Posted by: nastylittletruths | October 3, 2012

Dumb and Dumber

I saw Anil Roberts on the CNC3 Early Morning Show with Hema Ramkisson today and it really hit me how much trouble we are really in… Now I don’t really look at Hema in the morning any more because she has allowed her bias as a former employee of Jack Warner to affect her objectivity, but Fazeer went to a break.

The minute I looked at had Anil trying to justify stupid statements about the ‘6% of premium fuel users’ by being more stupid saying that the use of premium fuel use in a vehicle is more a ‘choice’ of the owner than anything else. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! to paraphrase the only thing he’s known for – a big mouth that would be better shut.

The use of premium fuel in a vehicle is by choice? The manufacturers and their engineers made some very specific instructions down to placing a label at the tank lid and it’s optional? Talk about swimming or something Anil, this is way out of your league and that of your entire dumb Cabinet.

I’m typing this while keeping an eye and an ear on the first US Presidential Debate and I realise that the reason idiots like you can only talk ‘politics’ and not ‘policy’ is because your puny brain cannot comprehend issues and make critical commentary thereafter – only rah rah…

In May 2010 I held my nose and voted for the PP because the line up didn’t impress me and my instinct was right. Not much brain between you and your 30 odd cabinet colleagues, eh? You go boy – talking in a condescending manner to us certainly earned you points today, but personal opinion is that you should shut the hell up…

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Posted by: nastylittletruths | August 13, 2012

Working on 08/13/2012

I am really sorry, but a few WTF expletives ran through my head when I heard about this public holiday today. Oh my lord – another one? Three already in August wasn’t enough? The sad thing about it is that many Trinidadians actually *enjoyed* this stupid call by the PM. To be in power in this s**thole you really have to know your people boy…

Not that anyone will notice, but I’ll be working tomorrow. So it’s a “work” protest instead of a “go-slow” or “sit-down” protest, but a protest nonetheless. Doesn’t my government know how they make themselves the laughing-stock of the rest of the world when they do these stupid things? I’ve been trying for months to see a potential client and I had a confirmed appointment today… That’s gone through the crapper and I’ll just have to call and beg again for another chance to be slotted in on her busy schedule.

She may not even fly into the country on Monday as it will only be a wasted day and I couldn’t help but think how many other people have been so inconvenienced. Business people flying in to look at these famous “opportunities” the government try to sell to the outside world… the people who had visa appointments at embassies… medical appointments at doctors/clinics/hospitals… People like me who had meetings… Companies that had tenders closing… The list goes on, but you get the picture – just a reinforcement of our third-world, banana republic mentality where everything is about playing to the masses. The US won over 100 medals, and while they will honour their athletes, they are already preparing for 2016.

I saw one comment on Facebook that sums it up – “In honour of men’s hard work and dedication, we got a holiday to do what we do best – nothing“. The rest, of course, were quite happy about getting the holiday. Majority rules…

Congratulations to Keshorn, Lalonde, Ade, Deon, Jarrin, Richard, Keston, Marc and Emmanuel – you’ve made our country proud. Forgive me if you think it was disrespectful that I chose not to “celebrate with a public holiday”, but it’s the principle of the matter.

 

Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 30, 2012

Managing Complexity

If you are a business student and you do a cursory Google search (for those who haven’t discovered the beauty of Bing) on this topic, you’d probably get over 60 million hits.

So while the ‘big news’ hitting the front pages later tonight that Dwayne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski tendered their resignations since last Thursday (the National Security Council met on Friday so that could put some validity to the date) and expect to demit office by August 7th, understand clearly why we make things complicated. We don’t ‘manage’ complexity, we ‘create’ it.

Today the PM called a special cabinet meeting and addressed the press after, but as I couldn’t hear it on the television I could be talking out of the other end instead of making sense. But what could she have said that would have made the situation any different? Did she not appoint a Minister of National Security who went against Gibbs from day one? Did he not side with the lazy-ass Police Association debunking the 21st Century Policing Initiative? Did he not try to embarrass the CoP in a public forum? Did he not imply that it was time to axe the CoP?

