Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 21st 2015 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 21, 2015
CLOSED FOR STOCKTAKING
ST JAMES BRANCH
WILL BE CLOSED ON
28th MARCH 2015
SAN FERNANDO, TUNAPUNA,
CENTRAL & TOBAGO BRANCHES
WILL BE CLOSED ON
31st MARCH 2015
Sorry for any inconvenience caused
While OWTU and FITUN mem-
bers, some in red and assorted
others on the pavement outside the Par-
liament yesterday, booed PP MPs and
chatted amiably with PNM members,
the mood was less noisy inside the Par-
PP MPs milled around but a shadow
of quiet hung over the PNM side where
PNM leader Keith Rowley was absent.
"You in?" PP s Stephen Cadiz asked
Terrence Deyalsingh (who confirmed
he s a successful candidate.)
House Speaker Wade Mark s roll call
noted PNM s Donna Cox was "absent
from the session."
".......Forever," PP s Roodal Moonilal
finished (referencing PNM s rejection of
"La Brea (PNM s Fitzgerald Jeffrey) has
four questions on the agenda pending---
like himself," Moonilal also noted of Jef-
frey whose candidacy is in limbo.
It may have seemed easier to dwell on
the PNM s screening issues since no one
was bringing up the word" kyat" least
they be accused of the same issues now
dogging Rowley following his off colour
remarks aimed at the Prime Minister at
Tuesday s PNM meeting. Both political
parties found themselves on the back
foot to varying degrees following this
week s respective issues and strategies.
With PNM s removal of Faris Al-Rawi
from certain of Rowley s legal issues---a
pullback the PNM hasn t done before---
the Prime Minister took advantage of
that opportunity to strike further at the
poster boy for the new PNM (on alleged
integrity issues) and in a double header,
attempt to dent his San Fernando West
bid, a seat the PP needs with its uncer-
tain E-W Corridor status.
No sooner had she revealed another
chapter of "Farisgate" on Monday as she
tested the Corridor in the diverse St
Joseph constituency, than a leaked Face-
book racist rant hit the press causing
Government to fire the offending board
member---and spin it appropriately. But
in this season of political shots and
replies, the sequence wasn t unexpected.
Rowley s retorts at Tuesday s PNM
Brazil meeting on a curious note: his
views on losing election, how he dealt
with it in previous years and 2010 and
his position that he wasn t wedded to
office. After the PP s move on Al-
Rawi---a political right arm for the lead-
ership---it may not have sent the most
positive psychological message to troops.
His other "kyat" remarks, hardly
becoming for a PM-to-be, may cost
him points in the statesmanship stakes
and label him as dated in terms of Gen-
eration X lingo.
Rowley seemed unaware his comment
was being made soon after the Interna-
tional Women s Day, a platform on
which the PM jumped, a week later to
pound his remark. Nor should he be
surprised that it opened up the debate
box on everything from being sexist to
holding closeted misogynistic issues.
He ought to have known it would
brand him in a certain light (even
though it would have appealed to a cer-
tain base. No pun intended.)
Certainly if PNM officials had known
he was shooting for homecrowd laughs
over nationwide consternation, someone
might have expressed concern. Not just
on that, but also his judgement. So
mostly it s (also) confirmed Rowley
unleashed is a handler s headache and
it ll continue to fuel concerns on the
type of PM he ll be. Unplugged.
As a result: increased scrutiny on
PNM s leadership offering, already per-
ceived as lacking certain national appeal
(which dexterous Carnival wining didn t
help recoup.) Especially since the PM
has introduced the issue of progressive
leadership as she s sought to reinforce
grassroots bonds promoting herself as a
"leader who will stand with you" and
pitching the PNM as a "Big People
PP s public meeting choreography has
relegated picong to ministers leaving her
leadership profile free of encumbrances;
just as ministers are now in the audi-
ence and their boss hits the podium
with youth group backdrop, putting dis-
tance between her and any issues team-
mates may have.
