And the “Oscar” goes to…

On 3rd of December 2021 Dr Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago gave an Oscar winning performance, one that I must say has to be his crowning performance of a lifetime to date. As a true spin artist, he deflected and dodged all direct questions put in the public domain by the Opposition, without really addressing the issue of not filling out the Form B under the Integrity in Public Life Act that is required by law.

For this performance he surely deserves an Oscar for best performance in a leading role of propaganda. With so many questions by the media and allegations of breaching the Integrity of Public Life Act by the Opposition, Dr Rowley dodged and spun his version of the truth, weaving and deflecting in what can only be described as a man that believes he can get away with anything.

He believes that he is just that good, can say and do anything on his pulpit, and the people of Trinidad and Tobago will accept his explanations or his story as the God honest truth without questions.

For whomever dared question him, he implied that they were basically imbeciles, ignorant. They just do not understand business in the real world, the way an expert businessman like himself can negotiate a price such as the property price in Tobago to get it at a lower price than what the actual market value is, due to his negotiating abilities.

In an hour of broadcast on the State-owned TTT station he denied all allegations, and held up for public view a piece of paper claiming that it was undeniable evidence against the Opposition’s claim that he failed to file the information required under the Integrity in Public Life Act. Displaying this piece of paper, he exclaimed that here is the proof that he filed his papers, and that other claims were false and rubbish. 

Rowley further accused the media of supporting the Opposition’s agenda to destroy the PNM’s campaign in the THA election which were due to be held on Monday 6 December 2021. In his usual style of scolding the media and everyone in his line of sight, he fired off like a real gunslinger, explaining the Economics 101 of buying a property or a car, while explaining he always acts responsibly in all his transactions both personally and publicly.

What seemed to be totally from left field was his claim that he never visited a whorehouse, he doesn’t drink to get drunk like other people, and in fact everything he does under the sun is above board. History is now written and the PNM has lost the THA elections 14-1 to the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP). 

What came out quite clearly though is that Form B was not filled out properly, allegedly by a sitting Prime Minister.

Anyone under the Integrity in Public Life Act is required to fill out two forms, a confidential Form A, which provides information on the person’s income, assets and liabilities in public life and a Form B, which provides another disclosure of a person’s in public life properties. This Form B is the one that anyone can access for public view.

However, allegedly Rowley did not fill in that one correctly. The PM denied the allegations made by UNC MP Saddam Hosein, and basically called the UNC Opposition deceivers with ramblings akin to dunderheads. He seemed to be a leader out of control fighting for his life.

In fact since his defeat at the polls in the THA elections his hatred for the Opposition has only grown. There doesn’t seem to be any proper Leadership nor strategy coming to the forefront in the running of Trinidad and Tobago’s affairs, especially with him at the helm of the Government. If one were to use any aspect of Leadership skills taught at any institute one would understand that people ultimately perform duties for a leader whom they trust, and one cannot attain respect from the people and lead them unless those people themselves give that person that right to lead. Oh how I long for a Leader like our own Kamla Persad-Bissessar where we saw true statesmanship through proper leadership techniques. 

After all the deflections, accusations and innuendos, the end result was that PM did not provide a satisfactory response to the question of why he did not disclose the property he bought in Tobago on the Form B that is required by law.

What citizens saw was a man on the edge trying desperately to convince everyone that he’s beyond reproach, that his integrity is beyond reproach and that he remains lily white. At the end of it all any average Joe was left with more questions than answers, and the Form A that the PM displayed quickly in his press briefing could not be substantiated in any real way.

The PM really seemed to be trying too hard to convince everyone that there isn’t anything wrong here, so much so that up to now we haven’t heard if the Integrity in Public Life board is investigating this or if anything more will come out of this revelation.  We are left with more questions than answers and with an uneasy feeling that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. 

– Neil Gosine