Dear Editor,Late last year, Mr Aubrey Norton, a PNC executive member, accused Mr Bharrat Jagdeo of bribing Mr Charrandas Persaud to vote in favor of the December 21 no-confidence motion.Mr Jagdeo denied the accusation and vowed to sue Mr Norton if the accusation was not withdrawn, saying, “I guess my lawyer will write him and ask him to withdraw the statement and if he withdraws it then there will be no issue but if he does not then we will have to file a lawsuit against him.”Lawsuits may be, but letters are no deterrence here. This week, the Public Security Minister, Mr Khemraj Ramjattan, continued to criminalise Mr Persaud’s free speech exercise in the National Assembly. “The deduction must be made that Bharrat Jagdeo had Charrandas in the bag for some time before they could have come with a no-confidence motion,” said the Minister, reportedly.One deduction here that the public should notice is that under this fallen Administration, a citizen is guilty until proven innocent. Another deduction is that a right to vote is perceived as a criminal act under this defeated regime. This is the essence of the coalition’s bribery narrative.It is an attempt to criminalise the right to vote. Anyone who votes in favor of the Opposition in any upcoming elections may also be accused of some crime and be subjected to undue Police investigation. After all, it is the same constitutional principle that is under siege by the Minister and his colleagues.They have failed to inform the public as to which institution can tell a voter what precisely occurs in his or her mind at the moment that voter casts a ballot or vote. They have also failed to explain how voting became a crime when it is a protected and personalised right. Until then, to talk of bribery is to make voting a crime.One may “follow the gold” as the Prime Minister suggested in a January 13, 2019 Chronicle article, but the Constitution places a higher value on a right to vote than gold. A person may be jailed for gold smuggling but one doubts that a person may be jailed for voting. The word “doubts” is used here because a fallen regime is at the helm of the country, and it cannot be taken for granted.Finally, the coalition is telling the public two very conflicting stories at the same time. On one hand, it tells the public that Mr Persaud’s December 21 vote is invalid because he is a Canadian. On the other hand, it tells the police that this same vote is valid, because a valid vote is needed to prove that a crime (ie, bribery) was committed.Sincerely,Rakesh Rampertab
Paolo Maldini insists AC Milan remain way behind Juventus in the battle for supremacy in Italy.The 50-year-old was speaking after Gennaro Gattuso’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at Cagliari, leaving them with a record of one win, one draw and one defeat from their opening three Serie A games in 2018-19.In contrast, Juventus have won all four of their league matches and Maldini – who is in his first season as the club’s sporting strategy and development director – accepted that the Rossoneri are unlikely to push for the title. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “The anti-Juventus? Let’s be serious, we’re still a long way off being that,” club legend Maldini told Sky. “We’re aiming to reach the top four in the league and have a great run in the Europa League.”Projects are important, but you can’t yet compare Milan to Juventus.”The former defender, who retired in 2009 after making 902 appearances across 24 years with the club, underlined his determination to nurture young players and put in place strong foundations upon which Milan can build.The club’s last Scudetto came in 2010-11, and the only domestic honours added to Milan’s trophy cabinet since then are two Supercoppas Italiana.”This is a serious project, we want to take Milan back to the highest levels,” said Maldini.”We have to take care of the mentality, there are young players who are not yet convinced of what they can do and who have to find self-confidence.”Dialogue with us directors could be important for them.”Gattuso’s men will travel to Luxembourg on Thursday for the first game of their latest Europa League venture, before facing Atalanta at the San Siro in their next Serie A fixture on Sunday.