PNM ignoring rights of people
can finally tell that an election is in the air: roads
are being paved left and right. But heres the PNM
legacy to T&T:
Closure of Caroni 1975 Ltdworkers still not compensated,
PR and Christine Sahadeo notwithstanding.
Prime agricultural land being earmarked for housing (voter
padding?) and industry (Alcoa).
Closure of BWIA (while we prop up Liat).
Rising crime (Manning saying that crime does not affect
the average citizen. For your information, sir, my home
was broken into many times, my parents mugged, one of
our cars stolen).
Increasing food pricesrelated to point number two?
Cost of living going through the roof.
Government driving inflation with costly and unnecessary
construction. Whatever happened to the concept of decentralisation?
I could go on and on, but I wont. My major bone
of contention is the dictatorial way in which our country
is being run. We have a PM who is way out of touch with
reality. Think about it: he does not have to put up with
daily traffic jams, not in his convoys. He does not have
to even put up with normal travel hassles to overseas,
not with a jet being loaned from Guardian Holdings. When
he gets sick its off to Cuba!
Our oil and gas reserves are finite, estimated at 17 years
at current consumption rates. Alcoa will be using 15 per
cent of those reserves within the first five years of
operation. They talk about being environmentally friendly,
yet they have been cited numerous times last year alone
for violations in the US. Building a large park
around the plant makes no sense as we do not have that
land to trade.
The Government is using the powers of the State to intimidate
the population, to ride roughshod over our rights. The
time to stop this is now! It is time that the people let
those in power know that we will not be cast aside. They
like to say that ministers serve at the PMs pleasure.
Let them remember that the Government serves at the peoples
Why TT$ not good in islands
people have remarked at the irony of other Caricom states
accepting our financial aid but refusing our currency
notes, ie, hard cash.
But this is all of our own doing. Many years ago when
I travelled through the islands, I could spend TT dollars
in Grenada, Barbados, or St Lucia; Bajan money in Grenada
and St Lucia and vice versa; EC dollars in Barbados.
All that comfort changed for T&T when a PNM finance
minister named Mervyn de Sousa attempted to introduce
Caricom travellers cheques through the now defunct
National Commercial Bank (NCB).
The Caricom travellers cheques however would not
be marketable if the TT currency was also accepted freely
in the islands. It was so much easier to fly to Grenada
or Barbados with TT$1,000 cash in your wallet!
The PNM solution then was to make our TT dollars unacceptable
in the islands. I do not know the precise mechanism used
but it involved our Central Bank making it unwieldy or
impossible for the banks in Barbados and Grenada to repatriate
TT currency back to Trinidad.
The PNM travellers cheques failed also, because
the island merchants never accepted them. The NCB failed,
also, because the politicians were putting their hands
in the till.
So now is we to catch!
Opposition must co-operate
Constitution deals with certain rights but not with the
tone of relationships between Government and Opposition
A leader of the Opposition says the Oppositions
job is to oppose. No wonder bitter animosity is common
in debates and taking firm root in population groups.
(Thank God for the Parliament Channel that seems to have
had a sobering effect.)
More appropriate is another accepted term: alternative
government. This means that both groups have a sense of
responsibility for the good government of the country.
Its easier, then, for the Government to make its
proposals, for the other side to critique them, pointing
out the good, the bad and the indifferent; the debate
flows and solutions come easier.
People will hear both sides and judge. But, above all,
they will appreciate that their representatives are working
in the nations best interest. That pushes away visions
of Guyana, Uganda, Bosnia, Lebanon and the horrors those
A co-operating Parliament will not subject itself to the
childish spitefulness we see at times when an opposition,
on gaining power, discards successful programmes because
they ridiculed them in opposition.
They may even throw a new cloak on them and resurrect
them as their marvellous creations.
Political parties must review the tone of debates. A committee
of both Houses should review the code of conduct for parliamentary
debates and public meetings.
The term racial should be taboo in its usual
should be allegations to be referred without debate to
an investigating committee for prompt action, with sanctions
to follow if guilt is shown.
Incidentally, if discrimination is proved, dubious motivation
of race is quite unnecessary.
Further, party symbols on government ministers on official
business are not symbols of national unity. Winning the
election confers on the party the privilege of forming
The party does not become the Government. It may even
include people who are not party members.
Government represents the nation, not the party. If an
emblem is desired, one with the nations coat of
arms may be designed for use by all governments.
Party symbols are divisive, not representing the entire
Stop whitening of black women
I am appealing to the National Association for the Empowerment
of African People headed by Selwyn Cudjoe and the Emancipation
Support Committee led by Kafra Kambon to protest the whitening
of our black women in advertisements.
African models in these ads are looking either mixed with
Caucasian, Indian or Dougla.
Why do advertisements continue to portray African women
with straight hair, light skin, thin lips and narrow nose?
Are our ex-slave rulers trying to tell us that we pure
black people are not beautiful as we are?
And where are Indian men in these ads?
Changes needed for better T&T
have lived on this island long enough to know how good
it was before party politics and tribal voting hit us.
Numerous changes must be made to our present or proposed
constitution if citizens are to regain control or our
economy and allow all sections of our society to grow.
We must not allow the present policy of the rich
gets richer while the poor gets ten days to continue.
I list a few of the obvious changes that must be implemented
if we are to drag ourselves out of this morass:
No maximum leader or executive president with the power
of a dictator.
Anytime this countrys money is spent it must be
debated and decided by a committee comprising all the
politicians elected by the peopleboth government
The positions of President of the Republic, President
of the Senate and leader of the House must be independent
and not elected by the party in power.
An executive president must be voted in by the people.
Politicians must not be allowed to lie in Parliament and
be protected when they do.
Still waiting for call from Digicel
September 11, I purchased a Nokia cell phone from Digicel
with the additional credit of 180 free texts and minutes.
This was supposed to be activated within 14 days from
the date of purchase. The agent in the Park Street branch
assured me it would be activated between September 24-25.
However, to the date of writing (October 2) the full package
contracted for has not been received and numerous requests
for a refund have been ignored. So I am now awaiting Digicels
Potential customers of Digicel, I hope they treat you
with more courtesy and respect than they have so far shown