Sunday 11th June, 2006

Peter Quentrall-Thomas
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Condomise, not economise

Recently, I was helping promote the premiere of the Da Vinci Code as, thanks to the kindness of the owners of MovieTowne, a portion of the money raised from ticket sales was to go to a home for abandoned children in Grenada.

For my efforts, I was subject to what I can only call a barrage of “religious hate mail” from Catholics, many of whom I know and considered as friends.

They hadn’t seen the film, but they were quite vitriolic in their condemnation of it. I really thought our people of all races and creeds were above that sort of extremism, but I was wrong.

People with degrees were condemning something they hadn’t seen, because they had been told to condemn it.

I saw the film and, if anything, it helped with the choice intelligent people have to make between believing something that is difficult to believe in and “having faith.”

The cinema was full of Catholics, and I doubt any of them will give up their faith. So is all this noise by the Catholics just a diversion to take the heat away from far more serious matters inside their church?

Interestingly, many of the indignant writers said they would happily give to the orphanage, but not this way. I asked each of them to send me a donation and haven’t seen a red cent yet!

Rum Puzzle

Have you ever heard of a rum called “10 Cane” from, and I quote from the bottle “Trinidad, Kingdom of Rum”? Go to the Web site to learn more. It sells for US$35 a bottle, which is more than the world’s best rum, El Dorado from Guyana. On the bottle it says it is a “product of Trinidad & Tobago.” But let me quote from the label, “Rum’s Redemption—each bottle is crafted with the finest handpicked canes, grown from rich Trinidadian soil.

“Created from the first pressing of virgin cane, individual canes handled ever so carefully—to bring out their natural flavour, a decadence unachievable with molasses” and so on. Between you and me, it tastes just like the “Rhum Agricole” from the other islands, which is their cheapest, and most lethal, rum. Is our country’s name being used to con foreigners into buying inferior rum?

Telecom madness

Knowing we have a fancy Telecoms Authority to ensure we, the citizens of T&T, get treated fairly by the telecommunication providers, you rush off and buy your prepaid Digicel phone only to learn that it can’t “roam” in America because Digicel is still negotiating with the cellular providers there. How long has Digicel been in the Caribbean? So you back track and check with TSTT and they say, “Sure, we have roaming in America, but only on a postpaid phones with a two-year contract.”

Come on, Khalid Hassanali, and all the other top executives whose salaries and allowances we pay. Why didn’t you say to all telecoms applicants something like:

“Every phone, pre or postpaid, must be able to roam worldwide or no licence”?

Not only has our Government made sure we were one of the last countries in the world to liberalise, but now we learn they have done nothing to make sure the telecommunication providers are providing a state of the art service.

And you wonder why our country keeps dropping in the world rankings for competitiveness, etc. What a shame they don’t have a competition for the number of tower cranes building government projects per million people.

We would be bound to win!

2020 Awards

My first 2020 award goes to Estella Frederick of WASA, for wonderful service when the water main serving our area, burst.

Within hours, she had ensured a crew had made the repair and restored service.

My second 2020 goes to Amco in Chaguanas for putting the customers’ parking slots nearest the front door.

Even the directors came second to customers.

My final 2020 award goes to Wendy Ann Jackson and Walda Dottin-Matthew of Camille Robinson-Regis’ Ministry of Planning, who both replied the next day to an e-mail I sent out, trying to raise funds for Bel Air Orphanage in Grenada.

Not one other ministry responded, so it seems only Robinson-Regis’ staff are on track for 2020.

Contraceptive prevalence

I thought you might be interested to see some data from Table 6 of the UN HDR Report for 2005, which shows Contraceptive Prevalence Rate for various countries. Check out the graph.

Even Grenada, with far less income than T&T is doing a better job.

Just a thought.

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