Daily Archives: October 17, 2012

CL Financial bailout, Section 34 scandal: The plot to pervert Parliament

Blind Man’s Bluff

by Afra Raymond

“Blind man’s buff  [or Blind man’s bluff] is played in a spacious area, such as outdoors or in a large room, in which one player, designated as “It”, is blindfolded and gropes around attempting to touch the other players without being able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to avoid the person who is “it”, hiding in plain sight and sometimes teasing them to make them change direction.”

… from Wikipedia

In this round, we, The Public, are ‘it’…you see?

The entire ‘section 34 fiasco’ is churning in my mind, so I am calling it the Plot to Pervert Parliament.

The way in which the Trinidad and Tobago, its significant institutions and its legislature have been misled for the benefit of political financiers has given me pause.  The entire episode is truly revolting, even for those of us who have little faith in our political rulers.

Having listened to the PM’s address on this S.34 fiasco there are now more questions than answers.  The silence by the PM and other leading MPs on these documented facts during the Parliamentary debate on the repeal seems to amount to a calculated decision to withhold information.

The main questions for the PM are along two limbs – firstly, how does the AG’s absence overseas for a few days exonerate him?  We need to stay with this line, given that it is the principal one advanced by the PM after her research into the issue.

Secondly, there is the burning question of what is Volney’s true role in all this?  Did the PM ask him why he misled his Cabinet colleagues and the Parliament?  If so, what did Volney say?  If the PM did not ask Volney for his reasons, one has to be deeply skeptical about the idea that this single Minister outwitted the entire Cabinet.

The fact that this episode centred on the actual 50th Jubilee weekend was a powerful wake-up call to us all.  History is rich in irony.

Sidebar – Was S.34 the first time?

I am now recalling that the CLF bailout and shareholders agreement were never debated, they were both declared as fait accompli. What is more, as I wrote in this space recently, the Ministry of Finance is claiming that the contents of the presentation to Members of Parliament on the new bailout laws is secret. The S.34 fiasco involved an alleged stealing of $1Bn in Public Money and we are all now seeing the extent to which these white-collar criminals and their servants will go to cover their tracks. It is truly revolting.

So, the question is ‘‘Given what we now know and the fact that the CLF bailout involves many billions of dollars in Public Money, is it reasonable to assume in good faith that our Parliamentarians and Public Officials will be responsible and honest in their dealings?” I will be returning to this, it is turning in my mind.

For my part, there is no way we are lightly ‘moving on’ from this tragic place…this is the occasion to resolve a lot of this nonsense and put us on the road to a much improved system of governance. It is going to be a hard campaign, but we must have a realistic appreciation of our situation if we are to have any chance at prevailing. Continue reading


Filed under Consumer Issues, Corruption, Political Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago