«197 Leave of Absence Friday, July 23, 1999 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Friday, July 23, 1999 The House met at 1.30 p.m. PRAYERS [MR. SPEAKER in the ...»
Parliament is here to attend to the honest and just grievances and even those that are not so honest and just, because if you were to say that Parliament must necessarily be an inquisitor, Parliament must be some board of censorship, I do not think that will serve the public purpose. I think every legitimate grievance that every citizen brings is good for Parliament, so I have absolutely no problem with collaborating with the Member for Diego Martin West, the Member for San Fernando East, the Member for Diego Martin Central, all of them, individually and collectively, in the national quest to unburden ourselves from systems that very often were not created by the PNM.
The PNM came and met a lot of these things here as indeed I quoted from this gentleman who said since the Spaniards came down here they met corruption.
And if you read the Ramayan, you read Kautilya, the Arthashastra, the Bible and all the ancient documents and spend the time that I have spent you will glean from them the understanding—[Interruption]—of course, I started with the Kama Sutra—you would glean from all of them the essential substance, what you would call in German, the leitmotiv. The essential and necessary reason for government has to do with regulating the behaviour of man to man in a polity.
It is why Plato said in The Republic that man is a political animal and when you read on the rest of the sentence he says man is the only animal who will make laws and live under a government. People who do not do that, you understand— this statement that you made here and which is written in the records is mischievous, Mr. Speaker. It is deceitful, insubstantial, sophistical and dedicated to partisan, parochial and provincial purposes. It has no necessary message except to canalize emotions and mobilize the minds of people who are responsive to sloganeering and not to thinking, to believe that corruption started in Trinidad three years ago and therefore if we have a good man sitting there, if we have a good man as Prime Minister at the head of the Cabinet table, our problems will be solved. It would not be done that way, Mr. Speaker.
I looked through the speech. I read it through and through. I tried to get something in the nature of a recommendation. You know, Mr. Speaker, we live in a society and a country where it is evident that one of the reasons we have not 240 State Agencies Friday, July 23, 1999 [DR. THE HON. M. JOB] achieved more, one of the reasons we have achieved so little with so much that has been bequeathed to us is that the leadership has lived according to the principles enunciated in this presentation. They have glibly and mischievously used the emotions of the masses to carry them to their mountain top of power and, having reached the summit and crowned themselves in glory, proceeded to throw the scraps and the bones from the table to those same people and left them in dereliction, in a swamp of squalor.
That is what we see in this country today. After 34 years of PNM rule we do not have a single law, a single rule, a single regulation as recommended by this— what is the paper I was reading; not a rule recommended to end corruption or to reduce it. You cannot end it because as long as you have people around, you are going to have corruption. The Caracas Convention of the Inter American Convention against Corruption—corruption is not a Trinidad problem.
There is an organization called Transparency International that was set up by somebody who used to work at the World Bank. I read from the Internet one of the pronouncements which said Nigeria and India are always competing to see who is going to be the number one most corrupt country in the world. Venezuela next door is somewhere high up, maybe number three, four or five. You come to this Parliament to mislead little children into believing that if we put a good man there—where is this good man? Mr. Speaker, none of us: we are all flawed and fall short of the glory. If he is not honest enough to understand that we are mere mortals, and when Shakespeare said, to be tempted is one thing, to fall is another, he is speaking to every one of us here. I understand that.
This is why I want to encourage everybody to join with the Member for Laventille East/Morvant and the Member for Diego Martin West to collaborate in this noble purpose that has been abandoned and neglected by the Member for San Fernando East who thought that he was the greatest gift to mankind after Machiavelli. He thought so, you know, and still thinks so. A few seats in a local government election will energize his hubris to heights unimaginable. I know it. I can sense it. I can sense the aura and the panache. I can feel it in the air. I feel it like a miasma enveloping me. Do you understand me, Mr. Speaker?
Focus your mind on justice. You know that you read the Bible and claim that you go to church as often as you can. You remember when in the book of Amos he said, “let justice roll down like the waters of righteousness, like an ever flowing stream”. That is what we are dealing with here. We want to set up those 241 State Agencies Friday, July 23, 1999 rules. Amos was talking because he was standing on the firm foundation of laws that were there and were ancient which the kings, high priests and people of Judah were violating. He said that those laws and that justice was for everybody. There were poor people in Judah when Amos was talking. You do not think so?
When Jeremiah was about the world there were poor people. They had rich, they had high, they had kings, they had priests and there was separation of powers too. All of that was there. I have read it, studied it diligently, and they all understood when they said righteousness and justice, they meant dealing with the laws that applied equally to high and mighty, to poor and lowly. That is what we are about. We are not about here to come and fool people, to tell people corruption began three years ago. You understand. That it is not what we are here for.
Deceitfully misusing the emotions, the shame and anguish of people who perceive that the ambience and the environment in which they live is one where— remember last year when I told these journalists that since Mr. Panday became Prime Minister I have read more rubbish than I have ever read in my life in Trinidad about Indian this and Indian that and Hindu this and Hindu that. These kinds of attitudes have created a kind of distress and distrust and uneasiness which is easily exploited by people who try to tell people, “Look, you see dem fellas, since dey come into power all dey doing is t'iefin'.” When you do statistics—you are a geologist you must have done some statistics—you will see that it is association. Association is not causation, you know. [Interruption] I do not know. We did not do the same test so I do not know how you can claim that you know more than me. I suspect that you will learn a few things if you associate with me but that is another matter. Association is not causation; you understand. So that even if indeed there were certain political changes which took place three years ago and even if indeed we live in a society where we have inherited certain attitudes, certain cultures, certain institutions, there is no necessity logically to say, as is being asserted in this presentation, that it all began three years ago. It did not.
