Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Lead, or shut up! Raffique challenges Rowley to lift his game as T&T prime minister

Lead, or shut up! Raffique challenges Rowley to lift his game as T&T prime minister

I don’t know what plans he has for his vacation, but I strongly recommend to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that he spend all of it in solitary self-confinement seeking guidance from whatever deity or deities he believes in regarding his leadership capabilities.

I don’t care whether it’s an ashram, a monastery or Papa Neezer’s shrine, I honestly believe that Keithos can benefit from a mega-dose of divine intervention to help him determine whether he has what it takes to lead this cussed country out of the morass it has been mired in for decades.

Photo: PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley (centre) gives his victory speech at Balisier House on 7 September 2015, flanked by his wife Sharon Rowley (right) and daughter Sonel. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley (centre) gives his victory speech at Balisier House on 7 September 2015, flanked by his wife Sharon Rowley (right) and daughter Sonel.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

By now, he must recognise that his leadership of the nation has fallen short of the expectations of most citizens. That after almost one year at the helm his Government has nothing tangible to show.

So much so that, if it continues in this mode, it would be stricken with rigor mortis and, rather than mark its anniversary with a celebration on September 7, it should hold a wake.

This Government has not cleaned a drain, fixed a pothole, installed a street light, brought water to the thirsty, reined in galloping crime, created new jobs, built or completed a new school…

The only thing it can boast of is that, thus far, none of its ministers or top officials has stolen from the public purse. And that might be more because the coffers are empty rather than any moral rectitude on their part.

To misuse a scientific term, the inertia in governance is explosive.

Look, those of us who are not sycophants of one brand or other know that Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her gang raped the country every which way and blew close to TT$300 billion in five years with precious little to show for it.

Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC chairman Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC chairman Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

They borrowed money to increase the public debt, and owed every dog and his brother more billions when they were booted out of office.

In fact, their abuse of power and misuse of money were what caused the electorate to kick them hard in their butts one year ago.

We also know that energy revenues fell precipitously since the PNM took office. For example, it dropped from TT$6.15 billion to TT$1.67 billion between October 2015 and January 2016—and possibly worse between February and July—rendering management of the economy a nightmare.

But you know what, Keithos? We are fed up hearing what Kamla and her gangsters did or did not do.

The only time you and your Cabinet colleagues should mention their names henceforth is to announce their arrests, detail the charges against them, and to tell us what cells they occupy in prison.

Failing that, I’ll say like CLR James used to: shut up!

While money is important to do most things a government needs to do, there are many more things that a good leader can say or do to inspire or motivate his or her people. Britain’s economy and its war machinery were inferior to Nazi Germany’s when Winston Churchill rallied his countrymen to make immense sacrifices, millions of lives included, to turn the tide and defeat Hitler.

Photo: Then Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley (second from left) and MP Donna Cox (centre) walk through Troumacaque, Laventille. (Copyright news.gov.tt)
Photo: Then Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley (second from left) and MP Donna Cox (centre) walk through Troumacaque, Laventille.
(Copyright news.gov.tt)

But to achieve such goals, one must lead by example—drive ordinary vehicles, eliminate lavish receptions, eat local and let people see you do that. And, most of all, ensure that you, your family and Cabinet colleagues are above reproach.

I know the ideals I’m setting out are tough on a people who have grown accustomed to living the good life. But if you want to change people’s work ethic, their lifestyles and adjust their expectations during harsh times, you must first change and adjust yours.

The motto at Sandhurst, the military academy where I was trained and from which I graduated exactly 50 years ago, is simply: “Serve to lead”.

What am I asking of the Prime Minister? Example one: runaway crime, especially murders, is of urgent and critical concern. Inspector Michael Seales, president of the representative association, is reported as saying to a call by Minister Edmund Dillon for an intensification of joint army-police patrols, we’ll cooperate—but pay us our money first.

In other words, your money or your life, which is preposterous, coming from a senior police officer.

Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams. (Copyright 103FM)
Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.
(Copyright 103FM)

As leader of the nation, the PM should address police officers directly and rally them to engage in a massive, sustained assault against the 10,000 or so criminals who are terrorising the nation.

With no apologies to General Dillon, this is no time for “architecture”, this is a time for war, a fight to the finish.

Likewise, the PM must “ground” with public servants, daily-paid workers, teachers, energy sector workers, CEPEP, URP, farmers—in other words, everyone from whom you are demanding productivity—and motivate them to rescue the nation from the brink of becoming a failed state.

This is not about micromanagement, this is about leadership of a calibre we’ve never had in our history.

It’s a tall order.

Keithos either has it, or he doesn’t.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. (Copyright News.Gov.TT)
Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright News.Gov.TT)

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read Raffique Shah’s follow-up column as he offers an apology and expresses concern for the health of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley; and opens up on his own life with Parkinson’s Disease.

About Raffique Shah

Raffique Shah
Raffique Shah is a columnist for over three decades, founder of the T&T International Marathon, co-founder of the ULF with Basdeo Panday and George Weekes, a former sugar cane farmers union leader and an ex-Siparia MP. He trained at the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was arrested, court-martialled, sentenced and eventually freed on appeal after leading 300 troops in a mutiny at Teteron Barracks during the Black Power revolution of 1970.

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324 comments

  1. Apparently he has nothing new 2 offers I wonder who really d leader of d PNM

  2. And in some other news people in T&T will bash the government and the HDC when we can’t get a home,when we finally get a home the very same people and their children set out on a mission to make all the decent tenants life a living hell,and that is what going on at the east grove curepe housing development tower-D and others,if you complain to the parents they see nothing wrong with it they will hate you for talking out,but i blame the HDC for not doing their work it is time they take serious action against bad tenants and put them out,don’t let a few rotten apples spoil living for those who want to live a decant life,i am calling on the HDC to take action not only in east grove but all HDc housing development,i hope the admin of this page will help me get this message across thank you very much,please help me by sharing this post thank you God bless.

