Thursday 23rd June, 2005

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Forward march to the Red House

The latest NACTA poll has confirmed my expressed view that parliamentary representatives, both PNM and UNC, are little more than useless. So why should we increase their numbers?

The EBC recommended an increase from 36 to 41 for demographic reasons. Colm Imbert argues however for 51 members of the House of Representatives, not to provide any better representation of the people, but purely for extra “bodies” to attend parliamentary committee meetings.

Imbert overlooks the fact that Manning has made everyone a minister, to keep them financially dependent on him, thus his cabinet is probably three times the size of any cabinet in any G8 country.

When Larry Achong resigned from cabinet and displayed his two vital attributes of manhood, Manning rightly feared that three disenchanted members could quickly escalate to six, and threaten his leadership.

He suddenly appointed as junior ministers, elected MPs Fitzgerald Hinds and Eudine Job-Davis, who had both been sulking in a corner, since they were bypassed for ministries in favour of senators. That is why there are no PNM backbenchers to attend parliamentary committee meetings.

Then Manning increases the number to 61, ten more representatives than Imbert. To any blind man, this is purely to overcrowd the Parliament chamber, as justification for a new

parliament building, so he can get into the Red House.

Manning stands just behind the late Mootilal Moonan, the ambitious mountain mover. Such is his Red House obsession that he too will move mountains to get into the Red House.

Manning has steadfastly refused to put his Red House ambitions to the people for discussion and instead relies solely on a Canadian adviser whom he has paid to tell him what he wants to hear.

So while crime remains the paramount issue for the nation, and the Ansa/McAl poll tells us that the people of T&T want neither Patrick nor Panday, Patrick cares nothing about the people’s concerns as he advances inexorably to 2020, confident that with Canadian support he will get into Trinidad’s Red House.

Michael J Williams

Maracas Valley

Via e-mail

Horrors to get a mammogram

I went to the Port-of-Spain hospital for a mammogram after a doctor described a lump in my breast as suspicious.

I got an appointment but on arrival they told me they had no film. The woman doing the mammogram promised that I would be sure to get it next time. However at the next visit I was again given a new appointment. I asked if the machine had broken down but the receptionist said no. I asked if the woman who has to do it was absent but they told me no.

No one could give me any answers. Everyone just looked as if it was a secret. I then got a new appointment for July.

Minister Rahael boasted on TV that they are doing everything to help cancer patients. Is that how? My mother died from breast cancer and my sister took out one breast. Is that what the minister wants to happen to me?

Why do poor people have to suffer so? At the Sangre Grande hospital they told me that I have to pay. It is a crime to be poor.

Mary Knots


What can President do about crime?

Like most people in this country, I am deeply troubled by the rising crime rate, and the inability of the authorities to reduce it.

I have been a victim on two separate occasions over the years, and in both instances the perpetrators are walking around free as birds, and I am constantly looking over my shoulder, having installed more locks at home and having seriously curtailed my activities at dusk.

I am however equally concerned by the people who are turning attention away from the institutions which are established to deal with this problem, and targeting the President of our country, calling him to “do something about crime.”

Whereas I totally support the collection of signatures on a petition which will be sent to President Richards, I ask the organisers of the noble effort to attach a list to the petition outlining precisely what actions they think the Head of State can take to alleviate the problem.

I am not acquainted with our Constitution as perhaps I should be, but my limited knowledge in this area has in the past caused me to invite critics of the presidency to bear in mind the limited powers which are invested in this office.

These powers, as I recall, are also bizarre to some extent. For example, I believe that the President can dismiss the government in toto if in his mind it is not performing or if some serious breakdown in governance has emerged.

I do not believe, however, that the President can fire an individual minister, or a Member of Parliament, acting on his own volition. If I am right, perhaps those people who are actively campaigning for reforming the Constitution should look at this particular item with great vigour.

But returning to the burgeoning crime rate—is it possible that President Richards can actually do something about it? Various suggestions have emerged in the media. He should fire the National Security Minister and take personal charge is an idea gaining momentum.

One group has proposed that he can openly join the national cry for urgent action by the Government and its many arms which exist to deal specifically with the problem.

Others have said that he can call for a national debate on crime, or perhaps use the independent Senate to convene one under this mandate.

Perhaps also those people who have the energy and are truly tackling the ills in our society should use the current crisis to organise a national drive for signatures on a petition.

This document will call on the disparate constitutional reformers to end the bickering and childishness and join forces in a national foment, the purpose being to educate and energise the country towards reform, with crime high on the agenda.

There is a new ingredient working in their favour. The latest polls have indicated great voter apathy and loss of confidence in both political parties.

This comes as no surprise.

The constitution reformers should threaten a massive no-vote campaign starting with petition calling for meaningful action and a deadline should be contained therein.

Finally, as an unabashed admirer of this President, I tend to read the various extracts of his addresses in the local press and I can conclude without fear of contradiction that he is seriously concerned about the underlying cause of the increase in present criminal activity, the high rate of recidivism by young offenders and the alarming data which have emerged to reveal the growth in the level of poverty in this county.

Monica Gopaul


Let lawyers help victims

In the interest of justice, but more so equity and humane treatment, I wish once again to recommend that the lawyers who ardently seek to rescue killers from the death penalty should show similar concern for the immediate family members of murdered individuals and rescue them from the financial and emotional suffering attendant on unlawful killings.

Thus for starters, the savers of the evil ones should immediately start tithing their often abundant incomes, and depositing the impressive sums into a public fund for helping the families of the butchered to obtain some measure of financial support and easement.

The rescuers of killers from hanging should also, separately, arrange for mental counselling for the wives, husbands, children, and others who witnessed gruesome and brutal murders or are traumatised by their effects. After all, fair is fair. Why love the criminal and disregard the victims?

Finally, the outpourings of concern for the life-takers and soul-destroyers by the philanthropic lawyers should include compulsory visits to murderers at least once a week for two hours each time, to comfort, console, and guide the misguided. Assign one or two killers to each concerned lawyer and publish the list as well as records of visits.

If this is not convenient then let the killers spend the two hours a week in the homes of the respective lawyers. A sort of interrupted parole. In this way the lawyers can fully convert their deep concerns into positive, personal contact with the killers they ardently protect.

Lloyd Cartar


Not looking good for world cricket

Will T&T be the laughing stock of the cricketing world? There seems to be absolutely nothing happening with regard to preparation for the cricket World Cup.

Our local organising committee is stagnant. Is it mired in politics as was the very bidding that saw us get the meagre brown bag package?

A budget of $150 million with all kinds of political interference doesn’t anger will.

Over to you, Roger Boynes.

P King






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