Friday, April 30, 2010

The UNC's Final List of Candidates & Projections

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar today announced the 24 candidates who will fight on the ticket of the United National Congress party at the May 24 general elections. The announcement was made by Ms. Persad-Bissessar at a media conference this afternoon the UNC’s party headquarters, Rienzi Complex, Couva. The COP will be announcing their slate on Sunday the 2nd of May.

They are:
  1. Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Siparia);
  2. Dr Suruj Rambachan (Tabaquite);
  3. Dr. Chandresh Sharma (Fyzabad);
  4. Nela Khan (Princes Town North);
  5. Clifton De Coteau ( Moruga/Tableland);
  6. Dr Roodal Moonilal (Oropouche West);
  7. Stacy Roopnarine (Oropouche East);
  8. Ramona Ramdial (Couva North);
  9. Rudy Indarsingh (Couva South);
  10. Collin Partap (Cumuto/Manzanilla);
  11. Dr Fuad Khan (Barataria/San Juan);
  12. Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh (Caroni Central);
  13. Dr Tim Gopeesingh (Caroni East);
  14. Stephen Cadiz (Chaguanas East);
  15. Jack Warner (Chaguanas West);
  16. Garvin Nicholas (Diego Martin North East);
  17. Jairam Seemungal (La Horquetta/Talparo);
  18. Winston Peters (Mayaro);
  19. Nizam Baksh (Naparima);
  20. Errol McLeod (Point a Pierre);
  21. Annabelle Davis (Port of Spain North/St Anns West);
  22. Verna St Rose Greaves (St Anns East);
  23. Herbert Volney (St Joseph);
  24. Dr Rupert Griffith (Toco/Sangre Grande).
So here's what I predict at this stage very quickly. The red indicates win for sure. So 18 from the UNC. Now the ORANGE indicates if the voter turn out increases (as I have mentioned before) and the COP voters turn out. Now its up to the COP to reveal their cards.

So far the COP has been proving exactly what the COP is good at. The logistics of planning and action behind the scenes. I have to write my Week in review, which I think is better that trying to write every time there is some new bobol brought on. So stay tuned to that.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wither Rowley

Everyone asking "Wither Dookeran?" and "Wither Panday" etc etc. But what I would like to know is:

Where is Mr Rowley?


He's been noticeably absent from the platform thus far. Hes been nominated and he's going up, but not a peep on the ground in Diego Martin about Mr Rowley. Now I'll be honest here, if Rowley weren't PNM I'd vote for him! (Sounds bad doesn't it?) But hear me out, hear the thoughts: Rowley is a well spoken, up in your face, no nonsense individual, who is tough and though always looking vex, we've seen times when he has laughed and looked less like the nickname they give him. In fact SOME people claim to be friends with him on Facebook, and he doesn't seem to have a separate person dong his posting, because he has been known to come on at odd hours and post infrequent personal things. This kinda shows that maybe Mr Rowley really does think the people are important. But from what I've heard on the ground in his constituency is that if a war were to break out tomorrow you'd want him covering you as you storm the pill boxes! (Go look it up, its a World War two thing (showing my age maybe??))

So Wither Rowley? Not at all. Maybe he's the secret weapon, maybe Patos waiting till things start looking REALLY desperate (they anymore desperate than they are now? I see they rescinded the deportation order on the UNC advisor) he'll unleash the "Rottweiler" (I think that's unfair to call the man that, so from now on I'll call him Rowlie. :) Remember what I said. . . Rowley is the ace in the hole. Will he "hang Jack?" we have to wait and see . . .

And now for a little election interlude:


(oh he's gone btw. . . more thoughts to come)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The week in Review

So we're coming up to the end of April, very close, its payday for most and just another day for most of us who live hand to mouth in this isle we call paradise. But here we are.

Not being one to ramble on, I'm looking at you Kamla, nor one to incite hatred, like you Patos, well maybe hatred for stupidity and thoughtlessness, I start this blog on a light hearted note:

This campaign cannot get worse than it is.

Or can it?

Stupidity reigns on BOTH sides of the political area (remember we have no third party this time, so we can't use them as a scapegoat) The first stupid thing is Manning calling this election in the first place! That was dumb. Bas saying he will fight Warner one on one, dumber still. But you know what was even dumber than that?

PNM Youth League says not to worry over Uff findings

Really? Really?! You can't be serious?! Really? But I digress. There is more dumb stuff to follow.

The COP and the UNC finally rallied together and signed the agreement. Now this may be nitpicking, but you don't go signing a YELLOW document in full view of the public and not expect SOME commentators to mention it. That would be dumb. What was more dumb was the presentations by both COP and UNC. Full of sound and fury, signifying. . . something.

This something was Ashworth Jack.

Without Ashworth Jack that entire meeting would have been lost. He was concise, he was powerful AND he spoke the issues for Tobago. Ashworth Jack needs to be Kamla's speech coach and writer, because what Kamla did after Ashworth and Dookeraan was to make everyone go home.

Kamla, if you want to be leader, you need to sound like one. You seemed tired and put upon by all those other men sitting behind you on the stage: all 7 leaders of this coalition. And yes Mr Manning coalitions DO work, except inside of the PNM as you and Rowley have so proved. Its your way, or the highway right? In fact do your research better and then maybe you wouldn't sound so dumb. Yes Malaysia has no freedom of the press, but then how free IS the press here anyway? You understand?

Dumb.

More dumbness. Cristine Kangaloo got up on the PNM stage on Tuesday night in Tabaquite and spoke a bout a myriad or things, one thing was that the country should vote for the PNM because they gave us "Free Education" and wrapped up in that is how the PNM has made education better for all of us. "They were teaching about the History of Texas! What does the History of Texas have to do with us?! I don't want to learn about that!" Well Ms Kangaloo, did it ever occur to you that learning about historical events makes you a little more knowledgeable? There is something you should know about the history of Texas that might apply very well to your party's current situation. It was called "The Alamo" Do you think yet that being surrounded on all sides by a greater number of issues raised about your government's corrupt practices, makes you like Davy Crockett et al, out gunned, out manned and out maneuvered? Tell us Ms Kangaloo, what was the result of "The Alamo?"  Or is it that you are rejecting the idea that one's pursuit of independence in action and in thought should not be learned?

I think that's what makes you dumb.

But the dumbest thing of all had to be the Thursday night deportation of Henry Bernard Campbell, the UNC advisor who was hired to handle the marketing and strategy of the campaign. I mean PNM, you could at least MAKE UP something, plant some weed on him or something! As of now even Martin Joseph backpedaling and saying "He never did it." Well if you didn't do it Mr "Homee-sides" Then who did? This was so blatant and shows that I think the PNM really are desperate! I mean they've been putting their foot in their mouth all this time.