  3. Yeah Glen I do concur wid ur observations:Hope Sean Rambaran sees it!He’s
    held in the grip of blind fanacatism.He 4got Panday made a jail&was@ a loss
    to explain a (£10m)deposit in aLondon bank a/c in his name.He laid the
    blame on Oma!!Don’t 4get the young lady atop the ladder@Rienzi complex
    searching4work files&d ole Bas comes 2assist with the search.Did his search
    engage police attention? In all fairness he did a reasonably good job with
    a ($10US)a barrel.Keep in mind his supporters never sought to.make T&T
    ungovernable during his tenure as they swear to do in the PNM’S.Trust me
    they have ways of.tinkering with the.pricing structure as they have a
    stronghold in the retail&distributive trade.And this hurts the.black
    consumer the most.Observe price behaviour.after d UNC defeat @ the.polls in
    the market;Ethopia must rise2 her.full potential.Nuff said!!!*+

  4. Take a bow Raffique Shah. It takes a big man to apologize.

  5. If Rowley is medically unfit to govern call election NOW At present His Govt is Incompetent and dysfunctional..

  6. He does not know the first thing about leading so he has to shut up !!! If this was the UNC every PNM MITE would be YAPPING their gums but is PNM so they quiet !! Rowley giving them SHIT and they swallowing it like grace before meals !!!

  7. Raffique keep your opinion to your blasted treason self…they should a lock up your ass in 1970 and throw away the key….yah feel we forget yah…In certain countries you would not of been alive today ..your would have been put before the firing squard….

  8. I’ve noticed. There are two types on intelligence in T&T. The coherent and the completely dumb. Out of all the BS talked about PNM after 10mnts. Panday gave you racist money grubbing UNC some advice. The current UNC leadership has to change. Or else it’s another 15-20 years for the honourable dr. Keith Christopher Rowley. Doh take he advice and keep wishing on a start for Rumla to come back PM. Good luck.

  9. raffique shah. Donot talk you try to overthrow the Trinadad and Tobago government.You should have been ⚰ but only T&T you could talking now.???

  10. u think rowley gives a f@$5 bout trinidad?….he on vacation since sep 7

  11. Call election now PNM is worthless an full off shit.every word comes out is ah lie also racial

  12. If the PM is a replica of Kamla, no big thing.It is the same KHAKI pants just different starch !!!

  13. What about the 2.5 billion dollars from the H&S fund?.is that not teifing?.

  14. This is not about party ppl, its about country. Rowley so far has not shown that strong leadership that Trinidad so desperately needs at this critical time in our history. He needs to be dynamic, enterprising and strong willed to lead this country onto the next level. Otherwise, as the old ppl say, we spinning top on mud.

  15. Raffique who ???? Talking . Boi keep yuh tail quiet . Uhad yuh chance and did crap so zip it

  16. Dave Lux you believe your self since 1982 I am drying underwear in my dryer you see I got a house Couva and friends on BonAire and that is 34 years ago stueeeps

  17. We getting what we vote for….guy’s don’t be angry. …Enjoy. …

  18. Excellent article… let’s hope it does not fall on deaf ears. We need leadership and action NOW

  19. All ah you who vote PNM look in the mirror beat all uh chest you done this country well. Then look again an spit in the mirror your an ass……..!!!!

  20. The man leading. T&T males are virile. Why allyuh getting waxed

  21. The same people who complaining now, it had more voices pull her down, but i am not seeing a better government at lease for the pass yr, when will he bring out his next child to the public for Christmas when they put one the big galor dinner! Do so not like so!

  22. I don’t see why people are getting angry about this article. He is not bashing the PM. He knows money is tight and is just encouraging the PM to step up in other ways and be a better leader. Note I said better because even if you are good you can always be better. It is no longer about PNM and UNC, it’s T&T. We are all in the same boat right now and if it sinks we all will suffer. There are things that need to be done urgently and Mr Shah is just giving his point of view on how the PM can go about improving this country for ALL our sake.

  23. Breaking news
    Pnm supporters hav started eating grass
    Once pnm in power they r happy.
    Great is d pnm

  24. Seriously people it’s past time to stop pointing fingers ALL governments have mismanaged and stole from the people… the blame game is out dated and is banana republic politics…. let’s grow up and build or rebuild our nation together…. who feels it knows it…

  25. They need to up their game, look at the highways, Bush growing on it, pot holes in all roads, all over TT, and nobody complaining.

  26. comments from dunces who accustomed drying panty an jocky shorts in dey bedroom …..no wonder allyuh love rowley

  27. Apparently you PNM supporters don’t know value for money so Rowley is governing the country good? Because how I see it kamla was voted out because you were not getting the performance you wanted right? So is Rowley given you the PNM supporters value and performance and please don’t say kamla have it so and the economy bad I am talking about is Rowley performing what you put him their to do

  28. I can say that for once I agree with Raffique Shah.

  29. My question is are we ready? If tomorrow morning all the things that need to be done are done will be ready? Or are we going and say the government not for the people ? Why do politicians treat us like that is because we not a serious people.
    ARE WE READY for that type of CHANGE?

    • Great question, Marcus!! Like I indicated before, some people don’t like change. Hopefully common sense will prevail…how could anyone not want to see things get better??

    • I agree Glenda a good example of we not ready is property tax and the speed limit law. Instead of say let’s try the speed law, we asking for the speed limit to increase. We talk property taxes and everyone one say the government go thief it. Hear is the million dollar question who is the government not the public servants ? So are we saying that the public servants are corrupt? And they will theft the money? Then the only way you can get paid is for you to collect it. If you fail to collect your quota then you are paid what you collect. Of which 25% going to the central government. If you and a business person is friend and you don’t collect from him. An the money short your salary go be short. If you collecting from the side an region not making its quota audit and suspend your salary by 75% and you get the government pay check. So if a department not collecting because the cashier not there then you not getting paid. As its says PAYE. I am sure we will collect all taxes on time and properly.

