Friday, February 23, 2018

Govt must settle 1990 debt for all

I refer to Raoul Pantin’s article, “Settle the 1990 debt now” (Express, July 9).

There is a serious flaw in Mr Pantin’s article which seems to focus on a particular type of coup victim as the writer did not mention other persons (a business is a person in law) who have suffered both directly and indirectly as a result of the 1990 attempted coup.

My father John Moralles, who owned the City Gate Restaurant opposite the transit hub in South Quay, died and left the restaurant which was the sole source of income for his wife and two children until the restaurant was sold.

After the coup, when the restaurant burned down, I was the only person in the family faced with the responsibility to ensure that my mother and her two incapacitated children did not end up on Frederick Street with outstretched arms.

I faced this task manfully and at great personal cost.

We lost the restaurant and its income because of the coup. Just as Mr Pantin claims compensation for himself and for the huge pain and disruption both he and others endured afterwards and even up to today, which I can understand, I believe that the entire matter of compensation for victims of the coup must go beyond cases like Mr Pantin’s.

Many downtown businessmen did obtain some paltry relief for reduced interest to start up but nothing on the capital which they all lost. My father owed Republic Bank over $200,000 which I had to pay from my own poor pocket and which I never got back from his estate.

These days a lot of money is going to others—footballers, Carnival artistes, new pensions for judges and parliamentarians etc, which I agree with up to a point.

However, I think there are others including Mr Pantin and businessmen who should also be compensated simply because the State failed in its responsibility to protect us in 1990. Frankly speaking, the mismanagement of the State caused the coup.

I look forward to compensation for Mr Pantin and others like him, the businessmen and me in the 2015 Budget.

By the way, I would like the public to again know that I inherited the legal ownership of the name “City Gate” from my father. Its continued use without permission, including by the City Gate management, is illegal and this has been going on for years to much discomfort. Unfortunately, this is how T&T operates.

Peter S Moralles