Thursday 11th August, 2005

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Police need PR training

IT WAS good to hear some positive news on the police and their handling of recent emergencies in T&T. They should be commended for their professionalism and fine work whenever they do a good job.

On the other hand, however, they should also be chided when they use poor judgment or heavy-handed techniques when dealing with the general public, or suspects/criminals for that matter.

One such case is their handling of onlookers during their investigation of the shooting of two unarmed men in downtown Port-of-Spain by an SRP. From news reports it appears the police on the scene seized the camera phone of a bystander who was taking pictures of what was happening.

I have also heard of other cases where news photographers have had their equipment seized and/or broken by irate cops.

What do these officers have to fear or hide? Why are they so adamant on keeping their “public” operations hidden? Once these people are not hampering the police from conducting their investigations, behind clearly marked “police lines,” why harass people and seize their cameras?

In fact, I venture to say that these same pictures could exonerate the police if there is ever a question about the way a situation is handled. Remember, a picture tells a thousand words.

If the Police Service is to build bridges with the public to gain intelligence on the criminals in our midst, this is surely not the way to go about building that trust. When ordinary citizens are manhandled in such a manner, what is the public to think of the service?

I believe that the Police Commissioner and top brass ought to conduct sensitivity and public relations training for all their officers, so they do not feel that the public is their enemy, and the public can have confidence in them as well.

If not, the “us against them” syndrome will continue and the public will forever see the police as their enemy instead of the “friend” they need to be for us to get a grip on the crime wave sweeping the country.

Kelvin C James, Sr

Via e-mail

Wanted: Leader with integrity

After reading Bernard Pantin’s article online (“So be it!”, TG, July 30), I can no longer remain silent on this. Looking back on the past four or five years, I’m left with a distinct impression of my country burning while the leaders fiddle.

When the choice today lies between a person who apparently suffers multiple personality disorder and leads by example a party of astonishing ineptitude, another who is too tainted by others’ allegations and his own actions to ever present a valid alternative to thinking voters, and a third whose party remains a shadow of its glorious, but short-lived, past (and can only really be described as irrelevant in real terms on today’s political scene), then it is absolutely clear that it’s time for new options.

Quite frankly, I’m one of those who left home to ensure my immediate family achieve their potential. Some may think that’s cowardly or selfish, but of all options presented in the recent past it was judged to be the best, and it has been a hell of a struggle. I’m sure I’m not alone.

However, I’ll gladly return to make my vote count if someone could step forward and present a viable alternative to the ridiculous choices above so that Vision 2020 would not remain a hopeless slogan, but a meaningful, tangible path to the productive, positive, secure society we envision for ourselves.

Someone with true integrity. Someone who can inspire a population and back it up with more than intangible platitudes. Someone who is trustworthy. Preferably with a critical mass of able-bodied individuals in support, who can effect real change as leaders, unlike the laughable bunch we have today. Someone with demonstrable courage.

Is there anyone out there? Step forth! I want my peaceful, law-abiding, loving country back. So be it!

Edmund Nigel Gall


Pharmacists got short end of stick

TOTAL parenteral nutrition (TPN) is a preparation of nutrients given via intravenous infusion to patients, of any age, who cannot feed normally through the alimentary tract.

It is made up for each patient specifically (custom made), with the collaborative effort of the doctor, nutritionist and the pharmacist to supply each patient with the exact nutrients required in specific amounts.

It is a long, meticulous process and needs to be prepared under strict aseptic conditions.

In first world countries pharmacists could specialise in TPN preparations and be paid accordingly, but in T&T and other third world countries it can be considered new technology.

The expanding role and skills of the pharmacist on the international market are not quite accommodated in our healthcare system, even though our pharmacists employ those skills in the workplace.

The lack of reclassification of pharmacists, or the delay in the movement from technical class to professional classification, has left pharmacists under-compensated for their skills and new skills such as TPN will attract an allowance to attempt to bridge the gap in compensation.

The TPN allowance is applicable to RHA pharmacists only and is paid on performance of duty. It is one of two allowances available for public sector pharmacists. The other is a travelling allowance, where it is applicable.

The EWMSC is the only facility in T&T equipped with the infrastructure to prepare TPN, and because TPN had not yet caught on at the Mt Hope Maternity Hospital, the pharmacists at the EWMSC had prepared the little TPN required at Mt Hope since 2003.

The recent spiked exodus of pharmacists from the RHAs, and the closure of dispensaries at San Fernando and Mt Hope, as highlighted by the media, changed all that.

EWMSC could no longer accommodate the increased requests from Mt Hope, so two pharmacists were brought in to Mt Hope specifically to assist (they had other duties as well) with the preparations at the EWMSC since February. They were expecting to be paid the allowance just as the EWMSC staff was paid.

When no payments were forthcoming by June, the pharmacists informed the administration, in writing, since the middle of June, that they would discontinue the service if they did not receive their payments by June 30.

Administrative bungling by the NCRHA allowed the issue to continue till the end of June and drag out a further three weeks without resolution or even intervention. It might have remained unresolved if someone had brought the issue to the public domain.

