Daly Bread: The AG’s dodgy sea legs make his Govt stumble over Ocean Pelican

The People’s National Movement (PNM) campaigned obsessively in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections  on the issue of the suitability of Watson Duke for office, and lost comprehensively.  

Days later, it began trying to discredit the winning party by reference to Duke’s alleged conflicts of interest.

Photo: THA Deputy Chief Secretary Watson Duke.
(via PDP)

The court will decide on the validity of the Attorney General’s continuing pursuit of Duke’s alleged conflicts of interest in public law litigation, shortly after the PNM’s thumping defeat—even after THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine dealt with the issue and Duke reportedly resigned from the offices with the potential for conflict with his position at the Tobago House of Assembly.

‘Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.’

Applying the biblical holier-than-thou reference to the AG is appropriate because there is continuing public controversy regarding the presence of the AG’s fingers in so many pies—even as he appears piously concerned about the pies in which other persons have their fingers.

I have given professional advice regarding an aspect of the MV Ocean Pelican gathering, in which the police intervened and which is currently featured every day in the media.  

My advice has nothing to do with what interaction may have gone on between the AG and the Minister of Health and Mr Adrian Scoon, himself the son of another cabinet member and the operator of the MV Ocean Pelican.  

Photo: Businessman and party promoter Adrian Scoon, son of Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon.

I feel able therefore to record the prevailing disquiet felt by the many citizens with the frolics of those privileged to have direct lines to members of the Cabinet. The average citizen does not have the privilege of such a direct line, even if the advice the citizen seeks is merely ‘general advice’.

The AG apparently does not have sea legs—that is the ability to walk steadily on a tossing ship. Currently, he is unsteady about the MV Ocean Pelican incident. 

Some months ago, the AG was stumbling around the presence of Christian Chandler on the latter’s yacht, Knot Guilty, as he offered plausible reason why Chandler was at sea on the day his yacht was intercepted by the Coast Guard.

Many citizens think that the Government is tying itself into guilty knots by a lack of detachment from the social scene and a failure to understand the basic principles of potential for conflict of interest, given the high office its members hold.

Only last week, I wrote that complicity may sink the Trinidad ship. Now they are rubbing our noses in it.

Photo: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi appeared on Vibes with Voicey, without a mask, in March 2021.
Al-Rawi insisted that he did not flout Covid-19 regulations.

The links of certain members of the Government are validating the view that the PNM has drifted from its moorings among ordinary people.

Our descent into something like a feudal system is now plainly and brazenly exposed. Our powerful look down at the disadvantaged, sometimes categorising them as pipers and cockroaches. They do not care about the ketch-tail circumstances of those who are obliged to pay political homage in order to get something from state resources.

I am particularly wound up about the crushing of the entertainment and creative sector, while the all-inclusive luxury boys and girls romp away and the rulers’ only care is to hug up with them. 

I know of a credible cultural foundation which was made to call off an outdoor evening of musical performance because it was ruled that an outdoor venue at a heritage site could not be permitted to be a ‘safe zone’.

By contrast, the Minister of Health is allegedly seeing safe zone potential in party boats. Now, he says he cannot clarify earlier comments in connection with the MV Ocean Pelican because he was given legal advice to shut up about it.  

Photo: Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh.
(Copyright Office of Parliament 2021)

How very convenient, and frankly weaselling, for a personage who normally blathers on about everything in respect of which he thinks he can blame or lecture us.

In the current atmosphere of distrust, does the Prime Minister seriously expect to succeed with legislation and the necessary supporting communication to effect the Government’s long overdue vaccination policy—particularly as there is still no mention of amending the Industrial Relations Act in the confusing utterances about the proposed safe zones for public service and state sector employees?

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About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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One comment

  1. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)

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