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Felon Machel unfit as ambassador

What happens when the short arm of our law reaches someone who is considered a local celebrity? That individual reaches just close enough for a magistrate to deliver a divisive blow to the "I is 'so an so'; I could do what ah want!" mentality. What happens now when on top of this, the guilty party is the King of Soca, Government's favourite entertainer and poster boy for large national companies?

A clamour to this broken image by those in power, knowing well what has been proven wrong in law and ignoring the fact that the people of Trinidad and Tobago are thinking human beings rather than robots programmed by those in high positions.

Machel Montano is best known to the Government as an official cultural ambassador, the recipient of a $5 million album which contained what they referred to as our Olympic and 50th Independence Anniversary Song, but what the national community heard was a cat's claw scraping against a sheet of rusted metal.

So what happens as he is convicted? Former extempo king and current Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters opens his mouth and shoves his foot in it faster than any soca or calypso beat could ever be. Not only does he say the magistrate should go easy on him, but he attacks the media in saying that Machel is not a criminal.

Minister, he was found guilty in a court of law on five violent criminal charges. What does that make him? And further, do you have no respect for the courts or our intelligence? Perhaps both. Gypsy was a boss on the extempo stage, politics is similar but not the same.

Machel is known as the poster boy of sponsors bmobile and Caribbean Airlines (under State board control), both making their statements quickly that they "stand by him". Both of these companies, in doing this, have displayed that they are disgusting excuses for corporations. Not much we can expect, I guess, from 4G service that fails constantly and a major airline that cannot even cover their expenses, let alone turn a profit.

As harsh as that was, it is the truth. Machel is now guilty of five criminal charges; what is there to stand by, criminal activity? When Tiger Woods was revealed to have been cheating, his sponsors dropped him faster than his wife. Why? Not only is it bad for the company's product sales, in terms of product association, it is a matter of business ethics. Whether or not there was Government interference in these State-owned companies is unknown, but it doesn't look good on anyone, either way.

A rule of law is that no penalty must be imposed for anything other than a breech of law, so the Government could have gotten away with appointing him as an ambassador, even when he was on the charges (although it was in bad taste). Now that he has been proven guilty, where do we go from here?

The PM made a statement that he should face the law and the consequences. Madam PM, if you wanted to make a statement and do the right thing, remove him from his post as cultural ambassador. He is a con- victed felon, undeserving of representing us in a diplomatic capacity or in anyway as endorsed by the Government.

Paul-Daniel Nahous

via e-mail

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