Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 24th 2014 Contents A5
Friday, October 24, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Commentators and writers in
T&T are bulldogs in a ring,
bruising each other in that clash
of professional egos.
This was a statement made by
President Anthony Carmona dur-
ing his feature address at
Wednesday s annual graduation
ceremony of the University of the
West Indies, St Augustine cam-
He said that there is a crisis in
intellectual discussion in T&T.
"We are a society in adult dis-
tress. The disingenuous and the
uncouth have a field day because
of their unfettered access to print
and a microphone.
"We desperately need a breath
of new writers and commentators
who will not engage the nation
with the same old, same old dia-
logue and that obsession with
self. We await a gush of fresh
Just earlier that day (Wednes-
day) Carmona issued a pre-action
protocol letter against radio host
and comedian, Rachel Price, for
alleged defamation of his wife,
It is reported that Price crit-
icised Reema s attire at a recent
function on international atten-
tion and importance.
Carmona said there is a con-
tinuous stream of opinions of
government issues expressed
daily, not only in Parliament and
in print media but also on radio
and social media.
"Regrettably in all these
forums, light-minded minds tend
to recycle and state their greed
"As graduates, you have a
responsibility to bring more
approach to the discourse on
issues of national and regional
"We have to replace our focus
on personalities with a focus on
ideas so that they opinioned and
self-serving pronouncements and
forms of cyber bullying are
replaced by thoughtful dialogue
and minded conversation."
He said social media Web sites
no longer perform an envisaged
function or creating a positive
communication link among
friends, family and profession-
"It is a battleground where
insults fly from the human quiver,
damaging lives, destroying self
esteem and a personal sense of
Carmona also made reference
to the draconian piece of legis-
lation that does not allow any
political party or President to
appoint anyone younger than 25-
years-old to the Senate.
"Many countries in the world
are lowering the voter age from
"We need to, seriously, to con-
sider that option. We need to
bring that intellectual luminance
that is sometimes lacking."
Sharing his personal mantra to
the hundreds of graduates, Car-
mona urged: "Try to be a better
person today, not a greater person
than you were yesterday.
"Culture is a proper moral
compass. Ensure that you invoke
standards of accountability and
Even as hunger striker Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh is now bedridden and
talking about death, Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar remains res-
olute in her decision that the Debe
to Mon Desir leg of the Point Fortin
Highway will be constructed.
The PM revealed her unbending
stance in her address at the closing
night of Divali Nagar in Chaguanas
on Wednesday night.
Speaking on the Nagar s theme of
"Shiva" a Hindu god who represents
the reabsorbing principle, she said for
some things to take place some must
She said while she promoted the
use of consensus in policy decisions,
it was also important that citizens
who disagreed with certain actions of
the Government abide by the law.
Persad-Bissessar said it was dis-
turbing that the Highway Re-route
Movement (HRM) was unwilling to
abide with the rulings of the court.
On three occasions, the court ruled
in favour of the continuation of the
Kublalsingh was unable to continue
his fast outside the Prime Minister s
Office in St Clair on Tuesday.
A T&T Guardian report on Wednes-
day showed an emaciated Kublalsingh
lying on a bed at his D Abadie home.
He said he was too weak to continue
the strike at the St Clair camp and
spoke about death and mortality.
Persad-Bissessar remarked on how
many civil society groups had latched
on to the HRM s cause because of
their own differences of opinion.
She said no leader and no govern-
ment in T&T have gone the demo-
cratic distance she and the People s
Partnership have gone.
"I have tried to govern with con-
viction, strength and, at times, com-
passion, but at all times for the benefit
of the country.
"This is the light I have lit. Let it
burn forever and let no one in the
future extinguish that light," she said.
Shifting to the Divali Nagar, the PM
commended the National Council on
Indian Culture (NCIC) for elevating
the status of Divali as a festival.
She said it was a special time in the
life of the organisation which is cel-
ebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Persad-Bissessar said it was also
heart-warming to see the number of
young artistes performing on the
She congratulated the NCIC for
expanding Divali Nagar to the
Caribbean and North America.
Jamaican Rachel Beisray who won
the 2014 Divali Nagar queen compe-
tition was the "first Caricom queen
of Divali Nagar", she said.
The NCIC, even with its limited
resources, has contributed to the
resurgence of Indian culture in Guade-
loupe and other international coun-
tries, the PM added.
She gave a cheque of $2 million to
the NCIC to continue its work.
NCIC president Deokienanan Shar-
ma, receiving it onstage, said it cost
the organisation upwards of $5 million
to stage the annual nine-day event.
He said the NCIC does not charge
an entrance fee and the $2 million will
help them pay their electricity and
Persad-Bissessar, reminding Sharma
that he spoke about the promotion
of the festivals of other groups in T&T,
said she will continue to support all,
including Eid, Emancipation and the
observances of the Baptists.
Leader of the Highway Re-
Route Movement (HRM) Dr
Wayne Kublalsingh has issued
his own challenge to Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar, calling on her to make the
names of the contractors
involved in the controversial
Debe to Mon Desir segment of
the Solomon Hochoy Highway
Kublalsingh s response came
in wake of recent statements
made by Persad-Bissessar, who
reiterated the call of Health
Minister Dr Fuad Khan, that
the environmentalist make his
medical records public.
In an interview yesterday,
Kublalsingh maintained he
would easily reveal his records
but had no official request from
either Persad-Bissessar or Khan.
"I have not received anything
officially in writing from the
Prime Minister regarding my
records. I give her the full
authority to go and get the
records and if it is they are giv-
ing her problems I think the
more responsible thing would
be is to write me a letter
requesting the records and then
I would write St Clair Medical
Centre saying the Prime Min-
ister requests these records and
she could go collect it herself.
"I would request that all my
records be released to her dating
from 2012 when I began first
Kublalsingh said in return he
thinks it was only fair and in
the best interest of the country
for Persad-Bissessar to say who
are the contractors, the value
of their contracts and the terms
of their contracts.
Regarding his condition he
said he was still feeling very
dizzy and weak as he completed
day 37 of his second hunger
strike against the highway.
Kublalsingh said he had many
visitors yesterday some of who
were public officials trying to
find a solution.
But he declined to identify
who they were, saying they pre-
ferred to remain anonymous.
"They came seeking infor-
mation on the issue and finding
a best way forward," Kublals-
On statements made by Per-
sad-Bissessar questioning who
has been funding advertise-
ments for the HRM, Kublals-
ingh said he was surprised the
PM had stooped so low.
He said a combination of
events including barbecues and
curry-ques have helped finance
the ads. (See Page A7)
We are a society
in adult distress
President at UWI graduation...
Highway will be built
PM at close of Nagar...
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar chats with president of the National
Council on Indian Culture (NCIC) Deokinanan Sharma, centre, and Minister of
Works and Infrastructure Dr Surujrattan Rambachan at the closing ceremony of
the Divali Nagar, Chaguanas, on Wednesday night.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
names of contractors
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