Connecting thread a cause for concern
It would appear that the People’s Partnership’s infamous and corruption-riddled LifeSport, the PNM’s $55 million secret scholarship programme and Patrick Manning’s dining, wining and meeting with the criminal fringe dubbed community leaders all have a connecting thread of secrecy, favouritism, gaining electoral spin-offs and rewarding the criminal element to a lesser extent.
Is it not strange and deja vu that the Partnership regime, prodded by the investigations incited and revealed by Minister Devant Maharaj under the banner of the Equal Opportunity Commission made heavy political weather and rightfully so on the PNM’s corrupt secret scholarship programme?
The Partnership Government discredited the meeting that Mr Manning held with community leaders at the Holiday Inn and hung these two issues as an albatross around the neck of the PNM.
The Partnership is now guilty as charged of fraternising with criminals, giving them secretly over $400 million in one grand feeding frenzy that makes the PNM’s secret scholarship programme look like a tea party.
Crime in Trinidad and Tobago pays. Because you just have to be, according to Minister Anil Roberts, a little black boy guilty of law-breaking, larceny and other crimes and you will be rewarded handsomely.
At least the secret scholarship programme had something to show even if it was doled out to black boys and girls with some measure of academic merit, but how can more than $400 million be dispensed secretly under a veil of corruption, graft, law-breaking, infringement of public service procedures and enrichment of officials who administered the programme with nothing to show by the way of rehabilitation or crime reduction.
Was LifeSport disguised and designed as a continuation of campaign inducement and financing alleged by losing PNM candidate, Karen Nunez-Tesheira in MP Roberts’ constituency in the 2010 elections?
This issue is a big one. It cannot be restricted to the ministerial stewardship of Anil Roberts. It tarnishes the entire Government. More to come from the revelations of Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) and Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) scandals because the LifeSport programme may be the proverbial tip of the iceberg.