Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 30th 2014 Contents A12
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The Prime Minister s Merry Christmas
billboards are in the process of being dis-
The move, however, has nothing to do
with the public criticism hurled at the gov-
Communications Minister Vasant
Bharath said the billboards, which cost an
estimated $60,000 each, were only intend-
ed for a week to wish the nation a Merry
Christmas and the season has now passed.
Yesterday, the Merry Christmas banner
which had a photo of Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar was taken off from the
billboard along the Solomon Hochoy High-
way, near Corinth.
When contacted Bharath said: "We are
in the process of taking down all of the
billboards. It was only intended to stay
there for a week to wish the population
seasons greeting for the Christmas holidays
and that time has passed."
Asked if the government was pressured
into taking them down, Bharath said, "No..
It was never our intention to leave it for
any great length of time..."
On whether the Prime Minister would
be putting up any banners to wish the
population a Happy New Year, he said the
PM s billboards had wished the population
both a Merry Christmas and a prosperous
The billboards which were erected along
the Solomon and Uriah Butler Highways.
Several people, including government
supporter Phillip Edward Alexander, have
spoken out against the billboards describing
them as a waste of taxpayers money and
nothing but political propaganda.
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday
questioned why the PM s face was on the
In addition, acting Director of Highways
Colin Nakhid said no permission was given
for the placement of any billboards along
KINGSTOWN---Health officials are investigating
the deaths of two people to determine whether they
were as a consequence of the mosquito-borne illness
chikungunya, which causes fever and severe joint
pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health,
Wellness and the Environment, Luis de Shong, said
the two suspected deaths have not been confirmed
by laboratory tests.
"They both occurred in elderly patients who died
at home. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the
Environment is currently investigating these cases
to ascertain the cause of death.
"The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Envi-
ronment urges everyone to be vigilant and to help
in the fight against chikungunya," de Shong said.
To date, there have been 173 laboratory confirmed
cases and 1,220 epidemiology-linked cases of chikun-
gunya here, where the disease was first diagnosed in
De Shong said that the ministry is continuing to
implement surveillance and vector control activities
as a response to the virus.
He said that although there has been a decrease
in the number of reported cases since the virus was
diagnosed here, the virus remains prevalent in the
country and also throughout the region.
"Persons who have not yet contracted the disease
are still at risk of contracting the virus," he said,
adding that the fight against chikungunya is also a
fight against dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever,
which are spread by the same vector, the aedes aegypti
"It is, therefore, appropriate and necessary for
everyone to protect him or herself from mosquito
bites and to avoid harbouring conditions which cause
mosquitos to breed," de Shong said.
He said health care providers, both private and
public, are advised to comply with public health
Communications minister dismisses criticism...
PM billboards taken
down after a week
St Vincent health
A boy flips off the shoulder of a man at Williams
Bay, Chaguaramas during the Boxing Day holiday
on Friday. PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
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