Today is Tuesday 26th August, 2014. This is the Round Up.
**Rowley knocks AG on Emailgate: HIMSELF TO HIMSELF
From the article: OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley has descried as “laughable” claims made by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan that the Emailgate scandal is now invalidated.
And having read Google’s affidavit and some of the other documents, I have to agree.
Google’s carefully worded affidavit says the following, in essence:
1. These six email addresses here don’t exist, [Me: addresses that persons reading the transcript presented by Dr. Rowley in Parliament knew would not have been email addresses to begin with]
2. The two email addresses here belong to persons named Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Anand Ramlogan [Me: the former having been seen in the transcript and the latter only as part of a malformed address]
3. We have not found any email that passed between these non-existent email addresses and the email addresses that do exist in the period September 1st to 30th, 2012.
4. No mail was found to be passed between the Kamla Persad-Bissessar address and the Anand Ramlogan address in the period specified, except what was allowed to be extracted by consent order from the Anand Ramlogan mailbox.
What’s missing here?
1. Any discussion about mail sent to or received from the addresses listed in the transcript which purportedly belong to Gary Griffith and Suruj Rambachan. This is a significant ommission, because the Kamla address is not on every email exchange in the transcript.
2. While Google examined mail passed between the Kamla address and the Anand address found to be valid, Google has not compared any message content found to the text of the transcript presented in the Parliament by Rowley.
Thus, in brief, Google confirms that Anand and Kamla communicated using valid email addresses, but we don’t know what they said to each other, and we further don’t know whether what they said to each other was in the Rowley-presented transcript.
For the Attorney General to call this vindication is ludicrous. There is neither confirmation nor denial of the existence of the alleged email conversation documented in the transcript. The only “proof” is that some email addresses may have been incorrectly copied.
For the AG to further seek to block the Integrity Commission from doing additional discovery because, per latest court documents filed on his behalf, “Mr. Ramlogan has already received and concluded discovery” simply can’t stand because of the narrowness of Google’s affidavit.
I would not want though to presuppose the Integrity Commission’s next steps though. But if they don’t get to advance their investigation of the matter because the AG blocks them, the government will beat this tabla and wine all the way to elections, claiming that a matter has been determined which hasn’t, but only by Cartesian technicality.
In spite of the AG’s intimations though, Emailgate isn’t done yet. All that may be necessary to invalidate his request to block discovery may be for the Integrity Commission to cite local law showing that it is an independent entity, and its work must proceed sans interference.
Consequently, this may be very, very premature.
…and based on the AG’s lawyers’ latest court documents, Maury Povich wouldn’t need a lie detector test to adjudicate.
**All-night vigil at Parliament: Protesters call for more consultation…
**Axe the Praks
**…Civil society group writes senators
**Candlelight vigil against Runoff Bill
**Protesters against run-off: COP meeting stormed…
Meanwhile, the population ent happy at all at all at all, in spite of the Government’s indications to the contrary.
The Prime Minister has the Constitution Amendment Bill to the Senate today. She is, at time of writing, on the floor.
Reports are that there is heavy Police presence at the Waterfront in front of the Parliament, and that the Parliament website is struggling to keep up.
I’m off to listen.
Have a great afternoon, everyone. I love my country. //
Today is Monday 25th August, 2014. This is the Round Up. And again, Guardian, your new online layout is a unruly and nonsequential mess.
**AG: E-MAILS ARE FAKE
**A trying time for me, says Ramlogan
**Lawyer: Unearth co-conspirators to evil plot
**PLOT TO BRING DOWN GOVERNMENT
**AG’s disclosures ‘a charade’
**AG’s revelations a distraction—Al Rawi
I feel a sense of shame for any lawyer involved in the Attorney General’s “exoneration” here. In legal system in what part of the world does a defendant in a criminal matter investigate and vindicate himself?
All the current revelations have done is poison the well. The AG has had for some time over the course of the last 15 months exclusive and secret access to Google via his lawyers, at a time where the Police and Integrity Commission were supposed to be investigating the matter, and apparently with no real cooperation from offices under the AG’s control.
What happens if the Integrity Commission goes beyond the scope of the AG’s investigations - which do appear to be very narrow in scope, limiting search to the “existence” of email in a one month period - and finds that the allegations made in Parliament are true?
