It would seem that each time I travel abroad, a political crisis or some sort erupts which forces me to refocus attention on home. In May 2010, it was the Manning induced auto coup, while in 2011 it was the State of Emergency.
It may be true, as some say, that "bacchanal" is baked in the Trinidad pie, and is now an ever present feature of public life in Trinidad and Tobago and that regardless of which party or coalition is in charge, one should always keep one's political seatbelt fastened.
The current political cleavage is driven by the determination of large numbers of people that Ish and Steve must go to jail, and the corresponding view held by some that if one has money, one can do thing with impunity.
In the process of waging this epic battle, all the political parties and the critical civil society groupings have come alive and has landed us with what is perhaps the most serious governance crisis that we have ever experienced. Ironically, the cock-up that triggered the events came in the midst of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of that Independence.
The events rudely reminded us that notwithstanding the nice things we say about ourselves—how much better we are than those political gangsters in other parts of "the Third World", we are still on political "skid row".
Corruption is now hypernormalised.
What caused our political power failure? How could legislation that all parliamentarians agreed was long overdue could have had such a bizarre outcome? Was the outcome an accident which brought down our political power lines or a very cleverly crafted three-card trick?
As I try to make sense of the events, several conspiracy views contend for acceptance. One narrative has it that Volney is either venal, incompetent, has a few screws loose or all of the above. According to views such as these, the Prime Minister thankfully had the cohones and the integrity to rid the country and the ministry of him. Volney lied to his colleagues, is unfit for office, and we are well rid of him.
There are however other prisms through which to view the events which resemble Rubic's cube.
One view is that Volney was not the "villain of the piece", but the sacrificial lamb, the person who was chosen to fall on his sword in order to save the PP team from comprehensive disaster.
That was easy to do, it is argued, because the minister not only looked the part, but had said and done weird things before, both in the judiciary and in ministerial office.
It was possible that he could do other things that were beyond belief, particularly if someone made it worthwhile for him to do so.
A third view is that Volney was neither the fall guy, the corruptee who accepts the pieces of silver, who was used by financiers who were privy to the plot, but his own man, someone who was driven by his own ideological and spiritual imperatives. Volney's assertions about his relationship with Kamla whom he seems to adore, and his God have in my view not been taken as seriously as perhaps they should. He has denied that he "tiefed" or did anything wrong, foolish or adventurist. If anything, Volney seems confused which is understandable. He has lost his job and his pension, the self-respect which men crave and who knows what else.
One can feel the hurt and the bereavement.
As asked plaintively, "Why would I lie to my Cabinet colleagues?"
He tells us that he tries not to lie, and that lying had caused him to lose his first wife and he is not about to lose his second by lying.
His hands were clean and his conscience clear.
He also had a God above who understood "sin" as others did not seem to.
Whom was he accusing of being irreligious?
Volney went on to add (via Facebook) comments about his family's commitment to God: "We are people of faith and we are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. We need now to pray to God for strength for our Prime Minister, who is now overcome by Anand Ramlogan, that she may purge herself of the influence of one who is unelected by the people but influences her in a way that we the people must fear."
(We however note that Volney seemed to have changed his mind about Ramlogan whom he said had nothing to do with the issue and had nothing to fear from Rowley).
Volney also questioned the view that his colleagues did not know what was taking place. He noted that they were all intelligent men and women who could read and understand for themselves, and line up the dots in respect of what had to be done to effect the implementation of the law to which they were giving effect.
In his view they could not fail to understand.
Volney insists that Ish and Steve were not his priority. His agenda was to free those persons who might be innocent and unjustly deprived of their freedom because of the over crowding of the lists. This was the purpose for which the legislation was introduced and the reason why he sought to fast forward proclamation of section 34.
As he waxed philosophically, "People don't seem to appreciate, as I do, the presumption of innocence. You cannot jail people and have them with loss of liberty for up to ten years without a trial when you presume them to be innocent as of right."
In sum, Volney's argument was that Ish and Steve were unintended beneficiaries of his concern to free those who were presumed to be free as of right. It was intended to clear the backlog as the Askov case had done in Canada in 1940 which had freed some 30,000 persons of criminal changes.
According to Volney, freeing up such persons was for him a soul cleansing exercise.
It addressed the question of the balance between right of the State to prosecute and the right of the citizen to a fair trial within a reasonable period.
The matter is now a casualty of the cock-up.
Volney was philosophic about his plight.
Perhaps, he mused, God chose him for another vocation and another role.
"God is in charge, not Kamla."
He thanked Jesus for giving him the opportunity to do something else with his life.
Someone else would have the responsibility to execute the agenda of justice reform.
Someone else would pilot the legislation that is being readied for Parliament.
The cynics would of course dismiss Volney's cri de coeur and accuse him of lying and of being too clever by half about his motive.
In the popular imagination, Volney was part of an elaborate conspiracy that for him went wrong.
"No," insists Volney. "God who is the architect of all things wants me to recalibrate. He wants a change in my life. Next year I will be 60. Obviously God does not want this for me."
The former judge turned politician indicated that he is grateful to Kamla for giving him the opportunity to serve. He who gives can take back!
He however believes that Kamla ought to have accepted his explanations and accepted his resignation and allowed him to keep his pride.
Firing him via TV was a hurtful and bitter pill that was driven by politics.
To be frank, I do not know which of the many nancy stories I should believe.
I am however sure that we have not yet seen the end.
The "fat lady" has not yet sung.