mediocrity for too long. Mediocre performance in leadership, management, Church, sports etc is killing our society. We too easily bow down to these ‘appointed’ folk because of their title, position, education, and social connections resulting in most of them having over-inflated egos and disrespect for T&T citizenry.

  29. Sounds good but what does that mean exactly? We’ve already moved past the point of seeing politicians as Gods, the removal of Patrick Manning was a clear manifestation of this. That ushered in an era of unprecedented scrutiny, scrutiny that made it impossible for this government to hide its mistakes or dodge the consequences. Imposing ourselves on the elected leaders, isn’t that what is happening now? So when this government is swept out of office, and the PNM returns to office they can expect the very same level of scrutiny, people won’t stand for any nonsense. Do you think that will change politicians behaviours? Does anyone really believe that? What we believe is that going to the polls is the citizens taking charge of their destiny. What we are actually doing is merely hitting the reset button. Putting country before party…again it sounds great but it doesn’t actually mean anything. When people say we can still turn it around, how do they propose to do that? by voting?

  30. I think we can start by putting country before party. And we should also stop seeing politicians as gods but question them and demand better and take responsibility for the direction we are heading in.
    Part of that is making it clear when we are happy and imposing ourselves more on the elected leaders.

  31. The first year wired868 football festival, a SPEC official had reservations of allowing us to use the Uwi ground for something positive for football coaches and past players. He said he saw my site and it was “anti-govt” and he felt he might get in trouble.
    But now I’m on my third year at the venue and the present spec director David Benjamin is extremely helpful while former director Iva Gloudon paid from her own pocket for me to use the venue last year.
    Things like that do give me hope and it shows people are open to what the site is trying to do.

  32. But these are semantics. So we shouldn’t let that divide us. The truth is our country is in a mess and we all have to try and help clean it up.

  33. I agree with Kendall in so much as we are a long way from other countries like Russia and so on in terms of still being able to speak to power and demonstrate.
    That said there are signs, including the allegations in emailgate, that we shouldn’t take such things for granted.
    But this isn’t a totalitarian state. Maybe one could add “yet” if you choose.
    I couldn’t run Wired868 without sponsorship and i do have a few sponsors that allowed me to carry on and put in so many hours on this job.
    In other countries, I wouldn’t have been able to find any company that would be associated with such work.
    Things are bad. But it hasn’t totally fallen apart. That’s why we can turn it around still.

  34. I have been castigated by politicians in this and the last regimes for refusing to bend procurement rules for their friends. Have YOU doing anything that personally cost you to stand up for what is right?

    Don’t jump on any high and mighty horse asking me if I marched. I have done FAR more than that and will not tolerate being questioned about my commitment to what is right by ANYONE.

  35. IF we get the chance to vote them out i will definitely do so the same way i voted them in. Also i took part in many of the marches starting with Section 34. Were YOU there?

  36. Kala – by no stretch of the imagination are we where we should be. However we have changed governments when they failed us in the past. We still have the power through the electoral system to say we don’t want you governing us. So in 2015, exercise that power and again in 2020 if the next administration doesn’t perform until the politicians understand that we won’t settle for poor governance.

    And if you are unhappy, do more than just talk. Speak to the leaders, whether they listen or not. Stand for something whether it is easy or not. I will not kowtow to corruption despite what it cost me. I will stand for something.

  37. We are not the US and I don’t live there. We are a small, fast becoming a Banana Republic Island and i have to live here. We are going to have to agree to disagree as the level of corruption taking place in this country has far surpassed any other previous governments put together.

  38. No we are not and I stand by that statement. Read the article and you will understand.

    And if you think that the government monitoring what is being said is something unique to Trinidad, you are clearly in error. Snowden showed categorically the extent to which the US and other countries go where the entire population is under watch.

    I don’t see anyone calling the US a failed state though.

  39. We have been failing, though not entirely failed for the reasons Kendall gives. What successive govts have failed, is the country, the people, the children, and future Trinis. The squandermania record over the past few decades is nothing short of depressing. Lord knows what future Trinis will make of us.

  40. West will be dealth with. Trust me. They’ll find a way. I would hire extra security if i were him.

  41. That’s why Lasana Liburd’s page is constantly being monitored by the government, infiltrated by PP manics and many bloggers are afraid to say what they really think. Also i keep getting warned by Family and Friends to stop posting my opinions on Lasana’s page. Nah! We no where close right Kendall?

  42. Take faith that elections are coming, the actions of our politicians are routinely exposed and that people like David West still exist.

    We have issues but we are nowhere close to being a failed state. To suggest otherwise is folly to me and patently untrue.

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