Tag Archives: Trinidad and Tobago Government 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

Trinidad grapples with corruption and misconduct by elected officials

afra raymond CMMB

Guarding the Guards
by Afra Raymond

Our country continues its perpetual grappling with the question of conduct in public office, but at this time we are faced with particular threats and opportunities in respect of the Public Interest.

Before getting to the present particulars, some critical facts and concepts must be stated. Trinidad & Tobago is a leading nation in the Caribbean region, so progress made here will be to the wider benefit of the region. That said, the particular shape of our economy is such that the State is easily the dominant player in the country’s commercial affairs. Given that reality, the question of illegal or improper conduct by the State and its Agencies, goes far beyond principled assertions. The State must be exemplary in its conduct, not just because that is a principled position, but because its regular misconduct and illegality will continue to distort the behaviour of non-State players.

The size and wealth of the State makes its control and oversight a continuing and seemingly-insurmountable task. Like the old proverb – “Where does an Elephant sit? Wherever it wants to…” It is essential that the State be subject to ongoing and timely oversight, so as to preserve the society’s stability and progressive development.

The State’s power emanates from its unique legal powers and the fact that it has more money than any other element of the society.

These two streams of power work together in a special relationship to which we must be most alert. We rely on the State to seek our collective interests, so we have a special duty to be most vigilant as to its operations.

That is the background against which the current threats and challenges must be viewed…

Read the full article at Afra Raymond’s blog.

AND: Red flags for corruption waving strongly on the Beetham Water Recycling Project (PDF)

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Filed under Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

‘Political Terrorism’ is not too strong a phrase…

Flag-Trinidad-and-Tobago

Is this debates commission playing power politics with our elections?

by Phillip Edward Alexander

How could the debates commission in all good conscience include the ILP ‘one man party’ and the MSJ ‘not yet a party’ in the electoral debates and exclude the COP which has seats and corporations under its control?

See why I continue to say that the Chamber of Commerce could NEVER be trusted to handle the debates fairly and without attempting to control outcomes through underhanded moves?

This is an outrage of epic proportions. I am incensed and every Trinidadian should be as well.

And I am no supporter of the COP or its leader; but right is right and if you can include David Abdulah’s imitation ‘wanna be party’ you are morally obligated to include this country’s third largest political party or the entire debate would be a sham.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COP Demands Equal Access to Local Government Debates
Calls on Debate Commission to Reverse Outrageous Decision Restricting Access to Key Public Dialogue
Continue reading

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Filed under Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond: 2 out of 3 public dollars are lost or stolen

VIDEO: Time to Face the Facts about Caribbean Corruption – 26 May 2013

This is the Afra Raymond interview on Caribbean Corruption for ‘Time to Face the Facts‘ which was broadcast out of Barbados-based Caribbean Media Corporation on Sunday 26th May 2013.

The audience was regional via cable and global via their Facebook page. The interviewer is Jerry George and the format was a live call-in. Video courtesy Jerry George.

For parts 2 and 3, head over to Afra Raymond’s blog.

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

Afra Raymond charts the losses from large-scale, improper use of Public Money

acquisition-options-hdc-chart-2-20130405 click chart for full size

“Eden Gardens could have been lawfully acquired for $35million, but HDC paid $175million for it in November 2012”

“Objectively, it does not matter whether the money is wasted or stolen, if it is ultimately unavailable for the benefit of the Public.”

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

The last four articles in this series have focused on what I call ‘two sides of the same coin’ – the coin being the large-scale and improper use of Public Money.

I examined the THA/BOLT office project called MILSHIRV being undertaken with the Rahael group and the Calcutta Settlement land scheme in which the HDC acquired developed lands at several times the proper price the State could have paid.

Throughout this type of critique one has to strive for effective balance and fundamental integrity.  The extent of the waste and/or theft is never easy to pinpoint when one is working from outside and relying solely on published documents, but my best efforts to establish those facts is what is presented.  Of course it is impossible to say for sure that any amount of money was stolen in a particular project, hence the phrase ‘wasted or stolen’.

Objectively, it does not matter whether the money is wasted or stolen, if it is ultimately unavailable for the benefit of the Public.  Once spent, that Public Money is gone forever, which is why Value for Money is of such importance in any proper Public Procurement system. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Barbados, Trinidad governments excel at turning public assets into private profits

The ‘Eden Gardens’ transaction is a prime example of a large-scale economic crime against the State and the interests of its citizens.

Again, I ask – ‘Who were the beneficiaries?’

As we read Afra Raymond’s latest tale about how public monies are turned into private profits by corrupt T&T politicians and their friends, our thoughts turn to a dozen similar situations here in Barbados.

BLP or DLP doesn’t matter: the record of both major parties makes it clear that Barbados politicians have made it their business to rape the public purse at every opportunity. Think Dodds Prison and the Oil Terminal. Think CLICO. Think land expropriations where government doesn’t pay for the land ever and then some Minister of Government ends up fooping his mistress in a house built on stolen land. Her house but everybody knows where the land and building money came from.

Some church going folks will be upset I used the F word. They should first be upset at the Minister and if they have any upset left over then worry about my f word – for Bajans are being fooped by their guvment every day. It doesn’t stop.

Barbados lacks ITAL – Integrity Legislation, Transparency and Accountability Legislation. Prime Ministers Thompson and Stuart and their corrupt DLP promised it just to get elected in 2008. Then they pretended to push it through when they knew an election would kill it. An doan fool yourself… Mottley, Arthur and the BLP were in on the plan.

We can’t have the politicians restrained by little things like Integrity Legislation and Conflicts of Interest rules, can we?

There is only one political party in Barbados… the DLP-BLP coalition and they take turns every few years to let the other be on top. That’s the way things work in Trinidad & Tobago too. It’s all about turning those public assets into private profits. Afra Raymond tells us about some real experts…

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

Calcutta Settlement review

The simple, inescapable fact is that the State could have lawfully acquired the ‘Eden Gardens’ property for less than $40M.  The HDC paid $175M in November 2012 to Point Lisas Park Ltd (PLP) for that property, which is the reason I am calling this an improper use of Public Money.

Despite having available the advice of the Commissioner of State Lands, the Commissioner of Valuations and various attorneys at HDC and so on, the Cabinet approved this transaction.  This Cabinet, with two Senior Counsel at its head and several other seasoned legal advisers, appears to have been unaware of, or intentionally ignoring, the legal safeguards.

“I am calling for this matter to be swiftly investigated and the responsible parties prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Some readers may be surprised at those assertions, so here are my reasons for making such…

The last two articles examined the steps leading to the HDC’s purchase of land at ‘Eden Gardens’ in Calcutta Settlement.  In my opinion that transaction, as well as the one which preceded it, are both highly improper and very probably unlawful.  The HDC purchase must be reversed and the responsible parties investigated/prosecuted as required by our laws.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago