Waithe’s TCM responds on Benz/HDC bacchanal: TV6 and Express got it wrong

The following is a release from the TCM (Total Convenience Management) Board regarding TV6 and Trinidad Express reports on the rental of a Mercedes Benz to the HDC, which, TCM allege, contained ‘inaccuracies and misrepresentations of their business arrangement.

Businessman Kirk Waithe is a prominent member of TCM as well as Fixin’ T&T, which has been vociferous in its call for the dismissal of several allegedly corrupt government ministers including former Housing Minister Marlene McDonald.

Photo: Businessman Kirk Waithe is a prominent member of Fixin' T&T and TCM.
Photo: Businessman Kirk Waithe is a prominent member of Fixin’ T&T and TCM.

Statement from the Board and Management of Total Convenience Management (TCM):

The Board and Management of Total Convenience Management (TCM) have noted with concern inaccuracies and/or misrepresentations and innuendo (whether unwittingly or otherwise) contained in recent reports on the TV6 7 PM news by Mark Bassant on March 7 and March 23, 2016 and repeated in a Ria Taitt article in the Trinidad Express on March 24, 2016 regarding the rental of vehicles by the HDC from TCM.

Particular attention has been paid to a Mercedes Benz rented by the HDC from TCM reported by Mr Bassant and Ms Taitt to have been for the period 2011-2015 at a monthly cost of TT$27,000.00.

In the interest of transparency and fairness TCM wishes to once and for all set the factual record straight.

1. In 2010 the HDC used various providers for vehicle rentals of which TCM was but one.

2. At its peak, TCM rented a total of eight (8) vehicles to the HDC.

Photo: A Mercedes Benz C Class.
Photo: A Mercedes Benz C Class.

3. TCM rented a Mercedes Benz to the HDC for a period totalling sixteen (16) months broken up as follows: August 22, 2011-March 27, 2012 at a monthly cost of TT$18,600.00 (VAT exclusive); September 13, 2012-October 31, 2012 at a monthly cost of TT$24,000.00 (VAT exclusive); November 15, 2012-July 5, 2013 at a monthly cost of TT$24,000.00 (VAT exclusive).

4. While the initial fee reflected a long term rental rate, a short term rate was applied to the subsequent periods having regard to the duration of the first. This is consistent with standard industry practice.

5. It must be noted that, as part of TCM’s corporate short term rental policy, TCM’s business interface is with the client company which has sole responsibility and discretion for the subsequent assignment of such vehicle.

We assume that the HDC, being a State Company, would have exercised that discretion responsibly.

6. Over the period July 2012 thru February 2013, the HDC initiated and completed a tender process for the procurement of rental vehicles, which was won by another service provider. As a result, during the course of 2013, TCM’s total vehicle portfolio in the HDC was reduced to two (2) vehicles.

This was briefly increased to three vehicles in January 2014. That third vehicle was returned in September 2014.

Photo: Former Housing and Urban Development Minister Marlene McDonald. (Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Former Housing and Urban Development Minister Marlene McDonald.
(Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)

7. As such it is abundantly clear that TCM’s rental portfolio in the HDC was significantly reduced during the last administration. Any suggestion therefore of a personal vendetta involving the current administration is wholly unfounded.

8. The two remaining vehicles rented to the HDC were returned to TCM on 31 December 2015 and 31 March 2016.

9. It is to be noted that TCM never rented a Range Rover to the HDC. Any such notion, suggestion or implication is patently false.

TCM is appreciative of the corrective measures taken by Ms Taitt in her article in the April 4, 2016 Sunday Express titled ‘Who drove HDC’s Mercedes Benz?’

We look forward to TV6 accurately reporting the facts, guarding against the risk of misrepresentation or innuendo, and doing so with the same prominence given to its aforementioned stories on this matter.

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    He is just clearing up some inaccuracies and misrepresentation. His business is to rent cars, a legitimate client comes to rent a car, you rent them the car.

  2. He still hasn’t addressed the issue of other MPs employing family members in their constituency offices in the same vociferous manner as he did with Marlene Mc Donald.
    Is this release a means of distracting?

  3. 3. TCM rented a Mercedes Benz to the HDC for a period totalling sixteen (16) months broken up as follows: August 22, 2011-March 27, 2012 at a monthly cost of TT$18,600.00 (VAT exclusive); September 13, 2012-October 31, 2012 at a monthly cost of TT$24,000.00 (VAT exclusive); November 15, 2012-July 5, 2013 at a monthly cost of TT$24,000.00 (VAT exclusive).
    Am I reading this right? 1 mercedes Benz rental for $18,600.00 per month! Increased to $24,000 per month?

  4. All these comments directed at TCM about their LEGIT business…
    ah mean…a car rental firm renting cars? Really? #DohSoundFishyToMe

  5. I want all the people clutching pearls at the cost of the rental to tell me where I can rent a benz for substantially less than $800 a day please. Preferably in time for Tobago Jazz.

  6. A “luxury” anything could be considered an excess for any state body so with that in mind, those who are criticizing Waithe are doing so against the backdrop of him speaking out against government excesses.
    I imagine they would have no problem with him renting his vehicles to private entities at whatever price he wants but see it as hypocritical to be part of a situation at the HDC that he criticizes elsewhere.

    • Chabeth, I get if people find it is a luxury, but their anger was misplaced. Was Waithe supposed to tell his employees “Hear na tell these people we can only rent for 2 days out of the week since that total will be more reasonable?” And what figure is reasonable btw? Direct anger towards the state policy if you vex not the man legitimately doing business at market prices.

    • Right, but I think the feeling is that if somebody says they stand against something, the expectation is that they wouldn’t be a part of it in anyway.
      I don’t think the outrage would have been as emphatic had he said to the HDC, how about you rent CRVs instead because I believe this that and the other. Of course, it’s doubtful the HDC would have agreed to that but he probably wouldn’t have come in for as strong condemnation for encouraging a state entity to reduce spending.
      But like I said in an earlier comment, if there’s a vehicle rental allowance cap, then that would be helpful. I think.

    • But is the salesperson (because it may not have been Waithe himself) responsible for checking the client’s spending? They asked for a luxury car, which salesperson is going to sell down? I think that is asking a bit much of the organisation. Now if the price was jacked up because it was a state company and “dey have money” well then I might understand the outrage. As it stands I think people are holding TCM to an unreasonable standard that they do not even hold their leaders to.

    • By leaders you mean politicians? The standards for them are “please don’t be worse than the other side.” So I do think the country is looking to leaders of civil organizations for what we should be finding in politicians, which may or may not be fair.
      Having said that, I think it would be useful for TCM to clarify what role, if any, Waithe played in the HDC contracts.

    • I think there is an inclination to tear down people doing more than complaining on Facebook. Kublalsingh, Womantra, Waithe. It’s ugly.

    • I agree. But at the same time, I think if Womantra took donations from Donald Trump, the group should face backlash.
      Companies all around the world choose not to do business for a variety of reasons. I think the feeling is that if you say you’re against government excess, you can choose not to rent luxury cars to state agencies.
      And then once money is involved, it changes the whole picture because people think you’re shifting your moral boundaries to fatten your pocket etc etc…
      That’s just what I get those condemning Waithe are thinking.

    • And that would require some standard for what is excess. Is it excess to rent to state agencies, but not ministries and private businesses? Is it up to the service provider to make that call?

    • For instance should airlines refuse to sell first class tickets to government passengers? Down to what level? On which state boards?

    • Or is this obligation to refuse business only applicable to people who dare to own businesses while also being government critics?

    • Yeah. A standard would be required. Which is why if you put a cap for all the various types of spending that a state agency or ministry does it makes things easier.
      I don’t think people care what private business spend their money on.
      But I think the perceived obligation is on any person or group who champions a cause and then acts in a way that could be perceived as contradictory.
      So again, womantra taking money from Donald Trump wild get greater criticism from me than this situation.

    • I don’t think TCM renting a Benz to me for 27,000/mth would cause them to come into criticism.
      It’s the renting of the luxury vehicle to a state entity while lobbying against government excess that is the problem for some people.

