Tag Archives: Political Corruption

Afra Raymond questions the motivations of Trinidad & Tobago’s Integrity Commission

Integrity Trinidad

Shocking behaviours by those entrusted to investigate corruption

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

This column sets out my reasons for seriously questioning the motivation and priorities of the Integrity Commission. Despite my doubts as to the way in which successive Commissions have operated the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA), I have continued to offer suggestions as to how their work could be made more effective.

The continuing Code of Silence on the CL Financial bailout, the sharp attack, from many quarters, on our substantial national institutions and the very doubtful history of the Integrity Commission are clear signs that the Public Interest needs to be safeguarded with utmost vigilance at this time.

In relation to the Commission’s history, we need to note the shocking details unearthed during Dr Keith Rowley’s litigation against them. The Commission had made certain findings without giving Rowley the opportunity to respond, as recommended by its advisers and in 2009 the High Court made an historic finding that…

“…The Court declares that the Integrity Commission has acted in bad faith in relation to Dr. Rowley and is guilty of the tort of misfeasance in public office…”

At Para 45 (i) of the 2009 ruling –

“…The Court does not accept the Integrity Commission’s explanation as to why it wrote to the Honourable Prime Minister on the 19th October, 2004, to ascertain whether an inquiry was to be undertaken and if so, the names of the persons to man the enquiry and their terms of reference. The Court notes that the Integrity Commission is an independent constitutional body which ought to act independently pursuant to its constitutional and statutory powers and duties…”

The entire Commission resigned immediately as a result of that High Court ruling.

… continue reading this article at Afra Raymond’s blog Integrity Reflections

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Filed under Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond talks about Corruption and Citizenship at The Cloth Propaganda Space

by Afra Raymond

The ‘Unconquered‘ discussion series is hosted by Robert Young’s The Cloth at #24 Erthig Road, Belmont…Attilah Springer – aka Tillah Willah – is one of the livewires driving this initiative…

I was invited by Tillah to speak at the ‘Conscious Citizenship‘ meeting on Wednesday 13th August 2014, along with Dr. Kevin Adonis Browne, author of the searching new work ‘Tropic Tendencies’…the session was both heated and edifying…it was real, even when Browne ramoujayed on rhetoric!

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Filed under Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Political bias undermines the integrity of the University of the West Indies

Open letter to Matthew Peters, President UWI Student Guild, St Augustine campus

“The fact that you could openly admit that there were persons with whom you surround yourself, who flagrantly scorned the inclusion of any government member in the panel, clearly reflects a bias in your organizing committee.”

Mr. Matthew Peters
President
Student Guild
The University of the West Indies – St. Augustine Campus

Dear Mr. Peters,

An Election Poster by any name! (click for large)

An Election Poster by any name! (click for large)

I do hope that this email does not intimidate you in any way, but as many of the persons copied can attest to, this style of ‘blogging’ has become a habit of mine in an effort to transport the art of debating into the 21st century. I would also like you to know that I have blind-copied government officials in this email as well, however, following the cause célèbre that was ‘emailgate’ I feel it is now necessary to preserve the identity of these email addresses lest another unfortunate incident such as that should fabricate.

It is actually in keeping with this philosophy that I approached your good self that fateful evening, only yesterday, to convey my opinion of your planned forum on the proposed budget currently being debated in the august halls of Parliament. Now for those who may not already be aware, The Student Guild at The UWI St. Augustine Campus in conjunction with the ‘Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals PNM Youth League’ (sic), will be hosting a Post Budget Forum on Wednesday 17th September, 2014. This forum, which is being held on campus, will feature the following panelists:

  • Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West;
  • Dr. the Hon. Lester Henry – Opposition Senator;
  • Mr. Matthew Peters – President of the Student Guild; and
  • Ms. Melissa Pulchan – Youth Speaker.

I had previously been unaware of the event when I happened to glimpse the handbill fluttering upon the wall it was hastily stuck against, as if trying to escape its glue-bound confinement. Upon further inspection I experienced an agglomeration of emotion all attacking me at once, while simultaneously wondering if it was real. To my dread, indeed it was real, a printed notification announcing a political meeting to be held in the once hallowed and respected halls of The UWI campus under the guise of academic forum. One need only to examine any of the dozens of flyers currently littering the hallways on campus to arrive at this determination. For those unable to do so in person however, I submit a photo of the flyer, attached to this email, for your own perusal.

Why would the picture of Hon. Dr. Rowley, featured across a quarter of the face,  so glamorously display his balisier tie, given that it’s the PNM’s official logo? Why else would the panel consist of only members of the PNM? And why collaborate with the Heliconia Foundation, which is rooted firmly within the ambit of the PNM? If there was any doubt that the PNM propaganda machine had been stagnating, this clearly proves otherwise. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Education, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

The ‘Grand Corruption’

afra raymond CMMB

by Afra Raymond

The recent scandals at LifeSport, Eden Gardens, THA/BOLT, CAL, CL Financial and of course, the Beetham Water Recycling Project, all show the extent to which the Treasury is being targeted by well-connected parties.

