Shuffle, reshuffle, we still in trouble: Daly explains why Rowley’s changes won’t deliver results

I entirely agree that the Cabinet reshuffle announced last week is not likely to produce better or cleaner Government.

Our governance structures and processes are out of date, unreformed, tainted with partisanship and in some cases riddled with corruption. They lack public trust. By analogy to Chalkie’s “The Driver Can’t Drive”, we are in a situation where the State vehicle cannot be properly driven because it is defective.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC. (Copyright Stabroek News)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC.
(Copyright Stabroek News)

Many of these columns pointed out the decade of wilful blindness of the Patrick Manning-led PNM administration to violent crime, ceding the field to so-called ‘community leaders’. I have also described the pernicious undercurrent continuously drowning any serious approach to violent crime.

Put simply, if persons in authority are sleeping with the financier dogs of the drug trade and state enterprise corruption, we will have our blood sucked by the ticks on those dogs.

This week it might be useful to comment briefly on the current state of some principal governance institutions through the medium of which productive results ought to be obtained across the board. If the state of those institutions—including the level of public trust—has been compromised, the capacity for positive results also becomes compromised.

Starting at the top with the Office of the President, we now have the unprecedented situation of several serious challenges to the functioning, expenses and credibility of that office. Some of the wounds are self-inflicted because of attempts at activism beyond the constitutional boundaries of the Office.

Essentially the Office of the President requires a quiet exercise of the gravitas, that is the dignity and respect of the Office, in order to draw the Prime Minister’s attention to consider things that may not be apparent within the heated partisan political atmosphere in which a Prime Minister and his Ministers operate out of party political necessity.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona. (Copyright
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona.

There are of course, significant decisions that the Office of the President can take on its own or after specified consultation. It must be clearly understood however, that this area of Presidential decision-making is limited to making significant appointments to significant governance institutions.

Although this area of decision-making is of limited scope, its significance cannot be underestimated. Those whom the President appoints should provide checks and balances against unbridled executive power by having the bodies to which they are appointed run fairly and efficiently within their constitutional or statutory remit.

Parliament is a mess. Hardly anyone will dispute this. Parliament has degenerated into an unseemly weekly gathering of persons hell-bent on branding each other nasty and corrupt. There is no bi-partisan co-operation towards reform of those governance institutions, which can only be reformed by appropriate special majority legislation.

The appointment of a Commissioner of Police, currently hamstrung, is an outstanding example of the inability of the Members of Parliament to get together to revisit and revise the unworkable law relating to this appointment.

Likewise, if further action is needed on the Service Commissions beyond the delegation of powers that has already occurred, bi-partisan supported legislation will be required.

Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams. (Copyright 103FM)
Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.
(Copyright 103FM)

Sadly, the non-partisan influence of the Independent Senators appears to have been compromised by a decision that those Senators must interact with the Government and the Opposition exclusively through the so called administrative leader of that bench, a term that is merely a convenient label with no legal underpinning.

This is an entirely wrong approach because there is no such thing as “an administrative leader” beyond the fact that the Independent Senator, who occupies the first in the line of those seats, for practical reasons, is consulted.  That is the person that the Leader of Government business would consult about the arrangement of Senate business and to whom the Speaker might refer to receive some indication of the order in which the Independent Speakers might wish to speak in a long debate, such as the budget debate.

The ascriptions of any other functions to the administrative leader is unhelpful and a fetter on the individual exercise of conscience of each Independent Senator.

Even more sadly, the office of Chief Justice has declined in public estimation because of obduracy in the face of legitimate questions about overseas travel, a decline assisted by questions about travel expenses of the Office of the President.  Travel expenses and absence overseas do not attract tolerance at a time when the criminal justice system is the subject of almost universal criticism.

The Integrity Commission has been a lightning rod for trouble, partly because of controversial appointments to it made by two successive Presidents.

