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Letter to Editor: Ralph Maraj is trying to rewrite Kamla’s political legacy and fool T&T

“What [Ralph] Maraj failed to indicate in his column [“Kamla’s Return”] is the fact that the UNC administration either changed the names of already-existing units, or simply completed projects started by the previous People’s National Movement (PNM), in the area of fighting crime?”

The following Letter to the Editor on the perceived rewriting of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s political legacy was submitted to Wired868 by PNM general secretary Ashton Ford:

Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar celebrates victory at the 2010 General Elections. (Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2015)
Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar celebrates victory at the 2010 General Elections.
(Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2015)

It is amazing how many of our self-appointed “independent political analysts” escape public scrutiny, simply because they occupy the commentator’s position, by virtue of their writings or commentaries in the media.

Take for example, Ralph Maraj’s column in the Sunday Express of 9 October, under the heading, “Kamla’s Return?” in which he praised the Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, for her response to the Minister of Finance’s Budget presentation.

His article clearly demonstrated that it was itself, nothing more than a professional public relations gimmick to boost the image of the Opposition Leader. The information in his article gave the impression that the Opposition Leader provided facts to illustrate how she achieved a great deal under her stewardship as Prime Minister, especially in the area of crime.

Maraj cited the National Operations Centre (NOC) as one of the new initiatives introduced by the United National Congress (UNC) regime, in addition to the National Security Training Academy (NSTA), Community Comfort Patrols, construction of Police Stations, buying four coastal patrol vessels and 12 Damien vessels, among other dubious “accomplishments”.

Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar takes a lift in a police car. (Courtesy UNCTT.org)
Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar takes a lift in a police car.
(Courtesy UNCTT.org)

What Maraj failed to indicate in his column, is the fact that the UNC administration either changed the names of already-existing units, or simply completed projects started by the previous People’s National Movement (PNM), in the area of fighting crime.

For example, the NOC replaced Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT), the National Security Training Academy is the same unit as the Specialist Crime Academy, and the Community Comfort Patrol is really a duplicate of the Citizens’ Security Programme (CSP).

In the case of the construction of new Police Stations, when the PNM demitted office in 2010, two-and-a-half years after the general elections in 2007, five Police Stations and three Police Posts were completed. Additionally, 19 new Police Stations were earmarked for construction.

With respect to the purchase of vessels for the Coast Guard, Maraj praised Persad-Bissessar for the patrol vessels, etc. However, the truth is as follows: Under the PNM, six 30-metre Fast Patrol Craft with speeds of over 40 knots, two 46-metre Coastal Patrol Vessels, and 14 Fast Interceptor Craft with speeds of up to 50 knots, were purchased between the period 2007 and 2010.

Photo: Former PNM Minister Ralph Maraj (right) and veteran journalist and editor Sunity Maharaj. (Courtesy Guardian.co.tt)
Photo: Former PNM Minister Ralph Maraj (right) and veteran journalist and editor Sunity Maharaj.
(Courtesy Guardian.co.tt)

These facts are contained in the PNM’s manifesto for the 2010 general elections, where it was clearly stated: “This brings the total compliment of armed Coast Guard vessels to 28, a 300% increase from when we assumed office in 2001.”

But the most significant and major issue dealing with fighting crime was the PNM’s move to acquire three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). According to the manifesto it was the final piece in the naval arsenal, with each one having the capability to carry 100 men and stay out at sea for several weeks, with a range of several thousand miles.

The PNM had envisaged that the OPVs would have operated alongside the armed helicopters with all the sophisticated military vessels making Trinidad and Tobago virtually impenetrable to drug traffickers and gun smuggling.

These ambitious plans and programmes were crushed when the UNC government unilaterally cancelled the OPVs, effectively leaving our borders wide open to drugs, guns, and other armaments, with criminals virtually enjoying a free rein for five years and three months.

The OPV’s were discredited by the UNC to justify their refusal to accept them. But the same OPVs rejected by Kamla Persad-Bissessar were bought by the Brazilian Navy—the fifth-largest in the world—who also purchased the rights to build the same in Brazil!

Photo: Former Prime Minister and current Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. (Courtesy Caricom.com)
Photo: Former Prime Minister and current Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(Courtesy Caricom.com)

The Public Relations purchase of the 12 Damien vessels at the end of the UNC term in office, cannot be considered to be in the same category of the OPVs. In any event, they served no purpose to stem the flow of criminal activity which the country is now experiencing.

Furthermore, in spite of the billions of dollars spent by the UNC administration, the present PNM Government is now left to pay for those vessels.

No one can fault Maraj’s anxiety to remake the Opposition Leader. But he must not do so by rewriting the facts and using the UNC hoax of changing titles, in a vain attempt to fool the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Maraj ought to know that there is no return of Kamla Persad-Bissessar to lead Trinidad and Tobago. However, there is his return to the UNC fold.

 

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71 comments

  1. Ralph doesn’t know if he’s coming or going …… he’s not even a relevant opportunist …

  2. That entire piece by Ralph has been a waste of intellect as its rooted in dishonesty and flagrant disregard for facts and truth. Kamlad did herself a lasting discredit by not addressing the Budget but engaging in mal palaver and downright tainting the characters of nationals who want to contribute to nation building. All this under the protection of Parliamentary Privilege.
    Shame on Ralph he has just relegated himself to another Gladiator type and should go into mud wrestling.
    BTW he should find it in himself trying to write something positive about TT not stuck in anti Rowley sentiments.
    He reminds me of a statement by a NY Congressman when he said “Republicans have been critical of Obama from day one and if he could walk on water, they would criticize him for not being able to swim”
    Ralph never liked not supported Obama notwithstanding the phenomenal job he has done and the dignity and integrity he has brought to the office of POTUS
    Dr Rowley is Ralph’s home boy Obama and Ralph has not acknowledged the limit on scandal during the first year.
    Carry on Ralph you have replaced Ross Advertising at a lower price I’m sure!

  3. This is the same PNM Minister who left the PNM, joined Panday, credited by Manning with bringing down the Panday regime, lambasted the Kamla regime to no end.
    Now, why are you PNM people raging against him.

  4. and some times to save face he casually mentions a pnm member past or present and says ” i no so and so i worked with him under the Manning administration blah blah blah” we see u Ralph maraj we are not stupid, we no where ur heart lies.

  5. its like kamiliar is his idol and sometimes to save face

  6. In my book, he has always been a shill.

  7. Asston forde always rails up like some of the pnm asshole contributors never take the time to read anything but that’s their legacy

  8. Ralph Maraj you continue to make yourself a National Fool, and a laughing stock of T&T.

  9. The man is a zero when it comes to any real understanding of journalism. I STILL remember his bout of cognitive dissonance on the night that Jack cut their A$$ in Chaguanas. He kept insisting that it would go the way of the UNC. A pretender. Always has been, always will be. A fitting occupation for an actor. A waste of time on any day or time.

  10. She should be riding in the back – – with handcuffs on.

  11. She should be in the back seat in handcuffs

  12. Wish I could press the love button 100 times ? love this

  13. Ralph is a whole Arse. After his crass and wicked attempt to diminish and discredit our Olympic athlete, Keshorn Walcott’s hard work and bronze accomplishment on air, Ralph like gobar in me kyaar! Maybe if he could stay committed to a goal or vision, like athletes do, then he could have emerged as a stellar politician. But all he is best known for is Cross Country.

  14. First of all the NOC was not introduced by the UNC as Gary Griffith always takes credit for. Under SAUTT there was a Unit called “NATIONAL SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTRE” (NSOC)All they did was remove the word SECURITY. They always take credit for what they did not do.

  15. “Ralph has been on both sides”. That’s why I doh trust him. The man has no credibility whatsoever and he’s always exposed on the Evening Drive, by Marcelle and John Gill. And he does get ANGRY when deh zoom in on him. And that’s because the people who “finding him out”, he sees as “intellectually inferior” to him. How dear these “dunce men” expose me? He just CANNOT hide. But he speaks from inside the “closet” with his head above the door, but the yellow petticoat peeking out still.
    That article was total BS, Garbage, Dotishness, because he TOTALLY ignored that Kamla was being a hypocrite, lying and slanderous to people who couldn’t defend themselves. He heard her, but didn’t LISTEN to her. His bias nature cannot be controlled anymore, it is over weighing him. We hear it and read it week in, week out.
    “Well equipped” my foot. Ralph doesn’t impress me one bit, as “bright” as he feel he is, more than everybody else. The man is as clear as glass. My description of him is an “Intellectual Bullshitter” with an agenda. he dislike Keith Rowley with a passion, and just can’t hide it, even when he say that “I used to criticize Kamla too”. Maybe. But the tones are DIFFERENT. But if you think he “quite well equipped”, then good fuh you.