So nothing new there – the writing was on the wall, or for a more contemporary take on an old Pharoah, “so Jack says, so it be done”. But to what end? Didn’t Gibbs give Jack a “bligh” by not investigating the bribe scandal involving Bin Hamam? I have no brief for Gibbs, but let’s be clear – show me a man who is charged with changing an organisation’s culture, but who can’t implement disciplinary action, and I’ll show you a figment of your imagination. No commissioner of police in Trinidad can successfully fight crime when he can’t whip his men into shape. We have coddled police officers in this country for too long while they hide in police stations, make the well worn excuse of “no vehicles” when you call for help and quick to beat you bloody for nothing.

On Friday July 27th I was walking along Sackville Street in front of the Attorney General’s office a few minutes before 1:00pm and the policewoman stationed in the car at that location was fast asleep. Twenty-two years to the day when the old Police HQ was bombed by the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen and a police officer was asleep in a car at the very spot while on duty… That speaks so much of where we have reached. Did the irony even enter her mind? Or should it be called the ultimate insult to those who died that day?

So Gibbs is going/gone and another fool will be appointed with the same old talk about “winning the war against crime” and the Police Service Commission – that archaic and colossal waste of time will be right there doing nothing but frustrating the man/woman mandated to do the job. No complex issue – very simple. The CoP should be elected into office by the population, he should have full executive control over his troops hiring and firing as he please and he comes back to us after a fixed period asking for the opportunity to continue into office. We decide on his success or failure, not politicians…

Plenty ramajay until August 7th and I predict failure no matter who’s there. We have to get the fundamentals right – I’ve written many a post on this same topic and my position holds…

Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 21, 2012

Nest of Vipers

In my last post (three weeks!) I mentioned the unholy trinity in the cabinet and the more I heard Emmanuel George speaking this week, the more I questioned the “considerable thought” that went into his appointment as minister in a very powerful and influential ministry…

Let me tell you what I think and then I’ll throw in a juicy morsel that our investigative reporters never had in their crosshairs. (Okay, I don’t like to use gun terminology in a crime-ridden country, but it is the most descriptive). First off, you need to question the statements, “the PM in her wisdom”, “the PM maintains the right to choose her cabinet” and “serving at the PM’s pleasure”. It’s all bull tata because it was more like puppeteers calling the shots (oh crap, another gun reference) and telling the puppet how to configure the appointments.

Jack had to move out of Works and go to Security so he had to get someone to replace him that will keep him in the OAS/Pt. Fortin Highway Loop… George was the pick as like I said before, he seems malleable enough. And if George is moved from Public Utilities and water has the second highest potential for graft and corruption, why not bring the man in who was responsible for George as a Minister and he make him in charge of a water ministry? First time in our history, WASA doesn’t fall under public utilities so ask yourself why.

I maintain my position that unlike any state-appointed CEO, when Ganga Singh was at WASA he controlled his board and his minister, not the other way around. You think that Indar Maharaj (now appointed President at NGC) and George has more political clout and influence than Ganga Singh? You have to be naive to think so… When the original cabinet was configured in 2010, he got George on board and was “rewarded” with the CEO’s post. You think Ganga is UNC or COP? While Anil Roberts flap his gums and you know he’s more UNC than COP, Ganga is a bit more subtle. After all, he’s been around far longer and more versed at his craft than Anil…

And how close do you think Jack , George and Ganga are? Well here’s that morsel I promised you at the beginning: There’s a woman by the name of Joanne Mora who was appointed a Special Advisor to the Minister of Works and Transport and whose claim to fame (sorry, I meant the appointment) is that she is/was the Chief Administration Officer at the Warner Group of Companies… And this is public knowledge:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joanne-mora/5/293/26

And if you notice two other things on the profile, one says managing director of JLM Quality Services and supporter at (?) United National Congress… The reason I was pointed to this website was because of a tip from a company director who said he was approached on more than one occasion by members of this trio to “fund” activities of the UNC via a monetary contribution to JLM rather than paying directly to the UNC… Anybody remembers Basdeo Panday’s accusation of Warner channelling campaign money for his own use and how JW was eventually taken to court by one Krishna Lalla for millions he allegedly paid to Warner for use by the UNC?