    • Glenda Marvray…because the system benefits select few who would do everything to maintain the status quo. Anybody concerned about the shrinking middle class? The working poor? Campaign financing should be a good start if we truly want to effect change, but even then, as fraud is a trini, we know there would be ways and means to not comply with the spirit of any such legislation-like claiming donation etc.

  30. For once I will agree with Mr. Shah.

  31. After the wanton excesses &continuing perception of corruption ,poor governance,by the one&only UNC nuttin yet party(fete).Suddenly many are coming out of the woodwork to demand a ten month miracle ,with falling revenues forex problem etc the.perpetual criminal empire that is T&T2day!Come PNM &wave u magic wand return polarised T&T2 a place of bliss.Is any regime past or present dismantling the twin evil of guns&drugs which has now compromised all our institutions?Come boy Raff smell the coffee! I know you’re a realist,don’t walk the highway of delusion as many are.Lots of dirty money in T&T it speaks so loudly but many can’t hear it.No band wagon 4 me.Smash d drug&gun trade 4a better T&T !Ah lie!! *+

  32. All his ministers need to step up

  33. ..illegal guns galore..drug trade…murders related to drug trade..turf war…
    But then ordinary citizens are getting robbed everyday in this country..with a gun to their heads…
    Speaking with a Rapid Response Police officer last week…criminals walking with high powered rifles, machine guns..
    Even the average citizen is losing respect for the police..
    While investigating a car accident last week in Aranguez, the officer related to me that a male by-stander approached a drain, dropped his pants and released his bloated bladder in FRONT of male and FEMALE police officers…
    Once law and order collapses, a nation collapses….a nation under siege…
    I am PETRIFIED…
    I can only ask God to protect me and my family…

  34. When kpb travel at least she brought back investors
    What dunce rowlie bring back more of his of spring

  35. When Shah pound Kamla, everyone loves his writing, one criticism about Dr Rowley and look at the ridiculous comments!

  36. Is this the same Raffique Shah who attempted a military coup and and was jailed?
    He is the one who should shut up!

  37. He spared nothing in this article .

  38. Mr Shah didn’t hold back . I read the entire thing .

  39. I read the entire article . Damnnnnn !

  40. I see nothing wrong with the statement… In my humble view someone’s seems to be pulling the strings and the PM has not been assertive when required… More reaction oriented rather than proactive… Value for money… Why not… Up your game…

    • Certainly its true in this crucial days we need a PM who will think of the entire nation…. Not women… Not his race of ppl ….. Not ppl of his religion…. But all of us…. Children of trinidad and tobago…. We should come first before building painting vacation he criticize Kamla but doin the same thing….. Whats up with, that? He should be doing better than kamla not tryin to give her competition in the travel department.

    • Angel Singh Did you tell Kamla that.

  41. Hmm, these words from Raffique Shah, PNM journalist? Well look at that.

  42. It’s like licensing office. The reason it is inefficient is because it benefits a select few.

    • I spent 8 years as a contract worker in 2 different public service entities. It is inefficient because we are a country with zero leaders. We seem to be children of slaves and indentured servants not children of massa. Take our police officers who beg us to follow the law instead of them enforcing the law. We blame workers instead of management, children instead of parents..

    • So basically things will only change considerably when those old minds die out..I know that’s cold but many don’t like or agree to change.

      • There are ample 20 and 30 something year olds with the same useless mentality. And they are “highly qualified”. This coming from someone that abandoned public service in 2 entities after 8 years.

    • No. There are people already waiting to take their places.
      The system won’t die. It has to be killed. There is a difference.

  43. The status quo benefits a whole set of very powerful people who are wizards behind the curtain.

  44. I think politicisns can never be adequately encouraged to implement real improvement when society is too country bookie to know what real improvement consists of.

  45. Glenda. That will only work if the powers that be are ignorant and not malevolent.

  46. Rishi Maharaj has done some excellent work on public sector reform. In the long term, we need that and an overhaul of the judiciary to be a proper functioning nation.
    In the meantime, we just need to stop the damn rot, which is corruption and lack of transparency.

    • The first step in changing the judiciary is to put its budget in the Consolidated Fund. I’ve said before: “How a judiciary can be truly independent if the finances are squeezed at the neck by the administration, controlled of course by the legislative Parliament, via the Cabinet?

      One only has to remember Patrick Manning and his mere pittance of $42.5 M allocated to the judiciary in 2009, a direct attempt to ‘muzzle’ the judiciary. Never mind that the request to pay salaries and other expenses was for $349 M.

      Essentially, every year the judiciary is strangled for the want of funds, making it dependant on the administrative arm of the State. This is completely against one of the fundamental principles espoused in the rule of law (a term conveniently bandied about by Moonilal, Rambachan et al when it suits them) as postulated by Dicey, Unger, Raz and lately Tom Bingham in his excellent book, “The Rule of Law”.

      If a judiciary is dependent on the administration financially, then it can never be truly independent, hence in the UK, where the judiciary is the most mature (oldest) in the free world, the finances are paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

      “Certain expenditure is by law charged directly to the Consolidated Fund and is not subject to Parliament’s annual budget process, ensuring a degree of independence of the government. Services funded in this way are known as Consolidated Fund Services and include judges’ salaries,… In the case of the judges, this is to ensure the judicial independence introduced by the Act of Settlement 1701.”

      “I point out that this procedure is followed by countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius etc… and therefore no reason can be put forward why it should not be implemented in Trinidad and Tobago. Lack of political will is no excuse.

      “Perhaps it is time that the relevant change is made and the judiciary stops begging every year for the scraps fed to it by the central government. The judiciary is not a stray dog.”

