T&T South African consul ill.
No succession plans in UNCBas.
COPers cough up the $$.
MP Mikela Panday was busy perusing documents yesterday while
Trade Minister Keith Rowley treated MPs in the House of Representatives
to a half-hour lesson on the mysteries of the controversial
Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.
Panday, who was at her fathers Privy Council matter
in London earlier in the week, returned home Thursday.
Her fatherOpposition Leader Basdeo Pandayhowever
was giving his full attention to Rowley at yesterdays
And not necessarily for complimentary reasons.
In tight formation, Panday, and UNC MPs Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj
and Jack Warner, listening to Rowley, appeared by turns amused,
mildly bored, then completely uninterested.
Warner sat chin propped on hand.
They werent alone. Prime Minister Patrick Manning grabbed
his usual snooze. PNM Minister Junior Regrello yawned.
MP Christine Kangaloo conversed with Martin Joseph, and MP
Nielung Hypolite with colleague Alicia Hospedales. MP Neil
Parsanlal sat chin in hand, a la Jack.
When the UNC trio could stand it no more, they gleefully thumped
their desk tops, usually the means by which MPs signal support
at the conclusion of an MPs speech.
On this occasion, however, the only thing the trio meant to
signal to Rowley was: stop talking.
They had attempted it three times by the time Rowley rounded
into his 25th minute. Then he granted their wish.
Rowleys discourse on the EPA was one of two issues pertaining
to Caricom dealt with at yesterdays sitting, on the
eve of next weeks Caricom inter-sessional meeting in
the Bahamas which Manning will attend.
The other issue, the Advanced Passenger Information Bill,
was a matter which Caricom leaders agreed to in 2006.
Recent weeks have seen Manning industriously networking with
foreign colleagues prior to the summit, receiving the Barbados
Prime Minister last week and currently hosting St Vincent
counterpart Ralph Gonsalves.
Next week Manning entertains the Prince of Wales and Duchess
With Jamaicas PJ Patterson, Barbados Owen Arthur
and Cubas Fidel Castro now off the scene, Mannings
senior status among regional leaders will be reinforced. Indeed,
next weeks Caricom inter-sessional will see six new
regional headsout of the 13 territoriesin attendance.
Apart from security, regional transport and energy, caucus
may be a tad discomforting for new Caricom chairman, Hubert
Ingraham, whose colleagues may wish to get Ingrahams
fellow Bahamians to lend more support to the Single Market
and EconomyCaricoms lumbering pet project with
something of a white elephant reputation.
As well as considering recent grim developments in Guyanaand
surprising ones in Cubadiscussions may well include
climate change issues, considering how significant that item
is on the agenda of next years Commonwealth leaders
conference and the Summit of the Americas, both hosted by
Government has a new expanded downtown skyline to present
to international leaders for the conferences.
Manning himself will have new offices at St Clair Boulevard,
Port-of-Spain, from month-end, the Office of the Prime Minister
Everything is in place for the move to the $51 million building
which was formerly earmarked for Public Administrations
That was shelved to accommodate the OPM while restoration
work is done on Whitehall.
Project manager Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) on
Thursday confirmed the building was due for occupancy since
February but redesign work is being done on levels of the
new building earmarked for Mannings personal offices.
The block-long, four-storey state-of-the-art structure came
in within cost.
A Whitehall spokesman said planning of Whitehalls restorationfor
conversion to historical landmark statusis currently
Udecott is handling refurbishment work for Stollmeyers
Castle, the security checkpoint for Whitehall. Whether Udecott
will get the restoration brief remains to be seen.
While the OPM will reside at St Clair Boulevard, the question
remains for how long.
After the previous Cabinets 2003 proposal to house the
OPM at the Red House ignited huge controversy last term, a
new home for the Parliament has been hanging fire, along with
two reports and several site suggestions on this.
Parliamentarians agreed there was need for a new larger location
but felt the Red House should remain home until
a proper site was found.
The new Parliaments House Committee held its second
meeting of the term yesterday.
Last word on the issue was from Minister Lenny Saith in December
2006that the Public Administration Ministry would make
recommendations for allocation of office space within the
Red House when a new Parliament building is completed.
allocation will include proposals for the assignment of some
space for the Office of the Prime Minister, Saith had
Government has therefore plowed on with Red House restoration
TG received a January 22 response from Udecott on the status
of the restoration project, which is focused on the Red Houses
south wing (where initial reports hinted the OPM might have
project includes complete refurbishment and modernisation
of the existing 100-year-old building to serve as the Office
of the Prime Minister and a Museum of Parliament. (sic).
Demolition of the south wing is complete. Structural works
have begun with completion scheduled within six months.
Works include replacement of damaged roofing, beams and floors,
reconfiguration of internal room layout, plus ceiling and
floor finishes, new electrical supply and plumbing.
Still plodding though is the new Customs House, expected to
have been completed last year. Work was delayed by the July
2006 scaffolding collapse. Yesterday Finance Minister Karen
Nunez-Tesheira assured the building will be completed later
Jeremie on London post:
happy in T&T
Also yesterday, former Attorney General John Jeremie quashed
speculation that he might succeed London high Commissioner
Morean leaves London at month-end to become T&Ts
ambassador to Washington.
very contented and happy at UWI where Im a senior lecturer.
Im back in private practicelife has never been
Meanwhile, South African consul Donna Carter is still convalescing
in Costa Rica where she went for treatment after falling ill
last year, Government officials confirmed. The mission is
headed by the deputy consul.
High commissioner to Canada, Camille Robinson Regis, leaves
for her post March 10, Government stated Tuesday.
UNC leader Basdeo Panday aroused much mirthbut never
answered the questionon Wednesday when asked about his
intention regarding succession plans.
plan to succeed Mr Manning, Panday deadpanned to the
question which involved his UNC.
Yesterday Panday (firmly) said succession in the UNC is not
a matter under discussion at this point:
concentrating on local government elections. Surely this isnt
the time to think about such things.
Panday, who begins touring constituencies next week to prepare
for the polls, said some COP people including
councillors have approached the UNC to contest with them.
asked them to submit applications. Well consider it
to choose the best rather than hold grudges, he said.
COPers put money
where mouth is
COP is resuming Tuesday night meetings next week, thanks to
Gerald Yetming, whos footing the radio broadcast bill
for the first at Curepe.
Yetming recently voiced concern about the lapse in meetings
and COPs low public profile.
Yetming and Gary Griffith subsequently came in for flack from
COP National Council members including Joseph Toney and Anil
Roberts for expressing concerns about COPs flagging
In the heat of those exchanges, Yetming and Griffith pledged
to sponsor broadcasts of the first and second meetings.
Yesterday Yetming said:
paying for the Curepe broadcast to get the project off the
ground and perhaps others. Once COP assumes proper course,
they deserve assistance. Well see how it goes from Tuesday.