Photo: Integrity Commission members (from left) Deonarine Jaggernauth, Rajiv Persad, Dr Zainool Hosein. Angela Young Lai and Pete London. (Courtesy Integrity Commission)
Photo: Integrity Commission members (from left) Deonarine Jaggernauth, Rajiv Persad, Dr Zainool Hosein. Angela Young Lai and Pete London.
(Courtesy Integrity Commission)

The bottom line of institutional malfunction is this: in the absence of institutional reform, shuffling the electoral pack from PNM to UNC and back to PNM cannot work for us. Consequentially Cabinet reshuffles of Minsters also will not accomplish much.

With acknowledgement to the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

Shuffle, re-shuffle, we still in trouble.

More from Wired868
Daly Bread: The cracked facades, as we head towards general elections

Last week I closed by referring to our democracy’s dysfunctional concentration on personalities and tribal loyalties. This dysfunction acts as Read more

Daly Bread: Battling in Opposition space; can Paray or Mickela articulate feasible crime plan?

With increasing frequency, our editorial writers and commentators treat with our dismal crime situation, which is now oppressing the entire Read more

Daly Bread: If ministers feel “helpless” about crime, then what now?

With great dismay last Tuesday, I read the lamentation of three government ministers concerning the state of crime in Trinidad Read more

Noble: What auditor general impasse says about the quality of our leaders

The ongoing saga of the auditor general and the understatement of the country’s revenue reveal the quality of our leaders. Read more

Daly Bread: Auditing conduct in public office; more self-control needed

An indication given in a weekly column to deal with an identified topic “next week” is one that is difficult Read more

Daly Bread: Caring about Ballai and Pierre

I begin this week with a thank you to those in the airport who welcomed me home on the Saturday Read more

Check Also

Daly Bread: The cracked facades, as we head towards general elections

Last week I closed by referring to our democracy’s dysfunctional concentration on personalities and tribal …


  1. D’Hot Critics You said that I am a Racist and I agree with you, you see there is a reason for me being so and that’s because people like you make me so and honestly I don’t care a Darn. You said that the PP thief can’t thief anymore, Well if they thief why don’t the PNM bring charges against them and what are they waiting for or afraid of . Look into the mirror and you would see what Racist really is. I am open for dialogue but apparently you can’t and hide behind assumptions and allegations of your ego and self pride.

  2. Martin Daly opinions is worth shittt…

  3. Economic crises world wide cause low oil prices yet unc continue to use that to believing that if she wss in government every thing she touches would of turn into gold as they continue their ethnic power struggle

  4. PNM/UNC,Same shit different bag.

  5. Seems he found out that they will not make him President.

  6. Guess he is not going to be the next President

  7. Whether reshuffle or no reshuffle is the same thing Government go Government come is the same thing is the Poor People who is walking the road saying vote for the UNC and the PNM that is suffering because when they get there they don’t even bother with you,All Politicans doing is dividing the Country they care about themselves and certain People,not the ones that walk the road,they think about those who have already,who don’t have have to remain like that,I am not interested in any of them they are all the same

  8. Trinis yes u ever see a sabga or aboud vote that’s my point only d poor vote so only d poor suffer

  9. Of course things will remain the same….ent the citizens remaining the same. Sitting, talking and digesting everything

  10. The Rowley PNM government working against you.

  11. Isn’t Daly the pnm candidate for the next president?

  12. George who cares about your thoughts look rock so nah

  13. this is a non-comment, pandering to the party in power

  14. Novena Forde Could you explain why you say the PP Government was corrupt, self serving, greedy, hateful and evil. Please supply me with hard facts and don’t just cast assumptions.

  15. The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago is calling for jail time for all ministers caught robbing this country and no more resignation salary starting with the UNC up to Min Inburte get evidence jail the people are asking this is the law only for the poor they the people are of the opinion the the voted in a patriot if proven wrong then MAY GOD HELP US ALL THE BLOODSHED HAS ALREADY STARTED PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING FOR SCRUMS

  16. The more victimization is up on the back the more foolish they become (population)

  17. Still changes nothing. Mc Al remains the head government ; Imbert and Khan remain the second head of government while Rowley still remains the third head of government. NO RESHUFFLE TOOK PLACE.

  18. I don’t think he Martin Daly is defending any one party but writing about the flawed system that is Trinbago politics.
    Face facts we have been voting out party after party and hoping for the best.

  19. Rowlie did a good reshuffled nice job

  20. And yet how many times did kamliar reshuffle her minions ?oh ye of convenient memory

  21. Oh yeah. .Great is the pnm.. They shoving umbrellas..without Vaseline…

  22. Thank YOU kindly S.C. Martin Daly! Words of Wisdom INDEED!

  23. Great is the pnm in existence for 60yrs and still going strong

  24. Daly appears to be an apologist for the PNM.
    Remember his elaborate piece trying to exonerate Al Rawi in the children with guns scandal.
    What became of that anyway?

    • The same thing that comes out of the plant like substance…

    • I would like police to hd a person with plant like substance at their workplace and then arrest the boss. Lol.
      However, we cannot deny the childrens’ parents, can we?

    • Maybe you should put on (or take off, whichever is applicable) your glasses and read the article again, then wheel and come again. Iam putting my head on a block for no one but if you think the article to which you refer makes Mr Daly an apologist for the PNM, the problem is not he but you.

      Give ALTA a call or get a private tutor.

    • By elaborate you mean that Faris didn’t give them the gun so he didn’t break the law? You consider that elaborate?

    • Even so they beating a dead horse,the ARMY said they have trained hundreds of 13 year old cadets with REAL GUNS for years!!

    • Lasana Liburd do you think that he was not aware of the act. Come on. Who os responsible for acts of minors especially when done with adult approval.
      I think that Daly was trying very hard to say the opposite.

    • Lasana,don’t you understand,its a no brainer. The ARMY said……… either no law was broken or it has been broken many times before,so let the guilty FALL IN LINE,a line that is as long as there has been CADETS

    • As usual PNM minions like Glenda Burkett have their own interpretation of the law

    • Glenn Burkett, there is a difference. There is a Cadet Act that allows them to train those boys. The Al-Rawi children do not fall under that act.
      Lionel Seeram, my guess would be Faris was aware. But I’m not sure how involved he was in what happened and how vulnerable that makes him legally. I actually thought Daly spelt that all out in his article on the subject.

    • The Army doesn’t write law, Glenn. What the Army says actually isn’t relevant in this case. No properly function country allows the Army to do what it wants and act outside of the law.
      BUT for now it is the Army that is implicated in this and not Faris. Although, like Lionel, I do not believe the AG was unaware of what his children got up to.

    • Lasana,so like l say,”no law has been broken,or IF one IS broken….”let who broke it fall in the guilty line. According to you the army has the line all to itself. Will check the cadet act myself! Bless!

    • Lasana,checked the regulations,saw none saying the army does not have the right to train people under their supervision,with weapons. Help me,give me an exact adress please.

      • Glen Burkett: Please read the Firearms Act, Section 7. The Cadet Force is listed there as persons who can use firearms for drill and target practice. It is a list of exempted persons…..Al Rawi’s children do not appear to be under that list.

    • Glenn, if there is a law saying that children cannot hold a gun. And another law saying that only cadets can handle weapons.
      Then how can a non-law saying soldiers can put weapons in the hands of whoever they choose, override two written laws?
      It doesn’t work that way. This isn’t a military state.

    • Yeah,the one that speaks to ONLY cadets can handle weapons under army supervision,thats the adress on google l would like to see. Checked all l could find,and none coroberated your statment. Bless!

    • Glenn Burkett Cadets are covered under the Cadet Force Act of Trinidad and Tobago.
      When you do your checks try to be efficient.

    • Workplace you said, oh yes 5 day weekend. Any ordinary person with, well they don’t call it ‘plant like’ marijuana everybody, granny to going down. Since she worked from home then half the bar home too. Smdh

    • O’Brian,that request to Lasana was PART OF MY CHECKS,thought that was obvious! Anyhow thanks,off to look at the cadet force act,now! All part of my checks!

  25. My personal opinion is that whoever or whatever political party we elect to govern this country we would be in the same position. Same politicians .. just different political parties .. our options are very limited

  26. I would say the same for the previous government.

    • How do you interpret this article as being about the PNM? This article has to do about all of us. We are all to blame for the mess we are in. Some of us are more blameworthy than others based on the office we hold such as Parliamentarians.