    • I don’t really accept that comparison because Womantra in this example would represent Fixin T&T. Now if the founder of Womantra had a business that did business with the now ex mayor of port of spain would we be tearing them down (more than usual)?

    • I think she would come in for heavy criticism for initiating a business relationship with him following his comments yes.
      Nobody has to do business with anybody else. If you don’t agree with a company’s policy or with the views expressed by the owner of a company, you don’t interact with them. That’s how boycotts happen.

    • I understand the source of the outrage, but I would guess tha for some people that cost is not excessive and thus there would be no reason to refuse business even if I am against government excess. If I were a contractor and a highway cost 3 billion and I quote for 3 billion and get the contract, should I be strung up because I speak against government excess and people find that is too much to spend?

    • But part of the problem with fixin t&t and TCM is that it’s unclear how one and the same they are in terms of Waithe. Do you know who else is on the TCM board?

    • Yes. That is the problem. But that would be the problem for any business person

    • It’s an issue that can be debated forever because it’s a moral one and not a legal one and the measuring tape for morality is just so long.

    • Trinidad is too small and the private economy is too reliant on government contracts for business owners to dare speak out. This stringing up Waithe sends that message clearly.

    • Yep. And I can’t imagine too many non- government entities engage in long term contracts for luxury vehicles. Maybe it would have been better for him if his contracts were with agencies of min of tourism or energy or something.
      But ppl have to eat. Lol. And if your business is renting luxury cars, really what are you gonna do?

    • I think an apt comparison would be if the head of Womantra owns a hotel and Team Trump said they wanted to rent a suite for a convention.
      And if she rented it to Team Trump while continuing to criticise him, I would not find that hypocritical.
      I’m uncomfortable with the comparison where we speak of Trump donating to Womantra. Because people tend to think that Gov’t money is a giveaway while I’m sure many people with State contracts work hard and get a fair return at best.
      It is the rotten apples who are bleeding the taxman and nothing suggests here that Waithe falls in that category.
      Lemme stress I’m not saying you are suggesting that eh Chabeth. But I know some people do feel that anytime the State spends, it is a given that they are throwing away money.

    • Hmm… I think any feminist doing business with Trump would come into criticism regardless of the nature of the business.
      And I think taking a hit to your pocket in order to walk the moral high ground is what ppl are looking for leaders of civil organisations to do these days. Just so much financial impropriety and corruption, ppl are yearning for leaders in any sector to say to hell with the money, let me stay away from what some might see as a grey area situation.
      No need to stress anything to me, Lasana. We’ve interacted more than enough for me to know when to just ignore you with comments that aren’t applicable to me. Lol. ?

    • Yeah. No tangent but the republicans get worse with every cycle.
      Not sure what I’d do about Trump and my pizza to be honest. But definitely no tea for him!

    • Lol. If Donald Trump walked into my pizza parlour, I would sell him. I see Trump as someone who says out loud some of the crass things others stay privately anyway.
      I think the world would be worse with Trump as president. But I think Trump isn’t even the worst Republican candidate! Lol.
      Anyway, I don’t wanna go off on a tangent there.

    • But no tea for Trump!
      But Lasana, let me ask you. If you’re someone who champions racial equality, would you do business with a known racist?

    • I am not Lasana but I am trying to understand if we going off topic for fun or if we’re saying Waithe shouldn’t be doing business with government because they are known over spenders?

    • I think it’s the luxury item bit that has people upset. I can’t see it would have been a problem if he were selling pens.
      Non-luxury of course.
      But who knows… Maybe that would have been a problem too.

    • Again, if people feel benz is luxury, they’re pelting the wrong tree. Take it up with the government. Cuz they certainly not vex with who have the contract now. So I don’t buy it’s the luxury. It’s the audacity of someone to speak up against the government, no matter who is in office, while also running a (presumably) successful business.

    • Well it’s a different set of people vex now eh.
      But doh boof me! I just telling yuh the people rationale.
      And I do see their point but I don’t think it’s a big deal. At least we can see what the money was spent on.

    • Lol. Na Chabeth. Never boufing you!

