Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is still being commended by some for taking decisive action in firing Ms Marlene McDonald for a second time. If Dr Rowley had any appreciation for the philosophy that “politicians serve their party best when they put their country first”, Ms McDonald would not have been allowed to be screened ahead of the 2015 general elections—given what was or should have been known even at that time.
The debacle created by Dr Rowley, however, is much bigger than Ms McDonald, Mr Cedric Burke and Mr Kenroy Dopwell; they must not be the focus. This spectacle is really about:
- Poor judgement exercised by a PM: a politician, who like his predecessor, is incapable of placing the national interests above that of the politics and the political party he leads.
- The dire need for the effective implementation of meaningful legislation to govern Procurement, Campaign Financing, Party Financing and Whistle Blowing.
- Full transparency in and responsible treatment of appointments to State Boards. FIXIN’ T&T maintains that the resumé of each and every State Board appointee must be made available online for public consumption and scrutiny.
- The inefficiencies in our Administration of Justice and the perception that there is “one law for dem… another law for we.” Mr Burke is not the first ‘person of interest’ to law enforcement to have stood in President’s House next to the President. There have been others… Some were even sworn in to serve in our Parliament by a President who himself, by virtue of the many questions he has to answer, should be a ‘person of interest’.
Dr Rowley’s recent suggestion of a “national conversation” on campaign financing, after almost two years in office, is farcical. Evidence of this may be found in the PM’s about-turn from his position that the land leases granted in Chaguaramas was tantamount to “land grabbing under a corrupt UNC Government.”
Once the elections were won, his Administration—in spite of Senior Counsel opinion that said leases were illegal—sought out and found every avenue available to facilitate same.
Further, Dr Rowley, in direct contradiction to the PNM’s 2015 manifesto promises on “accountability”, “honesty” and “leadership”—as he did with Ms McDonald—refuses to insist on full transparency and unequivocal clarity in matters involving Cabinet members Faris Al-Rawi, Camille Robinson-Regis, Fitzgerald Hinds, Rohan Sinanan, Darryl Smith and Shamfa Cudjoe.
Instead he chooses to shield them and in doing so, casts aspersions on various institutions, companies and citizens.
FIXIN’ T&T deems corruption to be the ultimate evil. Corruption kills. Corruption destroys families, communities, economies and countries. The effective implementation of meaningful legislation to govern Procurement, Campaign Financing, Party Financing and Whistle Blowing must be made the top priority of our legislators.
We the people must insist on it. Murders, which are up, and ‘serious crimes’, which we’re famously told are down, will continue unabated until and unless we get that right.