Do you think Joanne is now sitting as a Special Adviser to the Minister of National Security? Do you think I should be afraid, or we should all be afraid?

Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 1, 2012

A More Apt Ministry

Well Jacko is very much in the news since Wednesday, but I’ll stay out of that particular issue since there are much more qualified commentators already on it. I have another train of thought that has been occupying me since the PM had indicated she was doing the realignment/reconfiguration/shuffle thingy…

My choice as a ministry for Jacko would have been “Ministry of Lyrics and Ole Talk”. Not for the life of me can I understand how Jacko has gotten the reputation of an action man. Can *anyone* tell me what he has done in the last two years compared to what he said he was going to? Now I subscribe to the old saying that one doesn’t get into an argument with someone who buys printer’s ink by the barrels and also the more contemporary one of don’t argue with a guy who has a microphone in his hand, but….

Now Jacko doesn’t buy printer’s ink, but microphones are certainly stuck in his face on a regular basis. And seriously, the man have lyrics… (Trini slang for quick-witted replies usually with the intent to deprecate an opponent or laced with biting humour) and ole talk for days. If he wasn’t a politician and of questionable character, I’d lime with him – he looks like he could keep up a wake (another Trini slang for being the life of a party or any gathering).

But apart from a TT$7 point something billion dollar project that has everyone salivating a bit (no seriously – billions eh, it have enough for all…) and which commands the most attention, why couldn’t we see improvements in everyday commuting life?

1. Why can’t the bridge by Trincity Mall be extended to accommodate the three lanes of highway that approaches it and continues after it? An annoying bottleneck that looks like everyone has forgotten,

2. Why can’t Munroe Road (in Chaguanas West constituency) be paved seeing that it is a major artery between the UB highway and the Southern Main Road? When I moved back to live in Enterprise that was my route coming from PoS, but I gave up…

3. Why can’t Jerningham Junction Road (still in Chaguanas West and my new route from the highway) be upgraded from the single lane bridge to Bridel/Endeavour Road so as take some traffic away from Munroe Road and the congestion at Chin Chin Road?

4. Why didn’t you just pave some of the main thoroughfares in this country? There was a big ceremonial opening for PURE a few months back in Rio Claro but I haven’t seen a paver in central yet.

5. What happened to the Licensing Office move to the old Caroni distillery? Oh, you lost that portfolio a year ago…

6. What happened to the plans for flooding in Port of Spain that you spoke about since Christmas 2010?

7. Why didn’t you think of the small things that the best Minister of Works this country ever saw (Sadiq Baksh) concentrated on that had immediate relief to the travelling public because it was just plain common sense? Maybe because during his term oil was US$20 a barrel and he didn’t have TT$7b to spend?

8. How many MOW employees were reprimanded/suspended/fired for signing off on shoddy work that contractors did and were handsomely compensated for?

9. What did you do about the allegations of corruption against Roger Ganesh and his close relative that has expanded his business ten-fold or more since working for the MOW?

9.5 Lord, this could go on whole night!!

10. After rebuffing the CoP in public about not seeing policemen on the highways to keep the lawlessness on the road to minimum, why up to now there is no legislation for using radar guns to detect speeding? A one man job that can have an immediate impact on the dotishness that passes for driving in this country, but absolutely nothing.

Yeah, my evidence tells me what so many people can’t see… Jacko is a pseudo-populist who knows his crowd are – even if they don’t know it themselves – fascinated with what Gwynne Dyer described as “big-man” politics. The idolising of a mere man who is deemed as a “success” and one capable of moving mountains but in reality a scourge on the developing world and the reason we wallow in mediocrity while our “leaders” get rich.

