Flour price just one factor
in bread cost
is time for our leaders to approach our societal challenges
responsibly, realistically and holistically.
I heard on the news the loud call from one of the Labour Day
platforms for bakers to reduce the cost of bread since flour
prices were recently lowered.
Great call once all the factors remain constant!
Although it is true that the price of flour has been lowered,
have any of the other associated bakery expenses and costs
been reduced? Are bakeries using only flour in bread now?
No water? No yeast? No margarine?
Do the trade union leaders appreciate that when they clamour
for increased wages and the raising of the minimum wage that
these directly affect the cost of all products and servicesincluding
the accumulated cost of the baking ingredients? And then direct
labour is only one aspect of making bread.
What about all the bakery workers? What are they going to
do when the country boycotts the bakeries and are forced to
shut down? After severance pay is spent, what? URP? Cepep?
I know of one particular bakery employing 70 workers and at
least 200 small wholesale customers depending on their goods,
each with two workers (another 400 employees). In all, 1,100
Bakeries, compared to retail customers, do benefit relatively
from better prices but just as prices are rising in the groceries
and markets, so too have the wholesale and bulk prices.
Bakeries no longer make their bread in stone ovens. Electricity,
kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are used to power
Dough is not left to rise under a damp cloth on a kitchen
counter. Electricity runs the bread plants and proofing rooms
to prepare the dough for baking.
Bread deliveries are no longer made on bicyclesdiesel
and gasoline are used to power the fleets of bread vans. Need
I go on?
Instead, lead the call for economical utilities and gas production
deals which will benefit the citizens!
Lead the call for improved legislation for a banking system
and financiers that really help the citizens. Lead the call
for fairer import duties. Lead the call for improving the
standards in our education system.
Lead the call for the Government to stop wasting taxpayers
money, labour and management alike. Lead the call for demands
to rectify the public health service.
Then, and then only might we see a general improvement in
the cost and quality of living in T&T.
fool and his money...
REMEMBER back in the middle-to-late 1970s when, with the advent
of high oil prices, people were warning the Government they
were squandering money on unnecessary projects.
They were also warning that the country would pay a high price
for the waste and mismanagement which became the order of
These people were called prophets of doom and gloom. But alas,
their predictions came to pass and the country suffered for
well over 12 years with high unemployment, negative growth
and huge deficits.
During this dark period, there was an attempted coup détat;
cuts in government and private sector employees salaries;
retrenchment in both the public and private sectors; business
failures and receiverships; neglect of the education and health
sectors; creation of a vagrant population; increase in drug
abuse and drug trafficking; creation of an underclass of people
who are illiterate today; and, least we forget, creation of
a generation of male under-achievers, who have become the
criminals of today.
I cannot begin to tell you how much my stomach turns I hear
about this $850 million sports complex. I love cricket but
we do not need this complex to play a couple of practice matches.
We can easily spend $15 million to $20 million and upgrade
one of the under-utilised facilities we recently built.
The message coming out of the Government is that this complex
will help reduce crime. Do we have to wait until this complex
is completed to reduce crime? I thought the Prime Minister
said crime was temporary.
Mr Prime Minister, I am appealing to you to please put a halt
to this complex. It is unnecessary.You and your government,
along with the rest of the country, will pay a heavy price
for this and all the other wasteful projects initiated by
Spend the money on crime prevention, schools, hospitals, roads,
highways and other tangible projects that will benefit present
and future generations.
Dont go down in history as a spendthrift, who threw
away the countrys wealth and squandered the opportunity
to truly develop our nation.
Remember, a fool and his money are soon parted.
protection for PMs skyscrapers
RECENTLY read comments made by PM Patrick Manning about the
Governments intention to erect skyscraper
buildings in downtown Port-of-Spain. I guess this is part
of the Governments Vision 2020 plan.
I am wondering if Mr Manning and his administration have given
any thought to fixing or replacing the citys broken-down
and inadequate fire-fighting equipment, inoperable fire hydrants
and water-pumping mains before embarking on this most ambitious
programme to change the capital citys skyline.
Given the catastrophic results of the downtown Port-of-Spain
fire last April, I think it is wise for the Government to
keep the horse in front of the cart by taking care of these
infrastructure issues before looking to build more monuments
Without the improvements, workers in those buildings will
be at severe risk for fires, even as they enjoy working there.
Kelvin C James, Sr
cutters dance distorts reality
the stage presentation of an artiste can often be a slight
variation of reality, it should not be allowed to deliberately
distort reality to the extent of being propagandistic and
misleading in its message.
