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Trinidad & Tobago: The Laptop Incident

Categories: Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago, Digital Activism, Elections, Humor, Media & Journalism, Politics, Technology

Trinidad and Tobago's Opposition Leader [1] was recently suspended from Parliament [2] for using his laptop without permission, but only a few bloggers seemed tuned in to the story…

Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society [3] posted a comprehensive roundup of mainstream media stories about the event, and as expected, The Extra Secret Blog of Basdeo Panday [4], which came into being during Trinidad and Tobago's recently-held general elections as a response to this popular blog [5], was quick on the draw in defending “himself”:

I hope you all see what I go through for you. I had to go through a terrible ordeal in Parliament. The PNM set up the whole thing to make me look bad. They had speaker Barry Sinanan first chastise Gary Hunt for using his laptop. The point was to make it look as though nobody can use a laptop basically, so when I went about my merry way online they wanted to rest it on me like Akon did to Danah Alleyne in Zen when she went for “ice cream” that time.

In posting his weekly roundup, Notes from Port of Spain [6] reported that:

The House of Representatives went into meltdown when the opposition leader was suspended for using a laptop, which the government had kindly provided. As a result, parliamentary debate on food prices, which have risen 19 per cent in the last year, was abandoned.

KnowProSE.com [7] summed up the whole affair by saying:

This, friends, seems more of a ‘I can urinate further than you’ contest and is probably the best example of how Trinidad and Tobago government simply doesn't work. Where the focus should be on actual issues, though, this has suddenly become about Panday's laptop. Technology, while useful, has its place – and while the Speaker does seem a little too much of a Luddite by what is printed in the Trinidad Express, the grandstanding of Panday doesn't make Panday's case much better. What was he doing that was so important on the laptop? Was he working on the crime problem? Digging in on the local elections issue? And was this policy even discussed with the Speaker?

…while the whole thing has left Caribbean Free Radio [8] feeling “terribly confused” – so much so that she has created an online poll [8] to help her make sense of the whole unsettling incident.