Given the events of the last three years, we believe that Trinidad and Tobago is at its darkest hour. As young people, we are sickened that almost every day we are bombarded with headlines of mismanagement, wastefulness and poor governance in our beautiful nation. Sadly, we reflect on the Reshmi Ramnarine debacle, the ill-conceived State of Emergency, the flying squad rebirth, ongoing attacks on our media and other democratic institutions, consistent attempts by public officials to intimidate citizens, Defence Amendment Act , alleged blatant ethnic stocking across state organization, government ministers soliciting funds from businessmen to host Christmas parties, Hafizool Mohammed, emailgate, alleged over-night millionaires and government ministers with six houses, and most recently the fire truck fiasco where a firetruck valued at $2 Million was removed at the cost of taxpayer’s dollars to the tune of $10 Million and received cabinet approval of $6.8 Million TTD. We are also very troubled that Trinidad & Tobago has declined in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from 71 out of 178 countries in 2010 to 80 out of 176 countries in 2012. So, we want to make a stand against corruption in ALL forms and regardless of who is in power. We demand zero –tolerance and collective action against corruption regardless if you are PNM, UNC, COP, ILP, MSJ.
With the ubiquity of corruption, we fear that we are approaching a state of endemic corruption. As we near the anniversary of the infamous “Section 34’ – the most high profile case of perceived political corruption to date and the questions surrounding its early proclamation under the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011; we strongly believe that corruption, in all its forms, is like a cancer- evil, corrosive, deleterious and destructive. Dr. Elaine Byrne (2007) warns that blandly labelling something as corruption is meaningless and much like cancer, we can only prevent corruption when we know what type it is. So, we the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals want to acknowledge that we are against corruption in ALL of its forms and at ALL levels- whether it be categorized as systemic corruption, individual corruption, petty corruption, grand corruption, moral corruption, legal corruption, bribery, embezzlement, theft, fraud, nepotism, cronyism, judicial corruption, police corruption or abuse of discretion.. We believe that corruption destroys our future and robs us of opportunities. We maintain that corruption stunts our economic growth and attacks the very foundation of our democratic institutions and so we are vehemently against the abuse of power for any private gain. As an organisation, we value equity, integrity, transparency, diversity, accountability and collaboration.
More recently, we are even more concerned that some of our citizens are willing to condone corruption and rumours of corruption under the guise that they benefit in the short-term. We ask you to remember Christopher “Dudos” Coke, Adolf Hitler and other malfeasants who were all hailed as heroes to their people because ’the end does not justify the means’ and ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness!’
For too long, we, as a society, have tolerated corruption, even dismissing it as “dey all tief.” But we, the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals are demanding that we take a stand against corruption, regardless of who is in power. We believe that corruption is evil and while representation and performance are integral to democracy, ‘integrity is the lifeblood of democracy’. For the last three years, more than $150 Billion TTD have been approved for government spending, $150 Billion of our taxpaying dollars! Whereas our debt relative to GDP was relative stable at 39% in 2009, it was 46.6% in 2012; can we sustain any bigger deficit? Where did the money go? Sadly, the effects have been the perception of more corruption; slow down of foreign investment, declining GDP, spiralling crime rate and global competitiveness decline.
For too long we have estranged ourselves from the issue of corruption, as we murmur and complain almost hopelessly- but Trinidad & Tobago, this is our money! The government, every government, is accountable to us, the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We have to mind the public purse! Raping the treasury and stealing from the public purse is a crime. We demand a government with leaders who are prepared to comprehensively address the issue of corruption through the enactment of the appropriate policies and legislation such as the very essential whistleblower, campaign finance reform, and public sector procurement reform legislations. However, we believe that corruption is best addressed as a collective action problem; legislation, enforcement and raised awareness of the media, public and the government.
