BLIND MAN’S BLUFF

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.

Wikipedia contributors, “Blind Man’s buff.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_man%27s_buff  (Accessed October 7, 2012)

In this rounds, 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 country, 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 –

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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.

After the PP’s election victory, the Steve-Ish issue presented a conundrum since the USA wanted them and the public wanted to see them face justice. The Extradition request was refused so that they can be tried here.  That ruling was not appealed by the AG, who stated that the reason is to allow them to be tried here.

The result of the sudden reversal in the face of mounting protest, is that the Piarco Accused can now say to the Court that Parliament exercised its powers to repeal legislation upon which they were relying to seek freedom.  Parliament acted to reduce the rights of two individuals and the Court may be asked to rule that those actions of the Parliament have oppressed these men.  The recent repeal of this section seems to have fortified the case of the Piarco Accused in seeking freedom.

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.

Proper Priorities of our Parliament
Our Parliament has been on holiday since 11 July, but it has been reconvened twice in that period.  The first occasion was in mid-August to satisfy an upcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force of our Financial Intelligence Unit.  All members voted in support of that Bill.  The second occasion was for the repeal of the controversial s.34 and that raised a question for me.  Why did the government agree to reconvene to repeal?  Was it because of our objections and criticisms, or was it the stated concerns of the USA?  In our 50th year of Independence, did the concerns of the USA outweigh our strong concerns?  A sobering reflection.

The Title of this article is a kinda medley, when you study that, in Whe Whe, #34 is ‘Blind Man‘, we have been outwitted.  One of my favourite moves, in those well-plotted spy thrillers, is the ‘Double-Bluff‘…This S.34 episode is a real cynical game of Blind Man’s Bluff….you see?

…They’ve got 12 Aces up their sleeve!
So who the Hell can we believe?!
Steve?
Not even the love of your children’s enough…
To quell this cynical pain!
Can you show me a directing-sign?
Show me a sign!
On this Highway of Big-Tief and Fools…
You tief yours and I shall tief mine!
Leh we go down the Road an break the broken rules
So in this morning of another day
When decency will lose its way
Ray!
There goes another $100 Million again!
Back to the Same Ole Same!
….
The self-contempt is like a Badge of Hate!
Award yuhself!
It’s not too late!

© Lypsoland Music. Lyric used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.
From the opening stanza of David Rudder’s ‘Back to the Same Ole Same‘ on the 2001 album ‘Autobiography of Now’

Where do we go from here?  That question is for the second part of this column.

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4 thoughts on “BLIND MAN’S BLUFF

  1. Alvin Narine, commenting on ‘Formerly COP Members’ group FaceBook page on 15th October 2012

    Afra, you have said enough, so there is no point in going over your comment.

    What I would like to add though is the other “missteps’ and “misunderstandings” which occurred and continue to haunt this government. It is obvious that these will not just go away, for from time to time these controversial issues keep coming up. I keep getting the impression that the role, the relationship, the responsibilities of a government viz a viz the citizens have been reversed!

    If one looks carefully one may want to think that there is now a dictatorial element in the manner our government operates. Now, as a citizen I would like to see that any government in power serves the interest of the citizens as they have sworn so to do. The impression one can get now is that the Members of my Government have a sole self-interest apart from ensuring, no matter what, that they remain in power. We speak about the Westminster System which we supposedly emulate, yet I see a former Minister of whom serious political misconduct accusations are leveled not even considering resigning. I see, too, so many public complaints of what may appear to be malfeasance in public office going unanswered.

    Our confidence in our Parliamentarians appear to be loyalty to our respective Party rather than the ethical behaviour one expects (or is it expected?) of our Parliamentarians. To my mind, apart from others being held responsible, a former Cabinet Minister was dismissed from Cabinet and being a Minister for what many woulds say was a dishonest act and yet he remains in Parliament. I for one expected the Honourable Member to resign as a Member of Parliament, but then I am also coming to the conclusion that such “Honourable” behaviour is becoming a rarity in Parliament. Yet our elected members would expect us to vote for them again. In the meanwhile we should remain silent.

    Alvin

    1. You are making a number of relevant points, Alvin and thanks for joining-in…

      I would invite your attention to the column which caused my resignation from the ranks of Guardian columnists – ‘CL Financial bailout – swearing an Oath’ – that detailed the several damaging ways in which Karen Nunez-Tesheira broke her oath of office.

      It’s at http://wp.me/pBrZN-Sv and worth a read, from January 2012.

      Afra

  2. Sidebar – Was S.34 the first time?

    Afra,

    You have, in the course of your research, made a number of applications under the Freedom of Information Act. These mainly relate to requests for documents. Can the State enter, broad, into contracts on behalf of the country, the terms of which are secret? The second CL Financial MoU isn’t a contract for example. The minutes of Cabinet Proceedings….. The presentation referred to on your sidebar … Are these FIA exempt?
    Can you post a set of FIA forms on the blog so that we can download and have our own attorney’s make applications?

    regards
    noVack

    1. Novack,

      The official Freedom of Information website is http://www.foia.gov.tt/ and there is a trove on vital info there, although the budget and staffing of that office has been slashed in the last 3 or 4 years…

      Cabinet notes are exempt from the FoIA, as is anything out of the Central Bank…I am grappling with several of these now…

      Thanks

      Afra

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