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Daly Bread: Life in the never-ending movie; a bizarre political week in T&T

Scenes in the public life in Trinidad and Tobago have become so unreal that I have been listening to Brother Valentino’s “Life is a stage” to re-digest his opinion that in Trinidad and Tobago we live in a never-ending movie in which we all have a role to play.

Ministers do not know what is going on in their ministries, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The result of this is that we have to play the role of ‘Dominica, I am sorry.’

Photo: Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses (left) toasts with His Excellency Hedi Picquart, then Ambassador of the French Republic, on Bastille Day 2017.
(Copyright Foreign.Gov.TT)

Around the same time, Darryl Smith was in a ministry, then out, then halfway back in. Then he was out again and very many people are relieved that he won’t be getting to the bottom of things as Junior Minister in the Ministry of Housing, to which he was reshuffled on Monday last and fired the next day.

It was simply incredible to decide that a minister accused of sexual harassment—in a case in which settlement money was paid—should be shuffled out of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and put in the Ministry of Housing, where the situation of the applicants for public housing is, as incisively described by a senior reporter of this newspaper, “so dire that that they are vulnerable to exploitation.”

As Brother Valentino has said, “This place have some scenes that we could go off on.” This was certainly one such scene and countless memes flourished to help force Smith’s dismissal—to which I return below.

I first return to Brother Valentino’s calypso, prompted by a scene outside of the Hall of Justice. There is a no parking zone the length of the block in front of the Hall of Justice, at least designated as such by white paint in capital letters.

It used to be that lawyers would be dropped off there, as no one dreamt of parking there. Now, vehicles are parked long-term in that area—marked ‘No Parking’—and I have not seen the tyrant wrecker active there.

Photo: Iconic calypsonian Brother Valentino.
(Copyright NCTT.Org)

I noticed last week that one vehicle was left so comfortably there that the driver had unfolded the sun visor along the dashboard. It is very “This is Trinidad” that a no parking prohibition outside the Hall of Justice—a significant symbol of law enforcement and order, and presumably a well policed building—should be ignored.

Adding to the unreality when I was there last week was the sight of a gaggle of traffic wardens and uniformed policemen outside of the Magistrates’ Court a block away, not noticeably managing road traffic.

It is distinctly possible that the painting of No Parking on the road outside of the Hall of Justice was just the role-playing of a traffic management or Judiciary official, unsupported by the making and publication of the relevant traffic regulations.

The point about all of this is that we have developed the job descriptions and bestowed all the powers and trappings on persons to run the country but it is just a role they are playing. The portrayal that we have government whereas governance and regulation is frequently all we have; a mere portrayal, while the performance of those vested with responsibilities and efficiency, fairness and propriety is lacking.

Additionally, we accept these unrealities and play supporting roles in the madness—whether we are “scavengers or dem barristers or dem doctors and lawyers” or the road painter putting down words not really to be obeyed.

Photo: Then Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) and Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds (second from right) meet players from Morvant Caledonia United before kick-off against W Connection at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training ground on 20 January, 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The Government tried to shield and defend Smith by spin after spin. Pretence, portrayal and role playing was strong.

The minister who represented that the sexual harassment case was only about procedure and that the media had “an agenda” suddenly became party to “new information.”

At least one Cabinet member loudly defended the use of a non-disclosure agreement as “normal” when the accuser is paid a settlement, even though the source of the settlement funds is presumably public money.  Now there is to be an inquiry by a committee into the circumstances surrounding the payment.

The repeated appointments of investigators and committees are pointless. Are they just part of the game?

Will the dodgy spinners at Cabinet level also have to be re-shuffled?

It truly is a never-ending movie.

