Home / Live Wire / Blunder after plunder: Kamla discusses Reshmi, LifeSport and Vikings in odd Q&A

Blunder after plunder: Kamla discusses Reshmi, LifeSport and Vikings in odd Q&A

“Have you ever seen a TV show called Vikings?” Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked Dr Morgan Job, who was one of her three interviewers last night.

‘Vikings’, in case you don’t know, is an Irish-Canadian television drama that is not short of historical inaccuracies but big on sacking and plundering. It was a simpler time when tendering policy was usually “take what you can carry” and ship captains never asked to see CVs.

Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (centre) and candidate Khadijah Ameen (left) during the UNC's unsuccessful by-election campaign in Chaguanas West. (Courtesy Jyoti Communications)
Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (centre) and candidate Khadijah Ameen (left) during the UNC’s unsuccessful by-election campaign in Chaguanas West.
(Courtesy Jyoti Communications)

Mr Live Wire could say much more about that. But it would be too easy. And there were enough dead horses being whipped on air already last night.

Somehow, Tanty Kamla managed to turn a one-person debate into a bizarre battle of wills with herself, as she insisted on more time to give non-answers, asked to return to a previous question—after probably being advised during a break that the correct response to the cultural context of corruption probably does not lie in ‘Vikings’—and gave responses that would insult anyone with even a vague grasp of the issues.

The Reshmi Ramnarine SSA scandal, according to the Prime Minister, was a “flaw we took action on… within a day or two.”

It was a pretty flippant way to describe fraud. And, lest we forget, Ramnarine—last we checked—was employed at the Ministry of Health under the name of “Shashi Rehka.”

If only all suspected criminals were so lucky.

And speaking of criminals, Persad-Bissessar was asked about LifeSport too.

“There were administrative issues…” she replied.

Photo: Ex-Sport Minister Anil Roberts (left) and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Photo: Ex-Sport Minister Anil Roberts (left) and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

It was an interesting way to summarise a program that spent over $250 million in taxpayers’ money with little to show for it except, if the police are right, a dead Senior Counsel and a badly shaken DJ/deep-sea diver.

But Persad-Bissessar was not asked about Anil Roberts or Rajaee Ali or even Anand Ramlogan. And, even if she was, any journalist knows that a question without a follow-up is virtually meaningless.

But don’t take Mr Live Wire’s word for it.

Ask a three year old boy to describe Pythagorus’ theorem. Maybe he would say: “jello.” Or maybe he would start singing: “Hakuna Matata.”

Either might sound like reasonable responses to the uninformed without the option of cross-examination.

So, when asked about if her Government was failing on crime, the Prime Minister responded: “I want to disagree with you that we are not on top. We could possibly be higher on top. But we are on top…”

Maybe someone squirmed in their chair. So she continued.

“That’s why we don’t have the kind of instability…”

Photo: Murdered prison escapee Hassan Atwell poses for the camera during his good old days as an inmate.
Photo: Murdered prison escapee Hassan Atwell poses for the camera during his good old days as an inmate.

Someone in the studio, who was not under a rock for the past week, might have inadvertently winced.

Persad-Bissessar went further.

“Within a very short space of time, everything had been brought under control…”

Control, apparently, meant the murder of escaped inmate Hassan Atwell by still unknown criminals. Good lord, Kamla was debating herself!

And losing!

But it was an aberration. Usually, she ambled along at her own pace accompanied by panelists who, despite their stern faces, might as well have been egging her on.

“Come on, Kamla! You can do it! Almost there!”

Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj wanted to know whether she considered herself a pragmatic leader.

Persad-Bissessar responded that she was when necessary but gave an example of her humanity to “what’s-his-name” who waged a hunger strike in front of the Office of the Prime Minister.

“It was a very hard decision,” said Persad-Bissessar, as she recalled being trolled by “one individual on a hunger strike”. “Should I take a view of this one person and his band of followers or look at the bigger picture…”

Photo: Activist and UWI lecturer Dr Wayne Kublalsingh.
Photo: Activist and UWI lecturer Dr Wayne Kublalsingh.

