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Bold-faced move by State contract attorneys
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I find it both bewildering and amusing at the same time that contract workers, the State contract attorneys in this instance, want to take action against their employer for not making them public service attorneys.

It is in my opinion that the contract workers freely choose to take up contracts at a particular salary. I want to believe that they were not forced into taking up such contracts. Further, they can terminate their contracts according to the conditions when they feel like.

It is also my opinion that it is up to the State or Judicial and Legal Services Commission to decide if and when they want to hire additional public service attorneys, at what salaries, despite the existence of vacancies, etc.

Who do the contract workers feel they are to be entitled to fill these public service attorneys vacancies? It might be good that they may fill such vacancies especially if they have the necessary qualifications and experience, but this should not be an entitlement that they would want to sue. Did their contracts give them this expectation to this public service attorney position? 

Put yourselves in the employer’s position. I employed contract workers, I also have permanent workers. I have vacancies for other permanent workers. I pay permanent workers a higher salary than the contract workers who agreed to the lower salary. The contract workers are now threatening to sue me for not making them permanent workers. 

Well, I am not too sure how long the contract workers will last in my place or if their contract would be renewed.

I am quite eager to see how the court rules on this matter. It seems a real bold-faced move!

S Williams

Prisons Commissioner should have been long gone
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It must be a source of concern to any thinking person that the Prisons Service was unable to respond to the recent jailbreak at the Frederick Street prison. 

It is even more amazing that they allow a videotape to be made public which demonstrates their incompetence. There is no apparent embarrassment at their failure to foil a simple plan. They do not even appear to recognise their blunder.

It cannot be possible that in a high-security environment like a prison there was no one manning the camera to bring into action a rapid response unit of prison officers. What then was the purpose of the camera? To review what happened after the fact? Was the camera system not a preventative measure or crisis intervention mechanism?

It is no wonder that the prisons are in the mess that they are. They cannot even set up a simple system of someone manning the monitors to pick up situations which may require urgent action. They cannot blame this on the lack of equipment. Another example of management incompetence. 

The resignation of the Commissioner of Prisons should have been on the Minister’s desk the day after the fiasco.

Karan Mahabirsingh

A new Ministry of Defence will be more of the same
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In 2010 the issue of crime was the greatest dilemma and concern for the vast majority of the population. With this knowledge Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, leader of the People’s Partnership, vowed to attack the problem by introducing and embarking upon several initiatives which would severely impact upon this crime scourge within the first 100 days, should they form the next government.

Amongst the proposed initiatives within their crime plan was to introduce a ministry of justice, closely mimicking a UK ministry by the same name. Under the purview of this new ministry, to which billions of tax dollars are committed annually, fall the courts and prisons, where the clear mandate was to secure reform of the fast-failing criminal justice system. 

This was not limited to the outdated and unproductive existing operation of the prisons nationwide, which continues to provide fertile ground for an explosion of magnetic proportions, a snippet of which was witnessed at the Royal Gaol in the middle of a busy downtown Port-of-Spain.

Five years and two months later, what can the fourth Minister of Justice claim to have achieved in his new ministry? Why has the overcrowding and inhumane existing conditions within the prisons remained unaddressed, even after a facility was purchased at a Santa Rosa, Arima, location for almost $300 million? Why are prisons officers and support staff still subjected to work within the confines of a dehumanising and dangerous environment on a daily basis? 

Is real reform of our justice system impossible, an effort in futility? Perhaps it simply is that the powers that be are less interested in securing the necessary changes that would promote a better functioning system. 

Prof Ramesh Deosaran recently revealed that under his tenure as Chairman of the Police Service Commission, several recommendations, after intensive studies and investigations were completed, were presented to the Government, which should have resulted in positive and meaningful changes improving the existing system. 

Such recommendations however failed to prompt the Government to act with urgency and today we see the result of such inaction—the near collapse of our criminal justice system. 

The Ministry of Justice failed in it’s charge. A new Ministry of Defence under the same administration is doomed to suffer the same fate.

