The Bible has remarkable insights into power politics: indeed, the popular series Games of Thrones may have drawn inspiration from it. We are witnessing the intrigues and drama of local politics as two powerful tribes—kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men—play a deadly, internecine game for control.
Mark’s Gospel (15: 1 – 15) adds the role of the crowd, mindless manipulated pawns whose only function is to cry ‘crucify Him!’ without any sense of their interests.
Much is being made of former Police Service Commission (PolSC) member Roger Kawalsingh’s disclosure about PolSC chair Bliss Seepersad’s visit to the President. But no scrutiny is applied to his copying of confidential communication to one of the people being considered for the acting position of police commissioner.
Was it a genuine mistake, as he claimed? Yet, this inappropriate and possibly illegal action appears acceptable. Did these Commissioners not sign confidentiality oaths?
His disclosure was potentially the trigger for launching a multi-million lawsuit with risks to the taxpayer. While it is true that all legitimate government business is conducted on behalf of the public, it does not follow that all government business is best performed in public—this is the reason for confidentiality clauses.
Did that disclosure to one participant harm the other parties in the hiring process? Will it hinder the conduct of the process in the future?
Did Mr Kawalsingh give reasons for so doing, and did he take the appropriate risk–mitigating steps? Did he immediately notify the President of the problem and its potential for unauthorised use?
We know he did not fall on his sword immediately. Why? We do not know. The adults in the room—his fellow Commissioners—departed without a word about the peril into which the nation had been plunged.
Is he a hero for expressing dismay at the lack of action taken by Ms Seepersad, or was he a mole doing the bidding of others? Has anyone scrutinised his role in or the method underpinning the recommendation? Or will we wait for the court to pronounce on Anand Ramesar’s suit?
As the Commission’s legal mind, he guilelessly accepted the Legal Notice that the President and Senior Counsel Rolston Nelson regarded as worthless. How so? Why?
The Police Service Commission supervises the hiring of the police commissioner. Deep-seated local anxieties about crime and the legalised inherent coercive power make that position a formidable one.
Wannabe political leaders can collaborate with police chiefs to advance their political interests jointly, whether or not citizens are protected. The police chiefs, in turn, can leverage the politicians and get their pound of flesh. The crowd suffers collateral damage.
Investigative journalist Denyse Renne’s damning disclosures about the personal seizure of the Police Command (Express, 12 September 2021) demonstrates the subversion of the Police Administration and raises questions about the importance of professionalism versus personal loyalty. Who has control over the coercive apparatus of the State?
Supreme is the reliance on the man’s individual qualities who wields the office’s extraordinary powers. No longer is it about competence and integrity. This is the context to understand the insidious rant against seasoned police commanders (Express 9 September 2021) or the undeclared ISOS funds.
The theatrical media manipulation excites the crowd creating a mini-Jesus Christ (Express 3 September 2021). This messianic perception persists even though there is little evidence of reduced crime or increased detection rates.
A high public official runs interference, protecting the exposed flanks.
We seldom look at corruption from the supply side: the insiders. They have the motive, means and opportunity to co-opt political power for their benefit at the expense of national good.
Power is an intoxicating drug. The ‘blue light’ syndrome is real. Leaders believe that they are the country and nobody else can save us. There is no respect for other institutions and rules or even facts and truth.
Bribery is not the only form of corruption. Dishonouring your oath to the country is also corruption. Knives come out for competing players instead of working for the country’s good.
We miss this corruption since the players are funded by the Invisibles who wear expensive suits and drive fancy cars, living where the plebs cannot walk. The promise? We get rid of the ‘cockroaches’ that distress you. The problem? It is all Dr Keith Rowley’s fault.
If only we ran this country, you would see how we would have all shipshape. We are patriots; we love this country.
There is impunity of wealth and power. Certain people will not go to jail for crimes for which other ‘lesser’ beings would. Once the funders and players escape their legal responsibilities that attitude spreads, leading to the full-scale subversion of our institutions.
Will the top figures in this debacle pay the price? Is privilege an inalienable right? How is the whole game funded? Through the lack of campaign finance transparency!
Nobody knows the actual figures spent, but the consensus is that we spend more than $100 million per general election. In the 2013 Chaguanas West by-election, it has been reported that a whopping sum of $36 million was spent. Chaguanas West was a swing seat, so the financiers coughed up more money.
In 2013, then Senator Helen Drayton said, “When some campaign donors give money to political parties, it is seen as an investment, buying access to decision making… they are investing in a future stream of revenues.”
An opinion supported by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC, “…the same people who are financiers of political parties, they get a lot of benefits after the Government gets into power.”
Was the Police Service Commission a benefit or access to another future gain? Some play draughts while others play 3D chess.
The crowd that cries, ‘crucify Him!’ have poor education, unsafe streets and blighted prospects. The powerful grow rich by favouritism; the crowd suffers from the general deterioration of the economy.
The latter should mark those who assist in subverting the country’s institutions. They should not just shout, “crucify!”