As a society, we need to create an environment where the rule of law prevails and where we promote zero-tolerance for corruption. We believe that a corrupt-free society creates stability and trust and promotes social and economic development. We believe our people must be sensitized of the costs and evils of corruption. As difficult as it seems, today, we want you to consider that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ and while we are not the first step we ask you to join with us as we take our country upwards and onwards! Take a stand against corruption! We, the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals, believe that only with ACTION such a vision can be realized. So we ask you the right-thinking, good people of Trinidad and Tobago to join with us and take a stand against corruption!
We are reminded that ‘the world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing.’ So, we believe that ‘we must be the change we wish to see in the world.’ Mahatma Ghandi
Office of The Opposition Leader
Port Of Spain
15th August 2013
The Political Leader Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley extends congratulation on behalf of the People’s National Movement to Jehue Gordon and his support team for their Gold Medal victory in the men’s 400 meter hurdles at the IAAF World Track and Field Championship in Moscow today.
The 21 year old has now joined a long list of accomplished athletes who excelled to the highest levels in international sports and we salute him. This victory is as a direct result of hard work, dedication and most of all discipline, these are some of the values which the patriotic citizens of Trinidad and Tobago embrace in their daily lives.
This achievement comes at a time when the nation is in need of wholesome inspiration and we thank this young man for reminding us all, that great things are possible for those invest positive energies in their pursuits.
Once again, we join the rest of the country in paying tribute to yet another son of the soil who has put Trinidad and Tobago on the world stage and extend to him and his family our heartfelt congratulations.>>>>
PNM NATIONAL WOMEN’S LEAGUE
The PNM National Women’s League wishes to publicly commend and express our unwavering support for our Political Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, in the Parliamentary Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister and her Government.
Dr. Rowley has proven to be meticulous in his observations and research on the deeds and misdeeds of the People’s Partnership Government, and has thankfully brought much of the subject matter into the vision of the general public.
We fully support his call for a proper investigation into these emails, by independent agencies, to assist our Police Service in bringing a speedy resolution to the matter.
Dr. Rowley, we stand with you in this motion of No Confidence in the People’s Partnership Government.
8 August 2013 at 14:26
Internal elections are an integral part of the People’s National Movement’s (PNM’s) constitutional provisions which we engage in periodically as directed by the General Council.
In 2012 the Peoples National Movement via an initiative from the Political Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, successfully mobilised the Membership of the Party to endorse a new election system, which would allow each and every Member of the Party to have a say in the selection process, thereby providing them with an opportunity to have a larger stake in the affairs of the Party by voting for all positions on the National Executive. We called it “one man one vote” and it was passed with overwhelming support from the membership at a Convention.
The Political Leader Dr. Keith Rowley has been one of the most progressive leaders that the PNM has seen. This move opened up the leadership of the Party, the positions of Chairman, Vice Chairman, etc. to challenge from any member who is so inclined. This stimulation of excitement, enthusiasm and participation in the affairs of the party, is what was intended when this move was contemplated and brought to the membership for adjudication.
However, it is disappointing to note that concern is being expressed in the public domain about certain members who have chosen a period of heightened national political activity not associated with the internal election, to signal to the national community their move to challenge the Political Leader for a post that is not yet vacant, in a process which has not been triggered by the General Council. The Internal Election of the PNM is somewhere ahead of us but on a horizon well beyond a significant Local Government Election and a National Budget, which will cement the scandalous legacy of the current administration. Both of these are significant national events which the Party is working at, in order to ensure that the population is comforted that the PNM is looking after its interest. To echo the sentiments of the Political Leader earlier this week, we trust that all Members will have their hands on deck and be focused on the business of the Party and country and not on the business of themselves at this time.
As regards the Local Government Election, the PNM is prepared for whenever the Hon. Prime Minister chooses to comply with the law and sets a date for the Local Government Election. Our Candidates have been selected and they are on the ground working. We take strong objection to anyone using the public domain to disseminate mis-information about the Peoples National Movement, its organs and its internal processes. The PNM is currently, actively engaged in readying its machinery for elections so it can provide the people of Trinidad and Tobago with the best possible representation in all fora and at every occasion.