This action has given Kamla something to work on, its like being handed the PNM playbook. You CAN'T POSSIBLY fuck this up now UNC/COP, this is handed to you on a silver platter. You can run with this.

But will they?

The campaign chugs on.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Manifesto for We. Culture



Culture

See Politics here and Social here.

A lot has come to the fore regarding NAPA. The members of ACTT have brought to light the inefficiencies of NAPA as a result of the inability of the present government to listen to what the Artists of T&T have to say.

Now in all fairness to the government, ACTT's ideas, though warranted, cannot be instituted in one building, and I don't think they expected it. BUT what it does do is show that the government's view of culture and the Artists' view of culture are two distinct and separate things.

I don't pretend to to understand the deep ramifications of Pan, Carinval and other forms of "culture" in our society and I am certainly no expert in theatre and other forms of expression, so a lot of what I say here really comes from my own observations and reading the "Secret history and tradegy that is NAPA" I also refer heavily to an article written by Mr Paolo Kernahan which you can read here. In the end what I propose is, should government try to even REGULATE culture? Or should it be privatised?

If one goes to any major metropolitan city abroad, different cultures have seeped into the city's DNA. Reggae and Soca living next door to Classical and Pop. But in the end each has its own distinct make up and its own distinct individuality. There will be followers of a certain genre and supporters and PATRONS of certain art forms.

In T&T the major patron of the arts in T&T is the Government and while this is necessary and important, it is also a really BAD IDEA.

Why?

Well in our very SMALL population made up of so many different "Cultures" the government runs the risk of inevitably favoring one "Culture" over another. The Chutney people say they not getting enough money for their Art, and the T&T Theatre Workshop say they being victimised while the PM gives millions to a classical band called "Divine Echoes" Any new Administration would have to address all the myriad different "Art forms" that request money.

So I propose, stop all.

Yes. Stop paying everybody for everything. This INCLUDES Carnival. Provide the space, charge for the use of it by admission and organise the security etc. (a MAJOR undertaking by any Government for all the Carnival activities) But stop paying out money for the prizes and stop all other payments. In fact don't even charge for the rights to broadcast it. Just regulate it. The whole Carnival Commission needs revamping, far be it for me to suggest how at this stage, but the one word I would use here:

Privatise.

But Audit.

In other words don't GIVE money to NCC, have them look for it themselves. That way if there is bobol in the NCC its not tax payer's money jumping up in the band! However the Government won't just be leaving the "Culture" out in the cold. The setting up of TRUSTS to draw down on yearly for activities would be overseen by a 3rd party committee headed by maybe two senators for either side of the bench. In other words this comes back to Constitutional and Electoral Reform. Once that foundation has been repaired (rebuilt) all these other things fall into place.

In the end the government should put money into the following areas:
  1. The Museum and Education facilities for the teaching of Carnival, Ramleela, and other different forms of culture. But the rest of the support has to come from private sources. This way you preserve the old and provide a basis to develop and create new artistic forms
  2. The spaces have to be rented, again nominal fees to ALL concerned and a yearly timetable of events set up so everyone knows what's happening when. Really all you need is the managerial skills to do it.
  3. A re-look at the spaces that exist for holding these celebration and above all a referendum must be held with all parties concerned to find he best possible way of moving forward with our culture. All groups must be involved.
  4. We have to make culture into an organised movement involving all stake holders and it has to be equal and fair. It also has to be run like a business. Involving the Ministry Of Tourism for carnival and other events to make sure that they are pulled off smoothly and under budget and that we get maximum benefit from tourists who will be spending money to see these events and places.
In the end we can't put a finger on ONE thing that we can call "We culture" but to say EVERYTHING is we culture. Though the government can be the protector of the arts through laws and enforcement, for example copyright, etc. they cannot be expected to prop ALL art forms up indefinitely. A system of supporting the arts but not making the arts dependent on the government should be phased in. None more so than Carnival. In my estimation Carnival can well stand on its own without government "propping." Provide the space and they will come.

And that's it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Mindless Menace in T&T

This speech by Robert F. Kennedy was given on April 5, 1968 at the City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio. He might as well be speaking about T&T today. We are at the cross roads. Sit, think and reflect on these words. They transcend borders and speak to the heart of every national of every country. Everywhere. On the 24th of May, 2010. Vote. Help stop the madness. Thanks to ireid for this. . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SuperTrini speaks: "Dear God, Please kill Manning ?"

Although I disagree with Mr Supertrini on a few things NAMELY his unwillingness to stand up to piss-ants who use his Facebook group as their own personal pulpit and ways of getting ahead. I have to agree with this video post. NOW mind you I think its SLIGHTLY blasphemous to pray for BAD things to happen to people. But I understand where he's coming from. The frustration is all around. Amen

Saturday, April 17, 2010

THIS. IS. ELECTIONS!

So we have a date. The country took a breath and everyone started running around like headless chickens trying to get registered, and checking lists and so on. DeepThought has been telling you about voting for the last few weeks and should you want to read it you can read about "Why you should Vote," "Why the Numbers Tell you to vote," and "How to get registered." As of today, the EBC is in full registration mode only 5 more days to get on that golden list. So before I start thinking about the events of the last week I just want to say a few key things.

  1. That I will try to update this page everyday with thoughts, it will be difficult as the shits going to be flying fast and furious for the next 40 days.
  2. I am hoping to start posting the lists of candidates hopefully by the end of next week, as the PNM has already nearly finished it nominations, I'm just waiting on UNCOP/TOP to solidify their agreement and get the candidates out the door.
  3. I will try to concentrate on the marginals and see what the feeling is on the ground.
  4. No I won't tell you what constituency I am in, DeepThought has to have his own privacy!
  5. and No. DeepThought will NOT tell you what he's going to do in the voting booth, BUT I think you already know!
So onto this week in review. Well we'll start with Friday. May 24th is the day of election. No fanfare, no trumpeting from the pulpit by the PM Pastor, he simply called up his partner Max and after all the bullshit talk about free tickets to this fete and who was at the other fete, he conversationally said "May 24th breds" and the notaries rushed to the one fax machine in the new PM's office, and started faxing to everyone. I wouldn't be surprised which radio station got it first, that would be Citadel Radio, run by our very own PNM-ite Louis LeeSing. Good for him, he got a sccop. So now the opposition has a chance to do what they couldn't do in 2007.

Meanwhile the PM continued his screening and Wednesday and Thursday were not free from Bobol. In fact Monday and Tuesday had even MORE bobol. The bobol for the PNM started on the weekend when Penelope Beckles was asked to take a "diplomatic posting" and car named Laurel, oooppss I meant a GIRL (for she is a VERY young girl) CALLED Laurel Lezema-Leesing (see a connection?) was put in Penelope's place. The Arima PNM-ites placarded late into the night shouting "No Penelope, NO VOTE!" Hmmm sounds familiar doesn't it? (excuse the language, I couldn't find the newspaper article) So the PNM-ites love to do the same things over and over. They placarded for Ken but the voted in that idiot Amery Brown, when they "claimed" they would vote for the COP. Hmmm What were the final results in that constiuency I wonder. Here check it yourself Amery Brown 9,301 votes. Not bad for the people who said they'd vote COP. (BTW the Vasant Barath people on the UNC side were saying the same thing. . . Trini's so predictable!)

So that leads us to the biggest bobol yet. Mr Keith "Rotweiler" Rowley. His seat is the ONLY seat I will consider a safe right now. The PNM knows it. The PM, KNOWS that he cannot lose Rowley this time around. See how politics makes strange bedfellows? Keith's nomination was secured and his crowd was just as big as Penelope. So how is this going to work? How is Keith going to go on a platform and extoll the virtues of his party, prepare speeches on PNM policy that has been proven bad for the country AND push the election of his Political Leader back in as PM. My thoughts are that Rowley can say ANYTHING at this point, even say vote for the COP, they can't stop him. So we'll just have to see what tricks he's going to turn on the hustings. We'll have to watch Mr Rowley over the next 40 days.

Now onto the Opposition. They've had the headlines for most of the week. Accommodation this and meeting that and "72 hour deadline" this. In the end what seems to have occurred is that Jack Warner has laid down the law. "Look we have 15 safe seats, you can give us MAYBE 4 more. You have nothing to bargain with. BUT we don't want you running off to your supporters and turning them away OR splitting the vote again. So here wha Dooks, you can run in St Augustine if you want, and other than San Juan/Barataria and our 15 seats and Tobago, you run anywhere you like." That leaves Tunapuna and the rest of the marginals for the COP to fight. Is this a good strategy? I will reserve comment on this until the analysts have sounded off some more as the election starts to get into full swing.

What I do know is that in certain PNM held seats if the voter turn out increases and enough people vote against the PNM, we could have a repeat of 1986. But we shall have to wait and see.

Kamla's speech on Friday night waffled some more and kept imploring people to vote out the PNM, but with no clear idea WHAT they plan to do when in Government, its seems that the only person to save Kamla and the UNC from itself is the logistics and policy making of the COP and THEIR track record hasn't been good at that either. How do you provide an alternative to something so solid as "Vision 2020?" while the "back to Basics" idea sounds nice, it DOES sound like a lot of hard work, and let's face it, Trini's lazy, they would rather someone TELL them that by 2020 they will be developed than someone tell them "You have to WORK to get 2020 status." So we shall see.

I am still formulating my last part to my "Manifesto for We." post on "culture" Stay tuned for that.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Manifesto for We. Social


See Part 1 "Political" Here
Social

Education

This is the backbone of our society. An informed public, who know the difference between pre-packaged information and the truth is tantamount to make decisions during elections. The system that has been allowed to develop in Trinidad & Tobago is failing us. What we need is less emphasis on simple training of individuals as if their on an assembly line, to taking time to meet each individual's need to see that they can process and interpret information with the ability to analyze and problem solve.

Firstly we need to understand that education isn't a blanket philosophy, from the time of early childhood the child must discover what he or she is good at. To put it another way, shoe horning a curriculum down the throats of our young people is not working. Each child learns differently. Right now there is a serious crisis that has developed in our nations schools, we have students passing final exams without the ability to elocute nor write proper English. This is PARAMOUNT to the success of the nation, because if you cannot be understood, then you cannot teach nor can you learn. Why are children not learning proper English? Because their parents and their teachers don't know what it is.

I have a radical idea, that may not be possible and may be shouted down as unpatriotic, but this is my thought. We hand over ALL primary school education to foreign trained teachers and we need to put teachers back into their own school to re-teach them how to write and speak. This not a joke, this is a serious situation, all you need is the will and the means and by 2020 I'm sure we'd be back on track education wise. I mean if we can bring Chinese labour at the drop of a hat, why not teachers looking for new opportunities abroad? We can even give parents incentives to go back to school themselves to re-learn. We have CEPEP and URP and MUST right? well if their not being used properly, let's START using them properly.

GATE & Scholarships

I think GATE is good thing, but like everything else it needs to be transparent. I think we need to have a third party handling scholarships. The idea of a Government company is a good thing in theory, but every government company needs to act like a public company and provide reports every quarter to its shareholders, WE. So in the case of awarding scholarships, this should be done by a separate entity not beholden to any party or special interest. The laws need to be updated and the people have to come from different walks of life, including the differently abled. That way its free and fair.

Housing

Again all you need is the political will and publicly show who's getting what house where. If we change the voting system, then the voter padding issue becomes non-existant. Housing is a necessary social activity, however its allocation must be transparent. Unfortunately there is no easy answer to the housing shortage, other than to build more. We just have to make sure we build good quality houses.

Heatlh

This one's easy to fix, but lacks political will. I think the COP's solution was and is the best.

A PATIENT-CENTERED HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
The gross neglect and inadequacies of the existing health care system are clear indicators of the extent to which the Manning regime has failed the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The Congress of the People will implement a Patient Bill of Rights entitling accessible, affordable, timely and professional healthcare services to all persons, at all times. This will ensure that patients will be treated with respect and dignity by all health care providers. We will:
  • provide a patient driven health care service with reliable, efficient,effective and sustainable delivery systems.
  • provide patient oriented professional and administrative support to all who access the health system.
  • provide high quality service at all national, regional and community based health facilities.
  • guarantee the provision of patient friendly physical facilities and state of-the-art medical equipment.
  • address the disparity in service between private and public healthcare systems.
  • Consideration will be given to adopting a universal health care system.
  • address the gross physical inadequacies in the health sector and the administrative inadequacies in the Ministry of Health and Regional Health Authorities

But one thing they're missing is having to wade through all that red tape and Doctor fraternities that exist in the Health Authorities. We need to revamp whose and maybe fire most of those who are in charge. Who will we put instead? Hard to say, but the corruption in the heath care sector is entrenched. This will not be easy, even the United States is having problems. The foundation is weak, the building cannot stand.

Security

This is even harder. All police officers must go back into training. A new system of checks in the Police Service must be created. I actually would recommend (if its not done so already) to get the Army men to train policemen in discipline and initiate systems where firearm control and responsibility are made priority. The Minster of National Security, who ever he will be, must hold meetings with the Commissioner of Police everyday and this job will be the hardest, but the person in charge needs to have willpower and management skills that border on the superhuman. . . BUT all of this can be solved with one action. We also need a strong Internal Affairs section to police the police. Not some "namsy pandy", Service Commission or whatever, a third party that answers to the Attorney General, or some such top person not affiliated with any political party.

