Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2015 Contents A5
Saturday, June 27, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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JENSEN LA VENDE
National Security Minister
Carl Alfonso said yesterday that
some senior members of law
enforcement should not be self-
ish and retire when their time
comes to do so.
Alfonso, a retired brigadier
general of the T&T Defence
Force, made the comment yes-
terday in an apparent response
to acting Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams recent rec-
ommendation that the Govern-
ment buy out the vacation leave
of several senior officers.
Speaking during a graduation
ceremony for 51 Crime Scene
Investigators at the Ronaldo John
Auditorium, Specialist Crime
Academy, Camp Cumuto,
Wallerfield, yesterday, Alfonso
told the senior officers, "Yuh
Earlier this week, Alfonso had
confirmed he was in talks with
Williams about purchasing the
vacation leave of all the First
Division officers who have in
excess of 90 days vacation.
The idea, however, was
objected to by the Police Social
and Welfare Association, who
said they were not consulted and
the move would stymie the pro-
motion of junior officers.
But towards the end of his
feature address at yesterday s
graduation, Alfonso seemed to
hint at his decision on the matter
when he said: "When I was,
whatever rank I was, I was hop-
ing that the senior people move
out so that I can move up.
"That being said, you may
have to keep some for their
expertise and what not, but
when your time comes to go,
go. It has to do with people
behind you, in one word, yuh
"When it was my time to
day, no extension no buyout. For
those of you who have reached
retirement, my advice to you is
to take your retirement go on a
cruise and enjoy your pension."
Asked to comment on the
issue following the ceremony,
Alfonso said he did not have a
problem with purchasing the
leave of the senior officers. But
he said his personal view was
that leave should not be bought
out, adding he did not have a
problem with Williams recom-
"One would want to believe
he knows what he is doing and
I didn t want to appear to be
challenging the commissioner.
If he says I would like to buy
out leave of X amount of people
I would think he would have
done his homework.
"He would have checked with
whomever he had to check with,
there would have been consul-
tation before a decision was
made. Now if that wasn t done,
you see what can happen is
what has happened. The asso-
ciation was up in arms because
they felt they were not consult-
"Generally speaking I don t
like the buy out thing. I come
from the army where we didn t
have that. This seems to be a
new phenomenon where a lot
of people seem to want to get
money en lieu of their leave."
He said, however, that if he
is asked to take the buyout to
Cabinet he will do so as he may
not have a choice in the mat-
ter.Williams, who was also pres-
ent, refused to comment on
Alfonso s statements.
Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-
gender (LGBT) activists say T&T has to
make a greater effort to create equality in
the country in the wake of yesterday s US
Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples
have a right to marry in all 50 States there.
(See page A19)
Luke Sinnette, executive member of Friends
for Life (FFL), yesterday said T&T laws inher-
ently discriminate against people who are
Friends for Life is a group that supports
people in the LGBT community.
"It is a great move for the LGBT commu-
nity in the US. There are so many implications
now that people can be included, like tax
and health benefits. However, in Trinidad, I
feel there are many other issues we need to
address first," Sinnette said.
"We need to have protection under the
law, particularly under the Equal Opportunity
Act, and we need to remove stupid laws that
do not make any sense in the 21st Century."
The laws he was referring to include the
Immigration Act that prohibits the entry of
non-national "homosexuals or persons living
on the earnings of prostitutes or homosex-
uals," and the Sexual Offences Act, Section
13 (1) of which states "A person who commits
buggery is guilty of an offence and is liable
on conviction to imprisonment."
Sinnette said while these laws are old and
antiquated, Section 20 of the 2012 Children
Act decriminalises sexual activity between
minors. However, a clause in the act states
that a minor is not exempted from a sexual
offence charge if he or she is of the same
"The new Children Act gives a further
ability to criminalise children, and that is
absolutely ridiculous. That piece of law is so
behind in our society that we are walking
backwards," Sinnette said.
Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual
Orientation (Caiso) executive director Colin
Robinson said while it was a great accom-
plishment for the US, the ruling may cause
"fear mongering" from religious leaders who
would use the idea of marriage equality as
a way to stop LGBT people from having equal
rights under the law.
"It is always great news when people get
recognised under their law, but it is good
news only for people who live in the west,"
Robinson said it was Caiso s goal to get
people protected under local law, including
the Equal Opportunities Act, but religious
leaders use events like this to create scare
"I don t want to sound like a Scrooge, but
I think conservative religious leaders will try
and rip up a frenzy," he said.
Catholic priest Father Clyde Harvey told
T&T Guardian that all people should be equal
under the law, but marriage was another
"I think that all human beings must be
respected as humans, but I think that mar-
riage between a man and a woman is sacred.
All gay people should be respected and equally
treated before the law, but we have to accept
that a relationship between a man and a
woman is a special relationship," he said.
He maintained that all people have a right
to love and have legal benefits between their
partners, but he would not call it marriage.
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Devel-
opment, Clifton De Coteau, meanwhile said
that the Government was guided by the laws
of the country and at the moment, as Par-
liament was dissolved, there were no pos-
sibilities to change the laws. He said the min-
istry had numerous consultations with
different stakeholders, including religious
organisations, NGOs and CBOs, to discuss
the issue. On the National Gender Policy, De
Coteau said it was still before Cabinet and
he expects it to be passed in the next admin-
Mixed views locally on US same-sex marriage ruling
Alfonso against police vacation buyout
Seniors blocking juniors
Deputy Director National Security Training Academy Amber Denoon,
right, presents the Director's Award to Kavinash Maharaj during the
National Security Training Academy's (NSTA) 2015 Graduation and
Award Ceremony at the Specialist Crime Academy Camp Cumuto,
Wallerfield, Arima, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
PM: Gregory was
with me in China
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says her
husband, Dr Gregory Bissessar, accompanied her on
an official trip to China in 2014.
She also said she wanted to tell Independent Liberal
Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner to go to France in
response to an allegation of her losing money and
other matters while on that China visit. However, she
said she realised he could not leave hic country because
of his legal struggles.
She made the comments during a UNC meeting
at the St Helena Hindu Primary School last night, in
response to allegations Warner made during an ILP
meeting this week.
Warner had said he wanted to know who was in
a hotel room close to the PM in China.
But last night Persad-Bissessar told her supporters,
"One side of the gruesome twosome is talking about
China and France. Well you really want to know who
went with me to China? Do you really want to know?
Dr Gregory Bissessar, he accompanied me to China
on a state visit."
She also said Warner was asking questions about
her trip to France and she wished she could tell him
to go to France.
"But the poor man, he can t go nowhere, he cannot
got to any country in the world," she said, referring
to Warner s bail bond which keeps him in the coun-
try.Former deputy ILP leader Anna Deonarine also
appeared on the platform, saying she left Warner s
party because he failed to honour a promise he made
to her in 2013.
Deonarine said Warner had promised to return to
the UNC/PP after he was re-elected in the July 29
Chaguanas West by-election. She said, however, that
he did not and instead now seemed to be in an alliance
with the People s National Movement.
"I assisted the man who pulled off what can easily
be described as the greatest political con job against
you the members of the United National Congress
and the Partnership."
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