Friday 7th March, 2008

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Take heed of proverb, Mr PM

I am truly astonished by the report that the Prime Minister will soon have a luxury jet placed at his disposal by the ever generous public purse.

Imagine that: a Prime Minister who has secured for himself as office holder a palatial home complete with playroom (read diplomatic centre) that is the envy of his peers in the region, a fleet of luxury vehicles to move him from place to place, a generous salary, a secret security detail a la President Bush, and now, of all things, a jet plane to whisk him away at a moment’s notice.

I really wonder what his apologists and others have to say about this. What does the PNM supporter who is stealing baby milk in the neighbourhood grocery store and her child father who is weeping and wailing at the cost of bricks, gravel and steel have to say about their dear (expensive) PM?

When Panday was in office, he refurbished an office at Whitehall, the original seat of the Prime Minister, and because of shoddy workmanship, the PNM said money was stolen.

When two Mercedes-Benzes were bought for the use of the then PM (Panday), the citizens threw their arms up in a rage. They felt Panday should have been carried from place to place in the back of a police jeep.

As a matter of fact, COP supporters still feel Panday should ride in a police vehicle non-stop (to and from charge rooms, court houses and the Arouca prison), but their tongues go down their throats deeply when Manning’s jet comes up.

Now the citizens will wave to their PM from their board shacks in the squatter developments while he sips, cross-legged and reclined, the finest blends and chats with St Vincent and the Grenadines PM Ralph Gonzales about the good old days.

Those mortgaging theirs and their children’s lives to repair modest dwellings at painful expense, planning for their agonising retirement and slow death at the mercy of inflation (just ask Ewart Williams) will hear the roar of the engines overhead as he zooms by, en route to the next Caricom pool party...oops sorry, Caricom summit.

What a travesty on this nation that cannot feed itself. What an insult to the people who cannot afford private security, because public security does not have a vehicle to respond.

What a laugh for those people lying on the floor at the San Fernando General looking to the sky for death to relieve them, but instead seeing the new baliser jet.

What a stab for the public servants who wince and wail each time they have to buy basic bread and cheese. Very soon, many will be putting dry bread and pipe water in their kids’ lunch kits.

What a slap in the face of the taxpayer, the mortgage holder, the VAT registrant who thinks that his civic-minded payments to the national Treasury are being put to good use.

What a good kick for all those single mothers who line up and lower themselves for a bligh from the URP.

No less than $325 million will be spent to acquire the jet and then hey presto, some recently formed company will be retained to maintain the thing at an unprintably obscene fee. And for what? For the nation to lend it to other Prime Ministers in the region like a PH car. Prime Ministers have never had it so good since up came lactating T&T.

Ah Lord, forgive this man. Warn him, oh good Lord, of the proverb: “What profit is it to man that he has all things in the world and he loses his soul.”

Our esteemed PM has clearly lost his soul.

William Bonnet



Please start Mamoral Dam

I am appealing to Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert for help.

I have noted that the minister announced with great fanfare the building of the rapid rail and the overpass.

I live in a flood-prone area and the building of the proposed Mamoral Dam will alleviate flooding in my area. So I am appealing to Minister Imbert to start the Mamoral Dam now and help all your fellow citizens of central Trinidad.

Jainarine Maharaj



UNC bigwigs all

about publicity

I have noticed in the recent past, publicity stunts by some of the bigwigs in the UNC to get press coverage.

Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj seems to be mortally afraid to make a contribution in the House and has continued to “hide” by having press conferences (when Basdeo Panday is not present) to highlight his points. At other times he will try to use any loophole in the standing orders to make inconsequential contributions.

I am totally confused at Ramesh trying to highlight the “Gingerbread House” as a national issue. Is he trying to endear himself to some upper-class section of the community? Why has he and Kelvin Ramnath not spoken on the Esar steel plant and the destruction of the mangrove in Point Lisas? Why has Kelvin not spoken in Parliament as yet? Is he afraid that he may offend his employers and affect his pension? Has the party moved away from the small man to the rich and mighty in the North? Does Ramesh feel that will bring votes to him and the UNC?