Arrest all the "Community Leaders" Revamp CEPEP and URP and clean it up.

Give the courts more money and LET THEM DO THIER JOB. We need more night courts and Magistrates need to be given more powers. Again the COP had some good ideas.

In summary we have to put back into the people's hands the idea of personal responsibility. If we use our "Advertising budgets" to create a communication making citizens more aware of what THEY can do to make themselves part of the process, we will win half the battle. I think right now, Trini's keep feeling that the government owes them everything. We need to go by the philosophy of JFK:

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CNC3's Report on Rowley's Speech in Parliament

This is the speeech that started the PNM's fall. Rowely's stance AGAINST the PM. I put this here so you know what were fighting about.

A Manifesto for We.


So if I'm going to complain about the parties having no "manifesto" then I thought, "Why not write my own?" Well not a LONG 28 page document like some Political Parties, but something that tackles the issues. So here we go.

We'll break it up into three sections, because in reality, this new government has a LOT of work to do to fix what the PEOPLE say the problems are. So breaking it up into smaller bites will aid in the digestion, and let's be realistic, if any Political Party promises more than what is written here, I think the people will be disappointed. There is no way anybody can be expected to fix everything in one term.

Political 

Constitutional reforms.

This is not just urgent, this is beyond urgent. The Local Government elections have been postponed way too many times to accommodate some "pie in the sky" bill that has not even been laid before parliament yet. The whole mechanism of the way government does business has to be revamped. This is not easy. This requires a lot of work. The Constitutional reform people like Dennis Pantin have been all over this for years. I am not going to repeat all of what is in the public domain. Here are some useful links to read on your own.

http://www.caribelaw.net/crf/aboutus.html

http://www.caribdaily.com/search?query=constitutional+reform&order=best&country=0

http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/selfnews/viewnews.cgi?newsid1255245024,7734,.shtml
However before we can talk constitutional reform, we must talk electoral reform. That is putting laws in place to make party funding public domain and putting caps and controls in place to "level the playing field as it were" when it comes to advertising. This is crucial. No one is saying you can't PROFIT from the elections as media house or supplier (really people gotta eat) but at the same time every Party MUST make its donations public knowledge.

The Anti-Corruption laws need to be revamped and the "Integrity Commission" needs to be studied more and really, is the Integrity Commission DOING anything? Transparency International has many anti-corruption tools to aid governments in fighting corruption and a lot of these tools have been submitted to T&T Gov'ts before. If you want to see what the TTTI is doing to help stem corruption go here and see the tools here

Its all there. all you need is to bring it home, push it through and get it done.

New Politics

The OLD ways of governing are fading away. Social Media is now the becoming the backbone of governance and political movements. Obama proved it and its easy to implement. You think becoming a fan of T&T Government on Facebook might not be cool? But if you do become a fan you become part of the process and providing daily updates on bills that are passing etc puts the power of the decision process into the hands of the people. This is why under Constitutional reform the power of recall and the implementation of referendums is important.

In summary the government needs to get back to the people with a conversation about where THEY see themselves being in the decades to come. Putting a goal for development is not enough. We've missed the deadline for 2020. What we need is more focussed goals for ourselves. For example, put the goal of constitutional reform to be done by 2012. Party reform and funding by 2014. The new election would then start using the new systems. But obviously we're not just concentrating on politics alone. There's still the Social and Economic sides to explore and work on.

See part 2 "Social" Here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God and Gravy get on the Train. . .

I listened to Mrs Persad-Bissesar's speech last night (I REALLY couldn't handle Patos, I tried, but after seeing poor Errol Fabien hawking Vision 2020, my Hart just wasn't in it!) Basically Kamla's doing what she did for the internal election (a winning formula?) She's stopped at being a Panday neophyte and beating up on the PNM and everyone else. She's encouraging all to become part of her plan to go "back to basics." Now Patos on the other hand, was in full election swing, firing shot after shot at the seemingly wavering opposition. While Kamla's talking about a "Ministry of the People" a rather lame attempt to provide the country a voice, that right now has no voice, Mr Patos says he's the "Most Vilified PM." And that he has turned this election into a war between Pharaoh and the Israelites, and he's Moses!

Kamla's sticking to issues. This is a good thing, however the issues are well known and unfortunately the speech, just like Patos, was very vague. What Kamla needs is the COP to GIVE her the meat to go on the bones. Kamla needs to start zeroing on solutions, not just repeating what we already know. How? How are we going to go back to basics Kamla? Its seems all pie in the sky right now. Nervous is the word I'd use to describe the UNC at this stage. Their supporters are wary. They've just come out of campaigning for her and Panday in an internal election, now that machinery needs to quickly re-tool and turn around to handle a General Election, and if Patos is to be believed, Local Government at the end of the year.

While we're on the subject of Panday. He was not there at the meeting. His days are done it seems. Will he "try a ting" with Ramesh during nominations? We'll have to wait and see.

Patos on the other hand hasn't said a word about the golden date of this election. Political Pundits are surmising that we're looking at a May 24th date as the latest he can hold the election. Patos and company answered back all their detractors by putting God on their side. This is an OLD tactic and unfortunately its usually 100% effective. These people fear God (and their pastor) more than anything. The immediate equating of God to a Battle in their eyes is easy to digest and EASY to keep the fuel going. If you're not with us you're against God himself. In the end, the pNM say, God HAS provided (houses, schools, GATE etc.) and if you DON'T vote us back in, God will forsake you. . .

This is scary yo. While I fear God, I fear Manning more if you ask me! And what he's doing in this election from his opening volley is even MORE scary.

Meanwhile Pato's wife, who they have claimed doesn't live with him anymore since she found him in the Palaces' pool with Karen Nunez-Texiera, said she loves her husband and in doing so loves the people. Everything is being centered around Patos because he's God! This is an election of faces, not of issues.

So far the opposition is still waffling.

The COP needs to step in now and give the jolt that the UNC needs. Kamla needs to appear firmer. answer the opening volley with a riposte. I think they have to remind Patos that the PEOPLE in an election is God. . . and the Real God Himself, in Heaven, doesn't take sides. . .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Numbers Don't Lie

So we've been talking and thinking about voting. You still think that voting is a waste of time? Well even if you do, I'm going to show you some figures. Now don't get upset, DeepThought isn't just going to drop a table in here and then say "Look you see!" No we're going to look at a few of the constituencies that COULD have beaten the PNM, and this way I'll show you how a higher voter turn out this time around would mean better odds at beating the PNM. So let's begin shall we?