  47. I guess I’ll be making a very controversial observation by asking that of all these brilliant minds on this thread – and I really mean brilliant, is any of you willing to volunteer your recommendations and suggestions to the ‘powers that be’? I feel sometimes like just taking a huge shovel and cleaning up everything and starting back from scratch. There are a lot of issues to be tackled and I know the government can’t tackle just one at a time, but if they could establish a document to list all the main issues and establish a task force to handle each one, I think we’ll see some real success, not fast, but real! We know it’s going to be difficult to change the ‘Trini culture’ but surely there must be a ‘workaround’. Just look at all these great ideas on this thread! What will it take to put some of them in action through the right channels?

  48. Timmy you giving us your whole manifesto breds. Keith, look the third party. Lol

  49. How could u lie so real PNM style. You know a lot of things were done in the last five years unlike PNM promises of many years that never materialised year after year same promises you forgot that? Change came the last five years and now it is time for Rowley to continue one year is coming soon

  50. Make us a more attractive tourist destination by decriminalization of Marijuana use.

  51. Take carerra and do a deal with a major casino chain and do a major gambling haven. Relax laws on drug use and prostitution on the island and tax the hell out of it

  52. Have the ministry of trade be used to facilitate trade agreements with chambers of commerce in other jurisdictions to aid locals

  53. Build a business website portal like ebay where allllll citizens will be encouraged to sell their goods and services.

  54. Some simple things to do to increase revenue and Crack down on big crime. Let nlcb control allllll casinos

  55. Campaign finance reform is the most pressing issu. Who pays the piper calls the tune.

  56. Vernal Damion Cadogan, I’d start with campaign finance transparency, an independent watchdog body to investigate ministers and MPs, give DPP its own investigative team, release info on clico, not hire ministers or advisors with dodgy track records, review the speed limit and not just the fines, instigate economic growth in your budget, be transparent in your financial dealings… That’s off the top of my head. I would probably come up with more if I thought of it.
    But why not start there?

  57. i wanted to call Raff after reading this to say right pn point!!!

  58. Patrick manning and kamla rode another energy boom and in 2016 we still TALKING about diversification.

  59. In response to the recent spate of murders the authorities said it was unacceptable and launched joint police army patrols.

  60. Before 2010 election gg said he had a 100 day crime plan.

  61. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

  62. I agree only that crime is a pressing issue. In my view the rest is premature, and in not sure about the statement that no drains are being fixed etc. Just as the call is for leadership we’ve never had before, Raff must bear in mind that the inherited conditions have never been the same before either. It’s difficult to ask a frustrated population to be patient, but perhaps that what we need to be- except for crime. Id like to see action on crime yesterday.

  63. I wasn’t going to comment eh, but how about someone list the most urgent improvements that needed to be made the Rowley administration when it took office, then list how many have been made in their 11 month yenure thus far.

  64. Even if Keith Rowley said: Vote for me, I will just slightly better than horrible. I don’t see that as justification to say: Well he never promised to be good.
    Criticism comes with the post of prime minister and people have a right to expect a certain quality. If anyone not able with that, they shouldn’t run for office.

    • But the thing is as well, its not like they just dropped out of a spaceship and has no idea what the country needs.

    • I’m not sure what passage you’re quoting. And I actually don’t agree with everything Raf said. I don’t believe the police will do a better job at curbing crime with a pep talk for instance.
      But I do agree with his general theme.

    • Oh yea, this same article… in addition to pep talk to officers there’s an entire paragraph making reference to Churchill and Hitler, plus ‘he must ‘ground’ with public servants etc’..that’s a critique about ‘style’.. leadership style…and he confirmed it in his last line. “Keithos either has it, or he doesn’t.”. I’m saying the electorate did not vote for him because of the ‘it’ factor. They have their expectations of him and they are going to judge him whenever he decided to call the general election. I don’t think the electorate realistically expected much more in 11 months given the circumstances.

  65. OK. I’ve read this for a fourth time. (Yes, It’s a slow day in the office.) It also seems to be a slow news period and Raffique needs to write something, but he should reminded of a couple things.
    Keith Rowley did not campaign as an inspirational or motivational leader of the PNM. He never portrayed himself that way. It’s not his style. His leadership of the PNM has been in the style of a pragmatist; Trinidad and Tobago saw this since 2010 and decided to elect him to office. That’s who TnT elected, they knew who they were getting.
    I ain’t expert on Trinis, but I don’t think he knows them any better than I do. He is selling trinis a little short on their understanding of the tough economic times ahead and the path they recently came from. People want things better, but they DO understand the current economic realities. Though he dismisses the fact that no snr official has ‘stolen from the public purse’, that does not play lightly with the average citizen. They respect that and though he was highly disrespectful and insulting in suggesting they probably havent stolen because there’s nothing to steal, maybe he should also infer that this was as a result of the careful consideration taken in selecting individuals to serve in government. Mr. Shah may not see it that way, but that’s LEADERSHIP. And if ‘slip’ like Marlene did, you’re out. Again, LEADERSHIP.
    So let him hold his pontification on ‘leadership styles’ and let the public decide. If there’s corruption, report it, but let the electorate give THEIR judgement on what type of leader they want.
    Fyi, you should know that cabinet ministers do not announce or get involved in arrests. That’s for the DPP and the TTPS. (There’s a good story for next week.)

  66. I can concur with Raf on the disappointment of what has been done so far to control the incidence of crime. I think that this Government as well as past and future Governments are all doomed to failure, unless and until we make the Police, the Judiciary and the DPP accountable to us the people. The separation of powers, although commendable, is not working for us and is allowing these agencies to become lethargic and highly inefficient, and dare I also say apparently very corrupt. In order for any Government to control crime, fundamental changes have to be made in the operations of the Police, the Judiciary and DPP.

  67. Maurice, the problem with Singapore’s “War on Drugs” is that it allows the police to decide who lives and dies. Can you think of many policemen who you would be happy to give that power to? Not for me.

  68. Thanks for mentioning Singapore we could learn so much from that model, but our leaders are afraid to look that way.

    • Singapore cannot work here. It works well in an Asian culture. Why that is so difficult to comprehend. Not saying that we cannot be more disciplined but telling me I cannot chew gum is not how I want to live my live.

