Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2014 Contents A31
letters on sunday
May 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Avideo, which has been around for
quite some time, was finally aired by
TV6. Being responsible, they had to
include phrases like "alleged" and "looks
like" a government minister," etc.
For those of us who saw the video,
and heard the voice, the "alleged" is
insulting. But we understand legal
The video doesn t really show much.
It is less than convincing that a crime
actually took place at the now infamous
"Room 201." What we actually saw and
heard were vacuous boasts about some
weed, in the presence of some women.
In hindsight, I questioned what wrong
had he really done, in the privacy of a
hotel room? What had he done that is
so criminal that might require him to be
The minister subsequently sought to
dismiss and downplay the incident as
"PNM mischief" and "character assassi-
Why this video became an issue in the
first place is the bigger question.
Implied in the airing was the view
that certain people should be held to
higher standards, namely, people who
occupy prominent positions, including
Members of Parliament. However, the
recent firings of several others have
clearly demonstrated that our expecta-
tion of these mere mortals must be
reconsidered. When we elevate com-
moners to positions of lords, or when
we elect cockroaches to fowl party, who
then is really at fault here? I am
reminded of the phrase attributed to
Alex de Toqueville: "In a democracy,
people get the government they deserve."
I must admit to and humbly apologise
for having voted for the individual. But
he was, by far, the best choice at the
time. We were all hopeful. We expected
"to rise." The video evidently gave new
meaning to the wish "to rise."
The immortal question becomes: how
do we attract people of character to a
circus of varying colours? How do we
hold people to higher standards in a cul-
ture which thrives on picong, mauvais
langue, mamaguy and good ole fashion
"fatigue?" How do we define "charac-
ter" when we recruit people into the
police service who are known criminals,
but never had a "criminal record" as
they were never arrested?
The minister, one of the many one-
term MPs this nation will see, is a prod-
uct of T&T. He is "one ah we." His
unexpected rise to his current position
evidently has taken more than a fair
share on his ego, as he was evidently
never quite prepared for the position he
But he is not the only one. Similar
occurrences have been recorded from
boardrooms to integrity commissions.
Thus the phrase "All ah we tief" reflects
much more than a weak apology. It
speaks to the history from whence we
came; some earlier than others.
The issues are much greater than
weed and women; they reflect issues in
forced hypermasculinity, shaped by a
number of social and emotional issues
as men seek to define and redefine who
they are in a fragile and dynamic envi-
Rudy Chato Paul, Sr
As a law-abiding member of the public, I do not
know what to believe. Was the minister set up or
is he indeed a pot-head?
It is very easy to settle this issue. One of our
country's exemplars, Dr Varma Deyalsingh, who
has been battling the scourge of the ill effects of
alcohol and drugs on the lives of our citizens, has
called for restrictions on alcohol sale, increased
rights of citizens to shut down bars and even crit-
icised the decriminalisation of marijuana, saying it
would be an added burden to the already chaotic
state of affairs health care workers have to deal
This doctor even suggested that random drug
and alcohol testing be done on all state workers.
Let the minister give our goodly doctor a sam-
ple of urine to do a drug test. He was always seen
on television loudly castigating others. I am sure
he would jump at this opportunity to prove him-
Maybe if the Prime Minister fails to act, the
President can convince her otherwise and even
follow Deyalsingh's suggestion and let an inde-
pendent body like the Psychiatric Association do
drug testing on our members of parliament.
Drug testing for our MPs
Janelle and Janine Xavier of Xavier Strings played their hearts out in Chaguanas on Friday.
They were performing during a Ministry of the People and Social Development event
celebrating mothers and family life. The HIV Awareness Unit hosted the event.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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