In 2007 right after that General Election, Mr Peter Quentrall Thomas, a columnist for the Express, published the results and a "what if scenario." The "what if" concerned the idea that the COP didn't in fact split the vote, that using existing finite numbers of voters (those who ACTUALLY turned out) the UNC and the COP even combined would not have gotten into government. Here's what he said.
I had so much possitive feedback from the "what if" analyis of the election results that I did last week, that I realised in fairness to COP I needed to do some more "what ifs" to see where they would have won if there had been just a little more swing towards them. Last week we saw clearly that even if you totally merged the COP and UNC votes you couldn't beat the PNM. And the figures this week clearly show that for COP to win they need to get at least 20% of the PNM "Grass Roots" to vote for them. Note I emphasised "Grass Roots". There are 10 Grass Roots votes for every Middle Class vote. 
The COP and the UNC even combined in 2007 couldn't get into government. So what does that say? You need  MORE voters voting for the opposition than the incumbent (Peter says 20% and I agree). If we are to assume that the number of registered voters increased between 2007 and 2010 by even 1% then we can calculate the results. The total number of votes registered by the EBC in 2007 was 653,882. If that were increased by 1% would be, correct me if I'm wrong, 660,420. that's an increase of 6,538 voters! But I think it reasonable to, just for argument, say that we could increase by a small amount. Say 200 voters. That's almost an insignificant percentile.

Lets look at some seats now. I have put up Mr Quentrall-Thomases spreadsheets of the results here. Let's pull some seats where the COP/UNC were going to win combined and maybe a few safe seats for comparison.

PNM
COP/UNC COMBINED
WINNER
Diego Martin West
9,221
6,113
PNM
Pointe-a-Pierre
6,136
9,876
UNC/COP
Tunapuna
8,468
7,827
PNM
Barataria/San Juan
7,179
9,275
UNC/COP
St. Augustine
4,309
13,469
UNC/COP
San Fernando West
7,371
7,257
PNM

So we've INCREASED the voter turn out by 200 voting against the PNM. Let's look at those again.

PNM
COP/UNC COMBINED
WINNER
Diego Martin West
9,221
6,313
PNM
Pointe-a-Pierre
6,136
10,076
UNC/COP
Tunapuna
8,468
8,027
PNM
Barataria/San Juan
7,179
9,275
UNC/COP
St. Augustine
4,309
13,669
UNC/COP
San Fernando West
7,371
7,457
UNC/COP



You see? Only 200 votes and we win one more seat than we did in 2007! And what happens if we did increase the voter turn out by 1%?


PNM
COP/UNC COMBINED
WINNER
Diego Martin West
9,221
12,651
UNC/COP
Pointe-a-Pierre
6,136
16,414
UNC/COP
Tunapuna
8,468
14,365
UNC/COP
Barataria/San Juan
7,179
15,813
UNC/COP
St. Augustine
4,309
20,007
UNC/COP
San Fernando West
7,371
13,795
UNC/COP


This is why I maintain that voter turn out is key. Take the figures in the Mr Quentrall-Thomas' spreadsheet or go here and add them yourself, even increase the voter turn out.

NOW We're NOT taking into consideration a few things:
  1. That PNM voters will vote against party lines, al la 1986 or just stay away from voting.
  2. That the unity process fails and the COP run independent, whether you like it or not, the UNC will hold, maybe lose a few seats (Couva north maybe?) And we'll be in a lot of trouble then.
  3. That the unity process causes COP supporters NOT to turn out to vote at all or UNC voters to do the same. and
  4. If Trini's so silly as to swallow this Vision 20/20 or whatever campaign bullshit that the PNM decides to hawk during this election so that they vote for them regardless.

In the end the COP/UNC support needs to feel energised and having a solid issue run campaign. So far I have not seen one from either. The party's forces seem rudderless and completely routed at this stage. BUT as any student of Sun-Tzu knows, a weakened enemy may not be a vanquished enemy.

Oh, and by the way, if you look at the total amount of votes for BOTH the UNC and PNM (the main parties) notice their support base SHRUNK considerably during the last election! I think it will shrink even further.

Now go get you and your friends registered THIS WEEK.

Start doing!

The Uff Report. Scanned and Delivered

At 512 pages even I don't think I have the time to read this! But here it is DeepThought got it for you. Download it here: The Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector.

A little history of how DeepThought came by this. It was shared to friend of mine via Facebook. The original link is from knowtnt.com. The original poster said that they haven't yet received the electronic copy yet but this is the scanned copy that hasn't even gone onto ttparliament.gov.tt. So I guess its not that "secretive." So if anyone has the time to read this tome. Please hit back on the comments section and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Bruising Campaign

After reading the Guardian editorial today I honestly do believe that their headline is most apt. You can read it yourself here. If the opposition forces don't come together then the PNM will surely win. However, the question oneveryones lips is how? How do basically two ideologies come together to beat one? The very nature of the parties involved don't blend well. We could see accommodation working but will it be long lasting? I guess the trust issue for voters doesn't only exist for the ruling party but the opposition as well. But no one trusts politicians in this country! And that's got be the main fists that will bruise the canidates in this election more than anything else.

Who's going to trust you after years of lies?

Think about it!

Image from the cover of the insane music of the Irish Band Dropkick Murphy's. "I'm Shipping up to Boston" was featured in the fantastic movie Departed. Buy the album, rent the movie.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Everybody want change

"Fella, ah could get some change for dis here one dallar?"
Me nah give change, you need buy, get change, you want powwa mint? Dat give u 75¢ for dat dolla."
"But fella, ah want four 25¢ pieces, not three!"
"Why you no want tree instea ah four? You get powwa mint in bargin, get nice breath, win ova lady, eh? u gimme dolla I gi you 3 25¢ and a powwa mint."
"Yeah? well, you know, meh bret really ain't smellin dat good. . .ok gimme de power mint and de change. . ."

"Dat go be one dolla 25¢"

And that's how an election starts. One person promises you more for just one 25¢ piece, but in the end they take you for the whole dollar and more.

Everybody's wants change, but are they willing to fight and die for it? Not in this country. They want it for nothing. Simple rule to follow.

Chinaman say cheap ting no good!

And he's right. Don't sell your vote in exchange for some outer space concept like Visions and futuristic cities, these do not a country make. Hard work and sweat and tears build a country, not a ten days. So seek not the easy path, they are filled with good intentions by politicians to get you to "believe in them." Neither seek to find solace in your political "elders" they are no more a guru than an everyday snake charmer. Look not even to a tribe for the answer from a tribe is barrel of crabs each trying to climb over everyone else's back to get to the top.

Believe in yourself. Trust your instincts. Don't believe what other's tell you, seek the truth yourself and vote based on the issues.

What are the issues? They are many and far ranging but the central issue is, this government as representatives of the people, have failed. That INCLUDES the opposition!

"You no want an exchange now sah? You want change? You need buy someting!"

