Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 4th 2014 Contents A7
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
says Cabinet has approved a measure
which will allow it to employ tempo-
rary public servants instead of the
Public Service Commission.
Speaking at a news conference at his
office on Charles Street, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday, Rowley said the measure was
aimed at getting more people to vote
for the ruling party in the 2015 general
Rowley said he could not say how
many workers will be affected but it
was "not an insignificant number." He
said the move was targeted at lower-
level employees in the Public Service,
including clerks and messengers.
He called on the commission "to
look into this matter and ensure that
its authority is not usurped by the Cab-
Rowley said he received a Cabinet
Minute, dated September 4, which
authorised permanent secretaries and
heads of departments in the respective
ministries "to develop and institution-
alise systems to ensure that persons
employed in clerical, secretarial and
support services are only utilised for a
maximum period of 12 months."
He said the new measure was to take
effect from October 1.
Public Administration Minister Car-
olyn Seepersad-Bachan could not be
contacted for comment by the T&T
Rowley said the new measure could
be happening without the knowledge
of the PSC and called on the commis-
sion to investigate it.
He said he was not aware of the Gov-
ernment implementing the measure
after consultations with the trade union
which represents the affected workers
and the PSC.
Describing the Government as "a
general Santa Claus," he said this move
was part of a plan to give away as much
as it could to secure victory at the polls
next year, and as the 2015 general elec-
tion approached the Government was
seeking to bribe electors.
"Everything is about a bribe: Give
you free flour, free oil for an election.
They are now on a huge bribe-and-
brainwashing campaign," he added.
That comment was a reference to
the decision to give citizens discounts
on NFM products for Divali, Christmas
and other national festivals.
In response to a question on con-
stitution reform, Rowley said if there
was any area which required review
and reform it was the service commis-
sions but there have been no reform
proposals on them.
Environmental activist Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh was too weak to speak
to the media yesterday but his wife
Dr Sylvia Moodie-Kublalsingh said
his condition remained critical.
"I am taking all of his calls because
he is too weak," she said.
Today marks the 49th day of
Kublalsingh s hunger strike, which
began outside the Office of the Prime
Minister, St Clair. Kublalsingh is now
at his D Abadie home.
Sitting under a tent set up by
Kublalsingh s Highway Re-route
Movement (HRM) in St Clair yes-
terday was Keita Demming, a 31-
year-old Diego Martin resident.
He is the latest of a group of young
people, called Project 40, to stage a
24-hour "relay fast" in support of
the cause. Yesterday was their 22nd
day of protest.
Demming said in an interview: "I
always had an admiration for Dr
Kublalsingh as a symbol, as someone
who stood for transparency but I
always thought he needed to take
the fight beyond him, so when they
started Project 40 I was glad to join."
He said he was "interested in a
real conversation about the Govern-
ment having power with us, as
opposed to power over us, where the
Government does things with the
people, rather than to the people."
Demming felt the Project 40 group
had been reaching the public, getting
media attention and interacting with
citizens on its Facebook page.
"What is great about this move-
ment is that we are galvanising people
who are separate and bringing them
together," he added.
He was not surprised at the lack
of response from Government and
questioned the anonymity of a group,
called "Citizens 4D Highway", which
has been using traditional and new
media to criticise Kublalsingh and
The group has also placed adver-
tisements criticising the daily news-
papers and the other media.
"Opposition is welcome if it is in
a dialogue sense but what they are
doing is villainising Dr Kublalsingh,"
He said Project 40 invited dia-
"Let s talk about what is best for
the citizens, if it is healthy conver-
sation. Being anonymous says a lot
about them," he added.
He said that anonymity went
against the transparency and
accountability for which the public
Demming asked whether the Cit-
izens 4D Highway group was afraid
of victimisation, adding that several
people had expressed support for
Project 40 but were afraid of vic-
He felt, however, Citizens 4D
Highway should have at least one
representative brave enough and will-
ing to go public.
"There must be some people in
that group who could come forward
and represent the group. It could be
a retired person, or maybe a student
but there must be someone," he said.
Wayne too weak to speak
Day 49 of hunger strike...
Rowley: Govt okays
plan for temporary
'It's a pre-election ploy'
IN FULL FLOW
A student of the Susan Mohip Dance Group performs a Kathak dance during
the group's 17th annual concert at the Nagar site, Chaguanas, on Saturday.
PHOTO: EDISON BODOOSINGH
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