Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Secrets, Smith, and State resources; why D/Martin Central MP’s belated defence is shameless

Dear Editor: Secrets, Smith, and State resources; why D/Martin Central MP’s belated defence is shameless

“Yet now, after he is fired and humiliated, he can’t wait to talk to a non-legal, non-binding committee, who he is confident will vindicate him?

“Let us be clear: no committee can vindicate Smith at this stage. That opportunity has already been forfeited and he should be ashamed for trying to pull this particular brand of wool over our eyes.”

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to Wired868 by attorney-at-law and former minister of justice Christlyn Moore:

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left), Finance Minister Colm Imbert (centre) and former Trinidad and Tobago international hockey goalkeeper Joey Lewis at a sod-turning event.
(Courtesy DMRCTT)

Member of Parliament and former minister of sport Darryl Smith could not be serious. When accused of workplace harassment, he declined an opportunity to be heard before a court, whose business it is to distinguish truth from lies.

He chose to keep his particular truth to himself and to further obscure it behind a non-disclosure agreement. He chose to have his ministry be a party to a settlement figure of at least TT$150,000 in furtherance of the attempted concealment of his truth—and that of his accuser for that matter.

He went as far as to declare that he was not a party to the action—a lame attempt at playing smart with stupidness. Yet now, after he is fired and humiliated, he can’t wait to talk to a non-legal, non-binding committee, who he is confident will vindicate him?

Let us be clear: no committee can vindicate Smith at this stage. That opportunity has already been forfeited and he should be ashamed for trying to pull this particular brand of wool over our eyes. But then again, right-thinking people are entitled to ask whether Smith has any shame at all.

Non-disclosure agreements are an effective silencer of both truth and lies. These agreements aim to protect both sides from the consequences of their respective actions and offer a firm lid on litigation, regardless of outcomes. But they have no place in litigation against or involving public officers acting in that capacity, persons holding high office when acting in that office, and the running of state enterprises operated on the public dime.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) and his then Permanent Secretary and travel agent Natasha Barrow.  (Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

There should be no opportunity for an arrangement which obscures the public’s opportunity not only to scrutinise the actions of the public official but also to have oversight of the management of public funds.

But the matter becomes stranger and stranger. What is the information that the Prime Minister hopes to ferret out by committee that is not disclosed on the papers filed in court?

If Smith declined to file court papers, then that’s up to him;  I’m sure he acted with the benefit of excellent legal advice when he took that decision. But what is the Prime Minister going to do with this untested, self-serving information?

Is he going to convene a new court? And if there is no cooperation by the accuser, who has already been vindicated in court and by way of compensatory settlement, what then?

Is the country now going to be set against her so as to once again distract from the real issue, which is that a minister of government was accused, in court, of  making inappropriate sexual comments to an employee, who was later fired, and that that minister elected not to defend himself when a case was brought?

And then there is the PNM Women’s League, an elaborate ‘Amen Corner,’ whose ethical compass is so compromised that one wonders if it ever existed.

Photo: Minister of Planning and Development and PNM Women’s League chair Camille Robinson-Regis (centre) poses with some high school students during a recycle drive in Port-of-Spain. (Copyright Ministry of Planning)

A week ago, its leader proclaimed the Smith affair “a non-story,” dismissing the public outcry and, by extension, the agreed conclusions arrived at in the matter. That was when Smith seemed still to enjoy the grace and favour of his boss—and theirs,—the Prime Minister.

Fast forward one week when Smith is fired, less than 24 hours after receiving his instrument of appointment. The group now sings a different song. Suddenly, the Prime Minister has handled the matter with sensitivity!

Well, why did we need sensitivity for “a non-story”?

And because irony is not dead, on the very day that Smith is fired, the Office of the Prime Minister issues a media release on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace which opens with the lines: “The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago takes all allegations of sexual harassment seriously.”

I couldn’t make this stuff up.

It is clear to me that the weight of public opinion broke the back of this cancerous situation, not to mention the belated realisation that Smith’s promotion to Housing was once again taking him in contact with his accuser, whose accusations had gone unchallenged.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gestures on the election campaign trail.
(Courtesy Caribbean News Service)

It is also clear that this non-legal, non-binding committee has no power to undo the mess that has already been made. Regardless of their findings, they will never be able to wash the stain off Smith, who is now in the invidious position of being a Member of Parliament rightly to be distrusted by all women coming into his orbit.

 

Why then is Smith still with us?

Editor’s note: As the duly elected representative for Diego Martin Central, Darryl Smith continues to serve as an MP although he is no longer in the Cabinet.

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42 comments

  1. “Robinson-Regis said the allegations surrounding Smith were just that—allegations hence there was no need for his resignation [as MP].

    Asked what was this new information the PM got, Robinson-Regis pointedly said, “You expect me to answer that. I’m not answering that.”
    http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2018-04-12/camille-smith-stays-mp

  2. The Perm. Secretary, the approvers/issuers of our tax paying $150,000. should also be fired…..who the hell authorised such a payment of our monies….no blasted transparency, accountability in this land which very soon will not be able to creep out of the abyss we are in; the laughing stock of the OAS,….the entite world….we now famous for stupidity, corruption, greed in high office, transhipment of drugs and overall abysmal governance……crapaud Don smoke we pipe…

  3. Christlyn Moore needs to take her own advice and drink some Visine. That lady has no moral authority to speak about anyone on any topic. She should take her bikini and wear it around her mouth!

  4. Perhaps he has no shame? #itwasntme

  5. Wired, seriously. This is pathetic even by your standards. Your slip is showing once again.
    Sad thing is that you continue to take us for fools by trying to constantly hide behind what you purport to be letters to the Editor. Thing is, they all have one thing in common – a position against the current administration.
    Meanwhile, you and your local peers are setting up the uninformed by taking in front to de-legitimize the findings of the committee in the event that they may find no wrong-doing by the former minister.

    • Earl Best

      Sorry to disappoint you, Roger Collin Pierre. Even if your business is skewing the news, you’ll get no help from us. We know that we are supposed to tell it like it is–and we do!

      Apologies if that offends or displeases you but it’s not ABOUT TO CHANGE.

  6. And the war games goes on he was setup all a UNC plan it good cause alyuh love to cross breed ! foolish , the small head ruling the big head

  7. Dayrrl Smith will not as is not the only one you hear these about there are many more and will have many more to come,he is fired and I think there are person who felt enough is not done but it was dealt with better late than ever

  8. Darryl needs to go to the naughty boy corner and shush

  9. When I read the articles I was amazed that PM did not fire him immediately.

  10. Brian Springer say something nah…

  11. C. Moore has no authority moral ir otherwise to comment on Smith. Watson Duke in her face all the time and not one word.. which is the more outrageous? Harass or Rape?

    • Classic deflection. One person says “What’s happening in Syria is horrible”. The troll says “You have no authority to speak about Syria without discussing France”
      Notice how the troll never actually addresses the topic but only tries to divert attention to something else.

    • Which is more outrageous Harassment or Rape?

      • Earl Best

        You answer that question yourself. And then respond to your answer ad infinitum et ad nauseam

        It’s your only chance of starting a conversation on a topic that nobody except you cares about at this moment.

    • Is that the topic of discussion?

    • This is dangerous ground. When these frauds use an event to pretend relevance to the National discourse and, the Press allows them that relevance, it diminishes us a little more. Have we learned nothing when a loud mouth from the radio “protested” against a completely legitimate attempt at economic diversification, used that noteriety to end up in Government and became a national embarrasment due to , not only videotaped activities, but also oversaw clear corruption in his Ministry? How did Trump gain so much intwrest? The point is not what was said but, imo, who said it. We must steel ourselves against these dangerous people seeking the limelight, in order to attempt to generate an iota of justification for their nefarious agendas. The Press are the guardians in this. This is NOT deflection. It is clarification.

      • It’s an agenda? How so, it is not the truth? Did the ministry not use public funds to settle a sexual harassment suit? Why shouldn’t’ questions be asked.? We are sacking ppl left right and center, but we have money to pay sexual harassment suits? Are you kidding ? is this a joke to you? The only thing that has changed in this country is that almost every man, woman and child has access to information. We all have a voice on social media and it has power! If someone draws the obvious to the masses attention it is an agenda? You would have us focus on who said these things rather than what was said? It matters not if it was the truth. But maybe for you sexual harassment is part of your life, nothing big, nothing to be fired over. nothing to get distracted by. “Small ting”

    • This is an ad hominem argument and attack, attacking the authority of Moore without addressing the substance of the argument . The reverse of this is called argument by authority, meaning just because a person is an authority on a particular subject and that person says something about that topic , that means that person is probably right
      Addressing the issue directly ND logically, I have to agree with Lasana Liburd, is what we should strive for on this forum

    • We will disagree on this. This “technique” has always been used by the most nefarious conmen in history. Attach yourself to an obvious issue in order to promote, in the end, your own agenda. It is what Putin completely understands about the West and its need to feed the news cycle. So, anyone, regardless of where they stand on other ideas can gain a foothold in mainstream media. The issue that I have is NOT the message but rather the promotion of someone, so clearly without merit, to comment on a serious issue. We should stop promoting these sick mouthpieces. Abandon them to the trash heap of history gone bad and, have meaningful discourse with those who are really serious about moving us forward. Do not forget, this “expert” called for the poisoning of Trinidadians!! And, yet, we feel the need to continue to promote them?? No! Again, I will call it. Shame!! We should do better than this! And, if we are too proud to recognise this simple fact then, we are nothing but hypocrites if we try to call out anyone else!

  12. Well written stuff!

    I particularly like the use of the word orbit in the prospect of having to navigate around Barrel Smith… Damn, Darryl!

  13. Why do “we” continue the abject torture of the population with seeking the opinions of these worthless, exposed wannabees like Moore?? We do ourselves the most egregious harm by continuing to promote them as people of any worth when they have demonstrated their utter worthlessness as any level of moral or other authority. I am NOT defending Smith here. Just pointing out tje absurdity of seeking the opinion of someone who openly called for the poisoning of Trinidadians, WITHOUT REGRET!! Better than that Wired. Better than that!

  14. Although a day late, some might argue more, Smith has been fired.. Let’s see what happens next.. I am still concerned about Watson Duke though.. In our face every night on the news.. Nobody asks for his resignation from the powerful offices he holds. This country a mess..

  15. Lasana Liburd walk with shin guards, ankle guards, bandages, ice etc if you sweating any Sunday evening soon

  16. It’s good to know that we have Lasana Liburd and Wired to dig deeper and get the facts. That is good journalism.

  17. Dr. Rowley should sign a nondisclosure agreement.