    • Exactly Fayola. The State boards didn’t stop renting luxury cars with TCM. Nobody cares about that though.
      So I think people just wanted an opportunity to run into Kirk. I wonder what would have happened if they tried to source that S-500 Benz for Dr Keithos from Kirk Waithe.
      Who would have been wrong in that scenario?

  7. Why did HDC need a Mercedes Benz? Surely Mr. Fixin Tnt should have been most concerned about this request since tax payers dollars are being used for a luxury vehicle that is not essential. $27,000 is almost as much as the President’s housing allowance that caused tremendous furore.

  8. He has not addressed the 27000.00 or is he saying it was 24000.00$?

  9. Send Mr Kirk Waithe here.. let him account… sorry you had to try to do so.. it should be him

  10. I can’t stay forever on this topic. So I’m out. For those who are outraged by a State body renting a luxury vehicle (not Prime Ministers or Ministers, of course, their backs might be injured in anything non-luxurious), then I’d expect you would make a few phone calls to find out how widespread the practice is.
    And, as a favour, I’m giving you the first place to call. Try the NWRHA.
    Man, if you’re upset at HDC/Kirk Waithe… I can only imagine how upset you would be when you find out what is being spent by a body that cannot probably treat patients due to a shortage of funds.

  11. a rental is $350 a day. an executive rental is $1000 a day

  12. i wanna know about the fleet of CHOGM Prados.

  13. I am concerned about all government excesses,but sadly I cannot depend on Fixin T&T to comment adversely about any present state boards renting luxury vehicles for exhorbitant prices.I will hjave to rely on some other organisation.

  14. Since nobody seems interested in the luxury leases being done by State boards at present, I take it that the only issue here is that Kirk Waithe had a legitimate business arrangement with the HDC and then dared to expose corruption by a Housing Minister.
    I could live with that.

  15. I too want more whistleblowers Lasana.

  16. For me, if Jack Warner reports a crime. It isn’t more or less a crime because of the eyewitness.
    Once there is evidence to support the claim, that is good enough for me.
    I only wish more people would follow Fixin’ T&T’s example in an effort to expose corruption in governance.
    Some people seem to want less whistleblowers. I want more.

  17. Look at how long it took to issue this half baked news release,which say’s nothing.

  18. Fixin TnT has weakened itself. Up to now Waithe hasn’t answered the issues raised. He’s hiding behind figures and legalities. Actually, Fixin TnT has been weakened by Waithe.

  19. It was under moonilal that he obtained his contract.Lasana,I strongly suspect that HDC has no rental vehicle costing near as much today.I have no beef with Fixin T&T as a corruption fighting organisation.When secrets about the main man’s participation in something that he speaks so vociferously about is exposed ,that is where i have a problem.

  20. Since July 2013, HDC stopped renting the Benz from TCM. But it did not stop renting luxury cars. There is a formal arrangement in place ever since to rent luxury vehicles. And many State boards do it.
    So how come nobody cares to find out what company or companies have those contracts now? Richard Zen O’Brien, are you and Lance Noel going to arrange a protest at HDC and other State agencies about the acquiring of luxury vehicles?
    Tell me when and I will join you.
    Or is it a non-issue so long as Kirk Waithe isn’t benefitting?
    I’m trying to find the consistency with this stance and understand what you all are upset about.
    Are you worked up because State boards apparently rent luxury vehicles? Or are you worked up because you think there is an opportunity here to attack and weaken Fixin T&T?

  21. Lance, It was under Roodal Moonilal that he lost 80 percent of his business. So, following your logic, should he not then have been especially vociferous against Moonilal?

  22. While I am in no position to accuse Mr Waithe of wrongdoing,his actions seem at odds with his claim to fame.

  23. Even this letter,refuting the Mark Bassant report ,is suspect.He is saying the reported $27,000.00 pm for the Benz is wrong.He says the actual cost is $24,000(vat exclusive).Well $24,000.00+$3600.00(15% vat)=$27,600.00.

  24. ”Must appear” Lasana.We have chatted on this before.Mr Waithe is on record having complained about Government spending,excesses,etc.,how would he classify the renting of this luxury vehicle to the HDC,were it not his company involved?Also,Mr Waithe has not been known to speak about the former housing minister,Moonilal,despite several accusations against him.

