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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I hadn’t intended to write a word; my feelings were raw and I felt that everything I could possibly say had already been expressed. I had already begun writing about something else for this column, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel that it was right to let my exhaustion with the ongoing brutality of humankind shunt me away from a principle I hold fast.

EARLIER this week, the Minister of Housing officiated at a ceremony organised by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) in which 500 lucky would-be homeowners stood to benefit from a random television draw for the allocation of State housing. This was the expected end of the line for at least those persons, some of whom would have submitted applications since who knows how long ago.

I lived in Falcon Heights, Minnesota for most of the 18 years I resided and worked in the state, teaching at the University of Minnesota. I was offered the job there in 1990, and subsequently bought a house. Falcon Heights is a suburb that is equidistant from both Minneapolis and St Paul, the capital, about a ten-minute drive away from both cities. For most of my time there I was the only black person owning a home on my street, and indeed on adjoining streets.

To say that we live in difficult times is to minimise the challenges each and every one of us faces on a daily basis.

From viral pan­demics leading to broken economies which have given rise to a huge number of people struggling to feed their families.

A minority of social media users have voiced dismay that West Indians are fixated on opining about the injustice of George Floyd’s death due to police brutality.

Here in sweet Trinidad and Tobago, we have jumped on the bandwagon and stood up and expressed our diverse views on the ongoing racial tensions in the United States, but I ask us to step back and look at our country.