What the AG has done is to trample on the territory of independent bodies who should have been looking into the matter without interference, namely the Integrity Commission and Trinidad & Tobago Police Service. Had Manning done this re Calder Hart and UDECOTT or Rowley did it re Landate, there would have been hue and cry in local and international circles about the obstruction of justice.
Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.
Beside all that, who paid for all this engagement with Google? Anand or the State? We’re still not clear on that.
I have no words.
"Government was advised to tell former senator James Armstrong that the tendering process involved in Invader’s Bay conformed to the Central Tenders Board Act, when in reality it did not."
**One abstention will do it: All eyes on the Senate’s Independent bench…
"All Government needs is for one Independent senator to abstain or to be absent from his or her seat when the vote on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill is taken, and the bill would pass in the Senate tomorrow."
The eyes of the country will be on the Senate tomorrow. And if the bill passes, on President Powers who would have to proclaim it.
The Government seeks strange legitimacy for legislation it has brought to the table literally in the dead of night.
"Bharath in his statement, said what was also very important to note was that the report found 50 per cent of the population agreed that reforms would improve the quality of life, and 55 per cent agreed it would help improve the way T&T is governed."
How does 50% plus of minus the margin of error show that there is “sound evidence that most of the population is in favour of Constitutional reform”?
A competing poll was cited this weekend as saying that 85% of those polls wanted the current Constitution Amendment Bill pulled.
One would think that 85% is a bigger majority than 50%, unless we’re talking about Kamlamatics.
**Pastors opposed to reform bill
"A group of concerned evangelical pastors and Full Gospel ministers say the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, which will be debated in the Senate on Tuesday, carries built-in potential for eroding the democracy of T&T. Spokesman for the group, Apostle J Vernon Duncan, said: “While we welcome the focus on reforming the Constitution, it would be undemocratic to attempt to hastily alter the process where every citizen exercises his or her rights to choose a particular party/candidate to govern our nation."
But Pastor Dr. Rodger Samuel has abstained from the vote in the House.
**Bharath: Govt justified in awarding Manning ORTT
I had written the following elsewhere over the weekend:
"There is a grouping on one side of the political aisle that is accustomed to slime. It is a part of their process. Any casual viewer of their internal election campaigns will observe this easily. Persons on opposing slates are called everything from robber to rapist, and prevaricator to pervert. At the end of the day, they all hug each other and call it a successful election. They remain political friends together, all besmirch, calumny, and slander shelved until next round.
"There is also belief - as evidenced by the Prime Minister’s offer and later rebuff on Friday - that this indecent approach to political engagement is acceptable by all her political opponents, and by extension the populace at large.
"There is belief further in a disgusted population that everybody does it.
"Neither is belief is true."
Thus, one can understand Manning’s rejection of the award, and one can also understand why the Prime Minister would feel it’s alright to make the extension. To each their own, but I wouldn’t want anything from Kamla either if she had spent time and energy washing her mouth on me and making as if I were the worst thing since Hitler either.
Bharath misses something here too though, apart from everything else, that Kamla got quite wrong: Logistics. There is now way, short extremely expensive organisation, that Panday and Manning were going to be able to have their medals pinned on them on Sunday. That is even if that organisation were possible, because the material required to manufacture the medal is not available in Trinidad and Tobago.
The medals don’t sit in a stock room somewhere. They are made to order based on the year’s awardee list, with the numbers of medals of each type required provided to the contracted jeweller by the Awards Committee months in advance.
There is no justification for what appears to be the Prime Minister’s complete disregard for the Awards Committee and the process for nomination of inductees to the Order.
**Economist: Time to change Gate funding
A number of the arguments here could also be made about State funding for primary and secondary education.
As for, “Gate had not as yet translated into a diversified production base for the economy and some sectors remained underserved,” is that GATE’s problem? Or is it that the programmes required to meet that objective are not being offered here in Trinidad and Tobago?
"“We seem to be still importing nurses and doctors." But does GATE direct institutions to do medical and nursing programmes with enrolment sufficient to serve the country on graduation? I’d hazard not. That pressure has to come from elsewhere.
And closing with, “it’s time to cut back on the huge transfers and subsidy outlay that the State currently undertakes,” tie this to an IDB report from which I was reading summary this morning (http://ift.tt/1qCscD7), we could be in for some cuts in strange place if not in the next budget, especially if the Government fails to admit and address issues of their own mismanagement.
**Cyber Crime Unit called in
I steups loudly in the general direction of President’s House.