  69. Why do we expect change when we ourselves do not want to change and more importantly want to maintain the status quo. I am firmly of the view that we like it so. Now does that not sound familiar?

  70. Who is more blight than khamliar you people have no respect was khamliar any kind of leader Keith Rowley ‘s head is always on his shoulders not on a bottle

  71. After a while, you are able to spot the duck at the first quack. You don’t need to see it make three laps in the pond to be sure. Lol

  72. Shah this is not 1970……

  73. well damn…thought I was cynical lol

  74. ..Allyuh too busy listening to allyuh self to understand what somebody else saying. Say what? Trini life. I gone..

  75. Yes. But I’ve been down this road before. As they say you can’t turn a “hoe” into a housewife.

  76. Well as dey say…its the first year….HOPEFULLY and literally…there IS time for them to “buck up”..so we’ll see

  77. went and blight Jamaica 7 dead , the last major storm 20yrs ago GILBERT and 2 person died

  78. I won’t describe it as buyer’s remorse either. Because I was voting out a bunch of scamps that could not be left in charge for a minute longer.
    At the same time, I would like a particular behavior and vision from a political leader and his or her gang. And I’m not satisfied on that score.

  79. Honestly couldn’t be bothered with de lot of dem to be honest Lasana Liburd…very cynical I am…voted for the very first time in my life in Sept 2015…for the PNM….and YES almost one year later….I quite literally would do it again!…lol…no buyer’s remorse here…and very little expectations overall

  80. Nath Johnson you saw something that I didn’t in the COP. Clearly.
    The COP launched at the controversial Centre of Excellence after Jack Warner convinced Dookeran to go it alone.
    So, for me, it was very easy to spot the quicksand that the COP was built on.
    It was never an alternate party. Some people just were not looking closely enough.
    No Animal Farm business there at all. More like the Big Bad Wolf wearing granny’s nightie.

  81. Nah never me!! lol…saw right through em…and as you say maybe not YOU…but this discussion isn’t on an individual level is it?…I’m talking about the general idea of those opposed to the present two party donkeys as you referred to it waiting or expecting a different “party mechanism” (or otherwise) to solve the problem of the two dominant ones…you self mentioned something coming from “the left”…no?…I’m just more cynical than you lot I guess, our malaise is reflection of us…nothing more or less

  82. Yeah right….come on MAGICIAN Keith..bring it on, wave your magic wand!

  83. ..Who talked about any “Super Party”? AND who says the COP convinced those who would like a!third force that they were it? You maybe. Not me. Yet another version of the other two. All I am saying is the two donkey race we have always had is a waste of time. Now whether a third force could really arise, who knows..

  84. We as a people need to think for our selves logic smh

  85. Nolder PierreI couldn’t agree with you more. When Kamla was travelling all over the place via helicopter where were the voices. Everybody has suddenly been cured of laryngitis. Smh.

  86. You’re majoring in the minor…sir, my overall point remains the same…there is no “super party” waiting in the wings to “save” us….like I said watch how the “moral” conscience of the PP (the COP) fared in governance and that’s ALL you need to know…they reminded me quite firmly of Animal Farm

  87. Hey, don’t we have these discussions every year? I’m sure we covered the SIngapore and Mauritian model here already> RS needs to read Wired. We sorted it long time! :-p

  88. Never said that..did I?…agitate and advocate for better, have think thanks, pressure groups, enlighten entrenched supporters to hold their leaders to a higher standard and account for their stewardship better etc…but waiting /expecting this magical “third force political party” to just appear and lead us to de promised land is fool’s gold

  89. Then let’s just eat the shit and hush..

  90. This “viable third force” of which you all always speak of and cling too…that was the COP…no?…how did THAT turn out?!..lol…the reality is the any “third force” would be citizens of the same country which produced the PNM and the UNC…reality check this “third force”…eh…go…be…better…bank on it!, They would sound beytter, market themselves better, etc but ultimatley they are BOUND to disappoint…there is no magical bullet people, this is Trinidad & Tobago..and this is who we are

  91. Leadership? What leadership? Rowley is severely incompetent and is incapable of anything closely resembling leadership.

  92. Lead lol colm imbert have been the Priminister more than him

  93. ..I have long declared myself a citizen of the Free State Of Jones. At least in my mind..

  94. ..NOBODY here is trying to convince you UNC better than PNM Lasana. We agree. We need that Holy Grail – a viable third force that has a clear alternative philosophy about our history, our sad current predicament, and the way forward. And this could only come from the Left. (Does that exist in Trini any more?)..

  95. Well I think a lot of people like myself, who support neither the PNM nor the UNC, have given the new government a fair chance – almost one year in office to see what moves they would have made and what would have been their priorities. As a small business person, corruption and theft is just as harmful to me as poor performance and incompetence. That’s why for me it’s not about whether Kamla and Moonilal are worse and whether they could have done better. For me it’s what can we do other than choose between the UNC and the PNM…I am willing to be part of that solution.

  96. I think when you have to line up at a bank to buy a limit of $100 Canadian dollars a day, we’re pretty close to lost. Also, Shah talks about two things: action and leadership. Yes, it’s difficult to effect action in a year, but surely after a year your leader should be able to give a clear picture of where you’re heading and how you will be getting there? Shouldn’t govt be reporting back at least on a yearly basis where they are in achieving their manifesto promises?

    • I think that we should have a PM report to the Nation every 6 months so that the country knows where we are going – the good and the bad. All governments, present and future. And it is not called ‘the Budget’.

    • Judy-ann Stewart Wouldn’t that be something? We’d finally see some transparency. Why don’t you suggest it to Maxie?

    • Bonnie Khan, if I start writing with suggestions to the government, It might be opening a floodgate! I will be like those people who write letters that no one reads. I have been thinking about it though.

    • Maxie Cuffie… Won’t it be great to have the PM report to the nation every six months on where we are heading and how those campaign promises are going.
      So there’s a suggestion for the Gov’t. 😉

    • Bird on the ball as always!