Her best example of humanity, as online commentator Dion Jennings pointed out, involved her not remembering the name of an activist, Wayne Kublalsingh, who almost died on her doorstep.

She was scoring so many own goals that Sport Minister Brent Sancho might have been feeding her information from somewhere.

Isha Wells, whose red beret was as distracting as Job’s oversized suit, was always ready with a cardboard cut-out of a question that seemed fierce enough but, ultimately, lacked depth.

“Do you smoke marijuana?” asked Wells.

“No,” replied the Prime Minister.

Case closed then, eh?

Wells was well stocked with them.

“Is enough being done to address the drug trade by your government?” she asked, at one point.

The obvious answer from any Prime Minister would generally be: “yes… and we know exactly how we can improve in our next term too.”

Or at least, she might have gone with: “I told whoever was bunnin’ it by my house to stop.” Wink wink.

Photo: So how high were you to leave weed on the window sill?
Photo: So how high were you to leave weed on the window sill?

But Tanty Kamla went off another tirade in which she pointed out that Trinidad and Tobago does not manufacture drugs or guns nor do we buy and sell guns…

She was swerving from bleedingly obvious in one moment to obviously wrong the next. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion.

In her next term, if voters want to see what the People’s Partnership can do next, Tanty Kamla promised a Ministry of Defence to “deal with border control.” She did not say whether soldiers or coast guards will be moved from National Security to facilitate that plan. And it would be unwise to assume.

After all, under the People’s Partnership, the Minister of National Security ran basketball tournaments, the Minister of Sport paid criminals and the Minister of Justice drafted bills to set them free.

The Prime Minister was all over the place last night too.

One moment, Persad-Bissessar pointed out, with some merit, that no male prime minister would have faced the criticism she did about her choice of shoes. Yet in the same breath, she said she would happily retire to “cooking and reading.”

There really was no common thread.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. (Copyright AFP 2014/Frederic Dubray)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Frederic Dubray)

The other major talking points?

Despite calling an election at virtually the last possible moment, the Prime Minister still has no manifesto.

Her legacy was the work she had “done for children” whose missing Children’s Life Fund cash is the subject of an another media-instigated police probe. And, in a dare to land pirates, she promised that all squatters on State land would be regularised after September 7.

Presumably, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley immediately filled a knapsack with biscuits, cheese and water and headed for a month-long camp at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Vi-Queen, at this rate, is in danger of losing her throne.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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166 comments

  1. Richard Zen O’Brien them so called “on the fence” won’t listen to that. They want him come and sit in everybody individual living room and tell them his plans and policies. Then they’ll say he has none

  2. Chabeth ‘on the fence’ votes would hear from Rowley every Monday on ‘Conversations with Dr Rowley’ and every time the PNM has a public meeting. AND when they see the difference quality of candidates, quality of campaigns, etc. Lots of factors for them to base their decisions on.

  3. As Debbie said what’s scary about this is that there are people out there who thought she did an excellent job! Nothing that is said or done would dissuade them from voting for Kamlaor aany other UNC candcandidate living or dead!

  4. Albert Edwards, Kamla is not self-destructing amongst her supporters… and Idk that ‘on the fence’ voters would be compelled to vote for Rowley simply because Kamla “self destructs”.

  5. We know the truth…people just haven’t been held accountable yet.

  6. The whistleblower will be free to come out then!

  7. So we will never know the truth about emailgate?

  8. All investigations being done by the TTPS are heading to the elephant graveyard …

  9. What has become of the emailgate investigation being done by the TTPS?

  10. i would not support that view,let her self destruct ,her handlers are simply set in her up for a high fall ,the debates commission is the only recognised forum for this,this was just simply grand standing .similar to the emailgate a letter clearing her of the accusation

  11. Well that’s just silly because you should care about your opponent. I’m hoping that Rowley listened to it and studied her comments so that he can massacre the nonsense she said when he has his whatever it is that he’s having.

  12. PNM didn’t care bout her nor the debate.

  13. Well PNM missed an opportunity to coach her and have Kamla on the defensive.

  14. Fmr PNM counsellor, but a ‘Manning Girl’. She opposed Rowley and she was part of the Gladiator ‘anti-Rowley’ faction, but she seemed to have calmed down after she wasn’t selected as a candidate. She said she spoke to Rowley about being on the panel and she said he told her, “do what you think is best” which to me means, shes basically on her own and he didn’t care whether she did it or not.

