?It is most regrettable that several institutions of state have sat back and allowed the looting of the construction site for the church at Guanapo Heights. It is well known that the Church of the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ was being constructed under highly controversial, questionable and mysterious circumstances. About the actual church little is known and the information that has been made public about it was provided by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, when she was Leader of the Opposition and by Patrick Manning, when he was Prime Minister.
Mr Manning said in Parliament that the church was granted a portion of state land to build a structure. However, while he acknowledged the leader of the church to be Pastor Juliana Pena, his spiritual adviser, he denied any personal involvement in the construction and acted as if he knew little else. In the month since the general election, looting of the premises has been taking place to the point where support material from the building under construction was removed by looters, causing two of them to come crashing down with part of the dome. At the same time when all of this was happening, the Government, the police, the Integrity Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions have sat on their hands. Now, it seems, there is a widespread blame game taking place with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan adopting the posture of an opposition politician and not a government minister, identifying the Acting Commissioner of Police and the Integrity Commission as the culprits.
At yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference, Mr Ramlogan went as far as saying that the National Security Minister should seek answers from Acting CoP James Philbert as to why the police have not acted and if the answers are not of a satisfactory nature, then he will be shown the door even earlier than was planned. The Attorney General also chastised the Integrity Commission for not acting to protect the property at Guanapo, noting that that body has been investigating possible wrongdoing there and therefore had a right and responsibility to initiate action to prevent looting of possible evidence. While Mr Ramlogan seeks to blame everyone else, he should always remember that he is the legal adviser to Cabinet and the person who the Constitution holds responsible for the administration of legal affairs. The response we have had so far from the police is to the effect that the owner of the property is not known and so the police could not advance on the property to protect it.
It is almost as if all of the major legal institutions have become shackled, unable to act in the national interest while criminals are making off with loot, which could emerge as being state property, endangering public safety and creating tension and confusion in the national community. Not very far from the surface is an obvious political undercurrent, especially in the instance of Mr Ramlogan tagging the Integrity Commission, with which he had a spat in the matter of whether Jack Warner could continue in Fifa while being a minister. The question the ordinary citizen must be asking is why could these institutions and guardians of the national interest not come together and work out a way of proceeding without this unseemly public squabble about who is responsible and who is not performing in the most appropriate manner?
And this is more puzzling in the context of the Government having established at least three ministries to interact with each other to counter criminal activities of one kind or the other. Why did it have to come to such a humiliating contest?� In addition to the law-abiding citizen being dismayed by it all, criminals must certainly feel that they could benefit from space and time as officialdom fights each other. But it is not too late for the institutions to combine their efforts rather than contesting with each other in such a public manner.