Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 12th 2017 Contents viewpoint A19
Saturday, August 12, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Religious leaders must
play a greater role
As our country battles with these trying times it is
important that we recognise that we all have an import-
ant role to play if we are going to come out of this storm
with the least amount of scars. My philosophy is very
simple---every hand on deck. We all can contribute and
whatever is put in adds to the completion of the puzzle.
With this in mind, I would like to offer a word of en-
couragement to our religious leaders who I see as having
a vital part to play in our nation. Gone are the days when
our role was just to offer spiritual advice to those residing
in our community and the nation at large.
Our religious need to be more in the forefront, not only
on matters which impact them directly. Too often we can
find ourselves in a protective mode, just defending out
turf, but at times we need to step out of the box (or down
from the pulpit) and put aside our personal ambitions.
Remember we are all citizens in T&T and whatever takes
place here affects us all.
The nation needs to hear the voice of our religious
leaders more, not just at the point of being critical but
offering positive comments and advice in general. I look
forward to see this becoming part of the operation of all
religious organisations. Let our voices be heard in building
Why is procuring a
suitable ferry so hard?
The public was recently advised that the contract for
the Ocean Flower 2 was cancelled by the Port Authority
and it will not be servicing the T&T sea bridge. Some-
times it's hard to understand why certain decisions are
made by public officials.
This boat was already 21 years old and sourced from
Asia to be brought to the Caribbean. That is halfway
around the world. And why select a service provider
with only two years experience in the business?
This is not rocket science.
Is it so hard to source a fast ferry that is less than 10
years old, in good condition and from a country located
closer to T&T?
I have been a frequent user of the ferry service for
the past ten years and was always satisfied with the
service and performance of the fast ferries while they
were maintained by the Bay Ferries company of Canada
with their Canadian crew stationed in T&T.
Could the Port authorities not utilise this relationship
to help in sourcing another fast ferry?
After all the accusations that were levelled against
the former government in relation to the super fast
Galicia, it is mind boggling that the present government
could make such bad decisions now in their attempts
to acquire a suitable vessel for the sea bridge.
T&T'S LAME FIGHT AGAINST WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINALS
The recent sea bridge fiasco further
highlights T&T on the map as be-
ing a place friendly to international
white-collar criminals and impotent to
fend off white-collar crime. There is en-
couragement for internationals to part-
ner with untouchable local criminals to
together plunder the country.
White-collar criminals see T&T's at-
tractive perception of corruption index
scores. "Trinidad and Tobago was the 101
least corrupt nation out of 175 countries,
according to the 2016 Corruption Per-
ceptions Index reported by Transparency
International. Corruption Rank in Trin-
idad and Tobago averaged 69.44 from
2001 until 2016, reaching an all time high
Government has a responsibility to
prosecute white-collar fraud to dissuade
white collar bandits preying on the coun-
try. It's not government's job to cover up
fraud with contract cancellations and
such like. Infringing procurement rules,
assisting infringing procuring rules, forc-
ing infringement of procurement rules,
standing by aware of persons infringing,
assisting infringing, forcing infringing
don't carry any criminal liability so no
arrests are made.
Procurement rules are good for gar-
bage. The feeling is the players, if found
culpable, should go quietly; resign or dis-
missal. Not so fast. If fine and prison are
fair for petty traffic offences, high fines
and long prison time should pair with
breach of procurement laws.
In criminology, blue-collar crime is
any crime committed by an individual
from a lower social class as opposed to
white-collar crime which is associated
with crime committed by someone of a
higher-level social class.
Is blue crime a multi-billion dollar
problem like white collar crime? Does
blue collar crime have tentacles to do
ruin to society like white-collar crime? In
T&T an average 450 blue collar murders
per year don't shake the country like bil-
lions of dollars in government enabled/
ignored bureaucratic racketeering and
embezzlement. A few episodes of sharp
white-collar crime robs the country as a
whole every year. Notwithstanding this,
T&T's anti-crime defences are weakest
against white-collar criminal violations.
Typical white-collar crimes could
possibly include fraud, bribery, Ponzi
schemes, insider trading, labour racket-
eering, embezzlement, cybercrime, cop-
yright infringement, money laundering,
identity theft and forgery.
The most common white-collar of-
fences include: antitrust violations,
bankruptcy fraud, bribery, computer and
internet fraud, counterfeiting, credit card
fraud, economic espionage and trade
secret theft, embezzlement, environ-
mental law violations, financial institu-
tion fraud, government fraud, healthcare
fraud, insider trading, insurance fraud,
intellectual property theft/piracy, kick-
backs, mail fraud, money laundering,
securities fraud, tax evasion, phone and
telemarketing fraud, and public corrup-
According to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), white-collar crime
is estimated to cost the United States
more than $300 billion annually. Al-
though typically the government charges
individuals for white-collar crimes, the
government has the power to sanction
corporations as well for these offences.
The penalties for white-collar offences
include fines, home detention, com-
munity confinement, paying the cost
of prosecution, forfeitures, restitution,
supervised release, and imprisonment.
Sentencing guidelines suggest longer
prison sentence whenever at least one
victim suffered substantial financial
harm. However, sanctions can be less-
ened if the defendant takes responsibility
for the crime and assists the authorities
in their investigation. https://www.law.
So I end with this, embezzle funds
from under the all the state's controls,
checks and balances once, shame on
you. Embezzle funds from under the all
the state's controls, checks and balances
twice, shame on government's inefficient
controls, checks and balances. But em-
bezzle funds from under the all the state's
controls, checks and balances every year,
redounds to mass institutionalised cor-
Two kayakers enjoy a tour of
the Winston Nanan Caroni
Bird Sanctuary on
Wednesday as part of
Experience T&T's Caroni
Wetlands Kayak Tour.
Among those who were part
of that tour were GML's
reporter Rhonda Rambally
and photographer Ayanna
Kinsale. Read Rhonda's first-
hand experience of the tour
in your Sunday Guardian
as part of the ongoing
Staycation series which will
feature different destinations
around the country until
the end of August.
PHOTO: AYANNA KINSALE
STAYCATION KAYAK TOUR
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