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POLITICAL CORRUPTION - A CRIME AGAINST THE PEOPLE by Cecil Paul

posted 14 Nov 2013, 19:30 by Gerry Kangalee
Since the advent of internal self government into independence and on to our present status as a republic, our politicians have continuously engaged in gross acts of political dishonesty. Very few have been charged and as far as I know none, yes none, have been convicted and punished, so this epidemic of political corruption - a crime against the people - continues to be not investigated and go unpunished. 
 
Our failure to act against corrupt politicians has seen corruption rise to unprecedented levels. This failure to act is an indictment against our institutions of law enforcement and integrity. Every day in this country there are media reports, platform accusations and rumours of misbehaviour in public office by those who govern us. 
 
Some say hundreds of millions and even thousand of millions (billions) are stolen from the citizens through crooked deals with some business leaders in state procurement. It was reported many times on the political platforms, during the recent elections, that these acts of robbery involve overpriced government contracts in all areas of state procurement with resultant kickbacks to government ministers. 
 
These acts of mega corruption are occurring at a time when there is on the law books a starvation minimum wage of $100 per day for the majority of our country’s workers, while the firms paying these low wages announce record profits. We live in an oil rich country that is becoming increasingly unequal with a rich and affluent minority, a small percentage of middle income unionized workers who struggled for their gains while the majority population are the poor and those just barely surviving on minimum wages and small vending and small scale farming. 
 
The corruption is continuing when several of our schools in depressed areas are closed for repairs or in a state of unfitness for proper education. Our hospitals lack proper facilities and our people receive inferior health care, yet our politicians steal our money. 
 
Our capital city is a daily traffic nightmare and is flooded with only a medium rainfall. Citizens in various areas of the country are frequent victims of flooded homes and it seems our politicians are preoccupied with bribes and kickbacks, which ends up in foreign bank accounts. 
 
They are so disrespectful of our people that while they steal millions these corrupt politicians “mamaguy” poor people with tokens of food cards for a short period of time, low paying CEPEP and URP jobs, welfare pittances and self help programmes that should rightly be done by the many government agencies. 
 
Have the ruling politicians rendered our law enforcement agencies and our integrity bodies impotent? There are complaints of insufficient resources to effectively perform their duties of protecting the public purse. We are therefore being told that our oversight bodies on integrity and honesty in public life are toothless pit bulls and therefore the political corruption will continue without investigation or with inefficient probes.

So that all we the people can do is complain, spread rumours of new corruptions while they steal the people’s patrimony and cover up their criminal acts through ethnic divide, cultural and religious chauvinism and fear of “those people”. 
 
Our politicians will steal how many more millions and billions before we the people organise ourselves to put an end to this mass scale robbery? When will we realize that the money they steal is the same money that is needed to diversify our economy and create good jobs for our children and grandchildren? Our country needs to provide more efficient health care and other social services and improved infrastructure. 
 
Diversification of our economy is an imperative. Our oil and gas resources are wasting resources and will finish in possibly the next 25 to 30 years. To maintain our economic viability new industries must be developed from the high surpluses we now receive from oil and gas and which our politicians have been squandering and stealing. 

Urgent people’s action against corruption is also an imperative for Trinbago or we will pay a high price in the near future. Our trade unions, patriotic and civic groups must come together and discuss and engage this vexing issue of massive corruption in our political system. We have to put a stop to this political banditry. We must act and not only engage in ineffective criticism and “mauvais langue” because our corrupted politicians have no shame. The time to act is now.
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