Meet the New Slave Catchers!

Meet the New Slave Catchers!
Photo : Ancil Roget and Dr Keith Rowley

The more I attempt to understand the reasoning behind the closure of Petrotrin the more I am convinced that slavery could have only occurred with the co-operation and connivance of the natives. This must have been the same for races and nations that have experienced conquest and decline. However, it appears that in some cultures to be a slave carries more dignity and pride than to be free!

Uncle Tom and Sahib were derogatory names used to describe those slaves and indentures who had co-operated with the enemies to exploit their people. Today, we are witnessing the connivance of the PNM and other forces to rip off the economy. The people who are most vulnerable after this is achieved are the poor people who are convinced that the politicians are there to take care of their needs. They have become so hooked and gullible that they refuse to believe that their very own can be their worst enemies.

Much is being said of a company named Niquan Energy Ltd. It is not clear who are the directors in this new energy company. It is rumoured that David Small, an Independent Senator, Wilfred Espinet, Chair of Petrotrin and Anthony Chan Tack, a director of Petrotrin are few of the directors in Niquan Energy Ltd.

Again, it is being rumoured that Petrotrin sold the GTL plant which is valued at $2.9B for a mere $400 miilion with $30m paid in cash and the balance in bonds. More than that is an agreement by the government to purchase diesel from Niquan Energy at a price no one knows.

Photo : Colm Imbert

It was argued that the first traders in East Africa were the Indians. This was corrected by researchers who found that Africans were the first traders-trading guns to mercenaries to capture and enslave other tribes and sell them to the Portuguese slavers. The Europeans were ignorant of the interior of Africa. It was impossible for them to access the interior without the co-operation of native Africans. The same can be said about the conquest of India and it subsequent enslavement for 1,000 years. Many Indians supported the enemies by allowing petty domestic differences to keep them apart.

The original Makaandal Daaga was a slave-catcher in Africa. It was after he was betrayed and captured and loaded unto the ship that he resolved to raise arms against the slave masters to liberate his enslaved people.

While Daaga was able to come to his senses and rectify the wrongs he had done, I doubt very much that our current Prime Minister is eager to correct his blunders. Why is there no consultation with the people in the plan to erect a Sandals hotel in Tobago?  Despite complaints that the high end jobs in Sandals would not go to the natives but to foreigners, the Prime Minister continues to turn a deaf ear.

Photo : VS Naipaul

Much is being said about the construction of a Dry Dock Harbour in La Brea. A persuasive video has been done to convince the unsuspecting masses that this project would bring many opportunities, directly and indirectly, and the paying of taxes to the government. Regretfully, this would not be so.  This is only propaganda to sell the T&T government a multi-billion dollar loan with specified contractors in toe to build the dry docks. After this is done, it would be now for the people to repay this loan. The promised benefits would be elusive but the repaying of the loan would have to be met by sacrificing health care, education, social programs etc.

Are there not dry docks in other parts of the Americas? In Brazil, Canada, Panama, Bahamas, and the US there are number of dry dock facilities to repair ship. With the energy sector in decline, there is going to be few ships coming to this part of the world. It is definitely a proposal by an “economic hitman” to siphon money from another third world country.

Trinis are yet to heed the message of V S Naipaul which is to put down one head to the task at hand and get it done. This is the challenge for Wilfred Espinet and Dr Keith Rowley but they are incapable of achieving anything. Purchasing a plant that worth $1.29b and selling to yourself and friends is a travesty of justice. It is not a step forward but a step backward. Such insider trading points to the reality that your economic and managerial arrangements lack the competitive edge and is destined to fall victim to global competition sooner that later.