ENEMIES OF THE STATE Or Assets to the State: Who are They?

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By FRED LIVERMORE

This article will examine the above – mentioned topic, enemies of the State or assets to the State, and scrutinize the nature, scope and expansion of the so-called enemies of the state or assets in Trinidad and Tobago, and whether these enemies are in­ternal or external. In a global world, the definition of enemies of the goes way deeper than just the word, treason as the occupi­ers of high offices have also used and benefitted surreptitiously from the proceeds of skillfully concealed white-collar criminal activities, which are detrimental to any State.

Ethiopian Prime Minister – Leadership Skills and Policies in 18 Months and Nobel Prize!

But first, let us look briefly at the leadership policies and diplomatic measures of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed since his ascension to office in April 2018. At the young age of 43, Dr. Ahmed who holds a doctoral de­gree from Addis Abba University in peace and security studies won the Nobel Peace Prize in recogni­tion of his efforts to end his coun­try’s border conflict with Eritrea. Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation, with about 110 million people.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize just after being only 18 months in office. What an achievement! The Nobel Prize Committee also praised “the important reforms” that Abiy has launched in Ethio­pia since becoming Prime Minis­ter 18 months ago. By choosing him, the Nobel committee showed its desire to give the award to in­dividuals whose efforts need en­couragement. In a call with the Nobel committee, he explained his hope that the award would in­fluence other African leaders “to work on (the) peacebuilding pro­cess on our continent.”

Dealing with Reality/ Statesman of the highest calibre

In addition, Abiy Ahmed took office after large protests pres­sured the old ruling coalition and hurt one of the world’s fast­est growing economies. Africa’s youngest leader quickly an­nounced extensive reforms. He surprised people by accepting a peace deal ending a 20-year bor­der war between Ethiopia and Er­itrea. Tens of thousands of people died in the conflict.
The two East African nations had not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998. Abiy once fought in a town that remained disputed at the time he accepted the peace deal. Within weeks, the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwer­ki, visited the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Communications and transport links were re-estab­lished. Families that had been di­vided for 20 years were reunited. The improving relations led the United Nations to remove sanc­tions on Eritrea.
The Nobel committee pointed to Abiy’s other diplomatic efforts in East Africa. He has tried to ease tensions between Eritrea and Dji­bouti and between Kenya and So­malia. He has also reached out to different sides in Sudan. At home, the new Prime Minister offered one political surprise after anoth­er. He released tens of thousands of prisoners and welcomed home once banned political groups. He also announced that Ethiopia would hold free and fair elections in 2020.

Effective human rights policies and transparent governance at home

For the first time, the country had no journalists in prison, media groups noted last year. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize indicates his critical role in building long-term peace in the war-torn Horn of Af­rica region. He has made impor­tant breakthroughs in deeply pro­tracted conflicts, although much remains to be done to institution­alize and sustain these endeavours. Some critics have asked if this recognition came too early, as the 43-year-old Abiy has been Prime Minister for only 18 months. The award recognized Abiy’s “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”, said Berit Reiss-Anders­en, the Norwegian Nobel commit­tee’s chair.
Prime Minister Abiy has also pushed through reforms at home, dramatically changing the atmo­sphere in what was regarded as a repressive state. His public renun­ciation of past abuses drew a line between his administration and those of his predecessors, as did the appointment of former dissi­dents and large numbers of wom­en to senior roles. Is Prime Min­ister Abiy an asset to the state of Ethiopia or is he an enemy? Cer­tainly, in the eyes of the regional and international community he is a hero, and for his Ethiopian peo­ple, he is a proactive, diplomatic and statesman-like Prime Minister who really cares about his people.

