Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2014 Contents A30
letters on sunday Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 7, 2014
This is an articulated mass transit bus. One letter writer today suggests we could be making much better and
more efficient use of these to ease the public's transport problems.
It requires an astute degree
of incompetence to exquis-
itely frustrate the mass move-
ment of people.
Modern public transporta-
tion has this astute incompe-
tence under the stewardship
of Minister [of Works and
Infrastructure] Suruj Ram-
That the productive sector
is daily delayed by inefficien-
cies of Government s mass
transit bus service illustrates
where Government stands on
its willingness to facilitate
Some years ago, the Gov-
ernment introduced scores of
articulated mass transit buses.
These can transport 120+
people in one go. A hundred
of them, deployed in sync
with peak transport hours,
would easily move 12,000
people. At a minimum of $6
per passenger, the State could
earn a minimum of $72,000
in one run.
But these buses mostly park
idle at bus stations during
peak morning and evening
travel hours when they are
needed by the public. To
diversify the economy away
from the energy sector does
require efficient land trans-
port of human cargo.
The new school term just
started, adding hundreds of
thousands of extra clients
who need to travel. But public
transport managers have not
responded to this need. They
have neither deployed more
buses, nor advertised their
services, nor have they
thought to increase the fre-
quency of their bus runs or
run the buses in sync with
peak-hour travel demands. So
what is happening is that
travellers are moving earlier.
They are hoping to beat the
transport rush---only to find
themselves early to travel, but
Tardy state bus drivers add
to the problem. They impinge
on the productive capacity of
all other sectors of the coun-
try where the physical pres-
ence of workers or students is
necessary to drive progress.
Each work day, thousands of
working people and students
stand sweating on the East-
West Corridor bus route for
waits of 30 minutes to hours,
buses to transport them to
their destinations. Meanwhile,
the Government busses Cepep
workers around to party ral-
lies and demonstrations as an
illusion of public support.
Perhaps it s time that the
Government train these Cepep
workers to operate and repair
the nation s buses as an ini-
tiative to curb the State s
mass transit inefficiencies.
Cepep can supplement PTSC s
crop of overworked bus driv-
The Government flops at
running a small mass transit
bus network. Is the nation to
trust that the Government
can run a rapid-rail train
service better than it runs the
State s basic, inefficient bus
transit system? What would
the State do differently? Who
would the State hire to oper-
ate a rapid rail system?
Would hundreds of thou-
sands of citizens be moved
any more efficiently?
MASS TRANSIT BUS SERVICE
A HUGE, INEFFICIENT MESS
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Concerning the Constitutional
(Amendment) Bill 2014, the
biggest flaw in The Constitution
of T&T is the fact that the Gov-
ernment has constitutionally
found a way to allow one sena-
tor---or in this particular case,
three independent senators---to
call the shots in changing the
electoral face of T&T, supposedly
because of a promise made in its
The Senate, as constituted, con-
sists of 31 senators, "nine (of
whom) shall be appointed by the
President in his discretion from
outstanding persons from eco-
nomic or social or community
organisations and other major
fields of endeavor."
Of the other 22, all of whom are
appointed by the President, 16 are
recommended by the PM and six
by the Leader of the Opposition.
Senators appointed by both the
Government and the Opposition
will be expected to tow their party
What about the non-elected,
independent senators selected by
the President, himself being a
selected head of state? Is one to
assume that these senators are
sufficiently independent thinkers
that they do not tow a presiden-
tial line, if such a line exists? The
President, coming from a judicial
background or not, exercises his
right to vote in a general election.
Isn t this the ultimate expression
of political bias? With whom do
the independent senators consult?
In the instance of the Constitu-
tional (Amendment) Bill 2014,
three selected independent sena-
tors, themselves having been
appointed by a selected President,
have been able to convince the
Senate that the bill should be
returned to the Lower House for a
third reading and subsequently for
the assent into law by the selected
President who, according to for-
mer Chief Justice Satnarine Shar-
ma s interpretation of the Consti-
tution, cannot stultify the will of
elected representatives, he has to
A president should assent, oth-
erwise resign. Another former
chief justice, Michael de la
Bastide, opines that the President
must act in accordance with Sec
(80) of the Constitution which
states that all of the President s
powers are exercised on the advice
Debate on the Constitutional
(Amendment) Bill---to date---has
exposed the fact that the Consti-
tution of T&T vests too much
power in the hands of non-elected
independent senators appointed by
a selected president.
Too much power for non-elected
The following was inspired by the
lyrics of Andersson, Benny Goran Bros
and others (Thank You For The Music).
Kelwyn is someone special, he's certainly
not a bore.
Each day he'd e-mail me jokes, many I
never heard before.
He has a talent, a wonderful thing
'cause everyone listens when he starts
But I've often wondered: how did it all
That Kelwyn had something that could
capture a heart?
I understand that Kelwyn's mother said
he was a dancer before he could walk.
Another feat I try to imagine: when she
said he started singing before he could
He was discovered at age six when he
sang for then-famous Mahanna Had-
At a lavish party, standing on a table, he
sang to her Happy Birthday!
Kelwyn was employed with a pharma-
ceutical organisation as regional man-
So he did not really have to sing for his
He enjoyed the times he sang for wed-
dings, birthdays, and anniversaries.
He has been an energetic participant in
events for charities.
When his friend Geddes passed, he even
sang at his funeral too:
All My Tomorrows Belong to You
Some of the music and songs today in-
cite a different rhythm:
Youngsters dance to a waltz and ask
where that music came from.
They are music and lyrics of Cole Porter,
George and Ira Gershwin,
Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jerome Kern
and Irving Berlin.
Kelwyn is famous for the ballads of the
present and the past,
And for future generations, these songs
will surely last.
Kelwyn crooned Carols By Candlelight in
the President's bandstand.
He did this voluntarily and happily and
not by command.
T&T celebrates our 52 years of Inde-
pendence this year;
Kelwyn celebrates 73 years as a bal-
His popularity is recognised and he is fit
and is strong.
That is why the Hall of Fame is where
his name should belong.
So I say to Kelwyn:
Thank you for the music
The songs you're singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all hon-
What would life be
Without a song or a dance, what are we?
So I say:
Thank you for the love songs,
And for singing them to me.
Thanks to Kelwyn Norman Hutcheon
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