Wednesday 27th April, 2005

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Govt playing Jekyll and Hyde

I am not as astonished as I am appalled by the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde approach used by the Patrick Manning administration. It is so glaring, even the blind could see that this Government used a sledgehammer on Bamboo residents but took the troubles of the victims of the People’s Mall fire upon its shoulders.

The taxpaying residents of Bamboo No 2 were protesting for a pavement and improved access to their district when a battalion of battle-ready police descended on the district ready for a repeat of the October 6, 2003, assault in Chaguanas.

Where were this eagerness and enthusiasm to fight crime when Pixie Lakhan was missing or when Kallicharan Maharaj was kidnapped?

The police could summon enough resources to arrest and beat three little boys for throwing tyres, the police helicopter could work an entire night looking for a container fallen on the highway, but they couldn’t go into the Matura forest to look for a kidnap victim.

And then the final blow: Rennie Dumas deems the protest “a threat to the State.” A pavement protest comprising two tents, some old tyres and a handful of merchants was threatening to the State?

And then he tries to pull the rug from under the protest with Town and Country restrictions on land assessments and building violations.

Has the minister done the same with the People’s Mall? Has anyone asked for BIR assessments for mall vendors, security of tenure, National Insurance and Health Surcharge records? How are they going to establish who were legitimate vendors? By PNM party card?

Did the Government do an assessment of the Breakfast Shed before it came up with pay-off figures beyond one’s wildest imagination? How come farmers get $41 for $40,000 in flood losses, but a new building is ordered for the People’s Mall?

I just hope that this nation has the inner strength to pray for the revelation of equity and parity to prevail on this government.

Anton Dicke


Shocking show by West Indies

The once impregnable fortress of WI cricket, Kensington Oval, Barbados, was again decimated by the enemy.

I find it shocking that this side, minus three top players, racked up 545-5 in the first Test in Guyana, bowled out the South Africans for 188 in the first innings and, two Tests later, we have lost the series.

In the post-match commentary, when asked by Ian Bishop what was the problem, Tony Cozier replied glumly, “I can’t put a finger on it.”

On the field, a choking captain Chanderpaul was trying to explain to Michael Holding the reasons for the capitulation (166 off 54 overs).

While I must give credit to the robotic Andre Nel for his decisive haul of ten wickets, the WI are seriously lacking mental toughness and discipline.

During the Vice-Chancellor festival match at UWI, I asked Makhaya Ntini what was the plan for Brian Lara. He cooly replied, “We have a plan for 11 players.”

Now that we have lost the series and our pride, I would like to see some changes for the final Test in Antigua. Gayle, Ryan Hinds, King, Browne should be replaced by Ganga or Devon Smith, Dwayne Smith, Dave Mohammed and Baugh or Ramdhin respectively.

I can only say to selectors Carew, Greenidge, Butts, Bennett King and technical consultant Sobers that we cannot do any worse.

Reza Abasali


Registry of sex offenders good idea

First, my deep sympathy to the Lakhan family at the lost of their 16-year-old daughter Radha Pixie Lakhan, who was brutally murdered by a man in her neighbourhood, after she went missing in late March.

Second, I totally agreed with the views expressed by her sister, Matie. She said that it is time for the Government to establish a national sex offenders’ registry. With the technologies available today, it would be easy to monitor these sexual predictors.

In many jurisdictions in the US, sex offenders are required to wear ankle bracelets that are monitored using global positioning satellites. They are also required to notify their probation officers or other court officials as to their whereabouts (where they are living), so that people can be alerted when they move into a neighbourhood.

This is a Web-based program and anyone with a computer can go on-line and check to see if a sexual predator is living in their neighbourhood. This gives people control over who is living near to them and their children.

Instead of spending millions of dollars on questionable “military” hardware to fight against whom I don’t know, the Government should be investing in these types of technologies that can bring about immediate results in helping to reduce crime and give the public that all-important sense of security.

Consultation with any state—Florida for one—can help the Government set up such a programme. It is time to look out for the innocent children, even it means stepping on the “rights” of others.

Considering this is T&T, and not the US, I am sure that there will be a need for changes in our laws to make this registry and monitoring by law enforcement agents possible. It is something that will take political fortitude on the part of the Government and Opposition, if it is to be done and to be successful.

This is an effort that even the UNC should be 100 per cent behind. We all have children and want them to be safe from these sexual predators. It will definitely help bring some peace of mind to law-abiding citizens who are rightfully concerned about the safety of their children.

Doing this will also help move the nation towards its goal of First World status by 2020. Keeping ever mindful that some things just can’t wait that long. Ask the Lakhan family!

Kelvin C James, Sr

Via e-mail

Mistake not to choose African

I must admit to a feeling of disappointment when I heard of Cardinal Ratzinger’s election as pope. Not that I have anything against him—he is a very learned theologian and may well prove to be a great pope.

But I feel that by not electing an African the church lost a precious opportunity to make a dramatic statement against racial prejudice and also an opportunity to apologise for never, to my knowledge, having protested against the enslavement of millions of Africans and their transportation to the Americas.

And there was, in my opinion, an ideal candidate in the person of Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria. He has long experience of working in the Curia, in the department for inter-religious dialogue and every year wrote a friendly letter to Muslims, among others.

As former Archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria, he would have been well aware of the constant tension between the Christian south and the Muslim north.

I feel that the church has once again lost a golden opportunity, and one that may not return for a very long time. Sad.

Roland Quesnel

Via e-mail

Enduring faith of RC cardinals

The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are for the most part men who are well into their seventies. The Europeans would have experienced the horrors of World War II.

The cardinals of Latin America, Africa and Asia would have come to adulthood in the midst of the upheavals that continue to plague their homelands to this day. All this in addition to their personal tragedies and challenges that are a part of the human condition.

And yet in spite of all this, their faith has grown and endured.

J Garcia

Via e-mail



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