    • Well there’s nothing wrong with people speaking to issues, and in the process supporting agendas on either side of the floor. The notion that if you say or do something I don’t agree with must mean you in the other side and I don’t like you is nonsense and small minded. It’s interesting that as we lay out our personal brand of “objectivity” it invariably comes across as everything my party or one of its members does or says, looks good and anything else is crap. He doesn’t have to impress you! No one can doubt his credentials.

    • The man has no credibility whatsoever. And as I said, if you thing so, then good fuh you. I doh know what gives you this impression that Rlaph Maraj has any iota of balance, credibility. The letter to the editor against him was PERFECT. You don’t set out to insult the people the way he does. Ralph may have his fans and you’re one of them. Hitler, Trump, notorious people, all have fans.

    • Garvin Walters ,you have accessed Ralph Maraj quite well,that’s my opinion of him,he is not to be trusted .Yellow shirt is showing big times & the hate he has for Dr Rowley & the PNM is with full passion.Leopards don’t change their spots,he has a hidden agenda towards Those Clannish Racist UNC monsters,he is of the same ilk.Hair is the same.

    • I’ve heard Ralph on many occasions talking about the “race politics”, accusing “both sides” of encouraging it. But HE is one who encouraged it (which is the UNC’s best way of gaining political mileage), when he appeared on one of their platforms when he fell out with Manning and said “I NOW FEEL AT HOME” (to LOUD cheers of course). He went further to say that “there will NEVER be an Indian Prime Minister under the PNM”. I heard wit mih own TWO ears. Didn’t get it “second hand”. That is how dangerous and DEVIOUS the man is. Look at the people who’re invited to appear on the Showdown program. We’ve had more opposition members of parliament on it than government ministers, and he’s say that they’re “not responding” to his invitations. HOGWASH! Ralph carh fool me. His (one-sided) agenda is clear as daylight.

    • Race politics has been a part of TT history long before the UNC even came into being

    • Check your history my friend – there are many books you should read. No one is trying to fool you

    • Brian I’m not bringing Ralph’s intellectual capacity into question but there’s no doubt that he frequently lawds and uses it to belittle his co-hosts and callers to the show which is quite obvious and distasteful, I believe Garvin Walters has a pretty clear assessment of the goodly gentleman.

    • I know the history. It goes way back with a guy Hosein, can’t remember the first name, but they’re initials. Then you had the Calipdeos, Panday, Kamla, all use race baiting on the platforms, at Divali and Eid or any Indian Celebration. Remember what they said about Dr. Rowley at a Divali celebration? You tell me which PNM member or leader talking race at any function.
      I could just imagine what words are said at their house to house campaigning. It’s no wonder why the maintain those 18 seats in the predominantly East Indian constituencies, even if they know that the people they support are crooks, thieves, corrupt and have no decency where it comes to CREDIBILITY. Lord knows what will be the situation in this country if they have 21 highly populated constituencies in this country. It means that t will will have them in office by FORCE. That part of Ralph is what is talking EVERYDAY and writing EVERY WEEK.

    • Joan Duncan well I know him well and have my own perspective . I’m not a fan of his doe very different reasons. It I deeply respect his mind and Ralph is brilliant. I will not assess him based on his party affiliation or his race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know the man well – he has my respect and I’m mature enough to listen and understand his views. I can respect people who have views different to mine

    • Garvin Walters NO! It goes way before that! Our history is important! Go back and read Eric Williams etc. Then we can speak

    • Brian Harry Eric Williams is years after this Hosein guy. I’m speaking about 1913 or somewhere around that time. Will see if I could get the document where he was inciting the masses through race, just for political expediency. No one is questioning Ralph’s “brilliance”. He may be, but he’s insulting people’s intelligence with it. It has absolutely nothing to do with you knowing him personally. You could also know someone in your community VERY GOOD, and think he’s a “good” person, but may have a “history” of misbehaviour that you may not know about or ignore. What does that make him? Lawyers have a way of using those lines to help their clients. But it hardly ever works. If you read the last article from Ralph and don’t feel insulted by it then I’ll have to question your own intelligence as intelligent as you are. I know you are, because I remember you working in Tobago for a little while and even took you to the airport after a meeting (I think) with one of the former Secretaries of Tourism.
      But Kamla’s budget reply was vicious and slanderous against people she named that couldn’t defend themselves in the House. It was laced with hypocrisy and lies. They shouldn’t even have the moral authority to speak on anything because of their own nasty track record. But Ralph was “impressed”, so “impressed” that he see a “return” of Kamla. Total BS. But that’s Ralph, one can see straight through him like glass, even Stevie Wonder. There’re many brilliant people out there, highly qualified, academically and intellectually, but have no credibility or integrity. So I’m not impressed by those credentials alone. bad way to credit a man.