Just don't sell your soul. . . for change

Elections fever has started. Stop thinking now and VOTE!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How to get Registered to Vote.

I figured since I've thrown down the gauntlet and I'm encouraging everyone to get their friends and themselves registered to vote, I think I should provide a little help. So here is some useful steps on getting registered. I will repost the voting process in another post. Remember you need to get registered NOW because the EBC needs time to check the list and so on. If an election date is set for this May, you have ONLY maybe two weeks maybe three to get yourself registered! Don't be left out in the cold! And DON'T come to DeepThought and complain that the Government sucks. . . you didn't vote, suck salt.

Step one. Get yourself a ELECTRONIC BIRTH CERTIFICATE. This takes no time at all. Find out how to do this here.

Step Two. Find out WHAT constituency you live in and when you figure that out, look for the nearest EBC office for your district. USUALLY its in a borough or in the nearest large populated area. Here is the list of offices from the EBC. Find yours. Look at the opening hours. Get there EARLY. Get a form.

Step Three. Don't carry too much electronic junk with you. There are metal detectors that you have to pass through (security) Besides if you go early enough you won't have to wait long. Make sure you have ALL your documentation. You need the Electronic Birth Certificate, filled out form and anything else that the form tells you need to prove that you live where you live.

Step Four. You are APPLYING for an ID card. This puts you on the list of available services INCLUDING jury duty. Yes. Once you have your ID card you are now a citizen of T&T!

Step Five. Step up to the counter. Present your documents and they will tell you what to do next. You will have to take a picture and they take your height and eye color etc. I mean it IS an ID card!

They will most probably send someone to your house to verify you live there. Routine. And you will get your ID card pretty quickly.

Check the list or go here to see if you've been registered. If not call the EBC and let them know.

When you go to vote check the list again.

See how easy that was?

You need to find out more? Check the EBC's FAQ. Or get a ton load of info from ttconnect.gov.tt.

So STOP thinking and GO GET REGISTERED. Oh and take a friend too.

image via cosmodaddy.com

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Commission of Inquiry into the Construction Sector. The ACTT Q&A

I have been sent this link via email to the entire transcript of ACTT's, represented by Mr Rubadiri Victor (who we are all familiar with) contribution to the Uff Inquiry. Its a google document that you SHOULD read.  In fact its actually quite entertaining to read Colm Imbert's attempts to side step the issues raised by ACTT as well as the contributors of the other stakeholders in the Construction Sector.

You know ALL of this could be avoided if someone said. "Hey I'll listen to you and take in some of your recommendations thanks!"

Please read it here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

UDECOTT - Or how I learned to stop worrying and read the Uff report

If UDECOTT were in the Star Wars universe, (since apparently we've been on that bent lately) it would be the Construction Guild, or some other "private contractor" that would handle its building. There's apparently a lot of debate over that massive construction project, none so well put as Kevin Smith speaking through Dante and Randal in his move Clerks that in essence a project so massive as constructing a small moon, requires a lot more man power than the Empire's Imperial Navy could supply. So what we have is a SPECIALISED conglomerate, or "giant private contractor" overseeing the construction under control of the Imperial Navy led by Darth Vader and ultimately the Emperor. So ANY major decisions on procurement and so on would be handled by the "Private Contractor" and not by the ones on top. However if the project hit slow downs and deadlines were not met, Darth Vader arrived to "put you back on schedule."


So what does this all have to do with UDECOTT? Well simply put, the Death Star's "private contractor" IS UDECOTT! You see? The Empire wishes this massive project to be done, and doesn't REALLY care HOW its completed, it just HAS to be completed FAST! (so ultimately it can go and blow up planets and some-such!) You get my drift?


So let's look at NAPA through this "lens." NAPA is like the Death Star laser. That HAD to be finished FIRST or else the Emperor would have a giant moon that would just float and look menacing. NAPA is a "key" component in the whole VISION 20/20 plan. It pulls together more than one "ideal" that turns a third world country like ours into first world status. Education, Culture and Engineering. (Loosely) But the darned thing was taking too long to build. The Emperor needs that super laser! So he sends Darth Vader. . . and wow. Look at that. It's operational! You get my drift? All Calder Hart was to Manning is Darth Vader to the Emperor. He's the one making sure the Vision 20/20 gets done!


This is really oversimplifying the situation. Maybe even muddying it. But why was UDECOTT set up in the first place? Lets look at a little history. I pulled this from UDECOTT'S website, and when you pick apart the layers of propaganda bullshit you get two simple points. the SOLE reason for UDECOTT'S existence is to make vision 20/20 real and following that, to handle the things that the government can't handle through normal channels. Here's the text in full. In the end the whole idea of accountability and fairness and money well spent was thrown out of the window in order for the Emperor to get this stupid Battle Station operational in time! And those who said "That's no moon. . ." were basically reduced to ashes.


In the end only ONE man (as it has been now proven by the Uff inquiry) had total control, and who did he answer to? Only one man.


We all know who that is.


Its like Manning and co sat down and watched Star Wars and figured this is the blueprint for making themselves all powerful! I mean I can type "LOL" here but its no laughing matter. Its just plain craziness. I still don't know how all of us let this happen! Its mind boggling.


In the end we can NEVER let this happen again.


Vision 20/20 isn't about infrastructural development. I read our presentation to the UN and nowhere did the T&T government (Otherwise known as GORTT

) say that big massive buildings were going to be a solution to poverty alleviation and education.

No where.


But what's the next step? If and when we vote them out, what do we do?


That requires more thinking and I'll be back with a few thoughts.


Now stop thinking and go DO something!

Corruption Evidence St James Youth Facility Part 3

Please see part one here and part two here. As stated in the previous parts, this is a reprint from an ordinary citizen trying to get the truth. Liam, as he states, is not a proffesional, neither does he have a political axe to grind. He just wants to know where is hard earned tax paying dollars are going. Thus: Part 3.

So as I mentioned before in my last post, I spent hours ringing trying to track down the Project Manager at NIPDEC for the St. James Youth Facility. At about 4:20 in the afternoon I finally got through to her.

I spoke to her under the guise of a youth group wanting to host workshops at the St. James Youth Facility. I informed her that I had contacted the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs as well as the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago where I was told that the Facility still fell under the management of NIPDEC and that all questions pertaining to completion dates had to be directed to her.

In possibly the most disinterested and uncaring yet annoyed tone she began to talk about the project. She stated, “well we now get d WASA plans approve, so is only now we could have a constant flow of water to d propatee, and T&TEC still hasis to finalise ah few tings”. I asked her how come it was taking so long to complete and inquired as to how three and a half years after construction the utility plans were now being completed. She snapped, “Listen! I only reach on dis projeck January dis year so I doh know nutting before dat”. I questioned her as to the person who held the portfolio before her and she lamented, “sir I hasis no information he does not work here no more and d onlyist ting i know is he name is Jesse doh axe meh nuttin else bout dat.”

