Home / View Point / Martin Daly / Fireworks, Flow and other fouls: Martin Daly SC weighs in

Fireworks, Flow and other fouls: Martin Daly SC weighs in

Last Sunday my fellow columnist, Sunity Maharaj, wrote forcefully about the removal of the cuisine vendors from the Savannah.

She pointed out that many things which emerge from the peoples’ sector get hammered by the authorities rather than receiving a helping hand with facilities, guidance or strategic co-operation.

Photo: A vendor operates around the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. (Copyright Caribbean Beat)
Photo: A vendor operates around the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
(Copyright Caribbean Beat)

As a confirmed limer in many of the peoples’ sectors I immediately wondered again what permits the gyro sellers have, whether they all have running water and access to toilets and whether other restaurants that have proliferated all over Trinidad and Tobago meet minimum health and safety standards.

I repeatedly refer to the lack of objective justice in our country. A big part of this problem is the arbitrary public administration that overlooks the fouls of some, which deserve red cards, but enforces the law against others who are making honest tackles at succeeding in small business.

Few red cards seem given for apparently obvious immigration offences.

I will not give much opportunity to the vested interests to play distorted race or community cards. I will simply say that it is better to be a hot Latin than a good Trini cook if you are operating on the margin.

I pick up on the treatment of the Savannah vendors because ordinary citizens without contact get the shaft not only when trying to improve their occupational status but as consumers or as citizens trying to lead peaceful lives.

Photo: Smoothie vendor, Dr Fresh, operates his stall in the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. (Copyright flight centre.ca)
Photo: Smoothie vendor, Dr Fresh, operates his stall in the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
(Copyright flight centre.ca)

What I want to add is that there are matters underlying the arbitrary and unbalanced treatment of persons on the margin by public administrators and police alike.  These matters may also be responsible for what is meted out to us as consumers and for some of the disturbances of our peace.

The plain fact is that there is establishment and elitist support for the ill treatment delivered to ordinary citizens without contact. Once the politicians, financiers and assorted sycophants, who from time to time comprise the influence ridden ruling sector, get their way the suffering of others is often of little consequence.

Furthermore the people sector and ordinary citizens who need protection have law enforcement indifference or worse stacked against us.

Elements in the ruling sector also use expensive public relations and advertising, which is mobilised in defence of discomforting or deficient products and poor service.

If a consumer chooses to have a spicy meal or a hot Latin dance and gets sick there is a voluntary element in contracting the sickness. The discomfort is not spread large and loud, like fireworks through whole neighbourhoods, regardless whether the neighbourhood wishes to pursue that activity.

Photo: A resident enjoys a firework display.
Photo: A resident enjoys a firework display.

It is by reason of the uninvited infliction of pain on a wider group and the public relations mind games to support anti social behaviour and shoddy products and service that there is a significant difference between some types of popular vending on the one hand and, on the other hand, fireworks, Flow and other fouls.

The fireworks foul has drawn widespread adverse comment well summarised for example in Josephine Ache’s letter to this newspaper on Monday last.

I was particularly pleased that she commented on the inane statements of the fireworks vendors in defence of a trade that harms infinitely more people than a plate of food or than a hot Latin dance.

There is little ambiguity in the law about where fireworks may be discharged. Like Flow, the cable television provider, to whom I next refer, the fireworks people, to use one of my deceased mother’s favourite expressions, “must think we were all born yesterday.”

This column is not used to vent personal grievances so I will not pursue Flow’s treatment of my household with utter incompetence since the company decided to change its cable boxes. The boxes work badly and the technicians cannot adequately program the company’s universal remote.

Photo: Flow has vowed to maintain its prices, despite drastically reducing its channels on offer.
Photo: Flow has vowed to maintain its prices, despite drastically reducing its channels on offer.

There is however one Flow foul, which, like fireworks, oppresses citizens across the board.  Flow has plainly misled the public.

I have Flow’s misleading written offer entitled ‘Welcome to the Future.’  Why is the company, without penalty or rate reduction, permitted to offer channels, which it then has to discontinue because it does not have the broadcast rights?

Flow also insults our intelligence by referring to “technical difficulties” when it was no surprise that PBS disappeared very shortly before the final season of Downton Abbey was to be broadcast.

Next is the wrecker.  It tows easy targets from other less busy streets but leaves Park Street, from Richmond Street corner to Charlotte Street corner, overwhelmed with vehicles parked at peak times contrary to the traffic signs, jamming up the Park Street traffic.

In my concept of objective justice, each person on the block held or harassed for a joint should have as a cell companion a person held for disturbing residential peace with fireworks.

Photo: Fireworks are on sale throughout the country around Divali and New Year's Day.
Photo: Fireworks are on sale throughout the country around Divali and New Year’s Day.

Objective justice ought not to turn on the social set to which you belong or on the extent of your capitalist strength.

 

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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20 comments

  1. well said mister MARTIN DALY thank you sir

  2. True talk!! “T & T have two types of people; those who want a govrnment work or those who want a government contract – and the few business people who want to make something of real value added are frustrated by a government bureaucracy”. absolutely true!!!.

  3. Regrettable but true is all that Mr Daly has written.

    The leadership classes in this society i.e the business leadership, the trade union leadership, the academic leadership, the judicial leadership, the legal fraternity leadership, the political leadership have all been complicit in this type of behaviour.

    A friend of mine says that there seems to be two types of people in Trinidad and Tobago; those who want a government work or those who want a government contract.
    The majority of business people want to either get a government contract or import some stuff.
    The few business people who want to make something of real value added are frustrated by a government bureaucracy that seems to delight in making up arcane rules that can show off how important they are.
    But let’s keep on hoping that Mr Daly’s and Sunity Maharaj’s steady beating at the drum may penetrate the fog of ineptitude..
    Thank you again Mr Daly for trying.

  4. Mr. Daly is a national treasure. He has a pulse of the ills that impact all citizens. He should be our next President.

  5. But they’re replacing the channels they removed. Might not be your cup of tea what’s replaced, but if they advertise 99 channels and you get 99 channels no harm no foul. Cable is not an essential service and on this day and age of high speed Internet, streaming services and so many alternatives to furore about cable is getting extremely boring

  6. I guess Flow is so far ahead of the others that they are to cable what Gazette paper was to newspapers.
    I think it fair that less stations means less money though.

  7. Aye. I ain’t go lie. Flow is really a bobolee in this land yes. Alllllll cable companies doing d SAME thing Flow doing. Look Digicel Play just launched and telling people when they sign up that the only channels they MAY lose are the 3 networks and have all the 16 channels mandated to be removed in their line up. Smh