  16. I was going to ask who does she think is independent then. Better recommend them to the media

    • Jamilia Wallace..who made the comment about independent?

    • Savitri Maharaj she is the cat’s mother. I form my opinion from listening and following politics intently in this country. All these ppl when I now started following politics in this country I looked too. If they appeared on tv I followed them. . .even on radio but as I followed and issues arose I expected to hear learnt professionals take a stand. . .I expected to hear professional opinions and then I awoke to the sad reality of politics in this country that professionals skew their opinion based on their political bias. . .as a young person I grew disheartened and accepted this place lack persons of moral integrity who would stand and offer sound professional advise that genuine ppl in search of guidance could glean from. They all have some kind of motive. . .I am still looking for some independent ones.

  17. So the economic adviser to Imbert who said he has nothing to do with the budget is a fraud?

    • Kalam seems like I can’t form my own opinion from following politics intently in this country.

    • Why not? I just saying your opinion on Indira is not fact based.

    • Kalam Mohammed it seems to me you think only one person has that name. Did I quote a surname clearly identifying who you think I was not even referring to. I am NOT referring to Ms. Sagewan -Ali. So your point makes no sense to me. . .you need to chill. Share your opinion. . .it is free to do so. What does the economic adviser to Imbert have to do with my opinion? You ppl so political everything is about PNM/UNC. I am speaking about ppl who offer themselves to the public saying they are political analyst or professionals yet when to get an independent academic opinion from them they skew it with their own political bias. . .like you did in your question here. You ppl just can’t engage in a proper discussion allowing ppl to hold their own opinion while respectfully disagreeing but having both parties leave the conversation enriched. I am so tired of this type of ignorance brooding over the society it does not allow for innovation nor free thinking and I am certain your my senior. It seems our education system though it qualified us it did not educate us.

    • Jamilia Wallace i believe is Indira Rampersad u speak of…and yes….she IS blasted biased as a political commentator

    • Nath Johnson thanks much. That’s her. They so quick to jump on ppl if they don’t share their opinion. I just could not remember her surname at the moment. I genuinely take my time to follow politics in this country and I see all the so call independent ppl who have failed this nation when called upon to speak. They have disappointed us. They have shamefully let their bias get in the way of their reputation. Yet when ppl make them out others in this country believe ppl should stay quite and don’t challenge the status quo. . .well I am sorry because I will call out the frauds when I see them. I am a citizen of this land.

  18. Indira is an economist who provides figures
    Provide your economic figures to dispute her otherwise you on nonsense

    • . . .not her I am referring to. Stop ketching a fit for nothing.

    • It would help id you know the names of who you critique. Korrek?

    • I know who I am referring to she is a political analyst. I listen to the economist. . .still listen to her. It would help if you allowed ppl to think for themself and allow them to freely share their opinion in a democracy. Comment on the story, share your intelligence on it, not my opinion. The issue here is the editorial. . .no wonder we are where we are as a ppl. . .we think everyone must share our opinion. Sorry I grew knowing to have an opinion of my own.

    • Dr Terrence Farrell dealt with her and all the others like her and the media economist like Ralph

    • Allan S Noreiga I only heard part of his statement on the news but what saddens me since after Sep 7 no body can speak in this country. They want all ppl to say what they want to hear. I watched my country crumble nearing election as many who I thought to believe was independent began to show who they are. . .they could not give an academic response anymore. . .things were going wrong and I witness these individuals trying to insult the intelligence of anyone who dared to find an independent opinion. I could not believe it. . .I lost faith in our professionals. Imagine a few days ago on the tv Roger Hosein said government had failed this country up to 2009. . .I wondered why would ha stop there given what we had just witness. . .only to hear yesterday in the budget debate he was paid 2M by the PP gov’t for a study that could not be used. . .I remembered what he said and then it all made sense. No independent economist who’ve been in this country for that five year period under the PP would exclude them from wastage. . .to do so is to ignore the facts. . .but I realize they all sell out so don’t expect no kind of independence from them and anyone willing to defend them no different.

