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posted 30 Mar 2010, 20:58 by Gerry Kangalee

Rights Action Group (RAG)

Media Statement March 30, 2010

Forum Foolishness: An open letter to Prime Minister Patrick Manning

Dear Prime Minister,

It was with great dismay that we heard of your wish to host a World Business Forum next year. But, admittedly, we greeted your failed attempt to distinguish between a summit and a forum with a high degree of amusement. Mr. Manning, call it what you may, if it quacks like a duck etc. etc. you know the routine. Citizens are not as foolish as you think. Where are the evaluation and impact reports? You will be wasting our tax dollars once again just so that you could appear on a so-called world stage. We hope you realise that except for the buttering up by the head of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), no one takes you seriously. The CBC has its own agenda. In fact, the parent Commonwealth Secretariat should be advising its member states to reduce useless expenditure, instead of making work for one of its units. It can become a World Bank clone by giving poor development advice so that it can justify its existence. Just like the regional talk shop.

Mr. Prime Minister, just in case you got carried away by the sycophants you have around you and in your party, let us make it clear to you. We know you were only testing the waters by throwing out your wish for another forum. You want to gauge public reaction and leave a back door from which to sneak out by saying it will require Cabinet approval. Forgive us if we pause to ask if all members of your Cabinet approved the construction of your monuments. Because that will make all of them complicit in the wanton spending of our tax dollars and the public will not forgive them at all. You used to be a smart man, Mr. Prime Minister so we know that you know the following: people of this country do not want to hear about any forum or summit for a long time. End this foolish forum talk, now.

You have not accounted to citizens for all the costs, and we mean, ALL costs, associated with the last two business fora and all the benefits derived from them. Where are the evaluation and impact reports? And, we do not wish to hear that these things take time. Multinational corporations (MNCs) know what they want and make quick business decisions. If you will be leasing cruise ships again, then you will have to book them early this time so you can halve the doubled costs. You will have to stop feeding your party friends for free during the forum and you will have to engage a more efficient and less expensive forum secretariat. We certainly do not want to hear about expensive lessons learnt and corporate memory. You made them waste our funds for nothing. Now, you are ensuring that Trinidad and Tobago participates in a six-month world fair in Shanghai. You might even go there for the special events; after all, Shanghai should be dear to your hart. The MNCs will be there so why on earth, sorry, in hell, would you wish to host a business forum?

Your foreign PR and local advisors, business community buddies, and those who will be compensated in different ways must be allowed to speak up, freely, without fear of being called wajanks and dismissed from their jobs. They will tell you that the people of this country do not want to hear about any forum. We know that, as we walk about all the time within communities, not wait for an election.

We take this opportunity to let you know that the whole country will rise up against the hosting of your wished-for forum. Really, Prime Minister, do you think you could get everything you wish for when people are suffering under your mis-management? We are wishing for water, health services, end to criminality, among other values. Surely, your God is watching you as he does not sleep on the job. Drop your jokey and foolish forum talk.

On behalf of the restless citizens,


Contact: Name: Cathal Healy-Singh Tel: 366-0751

Name: Norris Deonarine Tel: 774-1276

Gerry Kangalee,
30 Mar 2010, 21:01