  25. Right. Tell me how the accuser’s hands are dirty Lance. We are getting somewhere now.

  26. Nobody is asking you to ”cry for ministers busted for corruption”,Lasana,at the same time ,the accusers must also appear to have ”clean hands”.

  27. Tell me when allyuh catch Kirk Waithe in corruption.
    Until then, don’t expect me to cry for ministers busted for corruption. Poor crooked ministers being harassed right? Priorities people. Priorities.

  28. Kirk waithe playing smart with stupidness,isn’t a monthly cost of $24,000.00 +3600.00(vat)=$27,600.00?Wasn’t $27,000.00 pm the amount paid by the HDC?

  29. He get back his voice. Away with you kirk waitheless

  30. Richard Zen O’Brien, the highest cost mentioned here is TT$24,000 per month. Divided by 30. That is TT$800 per day for a Mercedes Benz.
    Does that sound like corruption on the part of the rental company?

    • Please do not put words in my mouth…at no time did I say nor imply there was corruption.

    • Please show me where I said or implied that.

    • So you see no evidence of corruption Zen. So you just don’t like that a company part-owned by a member of Fixin T&T got a legitimate State contract.
      If everybody who got a business from the State or a State body was to shut his mouth, there would be nobody to speak in the country. Trinidad and Tobago runs on taxpayers’ dollars.
      Would you be happy if nobody in the country tried to bring information that pointed to wrongdoing by Ministers?
      Is that a hard and fast position? Or just according to which party is in power?

    • Do not be selective in my analysis especially if you’re STILL not addressing the issue I’m raising. Let me ask again, what reason should the HDC, a gov’t housing agency, be using a luxury vehicle? Is there a reason? A plausible reason? If so, please say, because neither Mr Waithe nor anyone has done so. I am of the opinion there is NO REASON for the HDC using a luxury vehicle; I see that was a waste of public funds. Given how Mr Waithe and Fixin’TnT have been presenting themselves they should also see this as a waste of public funds. Again, if Mr Waithe WAS NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVED in this transaction, Fixin’TnT would have been raising hell over this. I don’t think you or anyone would deny this.
      Therefore, it stinks of hypocrisy that neither Mr Waithe no Fixin TnT sees a problem with this.
      Mr Waithe doesnt ‘get a pass’ because he previously brought ‘information that pointed to wrongdoing by Ministers’. It doesn’t work like that. Actually, it puts him MORE under the microscope than others because HE has to uphold the bar that was set by HIM!. That’s what im talking about. And that’s why he was under obligation to disclose HIS dealings with HDC. That’s how this is done.! This has nothing to do with party in power, you should know better than that. Defend Waithe if you want, but don’t make that implication.

    • It’s about $500 a day to rent a Corolla so $800 for a Benz sounds like a discount.

    • So because you think a TT$800 Benz is a luxury means what exactly Richard Zen O’Brien? That is your opinion.
      Say what car you would prefer them to rent and they can get those from TCM instead.
      Why does anyone need a luxury car? Nobody does. You can make them all drive Tidas for all I care.
      That’s all you have to justify this outrage on Fixin T&T? That one of its prominent members rented the head of HDC a Benz for what appears to be a very reasonable price?
      I still don’t get why people are so worked up at losing a minister for corruption.
      If I had a catering business and HDC ordered 20 pies every Friday. Am I culpable if I don’t investigate to find out where those pies went?
      Suppose it was Marlene allowing eating them? Should she have save taxpayers money by having Michael Carew fix her a sandwich to take to work?

