Congratulate Rowley?! It’s his fault! Fixin’ T&T slams PM on Marlene fiasco and gov’t weaknesses

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:

Photo: Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald (second from left) poses with alleged gangster Cedric Burke (third from left) and President Anthony Carmona (fourth from left) after her swearing in ceremony as Minister of Public Utilities on 30 June 2017.
  1. 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.
  2. The dire need for the effective implementation of meaningful legislation to govern Procurement, Campaign Financing, Party Financing and Whistle Blowing.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”

Photo: Prime Minister Keith Rowley (centre) greets SPORTT CEO Dinanath Ramnarine (left) while Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) looks on during the opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba on 12 May 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

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.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC.
(Copyright Power102fm)
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  1. yuh mean “Fooling T&T.”

  2. Complete aside, and not meant to distract from the serious issues raised in the Letter… but de fella in red appears to be the only one not pretending that he was being serious when he put on he clothes that morning. Rowley and the others like they get dress in the dark.

  3. Fixin’ T&T continues to insist on being a caricature of itself. I get the distinct impression that this is a bunch of academics and low-level functionaries sitting around over tea and crumpets, thinking up ways of injecting themselves into the national conversation.

    1. This observation appears fair on the surface, but digging deeper, was Rowley really guilty of “poor judgement” in bringing Marlene back? Quoting from the Express “There has been to date no adverse finding of the commission. And with the growing feeling that there is no apparent urgency or end in sight in this enquiry, the Prime Minister, also concerned about the seeming injustice of a member of his team, now sees no bar to using McDonald’s skills in the Cabinet.”

    If she hasn’t been accused of a crime… or even formally accused of any wrongdoing, does not the presumption of innocence apply to her same as any other citizen? Or was Rowley supposed to exclude her permanently? I’m sure he regrets the decision now, but hindsight, as they say is always 20/20. The decision was hardly as egregious as the authors are making it out to be.

    2. Solid points.

    3. Fair statement, but publicly posting the resumes is a pipe dream. Show me one democracy where that is practiced.

    4. Fair point.

    Rowley’s comment about a ‘national conversation’ on campaign financing may indeed be “farcical,” but the authors hardly make the case in the letter. Helpful would have been a clear linking of the Chaguaramas land leases to surreptitious campaign financing… then would it make sense that Rowley’s complaints were nothing more than pretextual, or campaign bluster.

    The last points are perhaps the most risible. In a day and age in which T&T are competing in a dangerous race to the bottom, to be the murder capital of the world, FIxin’ T&T can’t be serious in deeming corruption to be the “ultimate evil,” one might excuse it as literary license/puffery, were it not for the immediate juxtaposition of ‘murder’ in the next sentence. Come better.

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