Posted by: nastylittletruths | June 24, 2012

Another One Bites The Dust

** Originally written on May 08**

Following up on the French elections of May that saw Nicolas Sarkozy losing power to his Socialist opponent, the verbatim in an Economist blog was sad in the way it can fortell our own future

“The phrase that keeps coming to my mind after Mr Sarkozy’s defeat is: what a waste. He has become such an object of hate during this campaign that the French seem to have forgotten why they ever elected him.

Yet this was a man who had so much going for him in 2007.

He didn’t talk like other politicians. He hadn’t been groomed at ENA to speak in incomprehensible code, which the French call la langue de bois. He said things that the rest of the clubby political class didn’t dare to: that the French should work more, or stop blaming America for everything, or promote members of ethnic minorities to proper jobs, not just put them in charge of music and sport.

In office he was energetic, hard-working and bold. A whirlwind in perpetual motion, some of his reforms—notably giving universities autonomy, raising the retirement age, cutting red tape for entrepreneurs, rationalising the regional network of courts—have been solid. His international record, despite some erratic moments, has kept France’s voice heard on the world stage. Nor can he alone be blamed for the jump in unemployment and debt on his watch as the financial crisis struck.

The tragedy of the Sarkozy presidency, however, is that he seems in the end to have been his own worst enemy. He fired off in so many directions that it left the French confused, dizzy and exhausted. He seemed unable to channel his energy in a consistent direction. Utterly convinced by everything he did, he then became the passionate advocate for exactly the opposite.

So the tax-cutting candidate ended up increasing the overall tax take in the economy. The politician who never stopped criticising the 35-hour week left it on the statute books. The president who wanted to free the French from their complex about wealth and success ended up regarded as a cliquey “president of the rich”. The leader who promised to promote a French Condoleezza Rice finished his term with no ethnic-minority ministers in any senior government positions—and turned to toxic talk about “too many immigrants” in an unapologetic chase for the far-right vote at the end of his presidential campaign.

If his political results had been more impressive, the French might have forgiven him these foibles. They weren’t, so they didn’t.

His is a tale of showmanship over application, of haste over deliberation, of transparency over reserve. Yasmina Reza, the French playwright, put it well when she wrote of Mr Sarkozy’s restless desire to “combat the slippage of time”. But this time he could not stop the clock. The French did not so much vote for Mr Hollande as against Mr Sarkozy. He ended up defeating himself. What a waste.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/elysee/2012/05/sarkozy-quits-stage

Posted by: nastylittletruths | June 24, 2012

Hijacking our Legislature

Apathy is described as an absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement, or a lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting… So most of the time I feel like I should get back on WordPress and write, but laziness is a helluva thing.

But after the alignment/reconfiguration/shuffle thingy yesterday I got me the urge to get on my soap box and talk about my favourite topic – hijacking of the legislature by the executive; ergo, elected members who no longer see (care?) about the people, but only in the perks of a ministerial portfolio.

Let me relate two incidents that occurred over the last 6 odd weeks… First, I was representing a company I do work for at a graduation ceremony put on by the Ministry of Tertiary Education in early May to highlight their Workforce Assessment Programme. As the Minister, Fazal Karim, was there I cringed every single time a speaker acknowledged him before the sitting MP, Rudy Indarsingh, in whose constituency the event was being held. And this is what I complain about here all the time: why should an elected member of our legislature play second fiddle to an appointed member? Do you see where our emphasis is on when it comes to office holders?

Second event was a week ago attending a Ramayan Yagna (a Hindu prayer meeting) held at the office compound of old family friends and Dr. Tim Goopeesingh as the MP for the area was invited to say a few words. While greeting his constituents, he apologised for the “rare occasions” that he does see them because of his being “busy with his ministerial duty” and if I was not in a place created for worship I would have to muffle an expletive. Seriously? This is a valid reason for being an absent MP even though that’s your first job?

