Corruption allegations, pseudo legislative agenda float up at the same time

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A Letter to the Editor from Gerald Vincent

“Where shady politicians usurp power on the basis of distortion and lies, circumstance has a way of pulling the rug from under them.”

It is apt reflection on the past eight months of the Keith Rowley PNM’s systematic de-construction of the Trinidad and Tobago economy and society.

Just as the Rowley PNM’s pseudo legislative agenda surfaced today (Monday 25thApril 2016), under the ever finger crossed hands of the garrulous, but vacuous Faris Al-Rawi, so too have a number of allegations of corruption and serious misbehavior floated up.

In the past eight months Rowley, Imbert, Al Rawi, Young, Deyalsingh, Robinson-Regis, Hinds and F Khan have so distorted, convoluted, manipulated and mutilated facts and the truth, even in official Government documents, that there can’t be a single sensible voter left in this country who would believe anything they say even with sworn affidavits.

Given the way the Rowley PNM has inflamed social tension, incited ethnic anxiety and eroded the standard of living of the people of this country, nothing short of sworn categorical explanations, with duly administered affidavits sealed by a Notary Public will do when they respond to these allegations.

And what are those allegations?

The first allegation – Al-Rawi and Arcelor Mittal

The first allegation involves Faris Al-Rawi, who has in the past represented Keith Rowley in legal matters, and advised the recently closed Arcelor Mittal as Legal Counsel.

It also involves Reginal Armour, the President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, and someone who has legally represented Rowley.

At the Monday Night Forum meeting of the UNC at Tableland earlier this evening, former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked some very serious questions, which need to be repeated ad nauseum until honest answers are given.

Proving, again, that she has more mettle and testicular fortitude that all of the Rowley PNM dead-weights combined, Persad-Bissessar decided not to use the cover of Parliamentary Privilege, but was bold enough and confident enough to ask her questions on a public platform:

1.  Was Faris Al Rawi the legal advisor to Arcelor Mittal?
2.  If he was legal advisor, for what period of time did he serve in this capacity?
3.  How much was he paid in legal fees?
4.  Did Arcelor Mittal make contributions to Faris Al-Rawi’s campaign for San Fernando West?
5.  If the answer is no, then the question is repeated – what did you earn from Arcelor Mittal? (this is an important question to ensure that legal fees were not disguised as campaign contributions)
6.  Did Faris Al-Rawi have any fore-knowledge, or reasonable suspicion that Arcelor Mittal intended to shut down?
7.  Was Faris Al-Rawi supported by Reginal Armour or aware of whether Reginal Armour also served as Legal Counsel or provided any form of professional services to Arcelor Mittal directly, or through their representatives?
8.  As former Legal Counsel for Arcelor Mittal, did Al Rawi recuse himself from discussions on the fate of the company and its former workers, whether at Cabinet, Legislative Review Commission, Parliamentary Arm or other official meeting?
9.  If both of these Attorneys served Arcelor Mittal, was Keith Rowley aware that Al-Rawi and Armour played an active role in the company’s operations?

10.Did Arcelor Mittal make any financial or other contribution through debts, services or use of facilities to the PNM’s National Campaign?

If these issues are proven to be true, it will represent a fundamental and irretrievable undermining of the authority and integrity of the institutions of Government.

And Keith Rowley cannot attempt his usual back-peddle by claiming ignorance. If he claims he didn’t know about the PNM manifesto; the budget, and the EU Grant, you’d think he would learn by now that ‘ignorantia juris non excusat

The second allegation – purchase of Mercedes cars before 50% duty increase

The second allegation comes from one of the speakers at the UNC’s Monday Night Forum, who, said that the “short man” and the “young man” already have Mercedes Benz motor vehicles being modified at the Trinidad and Tobago Benz dealer, and these purchases were made before the 50% increase in duties was applied to luxury cars.

Whether Keith Rowley’s word has completely lost integrity because of repeated, deliberate distortions is not as important as remembering what he said to the Parliament around the time Imbert announced the 50% increase.