In realising the building up of frustration in her voice I jumped right back talking about what my “youth group” does and why we needed to get the building.

She simmered down a bit and said that the project is near completion and she was hoping that it would be handed over to the Ministry by the end of April this year. She also stated that she had a few documents to process and she had to complete the processing before the end of the week. I queried her hesitance in giving me the completion date by asking what may delay the documents from being processed. She simply ended the conversation by informing me that if the documents were not completed this week they would have to wait until she gets back from her SIX WEEK vacation which starts on Monday 29th March. In complete shock by her flippant attitude to the project I thanked her and told her to enjoy her well deserved six week vacation.

Now after going through that entire scenario I’m sure one will understand my befuddlement as to how a people, a company and a government can be so lackadaisical when it comes to a multi–million dollar project and its complete lack of monitoring, accountability and transparency.

Thirsting for more, I decided to contact a friend of mine that is employed by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and is a senior manager of another sporting facility. It was the information that I got from this individual that really had me blown away and I hope everyone understands the gravity of this matter.

I was told that apparently the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs has hired 4 members of staff for the St. James Youth Facility already and they have been receiving a salary since FEBRUARY 2009. These positions include a Manager receiving monthly $7500 plus $1000 travel allowance and 10% duty allowance of $750 amounting to a total of $9250.00, an Assistant Manager receiving monthly $6400 plus $750 travel allowance amounting to a total $7150.00 and two clerical staff each receiving a monthly salary of $3500. Now if this is correct and my Grade Two in CXC Mathematics means anything, by my estimation the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs by extension the Government by extension the TAX Payers by extension the people of Trinidad and Tobago have paid a whopping $304,200.00 in salaries to staff of an incomplete and unused St. James Youth Facility.

Mind you, my conversation with my friend is not over yet. I have also been informed that when the Woodbrook Youth Facility was handed over to the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs last month. The Ministry went in and removed their desks, chairs, computers, filing cabinets and anything else that “belonged“ to them, then travelled the country looking for storage space to put away these items in other sporting facilities to be locked away and collect dust. The Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago who reports to the Ministry of Finance and not the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs then approached Cabinet and was approved funds to purchase desks, chairs, computers and filing cabinets for the Woodbrook Youth Facility. Well if that’s not a wanton wastage of taxpayers’ dollars I don’t know what is!

My investigations are on-going and I encourage everyone to be strong and not fear victimization when it comes to exposing the in-efficiencies, in-competencies and in-effectiveness of any Government, any businesses, any NGO’s or any individuals. We must treat this cancerous disease of corruption that has infiltrated and become an integral part of our society. You can call me unpatriotic, a cynic, anti-government, ungrateful, a detractor or any derivation of the sort but I know what the people of Trinidad and Tobago deserve as opposed to what they are being served and I will continue to fight for honesty, justice, fairness, equity, accountability and transparency.

Posted by Liam Rezende Saturday, 27 March 2010 at 13:00

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Mother of All Battles


So I heard a little rumor today that Patos callin his election on 17th May. That's almost two months away. Can I handle another 6 weeks or more of noise, placarding, tomfoolery and bill posting and environment destroying paper wastage this time around? I'll tell you something I can deal with it as long as I know at the end of it it brings an end to PNM rule. . .

FOREVER

You hear me? FOREVER! So all that mudslinging, pain and suffering has to have some fruit and this time around someone in the COP should tell good ol Dooks, run for your seat, win and then we go make you Minster of Finance or something, because like the man or not, is Kamla who go win this election! If Kamla not in the leadership front in this thing, PNM win for sure! You don't have to go far to see the sentiment you know! "Kamla for PM" "Kamla is de best!" "I voting Kamla!" are common sentiments expressed in the papers and on the streets.

But youse STILL an asshole is you think like that!

I go tell you why. In the end Kamla may be the leader but its the REPRESENTATIVES who you will have to deal with AFTER the election, the one's you should be concentrating on. In other words this damn shit called "Voting party and voting leader" should stop. Is your "representatives" NOW, who playing the ass. . . so. . .

STOP VOTING PARTY!

You might as well be voting race if you do that!

We too damn stupid in this country! This is why the PNM keeps winning. They vote race yes, but party too and leader as well! Not who can do the job, but who can take the best on the hustings! You tink patrick go talk shit on the political platforms, like he talking now? Of course not, is milk and honey and the promised land for all from now till that magical date of 17th May. (IF that's the date!) and YOU will run like lemmings to vote. "Ah sorry boss, why did I ever doubt you! Vision 2020 IS a reality! we WILL be all prosperous by that magical year!"

lol All I can do is laugh yes. Reminds me of the Simpsons' episode when Homer went to vote between Quimby and Sideshow Bob. Even though he KNOWS Bob will kill Bart if elected. . .he votes him on ISSUES! lol "When are people going to realise that Democracy just doesn't work!"

Ok here's my prediction:

Manning going to go to his No Confidence motion, with PNM-ites in the square, WITH permission this time and Police "Protection" and before the debate can open, he will. . .

DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT

and call the election date.

Think I'm thinking nonsense?

Lets see what happens.

Now stop thinking and go DO something!

Corruption Evidence, St James Youth Facility Part 2

As stated in Part One. Liam Carlos Rezende is just an ordinary citizen seraching for the truth. Please read his part two here:

I have begun a full scale investigation into the construction of the St. James Youth Facility. I am by no means an investigative journalist nor do I pretend to have the qualifications. I am simply a concerned citizen of Trinidad and Tobago that is begging for transparency, consultation, accountability, monitoring and evaluation. By doing this series I'm hoping someone with the right tools, resources and avenues can pick up my story.

As my "investigations" continue I've realised there is so much more in the mortar than in the pestle. I feel as though I'm pulling a root out of the ground and I can't seem to get to the end, yet the root gets darker and dirtier the more I pull.

So I've been reliably informed that the suspicions of Chinese tenants at the St. James Youth Facility are all true. I have been told that the Chinese living in the Facility are all workers on the project and that it's a norm for them to live on the site they work at. (I for one never knew that was a norm).

So as I mentioned in Part 1, while passing the facility last night I was invited by the two community persons that were in a meeting discussing the Youth facility. My friend and I happily joined the meeting as they both began explaining to us the many trials and tribulations they have gone through in the past to develop and enhance their community as well as moves to get answers on the Youth facility that remains closed.