(Nobody however was concerned with
"kyat" at yesterday s JTUM march
which followed PP complaints about
Another test for both arises with
Monday s PP no-confidence debate
against Rowley. Barring PNM "bomb-
shell" replies, PP success in passing the
motion will likely set the stage for full-
fledged election activity ahead and fuel
further advances against Rowley.
PNM s immediate reply expected---its
planned Chaguaramas march---however
will involve a more vocal public display
than Monday s in-house Parliament
After Wednesday s PNM nominee
screening, if MP Nileung Hypolite for
instance votes for Rowley, after being
rejected, it ll likely in the context only of
collective party responsibility. After
Hypolite paid the price for supporting
Penny Beckles 2013 leadership bid,
Laventille West officials said they ve
been bombarded with complaints and
warnings of decreased election support.
Divisions in the COP s west Trinidad
support were also apparent after COP s
Thursday meeting in Diego Martin. E-W
corridor and Diego Martin supporters
filled the hall, but well-known COP
West T&T faces were absent though
some were pictured at a recent social
event hosted by Nicole Dyer-Griffith
who left COP to form the Alliance of
Independents. Alliance chairman Joe
Pires signalled the path those absent
COP-ers have taken may be revealed at
Monday s AIliance meeting in Diego
PP, PNM POLITICAL DOGFIGHT ON...
Earlier this week, the media reported that over
$350 million in legal fees was paid out by the Office
of the Attorney General from assumption of office
in 2010 to October 2014.
I wish to make some comments as follows.
• Based on the amounts paid to the local attor-
neys, I assume the then AG would have ensured
that the attorneys all rendered Vatable fee notes,
unlike one of them who claimed that he was not
VAT registered, although his fees just to the AG's of-
fice had exceeded $360,000 in one year, so he did
not render a Vatable fee note.
• I assume that all the local attorneys would have
declared those fees in their respective tax returns.
• I assume the overseas attorneys would have
had their fees subjected to local withholding taxes.
• The amounts paid were much greater than
under the PNM administration. I understand the
then AG would demand a discount so a preaction
protocol letter would not have costed the taxpayers
$408,000 as reported in the media!
• Are the attorneys in the AG's office not capable
of doing the work the external attorneys were re-
tained to do?
My comments will equally apply on those legal
fees paid out by the numerous State enterprises we
have. I gather that can run into over half to three
quarters of a billion dollars!
Code of political ethics
must be consistent
Whilst the date of elections has not been an-
nounced, the dishing of "fatigue" has commenced!
There is a Code of Political Ethics which five polit-
ical parties have signed onto so I guess their various
campaign managers would be familiar with it as
well as the political leaders.
Recently there was an uproar by one party based
on what was said. The issue was about derogatory
comments made which it claims was a lack of re-
spect to women.
I looked at a political rally held this past Monday
on the TV and during the speeches, a cartoon which
I thought was also derogatory towards women was
shown. This did not draw comments.
Commentators should also abide by a basic code,
ie one of consistency.
Ensure all 'AG's
attorneys' pay Vat
When the news broke that PlastiKeep (an inde-
pendent recycling organisation) was shutting down
due to lack of funding, my school's environmental club
Upon arriving at school the day after, we realised
that it was not just the Environmental Club it was af-
fecting. Most (if not all) of the high school student
body and teachers were surprised and upset when
they heard the news.
Our school takes pride in recycling and we, the stu-
dents, are all confused and feel helpless in this situa-
tion. This Thursday was our last weekly sweep of
carrying the plastic down to the PlastiKeep bins. It left
us in a panic.
Students who were not in Environmental Club
pitched in to help. After the chaos was over, my
teacher said something to me that I'm sure we were
all thinking: "What are we going to do now?"
I would like to know who can answer this. Many
students, including myself, also recycle from home so
this does not only affect our school's environment but
also our home environment as well. Are we meant to
just discard all of the recyclable materials from now
on? Will recycling in Trinidad cease to exist?
I urge more students to speak up about this issue
and I also urge anyone who can provide some an-
swers to also speak up about it. What are we to do?
What are we to do
now with the plastic?
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