Perhaps as the chief whip he must encourage his leader to get away from using his laptop computer in Parliament and really take on the inexperienced PNM members. Is it that Basdeo Panday is afraid of more revelations in Parliament? Ramesh must tell Panday that he cannot continue to use the press release as a form of meaningful representation.

However, the one man who is not deterred from trying to gain the spotlight is Jack Warner. Every time Jack gets up to speak in Parliament, it appears that he has done no research on the bill to be debated and generally he is ill-prepared.

His contribution to the Advanced Passenger Information Bill was just as Jack’s international travels—all over the place.

Perhaps if Jack cannot do his research he should employ some good staffers to do his home work and not allow himself to be the joker in the pack. But then again this is what happens when all the opposition members try to “make papers.”

Warner must also realise that his obscene offers to buy everything, such as footballs, police stations and security firms, will only put him in the same bracket of the late Bhadase Sagan Maharaj who, while visiting a primary school, offered to fix the wall of Jericho when a student could not answer the question as to who broke down the wall of Jericho.

Sheldon Seecharan


Manning using ‘step psychology’

When Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, visited Prime Minister Patrick Manning at the PM’s residence, he had to climb up the steps to where Manning stood, very symbolically, at the edge of the top step, thus forcing Gonsalves to reach up to his host and therefore looking much shorter.

I was waiting to see how Manning would receive Gonsalves, and yes the “step psychology” was in plan again.

In parts of Africa where I have been, some leaders of rural areas have their residences built with the doorway so low that the visitor has to stoop in order to enter.

Lorna Vernon


Please look into ‘attack’ on widow

Last year I recalled an article being published in a newspaper about a recent widow in Diego Martin being relentlessly harassed by neighbours in the wake of the passing of her husband.

If I remember well, unknown to the neighbours, some men working on the home served as witnesses to the goings-on in this otherwise residential area.

I also remember at the time the writer of the article calling for some kind of legislation that would allow for the prosecution of those who saw it fit to throw garbage, car batteries and parts, and other items in the woman’s front yard—and that was just for starters.

Fast forward to one year later, and no one has seen it fit to champion the cause of this kind of hate legislation on the books of this country to date.

When the “neighbourhood watch” decides to operate like terrorists in their own right, doesn’t the law-abiding citizen of T&T deserve some kind of redress and recourse? In the West, there are many signs declaring the neighbourhood to be “under watch.” My six million dollar question is though: who will guard the guards?

While crime is a genuine concern, what about when members of the neighbourhood and their associates conveniently engage in criminal activities?

The latest I heard about this woman (who by the way I have been told has lived in that particular neighbourhood for more than 15 years) is that security arrangements were being made for her. God help this country!

By the way, I hope none of her neighbours are complaining about the crime wave, since they should all hang their heads in utter shame.

To the woman, if she is still out there, I hope that you and your late husband looked elsewhere for your friends, because those poor excuses for neighbours do not sound as if they deserve one ounce of anybody’s respect.

Tell me who in their right mind would choose to put Krishna, God, Allah, Buddha, Confucius or Karma out of their mind to deliberately pursue and harass a widow sitting quietly in her house?

To the authorities, if you do not already know about this matter, I hope that someone with a conscience decides to deal with it.

To the Government, could you pursue this worthwhile issue in Parliament for a change?

Cyrus Gopee


Focus on being

better cricketers

The call to the Government to provide the T&T cricketers with “house and land” just because they won a “papsie” final has to be a joke and one that will start unnecessary old talk and confusion.

I can just imagine if the T&T football team had won the World Cup what was going to be the call. The demand would have been for house and land, car, money, free trips and anything else that the footballers could think of.

Come on, people, concentrate on doing even better and drop the gimme-gimme attitude once and for all.

T John




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