Allow me to digress for one second to explain to you the space where this meeting was being conducted. I sat in an utter state of depression. The "panyard" which has been functioning as the community center since they lost the last one four years ago to clear space for the new and improved Youth facility was nothing short of melancholic. It was dismal yet full of potential. The bathrooms weren’t tiled and looked horrendous, the kitchen cupboards were falling apart exposing the cut sweet drink bottles being used as bowls and cups, the wrought iron gates to the office and pan storage room were rusting and a few dusty, old and out-dated musical instruments were scattered throughout the room. Yet to the back of the room was a colourful mural done by a girl as a gift to the community space who we learned was from the community and had gone on to do her doctorate.

I was amazed to see the home of the St. James Tripolians who have won a plethora of awards at several local festivals and represented Trinidad and Tobago not only regionally and internationally but was also the first steel drum band to have ever performed at The Great American Brass Band Festival.
The only support they have ever gotten from the Government was a new roof that was installed when the Government needed the space as a polling station for General Elections. To me it showed a complete disregard to not only our National instrument but a complete neglect of our history and culture.
Anyway, apologies for the side note.

So we sat there asking questions about the Youth facility. From what we understand there was one “consultation” and it was the furthest thing from listening to the people as the community person described the meeting as the Ministry shoving plans down their throats and saying this is what has been designed and this is what will be built. He lamented that they were never given an opportunity to have input into what they would like to see in the Facility.

Having been in the building, they have now decided to rally support from the members of the community by printing letters inviting them to discuss what can be done with the completed rooms. Unfortunately, the community has not been as successful as the Artists Coalition to compile the flaws of the Youth Facility as well as the way forward in an analytical palatable document to produce to the Ministry. Another thing affecting the committee is the lack of information from any Government body as it pertains to the management of the facility.

As you would have read in Part 1 , I, myself found it difficult to get any information from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs as well as the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago as to who is responsible for the building. After making a few more calls today I have been informed by an employee at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs who refused to give me her name because she found I was asking too many questions, stated that they were not in charge of the Facility and she heard that they had just paid some bill and there was no furniture so it may open next year, she then got very angry and stated that the Facility is still under the National Insurance Property Development Company (NIPDEC ), a privately owned state company, and has not yet been handed over to the Ministry, I simply thanked her and asked her to transfer me to someone who could assist me further. She angrily transferred me to the Youth Affairs division and I told the person that answered the phone that I forgot the name of the person that just transferred the call to her and the person answering being ignorant to the conversation I just had gave me her name, position and department. :)

So I thought great another lead. My obvious step was to contact NIPDEC. After making over seven calls and leaving three messages I finally had the privilege of speaking with the Project Coordinator in charge of the St. James Youth Facility.

My conversation with the Project Coordinator led me to another tip where I became flabbergasted and appalled as to how truly horrific and convoluted this scandal goes.


See Part Three Here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Corruption Evidence. St James Youth Facility Part 1


What follows is a citizen's attempt to find out more about the construction and maintenance of a new "Community Center" in St James. Its called the "St James Youth Facility" And its a massive building comprising at least 4 stories on a heck of a lot of land behind the Cemetery and next to the Pan Yards on Bournes Road. Liam, as he states in this first part, is NOT a reporter, nor is he a professional investigator. He's just trying to get answers. I say kudos to Liam and the rest of the people like him who don't just sit idly by and accept things because "that's how it is." Its time we take a page from people like Liam and start asking qestions and demanding answers. I have also been informed that the brouhaha associated with the $2 million flag's genesis occurred around this young man. In the end it doesn't matter who started the ball rolling. Let's get it rolling hard enough to see that justice is done. Please read on and share:

I have begun a full scale investigation into the construction of the St. James Youth Facility. I am by no means an investigative journalist nor do I pretend to have the qualifications. I am simply a concerned citizen of Trinidad and Tobago that is begging for transparency, consultation, accountability, monitoring and evaluation. By doing this series I'm hoping someone with the right tools, resources and avenues can pick up my story.

Over the past few weeks we have heard numerous allegations towards UDECOTT, the Ministry and Minister of Culture, Community Development and Gender Affairs and by extension the Government as it relates to the National Academy of Performing Arts.

Unfortunately, after reading several of the reports released by the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago on the flaws of the construction of NAPA, I regret to inform you that I believe the St. James Youth Facility has a similar story, possibly worse.

The (St. James Youth Facility) SJYF was first mentioned by the former Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Mr. Roger Boynes in October 2004 costing us a whopping 34.4 MILLION. When driving pass the facility one can clearly see a billboard that states the contractors, managers and the start date of September 2006. As of today March, 2010 the St. James Youth Facility remains incomplete and closed to the public.

One can see that judging from the exterior the building looks near completed but still has galvanize, scaffolding and construction sand strewn throughout the premises.

Today, was an interesting day. I called the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs seeking answers as to why the building which started in 2006 is not yet completed. Which is six months short of four years. After being transferred back and forth and not actually being able to get any answers by anyone and this is after speaking with persons from the Youth Affairs, Public Relations and Accounting departments. Everyone including a representative in Youth Affairs was not even aware that there was a St James Youth Facility.

After futile attempts at getting any headway in the Ministry I called the Woodbrook Youth Facility hoping they may have information on the St. James Facility. I spoke with what seemed to be a very courteous young man who informed me that he was not aware of any St. James Youth Facility but stated that all Facilities fall under the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He was also helpful enough to give me a number for the company.

I called (SPORTT) requesting information on the facility I was transfered to the Health, Safety, Security and Environment department of the company as the operator informed me that they will best be able to assist.

After posing as a member of a youth group wanting information on the Facility. The Assistant Manager of the HSSE department stated that she was also not aware of any St James Youth Facility. I began to explain it's location and she then remembered and stated that that does not fall under the Sport Company that still falls under the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.

So as expected typical government office finger- pointing took place as the majority of persons in both government offices knew next to nothing about the Facility far less who was responsible for it.

Now I posted as my status on Facebook that I was beginning an investigation into the Facility hoping that anyone with information would share. One Facebook friend commented stating that there are Chinese workers living there. Now with all the allegations being bandied about Chinese workers in Trinidad and Tobago I merely shook it off as sarcasm and humour.

Tonight, a friend and I decided to take a drive up to the Facility just to see close up and first hand how behind schedule the facility may actually be. As we slowly drove passed we noticed a SUV parked up in the car park of the Facility and we also noticed just opposite two individuals sitting in what seemed to be a condemned pan yard.

I poked my head out of the car inquiring about the facility, they then eagerly without hesitation called us in to chat. Ironically these two community persons were discussing the Youth facility itself.

In my next note I would enlighten you as to the shocking revelations that proved our worst nightmares a reality. Lets just say that supposedly humorous sarcastic comments below my status are not to be taken lightly!
See Part two here

Posted on Monday, 22 March 2010 at 23:47 by Liam Carlos Rezende Via Facebook.

Sociable

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