    • If you’re logical enough to determine that ‘nobody’ needs a luxury car, them how is it so far fetched to think that Mr Waithe should have also be of different logic? Are you saying Mr Waithe shouldn’t be be concerned that taxpayers are going to be paying for a vehicle that ‘nobody’ really needs?
      And on what basis are you saying the price was ‘reasonable’? $1.1million over 4 yrs, for a vehicle that ‘nobody’ needs is ‘reasonable to the taxpayers? Whose figures attention using? What makes Waithe’s figures correct and TV6’s wrong? Because Waithe said so? You realise it’s a different of $3000 per month he’s disputing right? And that’s probably VAT.
      I don’t know where you’re trying Marlene to this; those are separate issues and I agree that Marlene had to go. So thats a non issue. I don’t care about Marlene!
      One of he first thing the PM did was no ministry should be using luxury vehicles. Remember the Vasant Barath porche? So why is that good policy for ministers and not govt agencies? Yes, it’s new, but Mr Waithe was NEVER guided by ‘policy’, he appeared to be guided by what ‘made sense’. There’s no way he would have been comfortable if he was not involved.

    • What I think is a bigger issue that should be clarified is who used this car. Was it for their exclusive use. And were they allowed to take this car home. Because then…then the next question is was this person paying the relevant BIK taxes on this benefit??

    • Which PM said no Ministry should have luxury vehicles Zen? Surely not Dr Rowley right?
      Nobody needs cheese either Zen. The fact that nobody needs a luxury car doesn’t mean nobody should have one. That is another discussion.

    • Steve Khanpradie ,even ah Wetman going for 350/400 these days…

    • newsday.co.tt/politics/0,153915.html. Does this ring a bell, Lasana?

    • Thanks for that reminder Zen. I’m not sure what point you are making with it though.

    • I love this excerpt: “Newsday yesterday reported that Bharath’s Ministry had bought the SUV for the Minister’s official use, with Bharath listing the cost at $400,000 while a Business Day story had listed the price as from $925,000 (basic) to $1.8 million (turbo).

      Relating the Porsche to a woman’s complaint at the meeting about the area’s lack of pipe-borne water, Rowley said, “You are paying for that (Porsche), while you can’t get a-pump here in Febeau Village to give you water.”

      How much does the S-500 Benz acquired by the Office of the PM cost again?

    • Really? You’re comparing HDC using a luxury vehicles to the PM’s official vehicle? Keep digging, dude.

    • Did you read what you posted Zen? The rental in question was for the Housing Minister. So the Prime Minister thinks it is wrong for Ministers to have luxury vehicles but okay for Prime Ministers?

    • Lol… You on ah roll Lasana Liburd,even the most small minded sickophant on either side should get this one….

    • if i had the time I’d call around and ask for the insurance premium on that model of Benz, add that on to the cost, depreciation, a profit markup etc and maybe that should provide some clarity.

  31. If the state doesn’t have a cap on rental vehicle allowances, they should put one in the same way that there are caps for phone allowances, travel allowances etc etc.
    If there is a cap, then anybody is free to rent any vehicle to the state once the cost falls within the cap allowance.

  32. Took them about two weeks of absolute silence from their mouthpiece to come up with this? Not buying it

  33. Lmao…Waithe really taking us for fools! At no time side anyone question the PROCESS around the rentals. He STILL has not addressed the question around the HYPOCRISY behind the rental of a luxury vehicle to the HDC. How come that did not raise flag? Was he comfortable having the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago pay for a luxury vehicle for a govt agency?
    Also, almost a month after the story he wants to be ‘transparent’… shouldn’t he have offered this information in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, BEFORE the story broke? Rock so, Mr Waithe!

    • Hypocrisy in renting a luxury vehicle to the HDC? Which Gov’t Minister in the history of politics has ever driven in anything but a luxury vehicle?

    • Ahhh, HDC vehicle for a govt minister? Careful, Lasana…

    • Remember Moonilal say he ain’t know nutten bout that.. He knows why he has to stay away.

    • Jerlean John’s salary was well over TT$60,000. Maybe close to double that. If the State pays such salaries, I’m not surprised that such heads drive luxury vehicles either.
      I don’t understand why the rental company is the one you have an issue with here and not the State policy.

    • Because this is NOT a normal ‘rental company’. One of the managers or THE manager of this agency professes to be one who is about taxpayer dollars not being abused. That’s why this is an issue. If this was another company, Fixin’TnT would have been all over it.

    • And is a mark of integrity the ability to respond to a story BEFORE it happens?

