Martin Daly

Martin Daly

TRINIDAD and Tobago lives on nervous energy. We are constantly rattled and are set talking, messaging and posting, prompted by extraordinary and usually negative events.

At times, things happen so quickly that another event erupts into the headlines before the shock and full implications of an earlier one can be absorbed. At those times my Freeport compere says to me: “Boy, topic, topic, topic.” Trinbago is a grow-room of topics. As a commentator, difficult decisions arise about the choice of subject matter of a weekly column when events pile up rapidly and readers contact me to urge that I deal with a particular event that is troubling them.

There are also loads of foolishness and gambage designed to cover up blows, delivered by abuse of power, that may not affect the citizens as a collective body, but shatter, or have the potential to shatter, the life of an individual or a small group of individuals. The recent Christmas/New Year period was one such time. We have barely settled into the new decade, 2020, but so many things have piled upon us. For this reason, therefore, this week’s column will touch on more than one topic.

I must first return to the rampant murders and the impunity with which the majority of them are committed. This follows the assertion in last week’s column that all the authorities have done for 25 years is to make excuses.

That column was preceded three days before, by the Boxing Day front-page headline: “Bloody Holiday”. Last week the headlines were: “Bloody Monday” and “Strangled” followed by “Oropouche woman shot dead by ex-lover”.

During the Christmas/New Year period there was no respite from the bloodletting. It should be obvious by now that there is no new Messiah to save us from the bloodletting and there will never be one. As indicated, a range of policy prescriptions, founded on a radical social development policy, is required.

As is the norm, three of the recent murders appear to arise out of domestic discord. The one in which a teacher was stabbed to death in front of pupils was described by the Minister of Education as “a senseless act of violence”. That’s a cliché.

“Senseless” is also a comment that demonstrates how our leadership and governance is lacking. Very sadly for this country, domestic violence makes sense to controlling men, for whom we have never reset the upbringing and education agenda, to teach them while they are boys, that masculinity does not include possessiveness and dominion over women. Reams have been written about engaging boys and young men as allies against all kinds of violence.

Another recent headline was “Cloud over Camille”. A simple question will put the issue surrounding Minister Camille Robinson-Regis’ issue into perspective. Are ministers of government exempt from making accurate source of funds declarations? The issue was summarised in last Monday’s editorial in this newspaper: “The facts uncovered so far do not support her explanation about the source of cash she took to First Citizens bank in January, 2016”.

It is particularly ironic and an insult to objective justice that there should be any breaksin’ about the source of funds of a citizen holding ministerial office when ordinary citizens, many quite unnecessarily so, were plagued with source of funds enquiries when seeking to exchange their blue notes. The Attorney General compounded the insult by pushing his mouth into the issue to defend his colleague on the basis of some bank letter he says he saw. I say “pushing his mouth” because it is well known that an Attorney General should practise detachment, not indulge in partisan defence. His office is a guardian of the public interest. It is not guardian of party interest, family interest or personal affection.

I have also been pressed to pursue the one-legged marijuana law — legal possession without legal sources of supply, the rot in sporting organisations and the condoning, rubber-stamp supervisory bodies, as well as the new Panorama arrangements. Who will be the licensed suppliers of weed? How do we separate athletic courage from hypocrisy in sports administrators? Will there be crisper Panorama finals?

These topics are in my grow-room.

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Potholes on public roadways remain irrefutable signs of life in Trinidad and Tobago today.

There are apparently no clear solutions to these perennial problems. As road users, a weary population has essentially given up hope of solutions being proposed, much less implemented. On major roadways, equally as on minor roads, in built-up areas to the same extent as in villages and communities in rural districts, dilapidation is a fact of life. Often, generations of nationals go through this lived reality of bad roads and their deleterious effects on life in these areas.

Some years ago, a man was complaining to me about his wife of 25 years. The issues were not major; mainly the daily irritants that occur when people share space. But then, just like that, he said something that jolted me.

When Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s global legate, comes on his two-day State visit to Jamaica next week, he must be made aware that Jamaica won’t be quiescent about the often irrational behaviours of the US president, too many of which threaten to wreck a global order in which small states, like this one, are reasonably assured of protection against the arbitrary actions of powerful ones.

Sedition law is not about colonialism or gagging democratic expression. It is to do with controlling things that could lead to insurrection or mass disorder via speech and acts.

This is a lawless, bacchanalian society that is forever giving the hypocritical, self-righteous impression that we are holier than thou, making as if we walk on egg shells while ignoring that we are tiptoeing through the minefield that is life—our Trini life.

I read with alarm that Colm Imbert, the Minister of Finance, wants to make further amendments to the nation’s procurement legislation.