The entire Section 34 fiasco is churning in my mind, so I am calling it the "Plot to Pervert Parliament".
The way in which the country, its significant institutions and its legislature have been misled for the benefit of political financiers has given me pause. The entire episode is truly revolting, even for those of us who have little faith in our political rulers.
Having listened to the PM's address on this Section 34 fiasco there are now more questions than answers. The silence by the PM and other leading MPs on these documented facts during the parliamentary debate on the repeal seems to amount to a calculated decision to withhold information.
The main questions for the PM are along two limbs—firstly, how does the AG's absence overseas for a few days exonerate him? We need to stay with this line, given that it is the principal one advanced by the PM after her research into the issue.
Secondly, there is the burning question of what is Herbert Volney's true role in all this? Did the PM ask him why he misled his Cabinet colleagues and the Parliament? If so, what did Mr Volney say? If the PM did not ask Mr Volney for his reasons, one has to be deeply sceptical about the idea that this is single Minister outwitted the entire Cabinet.
The fact that this episode centred on the actual 50th anniversary of Independence weekend was a powerful wake-up call to us all. History is rich in irony.
For my part, there is no way we are lightly "moving on" from this tragic place...this is the occasion to resolve a lot of this nonsense and put us on the road to a much improved system of governance.
It is going to be a hard campaign, but we must have a realistic appreciation of our situation if we are to have any chance at prevailing.
After the People's Partnership's election victory, the Steve-Ish issue presented a conundrum since the US wanted them and the public wanted to see them face justice.
The extradition request was refused so that they can be tried here. That ruling was not appealed by the AG, who stated that the reason is to allow them to be tried here.
The result of the sudden reversal in the face of mounting protest, is that the Piarco Accused can now say to the court that Parliament exercised its powers to repeal legislation upon which they were relying to seek freedom. Parliament acted to reduce the rights of two individuals and the court may be asked to rule that those actions of the Parliament have oppressed these men. The recent repeal of this section seems to have fortified the case of the Piarco Accused in seeking freedom.
Was Section 34 the first time?
I am now recalling that the CL Financial bailout and shareholders agreement were never debated; they were both declared as fait accompli.What is more, as I wrote in this space recently, the Ministry of Finance is claiming that the contents of the presentation to members of Parliament on the new bailout laws is secret.
The Section 34 fiasco involved an alleged stealing of $1 billion in public money and we are all now seeing the extent to which these people and their servants will go to cover their tracks.
It is truly revolting. So, the question is ''Given what we now know and the fact that the CLF bailout involves many billions of dollars in public money, is it reasonable to assume in good faith that our parliamentarians and public officials will be responsible and honest in their dealings?" I will be returning to this, it is turning in my mind.
Proper priorities of our Parliament
Our Parliament has been on holiday since July 11, but it has been reconvened twice in that period. The first occasion was in mid-August to satisfy an upcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force of our Financial Intelligence Unit. All members voted in support of that bill. The second occasion was for the repeal of the controversial Section 34 and that raised a question for me. Why did the Government agree to reconvene to repeal?
Was it because of our objections and criticisms, or was it the stated concerns of the US? In our 50th year of Independence, did the concerns of the US outweigh our strong concerns? A sobering reflection.
The headline of this article is a medley when you realise that, in Play Whe, 34 is "Blind Man". We have been outwitted. This is Section 34 episode is a real cynical game of blind man's bluff....you see?
Where do we go from here? That question is for the second part of this column.
president of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC) and managing director of
Raymond & Pierre Ltd