The view from inside
He left the Government and the chairmanship of the party and was hoping to be reinstated to his former roles and glory by getting the electorate in his constituency to re-elect him as their Member of Parliament. But in no time it became clear that they would not reinstate him.
They crowed that the damning report by the Concacaf Integrity Committee headed by Sir David Simmons and his team was the opportunity they had been looking for. The report charged among other things that he had committed fraud against Concacaf and FIFA, misappropriated funds from FIFA, violated the Concacaf statutes, and violated the FIFA ethics code.
The committee’s conclusions were the last straw. The cabal had had him, or so they thought – especially when they prevailed upon her to take his resignation immediately.
He was devastated. How could she when he had been the real queen-, nay, king-maker? And he was unforgiving when she rejected his advances to be the party’s candidate and to be a partner again if he won as an independent.
Who did she think she was to not only cut style on him but also diss him by setting belittling conditions for his return to the fold? He would show her.
So he founded both a paper and a party. And he went on the warpath. And he got back into Parliament. But the things he revealed on the warpath, gosh! And we haven’t heard the last of them yet.
The man in the Opposition had busted some of those marks; and so did any number of reporters, columnists, and political commentators. And while droves of people believe them – for they know the truth from the authorities cannot be trusted – it is a belief tinged with some doubt sometimes.
But when he who was inside – resident in the belly of intrigue, opacity, and deception – comes out and says the same things and more, he takes away the doubt while at the same time expanding our incredulity. Really? We ask our disbelieving selves. So they does really do that?! He was with them so he must know what he talking about!
This man tells us, this erstwhile insider, that men whose wealth could be contained in fobs before they became ministers now had exceedingly deep pockets.
He tells us that ministers who before could barely afford doubles now own several mansions. He tells us that parents and other relatives of ministers are suddenly running million-dollar businesses – and not only here in Trinidad and Tobago, but abroad as well, including Panama, the refuge of corrupt Trini politicians. You have to love these metaphorical, allegorical, and hyperbolic excursions!
Don’t you believe him?
He tells us about racial discrimination in employment and disemployment, in the distribution of government houses, and in the award, cancellation, and termination of contracts. Don’t you believe him? Haven’t you experienced it? Don’t you know people who have?
He tells us about a racial nobody whom he helped into Government – a fella named Devant – and who continues with his agenda. Why wouldn’t you believe him?
He tells us about ministers who are ultra-vindictive – two of whom he has called Sewage and Coonilal (that is what I think I heard!). You might have suspected that they are, but how would you “know” if he hadn’t told you?
In his editorial in issue 10 of his paper, Sunshine, he has some scathing things to say about his erstwhile bedfellows, particularly the cabal:
• “It seems as if vindictiveness is the order of the day by this national disaster of a cabal. How else can one explain the foolishness that is taking place at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, where holders of PBR passes which were recommended by Jack Warner are now being asked to return these passes to the Government.”
• “This cabal has no grace, no class, no statesmanship; is this the change the nation voted for in 2010?”
Note this one in particular:
“Once a government descends into partisan politics and believes that the wealth of the country belongs only to their financiers with the crumbs falling upon the ground over which their supporters must fight, then they are ushering in a period of anarchy. They are bringing to our society State-controlled gangster politics which can only result in mayhem and violence, the kind we are now experiencing across our social landscape.”
Wow! Let’s count the charges against the Government. One: partisan politics. Two: dividing up the country’s wealth among its financiers. Three: neglecting and insulting its supporters. Four: State-controlled gangsterism resulting in our bloody crimes.
We have known about the first three, but did we know about the fourth? How many of you associated violent crime across the country with State gangsterism? How many commentators have labelled ministers as gangsters?
This, folks, is a view from inside, and a number of questions spring to mind. How many other disgruntled insiders are there, and what grim views do they hold of the Government?
If they hold views as grim as those of our protagonist, shouldn’t they speak out?
If they can’t speak out inside, why don’t they move out?
Since our protagonist clearly held the views expressed outside while he was inside, why didn’t he break ranks and express them publicly? And what does this say for his credibility?
Above all, does he think he can fix this deception?
• Winford James is a UWI lecturer
and political analyst