TAKE MY ADVICE …and take it in a timely manner

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By: Jack Warner

My advice to my Prime Minister, the Honour­able Dr Keith Rowley is to take my advice when given.

I want my Prime Minister to un­derstand that postponing any de­cision on the advice I give could have serious consequences on his tenure as he would have noticed since the official results of the Lo­cal Government Elections were revealed.
But today I am not addressing the issue of what the Prime Min­ister did or did not do that caused him much suffering after the elec­tions, no!
Today I am addressing the issue of the new one hundred dollar bill that all of a sudden, the Govern­ment promotes a wise idea and I am saddened by the fact that it took Dr Rowley more than four years to recognize the value and merit in the advice which I have been giving to him week after week since 2015.

For the record, I wrote in the 179th issue of the Trinidad and Tobago Sunshine which was published on Friday, October 21, 2016, that the advice to my Prime Minister, to change the colour of the $100 bill was of­fered.
The headline screamed: Stamp out white-collar crime and corruption now… CHANGE the colour of T&T $100 DOLLAR BILL!” but as usual the only wisdom that Dr Rowley was willing to accept then was the foolish advice giv­en to him by his PNM people.

All of a sudden after his embar­rassment at the 2019 edition of the Local Government Elections he now decides that my wisdom has merit and that he should try the ad­vice offered to him from previous editions of the Sunshine. But the question is why did it have to take the loss of a Regional Corporation for him to suddenly recognize that there is merit in the advice I offer?

Like an old rah-rah

Month after month I listen to Dr Rowley, like an old-time rah rah, with his critique on the corruption of the then People’s Partnership Government and I was of the view that the country was in a bad state and needed to find a strategy to re­cover any corrupt money that was stolen from the treasury.
I also shared the view that mil­lions of these dollars were stored in large vaults and there was even talk about former Ministers in­stalling walk-in vaults in their homes to house the money they could not bank. And I felt in my wisdom that we needed to pursue a course of action that would force corrupt money to either surface or die. But Dr Rowley in 2016 did not see it that way. No, my dear readers, he did not!
I even reminded Dr Rowley then about the best practice ap­proach applied by First World countries who regularly change their currencies and introduce new safety measures to manage the counterfeit attack on their cur­rency. But Dr Rowley failed to take my advice.
All of a sudden now, in 2019, Dr Rowley’s administration chooses belatedly to accept my advice and introduce the new $100 dollar bill at a time when such an introduc­tion has lost its sense of value.
To be honest, one does not have to be a Nobel Prize winner in eco­nomics to understand that a strat­egy of changing to a new currency after the tenure of an allegedly corrupt administration has come to an end is a prudent one. This is basic, basic common sense.

Stolen wealth being laun­dered through real estate

I warned Dr Rowley that many of those who benefitted from ill-gotten gains would now be of in­terest to the Inland Revenue De­partment since they would now have to disclose the source of their funds and declare whether taxes have been paid on the money they are presenting as earned money.
I even advised the Prime Minis­ter that the stolen wealth was be­ing laundered through real estate developments and that he needed to change the $100 dollar bill fast if he were to capture those who have robbed us.
I warned my Prime Minister that David A. Granger, the Presi­dent of the Republic of Guyana set up an Asset Recovery Unit to go after the wealth of those who stole from his country’s treasury; the billions that were unaccounted for and I advised Dr Rowley to go and do likewise.
But in 2016, Dr Rowley ignored good advice, advice that anyone with a modicum of common sense would have accepted. That is why I am forced to advise him now not to discriminate on any of my of­ferings and, without equivocation, accept and implement the advice I offer in a timely basis or face the ignominy of further defeat to tar­nish his already shaken legacy.
Even the former Governor of our Central Bank, Jwala Ramba­ran who served our country dur­ing the period 2012 – 2015, the heightened period of the People’s Partnership rule commented on the lateness of this action and if anyone should know it is Mr Ram­baran.
But the Rowley administration lacked the ability then and still lacks it even now to be creative in thought and strategic in plan­ning to find ways to force those who have hoarded our currency and drive us to the brink of eco­nomic depression. Had he done so in a timely manner he would have forced our white-collar criminals to return the wealth that they have stolen which have impoverished us.
It is a regret that the UNC did not get the Sangre Grande Re­gional Corporation a little ear­lier in this administration’s ten­ure because clearly, the cut-tail the PNM received there became a source of enlightenment. And even though it is far too late it is a welcome sign to see the Prime Minister accepting advice from citizens who do not have a PNM card.
The Prime Minister knows that I am not a PNM and would never be one and my departure from the UNC should have sug­gested to him that I embrace a sense of neutrality that allows me to critique the behaviour of politicians differently.

Political destabilization

Of all people, Dr Rowley should know that if I feel that something is bad for my coun­try I will responsibly expose the wrong and support its antithesis for the good of my country and whether he wishes to accept it or not, the fact that the PNM now sits in the seat of power is due to the political destabilisation I caused in 2015. And I did it for the good of our country.
My critique of Rowley’s ad­ministration has nothing to do with him personally even if he does think so and continues to pour fire and damnation on me as often as possible. This does not worry me in the least. I am not trembling in my shoes and I do continue to sleep soundly at night, that is whenever I do sleep! My critique has to do with the choices he has made and continues to make which choic­es form the basis for his current destruction. And in an attempt to arrest the slide I provide him in open forum wisdom that does not exist within his party. The PNM was never known to be the party of the intelligentsia.
So, in offering you advice Dr Rowley I feel like the prover­bial farmer casting pearls before swine that are unable to recog­nize the value and worth of the advice which I provide.
It is against this backdrop that I now write this piece, Dr Row­ley. Because you seem to have recognized the folly of your ways, albeit a bit too late, as your administration now breathes its last breath. In spite of your much-quoted boast that you did not come into government to get re-elected every sane person knows that, like King Hezekiah, you are seeking another term in office.
To achieve such Mr Prime Minister my advice to you is not just to take my advice but also to take it in a timely manner.
By failing to do so, you will be remembered as yet another one-term leader who lacked vi­sion, who destroyed our nation and who sat among fools believ­ing them to be wise.
Take my advice Mr Prime Minister, you cannot wait on an­other defeat to do so. It will be too late for you my friend.