Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 25th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, September 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 24TH SEPTEMBER, 2015
Government needs to constitutionally entrench
local government in order to give it more power
and autonomy says political scientist Dr Bishnu
As it stands, Ragoonath says, Cabinet can, at the
stroke of a pen, do away with local Government alto-
Ragoonath was among a panel of speakers dis-
cussing local government reform at the National
Library on Abercromby Street yesterday.
The discussion was part of the Constitution Reform
Forum (CRF) Republic Day forum, entitled Bringing
Local Government Closer to the People.
Ragoonath, who was part of a two member panel
with former councillor in the San Fernando City
Corporation Daren Mc Leod, said corporations had
the control over policy and could not make decisions
on their own.
"We treated local government in the past, simply
as an administrative arm of the government. We
need to move further away and give local government
a lot more autonomy and a lot more strength to do
what they need to do."
Ragoonath said local government reform didn't
necessarily need constitutional reform but it would
be better if it was constitutionally entrenched.
"In that way, that central government doesnt have
the power to simply do away with local government."
"I am almost certain if the government goes to
the opposition and say we want to amend the con-
stitution to entrench the local government, they will
get the support."
Ragoonath has been part of discussions on local
government reform since the topic first gained traction
in the early 2000s and said the issue had not moved
much further than discussions and papers on the
Mc Leod, who spent three years as a councillor,
said the current local government system was prob-
lematic in that there was redundancy regarding the
role of the MP and the role of councillors.
He said the role of councillors were not clearly
defined and so councillors found themselves doing
work, which the MP would then take up.
Mc Leod said funding constraints as well as human
resource issues also contributed to a system that
wasnt working. ---Kalifa Clyne
Political scientist: Give
local govt more power
Northern Division police believe they
may have uncovered a human trafficking
ring after raiding an illegal brothel in
Tacarigua on Wednesday night.
According to reports, around 9.30 pm
officers from the Arouca CID led by Senior
Supt David Abraham and Supt Hendron
Moses raided the property on the Eastern
Main Road in Tacarigua near Jubilee Street
after they received several reports from
neighbors of hearing screams coming from
Police found two Venezuelans, a
Guyanese and a Trinidadian woman, ages
28, 26, 24 and 21 inside.
Investigators said the Venezuelans could
not speak English but the Guyanese and
Trinidadian women told the police they
were being held captive by a group of men.
They women appeared to be healthy but
were taken to the Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex in Mt Hope and med-
While investigators initially believed at
all four might have been victims of human
trafficking, the Guyanese and Trinidadian
became suspects after a Spanish translator
was brought in to interview the Venezuelan
The Venezuelan women reportedly told
police they entered Trinidad illegally several
months ago and were brought to the loca-
tion, which is sometimes is used for illegal
gambling and prostitution. They both
claimed that the two other women super-
vised the operation and would ensure that
the house was clean, that they were fed
and that they did not try to escape.
Officers of the Ministry of National
Security's Counter Trafficking Unit and
Northern Division Police were interviewing
the victims up to late yesterday in an
attempt to obtain more information on the
operation. The victims are expected to be
placed in a secure custody and will receive
counselling while investigations continue.
The Guyanese and Trinidadian women
were being detained at the Arouca Police
Station up to late yesterday as police were
considering charging them under the Traf-
ficking in Person Act.
The legislation passed by Parliament in
2011 criminalises trafficking and exploita-
tion of persons. The minimum punishment
for one of several offences under the leg-
islation is a $350,000 fine and 12 months
Anyone with information on this case
or any other suspected incident of human
trafficking are asked to contact the Counter
Trafficking Unit at 800-4CTU.
Cops bust human
Brothel in Tacarigua raided...
A masquerader shows off her placard during CAL Invaders Traditional J'Ouvert along Elizabeth Street, St Clair yesterday.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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