Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 4th 2015 Contents A5
Friday, December 4, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
on his return from his first official
trip abroad said yesterday the exist-
ing limit for borrowing under the
Development Loans Act, the Guar-
antee of Loans Act (for companies)
and the External loans Act have
been used up by the former gov-
ernment and if the new Govern-
ment had to borrow the it had to
be increased by Parliament.
He said that was the reason why
Finance Minister Colm Imbert was
presenting a motion to increase the
limit for borrowing under the leg-
islation in the House of Represen-
tatives this afternoon. The motion
is seeking to increase the limit to
The move was criticised by former
Opposition senator Vasant Bharath,
who said yesterday the Government
should have exercised other options.
But Rowley said last evening on
his return from the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Conference
in Malta the Government would go
to Parliament from time-to-time to
borrow, adding the limit was set by
He said: "What has happened is
that the last government borrowed
right up to that (approved) ceiling
so the Parliament s approval to bor-
row has been used up. The ceiling
has now been reached."
He said, consequently, "if this
Government has to borrow, as we
have to, we have a serious deficit,
which some of it can be closed
(reduced) by borrowing."
He said the Government "does
not now have parliamentary approval
to borrow because the ceiling that
was set by the current approval, that
ceiling (limit) has virtually been met."
He said Imbert would give the
details of the matter in Parliament
today. According to Rowley, the Par-
liament was being asked "to raise
the ceiling, which will create a space
for us to borrow. That is what that
is."He added: "We have to set our
sights on being able to service those
debts, have a proper revenue stream
and ensure the debt don t become
the number one problem in the
He said the debt to GDP ratio
before the PP assumed office was
about 34 per cent and after it lost
office that ration stood at 46 per
In response to a question, Rowley
said the study was being done to
determine if the rail project was
feasible but he quickly indicated
that such a project would create
economic development in the
He said the Government was
committed to ensure there was
"better collection of revenues."
He also said measures must be
implemented to expand the econ-
He said that matter had nothing
to do with looming gas problems
which were affecting the country.
Earlier he said there were some
very serious concerns for the pop-
ulation because of the latest Ryder
Scott Report on the nation s gas
and oil reserves, which was before
a Cabinet sub committee.
Rowley said he held very impor-
tant meetings with senior officials
of BG, BP and Shell in London to
discuss that matter and a subse-
quent meeting was expected in
Port-of-Spain next week.
He said his energy adviser, Prof
Ken Julien, chairman of the Nation-
al Gas Company, Gerry Brook, and
Petrotrin chairman Andrew Jupiter
attended the high-level discussions
in London a few days ago.
In response to questions on the
Court of Appeal ruling on the UNC s
election petitions, Rowley, who was
abroad when the judgment was
delivered, said it was simply that
the court agreed to have the matter
He said the PNM was very clear
on the matter.
He added: "We won the election,
we are the Government of T&T and
we will discharge our responsibility
until such time that something else
"We don t expect to be anything
but the Government of T&T. Let
them go play in the court. They are
free to play in the court. We have
confidence in the court processes
"Now that the court has said it
will hear the matter, and that is all
that has happened so far, we now
will rely on the leading of evidence
and the court will then rule as to
whether there is evidence to support
her (Opposition leader Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar s) optimism."
Persad-Bissessar said the ruling
brought into question the legality
of the Government.
The PP is challenging the results
of the September 7 general election
in six constituencies held by the
PNM. It is claiming that the decision
of the Elections and Boundaries
Commission to extend voting in
Trinidad by one hour disadvantaged
its chances at the polls.
He said Commonwealth leaders
at their recent conference in Malta
discussed the issue of security and
corruption. To this end, Rowley said,
he would be attending a conference
in London next May to address
those issues. It is being hosted by
UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
He said during his visit Singapore
offered to assist T&T in "strength-
ening its institutions to deal with
governance issues, particularly with
respect to matters such as public
service and corruption."
Rowley said T&T would "take up"
PP maxed out loan limits---PM
Schoolboy was chopped trying to save friend
The Form Three boy from Brazil
Secondary School who brought a
cutlass to school, injuring a Form
Four boy in a fight, has been sus-
pended from school. However, if
criminal charges are not filed, the
boy may be allowed to return to
On Wednesday, 16-year-old Jodel
Noel was taken to the Arima District
Health Facility by the school s nurse
after he received a chop wound three
centimetres deep on his left leg, a
few inches above his ankle.
Contrary to reports, the chop
wound was deep enough to need 85
stitches both inside and outside the
cut but it was not deep enough to
cause any damage to the bone.
Yesterday T&T Guardian visited
Joel at his family s home in the
Heights of Gunapo, Arima, where
he was resting. The day before, he
was sent to the Eric Williams Med-
ical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
The fight that landed Joel in the
hospital was caused by one male
Form Three student bullying a
female student in the same form.
Jodel said since Form One, that stu-
dent was bullying his friend
Jodel said on Tuesday, the Form
Three boy tried to take "Chenece s"
money. When she refused, they
fought and he ended up kicking
"Chenece" three times in her stom-
That boy threatened to come back
the next day with a cutlass to kill
"Chenece." Following through with
this threat, that Wednesday at lunch
time, the boy brought a small
machete concealed in his book bag,
When the boy announced he had
a cutlass, another boy who was in
Form Four, tried to defend his friend.
While Joel maintained he was a
bystander, T&T Guardian was able
to speak to "Chenece", with the per-
mission of her mother, and she
revealed Joel tried to protect her
from the cutlass-wielding student.
She said when Joel saw the boy
walk out of the Form Five block with
his hand inside his bag, he believed
he would have pulled out the cutlass
when he reached "Chenece."
Another of her friends hit the boy
and then she said Jodel hit him a
She said the Form Three boy then
pulled out his cutlass and chopped
Jodel on his leg.
"A lot of us were there and we
literally saw when he chopped him.
I was feeling real bad because Jodel
is my top friend at my school and
he is always looking out for me since
I got to the school," "Chenece" said.
Sherwin Noel, Jodel s father, went
to speak with the school s principal
Speaking to Noel after the meet-
ing, he said the school was trying
to pull together all the information
but many of the students did not
want to say what happened and as
it was close to the end of year there
were a number of students who were
not at school because of exams.
Noel added that the boy with the
cutlass had been suspended for
seven days, but because of a tech-
nicality in the Education Act which
stated it was the constitutional right
of a child to be educated---he could
not be expelled.
The most that could be done, he
added, was that his seven-day sus-
pension could be extended by a
month pending approval from the
Ministry of Education.
Unless criminal charges were filed,
he added, the boy who brought the
cutlass to school would not be barred
from attending Brazil Secondary
A communication official from
the Education Ministry confirmed
the boy had been suspended and
encouraged Noel to report the inci-
dent to the police so they could deal
Jamie Noel with her son, Jodel, who was chopped during a fight on
Wednesday at the Brazil High School. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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