Tuesday 15th January, 2008

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Give us the facts on rainfall shift

In his recent address to PNM party faithfuls at Constantine Park, Tunapuna, Prime Minister Patrick Manning once again reiterated his intention to proceed with the construction of water desalination plants.

Unfortunately, anyone familiar with the PM’s modus operandi would know full well that no amount of sound arguments, reasoning and logic could ever dissuade him from frittering away the contents of the national treasury on his grandiose pet projects and schemes.

It would seem that only organised mass protests and public demonstrations could elicit a reasonable level of cognitive behaviour and intelligent decision-making.

Nevertheless, two comments are worth making.

First, it is grossly unfair for homeowners to be punished with higher water rates because of the inefficiency and incompetence at Wasa.

Second, some day the PM will be harshly judged for what seems to be an infinite capacity for profligate and wasteful spending.

My main bone of contention, however, is the PM’s insistence on shifting blame for the critical water-shortage problem from poor planning and management to climate change, or more specifically, his unsubstantiated claim that rainfall has shifted from the catchment areas in the East of Trinidad to the West.

Over the last few months, I have on at least two separate occasions publicly questioned the PM’s claim and requested that he, or anyone else, provide the supporting data.

To date, my requests have fallen on deaf ears and/or have been completely ignored. Surely, the PM must be receiving technical advice from knowledgeable professionals at the Water Resources Agency or the highly-paid consultants involved in the feasibility studies for the water desalination plants.

However, based on my own statistical analyses and published results, I have found that seasonal rainfall data at several representative sites in Trinidad are both random and stationary, indicating that they are free from deterministic trends or cycles. This implies that the underlying processes that generate the data have been consistent over the years of data collection.

Therefore, in the absence of suitable evidence, I am inclined to conclude that the PM’s claim is bogus, deceptive and therefore misleading; a scapegoat used to avoid blame and a red herring used to justify bad policy.

In spite of this, I am again kindly requesting the PM to advise the folks at the Water Resources Agency, where the relevant data are selfishly hoarded and zealously guarded, to make the data available so that truth and accuracy could prevail in this matter once and for all.

In the national interest, I am hereby offering to pay the customary exorbitant fees charged for the data and to freely give of my time and expertise to perform the statistical analyses without expense to anyone.

After all, I’m sure that every right-thinking person will agree that sound public policy should be driven by sound science and not on the irrational beliefs and fears of decision makers.

Reynold Stone


[email protected]

Death Penalty And Christianity

Las’ night wen ah turn on mih radio

Ah hear Short Pants wid a calypso

How he against capital punishment

And if yuh lissen to he argument

How life is not fuh man to take

How he cyar take wha’ he cyar make

Yuh have to agree, yuh cyar dispute

Like de death penalty rong in truth

Buh Short Pants, hear de other side

Wassen Christ we Saviour crucified?

So why pong de death penalty

Wen dat is how we get Christianity!

Jerome Audian


Emergency action needed

I was one of the early voices calling for a state of emergency in the fight against criminal activity (Feb 2002). Several voices have since sounded the call.

The response of the Government has been to ask how would a state of emergency help the situation and to state that the rights of the citizens will be negatively impacted.

The State needs to be advised that the rights and freedoms of citizens have been negatively impacted by criminal elements in our communities. Citizens can no longer enjoy their property. We can no longer move about freely. We can no longer speak out freely for fear of reprisals from criminal elements.

Our Constitution provides for action to be taken in such circumstances to have these rights restored through the declaration of a state of emergency and the taking of necessary action to bring to heel the activities of perpetrators who have curtailed our rights and freedoms.

The legal system (courts) has been unable to do the job. Witnesses are intimidated or eliminated. The police are unable or reluctant to make arrests and gather necessary information. The Minister of National Security and others know the gangs, their members and leaders.

Since they are not being convicted through the normal legal process, emergency action is needed to take these gang members off the streets and confine them to detention centres, where they cannot intimidate, kill and maim. This action is needed for as long as it takes for the crisis situation to be brought under control.

