Picking up the pieces after Therese
Something has to be said about political bias, hypocrisy and favouritism that has surfaced in the fiasco involving PM Persad-Bissessar's appointee Therese Baptiste-Cornelis who is our Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.
It has been an ongoing strategy of the current administration to excuse their actions by selectively citing evidence from the previous PNM government as justification for any questionable actions that they pursue.
This strategy has worked well among the People's Partnership/UNC supporters who complete the defence argument of the incompetent actions in every possible media outlet. However, in past instances – and there are many – no one bothered to say anything to put a stop to this abuse of the people's trust.
Under this administration simple mathematics with regard to spending and accountability went out the door. Questionable appointments are handed out to unqualified supporters of the party while qualified individuals were punished for the possibility of being a leftover from the last administration or not voicing their support loudly enough.
Now we have the infamous speech that squandered an opportunity to highlight Trinidad and Tobago on the world stage as a stable, culturally diverse nation with opportunities for investment and a model nation in the age of globalisation.
A mere recitation of our nation's history instead of the Ambassador's retelling of her personal life in language more appropriate for a lime at Smokey and Bunty would have been sufficient. Instead, Trinidad and Tobago's representative, Ambassador Baptiste-Cornelis, embarrassed our nation and left behind video evidence that will be a constant reminder of the consequences of incompetent leadership.
And yet the die-hard supporters still make an attempt to defend this atrocious appointment.
How can those who criticised then prime minister Manning's appointment of his wife and deemed her unqualified defend this 37 minutes of pure rubbish from the Ambassador?
Amidst the random rambling on about the love story of a Tropical Bear meeting a Penguin, Ambassador Baptiste-Cornelis also provided evidence of favouritism when she claimed that she was appointed to a position that she did not even know was vacant and openly admitted that she had no idea how to perform her job.
In addition, she raised questions about her own ethical standards when she told the world that she used her position as a lecturer to influence students to vote for the People's Partnership.
Ambassador Baptiste-Cornelis essentially told the world that she has no integrity, is unqualified for her current position, was fired from the previous job, and got her current posting because of a personal relationship with the Prime Minister.
What will any potential investors think about T&T after this? It was/is, after all, Baptiste-Cornelis's job to focus on areas of trade, finance, and diplomacy. Think for a moment about the damage she has done.
The Opposition Leader has called for her to be recalled. It is unlikely that will happen without the public demanding it. However, even the Opposition Leader failed to address the main issue: Therese Baptiste-Cornelis did what she did because she was placed in a position where she was out of her league by a leader who is equally out of her league.
A recall is simply not enough. The Prime Minister made the appointment and the Prime Minister should take full responsibility for making that appointment and the damage done to the nation.
Now is an opportune time to demand from the Government transparency in all of its actions. No more appointments for unqualified party loyalists, no more overpriced no-bid contracts as favours, provide a breakdown of Government expenditures for public works projects, and, most importantly, demand from the Government a commitment to secure the interests of all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago without the bias of race, religion, or political affiliation.