By the description given of the events in the initial story, somebody clicked on a link that they weren’t supposed to click, and they compromised themselves.
Much is being made of nothing here.
It would be hilarious though is Cyber Crime Unit were to go rooting around and find and report that somebody was surfing midget porn on sketchy sites while on the job.
**Rachel Price’s daughter robbed
"The bandits managed to make off with Awai’s iPhone, but not before receiving several blows about their bodies."
I wonder whether these fellas knew that it was Pricey’s daughter.
Any trouble that they now get they will have brought on themselves, including the required embarrassing loud-up on the radio.
Have a great day, everyone. //
Today is Thursday 21st August, 2014. This is the Round Up.
I saw this story first on the TV6 News while preparing for work yesterday evening.
Is it alright for me to day that, before hearing the details, that I saw the head of the North Eastern Division Task Force Inspector Roger Alexander in the background and simply assumed that the story involved police killing?
Put the three dailies’ stories together and stuff just doesn’t add up.
The Police surround a building of interest to them.
They claim to have come under “heavy and rapid” gunfire. By this description, I’m thinking full automatic weapons, fired Rambo-style, hailing the Police with hot lead.
Thus the Police say they had absolutely *no choice* at all but to return fire.
You see, I say with tongue in cheek, the Police were aware that the men in the apartment were sitting on a major stockpile of ammunition. And despite the fact the building was surrounded, the alleged shooters would have come out with guns blazing, kill all the Police present, and make off to the coastline. There was no reason to wait out the alleged shooters, because they Police were outgunned, outarmed and outmanned nuh.
With fire returned, when the smoke clears, Police enter the building and find three men dead. They find two handguns - a Ruger .45, a revolver, and five rounds of ammunition.
Unless a fourth and fifth assailant escaped through an undetected underground tunnel with full automatic weapons and a crate of ammunition, these two pistols are what created the “heavy and sustained” gunfire, with required an immediate response.
By the time the Police killed the alleged assailants, “heavy and sustained” would have been just five rounds heavier. Hindsight being 20/20, could the Police not have tried to contain the situation instead?
It would appear too that the men were caught by surprise because, having been shot through the heart, they had not had time to get their bulletproof vests on.
And as one commenter reported last night, three men, two guns - was one shooting at the Police with his finger?
People may want to say that the men were criminals, but what they deserved was their day in Court, not death at the hands of the Police. We don’t yet live in an era where law enforcement is in the hands of Judge Dredd.
Or do we? The implication of the quote from Inspector Alexander’s appearance on his evening TV6 programme found in the Newsday report is chilling to say the least.
If the woman and child that one neighbour reported had been seen at the apartment before were there, would have have been killed too?
Sadly, people aren’t going to have a problem with this until someone in civil society, and it probably has to be somebody who doesn’t look like Sandy, falls victim to Police execution.
By then, it will likely be too late to do anything about it anymore.
In the mean time too, Express’ interview with Dr. Valery Alexandrov has me looking at him differently.
From the article: “He was asked if there was any gunpowder residue on the hands of any of the three men, but he said swabs of the men’s hands had been taken but if they were using a semi-automatic pistol, as opposed to a revolver, there was a slim chance any residue would show up on their hands.”
Firstly, one would think that, by now, a gunshot residue test would be standard in a situation like this.
Secondly, the Guardian was able to report that a revolver was in fact recovered at the scene. Did no one inform Alexandrov?
What’s Alexandrov’s real deal giving out all these alleged details?
And in closing, Guardian, your headline stinks.
**Audit shows 43 guns missing from FSC
"AN AUDIT carried out at the Forensic Science Centre (FSC) has now revealed that 43 guns remained unaccounted for at the ballistics room located at the second floor of the facility at St James… Newsday understands the police audit is yet to be completed and this will furnish investigators with information on how many guns were stolen and if any ammunition was stolen as well. "
Kamla might have been right. It would seem that the fight really is on the land. The guns are coming from right here.
While they’re at it, the Centre might want to check to see whether any drugs that they’re holding has not been consumed by rodents.
I was about to call out Wowsie on this one, having not realised that the Forensic Science Centre is now a division of the Ministry of Justice.
That being said, is there anything that Minister Emmanuel George would like to over-share?
The The Miscellaneous Provisions (Proceeds of Crime, Anti-Terrorism, Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago) (No 2) Bill 2014 debated by the Senate yesterday was passed unanimously with amendments.