Additionally, the infrastructure that allows criminals to elude capture—poor roads, squatting settlements, lack of adequate numbers of police officers, stations and equipment—need to be addressed.

The education system that is producing failure needs to be overhauled. Our female students need to be separated from young bad boys in secondary schools. Police officers need to be in communities early in the morning and at night. North Trinidad is in mourning.

Too many of our youth are being killed in the strongholds of the ruling party along the east/west corridor.

Declare a state of emergency and clean up the mess. We can still be free to party and go on river limes. Lock up the perpetrators of serious crime.

David De Merieux


Pussyfooting by Govt on crime

The shameless pussyfooting antics by Minister of National Security Martin Joseph, Commissioner of Police Trevor Paul and Prime Minister Patrick Manning on the issues of crime and corruption expose the PNM Government’s incompetence and mockery of the country’s democratic process.

Firstly, after hibernating for over six years, Joseph publicly confesses on national television and radio that the Government has failed to arrest the spiralling crime situation. A couple days after, the ever-evasive Prime Minister apologetically says that Joseph did not actually mean that.

And as if these statements weren’t insulting enough to the people’s intelligence, the CoP has the audacity to say the people are to be blamed for crime. How ridiculously stupid this sounds.

After the “meeting of the minds” at the Salybia Nature Resort, one would have thought that a well-prepared, aggressive and comprehensive plan was to be presented in Parliament. Contrarily, Joseph’s regurgitated speech on the past PNM Government crime plans only gives credence to the belief that there are no new plan of action.

After a record-breaking 2007 murder rate with 20 so far in 2008 (at time of writing), the Speaker of the House, Barry Sinanan, still keeps denying several motions by Opposition Chief Whip Ramesh Maharaj to address the urgent crime problem.

Being aware of the Opposition’s denial to speak out, the comical and nonsensical remarks by Works Minister Colm Imbert that Maharaj kept quiet in Parliament shows the minister’s sarcastic and insensitive attitude to the realities of crime.

The Government’s continuous refusal to join forces with the Opposition as a united front for the good of all of T&T clearly shows the selfish PNM partisan politics for which it tries to hoodwink all by saying “this is PNM country.” Well then, God help us all.

Colin Ghouralal


Why single out those ministers?

The sidebar carried along the Saturday Guardian’s story about Attorney General Brigid Annisette-George’s fainting listed the name of four female ministers under the sub-head, “Ministers who fell ill.”

Should the sub-headline have been “PNM female ministers who fell ill?”

Surely I can call out from public record men of the highest office in different administrations who have fallen ill, including at least three male Prime Ministers who had to deal with matters of the heart and other major afflictions.

And I should be able to name at least two Presidents (of course, both male) who had to have medical treatment while holding office.

I know too that the annals would show other female ministers of other times who have been afflicted with illness that could have been highlighted for more balanced reporting.

It may not have been the intention of the reporter, and while I hold no brief for any individual, party or administration, I could not help feeling a bit awkward by the selection of names singled out in this story.

Caroline C Ravello


No lifeline from TSTT ‘undertaker’

It is unfortunate that citizens of this country cannot hold TSTT liable for its inability to provide a proper and effective telephone service.

Our telephone landline is used for keeping in touch with relatives who have not joined the bandwagon of cell phone users and for accessing the Internet.

For the past several weeks our phone line has simply been dead. A report was made to the “undertaker” (TSTT repair section) to resurrect our dial tone. However, unlike Lazarus our phone line remains dead while TSTT fiddles about and gives us inane reasons for it not being fixed.

Our Internet issue can be rectified by signing on for the Blink service which we did, but it is more like sleeping since you have a three-month wait for this service.

What developed country status? Whoever came up with that notion?

R Bernadette Shah

Via e-mail

No reason for Shiv not to bat

West Indies tried hard to save the third Test.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul batted very well during the series, but after seeing his captain’s performance in the second Test it is very difficult to understand why he failed to bat in the second innings of the just concluded Test.

As far as I am concerned, there is no reason, apart from two broken legs and/or arms, for him not batting. It was disgraceful to see him lying down in the pavilion.

I think they should send him home.

David L Martin





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