All of a sudden, everybody in Trinidad and Tobago wants explanations. This is very strange in a society where everything can be explained by, "He ignorant", "She a ho", and "Is God's will". So I can't really blame Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon, or Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, or the ASJA head Yacoob Ali for remaining silent on various issues. On the other hand, by refusing to explain themselves, they leave me free to do so for them.
So last week the Integrity commission absolved Ms Persad-Bissessar of any misfeasance in having her sister accompany her on official trips. The Integrity Commission didn't let the citizens know it had made a ruling and, when Persad-Bissessar posted their letter on her Facebook page, said they wouldn't be giving any explanation for this decision or any other. In an interview in the last Sunday Express with reporter Asha Javeed, Gordon said that the Commission had sought the "best advice", but Javeed didn't find out from whom or what the advice was. So, for all we know, Gordon could have consulted Law Association president Seenath Jairam, or Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, or God who made all laws.
As for the advice, Section 24 (2) of the Integrity in Public Life Act says that "A person to whom this Part applies shall not— (a) use his office for the improper advancement of his own or his family's personal or financial interests." So the advice could have been that making sure the Prime Minister takes her pills can't be considered personal or financial advancement; or that Kamla is a "her", so this clause doesn't apply; or that, if the IC gives me $868,000 too, I'll give them any opinion they want.
Now you might assume that integrity requires transparency in order to be integrity: but that principle only applies in societies which don't have faith in God. Mr Gordon's recorded voice, however, can be heard every morning at the start of the TV6 broadcast praying for a good broadcast. And, if Gordon felt prayer was necessary for showing The Bold and the Beautiful, then surely he must also pray for God's help in the Integrity commission's decisions. So maybe citizens should just have faith in him.
But why didn't Gordon explain why the IC didn't explain? That's easy. Former board members got in trouble for saying too much, even when they used other people's words. Also, President George Maxwell Richards, who only this week was accusing unnamed officials of lacking integrity, never explained his reasons for choosing unsuitable persons for the Integrity Commission, why he himself didn't resign after those imbroglios, or why he wasn't so loquacious when the PNM was in office. And it would be improper for the Commission's board members to hold themselves to a higher standard than the highest in the land.
In similarly exact fashion, the Prime Minister's parliamentary gang spoke for two days and a night last week and still didn't explain why the Government inserted and proclaimed Section 34 in the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offences) Act. To be sure, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Justice Minister Herbert Volney said that they did give explanations, but these were explanatory only in the sense of Judge Judy's book titled "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining".
But there are other explanations for how this situation could have occurred. After all, the clause was proclaimed on August 31, so most of the Government MPs would have been drinking champagne during the Independence celebrations. Maybe Volney was not as sober as a judge. And maybe Max was miffed at having his Independence cocktails interrupted, so he signed the proclamation, came two weeks later to lecture the taxpayers who paid for his bubbly about integrity, and flew out of the country the next day for his vacation.
Other things are harder to explain. For example, how can Muslims claim that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion even as their fellow Muslims are killing people over insults to their Prophet? By contrast, nobody has been killed, or even gotten a stern letter, over a cartoon in the satirical newspaper The Onion depicting Moses, Jesus, Ganesha, and Buddha in a multi-religious orgy. Maybe the ASJA considers Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists wimps.
Or how did literary consultant and Kamla speech-collector Krishendaye Rampersad have an event in which she calls for writers to be honoured and supported, but not invite the only two fiction authors under 50 years of age living in Trinidad? Maybe she considers our use of the pluperfect tense questionable.
And some things just defy explanation. If Hindus eat beef, do they reincarnate as a lower life form, like a cow? How come Catholics sin if they eat bacon on Friday, but not Tuesday? Why do women buy expensive shoes and then carry slippers in case they have to walk?
Only God and Manolo Blahnik can explain.