  15. I am getting scared with the people who are not UNC sycophants who seem willing to give this government a second term. They don’t like Rowley and seems to be the reason. Rowley may not be likeable but he may get the job done while we know KPB doesn’t have a clue!

  16. I think they said former PNM counsellor. But I guess someone more versed in PNM matters can tell us. Richard Zen O’Brien?

  17. I loved how she kept mentioning that she needs a special majority to do some of the stuff that she wants to do. As if that’s even a possibility this time around!
    But speaking of these people who were asking the questions… the Isha chick… she’s not a PNM something? The PNM couldn’t prepare her better?

  18. the depth of the questions,not penetrating enough,in situation the idea would be to get as much information in the public domain and to be critical of the process,at most the answers were very superficial ,more like practised of rehearsed ,the issues were not elucidated ,just simply begging for a 2nd term,not good enough,nothing conclusive on handling the crime situation corruption,

  19. Well, Chabeth Haynes, remember one of her ultimatums was the debate must be in July. So she penned herself in there.

  20. Ridiculous answers aside… As a political strategy, it was dumb to go first.

  21. From what I understand that circus more moderators than speakers, none of them called out the Prime Minister on the inaccuracies of her answers?

    That alone shows it wasn’t impartial and why it was a good idea for the Opposition Leader not to participate.

  22. Lmaooooo ????? Lasana always on point!

  23. The PNM leader eh have time to waste on that farce that passed for a debate. I like how she tied for second. Too fuuny. But hear nah there were people who thought she did fantastic and handled herself admirably. I guess that’s because she was debating herself. SMH.

  24. If myself can give myself silk why are we surprised myself debated myself

  25. You so ignorant to call Dr Eric Williams name. The father of this great nation after God. Unc is a johnny come lately ,fly by night, cabal. All inclusive for friends, family with many biases. An extension of gopio .

  26. So nobody thinks If the Pnm leader was present,he could have called out the PM on her answers?

  27. I have to find a way to earn a living off of facebook yes.
    The amount of time I spending! LOL

  28. You like torture Aaron. Lol. Try CTV website or Facebook page.

  29. And she still lost the debate as reported by one commentator today!

  30. pnm haters all the way from williams to present.

  31. Lol. Kamla is a good Krystian. She wouldn’t get up to such nonsense!

  32. Why was this even called a debate. I always thought that a debate was between two individuals. And reading the above, it is quite clear that this lady is unfit to run this nation. Tell me again, why was she elected in the first place. If Trinis wanted to make history by voting for the first woman PM, it would have been much easier if they had tried to make the history books in some other way. Like getting 50 or so citizens to stand on top of the Red House dressed in red, white and black and pee in unison.

  33. No, that was actually the cigar she was playing with! Hahaha

  34. That stained Monica’s dress..haha
    Herself?

  35. Bill Clinton was just playing with a cigar, I don’t know what Kamla was playing with! LOL

  36. Actually Vernal, Bill Clinton knows about that well

  37. Was about to ask Lasana what debate he talking about

  38. If that was considered a debate then a man jocking could be considered sex!

  39. What debate?
    Hear nah, I look like the type of fella with patience?

  40. I think her mentioning Kubs actually cancels everything out! LOL

  41. Lol. Vernal Damion Cadogan, how would you sound saying: “You know when I really showed what a good guy I was? When I showed how much I cared about what’s-his-name…”

  42. I have to take exception with you here Lasana Liburd –
    “Her best example of humanity, as online commentator Dion Jennings pointed out, involved her not remembering the name of an activist, Wayne Kublalsingh, who almost died on her doorstep.”

    We all know now that Kubs was faking the whole time………….best we forget him!

  43. Lasana Liburd, that Pythagoras theorem reference tho…

  44. What we witnessed last night was, without a doubt, an exit interview! Kamla Persad Bissessar’s education policy is the distribution of laptops. How shallow is that? Extremely shallow!

  45. Anyway I can view the interview online?