Rowley said that the members of Cabinet have agreed not to undertake the purchase of luxury vehicles, thereby accessing discounts on purchase taxes and import duties.

If the Benz dealer in Trinidad and Tobago in fact has Mercedes cars waiting for a “short” and a “young” official of the Government, the issue here is notonly the sinister secrecy, or the fact that it is even more proof that Rowley has no idea what is happening in his own Government.

The issue here is tantamount to ‘insider trading’, meaning that the allegation amounts to using foreknowledge of coming Government policy that could substantially affect the purchase price of Mercedes cars.

According to advice by Hamel-Smith, Attorneys and Patent Agents: “Insider trading involves a transaction in a share or debenture of a company or any of its affiliates by an insider who makes use of any specific unpublished information for his own benefit or advantage that, if generally known, might reasonably be expected to affect materially its value. It is only if the knowledge of the facts has attained the quality of constituting specific confidential information that an insider making use thereof for his own benefit attracts liability for insider trading. It may come as a surprise to many that insider trading applies to all companies and not simply public companies.”

Insider trading in Trinidad and Tobago, according to this firm, attracts “a fine and imprisonment for a term of six months.”

Further details are available by clicking here.

This requires urgent and immediate clarification by the Government. And given that it has proven that nothing said by any Rowley PNM Government official can be trusted, clarifications should also be duly sworn and sealed by a Notary Public, and further validated by sworn affidavits.

The third allegation – malice in Couva Children’s Hospital

The third allegation arises out of one of the Rowley PNM’s favourite political footballs – the Couva Children’s Hospital.

The Rowley PNM has a reputation for feeling comfortable allowing sick children to die by simply using the limitations of legislation as an excuse. In fact it is because of this callousness by the Rowley PNM that the former Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar created the Children’s Life Fund and pursued the Couva Children’s Hospital.

Nevertheless, immediately as Keith Rowley was sworn in, he zealously halted the advance of the Couva Children’s Hospital, and switched his immediate priority to the Tarouba Stadium.

This was of course shortly before leaving to attend an urgent wedding in Miami, and a crucial golf game with Brian Lara in Barbados, then returning for an imperative cold beer at Pigeon Point and vital rest because of the stresses of his weeks-old job.

Rowley’s contempt for children is no secret. Save for his intoxicated Carnival jaunt with a 17-year old school girl, Rowley has generally referred to children as “dunces”, “hyenas”, “monsters” and “cane-cutter chirren”.

So no one was surprised when Rowley unceremoniously rear-ended the Hospital despite the fact that the $B facility was complete. In fact, the Rowley PNM has repeatedly claimed that the facility was incomplete, although it was commissioned.

Still, such publicly expressed contempt came despite the fact that the Hospital is also the first major health facility to be conceptualized, designed, tendered, constructed and completed inside of a five-year Government term.

In the 8 months Rowley’s URP Gang has burdened this country, Terrence Deyalsingh has been the Government’s main spokesperson on why a return of the PNM meant a return to hardship for sick babies.

As recently as Friday 22nd April 2016, Deyalsingh was irritating the House of Representatives in a voice that sounded like it was 40 years over-due for breaking. Hectoring and haranguing, Deyalsingh was waving papers and crying ‘data’ and insisted that the Hospital could not be opened despite over 150 local doctors awaiting employment.

The excuse which the elderly adolescent sounding Deyalsingh used, was that the Persad-Bissessar Administration ‘commission de hospital, but it ent did done’.

A man alleged to be a qualified Pharmacist without any achievement; a former Senator who failed miserably at sounding like an energy expert by never getting the basics right, and now a Health Minister who has apparently sat on an upright thumb since taking office, is refusing to open a children’s hospital because it was ‘commission’d but it ent did done.’

But the former Prime Minister has quite rightly refused to let the issue die; and at the UNC’s Monday meeting, showed pictures of the Hospital facility which provided its completion, and went further to allege that trucks have been visiting the facility at night to remove already installed medical equipment.