There is a constant stream of allegations of ‘Grand Corruption’, which is little surprise in our society in which an unsupported allegation is so often used to discredit an opponent. There is no comfort to be had in that observation, since the other reality is that thorough investigations and prosecutions are only done against ones political enemies, inside or outside the ruling party. That is the sobering reality in our Republic, in which we should all enjoy equal rights and be held to common standards. Different strokes for different folks, just like back in the ‘bad-old-days‘.

It seems to me that the defining question, in terms of whether the various financial crimes are taken seriously, is whether the accused persons are ‘members in good standing‘, so to speak.

The extent to which our Treasury is protected from being plundered by criminal elements is a serious question which should concern every citizen, given that the Public Money in the Treasury belongs to us as citizens and taxpayers. The frequency with which these financial crimes are overlooked is nothing less than scandalous, as any of the Auditor General’s Reports in the previous decade would attest. Permanent Secretaries approving payments in breach of financial regulations; payments made with no documents (leases, contracts or agreements) on file; failure or refusal to produce documents as required by law upon the Auditor General’s request and so many other types of lawbreaking. The same types of conduct is also rife in State Enterprises, which is why so many of the larger ones are unable to produce accounts as required by the very Ministry of Finance which sets those rules and continues to fund them.

The wicked part is that these Public Officials are virtually never charged with breaking the law or made to face any other serious consequences for their misbehaviour in Public Office. We need a new beginning in terms of how we handle the reality of our country’s wealth and its intentionally-degraded laws for controlling how our Public Money is used. A big part of that would be a political dispensation in which full investigations and prosecutions were the norm, especially when key members of the ruling party are the target of allegations.

Our budgeting process now shows all the signs that our system of Public Financial Management is ineffective in dealing with the seasoned criminals who are hard at work helping themselves to our money, whatever the political party in power. At that level, at least, there is little evidence of discrimination.

… read the full article at Afra Raymond’s blog For a Few Dollars More

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Filed under Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond on the Invader’s Bay scandal and High Court ruling

afra raymond CMMB

“The entire process possesses all the ingredients for corruption, I maintain that view.”

Our friend Afra Raymond remains a solid asset to disgusted Trinis and the rest of the Caribbean in the fight against corruption by public officials. Trinidad’s Invader’s Bay scandal is representative of the types of corruption that unfortunately permeates the Caribbean, and Afra has been right on top of the story from the first moment. It is probably accurate to say that Afra’s detailed reporting on the story has the government vexed, and influences the government response and strategies.

Power of the press belongs to those who have one – and Afra has one.

Head over to Afra Raymond’s blog for the latest stories about corruption in Trinidad and Tobago.

Afra Raymond: Reality Check

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Filed under Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

TSTT Inquiry

BFP:

Trinidad’s Joint Select Committee of Parliament is pretending to hold a major inquiry into the administration and operations of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago – TSTT.

We say ‘pretending’ to hold a major inquiry because the committee did what they could to limit the debate, disenfranchise citizens and make sure that informed persons are unable to present a proper submission.

Our friend Afra Raymond is a thorn in the foot of corrupt Caribbean politicians and business people – and he met the committee’s unrealistic ten-day deadline for submissions.

Here’s the latest from Afra…

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

The Trinidad & Tobago Parliament is now conducting an Inquiry into TSTT and this article is an edited version of my submission to that Inquiry.

The Joint Select Committee’s (JSC) ‘Invitation for Written Submissions‘ was published on the TT Parliament website on Wednesday 23 April 2014, with the deadline for submissions set at 4:00 pm on Friday 2 May 2014. Only ten (10) days.

When one considers the far-reaching scope of the Inquiry as specified in its ten (10) objectives; the size and role of TSTT and the recent published reports as to the proposals for the State to relinquish a critical 2% of its share in TSTT, it is clear that these matters are of the utmost, long-term public importance. Placed in that context, the JSC decision to Inquire into these matters is commendable, but the time-frame is so short as to raise serious doubts as to…

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Trinidad Joint Select Committee of Parliament pulls a dirty trick – provides only 10 days notice for submissions

Afra Raymond

Trinidad anti-corruption activist Afra Raymond

Submitted by BFP reader Yummie Bear

Oh sure… the f**king Trini parliamentarians are pretending to have a major inquiry into the administration and operations of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago.

What can they do to limit the debate, disenfranchise citizens and make sure that informed persons are unable to present a proper submission to the committee? Easy… give only ten days notice to the deadline for submissions!

F**cking politicians. F**king corrupt b**tards!

Read Afra Raymond’s new column. He doesn’t call ‘em like I do – he’s a lot more polite, but he’d probably like to use the words that I do.

ONE LOVE!

Yummie Bear

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Filed under Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago