Friday, January 19, 2018

Glee Mr Ramlogan?

Keith Subero logo48

Mark Fraser

ATTORNEY-General Anand Ramlogan has set me thinking since May 30 about what is there to be “gleeful” about on our political landscape.

In a letter published on that date, the AG claimed that the Express had mis-quoted him (the paper apologised on May 28) and that my column, “From Reshmi to Room 201” had “gleefully perpetuated the lie”.

At the time, I experienced no such emotion. However, since then I have been prompted to search for something to be “gleeful” about. Immediately, I turned to the Prime Minister’s call for a national dialogue, more so for hope, rather than glee.

But then I questioned whether its agenda had already been set by the divisive remarks of Sat Maharaj at the Maha Sabha’s Indian Arrival Day celebrations, and I remain unclear today whether the PM’s subsequent comments were an endorsement.

I then sought glee in last week’s decision of the Appeal Court on the Section 34 scandal, which the AG has been suggesting is another of his legal victories for the State.

But then I recalled that in July 2011 a source confided, giving me the names of persons involved in a high-level “initiative” which would have allowed matters that had crossed ten years in the courts to be dismissed.

At a heady gathering, on Independence morning another person boasted openly that Section 34 was being proclaimed on that day, which meant that his matter would have been dismissed, and he intended to sue the State (figures mentioned) for wrongful arrest.

The Express carried the story first, but the following Sunday another paper did an expose. Since then the notoriety of those behind Section 34 and, possibly, its unresolved sequel, Emailgate, stand out as stains on the national escutcheon.

There is no glee there, just shame that the Section 34 scandal is allowed to fuel the cynics’ claims of “State banditry”. I feel no glee in the face of 189 murders, and the reality that T&T is being defined increasingly as a place of mindless cruelty, and a society with a dark side.

There is not even a trace of such emotion as I observe the PM’s evasiveness in both the “ganja-gate” scandal, and multi-million dollar Life Sport issue.

I have maintained repeatedly that the consequences of today’s stone-walling, particularly in “ganja-gate”, will be felt tomorrow in the nation’s schools, among our sports people, and in a possible censure from the International Olympic Committee.

There was no glee, either, when the PM, loosely using the language of the American underworld, said she is going “to take out” the Opposition Leader.

I found no glee when the Central Bank board (which I reported some two years ago is stacked mainly with inexpert, party supporters, unfamiliar with monetary policy) allowed the inexperienced Governor to tinker with the 21-year foreign exchange system.

That unilateral revision has created systemic distortions which have led to suspicions and fears of capital flight, foreign currency hoarding, and possibly a loss of confidence which eventually will eventually be felt throughout the economy.

There is no glee when one reads the report that the National Insurance Board, using the savings of pensioners, purchased the Apsara restaurant for some $20 million over its valuation.

There is no glee, also, in the report, that tonnes of aggregate have been stolen from State lands and sold to contractors on the Point Fortin Highway project.

It is the same pain I feel when millions in diesel is stolen from National Petroleum in makeshift stills, located in Sea Lots and at a garage in Caroni – but the police and the Energy Minister hold no one responsible.

I experience no glee, Mr. Attorney General; I just live in hope.

Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a career in communication and management