Prime Minister Rowley and Trinidad and Tobago

In comparison to Prime Minis­ter Abiy Ahmed’s achievements in eighteen months, nationally, re­gionally and internationally, Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley’s term of office can be best described as extremely disappointing and one of dismal failure when it comes to governance of security and the economy. To be honest, both hu­man security and economic in­novation must be given ungraded marks, as not only were billions of dollars allocated to national se­curity and the economy, but there were no tangible results to a dis­oriented population.
One of Prime Minister Row­ley’s colossal failures over these past four years was not to have met with this entire diverse popu­lation in Trinidad and Tobago. Rather, PM Rowley appears to have selectively chosen areas of the country where he knows he may have political support.
Not a diplomat or statesman of the ilk of Prime Minister Ahmed, his registered concerns over the hurricane destruction in Dominica and the Bahamas, maybe remem­bered by a few, as well as help­ing some 16,000 Venezuelans to be registered in Trinidad and To­bago. But this latest humanitarian salvo comes only after the direct intervention of the Vatican and the Catholic Church’s concerns for its people, placing public and politi­cal pressure on the Rowley gov­ernment.
With respect to being an as­set to Trinidad and Tobago, it is hard to place Dr. Rowley as an as­set in leadership and governance. How many of his selected Cabinet members have directly and indi­rectly benefitted from the largesse of Cabinet positions and contracts? Would this level of white-collar criminal entrepreneurial skills, be classified as becoming an enemy of the state?

Ministries, High Officials and Supplementary Income!

A very robust examination of all Cabinet ministries and Regional Corporations would reveal in many ways how government of­ficials use their offices to compro­mise their ministries, positions, offices for lucrative gains on the outside. For instance, the Minis­ter of Works & Transport speaks about eradicating corruption with­in the Licensing Division.
And yet many nationals of Trini­dad and Tobago can barely read or write, cannot pass the written ex­aminations but are in possession of a Drivers’ Licence and it is hap­pening across the country. How does the Minister account for all the Chinese and Spanish nationals, who are clueless when it comes to the English Language, suddenly having licences without ever vis­iting the Licence office or even writing an examination? As I write it continues to take place at your li­censing offices across the country.
Town and Country Planning
There exists a similar situation for members seeking approvals for building plans. You have to know someone from the inside, who is operating an office on the outside to assist – of course for a fee to draw plans and then have them approved by the said per­son. You think it easy here! How do you call that person, an asset to the state or an enemy of the state?

Customs and Immigration

What will you say about some of the present-day multimillion­aire Customs and Immigration of­ficials? Were they left wealth by their relatives? Nationals and for­eigners will have a lot to say about how the officials obtained the pa­latial mansions and sports utility vehicles, whilst compromising na­tional security? Are these enemies of the State or assets to the State?

TTPS and Defence Force

Many of the members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Ser­vice and the Defence Force aug­ment their monthly salaries by their complicity, condonation and active involvement in trans­national organized crimes, be it drug smuggling, illegal weapons, human smuggling and human traf­ficking. How will you call them, enemies of the State, or assets to the State? For this reason and more, Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, a rare find and one who is firmly committed to the transformation of the Police Ser­vice, continues to receive opposi­tion from within and without.
There are many who would seek to put him down and be very envious and jealous as he is a very determined, and innovative Com­missioner despite all the chal­lenges he has had to confront. To a great degree, the Commissioner acts as a de facto Minister with his creative policies and imple­mentation on getting the job done. Stuart Young is not anywhere close to Gary’s work ethic. Gary is a committed asset to the State, but he is surrounded by enemies of the State.

40 Multimillionaire Businessmen & Transnational Organized Crimes

Finally, some time ago the Sun­day Guardian carried an expose of 40 plus multimillionaire business­men allegedly involved in trans­national organized crimes, whilst masking and marinating their illicit proceeds into legitimate businesses. With the recent mur­der assassination that occurred in Rancho Quemado, Erin, one of these well-known national and underworld businessmen with ton loads of fronts across this country was once a close companion of Robert Mendoza.
Whilst people may remain tight-lipped, this man may have con­nections with ministers in past and present governments. The intelli­gence agencies have been looking at him for a very long time, but his powerful connections at all levels seemed to make him untouchable. At present, and according to the Thursday Guardian report, the alleged businessman has govern­ment contracts and uses his trucks to carry about more than the gar­bage he is consistent moves in high places under different aliases.
Is this businessman an enemy of the State or an asset to the State? When Venezuelan nationals consistently penetrate our borders and sovereignty conducting illicit activities with our nationals, who is the enemy to the State?
In conclusion, in our society, it is extremely difficult to ascertain who can be classified as an “enemy of the state, even if they are termed as “cockroaches”, whilst allegedly involved in gang warfare, these al­leged “cockroaches”, now called “enemies of the state” may be found in high ministerial offices as well bureaucratic officials, along with those questionable businesses in the private sector which fully co-operates with them for hefty fi­nancial remunerations. Such is life in Trinidad and Tobago.