    • Dr Farrell and members of the EAB doing what they do pro bono for love of country. Not Mukesh Basdeo and Roger Hosein, they moved like the old Silver a Fox said…feeding frenzy, the treasury was a Mitch cow.
      Imagine Ralph comparing 5 years of greed and gluttony with one year of trying to steady the ship. Why did he not compare Year 1 with Year 1. Nothing about a state of emergency and a no bail law that they admitted failed. We are not all fools and therein lies their problem

    • Allan S Noreiga he won’t he would have us believe otherwise but I am thankful we have not all been bought. We can analyze and form our own conclusions.

    • Jamilia are you referring to Dr. Indira Rampersad?

  19. Ralph Maraj not fooling sensible ppl. He is not independent. . .just like Hamid Ghany, Roger Hosein, Indira (can’t remember her surname presently). They all are frauds who when one follow them long enough realise that it is not about country for them it is all about party. No wonder when one wants an honest voice to learn from and be guided by one gets disappointed in the entire lot. Sad to say I have realized from observation that many of them prefer to sacrifice their image for race and party. I just wish some true professionals could rise up in this place.

  20. Ralph has been on both sides – I don’t think he’s closet anything . He’s not one of my favorites but I won’t knock him as partisan . And further he certainly not a fool – quite well equipped actually

  21. Yuh din expect Ashton Ford to say any different, right? We have a reshuffle coming up

  22. That article from Ralph was total outright, downright BS. I was so annoyed by it, because it wasn’t just meant to FOOL people, but to INSULT our intelligence. Ralph Maraj has this belief that he’s so “intellectually superior” and everyone else is “dumb”. I just HATE it, how he INSULTS the masses, giving this impression as it he’s an unbiased commentator, but hiding in a closet, believing that we’re not seeing his “yellow petticoat”.
    I’m tired of his insults, on air and in the press.

    • The solution is – don’t read his articles and turn off the radio or change the station when he is on!

    • I don’t read most of his articles. I do sometimes when I want to deal with him on the radio. I’m no longer a fan of “Showdown” either.
      That economist he brought on on Sunday, the guy Roger Hosein, both are cut from the same nasty UNC cloth, because they’re “closet UNCs”. No we know why ALL OF A SUDDEN, we’re hearing about somebody name “Dr. Roger Hosein”. That’s because he no longer has “food” filled in the mouth. He was “well fed” by the Kamla regime. Now we’re made to believe that these people’s words are the “gospel”. They can go to Hell fuh my part.

    • Lolol…you’ve stopped listening to his show becuz you don’t agree with his views? ok. And you know Dr Roger Hosein was eating ah food?

    • That’s because allyuh doh pay attention to wuh going on. Yuh didn’t hear that he was paid two cheques totaling $382.000 fuh wuk he en do yet, as ah “consultant” fuh Tewarie ministry? Then he got another $2 million, according to Imbert in the winding up yesterday. Nobody en refute yet. He was busy “EATING food”, hence the reason he never had “advice” fuh dem from 2010-15. All of a sudden he just “appear”. Ah doh want to hear nothing like dem.

      • Earl Best

        In more or less the same situation, I find it easy to understand your urge to stop reading and listening. But you really shouldn’t stop.

        My brother Lloyd used to tell me all the time, “You have to know what you’re rejecting.” So my advice is to read Ralph’s shit, confident in the knowledge that it is yellow, jaundiced shit and won’t change its colour or yours any time soon.

  23. Ralph is a complete disingenuous fraud

  24. It’s getting ridiculous watching Maraj foam at the mouth about PNM. He’s worse than Peter O’Connor with the rabid vituperation.

  25. Is that why Forde did the same thing to the PP by opening facilities the PP built and calling them their own.

  26. How does it go? Fool me can’t be fooled again?

  27. PP and competent shouldn’t be used together.

  28. Earl Best

    “No one can fault Maraj’s anxiety to remake the Opposition Leader. But he must not do so by rewriting the facts and using the UNC hoax of changing titles, in a vain attempt to fool the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

    Ashton, you should have asked Lasana to put the word ‘vain’ in bold and/or in italics; Ralph Maraj’s bias has long been so clear that even the blind have long since seen right through him.

  29. Sorry for my language but given the prevailing crime situation and the tension and frustration that sits just under ppl’s skin, Ashton Ford could just…This is the …u all coming to defend at this time? This government is starting to make the PP look competent.