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Clear as mud

Sunday, January 14, 2018

It is ironic that on the very day the members of the newly created Procurement Board were sworn in by President Carmona, urgent questions had to be tabled in Parliament so that the Government could shed at least some light on its purchase of a new vessel for the sea bridge.

Given all the controversy surrounding previous acquisitions or leases of vessels for the service, including the more recent debacles over the Galicia, Cabo Star, the Ocean Flower 2 and even the maintenance contract for the T&T Spirit and T&T Express, we should expect the Government to show total transparency and full disclosure regarding the latest contract. Not quite.

So far, we are told of an amount agreed for a vessel apparently built but not yet in service. We are told she was found through an ‘extensive search using international experts’ but no names were disclosed.

We do not fully know whether this vessel complies with all the requirements laid out in the most recent tendering process—and how it compares in price and quality with what was put forward by those bidding for the contract.

The sea bridge saga shows that the Procurement Board is much needed.

The big question is whether it will have the powers and the appetite to forcefully and transparently deal with matters like this.

Grump Trump

When we think the current US President cannot sink any lower in how he communicates and acts, another bizarre comment or tweet comes along to remind us that he can. Rightly so, many are outraged by his comments regarding poorer countries, including Haiti.

This is unlikely to change, though. As provocative (and wrong) as he might be, we must remember that most in his electoral base lap all this up. This very cheap populism, full of insults and shallow slogans, is what allowed him to reach the White House.

And, frankly, if they voted for him even after he was caught bragging about how he grabbed women by their genitals, they are unlikely to flinch when he insults a few foreign countries.

Pan time

Good luck to the 20 bands as the first major Panorama 2018 competition gets under way this Sunday in Arima with the Single Pan finals. Even as the fetes, soca and chutney competitions seem to grow in size and impact, Panorama remains a special moment in our culture as we celebrate the very best of our national instrument.


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