Barack Obama during his election campaign had told US citizens not to ask if government was too big or too small (a big issue over there) but if it was working. So I ask you now – with all 29 members of the ruling party having a “wuk” (even Nela Khan the Princes Town MP as Deputy Speaker) is our cabinet too big? The entire US of A has 15 executive departments; we have 30 ministries… The heads of those 15 departments, or Secretaries, can be hired/replaced/fired any time at the President’s pleasure because their role is to advise him on any subject relating to the duties of their office; a cabinet appointment here is a “gift” to an MP by the PM to ensure his/her support and their role is to execute policy of the executive. At that precise moment, they no longer represent the people who elected them into office. And we know how they like that position and the perks that go with it.

Out of the 30 ministries, 11 are headed by appointed members of the Senate. No one voted for them and I have absolutely no problem with bringing in talent to run the executive once we had a Constitution that debarred them from being a voting member of a legislature. Constitution reform anyone? Been there before, haven’t we? Do you really think we can trust a government to lead reform when they’ve learnt how to manipulate the current rules? Uh, no… Just like Patrick tried to do a few years back, CRF was only meant to be a vehicle to get more power…

Sorry Kams, but you fooled no one shuffling your deck of jokers. What you did do was create a nest of vipers and I know (as I am sure you do by now) that there is a dangerous clique of three there that between them can rob us all blind. One epitomises what is a fixture in third world politics – a quick talking “smartman” who has made his wealth from questionable activities but portrays himself as a saviour of the poor and downtrodden. One is ever the political animal having done the NAR/UNC/COP? hopping – called you a drunk and the most unmentionable word for a woman in 2007 when he was on the other side of the political divide, but yet rewarded as a state utility CEO and now a Minister. The last of the three came from the public service, but owes his past and current ministerial position to the grasshopper. A man who does the bidding of both and looks like the stereotypical scapegoat for when things go south.

Serve the people, but pay yourself first…

Posted by: nastylittletruths | May 1, 2012

Pinky And The Brain

The subject was intentionally light-hearted before people started to think I was really over the edge and now a crazy nutter. (The fact that I started it months – if not a year ago – is probably a good measure of my sanity) But for the younger ones who didn’t know the cartoon ‘Pinky and the Brain’, Pinky didn’t know his left from his right and was an unwitting accomplice to the Brain’s many plans to “take over the world!!” (da da da daaaah!)

Now this was years ago when my children were very young and I watched cartoons with them on a Saturday morning as we vegetated our brains while bonding (they grow up so fast…) but it seems as if in the last two decades someone has actually made some steps to rule the world. And if you haven’t thought about the Chinese when I wrote that, then they are winning already…

With a substantial war chest the Chinese have spent money in every country that has some form of energy source that they can use. Right now it’s oil and coal, but I’m thinking that when this all runs out they may start burning wood. Their appetite for energy is well known. I’ve heard stories about the coal from Australia and it was mind-boggling…

But there is a more insiduous strategy afoot and it involves exporting their people. Now I’ve written about this before, but since when did we have open borders? The Chinese are everywhere and if they are ‘fleeing’ Communist China, how is it possible for them to be so loaded with cash that they either buy properties or open businesses as soon as they land here.

And if you are already living in one of the fastest growing economies of the world (and projected to be the largest within a decade as they pushed past Japan and now the second largest since 2010) why leave? The recent news about a clique of immigration officers selling citizenships to the Chinese, and we know about the gun licences from a few years back, gives credence to the old Golden Rule – who has the gold makes the rules…

My theory is that they are funded by the State – and not only for TnT, but all over the world. The Economist ran quite a few stories recently about China state investors just throwing money at any deals that come their way. The point is control, so due diligence is thrown out the window once they can buy something.

The question that we should be asking is, to what end? I’ve suggested control of the world resources and that’s certainly not a two by two plan… It will take strategy, people and money – and boy do they have money and people. Maybe when it happens it will be prosperity for all, but I doubt it.

