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Our land of rampant corruption

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most dishonest places on earth. This society lives by a brand of dishonest stupidity that contrasts sharply with all the education available to it.

It describes a video plainly showing robbery and a violent cutlass attack as "alleged''. It calls pathetic Government minister's hissing derogatory public statements meant for citizens "missteps''. It calls the yearly theft of billions of taxpayers dollars "unfortunate mismanagement''.

It calls the crime of aiding the escape from court prosecution of political financiers accused of stealing billions of dollars of taxpayers money by Members of Parliament "a fiasco''. Nothing is called what it is. The place is sick with lies that prop corruption and breed misery.

Is the good of the state and the good of society ever the same good? The financiers of our governments have a knack for coming up with things for them to do that help to make them richer.

Commissioning of the white elephant Caroni Racing Complex, the La Brea ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate plant, the Tarouba Lara Cricket facility were said to be for the good of society. Society has not benefitted a penny from any of these mega construction projects. But government financiers benefit handsomely from them.

Two party financiers are alleged to have benefited to the tune of $1.6 billion from the 1997 to 2000 Piarco airport project. Their case is yet to commence formal hearing in court. Ten years have gone since charges were laid against the men. Then out of nowhere comes the Section 34 law.

Do people think $7.6 billion in a mega construction contract work is above board given the history of T&T's state building projects to attract corruption and theft? T&T is running on deficit budget number three for the third year running. Is spending $7.6 billion on road works at a time when thousands of miles of existing roads lie in ruin going to help T&T to prosper?

Mega construction projects have dollar signs attached to them to obscure the truth. The larger the cost of the project the harder it is to say that people corruptly benefit from it, even when the unnecessary cost overruns, obscure tendering processes, exclusion of the public from planning and oversight of mega construction works is as plain as day.

What is T&T's rating on the international corruption perception index? It rates a telling high of 3.2 out of ten.

B Joseph

via e-mail

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