Photo: (From left) Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Housing Minister Randall Mitchell open a homework centre in Carenage.
(Copyright Ministry of Housing)

About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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18 comments

  1. A tief to protect the TREASURY.

  2. WHEN PNM WANT TO PLAY THE BLAME GAME ALWAYS REMEMBER 1.Nepotism, Patrick Manning making his wife Hazel Manning a Minister
    2. Planting Missiles and Cocaine in MP Sadiq Baksh Water Tank
    3. Granting Brian Manning a Gun License in 24 hours and disregarding all rules and procedures
    4. Giving Brian Manning $9 million for a basketball competition ……(Has it start yet?)
    5. The scandal and embarrassment of the $2 million legacy flag
    6. $50 million dollars Boat that never Float
    7. $45 million secret skullarship fund
    8. John Rahael as Minister of Agriculture lease a house and parcel of land belonging to Caroni 1975 Ltd. To his sister
    9. John Rahael as Minister of Health give his sons the contract to provide drugs for the CDAP programme
    10. Penelope Beckles father got CEPEP contracts while she was an MP
    11. Barry Sinanan law firm get government briefs while he was speaker of the house
    12. Patrick Manning rented a house from Lenny Saith brother for $38,000 per month while the Palace was building
    13. Jerry Narace Company got the contract to provide insurance for T&TEC
    14. Kerwyn Garcia, husband of Christine Kangaloo, gets $530,000.brief from government
    15. PNM Chairman Franklyn Khan wife get a $60 million contract days before the 2010 election
    16. $5 million worth of materials from the Tobago Hospital went to develop Dr. Keith Rowley wife private project
    17. Robinson-Regis husband $50,000 per month job at WASA
    18. Tobago Hospital going from $136 million to over $800 million in overrun
    19. Tarouba Stadium going from $275 million to over $1 billion in overrun
    20. Patrick Manning call to the Marabella Police Station demanding his driver be released
    21. Cocaine found in diplomatic pouch
    22. Patrick Manning $240 million Palace with $3 million drapes
    23. Calder Hart$368 million contract to his brother-in-law
    24. $2 billion summit of no return
    25. Camille Robinson-Regis credit card scandal
    26. Maco Manning SIA spying on law abiding citizen
    27. $650 million incomplete Legal Affairs Tower
    28. $700 million incomplete Chancery Lane Complex
    29. $500 million incomplete South Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA)
    30. $576Million Rhapid Rail feasibility study scandal
    31. Dustbin Terrorist a.k.a Mr. Big still at large
    32. Bombardier jet joyride
    33. A condo for the Profitess/Prophetess at UTT
    34. $30 million mystery Guanapo church
    35. $30 Million Bamboo Networks Scandal
    36. EMBD Chairman Uthara Rao using $400,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for sexual harassment claims
    37. Manning/Bakr Land Deal for Election support
    38. Manning giving CJ Sat Sharma an ultimatum to “resign or else”
    39. Former PNM Tresurer Andre Monteil Scandalous $110 million HMB Shares
    40. T&TEC Street Lighting Scandal
    41. $1.8 billion overrun on Waterfront Project
    42. Shaw Park Tobago Cultural Center $600 Million overrun and 8 years late
    43. Karen Nunez-Tesheira conflict of interest when she withdrew her monies from CLICO
    44. Udecott Calder Hart scandal
    45. Patrick Manning bolting into a Radio Station demanding 2 announcers be fired
    46. Petrotrin $12 billion world GTL, Scandal
    47. Making former murder accused David “Buffy” Millard coordinator of a $250 million NHA refurbishing project
    48. Appointed Mark Guerra as national adviser to the URP
    49. $50 Million Blimp that always Limp
    50. $500,000 Skullarship grant to Louis Lee Sing daughter-in-law, Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing
    51. Radio License for Louis Lee Sing in 24 hours
    52. $55,000 bribery to the former occupants of the Guanapo Church Land
    53. Cleaver Heights $10 million attempted fraud
    54. Patrick Manning calling Tobago Police Station and ordering 4 Bajan fishermen be released
    55. Discrimination against Feroza Ramjohn, Ganga Persad Kissoon and Harridath Mahara
    56. Discrimination against the Maha Saba Radio License
    57. Rushed to bailout their financier CLICO with billions of taxpayers money
    58. “Female” Minister calling the Point Fortin Police Station demanding her son be released after he was caught in a drug bust with 2 Venezuelans
    59. Calder Hart as NIB Chairman buying back the $110 million HMB Shares for $130 Million giving former PNM Tresurer Andre Monteil a $20 Million profit
    60. $126 Million Broadgate Place Tower Scandal
    61. Chaguanas Corporation Administrative Complex—$10 million over-budget and 24 months’ delay;
    62. Government campus, Legal Affairs Towers—$300 million over-budget
    63. Ministry of Education Towers—$300 million over budget
    64. NAPA (PoS)—$234 million over-budget
    65. NAPA (San Fernando)—$238 million over-budget
    66. Beverly Hills Housing—$106 million over-budget
    67. Three questionable payments to Bouygues days before the Election, payments were made on May 14 ($3.6 million), May 14 ($10 million) and May 19 ($5 million)
    68. Sunway Construction $300 million quarry contract Scandal
    69. $100 million to fix shoddy work done EMBD with Water pipes and Electricity together
    70. $150 Million to repair poorly constructed houses under Dr. Rowley watch
    71. The closure of Caroni 1975 Ltd. And Destruction of Thousands of Lives who depended on Caroni to feed their family
    72. Auditor-Generals Report stated $1.6 billion spent on CEPEP between 2002-2007 with lack of accountability
    73. How was Landate reclassified from agricultural lands to lands for residential use and where the money came from to build that development project?
    74. Tobago Financial Complex $81 million cost overrun
    75. Tobago Library $80 million cost overrun
    76. Patrick Manning use of a licence plate bearing the nation’s Coat of Arms on the Prime Minister car.
    77. DAWI Services Ltd ( Dane Wilson ) awarded $4 Million to construct Bagatelle Community Center. NO CENTER BUILT!
    78. DAWI Services Ltd ( Dane Wilson ) awarded $250,000.00 Cocorite project. Wall COLLAPSE
    A Careful check will show almost $25 Billion in Scandal under the PNM 2002-2010 Information provided and Credit must go to Mr. Hucil George.