    • Richard Zen O’Brien, tell me why you think taxpayers’ dollars is being abused.

    • Yes, ‘full disclosure’. That’s perfectly normal.

    • Given the function of the HDC, can you, Mr Waithe or anyone explain why the HDC, NOT the ministry, needs luxury vehicles.

    • What would full disclosure mean, Richard Zen O’Brien? Let’s see if that is doable. Are you saying that every member of any body associated with Kirk Waithe must consider themselves a part of Fixin T&T?

    • Is HDC the only State body where the head has a luxury vehicle? If not, isn’t it the State policy that you are mad at?

    • If I am leading a TTFA tendering process and particularly against one of its officers, isn’t it proper practice to state where or not I have business dealings with said organization?

    • Of course. Who did not disclose business dealings?

    • So are you saying if it’s a ‘State policy’, whether or not it’s abusive to taxpayers it’s ok for Waithe to exploit? Are you saying ‘there’s no crime so it’s ok’?

    • Did Waithe come forward BEFORE the stories broke and disclose this?

    • First, you act as though Kirk Waithe, Fixin T&T and TCM are all one and the same. And that isn’t necessarily true.

    • Second, it is abusive to taxpayers that the head of a State board rents a Benz? But not if a Minister drives a Benz? Or the Prime Minister?
      Explain the difference to me so I can understand better. Is it policy or personality you are about here?

    • I’d have no problem whatsoever if caps are put on State spending for certain things including a Benz. But I’m still trying to understand what has you so bothered here?

    • 1. You are correct..it seems Waithe could believe differently from Fixin’TnT, the org he heads and that’s problematic. Basically my organization’s values are not mine. 2. Why is it so complicated…a govt agency, the HDC, an govt agency responsible for the dismemberment of houses to citizens is renting luxury vehicles. Any reasonable citizen would ask, ‘why would such an agency need a vehicle?’ How is that proper use of taxpayer funds? Is that part of what Fixin TnT is about?
      I have no problem with the Prime Minister being transported in a Benz. I have no problem with a minister driving a Benz, as Moonilal claims, once it’s purchased with their own money. I can understand particular ministries having luxury vehicles at their disposal (ministries, NOT govt agencies) eg tourism, finance or even Energy..they entertain foreign delegations. But NOT the ministry of Housing and definitely not an agency UNDER the ministry of housing. Is that strange?
      So the problem with Mr Waithe is he saw absolutely no problem with a) the HDC using luxury vehicles and b) he having the taxpayers pay HIM to give access to the HDC to use luxury vehicles.
      So, maybe you’re right, Mr Waithe may not have a problem with this, but Fixin TnT should.

    • Mr Waithe did not disclose the rental agreement of the last two vehicles.

      Mr Waithe did not disclose if there were subsequent negotiations between TCM and HDC regarding any further rentals with the new administration.

      It is infact HDC that has to account for why the TCM vehicles were necessary.

      Mr Waithe, in his capacity as an officer in both TCM and Fixin T&T should explain to us why its not hypocrisy to condone “eat-ah-food” business dealings in one orgaisation whilst gallerying on his high horse against corruption and wrong doing in the other.

    • Because he’s a blood sucking parasite

    • Richard Zen O’Brian: What is wrong with a businessman having the State as a client? Nothing is hypocritical about that.

      When the Sabgas and Abouds bill the State, do you call them hypocrites?

    • Renting a Benz for TT$800 a day is “eat a food”? Why does Fixin’ T&T’s exposure of Gov’t wrongdoing create such animosity?
      If Fixin’ T&T got its facts wrong regarding Marlene or anyone else, then I can understand strong objection.
      If a senior member of Fixin’ T&T was found to have been involved in corrupt business practices, then I would understand strong objection.
      Nobody has shown where this is either.
      It is sad to see people so upset with a body that only tries to expose wrongdoing. I suppose everyone would be happier if no such organisation exists.
      According to who is in power of course.
      It seems that:
      Whistleblowers while the PNM is in opposition are to be praised and encouraged.
      Whistleblowers while the PNM is in power should be fired from their jobs, shamed and attacked.

