Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 14th 2015 Contents Finance Minister Colm Imbert was
on the verge of laughter during
yesterday s Parliament session when
he teased conversing UNC frontlin-
ers, "Everything alright over there?"
Whether they were discussing the
absence of colleague, former UNC
whip Roodal Moonilal, was
unknown. But Imbert, Prime Minis-
ter Keith Rowley and other PNM
MPs had a front row seat for any
slip of UNC tongue or reactionary
twitch on the Opposition bench,
now amidst its internal election
Rowley may miss some of the
"action" when he attends the Com-
monwealth Heads of Government
Summit (CHOGM) in Malta at
monthend. After communication
minister Maxie Cuffie announced
the small delegation accompanying
Rowley would include his wife
Sharon, contention on whether she
should go seemed unnecessary since
this is the PM s first overseas trip.
CHOGM is a major world stage
event and T&T s profile in the
Commonwealth is well known---and
Rowley must present T&T s best
face in debuting before the interna-
tional circuit which will have its
first contact with him (which ain t
to say Rowley solo wouldn t be
But his better half is an accom-
plished legal practitioner and per-
sonage in her own right. Until costs
became known and who s footing
what bills, it seems churlish to
quibble costs at this point on the
basis that he s belaboured PP travel
costs and promised to keep PNM s
low. Indeed, Cuffie yesterday
revealed the CHOGM cost would be
about $1.18m when the previous
PP s last CHOGM costs were $3.3m.
It might be argued, if not this
first overseas event, which one, his
spouse might accompany him on.
The Commonwealth boasts
Caribbean representation and T&T
is a regional leader. Government s
election manifesto also pledged to
restore T&T s high hemispheric pro-
file. This CHOGM is an ideal
launchpad for necessary networking.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister
Winston Dookeran said protocol is
that leaders/spouses are normally
invited to such events. Professor W
Andy Knight, head of UWI s Insti-
tute of International Relations also
believes it s alright for Rowley s wife
to accompany him once Rowley
pays, rather than the state.
CHOGM 2015 s theme, Adding
Global Value involving using the
Commonwealth s strengths in inter-
national politics to influence and
effect change on important global
issues seeks to unify the body. Vari-
ous issues will be relevant to T&T
including appointment of a Com-
monwealth Secretary General where
T&T is backing Antigua s nominee,
and globally increasing migration
from Africa and the Middle East---
something T&T has experienced a
bit of---which has been an interna-
tional talking point. The Malta
summit also convenes CHOGM s
first Commonwealth Women s
Forum bringing together women s
rights campaigners, non-govern-
mental organisations, government
leaders, women s machineries, and
powerful female entrepreneurs.
Following statements by Rowley
and Cuffie about cutting travel
costs and criticisms of PP travel,
the decision for Mrs Rowley to
accompany him would not have
been taken without much thought
and knowledge of the expected
scrutiny. But apart from how this
first engagement is handled---and
rather than rush to pronounce---fur-
ther such events will really be the
ones which would reveal or deter-
mine whether the PM hasn t taken
his own advice.
Opposition-wise, how UNC s
election participants conduct them-
selves---indication of leadership
skill---will be of focus more than the
promises pontifications and
Some have characterised leader-
ship contenders as "motherly" (Per-
sad-Bissessar), self-avowed "fighter"
(Moonilal) and "polished" (Bharat).
Persad-Bissessar while apologising
for the election defeat before a
Divali Nagar audience reflecting
UNC s base, has in the face of criti-
cism by her generals, toughened to
the point that she s blown off com-
ments by Moonilal, ex-mentor Bas-
deo Panday and Bharath. Clearly
she may have had it with being
"motherly" after September 7.
For some, the contest seems
between Persad-Bissessar and
Bharath, regarded as having more
national appeal than Moonilal. Amid
the sabre-rattling has come a
refreshing outlook from MP Ramona
Ramdial, campaigning independently
(for deputy) and who s appealed
against party fracture, noting the
PNM is the UNC s real enemy.
Whatever comes for the Opposi-
tion after December 5, however,
won t change the price of anything
since the UNC isn t government.
And it has 58 months more, of
work, realignment and possibly toe-
ing a line behind others before
seeking government again.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, November 14, 2015
I am a regular patron of the
Abercromby Street National Li-
brary for the past two years. The
staff is wonderfully helpful and
knowledgeable. The only problem
has been poor Internet access and
lack of working PCs which has
been partially addressed.
Lately, over the last three
months, a surreal situation began
with a "new" librarian who casti-
gated me for using my phone in
the library, literally two steps from
the exit. I pointed out to her that I
was listening to an MP3 and
showed it to her.
She continued her diatribe
pointing to the sign which says
"No cell phones" and that meant
no listening to MP3s either. I then
asked, "Does that mean that all
those with headsets are forbidden
from using their phones as well
whether it's to watch videos or lis-
ten to music?" She said, "yes."
It was so ridiculous that I told
her pointedly "I am ignoring you!." I
then left the library but on my
way out heard her calling for secu-
rity "to deal with me" and the
unauthorised cell phone usage.
Of course, I reported her to her
supervisor but this marauding li-
brarian continues her mission to
aggravate patrons with no end in
Apparently, it's not just the de-
funct PCs that need updating!
The slogan "We put you first"
seems not to be applicable to cus-
tomers of First Citizens Bank
(FCB) at the present time in T&T.
It has been over a week now
and I have been very unsuccessful
in contacting anyone at this bank
and that includes all branches in
I have tried the phone and the
same rhetoric is replayed: "I am
sorry, all circuits are busy now.
Please hang up and try your call
again." The fax facility always re-
turns with a print-out, "busy" and
emails to bank personnel as per
call cards all go unanswered.
Don't even think about trying to
contact online services!
Hence, one is left to wonder,
with all the technology available
to us in this age it seems that
bank personnel at FCB are un-
reachable and in the case of an
emergency the customer is left
stranded financially if he cannot
go to the bank in person.
Come on FCB, you can do better
than that. Remember the compe-
tition is stiff out there.
Not treated like a First Citizen
Librarian needs an update
QUITE OK FOR PM'S WIFE
TO ATTEND CHOGM
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