I was reliably informed that a year ago when the PM celebrated her birthday a Chinese national was present who was introduced as a ‘good friend’ and the first reaction from my source was, here we go again. The recent revelations about a Chinese funded children’s hospital and awarding of the UWI South Campus to China Jiangsu is just a continuation of what Patrick did. I expect that we will soon hear of plans to open a Confucius Institute here and if you want to learn more about that hot topic just do a cursory internet search.

Sinophobia may be a worldwide phenomenon by now, but it is well warranted.

Posted by: nastylittletruths | March 27, 2012

B for Bogus

bMobile has the unique distinction of being personally branded by any wit who can come up with a caustic meaning of the ‘b’ at the beginning. I’ve heard the term ‘bogus’ mobile quite often and I think it’s quite apt.

After many years as a postpaid TSTT mobile customer and then bMobile, I finally fired them in the middle of this month before my new billing cycle started. I’ve been robbed many times – but the most prevalent is when I travel and the roaming bill comes after. I minimise my use as much as I can (I have to stay in touch with my clients) but I always get overcharged. When they decided to cap my rollover minutes, that was the last straw…

It took me nearly 18 minutes to get my phone off postpaid and to request prepaid service using their call in line even though I went to West Mall and asked them to do it for me at the bMobile store. The people there insisted that I call an 800 number and I was knocked from department to department. When I got angry and told them to cut it off now, they said they cannot promise a return of service (on my old number) as prepaid within three working days. As it was a Thursday I had to wait until the following week, but all they did was lose revenue for being vindictive.

But the question in my mind is why was it so easy for TSTT to allow me to leave? The old adage about it being twice as hard to acquire new customers as it is to retain existing ones meant absolutely nothing to them. This is not a very large market and Digicel has been eating at their base for some time now and TATT has acknowledged that mobile customers are practically evenly shared between both.

TSTT managers and workers are some of the highest non-energy sector paid people on this island and they are all a colossal waste of time. If this is a company that you have funds invested in, run. Their internet service had sucked and I fired them… their mobile service was crappy and I fired them too… I’m  down to a single landline at home when I had three before and yet still nothing. From over $1200 a month in communication costs now down to about $60 (I don’t use the prepaid phone) a month and they still don’t get the message. 

So I’m no longer green – I gorn red…

Posted by: nastylittletruths | March 18, 2012

An Educated Jackass

When I was a boy yay high I learnt from my elders if you send a devil to school all you got was an educated devil. When you listen to Roodal Moonilal PhD, all you hear is an educated jackass braying…

You couldn’t get a better version of a young Basdeo Panday (sorry Mickela) this week when you heard Mooni talking about ‘Generation Vex’, a slur on Generation Next who is the Panday slate in the upcoming UNC internal elections. Similar to Bas’s penchant of saying ‘corpse’ when referring to the COP, Mooni forgot his party mantra about ‘everyone having the democratic right to seek election into office’ and could only say ‘vex’ and how they have meetings with 10 people under a shed and a few stray dogs.

But it was good to hear you Mooni, because I remember like yesterday when the last internal elections were being held and you were part of the Basdeo Panday slate (and the only one to survive at all) and you were in a campaign meeting at Penal Junction and you called our current PM a drunk… How did it go again? You said that you heard the lady was somewhere in the crowd (she actually was) on her way to her own meeting, but because she was drunk got confused about where she was…

You see Mooni, unlike many people in Tnt I have a long memory of politics and politicians. And the same way Kamla forgot (or forgave) I didn’t. Your eyes betray the lust you have for power and no matter how much KPB tries to foist you on the population as a ‘future leader and PM’, she must be really confused to think that you ever will… All it does is reinforce the perception that she has bad judgment and makes bad decisions. A recurring theme of this administration. Ever wonder why you never score well in popularity polls Mooni?

So enjoy the next three years as a demigod, as all Ministers of Government do in this hell hole of a country that you and your kind have made it into. Your true calling as Opposition Chief Whip will be here sooner than you think.

Wine to the side…

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