    • Lester Logie, I was referring to Mr. Mangray’s comment earlier. Therefore your comment is misplaced.

    • Lester Logie I am proud of you my brother, Illiterate like Alicia Richardson only know about race and blames Indians for her failures and cannot rationalize with herself.

    • Mr. Himraj Mangray where in my post did I mentioned race? Apparently you’re the illiterate one here and perhaps even racist and then accuse me of blaming Indians for my so-called failures. You don’t know me like that but nice try though.

    • Alicia Richardson Why would you say that the PP Government was the worst Government. Please supply me with hard facts and not assumptions and I am willing to send you a listing of all the things that the PP Government did with less than 300 billions in 5 years and face Reality what did the PNM did with 60 billion last year and you would understand who is the illiterate.

    • Himraj Mangray there is something called Google for illiterates like you. And yes the PeePee government is just as bad as this government with the amount of shuffling they doing is like a deck of cards. I don’t care what they did with $300 million dollars. I’m more concerned about dealing with crime in this country. What about the Dana murder? Or the corruption within Life sport. Or the previous sports minister caught smoking weed and our previous Prime Minister was drunk on stage. Explain that situation or better yet bring in some receipts since you’re more literate than me.

    • Alicia Richardson Apparently you don’t want to face Reality about the Performance of the PP Government , Tell me how are they responsible for Dana Murder and yes there were Corruption in the Life Sport and Minister Anil Roberts was fired and an investigation launched which was the right thing to do. Anil Roberts was the best Sports Minister this Country ever Had and the work he did is there for all to see and yes he is known as the two pull man. Well you stated that you don’t care about the Expences but the Crime in the Country, I am surprised at your response, With three Ministers of National Security under this PNM Regime Crime is a Runaway Horse and Idiots like you turned a blind eye. If Kamla was drunk on stage how does impact on Crime. What receipts do you want, and by the way PNM Keith Rowley fathered two sons that he hid from the Public and said he went to Les Coteaux to put down wuk and you are proud of that, Shame on you. All you have is Race and you can keep That, well if you say that I am an Illiterate it takes one to know one. Well you claim it have Google use it to see who brought FAKE EMAILS TO PARLIAMENT.

    • Alicia Richardson I am not selling anything so I cannot fathom what you are not buying and you keep straying and avoiding real dialogue which tells me that you are just fooling yourself and are not prepared to face reality. I maintain that you are stuck on Race, if you are on performance as you indicated you would not defend the wanton wastage of our Oil and Gas revenue under the PNM Administrations including the Current One. Sixty billions spent and nothing to show for It.

    • Again where in my post did I mentioned race? Apparently you’re the one stuck on race. And what reality are you speaking about? What about the last administration, what do they have to show for it? If they were so great how come the previous government is not in power right now? The reality is both governments have not a good job for their citizens regardless of race that’s reality. But let me go to class since I have a life and I wish you good night.

  27. We keep relying on different institutions to deliver us but each one has failed miserably, but is it simply the institutions or is it that trini’s themselves have a unseen flaw in our personality? Because the people who keep falling short aren’t Martians they are from here.

    • We put up with it and confuse ourselves with the belief that one party has the solution and must be defended at all costs.

    • Lasana boi
      doe say nutted before they come fuh yuh eh

    • We are all to blame. Some more than others for the structure of government and failed institutions we have. Where are the proposals for reform from citizens to Parliamentarians? We like it how it is. Let them propose and implement changes that they want. When those changes don’t work we chastise them. We are content with the system we have. The minority complain. The majority support it, from the Concordat, to the political appointment of heads of departments, to the disposal of state assets and the financing of political parties,etc, etc, etc.

    • Lester Logie…my position is that a democracy is for the ppl, of the ppl and by the ppl. When ‘the ppl’ hand over the reins of power to politicians carte blanche, what do we expect? Because we are too busy/lazy/carefree to actually participate in issues of national importance to actually take the time to educate ourselves on what we need to do to hold our leaders accountable. Like we forget we have a generation coming up who would be even more lost than we are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.