Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nothing to hide - the Peter O'Connor commentary

Nothing to hide!

We should all know and love these words of self-vindication by now! We have been hearing them for generations of political change and from the supposedly righteous and upstanding citizen leaders of our country. 

They are hurled at us, at the inquiring media and at any suggestion that someone big in our society has done, or might have done something wrong. 

They are hurled at us by the rich and arrogant, by those with enough money to pay lawyers and political parties and governments to hide everything. By those rich enough, in the words of an Attorney General, who have enough money to “outlast” the State’s ability to pursue them!

“I have nothing to hide! Just bring on the investigation, and my innocence will be clearly shown”. 

“I have nothing to hide! I challenge you to make those statements outside the parliament chamber.” And of course, “I took no vow of poverty”! So what if I took huge commissions for placing procurement contracts with my friends and family. I broke no law in doing that. And finally: “All ah we tief!” And that being so, why seek to censure anyone, especially the rich and powerful?

Pure pre-meditated grandcharge! 

We have been hearing all of this for years and years, and we will hear it forevermore. While we tightened up on the surface since the Tesoro and McDonnell-Douglas issues, from whence came the arrogant “I took no vow of poverty” statement, we have also, in the background, quietly ensured that no one on the “inside” will ever have to account for their enrichments from what should have been State procurement matters. 

And as international law and custom frown on these matters, the most that could have happened to a Chairman of a State Enterprise—a Mortgage Bank—who sold all the shares to himself, is that he had to sell back the shares. He “broke no law”, but what he did, or tried to do, none of us—even if we were wealthy—could have done. 

We would have had to be well connected to the founts of power in the land. And the truth about this type of “connection” is that it is all-encompassing. It really does not matter who is in charge “politically”, the really powerful connections seem to remain intact, crossing party lines

Pure premeditated grandchage! 

For the minute we bring on the investigations, or take them to court, they hide behind every flimsy curtain of their “Rights” in order not to appear, not to answer, and not to be extradited for trial elsewhere. They who have “nothing to hide”!

With the revelations coming out of our major recent Commissions of Inquiry, starting with Lord Musthill into the Chief Justice and the Judiciary, and running through the Uff Commission into UDECOTT, to the current CLICO/HCU investigations and the Inquiry into dreadful murderous 1990 coup attempt, we see the people being investigated quietly laughing in the background, secure in the knowledge that nothing will ever happen to them. 

Those who deign to appear before the Commissions seemed to have always known that there would be no punishment, no retribution sought by the State for their actions which called them to account before impotent Inquiries. 

All that has been achieved at these hearings is that the presumed perpetrators of wrongs, frauds and the like have been stripped bare of their false clothing. But “nudity” is not a crime here, and while the naked might be slightly embarrassed (although few have shown any embarrassment), they walk free with their arrogance intact, with their wealth secure and their high positions in society maintained.

And just to ensure that no “rebel crusader” should emerge in some government, and actually seek to convict someone, as happened with the Piarco Airport matter, where we went through the farce of declaring that the perpetrators were too rich to continue to challenge in court, we set up the Section 34 escape clause, as we all know.

So why do we bother with these – some people would say farces—inquiries into matters which are deeply embedded in our culture? 

Many have said all along that they are a waste of time and money, for many know that the perpetrators of frauds, scams, and even murders, and those who condoned murders by their words and deeds (or lack of deeds!) would walk away from the various Inquiries untouched, unashamed, wealthy and “respected” by us, our media and our history.

Well, we need to continue these apparently impotent inquiries if only to build our history, for the sake of our grandchildren and their descendants, so that if one day in the distant future, there is some enlightenment forthcoming, there will be some base upon which to build a decent and honest society in the future.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai