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posted 26 Sep 2011, 15:15 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 26 Sep 2011, 18:56 ]


by Sam Odinga

Cecil Paul's article on corporate gangs and other articles on this website point clearly to the fact that often what goes down as "business", particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, is nothing more than immorality and criminality.

One could dare the business community to identify a few among them that are not involved directly in the criminal activities of cheating on their VAT, using known dangerous and substandard materials in their products and misrepresenting them as something else or engaging in unjust profiteering as do the motor car and other industries.

They all know from their historical experiences in T&T that no member of the business community has ever been convicted of a crime or is likely to be convicted. There have been cases of business men selling used vehicles as new (remember the Rover car issue), registering cars as motor bikes, selling customers hardware materials at "no Vat" prices and just plain criminality such as selling stolen goods.

What is even more criminal is that these persons are often held up as symbols of success and given national honours. In fact, there is little difference in practice between them and many of the so called "community leaders" who have come to know that although they may face prosecution, they are unlikely to face conviction.

I remember Lloyd Best pointing out, when the last wave of corruption occurred, that none of the accused would be brought to justice. Look at what has happened to Ish and Steve thus far. It was common knowledge that many business properties were owned by underworld figures like Chadee and others.

The story goes that it was then necessary for the state to remove these underworld figures who had extended credit to so-called businessmen in order that the businessmen not be forced to honour their debt. Was it not the chairman of the HCU himself, who stated that while some businessmen (ethnic group given) are engaged in high crimes of fraud and other financial improprieties, those in Laventille and similar communities (ethnic group given) were engaged in crimes against the person?

But one should never read into the present revelations a desire by the state to expose crime in high places. Those criminals were allowed to 'bus’ it' long ago, and given the history of criminal conviction among businessmen it is unlikely that they will be brought to answer.

What then is the objective of the government, since the state is an instrument of the elite? The fallen members are useful politically. They can be used to pretend that we are in an era of exposure and to make us believe something is being done. But little will change for in Trinidad and Tobago, there is little ideological differences between criminals and businessmen.
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