Sunday, March 10, 2013

Letter: Thoughts on that Maxie Cuffie column in defence of the THA's consultant

On November 4th 2012, Guardian columnist and known PNM supporter, Maxie Cuffie, wrote, "An attorney general who operates with a partisan lens is a dangerous development in any democracy."

On reading Mr Cuffie's today's effort, I'd be forgiven for wondering what to make of newspaper columnists who operate similarly.

In his today's column, "Pay Anselm his $90,000", Cuffie futilely attempts to justify the exorbitant monthly salary approved by the Tobago House of Assembly for the Assembly Chairman's cousin, Dr Anselm London, the intended consultant to the Assembly's Finance Secretary.

$90,000 a month is $3,000 per day. Not many businesses in Trinidad and Tobago make such a profit, or even such a turnover. But Maxie Cuffie defends it ferociously in his this week's offering.

Also, he mentions that "much has been made of the fact that London is the cousin of the THA’s Chief Secretary" and dismisses such protest by saying his blood relationship "cannot seriously mean that he is disqualified from ever doing any work for the THA, especially in a field for which he is well qualified."

He explains the job in question "is a political adviser position and nowhere in the world, whether in the Westminster tradition which we follow, or in the US presidential system where they are even more prevalent, are such positions filled by advertisement. The first requirement for anyone filling the post is that the person must enjoy the trust and confidence of the office-holder."

But, when the shoe was on the other foot, he raised Cain without justification. For months on end, whilst as Chief Editor of the TNT Mirror, he launched and oversaw a string of vicious personal attacks against the Honourable Prime Minister over her sister being used as a personal assistant. He even attacked the Attorney General for having his nephew play a similar role for him.

Some may think there's no need to be unduly surprised at what Mr Cuffie says of the present government anymore. Those who share that view fail to understand a newspaper columnist who operates with a partisan lens is as dangerous a development in any democracy as a serial killer on the loose.

Seeing as he's a media person, I don't harbour much hopes for this being published.

Humphrey Diefenthaller | La Horquette, Trinidad.

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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