One hopes that the loopholes identified by Independent and Opposition benches in the original bill have all been closed by the suggested amendments, and that we really do not have another Section 34 on our hands.
**FIU staff to be increased by 10
From the article: Cabinet has approved an increase in the staff of the Financial Intelligence Unit by ten, Minister of Finance and the Economy, Larry Howai, revealed yesterday as the Senate passed legislation designed to make it easier for the State to pursue money-launderers.
Much belated this is in my mind.
Firstly, what’s the Head of the FIU been doing for the last two years that her staff complement has only now been expanded?
Secondly, what are these new posts, how long again will it take to fill these new posts, and how soon before the bodies in the posts get up to speed?
Thirdly, what happened to the plans crafted by David West for the operating structure of the FIU? Did Susan Francois toss them and do a do-over?
Are the Government and institutions of State really serious about countering money laundering?
More here on the goings on at Trinidad Cement Limited.
But this is an interesting tidbit that might be worth following:
"Long-standing director, Alejandro Alberto Ramirez was appointed as acting CEO. Ramirez is country director of CEMEX Puerto Rico. CEMEX, the Mexican cement giant with international subisidaries, is the largest shareholder in TCL with a 20 percent stake."
**Nine TTPost bosses quit
Nine senior managers resign from an organisation, leaving it with no senior staff.
Word is that they were dissatisfied with the composition of the Board, particularly with the fact that there is a conflict of interest where the Chairman is concerned.
The Line Minister’s response: “Meh! People are free to resign if they wish.”
Rome burning, and Nizam twiddling?
The story must be read. The nepotism here would appear to be more than a little bit brazen.
**Govt looking at alcohol policy
This feels so deja vu.
From the article: President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke has said the Treasury at the corner of St Vincent Street And Independence Square, Port of Spain, will be fully functional for customers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Monday.
The public likely has no idea how much the closure of the Treasury and Board of Inland Revenue has impacted the efficient financial operations of the country.
Consider that as long as Inland Revenue remains closed, the Government cannot receive revenue collected by various government agencies including Licensing and Customs, and multinationals will be unable to pay their taxes and duties to the Government. As long as the Treasury remains closed, Government is similarly unable to spend money in a number of instances.
The public impact of the shutdown of the Immigration Department is just one visible impact of Duke’s “Sick Building” campaign.
Frankly too, Duke “Sick Building” campaign is simply a symptom of the government’s malaise re building maintenance across the service, and their further tardiness with respect to completing new buildings earmarked for public service departments. The towers at the Waterfront Complex are only a few of these.
**‘Howai should intervene in BIR disruption’
Consequently, I don’t know what Seenath Jairam expects the Minister of Finance to do here.
The government squashed plans for the Revenue Authority - an agency which would have been charged with all revenue collection on behalf of the Government. They not only replaced that with nothing, they also left all agencies that would have been impacted by the Authority’s start up as is.
This is akin to deciding to buy a new car because the old one was failing, changing your mind, doing nothing about the old car, and then complaining bitterly a year later that something wrong with the old one when it breaks down on the Beetham.
**Health workers threaten to stay away over Ebola
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan is advising health workers on the frontline if they cannot do the job, they “should get out of the system.”
This is in response to health worker concerns about Trinidad and Tobago’s preparation for handling incidences of Ebola here, and their saying that they would withhold their services if there is a likelihood that they would contract the virus.
**Douglas: T&T is violent
From the article: “Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas says T&T is a violent nation. He said so in response to receiving several threatening phone calls at his home and office. He added his colleagues have been contacted by people seeking information on him, leaving him feeling threatened. In an interview yesterday at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, Douglas said since the public airing of protesters burning an effigy of him on Sunday, it was easier for people to target him.”
This big hard-back milquetoast goes on to say other silly things in his interview with the Guardian.
Douglas might want to take Fuad’s advice to health workers here.
But this - “He said such protests could escalate to the violence being experienced in Rwanda” - is asshattery. Be a frightened Freddie on your own behalf, but do not lose your mind and invoke shit like this.
Douglas shows here a complete and total absence of understanding and appreciation for one of the greatest atrocities of modern history in the first place, minimising the slaughter of nearly a million people over 100 days to seek solace and support for his own situation.
You are a small and shameless man, Lincoln Douglas, this, Kamla’s Minister of Multiculturalism who has neither understanding nor appreciation for the expressions of the people over which he has policy responsibility.
Have a great day, everyone. //