  3. Then throw your hat in the ring or shut to eff up and enjoy the ride .

  4. This article is more entertaining when read immediately after Earl Best’s “Monitoring me 3: Ali’s reply….”

  5. What the fowl foot this man writing about trappings and power?
    ; He fully well know that he possibly makes in one week what the PM makes in one year and he has the gall to tall about trappings?
    As far as power goes, he also knows that no minister can fire a public servant in this country because the public servants don’t work for them – they work for the Perm Secretary. Their limit stops at policy-making while the operational aspects are under the line authority of the PS. So, as usual, he is just being deceitful self while all the time representing large corporations against labour for tons of cash.
    Wired, once again, your slip is showing. Just watch your partners in crime BEFORE aligning with them to further your agenda

    • Martin Daly has been sharing his column with the Trinidad Express AND Wired868 for over two years I think.
      If you think that we somehow coerced Daly into taking a particular line that is exclusive to Wired868’s supposed ideals… I don’t know how to put it diplomatically… You’re an idiot and as intellectually impressive as an empty tin can.

    • Granted I’d admit that I might have responded to that silly comment of yours differently if it wasn’t on the same day that Manchester United handed the Prem title to Manchester City by losing at home to the team on the bottom of the standings… ?

    • Lasana Liburd , is that the best comeback you could come up with. Bro, you really didn’t get out much when you were younger, did you?
      Nevertheless, no one said anything about you coercing anyone. You simply show your slip every week by supporting anything negative being spewed by these guys.
      Maybe you’re just not bright enough to know that you are being seen as guilty by association, or the other option is that you actually might be just guilty

    • Certain opinions don’t worry me one jot. We are focused on reasonable readers.

      • Earl Best

        Just to be clear: We welcome ALL readers but will not waste time responding to those who really have contributed nothing and really have nothing to contribute.

