Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2014 Contents A9
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President Anthony Carmona, third from left, stands for a photograph with, from left, new members of the
Equal Opportunity Commission Eric Colin Cowie, Dr Beverly Ann Marie Beckles, Dr Indira Rampersad and
James Chin Chuck, after they were presented with their letters of appointment on Thursday. During
Thursday's ceremony, Carmona said the chairman designate of the commission, a prominent, experienced
senior civil attorney, was out of the country and would be sworn in on return sometime next week.
NEW EOC SWORN IN
Political analyst Dr Winford James
says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar s decision to award the for-
mer prime ministers Patrick Manning
and Basdeo Panday the Order of the
Republic of T&T (ORTT) is nothing
short of "political opportunism."
James said yesterday that the recom-
mendation to honour both men was a
good political strategy meant to garner
votes for the 2015 general elections.
"It is clear to me that this is political
opportunism. We are on the eve of gen-
eral election," James told the T&T
"There is crisis after crisis, all of which
are their own creations, from which they
need to escape smelling good in order
to win the elections. So they have to
make gestures that appeal to people
whom they have alienated."
He said both Panday and Manning
had their own following and it was clear
that the PP Government was trying to
make inroads in their camps.
"The strategy is very transparent and
I don t know if either of them will accept
the award," James said.
Manning declined the award yester-
day, but Panday could not be reached
But James said any party was free to
do whatever it could to win.
"It is fair game, but it is clear that
these men are not being awarded
because of their contribution," he said.
"They have not specified the accom-
plishments of these two men. They are
getting it for being a prime minister. I
don t think this Government has a good
record, they have made many blunders
and now they are trying everything to
win some votes."
However, political analyst Dr Mukesh
Basdeo said he did not believe the awards
were given for political gain.
"These two men have been on the
political landscape for more than 30
years. They have served in the highest
office and the government felt they
should be recognised," he said.
Assistant Professor of UTT, Dr Kumar
Mahabir, also said the decision was a
"I think they have served the country
well in their leadership roles and they
should be given these awards.
He added, "The library in Port-of-
Spain is going to be named after prime
ministers and presidents, so already their
legacy is being documented and
archived. This award will compliment
that institutionalisation of their contri-
"With respect to Panday, he has made
his name not only in politics but also
in the trade unionism and that should
be well documented."
Mahabir said Panday was featured in
three British made cinematic movies---
Nine Hours to Rama (1963), Man in the
Middle (1964) and The Brigand of Kan-
"There are a number of books that
have captured his speeches. There is a
political biography of Mr Panday, so
certainly Panday is deserving of the
award," Mahabir said.
ORTT awards political
opportunism, says analyst
Inflammatory, misleading and
This is the Judiciary s response
to a claim by Public Service Asso-
ciation president Watson Duke
that protesting workers of the San
Fernando Magistrate s Court health
is at risk as recently a worker was
diagnosed with cancer.
Duke also said another worker
had developed a skin problem
which required expensive medical
Duke referred those workers to
the PSA doctors, promising that
PSA would pay their medical bill.
The workers, who walked off
the job on August 5 because of
health and safety concerns, have
refused to return to work despite
instructions by the Judiciary to
return to work. Claiming that the
workers action was illegal, the
judiciary sent letters to the workers
informing them that their pay will
be cut because they have given no
justifiable reason for their action.
In a release yesterday, the judi-
ciary stated: "The Judiciary views
as inflammatory, misleading and
mischievous the statements
expressed by Mr Watson Duke as
reported in media in relation to
the health of workers assigned to
the San Fernando Magistrates
Court. "The claims are irrespon-
sible and made in the absence of
any empirical evidence of a causal
connection with the state of the
"As a responsible employer," the
release further stated, "the insti-
tution remains intimately con-
cerned with the welfare of all staff
and firmly rejects any implication
that the organisation would expose
its personnel to any conditions
which would adversely impact their
The judiciary said it was also
regrettable that confidential infor-
mation, concerning the medical
condition of employees, is being
discussed in the public domain
creating further distress for those
afflicted and their families.
"The Judiciary wishes to reaf-
firm its commitment to its
employees once more as a key
resource and whose well being is
of paramount importance. The
organisation has introduced over
the last few years robust Employee
Assistance and Health and Well-
ness programmes throughout the
organisation to assist with this
In an earlier release on Thursday,
the Judiciary stated that an Occu-
pational Safety and Health Agency
report identified some issues of
non-compliance, but has not
restricted the use of the court
building or any part thereof. Duke
said the workers based their action
on Sect 15 of the OSH Act.
The Judiciary, however, has
argued that the staff action is a
breach of established procedure.
Judiciary on Duke's cancer claim at courthouse...
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