The cane cutters dance, as published in full colour
on the front page of the Guardian of Tuesday, June 21, attempts
to glamourise the drudgery and back-breaking servitude of
cane cutting. Cane cutters in true life cannot afford to wear
protective boots, yellow boiler suits, gloves and dainty hats.
The patrons at the Larry Gomes Stadium, especially the young,
would have left with a most erroneous but a glamorous, distorted
image of the poor and destitute cane cutter.
Unlike the cocoa dancers, cane cutters were never known ever
to dance on the job owing to the sheer state of physical exhaustion
they suffered from their tasks. Their clothing was always
black from the ash and soot of the burnt canes and they were
I find the cane cutter dance choreographed and presented by
people who never set feet in a cane field a deliberate and
regrettable distortion of a cruel and inhumane aspect of the
sugar industry and indentureship.
do child abuse and an abstinence-only club have in common?
A blatant disregard for human rights. Let me explain.
The purpose of education is to provide information. Withholding
and/or distorting information is not education.
The present administrations solutions to meet the challenges
of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections
(STIs) are based on the same unenlightened thinking as their
final solution for occupants of Death Row.
The hanging solution is to take an Im being strong
stance to appeal to the popular baying for blood.
The abstinence solution is Im being righteous
to appeal to the religious fundamentalists.
In both cases, they are desperate reactions and an admission
of failure to do what should have been in place over the last
49 years. Is this leadership?
No one can argue that abstinence is a solution as part of
a programme. But an incomplete programme is tantamount to
signing a death warrant. Abstinence only assumes that a pledger
is going to keep the pledge. It also assumes that the pledge
was made freely in the first place, without parental and institutional
Finally, once the pledge is broken, as it will be, is the
pledger armed with information on alternative methods to protect
themselves in the course of their sexual activity?
In their zeal, the present administration has mandated an
authority to conduct abstinence-only clubs in schools. By
their own admission, this authority is not mandated to disseminate
information normally associated with sex educationie
the correct use of condoms, for one.
Which brings the question, if you are handling education responsibly,
who is handling the missing information?
Are there not other organisations with a wealth and history
of research, internationally funded before Bush, which are
more than capable of conducting sex education programmes?
Here comes the good bit: In order for a programme to be effective,
it must be monitored. There are no mechanisms in place to
do that here. Even so, the local authority would be aware
of the statistics of the American programme, from whence they
get their inspiration, and its 88 per cent failure rate amongst
Oh, and guess what, these unfortunate victims
find themselves with no information for protection in their
new-found sexual activity.
Now the punch line: In their zeal for populist approval, the
authorities have blatantly disregarded the right of young
people to information, free of political and religious interference,
and have put them clearly in harms way. At first, I
thought this was child abuse but on reflection, the phrase
criminal negligence comes to mind.
it real, spend our $850m wisely
I mentioned before, and feel compelled to repeat, sport is
a great way to encourage youth and help develop life and social
skills, among other things. But our current social issues
need a strong community response and as such, $850 million
can be used to manage and maintain the 700-plus community-based
recreation grounds and sporting facilities.
This would lead to a substantial increase in community-based
support workers, ie, health, social, et al, being hired and
placed in all communities to be easily accessed by individuals.
They can offer counselling support and referrals to other
existing programmes that can assist in developing the self-esteem,
marketability, recreational needs and other skills of our
A world class sporting facility at Tarouba will
not be effective use of $850 million at this point in time
for its stated uses, since the various stadia, civic centres,
Jean Pierre Complex, youth facilities and other recreational
facilities have not delivered on their intended uses over
the decades, so what will make this one special?
Lets keep it real, honourable ministers, and spend our
pseudo road repairs fooling no one
the life of me, I cannot understand why WASA is allowed to
destroy the nations roadways by digging gigantic holes
and then doing a pseudo-repair job by filling the hole either
with gravel, which is quickly scattered across the roadway
causing a hazard, or with some god-forsaken, thick, yellow
dirt which turns to mud as soon as it rains, splashing all
over your car.
Is it because WASA is a government agency that they seem to
have been granted immunity to laws against destruction of
Is the Government trying to fool the population by hiring
one set of workers to build and fix roads and another set
to destroy these same roads, hence creating perpetual employment?
Ministers, fix this situation!
plant is politics,
from all the expressed reasons for not having an aluminum
smelter in T&T, environmental hazard, disrupting whole
villages, misuse of agricultural landI ask why?
Surely it is not that we need to find use for our gas. We
can export all we can find or for heavens sake leave
it in the ground as an investment. It is not going to create
much employment. Besides we are critically short of skilled
labour, as it is.
But more importantly, we do not have the raw material, bauxite.
This must be a political decision surely, not a logical one.