You are subverting truth and this prevents people from coming to a reasoned and reasonable conclusion concerning what we must do, what we ought to do, what we have neglected to do and what you have neglected to do. That is the mission of this Parliament. It is the mission of everyone sitting there. We have to do that collectively.
242 State Agencies Friday, July 23, 1999 [DR. THE HON. M. JOB] That textbook racket where you have—you know, yesterday a policeman told me he went to buy a book for his son and then they say you have to buy the updated version. So he is looking at these two books. What is on page 8 in the updated version for which he has to pay more money is on page 6 in the older one.
That is what they were doing. These people supervised that racket ever since they came into power sometime after 1956 or 1962. They are spreading out among their friends hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars, and in the process the children of this country became more “duncy”, more stupid, more illiterate, more innumerate and they became less competitive with the countries of the world.
I went back to my village and was asking my peers—I met my cousins who returned home from abroad—we were in class together. I said, “Winston, Purcell, did you know anybody in our time who could not read or who could not write?” None of them said “yes”. Some of us could have written more than others but everybody could read and write. My mother and father if you see them write you would think they went to university. I used to teach at university and the most agonizing time was correcting people's test papers. You cannot read what they wrote.
[MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair] These people have come to this country, imposed themselves just like an Abacha regime, like a junta, and destroyed thousands of children with their corruption of all the institutions of the state. They corrupted the police service.
When the British were here, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have family, about seven or eight first cousins and near cousins who are policemen and I remember there is one of them, my uncle's son, when he wanted to join the service I had to give him a recommendation. I had to talk to people. There were all these kinds of arrangements. In those days you had to get the head-teacher to give a certificate;
the priest had to give a recommendation in order to join the police service. These people came and scrapped all that and instead put people in the police service who committed all kinds of rape and crimes, give them gun and things like that, undermining the whole institution.
Dole Chadee built up his gang here when the Prime Minister was an African descended person. Let us talk about all of that. They are saying three years ago when a certain set of people came here the corruption started. The Prime Minister was looking like Job; he was an Afro-Trinidadian. The Commissioner of Police 243 State Agencies Friday, July 23, 1999 was Randolph Burroughs. I did not think that his ancestors—all of them or some of them might have come from Calcutta or somewhere but not all of them.
You can go on like that, all police, everything and Dole Chadee built a monstrously efficient killing machine in this country under the eyes and nose and teeth of all these people with impunity. I am saying that because the institutions of the state, Mr. Deputy Speaker—[Interruption] [Mr. K. Valley rose] Dr. The Hon. M. Job: I am not giving way.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Member for Diego Martin Central, order, order.
Member for Tobago East—[Interruption] Dr. The Hon. M. Job: My sincere apologies, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but you know I am being interfered with from that side.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: One should not be interfered with from such a distance.
Mr. Valley: Tell him that, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: You are given one more minute to wind up.
Dr. The Hon. M. Job: Mr. Deputy Speaker, they do not understand what they are about when they use words like “corruption”. The Motion was not about corruption. The Motion was about everything to do with the tendering process.
They spent the whole hour and a half talking about corruption and then when I am dealing with corruption in all its forms, giving a synoptic inventory of all the episodes of corruption in which these people indulged in this country, the institutions that they corrupted, the minds they depravely destroyed and subverted—I told them corrumpo, corrumpere, corrupi, corruptum—they do not understand these things. Corruption!
The meaning of the word is very wide. Mr. Deputy Speaker, I think I have made my case properly. I rest my case to the audience of this country that the Motion as moved was a proper Motion, it dealt with a proper purpose, but the whole argument was vitiated and flawed by nonsense, pettiness, stupidity and conundrums that I cannot unravel.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. [Desk thumping] 244 State Agencies Friday, July 23, 1999 Mr. Jarette Narine (Arouca North): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to support this Motion on the Order Paper by the Member of Parliament for Diego Martin
East which says here:
BE IT RESOLVED that the House condemn this Government and the State Agencies for the unsatisfactory manner in which they have awarded contracts and engaged personnel within the last three years.
Apparently, it is the last three and a half years. We have sat here for 75 minutes and heard nothing of contracts according to this Motion. We have heard a lot of talk about how Dr. Williams was a good man—having said every time he got up here since he got into Parliament that Dr. Williams was the worst person who ever came to Trinidad and Tobago. Today I am satisfied that Dr. Williams came here on time to have the Minister and all of us educated through the PNM!
[Desk thumping] Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Minister actually insults all of his colleagues on that side who have an education today and can credit the People's National Movement.
Apparently, the Member for Tobago East never read the report of the Auditor General. This is what I thought he would have come here today and dealt with— the last report of the Auditor General. I am amazed that this is the same person who is speaking about Indians and Africans today, because he said that the Indian people in this country were the most ignorant people on the face of the earth!
Mr. Bereaux He said that?
Mr. J. Narine: He said that! Mr. Deputy Speaker, Trinidad and Tobago has anti-corruption laws imbedded in our Constitution—laws in Trinidad and Tobago to deal with corruption, but what has been happening is that the Minister is agreeing that they are corrupt and is trying to make it known that PNM caused that.
Like the Member for St. Augustine a month ago was the laughing stock of Trinidad and Tobago to say that Johnny 0’Halloran was involved in the rice transaction coming from India for $30 million. We caused that!