    • Only the large companies will survive. We have a small start-up, company doing well, serious potential, but cannot get any foreign exchange to being in our stocks. Not asking much, just 10k USD. Worse, the banks cannot give you any idea of when they will be able to fill. Lots of small businesses will have to close doors while the big boys get bigger…. We lost or very close to lost….

    • Good point on those promises. And early signs of leadership.

    • So Lasana – the Parliament sessions and Cabinet briefings don’t provide that information? Just asking.

    • And really, I fully agree that we have issues to address but to suggest that we are lost is a bit much. Our economic situation is far from dire as well and we are nowhere close to being a failed state. Let’s not fall into hyperbole.

    • Kendall, I pointed to certain incidents already during their term in which the behavior fell short of what I would want from any government.
      I’m not sure what that has to do with parliament channel or being a failed state.
      Even though, you will struggle to convince that we are a functional state. No matter what Webster says.

    • I was referring to the need to report on what the government was doing. I was asking if these avenues do not provide the information you were asking for on a recurrent basis.

      And as for our not being a functional state, if you truly think so, I would suggest that you look up the meaning of what a non-functional state truly is and then tell me if we are such.

    • We have problems we need to address but we are far from a non-functional state.

    • I know you would give me Webster Kendall. So predictable.
      Showing me list of most failed states is like an abusive husband explaining how much more abuse his wife could actually be getting.
      I’m not going to read that because i don’t care. I’ve travelled off this rock quite a bit.
      I know what we are being denied and I know our self inflicted wounds as a people.
      No amount of nonsense in Zimbabwe or wherever will ever make me feel better about that.

    • You think this is a functional country Kendall Tull?

    • As I said very clearly more than once, we have issues Lasana Liburd but we are NOT a failed state by any stretch of the imagination. As you yourself pointed out in a different thread, degrees matter. Or I guess they do only in certain matters?

    • Lemme try again. Kendall Tull show me where I said we are a failed state.

    • And it is a matter of fact, not opinion, as to what constitutes a failed state.

    • What I said is we are not a functional one. If you ignored Webster you would understand what I mean by that.

    • A non functional state is not a failed state?

    • Well then tell me your definition. What’s the distinction?

    • If it doesn’t make sense to you then forget it Kendall Tull. But they are not interchangeable terms to me.

    • Or let me put it like this. Are we a functioning state Kendall Tull?

    • Yes we are Lasana. Why do you think we are not?

    • I would ask you to give me one example of something that is functioning. But we clearly won’t agree on whatever that might be anyway.
      Kendall Tull this country has no law and order whatsoever. The only thing that keeps us going is the fact that enough people haven’t accepted that, didn’t notice or are too disciplined to act on that information.
      We can agree to disagree. In no way shape or form is this a functional country in my opinion.
      We haven’t even thrown off our colonial mindset yet. Look let me try not to go full VS yes. Lol

    • Kendall Tull No they don’t. A major problem with this and other PNM governments is the inability to communicate. Cabinet briefings are more as a reaction to something rather than providing good information.

    • If you think that saying that we have no law and order Lasana and can’t see that statement as being hyperbole, I can’t help you. If you insist that we are a non-functional state, you really need to check your frame of reference. Our problems aren’t unique so if we aren’t functional, who is?

    • Nowhere is perfect. I lived in UK for about three years. There is law there. You can break it. But you know you are taking a chance and there is a real chance of being caught.
      My frame of reference is from traveling and experiencing other cultures Kendall.
      You have a very charming view of Trinidad and I won’t deprive you of it.
      Maybe being in the media helps me to see behind the curtain more regularly than most.
      Me saying there is no law and order is no hyperbole at all. But we are not going to see eye to eye here.
      I wish I saw your Trinidad and Tobago.

      • Earl Best

        Lasana,
        You don’t have a chance of winning this one. Give up. Saying there is “NO LAW AND ORDER” in T&T is, emphatically an overstatement.

        Now I understand why someone might say that. However, I can’t understand why an intelligent man like you would, having said it and had your error pointed out to you, defend it. It’s indefensible.

        There’s all the difference in the world between a society where SOME people RITUALLY break laws and an anarchistic society (I am deliberately avoiding the failed/non-functional state debate). We are far from anarchy. And you really don’t want to insist that that is NOT the case, which is what saying there is NO LAW AND ORDER is.

        When three or four aeroplanes crash in a short span of time, people say that flying is unsafe. But there are literally thousands of flight that took off and landed safely in that same span of time. But who’s looking in that direction?

        • Lasana Liburd

          Earl, what do you call a country where you can do almost any crime imaginable and have a 90 percent chance of getting away with it? And one where the people who write the law and the people who enforce it are probably right next to you doing even worse?
          A place where law and order reins.
          I’m sorry. But I am just telling you what I see.

    • I resent your implication that I live in a bubble uninformed by experiences outside of our country and devoid any interaction beyond what is said in the media. But whatever.

    • Lol. Ok kendall. I’m sorry. But I don’t know what to say.
      I can tell you about police selling weed and criminals giving out hampers. About politicians and money launderers and bankers and…
      I mean people don’t hide to do stuff in Trinidad.
      In functioning countries, criminals hide. Not here.
      I’m really taken aback that you haven’t seen what I have. But I don’t know how to describe it to you over Facebook.
      You make feel like I am from the seedy part of the country. Lol.

    • It’s not that I don’t know what you are saying. I said we have issues. These things also happen in other jurisdictions, including the much lauded US in which the solution rates aren’t that different than ours. I posted that in another thread and you expressed shock at the numbers.

      My point was simply that to say we are a non-functional state because of the problems we have is hyperbole because by that definition, every state is non-functional.

      And no – I am not excusing our government nor am I saying that we don’t have problems. What I am saying is that we should not denigrate ourselves and suggest that we are a non-functional/failed/insert your terminology state. It isn’t correct to say so.

    • Anyway – carry on smartly. I am out of here.

    • And maybe every state is failed Kendall. I’d say Britain is better than us because I lived there. Doesn’t mean it is near perfect.
      And I don’t see a problem with all states being different distances from acceptable.
      Americans walk around with assault weapons during peacetime. Their choice of leader is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
      But that takes me back to a point I made a few times Kendall. I really don’t care about those other countries. I care about fixing mine.
      And for me, the fact that it needs major work–an overhaul even–proves it is non-functional.

    • If you thought I was comparing Trinidad and Tobago with elsewhere from the start, I wasn’t. I don’t care about anywhere else. Not more than I care about here anyway.
      I live here by choice. And I want here to be better and function the way it says on the box.

    • Ok. No law and order whatsoever is overstating it. Some order, a little bit of law and, in my opinion, not properly functional. 🙂

    • Let’s all pat ourselves on the back now. T&T is not a non-functional state it’s just very dysfunctional

  97. Pardners, I tell you I seeing things happening and it look to me like I’m somewhere I don’t want to be. So I am alerting the driver.
    Clearly Raffique thinks like me. We not waiting until we see the cliff approaching.
    That’s our right too, not so?
    Look how early I told David John-Williams in football, for instance. Why wait when you know exactly where certain streets lead?
    I know Arrogance Avenue and Lack of Transparency Highway quite well, Sir. So I am asking the driver to make a U-turn.

  98. ‘Lost’? Really? We’re there already??

  99. How long do you wander about before you realise you’re lost Richard Zen O’Brien? Lol. When I see some tell tale signs, I’m telling the driver: “This ent look like where I want to be heading pardners.”
    You never read the Death by SatNav stories?

  100. It’s a bit premature for this. Judging where we were heading, the fact we haven’t gotten ‘there’ is a hell of an achievement. (I know, it’s hard to prove a negative didn’t happen based on your actions.)
    Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be done, but it’s unrealistic to have grand expectations in 12 mths. There are institutional challenges to contend with the Presidency, Police Service, Judiciary, to name a few, where individuals have been strategically placed as allies of the Opposition.
    It’s only been a year. Shah could hold back a bit.

    • Earl Best

      Even if one agrees that FINAL judgement is premature, what’s wrong with a coursework grade? All Raffique is saying is that if we are in fact moving ahead, there’s precious little evidence of it.

      I, for one, agree wholeheartedly; from where I stand, we’re merely marking time…and threatening to start moving backwards any minute.

  101. ..The problem is that both parties may differ in style and even some actions, but both parties are DECIDELY THE SAME. What is the philosophical difference between them? The last time either party had a clear ideological – yes, ideological – position was the nationalist, anti-colonial PNM and the pro-labour, leftist ULF. Now both of them just fight each other for the right to manage the shit..

  102. I am not forgiving as I should you Shah yes in 1970 you were to defend my country and you use racial behaviour to influence the stupid african to kill one of their own and in 1990 your brother step up your game give my P M a dam chance

  103. Problem to me is great expectations of having everything benefit wise met without the expectation that the government has to do hard things. They cannot please all the people all the time.

    • Which people are they pleasing?

    • Trying to please. All those people who want their backpay NOW. Cane farmers who want their money NOW. We seem to have forgotten that the Treasury is supposed to be low but then we take money out of the HSF so pay us all.

    • There are always people that the Gov’t is pleasing. One good indicator sometimes is the budget.

    • Not everyone has a hand out for money and is criticising the govt based on that alone Judy.

    • There is no reasonable person who is going to say $x million for BL stadium but no medicine in hospital. Kamla tief, poor administration etc are excuses-u were put there to solve the problems-we already know what they are! What are you doing about it! Ihu wrt legislation but again, if legislation needed to tighten up, the pnm had more than ample time to address those issues over the years in office. The obvious question is why are we arguing to implement new legislation when we can’t enforce what we already have on the books. Moreover, why were our antiquated laws and their loopholes plugged and updated.

  104. As the truth begins to hit Trinis – both the PNM and the UNC are ill equipped to lead a country. They BOTH have some serious flaws. So do we still think the answers to our problems lie simply in voting out governments?

    • And there are many, many people who do so. And it dilutes the powers of the rest of us.

    • And that is why they know they can say and do nonsense for 5 years and get away with it…because people are quite happy to defend incompetence, poor performance and corruption once their party is in power. When will Trinis wake up?!?

    • If we don’t know or understand what we want, politicians will do as they please.

    • Well when we defend politicians based on party loyalties and ignore their performance or behavior, we are saying to them, I am willing to put you before my well being and the well being of the country.

    • Narrisa Mandol, well said. Partisan politics is largely the reason that these regimes can do what they do and walk away without any liability. Until people vote on the issues and hold the government accountable for their actions (toothless commissions of inquiry, with no enforcement of law for guilty parties are a waste of taxpayers monies), incompetence will be the order of the day.

  105. When I saw Rowley’s immediate responses to Marlene and Camille, I knew that we hadn’t broken tradition at all.
    Nobody can accuse him of ushering in any new element for sure. By now, we wear corruption and incompetence as comfortably as a bedroom slipper.

  106. Lasana Liburd there is a part in the article, that speaks about ” lead by eg.- drive ordinary vehicles, eliminate lavish receptions, eat local,……cabinet coll. Above reproach” i so endorse !!!!!!

  107. Wait a second, they have done something tangible, they’re pursuing the appeal process started by the last Minister of Finance, who has been roundly (and justifiably) criticized, against the Court judgement that ordered the state to reveal the names of financial recipients and monetary figures associated with the CLICO bailout. Okay, okay, so it’s not the best definition of ‘tangible’, in the public service sense of the word, but hey, at least it means they’re upholding the true spirit of business-as-usual, i.e.supporting the usual vested interests against the public right to know how its taxes are being spent….

  108. In this country Keith, everybody has a right to an excuse except the young athletes.
    If Michelle Lee Ahye don’t win gold, nobody cares about what funding she didn’t get and opportunities that were not provided to her.
    But touch the big hardback man and woman who in a job for how long without effecting change… And watch the excuses pour out.

  109. We are a style over substance ppl. Those at the top aren’t going to forego the trimmings to make a point.
    Having said that though… Our system also doesn’t allow for the kind of leadership that the author is talking about. It’s difficult to lead a country where half the ppl meet you with ear plugs.
    It’s even harder to do when you can’t offer what they want.
    Overhauling legislation to make meaningful systemic changes would be great. But when the opposition is going to oppose for the sake of opposing, how much progress can you make?

    • I agree that one man cannot overhaul a system. In particular, the bit about the police service being transformed with a pep talk is pie in the sky.
      All the same, I think the PM can definitely do more to make his side beyond reproach and to lead from the front. To show some of the wit and resilience that we will all need to flourish.

    • The legislative agenda is looking like there are definitely plans to put structures in place. It cannot happen overnight, but certain things seem to be flowing. It also seems as if they are trying to group actions and workplans, so that things may happen quickly once they start on that bundle.

  110. ..Yet again, Raf speaks for me. Before a country reaches failed state status – before it sinks – it drifts. And Trini is drifting aimlessly – decades now. But UNC had to go and some of us went in with our eyes wide open. Dat doh change the price of bean doh. PNM got to stop managing the drift and needs to start LEADING the country forward. But are they able, is the question..

  111. I guess increasing the debt level so dramatically fails to impress most?

  112. I don’t think we’ll ever all be in a situation where we’ll like to be..we’re in a democracy, and that’s how it works. The people are usually able to get a ‘feel’, ‘flow’ or ‘feed off’ the tone of governments and I don’t the population is with Shah and you yet. Theres a learning curve to be applied to a new govt, they must be given time to establish their terms of governance. Yes, we haven’t seen criminal charges yet, but it’s clear there are a lot of investigations going on holding officials accountable for past practices. That’s part of governance too!
    I’m not suggesting you should ignore what you see as concerns- not that you would listen to me anyway 🙂 – but we should be careful before we prematurely point to a ‘falling sky’.

  113. Rafique this is our best PM and we give him our full support

  114. Three important reminders…1-..keep your promise…2-..speak out for what you think is important…3-..do what you say you are going to do…walk the talk!!!

  115. What I like about this article he not only nails the problems but he offers some very simple and workable solutions. Agree with Raffique that it seems we are limping along and he should take a cue or two from Singapore’s success with no natural resources. So far there’s nothing in my view to celebrate on September 7th. You can come better Keithos.

    • At the same time, the police service and the like ent going to be changed with no pep talk. Rowley can do better. But he cannot change the country by himself.

    • Agreed Lasana but while I think he is genuine I also think he has put some square pegs in some round holes and he needs to change them like yesterday. The crime is now at a horrific level and the health system is the worst it has been in years. These two matters are critical and I do hope he visits the Dalai Lama while on vacation.

  116. I’m all for calling out the PNM and letting them know we are unhappy and they need to change direction. Certainly.
    Of course we need to demand more from politicians. But I will never be convinced that Kamla and Moonilal and Fuad and the gang can do better.
    So unless there is a new opposition, it will be about the people taking it upon themselves to be an opposition movement and try to force change however possible.

  117. ..Easy. Easy. We disagree. We are not “delusional”. Easy. LOL..

  118. I will say the PNM has not delivered anything near to expectations. I will say that our political system is not designed to cater to the people.
    I will say that we continue to be let down by successive governments.
    But I cannot say that the PNM and the PP are interchangeable. I think that it is crazy and even dangerous to say so.

  119. the two govts are definitely not the same…anyone who believes they are, is quite delusional and should seek therapy…and it is not a happy thought that neither party has done the job the country needs, but shouldn’t we give Rowley’s PNM a fair chance before we vilify them? KPB’s so-called coalition had their full five years (and she was still asking for more time after that) … it’s good that we can challenge the existing govt to do more and to do better but to rail against them after such a short space of time, seems rather premature…

  120. Of course we deserve better Narrisa. And we have to work to get better. But it doesn’t make the statement untrue. That there is worse.
    Things can always get worse and it is sensible to recognise that too.

  121. Lasana, I have to respectfully disagree. This talk about who less corrupt or who is the lesser of two evils has gotten Trinidad and Tobago absolutely nowhere in the last 20 years. Look where we are – Marlene and Camille less worse than Anil and Anand. We deserve much more than that my friend.

  122. If the difference in two abusive partners is the difference in the level of abuse, I would say there still is a very real difference.
    I’m happy to say that neither party has done the job the country needs. But I will not say the two are the same because that suggests they are interchangeable.
    And I would take Marlene, Camille and Colm over Anil, Anan and Jack any day.
    I am not fond of either trio. But I think the latter bunch is more dangerous.

  123. ..Precisely. True democracy is hard work. And the average person just wants to get on with life. They ain’t able with that..

  124. Keith this is such an accurate description of our politics…but not many people are willing to hear it. They convince themselves that there are REAL differences between the PNM and the UNC…but these two parties are more alike than we want to admit. Maybe because it would mean we have to do something more than just vote a government out every 5 years? Yuh know once we vote out a government we think, yes, we have done our part to help build a better Trinidad and Tobago.

  125. Earl Best

    “The only thing it can boast of is that, thus far, none of its ministers or top officials has stolen from the public purse. And that might be more because the coffers are empty rather than any moral rectitude on their part.”

    Raf, I’m not sure it’s an achievement but I think it’s something the PM is likely to boast about so you need to add to your list that the current government has been able to borrow $10.7 billion in the short time it has been in power. The figure comes from former Works Minister Suruj Rambachan in yesterday’s Express so don’t expect it to be accurate; it’s very difficult for PP people not to play politics with everything.

  126. Earl Best

    And at the moment, not too many people are going to go with the affirmative answer.

    And on the evidence, who can blame them?