What's in a number?
For the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the number 34 and the section of law which it refers to will remain a low point for the duration of the People's Partnership administration.
For Carlos John, one of the potential beneficiaries of that Section 34 law, it was the licence number selected for the acquisition of a new vehicle for his daughter, Candice.
In December 2010, when John sought to purchase the silver two-door Mercedes Benz for his daughter, PCS 34 was the number selected for the car.
To get a specific number, the Express was told, an application has to be made to the Transport Commissioner to reserve it for vehicle registration.
In June this year, the number 1 in the PCW series was reserved for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for her personal Range Rover. In the case of John, an application was made for the PCS series which ran from November 2010 to June 2011.
The registration address of his daughter is the same as John's address in Moka, Maraval. That address is also the registration address of John's three companies—Canmar Investment Strategist Ltd (both John and his daughter are directors), Corporate Solutions Ltd and Transactions International Investments Ltd.
In January 2011, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had signalled to Parliament that legislation would be brought to Parliament to abolish preliminary enquiries.
That duty was subsequently tasked to former justice minister Herbert Volney, whom, the Express understands was courted by John in 2010 to leave the High Court bench for a turn at politics. The former St Joseph MP acted as Volney's campaign manager for his successful bid for the same seat for the UNC in the May 2010 general election.
John, a former United National Congress (UNC) minister of works, has applied to have charges dismissed against him arising out of the Piarco Airport fraud matters under the Section 34 law after it was "expedited" and proclaimed by President George Maxwell Richards on August 30.
Of the numbers usually held in reserve, from 1 to 100, why did John select 34 for his daughter's car?
Contacted yesterday, John said he didn't "recall that is what it is" as the car was a few years old.
Pressed further, he said he "really did not know" as his daughter was a grown woman who made her own decisions.
Asked directly if Section 34 was a conspiracy to allow certain men to walk free, he responded: "There's no conspiracy on my part with any Government official."
Questioned on how he found out about the early proclamation of Section 34, John said he read it in the press when it was proclaimed and he "can't talk for anybody else".
John told the Express that these days he spends most of his time in Washington, DC, with his grandchildren and he's not in touch with the day-to-day running of the country. He emphasised that he was out of politics and was a very "private citizen".
Asked his thoughts on the Partnership Government's performance, he would only say they seem to be "under pressure".
John was first under police investigation for a $500,000 cheque he received from Ishwar Galbaransingh and thereafter he bowed out of politics and was subsequently charged.
John is one of several persons who stood to benefit from the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act.
The others include UNC financiers and wanted men by the United States Government-- Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson; former finance minister Brian Kuei Tung; Ameer Edoo; Maritime Life General Insurance Co Ltd executives John Henry Smith and Barbara Gomes; and former government minister Russell Huggins.
The men all logged applications in court after the early proclamation of Section 34 and before the Act was repealed in Parliament.
A week before the Act was proclaimed, Volney admitted that he had a conversation with Galbaransingh during a retreat which his ministry held at the Galbaransingh-owned Grafton Beach Resort in Tobago after Opposition MP Colm Imbert raised the issue in Parliament.
He claimed that the conversation was related to a security issue at the hotel.
Persad-Bissessar fired Volney for misleading her team and apologised to the nation following the Section 34 fiasco.
There is a general consensus among lawyers that the accused will walk free because it is ad hominem legislation.