Posts tagged ‘Patrick manning’

March 6, 2010

When it hits the fan..

Trinidad is no stranger to scandals, corruption, thievery and incompetence but lately they have all been converging into a miasma that hangs low over several politicians and state agencies. Chief of these is UDECOTT and its Executive Chairman Calder Hart.  This institution is tasked with overseeing the billions of dollars in construction projects that  are  the obsession of the current PNM regime. It is also seen to be above any semblance of transparency as it is protected vociferously by the PM himself. A stadium that was supposed to be finished in time for the 2007 Cricket World Cup but is still not finished though close to $1 billion has been spent, cost overruns on just about every other project  – these are but piffling concerns for the PM.

Any attempts to criticize Calder Hart or his minions have been met with censure, firings, legal threats and much glaring from Mr. Manning.  The now completed UFF Commission that looked into UDECOTT was a traumatic expose of incompetence, wastage, missing funds and questionable tendering processes that played out live on our televisions. Through it all Mr. Hart continued to operate with impunity and with the overt blessings of the PM. This transplanted Canadian with an uninspiring and slightly murky past was spending taxpayers money in T&T with not a check or balance in sight. Today things changed.

Over the last week revelations have been made with full documentation that at least one of the companies receiving huge contracts from UDECOTT was directly connected to Hart’s Malaysian wife. It only escaped being brought up in parliament because a petulant cabal of disgruntled losers on the Opposition bench failed to vote with the rest of the party. The matter was going to come up again next week , though, and in a fairly unexpected development  Mr. Hart resigned from all of the state boards he was on ( including UDECOTT)  with immediate effect.  Great for news but it is surely just the beginning as a lot of stuff is yet to hit the fan.

What prompted him to resign? There could, I suppose, be any number of reasons. He might think the evidence is  impossible to refute, the entire thing might be untangling around him, the PM might be cutting back on his insulation of him, he might be just fed up with the constant scrutiny and being regarded as a  thieving pariah. We may never know as he gave no reason but I suppose if we see him packing garbage bags full of cash and heading to no-extradition Malaysia we might jump to a few conclusions. Time will tell but we certainly haven’t seen the end to the repercussions of this matter.

It might be time  for the PM to fire his prophetess ( who didn’t see this coming or the Chilean earthquake for that matter) and invest in a few ‘coming clean’  lessons.

June 11, 2009

Bats in the belfry.

Bats in Toco

No denying it has been a while since I posetd an entry on here but sometimes the spirit just isn’t in the mood to move me. Actually, to be frank, I haven’t been in a particularly great mood since my Toronto trip. Sometimes living on a small island can provide enormous amusement and at other times the stupidities and annoyances of everyday life can really get to me. The past month or so has fallen into the latter category.

The daily horror of watching how democracy has managed to result in this country having a government that seems hell bent on spending money on as many non-revenue generating activities as possible is not one that I find easy to endure. I wonder if there is such a concept as Idiocracy? The sad thing is that there aren’t any good replacements visible on the other side and even then they would be too busy fighting like children to accomplish much. At least it provides rich fodder for the local media and my programme in particular. I have uploaded a few to youtube should anyone be interested ( search for ieTV One on One).

I am getting increasingly used to the two new omnipresent inorganic additions to my life.  My glasses no longer make me feel seasick when I walk around with them on. I think glasses are somehow evil as I find I actually need them for a lot of basic things I used to do quite happily without them. They go on as I wake up ( so I can check the news and email on my iPod Touch) and only come off  if I am driving or not dealing with reading or computer screens. It must be part of a vast ( and aren’t they always) global ( as always) conspiracy on the part of eyeglass makers. I am also still enjoying my Toshiba M800 laptop and, were it not for having to use **shudder** Windows I might actually love it. It points out how a clean user interface can make all the diference. Windows feels like an OS that was designed by committee – and a committee of  not very smart people with no taste. Still, when the vagaries of the OS drive me to distraction I just look at her lovely pinstriped crimson exterior and I calm down.

“So you think you can dance” is about to start on Fox/CTV so that’s the end of this entry…more to follow.

December 1, 2008

Down for the count


As the title of this entry implies I have been suffering from a rather unpleasant bout of the flu for the last couple of days and have not found shivering and headache conducive to blogging. I suspect it took a turn for the worse when I was subjected to watching the PM’s address to the nation on the current financial crisis last night. I swear i felt the aches and pains getting worse as his mouth formed words that made little sense to me.

As we watch economies around the world scramble to hunker down for the fallout of a developing financial meltdown we are being assured that we will be ok. Frankly, the explanations and math are not really working for me. Despite oil and gas being down around 15-20% and presumably VAT receipts likely to fall with a loss of consumer confidence the government thinks cutting out $5.6 billion from their $50 billion budget will be enough. I can only guess that they intend to not put anything into the Heritage Fund since that rainy day has already arrived. The PM says that after painful soul searching they have decided to cut back on building hospitals, new schools and affordable housing. Thank heavens he got his own palatial digs finished in time so he can stay in the lap of comfort. We also seem to still be hosting the Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government at a cost of millions and there was no mention of the multi-billion dollar transit system being shelved.

The thing that annoys me the most when the PM and his people speak is that they speak of how well they have managed the economy. If they actually believe what they are saying then the state of delusion in government is frightening. Bragging that we now have $2 billion US in the Heritage Fund as if it is an achievement when we could have billions more had they taken a more measured approach to spending our money. But I guess it is all just money under the bridge.

In other news in this part of the world we have basically now hit the 500 homicide mark give or take the odd body or two. Nicholas Laughlin has a marvelously sardonic column on the matter in his blog. As I have said before the fact the the Nat. Security Minister is incompetent and ineffectual is not really shocking such things happen – the truly shocking thing is that he has not had the shame to step down after failing so ostensibly and more shockingly the PM keeps him in the position. I suppose it is easy to not worry about being killed when you are surrounded by security at all times and driven to work in a motorcade. Little or anything effective is being done about the crime situation and those that say it is not the government committing the crimes seem to forget that they are spending billions of our money to allegedly protect us. What has this resulted in? Well, in one shining example, my friend Peter S saw prowlers outside his apartment last night and called 999 telling them he was fearing for his life and they were right outside his door. He has yet to see a police vehicle show up at his place and he lives in Port of Spain. That, to me, is not just shameful it is simply scandalous.