BY THE END of last week, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was being accused of mis-speaking. On the matter of the salary of the CEO of Caribean Airlines, she went beyond the requirements of a Parliament question posed by Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner stating the salary of the CEO (US$28,000) and quoting a housing allowance (US$5,000).
But there were other allowances not quoted and the Government had to point out the short notice of the Parliament question — only one hour’s notice is given for Prime Minister’s Question Time. Still, there was no issue of inaccurate information, but rather incomplete supplemental information which was, in truth, essential to an understanding of the terms and conditions of the CEO.
But if we can rightly take the Prime Minister to task for an incomplete statement, what about all of the wrong, mis-statements of the Opposition Leader?
One of the jobs of an Opposition Leader is to carefully scrutinise statements made by the Government, exposing when those statements are wrong.
But if the Opposition Leader polices the statements of the Government, who polices the statements of the Opposition Leader? I ask only because of a trend on the part of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to make sweeping statements one day and, within the space of a few hours, change the story. Sometimes these statements are made to the party faithful and are often assumed to be factually correct even if that assumption does not hold up to careful scrutiny.
One example was when Rowley last year criticised an announcement that the State was examining the possibility of acquiring maritime vessels from Colombia to patrol the borders and aid in the crime fight. Colombia? Rowley asked in Parliament.
Is the Government sure that it wants to take assistance from Colombia of all countries in its fight against crime? But while Colombia has a history of terrible, violent crime, in recent years, it has actually been effective in combating its crime situation.
According to one report, the level of drug related violence was halved in the last ten years, when the country moved from being the most violent country in the world to having a homicide rate that is inferior to the one registered in countries like Honduras, Jamaica, El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, South African and, yes, Trinidad and Tobago…READ MORE