Daily Archives: October 28, 2012

A distastrous combination: Weak controls over public money, and a culture of allowing white collar crime

“Please note that the entire project cost about $1.6Bn, yet about $1.0Bn was stolen and hidden in offshore accounts. That is the true extent of the corruption we are fighting against and that is why I have called it a tidal wave of corruption.”

… Afra Raymond on the Piarco Airport scandal

“If you are serious about making a difference, you have to develop the fortitude to turn away from matters which are merely true and interesting, so that you can focus your time and energies on what is really decisive…”

by Afra Raymond

That is my attempt to paraphrase the late Lloyd Best, as he spoke emotionally to a meeting in about 2004 at the Centre of Excellence. If we are serious, we need to ignore the pathetic distractions and keep our eyes on the ball.

Following on from my previous column on S.34, there are two main issues emerging at this time…

Firstly, the entire Plot to Pervert Parliament was an outcome of the Piarco Airport scandal, said by the DPP to involve some $1.0Bn of stolen Public Money.  Please note that the entire project cost about $1.6Bn, yet about $1.0Bn was stolen and hidden in offshore accounts.  That is the true extent of the corruption we are fighting against and that is why I have called it a tidal wave of corruption.  A well-planned assault on our Treasury by leading elements of international organised crime.

This is to refute those deceivers who try to soften us up for the poison by saying that ‘is only a lil 10% and it does happen everywhere’.  The truth has a power of its own.  The JCC played a leading role in calling for and submitting evidence to the Bernard Commission which exposed abuse of power and corrupt practices in some of the highest offices in our country.  The Piarco Accused needed to escape trial because of the effective work done by the Bernard Commission in exposing criminal abuses of Public Money.  There are also strong elements of political party financing at work here, much like in the CL Financial bailout fiasco.

The lack of an effective Public Procurement system is what allowed the Piarco Airport scandal.”

Secondly, public trust in this administration seems to be at an all-time low after the Plot to Pervert Parliament was exposed.  To a lesser extent, that loss of trust could also be affecting the Opposition PNM.
The offending S.34 has now been repealed, yet the public clamour continues.  So what is to be done?

The campaign of wild distractions

Having had to endure an insulting and incomplete attempted explanation from our PM, we are now being subjected to a sustained campaign of distractions.

There seems to be a scramble from both sides to shower each other with allegations of large-scale corruption.  No need to list the examples, there is plenty of mud to go around.  While there are serious questions on the THA/BOLT project as well as the Calcutta Settlement lands, I will not be writing on those yet.

This crisis is an important opportunity to decide if we want to do differently.  Do we?  If not, crapaud smoke we pipe.  If we really want to do differently, we have to start thinking differently and stop the point-scoring games.

This series of crises which have beset us are all related to weak controls over Public Money and a culture which sees white collar crime going unpunished.

There are three linked and effective actions which must be taken now – Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago