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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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It’s Your Write (14-09-2011)
Has terror ceased under emergency?
The state of emergency (SoE) is a wonderful crime plan. Approximately 150,000 people are under house arrest from 11 pm to 4 am each day. The houses of these people (and the rest of the country) can be broken into by police/military officers, ransacked (searched) and item confiscated.
Once upon a time criminals did the same. Apparently the choice is either the blue devil or the pink devil; you can either be terrorised by criminals or by state authority. Has the terror ceased?
Once upon a time criminals might relieve you of income and savings and explore your body with beatings. Today the State imposes fines and secret beatings to accomplish same under the protection of the SoE. Has the terror ceased?
One cannot confirm what is the reality since there is no statistical data on these things.
Under the SoE there are police/ military beatings of citizens, but thankfully no statistical data to back up complaints. Robbery of citizens by police/military officers, no statistical data. Destruction of private property by police/military officers, no statistical data. Fines imposed upon citizens for being outdoors during curfew hours, no statistical data. False arrest of citizens, no statistical data. False imprisonment of citizens, no statis- tical data. Disease acquisition/ spread (venereal, airborne, contact) by SoE incarcerated people, no statistical data.
“They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety”—Benjamin Franklin.
No commitment to financial institutions
This administration has inherited a commitment from its predecessor to honour EFPA contracts. It says it won’t do that. People took a risk it says, and they should pay the price for failure.
The same Government has inherited letters of comfort to large banks on behalf of various state-owned enterprises. Letters of comfort are not guarantees. In fact, they explicitly state that they do not constitute guarantees, so the Government has no moral or legal obligation to these sophisticated financial institutions, all of whom had access to all relevant financial data when making the investments. Yet the Minister of Finance says he will convert theses letters of comfort to guarantees and will honour them fully at our expense.
What does the minister have against EFPA holders? What reason does he have for bailing out large financial institutions? There is a powerful legal basis for honouring EFPA contracts if the Gov-ernment truly believes in the rule of law. It has even more reason by virtue of the explicit promises made by the previous administration, the Governor of the Central Bank, and their own appointee to the post of managing director of Clico.
There is absolutely no commitment, legal or otherwise, to the financial institutions who now stand to benefit to the tune of billions of dollars from this bizarre decision.
While we are being asked as a nation to tighten our collective belts—workers to accept five per cent salary increase over three years, EFPA savers to forfeit 50 per cent of their hard-earned wealth, and many citizens facing financial hardship—it is galling to see that our Minister of Finance has decided to present some of the wealthiest firms in the country with a multi-billion dollar windfall for no good reason.
Either we all accept the pain of economic adjustment or none of us should. Either we as a nation honour contracts as they stand or we don’t. Either we treat small private investors and large corporate businesses equally under the law or we lose all credibility as a safe place to invest and do business.
Dangerous precedent being set by Govt
The Government can’t win in court, so it decides to change the rules of the game. This is a very dangerous precedent being set by a democratic Government. How else can Clico policyholders seek redress in the court if this avenue is being blocked by new legislation? Dastardly.
If the Government was confident in what it was doing, this piece of legislation would never see the light of day. However, the writing is on the wall and little by little the judicial process is revealing the complete buffoonery which passes as sound and imaginative financial solutions to a rather complex and painful situation.
What is to stop this Government from bringing other pieces of legislation to block other citizens from seeking redress in the courts concerning other issues?
Here we have a bunch of old politicians parading as smart politicians who are really little boys and girls throwing a “hissy-fit” because they are seeing the losing end of many lawsuits.
This is a calculated, methodical, heinous way of infringing on citizens’ constitutional rights. But then again, constitutional rights are being relegated to folklore, “nancy” stories and works of fiction.
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