Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2015 Contents CELEBRATING 60 YEARS
Tuesday, September 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
For many years there have been
subtle questions asked around
the transparency of the process
used to determine which individuals
are chosen to receive our country s
The reality is that though any cit-
izen or organisation has the right to
submit nominations for considera-
tion to the National Awards body,
ultimately the final decision remains
with the Prime Minister and maybe
her Cabinet colleagues.
Many are of the view that the
President of our country has an
input in this process.
Well he does, but only to facilitate
the process, and co-ordinate with
the Secretary of the National
Awards the interviewing process of
the applicants. Outside of that, he
has no say.
My concern is that the rules of
the politics have changed signifi-
cantly over the past ten years, and
we have seen many instances where
political influence has entered into
arenas where it does not belong.
With regards to our national
awards, it is very easy for there to
be political railroading of this
process. On occasions we have seen
quite a few awardees whose stated
accomplishments were marginal at
best---but compounded with their
political affiliation, made them
prime candidates for receiving
I believe that the time has come
where an independent body, insu-
lated from party politicians, should
be vested with the decision to iden-
tify people of merit who meet the
criteria to be considered for national
Only then can we as citizens be
assured that there is objectivity and
fairness in the selection process.
Only then can we correctly select
those people who are indeed the
most deserving of such esteemed
This election campaign has been the
most bitter and divisive one I have
ever experienced in this country.
Nasty attempts have been made to
destroy the reputations of prominent
candidates, and with our love for mau-
vais langue we have lapped them up,
passing the stories on with much de-
light, according to our political persua-
With the number of talk shows on
radio, the campaign has become very
much like a theatrical production, with
regular callers calling every day---the
regulars having been assigned names in
many cases according to what part of
the country they are calling from.
What makes the radio talk shows
even more theatrical is the passion and
clear bias of the talk show hosts.
One particular gentleman hates the
leader of one of the parties to such an
extent that his angry, violent and vitri-
olic attacks on that person on a daily
basis, is becoming frightening...and
therein lies the danger to our society.
I can only hope and pray that when
the results have been announced, that
the owners of these radio stations will
see to it that these political programmes
will cease with immediate effect so that
this country can return to normal.
I hope these owners will put country
first, if even millions of dollars are waved
before their noses to continue to do so.
Failure to do this may result in our
country becoming another Rwanda.
That country had in 1984, a genocide
that in 100 days, took the lives of
The hate that caused that disaster
was encouraged and fanned by the radio
stations. This must not be allowed to
Why not use technology to control corruption?
Computer technology can be used for all
types of transactions via wireless from anywhere.
All agencies of government can be run using
computer technology. Make it so that all govern-
ment transactions can only get completed at the
swipe of bio-transaction smart cards. Place fines
and prison time on transactions not logged into the
Make it so that all government contractors must
make orders for materials and payment to their
workers through swiping bio-smart cards. That way
every single instance of business done for or with
government or by government can be computer-
collated for easy tracking.
We will now have records to search who pur-
chased what for government ministries or state
projects. And searchable records of who authorised
payment for goods and services provided to govern-
ment or billed to government. This control will pro-
vide easier auditing of all state business.
NATIONAL AWARDS OR PRIME
MINISTER'S CHOICE AWARDS?
The recent announcement by the Leader of the Oppo-
sition, Dr Keith Rowley that the PNM party, when it
takes the reins of Government, would enact whistle
blower legislation is a very welcome one and an excel-
This Act will provide a mechanism to investigate al-
leged corruption and misuse of power by public ser-
vants and also protect the person who reports acts of
theft, fraud and corruption in public agencies.
One key aspect of this new legislation, however, is
that it must be made retroactive as too many alleged
instances of corruption have passed without resolu-
The country is still waiting for answers on scandals
such as, Project Pride, Labidco, Landate, Emailgate and
many other past alleged wrong doings.
Making the legislation retroactive can allow people
to come forward free from fear to report on past cor-
ruption and malfeasance.
Thereafter justice may eventually be served.
Corporal Miriam Ferret photographs retired police sergeant Merlene Morgan, centre, as she poses with
constables from left, Lauren Thomas, Adelina Hospedales, Nekeisha Ray and Jomima Brown, during a
retreat in celebration of 60th anniversary of women in the Police Service at the Police Academy in
St James on Saturday. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Hate spewing from radio talk shows Use technology to
reduce state corruption Make whistle blower
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