Corruption preceded the PNM
In his piece on integrity in public life Kenneth Lalla gets off, not for the first time, to a flying but false start with his bald claim that “(e)ver since Independence this country has been plagued with bribery and corruption”. (Express, October 23).
It may suit the ulterior motives of the partisan agenda of the dishonourable in our society to run the argument, ad infinitum, that all its ills are to be traced to its independence, even as they hasten to enjoy its fruits.
On the assumption, however, that Mr Lalla would wish to keep his distance from the missteps of that madding, deluded and hypocritical crowd, he must be stopped in his tracks and reminded corruption was a real headache in our society long before Independence in 1962.
Indeed, on September 25, 1956, his birthday and the morrow of the People’s National Movement’s initial and unprecedented electoral success, Dr Eric Williams was greeted with the report of the commission on a capital for the proposed West Indian federation, which had this to say on the matter:
“There are widespread reports of corruption in the public life of Trinidad... Financial scandals may... occur anywhere, however high the tone of public life, what is significant in the case of Trinidad... is that these practices appear to be tolerated”. Thus, the integrity regime Mr Lalla attributes to an ailment arising during the tenure, in effect, of Dr Williams, is really an attempt to tolerate no longer an endemic preexisting condition.