So after being subjected to 8 months of mind-numbing squeals from Deyalsingh, that the Hospital was not ready, it is emerging that the Hospital may just have been ready, but the Rowley PNM’s political malice and spite is what has kept it closed.

While the Rowley PNM’s reputation for serious distortion and manipulation is now the nation’s worst kept secret, Deyalsingh must be given a chance to now tell the truth.

But before that, Deyalsingh must either get someone to speak on his behalf, or induce a sore throat, or do something that will make him sound as if he’s actually gotten past the voice-breaking stage of adolescence.

Facts on commissioning facilities

Deyalsingh may also want to use the many, expensive electronic devices that taxpayers have paid for to do more than just play “Candy Crush” and buy ill-fitting suits.

This way he will know that to commission a new facility means that it has come to the phase of “undergoing intensive quality assurance process that begins during design and continues through construction, occupancy, and operations.”

To commission a building means that, as it comes closer to full operations, “the facility is rededicated to adopting the functions that were initially intended.”

To commission a building “is the process of verifying all of the subsystems for mechanical, plumbing, electrical, fire/life safety, interior systems, co-generation, utility plants, sustainable systems, lighting and the like are ready to advance to formal operations.”

So in the unlikely event that Deyalsingh was telling the truth, the fact that the Couva Children’s Hospital was commissioned by the former Prime Minister has absolutely no bearing on the Rowley PNM’s malicious attempt to deny sick babies a chance to live healthy lives.

The fourth allegation – tampering with the Central Bank

The fourth allegation, for now, is one made by Jwala Rambarran when he spoke at the AGM of the Society of Surgeons of Trinidad and Tobago earlier this month (April).

After months of silence, Rambarran proved that a strategic fighter needs only one clear opportunity to deliver a single blow when he’s fighting a shady hustler. The shady Colm Imbert spent months screaming and shouting distortion after distortion, and in one statement, Rambarran sent him to the corner with a permanent dunce cap.

More than that though, Rambarran made a startling revelation on what points to illegal access and transfers of funds by unconstitutional interference and tampering by the Government in the affairs of the Central Bank.

Like the former Prime Minister, Rambarran demonstrated more mettle than the gutless Rowley PNM combined could ever muster, by making his claims without the need for Parliamentary Privilege.

He said in March 2016, the Rowley PNM’s Governor unlawfully gave unfettered Ministerial access to a blocked Central Bank account containing $2 Billion. According to Rambarran, this amount was accessed by the Rowley PNM to finance the fiscal deficit.

If these funds were in fact accessed, it would mean that the Central Bank has had one of its legs removed as the nation’s Monetary Authority.

The funds in the Central Bank’s blocked account are “Treasury Securities” and according to legislation governing the role, function and operations of the Central Bank, they are to be used specifically in the conduct of monetary policy and liquidity management.

Rambarran cited two laws:

1.  Section 3(1) of the Treasury Notes Act states: “For the purpose of promoting monetary, credit and exchange conditions most favourable to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Minister may borrow in Trinidad and Tobago by the issue of Treasury Notes.”

2.  Section 3(1) of the Treasury Bonds Act states: “The Minister on behalf of the Government on the written advice of the Central Bank, may raise money on the issue of bonds for the purpose of managing liquidity in Trinidad and Tobago.”

In what he called an “unholy alliance” between an OJT Finance Minister and political Governor, Rambarran said that access by the Government to the blocked Central Bank accounts amounts to outright breaches of these two laws.

While it is widely accepted that the Rowley PNM Government cannot be believed or trusted to say anything even resembling the truth, they do love hearing themselves talk, especially on technical issues which they regularly disjoint and mutilate.
No one has time to wait for the Rowley PNM; they must at once explain themselves in full, with sworn and notarised statements, and make clear whether or not they have corrupted and tainted every institution of Government, to cut tracks for rampant corruption.

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