Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 25th 2015 Contents A24
letters on sunday
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 25, 2015
A letter printed in a weekly newspaper chastises black
citizens for not supporting the great, yes, and wait...interna-
tionally celebrated Jack Warner. The writer further went on
to pull Bill Cosby's name into our lack of love and support.
For these men, according to him, are our black exemplars!
How insulting to the real exemplars that abound, men
like Ulric Cross, Bob Yorke, Noel Joseph, Shaka Hislop,
Wayne Fredrick. These men have faced financial hurdles,
personal tragedy and untold challenges without losing our
respect and admiration. I am quite sure that their children
continue to look up to them as mentors. Can the same be
said of Jack Warner and Bill Cosby?
For Cosby, we were all taken in by this 'wonderful' dad
of such character. But sir, he has admitted with no apology,
to drugging and molesting young women over many years,
knowing fully well how hard it is for his ugly behaviour to
be reported, far less taken seriously.
I cry for my sisters, aunts, mothers and friends unknown,
who have faced the brutality of abuse. Heroines like Allyson
Hezekiah (RIP), Hazel Brown, Attilah Springer, Roxanne
Palmiste, Ena Garcia, (those are just a few) who use their
pens, their voices, their strength, even in times of weak-
ness....who pick up the raped, the abused and the aban-
doned, who take away the pain and cradle our sisters in
honest care. These people, sir, are our mentors and I am
horrified you can put someone like Bill Cosby up for the
award of our admiration.
Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight
abound, just look
Devotees pay homage to Lord Ram and Sita portrayed by Roneil Metai Simran Maraj, during Ramleela celebrations hosted by the
Hindu Prachar Kendra at Ragoonanan Road, Enterprise, on Tuesday. PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
The recent death of 11-month-old Mikyle
Ramnath must not be forgotten like so
many others have. Many children have
perished at the hands of abusers including
Sean Luke and Akiel Chambers, to name
Recently, on social media, a video was
released showing heinous acts of violence
being perpetrated against a toddler. The
outrage at these acts in our country is
almost universal. However, we must move
beyond outrage to action. That action must
not be unplanned and chaotic but based
on sound research and strategy with the
hopes of achieving real change.
More support is needed for policies and
programmes to reduce violence against
our society's most vulnerable members.
NGOs and Government initiatives like
the Children's Authority have done good
work in this area but these groups are over-
worked and sorely underfunded.
I am calling on the Government, par-
ticularly the Prime Minister and the Min-
ister of Gender and Youth Affairs to adopt
a zero-tolerance policy on child abuse.
I call on the private sector to support
the troops fighting in the trenches against
child abuse. As a director in the Organ-
ization for Abused and Battered Individuals,
our team literally has to beg for money to
fund our programmes.
We often see the same corporations that
reject our funding proposals throw millions
behind Carnival fetes and other endeavours
that do nothing to benefit society. This is
simply because our culture is hypocritical
and values bacchanal over substance.
I am calling on the population at large
to get educated, to be our Nation's and
children's keeper on the issue and volunteer
with groups who have been fighting against
it for years and report incidents to the rel-
We must do better and be better as a
culture and as a nation. If we fail to change,
more children will die needlessly and their
blood will be on our collective hands.
Jonathan Bhagan and
End violence against children, now
The utterances and behaviours which were exhibited by
our elected officials in Parliament during the recent budget
debate have once again ignited the public discourse on bul-
lying. This topic seems to have the artful means of always
capturing the national interest.
Bullying is clearly not limited to the conventional school-
yard arena, as we have been witnessing the claims and
counter claims about such deviant conduct within the hal-
lowed halls of our legislators. These exchanges in Parlia-
ment bring to our awareness the deficiencies in our social
policies and even our legislation.
When we examine workplace cultures and norms of be-
haviour, it becomes clearer that certain actions can be clas-
sified as bullying in the workplace. This has driven more
developed countries to act by establishing legislation and
codes to directly treat with undesirable conduct, which at
times can be exhibited in the work environment.
Workplace bullying is defined by the US Workplace
Bulling Institute as "repeated, health-harming mistreat-
ment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more
The draft Model Code of Practice on 'Preventing and Re-
sponding to Workplace Bullying,' released by SafeWork
Australia in July 2012, sets out examples of bullying such
as: excluding, isolating or marginalising a person from nor-
mal work activities and setting tasks that are unreasonably
below or beyond a person's skill level.
In T&T, we have had no new legislation since the Indus-
trial Relations Act of 1972, which attempts to regulate
workplace behaviour and conduct. Therefore, we have
found ourselves guided by legislation which was not writ-
ten for this modern era. Our act is considered to have broad
implications for the conduct of parties in the workplace. For
example, the employer is generally required to act in accor-
dance with good industrial relations principles and refrain
from harsh and oppressive conduct. The problem therefore,
is that these are general workplace principles which are
open for interpretation and determination in the absence of
explicit provisions restricting offensive conduct. What is
stopping us from adopting contemporary progressive legis-
lation? I am convinced that for most industrial relations
practitioners and other stakeholders, such legislation would
be welcomed as it would bring predictability and certainty
in the outcome of certain types of trade disputes.
Courtney Arthur Mc Nish
Need for modern
workplace bullying I have been in the teaching service for
some 25 years. I continue to see a decline
in our system (just observation; no statis-
tical data used).
There are several issues I wish highlight,
but for now, I will focus on one: the SEA
results are used to place students into their
respective schools. On average, (no statis-
tical data used) 20 per cent attend the
"prestige" schools, 70 per cent attend the
"other" schools and ten per cent attend
the "remedial" schools. The terminology
used above is based on public perception.
After five years, all students are expected
to write the CSEC examinations and per-
The SEA places students into schools
based on their academic ability. If we recog-
nise the different academic abilities of
these students, why is it that the time
given for our students to prepare for CSEC
is not adjusted to the time they may need
to reach the required level?
The 20 per cent students can be prepared
in five years. The 70 per cent students can
be prepared in six years. The ten per cent
students can be prepared in seven years.
Students perform better as they mature
(term used in relation to mental ability not
chronological age). To explain, you can
have two people, 20 years old but one is
more mature in his thinking and more
responsible than the other.
Education system failing students
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