Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Country Running Smooth.....

This is going to sound very anti government of Trinidad and Tobago as I write about the three day Fifth Summit of the Americas which begins on Friday.

The country is on virtual lock down, front pages of the newspapers show heavily armed security looking as though they should be in Somalia instead of here, passes for the Red Zone which have been paid for are not issued, the external security forces have said that the proposed route from the airport to the Hyatt is vulnerable so the alternative route has to be used - never mind the millions that was spent hiding shanty towns and the undesirables behind walls -, the numerous dry runs that have put citizens out and caused them to miss planes, appointments, weddings and the like and yesterday, the electricity company sending panic and chaos through the International Finance Centre which is housing the National Secretariat for the Summit when there was power failure. Fire alarms went of, people were stuck in elevators and there was a mad rush for the emergency exits. One newspaper reports between 1,000 and 2,000 people including international media were ordered to leave the building by the fire services! It was passed off as an 'emergency drill' but once one has lived in this country one knows that there was either an almighty cock up or the electric company workers decided to sabotage the proceedings.

Talk about a three ringed circus!

The floating hotels have arrived. Two Princess Line cruise ships which will house security - 200 local police officers have already moved on board - they must think they have died and gone to heaven - our rat and cockroach infested, car less police stations leave a great deal to be desired. The police officers will filter among the guests, delegates and journalists staying on the ships for the next seven days.

In the meantime there are long delays in Accreditation Centre - people cannot get their passes including the programme coordinator for Transparency International in the Americas. I bet she's pissed off! Her pass it at the airport which is where she should have collected it from when she arrived but no one told her. So now she's on the other side of the island hoping that some courier will be able to get through the road blocks!

And three days before the Summit Active Democracy Citizen Network which is made up of 21 countries, has given Trinidad and Tobago a bad rating for non implementation of decisions from previous Summits of the Americas!

The money that has been spent on this three day event when there are homeless and starving people in this country, is immoral. Seven or so years ago, a new airport was built. Contractors and ex government ministers (living and dead!) are still under investigation for the corruption. One contractor and an ex minister are fighting extradition to the US because of charges laid. So this government decides to rebuild the old airport to accommodate private jets bringing in Heads of States. Add to that the TT$60 million (USD = 6 TTD!) that it cost to build a hangar - yes one hangar - to accommodate Air Force One and its accompanying fleet and the bill is mounting up! We won't even go into the amount of money that was spent on brand new vehicles to transport delegates - car salesmen and fleet managers are having a ball because in time of supposed financial crisis, their commissions are out of this world. Over 200 new vehicles which will afterwards be used by government officials!! They don't have to provide a vehicle for Obama - the 'beast' is already here!

There is so much preparation here - walls painted, grass painted, trees planted, vagrants removed from the streets, buildings painted, roads paved, police and security services working etc... that I think we should have a Summit every two months. That would guarantee a clean and safe country.

The joke is that whilst the demi god Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago is busting out of his shirt with pride, there was but a mere mention in passing on MSNBC, CNN et al of Obama's trip to Trinidad. It seems according to the US media he is going to Mexico on Thursday and then 'to Trinidad'. No mention of what for!!

Obama and Chevaz in the same room? This should be interesting!!!


  1. This hyprocracy and corruption annoys me too.... wonder what Obama thinks?

  2. Wow, what a firsthand experience you're having, Bee! In the midst of all this turmoil, you've a magical few observations there. Do you find me mental in calling you 'lucky'? Perhaps I am that way. Woohoo, Obama and Michelle are in your land! Can you catch a glimpse?

    I was equally jazzed seeing only the cavalcades but no Clintons during their visit to Moscow while I was teaching in Russia that year. It amazed me then too how their escourted trail had been assuredly rose-coloured.

    So my BIG question is this: If it can be done for one day on a micro scale why not for several years on a macro scale? But, as is so aptly described above with all the many inconveniences to the 'indwellers', I liken the adventure to merely sweeping it all under the rug.


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