Martin Daly

Martin Daly

Why do persons in circumstances requiring full disclosure and accountability to the public invariably send us “in a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel, as the images unwind like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind”?

We still have a bitter taste in our mouths from the UNC reporting our country to the US Embassy concerning the visit of the Venezuelan vice-presidential delegation to see our Prime Minister. That bitter taste may hurt the UNC as we head into a general election later this year—July perhaps?

Nevertheless, the loose procedure for the visit remains troubling, as does the playing with the words of a recent conversation between the Minister of National Security and the US Ambassador regarding the visit.

I have chosen the windmills of the mind theme today because there are wheels within wheels turning in the Venezuela controversies, including the Paria fuel sale. Our political leaders are too blinded by hating on each other to be able to read the direction of the turns. For most of this month of May the Government was in danger of bumbling into the quagmire of US economic sanctions and taking us with them.

Happily, firm warnings stopped the Government’s bumbling and, on Friday last, it gave an undertaking to the US that Trinidad and Tobago will do absolutely nothing to facilitate the passage of five Iranian vessels already on their way to Venezuela with cargoes of fuel in breach of sanctions policy.

Having been warned, good sense required that this undertaking be hastily given and the manhood of the Government was temporarily saved because they have referenced a UN resolution for economic sanctions, as a basis for the undertaking, rather than the troublesome Rio Treaty. But, holy Moses, we are dangerously lacking competent foreign policy administration.

Let’s now take a look at two other spinning reel statements. These concern the very welcome front page news of the return home of Ms Bissoon, an unwell citizen stranded in the Bahamas. Yet another exercise of the discretion of the Minister of National Security to grant exemptions to enter our closed borders arose.

Businessman, Mr Derek Chin, was returning from Miami on a private aircraft. He directed his flight to the Bahamas to pick up Ms Bissoon en route.

The first statement appeared in this newspaper on Wednesday May 13: “Chin had gotten word that his application had been processed, when he was also sent a digital copy of Bissoon’s May 7 story in the Express. He immediately contacted Gadsby, with his wish to help her, which would mean stopping in the Bahamas, once she was amenable.”

Gadsby was Chin’s attorney and he appeared to support this version of events.

Two days later, the Prime Minister stated that Chin’s application to be granted an exemption to return from Miami had been refused, apparently more than once, but that refusal was reversed.

Here is the Prime Minster’s version of events reported in this newspaper last Sunday: “The Government took the decision, that we told Mr Chin, if you would agree to pass in the Bahamas on the way home and bring that lady home, you will get an exemption. That was agreed to and that is what happened. We thank Mr Chin for doing that and we wish the lady the best. That is what happened so there is no need to attack Mr Chin.”

Gadsby reportedly declined an invitation to respond to the Prime Minister’s statement and it now strains credibility to believe that Mr Chin initiated the return of Ms Bissoon.

The Prime Minister’s statement revealed that Mr Chin was incentivised to do the humanitarian act. If there was a quid pro quo, why would Mr Chin not present himself to the media in light of those facts?

I dwell on these recent examples of dances around facts, known as “spin”, because, in the upcoming general election, the politicians and their satellites will spin the windmills of our minds away from rational decision making.

Are a few of these satellites, with undeclared interests, ensconced in the media?

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POPE FRANCIS’ decision on Monday to allow women to perform some altar duties during Roman Catholic Mass is a welcomed, but tentative, move away from anachronistic gender stereotypes. But not fast enough.

Man proud man/Dressed in a little brief authority/ Most ignorant of what he is most assured

—(Shakespeare: Measure for Measure)

On Wednesday as I sat with a mix of fear and hope and awaited the outcome of a clinical procedure I had to undergo in 24 hours, I became more aware of how small and vulnerable we all are in the larger scheme of things, that however confident and proud we may feel about our status that we are all subject to the vicissitudes of life, continuing as if there were no tomorrow