But the administration could afford to do that because they knew that the neonates were not likely to suffer brain damage or death as a direct result of TPN withdrawal.

TPN preparations are not absolutely necessary for all neonates. It allows babies to gain weight satisfactorily and more quickly than other methods and that is desirable for tiny neonates, but there are alternative, older methods for feeding neonates as obtains at POSGH, Scarborough and Sangre Grande Hospitals where no TPN preparations are made. No doubt these methods were also in effect during that time.

In addition, the pharmacists had agreed to prepare the TPN for any critical cases and they did prepare the product for one critical case that came up during that time. But due to the sensitive nature of the issue, pharmacists would remain holding the sticky end of the stick.

These NCRHA pharmacists did not want to suffer the same faith as those at San Fernando General, who travel down to EWMSC to prepare TPN to take back to San Fernando and have not yet been paid for their services by the SWRHA. Pharmacists have left the service without being paid.

The aseptic conditions required for the preparation of TPN is also a cause of concern for pharmacists and deserving of immediate attention.

The situation is, at best, unfortunate because pharmacists have always viewed and still do hold the health of the nation as sacrosanct and have consistently resisted taking a confrontational stand to the detriment of their own welfare. Contrary to other reports, pharmacists are guided by a code of ethics.

The industrial relation position of “comply and complain” has not worked for pharmacists for the past 30 years, for in T&T we support a culture where an administration only acts when an issue is spotlighted in the public forum—hence the appearance of the cheques.

No worker delights in taking a confrontational stand on the job. One just wants to do one’s best on the job, with the resources available, be adequately compensated for it, and get on with one’s life.

But when employers fail by refusing to treat with issues, when employers fail to show respect and courtesy for employees, when employers do not communicate in good faith with employees, employees in turn lose trust in administrations, they feel that their backs are against the wall, and then situations like these occur.

S Jobity



Emperors rule T&T since 1956

A STUDY of China’s history shows that dynasty ruling started in 1027 BC and ended in 1911 when modern China began with a revolt that ended the rule of the Qing Dynasty, and with it the 3,000-year-old Chinese Empire. Today China is one of the world’s super powers, soon to be No 1.

Modern T&T began in 1956 with the advent of dynasty ruling when Dr Eric Williams took over the ruling of the country. Emperor Williams ruled us for 25 years, followed by Emperor Chambers, Emperor Robinson, Emperor Manning, then Emperor Panday.

With the second coming of Emperor Manning (2002 to present), he has successfully led the majority of the population to become zombies, who could not care less what he does.

It remains a mystery how our politicians have been able to continuously fool the people and get away with it? For example, Laventille is the most backward constituency, yet its constituents will blindly vote PNM, no matter what.

Emperor Robinson and Emperor Panday both had wonderful opportunities to change the course of our history, but both blew it.

Under Panday’s dynasty it was “man exploiting man.” Under Manning’s dynasty it is exactly the opposite.

Ryan Hartley

Santa Cruz

Rogue Cops On The Beat

Rogue elements in police uniform

This problem we must arrest

Police abetting thief is now the norm

Oh how they’ve failed the test.

Traitors with badges patrol the beat

How can they be trusted

Sleepin’ wit’ de enemy, we feel de heat

Every rogue cop must be busted.

Taking an oath to protect and serve

Then cast away the book

Now renegade cops are special reserve

To protect and serve the crook.

This protective service is causin’ gripes

Yet we recruit in a big rush

Our police officers are now losin’ stripes

One rogue cop is just too much.

We must handcuff this abomination

It’s time we lay some charges

Every officer in every police station

Must respect their lawman badges.

Law-abiding citizens are so much afraid

Jes say police! and dey does hide

Since police an’ tief is now makin’ raid

We lockin’ up weself inside.

Rogue elements are now in police ranks

The service is in disrepute

To the few good men we must say thanks

They deserve our nation’s salute.

Vic Dolan Clarke

Diego Martin

Cut down those dangerous trees

THE hurricane season is with us again. There are some very dangerous trees ranging from about 45 to 60 feet tall in the area where I live.

A few years ago people from our “penal institutions” cut down a tree in the area during the season. The crew promised to come back and cut down or trim another tree about 60 feet tall in the same yard. So we are looking out for them. A shortage of cutting tools and tackle seem to be holding them up.

Nema should be able to help expedite the cutting down of these dangerous trees, near to houses, with some funding for tools, etc.

Ewart Le Platte

Monte Grande


Make sure mail arrives, TTPost

LATE last year, I mailed my banker’s drafts to cover subscriptions in the US on three occasions and none of these ever reached its destination.

Again in February and April, I mailed banker’s drafts for other subscriptions. I made sure that they were registered. However, these were also never received.

It is evident that there are people at TTPost who are tampering with mail and this is very distressing to all parties, not to mention the fact that this is an invasion of one’s privacy.

I am appealing to the TTPost officials to take steps to ensure that our mail reaches its destination.

A Christian

St Joseph





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