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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In the past week I remembered a scene from the popular Christmas comedy, Home Alone. In the first movie, which was undoubtedly the best of the series thus far, everyone was busy packing their stuff as they were about to travel on a Christmas trip. Little Kevin (the main star) is questioned by his sister as to why he was worried, after all, their mommy would pack his stuff. She says to him that he is what the French people call “Les incompetents.”

I cannot help but describe the present Government as Les incompetent. It means the incompetent or the lazy. Sad but true!

By the time of publication of this article, I expect that Ancel Roget and JTUM would have already called a massive march around Port-of-Spain aimed at causing a complete traffic grid lock in the capital city and a total shut down of the country. Nothing else will suffice!

A couple of weeks aback, at a march through Port-of-Spain, he called upon the population for a total boycott of businesses belonging to a particular businessman who claimed on international television that his ethnic group was the most powerful in T&T though it accounted for less than one per cent of the overall population.

Roget’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley untidily appointed one man, Christian Mouttet, to investigate the procurement of recent inter island ferries Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower 2. By way of an “un-headed” letter, it appears that PM Rowley was writing as a student on school vacation to his pen pal.

The letter which was purportedly signed by the Prime Minister says, “on behalf of the Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, I hereby appoint you as the sole investigator into: ‘the circumstances surrounding the procurement of the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower 2 and the entering into the charter party agreements for these vessels.’ You will be provided with support from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs and it is expected that your report will be delivered to me within thirty (30) days. I take this opportunity to thank you for your agreement to serve and look forward to the receipt of your report. Yours sincerely, Dr Keith Christopher Rowley.”

How did the Cabinet arrive at this decision? What selection process or criteria were applied to determine a “sole investigator”? Who were the list of candidates considered? What are Mr Mouttet’s qualifications and experience in carrying out these kinds of investigations? How exactly is the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs going to help him conduct his investigations in the absence of legal authority to compel documents etc? Where is the precedent for this kind of action? Does the Attorney General’s Office or the Legal Affairs Ministry have investigative powers? Why is the Police Service not tasked to carry out investigations? At the end of it all, what will be the status of such a report?

How are we, taxpayers, really expected to pay a top executive businessman like Mr Mouttet, or is he doing the investigation “pro bono publico?”

What is really going on? This is mind-boggling to say the least. If this was really a Cabinet decision, then all Cabinet Ministers should be fired. One wonders whether the Prime Minister was still in a vacation frame of mind seeing that he left this scandal behind to go to Barbados last weekend.

Prime Minister Dr Rowley seems to have forgotten that the buck stops with him. He ought to have taken quick steps to ensure that the situation was dealt with comprehensively, expeditiously and transparently. I dare say that what he is doing is exactly the opposite.

What is even more amazing is the quietude with which Tobagonians are digesting the situation. It appears that Tobagonians, apart from a select few such as Opposition Senator Christlyn Moore and Watson Duke, are vacationing at home instead of visitors/tourists. Why are Tobagonians not lobbying the Tobago House of Assembly to pressure the Government to re-establish the sea bridge immediately? It is what the French would call “Les incompetents.”

It seems to have become the trend with this Government that they should not be judged by what they say or do but by what they say they do! All facts and circumstances would point in the other direction, the right direction. But once the party says otherwise, it must be accepted as such.

How long the population will tolerate this style of leadership remains to be seen. In the meantime, crime spirals out of control and more and more people are becoming jobless. I have tried to be very restrained in this article and so I simply end by saying “Les incompetents.”


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