AZP News

The Week That Was: Covid-19, Fuelgate, Devant Maharaj

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By Alicia Chamely


BEFORE I begin I would like to give a wholehearted round of applause to you Trinidad & Tobago. You did good this week… well mostly.

I was certain with the opening of restaurants there would have been some sort of riot or at least good slap and kick in a KFC or outside a doubles stand, but nope. I was caught off guard by this admirable behavior we demonstrated, perhaps I don’t give us enough credit.

Then again, I must admit I have a lot of worries this week. Not so much worries but thoughts of great concern that tend to keep me up for considerable amount of time at night. Being an over thinker is indeed a curse.

Lucky for us we haven’t had reported cases of Covid-19 in over two weeks…yay! High fives all around…but this is not time to wave our flags of victory.

You see somewhere out there, hiding in their home, itching to bust outside is an asymptomatic person or simply a dunce who has kept convincing themselves their cold like symptoms is just their sinus raising up, because let’s face it Sahara dust is TT’s number one enemy.

Once this person gets out and about it’s all downhill from there, especially if we have all gotten slack.

By slack I mean a number of people causally adopt the following behaviours – psshhtt masks are for the weak, who needs to wash their hands, standing in close proximity to strangers is my jam!

Thanks to these morons more cases pop up, we once again all go into panic mode, I begin having anxiety attacks in the grocery when someone stands less than six feet away from me, we all go back into lock down and our economy continues to spiral downwards.

Naturally we will be on the receiving end of a serious tongue lashing from our PM, who will rightfully once again question our ability to just do what is needed to save our own damn lives.

It’s all tremendously worrying.

I suppose however it is not as worrying as the circus of our new fuelgate scandal. Did we or didn’t we willingly trade with a US blacklisted nation? Did we or didn’t we violate the Rio Treaty? Why were minutes not taken at the meeting between Prime Minister Rowley and Venezuelan VP Rodriguez? Were they trading secrets? Discussing the pandemic? Or simply exchanging arepa recipes?

Who knows? But I question the jump to the worst conclusions tactics taken by the Opposition. If you read the letter penned by Opposition member Roodal Moonilal to the US Ambassador, there tends to be a lot of speculation and maybes. This does not inspire much confidence.

I feel like if you are going to play with fire, you better have facts not assumptions.

We all know picking a fight with Uncle Donald and his army of Red, White and Blue extremists is never a good idea and having sanctions put on TT will destroy us. So I am not too sure what the Opposition was trying to achieve. If it was panic and sleepless nights…well mission accomplished Roody!

Now I am not defending the Government because they haven’t exactly been straight forward either and in doing so have left room for the crazies to speculate.

We are a neutral country when it comes to Venezuelan relations; this I believe has generally been a good position. But I also believe for the sake of our other international relations, we need to tread carefully.

Do I think the US will place sanctions on TT for an oil shipment that was sold to an Aruban company and then went to Venezuela…not particularly. I do however think the Government should act with caution and be as transparent as possible when it comes to Venezuelan relations.

As for the Opposition, I understand their concerns, I question their motives however. In recent times they have adopted this I just want to see the world burn attitude and it concerns me.

Ha-ha actually after writing that I instantly got a visual image of KPB in Joker makeup and Rowley dressed as Batman…oh that’s been burned into my brain for life. Now I’m thinking about it in the reverse…

Finally the last thing that seems to be rattling in my brain this past week has been Devant Maharaj calling himself a journalist.

One of the best experiences I have had was working at the Guardian; one of my biggest regrets was leaving. Journalists bust their tails in this country. They work hard, paid meagerly, constantly berated and abused by the public. Their brains never stop working; they are expected to keep their cool in extremely uncomfortable and confrontational situations.

Sadly everyone thinks they can do a better job, ask better questions and write better. Yeah no you can’t.

I take issue with Mr Maharaj because he sits on his computer, free of moral and ethical guidelines, harsh deadlines and spends more of his time in a climate controlled environment than sweltering outdoors in a protest, on a crime scene, outside of Parliament, begging for a comment and mentally trying to develop a story as you rush back into the office to meet a deadline. I am sure no one has hung up on him or refused to speak to him. I am positive he’s never been in a scuffle during a PSA press conference or had a Red House guard point a gun at him for accidently running across its sacred grass.

Listen unless you have had a crazy homeless man scream “How do you sleep at night! Only spreading lies! God watching yuh eh!” at you while he is holding his ding dong in one hand and a nip of puncheon in the other…you have not tasted journalism.

Speaking of a nip of Puncheon, maybe that might help calm these worries.

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