    • Well, Lasana, I suppose that you have absolutely no concerns about the dealings of Jack Warner either.

      Corruption is corruption! I’ve said it before, yes, we love whistle blowers, because at the end of the day it’s the public purse involved.

      It is not TCM business to ask who is using the Benz but it should have been Fixin T&T’s business to address whether the public purse is being abused. Yes, that’s a conflict of interest but we all know how it played out in the end.

      Did the HDC have to rent a Benz at $800 +VAT a day? If yes, why?

      If you want to fix T&T would you allow your company to be associated with questionable dealings? It’s questionable because to date nobody has come forward to say for whom and why the Benz was needed. Everyone has washed their hands! That is what makes this an “eat-ah-food” transaction.

      Mr Waithe didn’t care about who and why just as long as his company was being paid! And guess what, now his company is no longer being paid! This is not suspicious to you?

      Administrations change, TCM’s services are clearly no longer required and conveniently, the line Minister’s business, which, for all intents and purposes, is public knowledge since 2010, becomes an issue. (Public knowledge in the sense that its public record).

      Clearly, Lasana, you seem to take no interest in wrong doing outside the government of the day. You said previously that independent journalism simply does not have the resources for that. Rest assured, government officials and their ‘friends n family’ are aware of this as well.

      How many more $800.00 +VAT a day transactions are there in the system with no full accountability? 50? 100? 1000? Do you care to do the Maths Lasana?

    • I really don’t know where to start because those comments were so scattered.
      Fixin T&T complained about the government when the HDC was renting eight cars, when they were renting two and when they were renting one.
      So I don’t know what you find suspicious. And I don’t know what Jack Warner has to do with anything.
      But, say what, you’re entitled to interpret it as you like. I haven’t the energy for this topic.
      It ent getting you Marlene back, so light a candle for her.
      Odd that you are so worked up about losing a minister for corruption. I’d think any party member would be thrilled to lose a rotten apple. But I continue to learn about political fanatics.

    • Wow! Thanks eh!

      Rest assured I’m not losing sleep over Marlene and I’m definetly no fanatic. This country has a lot of independent thinkers who simply want truth and justice to prevail hence the election result of 2010! Manning found that out the hard way… twice!

      You can continue to bury your head in the sand where Mr Waithe is concerned, after all, he is not in government and thus it would seem, you simply don’t care!

    • These sycophants only have issues with corruption once it does not involve the PNM . UNC and COP corruption is ok to be exposed . Say nothing if the perpetrator is PNM.

    • The other issue is that some Trinis hate to see a black man do well. Up to now the detractors cannot say what was illegal or unethical with the vehicle rentals . All we getting is foolish sycophancy .

    • You consider yourself an independent thinker Ezra? I’m glad to hear it. What I still don’t get is what Kirk Waithe did wrong.
      He should have called a Board meeting and encouraged them to refuse to rent any Benzes to certain people on the grounds that it is too nice for them?
      And, for some reason, the HDC is the only board that counts.
      Why not find out how many State boards right now have luxury cars and start a revolution? What cares would you suggest?
      Even that would be more productive than this chat I think.

    • Thank you!

      That is what we have been saying all along. There are so many questionable dealings that warrant further investigation.

      As to what Mr Waithe did wrong… ask what was the procurement procedure for HDC requiring TCM’s services? Was this wastage on HDC’s part? If I’m a protagnist of “Fixin T&T” do I want my company to be the recipient of funds where there is no accountibility? Why, after 5 years of payments to Marlene boyfriend, illegal payments agreed for which she will account, he Waithe, now have a problem.

      The burning question… had HDC continued in some sort of contractual arrangement with TCM would we be having this discussion today?

      Basdeo Panday said it best recently, ALL manner of wrong doing has to be investigated, not only those that are embroiled in Mr Waithe’s “tit for tat”!

    • Ezra you contradicted yourself . Even when Kirk Waith raised the issue he still had a vehicle being used at HDC . That last rental was terminated after he raised the issues .

    • And you Adrian need to go back to the beginning of this thread and read again!

  34. Some people will still see what they want to see though

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