Luana Lezama


Nigel Henry poll miscalculates ‘safe seats’
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Nigel Henry poll, forecasting a 21 to 20 victory by the PP over the PNM party, is wrong. This is because the poll miscalculates, or misrepresents, the number of “safe” seats which each of the dominant parties would win. 

The PNM is likely to win the following safe seats: Arima, Arouca/Maloney, D’Abadie/O’Meara, Diego Martin Central, Diego Martin North East, Diego Martin West, La Brea, La Horquetta/Talparo, Laventille East/Morvant, Laventille West, Lopinot/Bon Air West, Pt Fortin, Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West, Port-of-Spain South, San Fernando East, San Fernando West, St Ann’s East, Tobago East and Tobago West. This is 19. The Nigel Henry poll calculated 16 safe seats for the PNM. 

If the above likelihood proves correct, then the PNM needs to win two of the following seven seats to win the next general elections: Cumuto/Manzanilla, Mayaro, Moruga/Tableland, Pointe-a-Pierre, St Joseph, Tunapuna, Toco/Sangre Grande. 

The poll also has no instrument for measuring trends, or more significantly, swings. The trend of voting over the past 25 years, shows cosmopolitan T&T, that is the non-hardcore PNM and UNC voter, rejecting governments which practise malfeasance, misbehaviour in public office or violent corruption.

If the stomach of this cosmopolitan republic within the Republic has turned against the PP government, then there will be a swing sufficient to enable the PNM to win more than two of the above seven seats. Swings, their existence, extent or countermanding forces, cannot be simulated. 

Critically, the parties likely to assume political office after September 7 must let the public know what their approach to development will be. Would it be scientific, logical, equitable and sustainable, or would it be based on nepotism, kickback, genuflecting before the contractocracy and twisting the arms of state agencies and their agents to make them punitive, scheming, lawless, wasteful, conniving, lying, thieving, dangerous to the public good, subject to line ministers and rotten? 

A good place to start would be for all the political parties, the Movement for Social Justice, the ILP, the PNM, the COP and the UNC to tell us their position on the much disputed Debe to Mon Desir highway. The PP’s plan to advance work on this segment has collapsed. And who amongst us, except the most hardcore fanatic partisan supporter, cannot see the flagrant violation of science, logic, law, accountability and ethics in this wasteful and destructive enterprise? 

To ask the question is not playing politics. Leaders of all political parties, when contending for political office in democratic nations, state their positions on key issues, significant cases, in the run-up to elections. The best forecast lies in getting the right answers. Our cosmopolitan republic would align with any of the dominant parties which would run a clean ship of state. 

Wayne Kublalsingh

Relatives of Police Constable Sherman Maynard who was shot dead during the daring daylight jailbreak by three prisoners from the remand yard in Port-of-Spain on July 24 will receive a million dollars in compensation from Government.
DPP Gaspard urges caution
DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard SC, is urging caution when referring to the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, as well as the appearance of the 11 persons charged for her murder.
​Never forget ordeal of July 1990
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It is great in T&T that we can remember 9/11 as 11 Trinidadians perished in that event. It is a special day for the Prime Minister, President, Minister and other citizens of this land. However, I have a serious problem when the Government, including the Prime Minister, did not make a public announcement to remember those who died and suffered on July 27, 1990. 

I believe the Government should have and should in the future pay some respects to those who suffered and died on July 27, 1990, much like the American government and the United States of America do to both those who died and those who suffered in the 9/11 attacks. 

I appeal to the Prime Minister and the rest of the Government and citizens of this nation to not become complacent and forget of our historical ordeal of July 27, 1990, but instead pay respects to those who died and suffered on that fateful day. 

Rawle Raphael

Ganga vs Jack for Chag West
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad- Bissessar last night announced Ganga Singh as the UNC’s candidate for the Chaguanas West seat last held by Jack Warner. Persad-Bissessar made the announcement at a UNC political rally, held at the ASJA Girls College, Caroli Savannah Road, Charlieville, which falls in the Chaguanas West constituency which the party lost to Warner’s ILP party in 2013.
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