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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Twist to the Taiwanese Million Dollar Scandal?

I begin my editorial discourse with a simple question: What does the man on the street know that is beyond government’s comprehension? Read on to get the answer!

Firstly, let us recall a comment by the PRO of the UWP during an appearance on the TTP show on Sunday, April 10. Given the wrath of the callers, we can perhaps conclude that the comment (in the words of the Bard) seemed to have generated “more heat than light” as it seemed to have generated a tidal wave of anger and disillusionment. But kudos to the callers and thumps up for our “intellectual gifts”

The issue I’m referring to is the Taiwanese Funds Scandal (TFS). In response to a claim by a caller that the Ministers of Government were acting in contravention of the Finance Act when they received and used millions of dollars from the Taiwanese without proper accountability, the UWP PRO, Mr Michael Flood countered with the claim that the “contravention” was indeed approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

From all indications, he apparently was “properly coached” on how to deflect criticisms directed at that perennially controversial Taiwanese Funds Scandal – a scandal which obviously is now causing a measure of embarrassment to both the Taiwanese and St. Lucian gov’ts because of their own bungling mismanagement and –I daresay - misrepresentation of the affair.

The admission by Mr Flood was the latest in a series of deflections from the truth about the matter designed to cover up for a government plagued by malfeasance; and it was like déjà vu for many of us, as it was the same Cabinet of Ministers who were "collectively implicated" in the Tuxedo Villas Affair by the OECS Appeal Court. It revived my memories of the “perjury” committed by members of that same Cabinet when they sought to give legitimacy to their own malfeasance.

So when the UWP PRO publicly admitted that the Cabinet of Ministers approved an “under the table” deal to authorize a foreign government to bypass the state treasury and to deposit funds payable to the state into village and town Council accounts (managed by Ministers of government), the pieces in the puzzle of deceit began fitting together.

Indeed it is a puzzle but one where the rules of logic and respect for the truth do not apply, as is generally the case with deceit and misrepresentation. In our current framework of governance, Councils must be considered a “department of government” operating under the direction and control of the Ministry of Local Government. Except for the city of Castries, they do not have financial autonomy; and hence, they are compelled by law to deposit and account for every cent of revenue they collect.  

The question therefore is: Why therefore should gov’t by a decision of cabinet “bypass” itself and delegate the responsibility for millions of Taiwanese dollars to councils?  In any case, outside of the Consolidated Fund, how are those state funds accounted for? How do we rationalize those community projects built from those funds on government’s balance sheet? How do we factor the contribution of those projects in the estimates of expenditure? Why has parliament been bypassed? Is that the example of accountability and governance that government wants to set for the nation?

Now back to the question at the beginning of the discussion. “What does the man on the street know that is beyond government’s comprehension?” The answer: The Finance Administration Act (FAA). It sounds like a paradox, but it is the truth! Recently, government amended the FAA and it is clear that they do not understand it. But strangely, the man on the street does. He is the one who keeps the debate “alive” in the street corners and on the talk shows?

What about the media? Can you make a guess on whether or not they too understand it? Do you think Tim and Rick do? Share your comments with the Powerhouse.

1 comment:

  1. I am tempted to believe that both Tim and Rick are fully aware of the violation of the FAA. They both pee in our eyes and call it rain. TTP means "Time To Pee". After a weeklong PR on behalf of government, he finally decides to spurt pee in our eyes on a Sunday. But here is what worries me. Why does he profess to be analytical and he can't analyse and enlighten his listeners? But remember one thing: he has multiple employers. In addition to his Buddy RF, Rick and Bousquet are also on "the list" as Tim's employers.