Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Thursday, November 24, 2005  

Things, it seems, are happening.

Former works and transport minister and PNM party chairman Franklin Khan has been charged with corruptly accepting over $100,000, making it the first time in the country's history that a sitting member of parliament of the ruling party has been charged with corruption.

Despite the predictable noise from the opposition over the disparity in the length of time it took for Khan to be charged in relation to Basdeo Panday's charges over his undisclosed London bank accounts, the fact remains: a sitting member of parliament of the ruling party has been charged with corruption.

To his credit--if one can use the word--Khan resigned his ministerial post back in May when the matter first surfaced. He didn't have to (unless he was forced); energy minister Eric Williams certainly didn't, and still hasn't, though he remains under investigation. One hopes Khan will now go the extra step and also resign his post as party chairman, pending the outcome of his trial.

Other things are happening as well.

Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr has been charged with incitement, sedition, and promoting the commission of a terrorist act under the new anti-terrorism legislation. He has been refused bail.

Lenville Small, brother of jailed Jamaat al Muslimeen member Lance Small, is being held in custody over the recent series of bombings in and around Port of Spain.

And yesterday, a number of quarries in the Valencia area were raided, some allegedly controlled by the Jamaat and operating illegally, with a number of men being held by the police.

What does this all mean? Is it the start of true political accountability in this country? Is it the beginning of the end for the Jamaat? Is the government finally committed to asserting its authority and legitimacy and responsibility?

We shall see. But in the meantime, and for whatever reasons: things are happening.

posted by Jonathan | 9:00 AM 0 comments


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