    • You mean ones which reinforce your bias and those with whom you “share your space.” Anyway, don’t forget that the public is still awaiting the in-depth investigative report on the sweetheart deal between your colleagues in the media and the TTFA (It seems like the money in brown bag and housing stories have been killed by you guys).

    • Roger, did you think about your response before rushing to the keyboard? I ask this question because you seemed to have given little or no thought to what Daly is/was saying. What exactly are you angry about? From your comments, you seem to be jealous of Daly’s apparent earnings and wealth. And that is all. You resent the view (yours only) that he represents ‘large corporations against labour for tons of cash’.

      I wonder… will you have the same resentment against a cardiologist who wants to charge you $200,000 or more to do a bypass on you or your relatives? I don’t know… how do you know what the costs are for the operation? Are you are your payments have to cover theatre time, equipment, staff, expertise etc?

      In the same way, a lawyer charges for his expertise, not to mention he has a staff to pay who, more likely than not, help him do research, prepare papers and so many other things necessary for the best representation he can provide. If large corporations can afford him and are willing to pay his price, why should he turn them away? He has to provide for himself, his family and usually families depending on him… staff, if you forgot.

      People like you usually argue from a position of ignorance… and I mean that in the kindliest of ways. You don’t know the factual circumstances of the individual or his client. But that does not stop you bleating like a sheep. Here’s the rub… I bet if you have a legal problem, you’d be happy to have him represent you. Why? Well, his reputation is built on performance over decades, so you’d be glad to have MARTIN DALY on your side. Don’t rush to refute… you will want to argue nay, but in your heart of hearts, if you’re honest with yourself and others, you will find yourself agreeing with me.

      Another thing you forget is the amount of work and hours spent by lawyers studying to get where they are. Same as doctors. Why should they give away their services for free? I alone know what umpteen hours I spent, huddled under a blanket till 3 or 4 am reading and studying, night after night, to get where I am. No one helped me. My effort is my own. Do you deserve my free labour? I think not. Neither will ANY other professional unless he can “afford” to give you a ‘freebie’.

      The fact of the matter is that many professionals spend so many hours on their craft, and on preparing for their clients that when one thinks of the payment per hour, it amounts to little more than a bare profit after expenses. That is economic reality.

      Another point is that you have missed completely the factual aspect of Daly’s column. Where in it do the facts appear to be untrue? Trappings of power? We all see it every day. From the time they become Ministers or receive a high (and I use that word advisedly) position, we see them rushing to buy new cars, fitted with ‘blue lights’ and the latest gadgets. They bypass the ordinary man on the street as a bother, steupsing at any interruption of their self-aggrandising speeches and publicity. Not to mention, every Smith and Balgobin, indeed we can add Rowley in there, use their ‘fame’ to make women feel like mere toys put around them for use, abuse and sexual pleasure. There are so many examples in the public domain, it provides evidence that this is a norm rather than an exception.

      Lest you be accused of Carmona’s ‘rum shop’ or ‘donkey cart’ logic, learn about critical thinking. Weigh up the arguments before engaging your keyboard. Look at both sides, and remove the emotions you have for ‘arguing your side’. Biases and emotions really can’t beat a sound reasonable argument.

  6. The Theatre of the Absurd!

  7. “I noticed last week that one vehicle was left so comfortably there that the driver had unfolded the sun visor along the dashboard. It is very “This is Trinidad” that a no parking prohibition outside the Hall of Justice—a significant symbol of law enforcement and order, and presumably a well policed building—should be ignored.”

    Nothing will wake them up to the security risk faster than another coup or bombing. Trinidadians are an apathetic, lackadaisical bunch.

    “The repeated appointments of investigators and committees are pointless. Are they just part of the game?”

    Of course not. It’s jobs for the ‘boys’ as I expect they get paid for the additional duties. Spread the wealth around.

  8. Martin Daly writes in his column what I have been on fb posts: “performances and theatre by poseurs” ‘ the resurrecting of the dead’, ‘ the hiring of the dead’ and other architectural impossibilities.