Section 34 fiasco smells of deception and corruption
THE political climate in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 was volatile due to the disdain felt by the citizenry as a result of the way the then-government was running our country. Namely the issue of Calder Hart was on everyone's tongue and the alleged corruption and nepotism that was taking place.
To satisfy the demands of the masses our then-prime minister, Patrick Manning, announced an election almost halfway through his term in office. Democracy was embraced and the people were made to adjudicate on whether or not he and his government should continue to lead us. On May 24 the people chose our first female PM, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
The members of our Government swore to "uphold the Constitution", they claimed to be honest, transparent and fair as they put country before party and integrity before greed. Thus far numerous people have been fired from Government posts and lately the Section 34 fiasco smells of deception and corruption.
Last week Parliament convened to repeal this act that was declared law on August 31 because of the leverage it gave a few in evading possible penalties for their part in the Piarco Airport scandal. This act was sanctioned without the input of the president of the Criminal Bar Association, Pamela Elder SC; the president of the Law Association, Seenath Jairam SC; Chief Justice Ivor Archie; Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard SC, and others.
To add fury to injury our Justice Minister, Herbert Volney, met with one who would have served to benefit from the act, Ish Galbaransingh, at the Grafton Beach Hotel before the act was repealed.
Our Attorney General and our PM are not giving us any closure on this matter that has created an atmosphere worse than that created by the Calder Hart issue some years ago. This caused a PNM-led march of thousands from the Red House to the President's House and a signed petition of thousands of signatures.
A matter as grave as last week's must yield some sort of penalties to the perpetrator(s) and this should have already been done expeditiously. Letters of resignations or statements of elimination of appointments should have already been produced. Furthermore, the Parliament should be resolved and the people should be made to decide if they want the present administration to continue to lead.