Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 14th 2014 Contents A23
December 14, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Anglican priest Canon Dr Steve
West says Jeanette Hinkson, 96, the
mother of artist Donald "Jackie" Hink-
son, belonged to a fast disappearing
generation where children were con-
sidered a gift from God.
He was speaking at her funeral at
Trinity Cathedral, Abercromby Street,
West said, "Jeanette belonged to a
fast vanishing breed of people who we
would perhaps describe today as having
a very simple faith but a very powerful
faith. She would not shirk in the face
of poverty or woe.
"She belonged to a generation where
women looked upon their children as
a gift from God, and they would actually
say each child is born with their own
"They did not count their children
in terms of economics, but as God giv-
ing them the gift of another child, giving
them the responsibility of bringing up
these children to know and love God
and Jesus Christ.
"And they trusted God to provide
for their families along with their hus-
bands to ensure that these children will
be well looked after and grow up to
fulfil God's purpose for them in the
world." He said God provided for them
in all sorts of ways that they couldn't
imagine but they were always grateful
and gave God thanks for his blessings.
Hinkson's children, Donald, Judith,
Kenneth (Pallie), Margaret, and Donald's
son Sean did readings from her book,
Donald read, "That year 1936 we
(future husband Lennox) were won-
derfully happy. There were visits to friends' homes
where we played party games and danced to piano
music played by Evan Rees. Beautiful old tunes like
Stardust,' Deep Purple,' You're All I Need' and
always ended with Let Me Call You Sweetheart' and
we all joined in the chorus.
"Somehow I always seemed to be dancing with
Lennox whenever that tune was played."
Judith spoke about her mother's rites of passage.
She said after receiving her Junior and Senior Cam-
bridge certificates it was time to leave the school
where Hinkson had learnt not only to pass exams
but to be polite and respectful to her elders, a firm
belief in Almighty God, how to speak properly, and
not to be loud and vulgar.
Kenneth said when his mother was sitting in church
at her Tante Brinette's funeral in 1926, Archbishop
Parry's beautiful voice filled the church as he preached.
Hinkson said she did not know what Parry was saying
but knew she sat quietly and let his words flow over
her. Among those who attended the church service
were Dr Marjorie Thorpe, chairman of the Public
Service Commission, nephrologist Dr Alan Patrick,
former UN ambassador Frank Abdulah and enter-
tainer/dancer Noble Douglas. Hinkson was cremated
at the St James Crematorium.
It s a common refrain amongst T&T citizens
frustrated by what they view as rampant cor-
ruption and misuse of state funds: Why can t
we find out where our money is really going?
Now, attorney Margaret Rose has a response:
Why not just ask for it?
Rose, executive director of the Caribbean Pro-
curement Institute, is one of the heads of a new
tech initiative called Disclosure Today---a mobile
application and Web site aimed at enabling any-
one with an Internet connection to file infor-
mation requests with the T&T Government,
demand copies of construction contracts, or
obtain copies of correspondence between local
The initiative, revealed at a procurement con-
ference at Port-of-Spain's Hyatt Regency earlier
this month, is scheduled to debut for use in
January at the Web site http://disclosure.today
"We believe that freedom of information is
the oxygen for democracy," Rose said at the con-
Those forms of information have been legally
available since 1999, when Parliament passed
a Freedom of Information Act. But filing FOIA
requests---and finding the correct government
official tasked with managing responses---can
be complicated and time-consuming.
Rose said Disclosure Today would help make
that process more streamlined, and would pro-
vide a legal recourse if information requests
Once it launches next month, the application
will also be available for use in Portugal and
the United Kingdom.
Using the Disclosure Today app or Web site
will be free to users. The steps are relatively
easy: Type up a request. Choose a ministry with
which to file it. Wait for a response.
Individuals can ask for documents such as
the copy of a contract signed between a gov-
ernment ministry and a construction company
which details how much money was promised
in a procurement agreement---and how much
money was ultimately paid.
And if people are wary of filing the information
request under their own name, perhaps because
of fear of a government agency retaliation, they
can make their request anonymously, under
Disclosure Today's name.
Other mobile apps and Web sites already exist
that help people quickly and expediently file
information requests with the Government.
But Rose said this app went a step further:
People can link their FOIA request to a social
media campaign, publicising their demand on
the Internet, and sharing the Government doc-
uments once they've been provided by public
They can also rate and rank the response
received from the Government, based on the
helpfulness or timeliness of their response---
almost like a restaurant review guide, but meas-
uring the transparency of government agencies.
Additionally, if a request is ignored or denied,
people will have the option of enlisting Disclo-
sure Today to identify pro bono lawyers willing
to take up the case and bring the request to
So far, at least four attorneys have signed up
to help people take their case to court if their
requests for information are denied or ignored
by T&T public agencies.
And though Rose said she expected that some
public officials might be concerned that the app
would air embarrassing secrets, she believed
that others would be enthusiastic about the
opportunity to demonstrate that they, and their
agencies, conducted operations in the most
transparent manner possible.
New app to help citizens
hold the Govt accountable
Hinkson matriarch saw
children as God's gifts
Anglican priest Canon Dr Steve West, right, and Fr Williams officiate during the funeral service
of Jeanette Hinkson, at the Trinity Cathedral, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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