Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2015 Contents The funeral for musician Raf Robertson will
take place on Friday at the Holy Trinity Cathedral,
Port-of-Spain, at 1.30 pm.
The celebration of his life is open to the public.
Robertson will be cremated. However, cremation
and repass proceedings are only open to family and
Tonight Robertson s friends and fellow musicians
have organised events to pay tribute to him in the
form of an open mic session.
The memorial event will be at 7 pm at the bird-
song panyard, at the corner of Connel and St Vincent
Streets, Tunapuna. Robertson was the musical
director of the birdsong Music Academy and per-
formed with international greats like Andy Narell
and Eddy Grant.
Tomorrow, a second tribute event will be held
at the Kaiso Blues House, Woodford Street, New-
town, from 8 pm. On Sunday, the annual birdsong
Christmas in the Park event has been dedicated to
This concert takes place at Auzonville Park, Tuna-
puna, from 6 pm.
Robertson, 63, passed away suddenly last Thurs-
day. He was an arranger, composer, pianist and
producer with more than 40 years of experience.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 9, 2015
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for DECEMBER 08TH, 2015
Finance Minister reveals:
Government has been faced
with penalties of US$8,000
(TT$51,000) a day on a handful
of projects and acquisitions ---
including the Arima Hospital,
the Children s Hospital and
naval assets --- as a result of
incomplete loan arrangements
by the past People s Partnership
(PP) administration, Finance
Minister Colm Imbert said yes-
He was speaking in the Sen-
ate. He later told reporters penal-
ties in one instance, so far, was
US$1 million (TT$6.5 million).
In the Senate, Imbert referred
to the issue in piloting two
motions to increase Govern-
ment s borrowing ceilings.
Imbert said the PP had also
increased borrowing ceilings in
its term but had used up almost
all funds under those ceilings.
He said the new PNM Gov-
ernment was left with virtually
no headroom on loan ceilings to
deal with issues which Govern-
ment had been "saddled with"
from the PP s term since loan
arrangements were not com-
As a result, he said, some loan
agreements could not be signed
at this time and some of the
projects were very important.
He said the projects totalled
TT$11 billion in costs, yet loan
arrangements could not be
signed. Imbert said contractors
were on sites working and seek-
ing payment, yet Government
could not pay since there was
no more room on borrowing
Imbert cited the Arima Hos-
pital done at a construction cost
of $1.2 billion, plus other costs
of $600 million, and the Chil-
dren s Hospital, Couva, built at
a cost of $1 billion, plus other
costs of $500 million. He said
the international benchmark for
such other costs was 15 per cent
and those "other costs" would
Imbert said the Pt Fortin Hos-
pital, costing $1.6 billion, was
also stalled due to the situation.
He also listed naval assets sup-
plied by China costing $230 mil-
lion and Dutch-built vessels
costing $200 million which have
to be paid for.
Expressing frustration at
Opposition queries on why Gov-
ernment wanted to borrow,
Imbert said he got "sick" when
he saw $11 billion worth of proj-
ects without arrangements in
place for loans. He said the con-
ditions made under the PP stip-
ulated penalties on some of
He said penalty levels were
US$8,000 a day for every day
the loan arrangement was not
signed. Imbert later told
reporters, penalties ranged from
US$5,000 to US$8,000 daily
until the loan terms were
Accusing the PP of "treason"
for failing to sign loans, he asked
if the PP wanted Government
to halt hospital construction or
return the vessels. He said there
were also $10 billion in housing
project contracts for which there
were no loan arrangements.
Imbert said Government had
talks with various companies to
negotiate penalties. One com-
pany was considering waiving
50 per cent, he added.
He said Government s debt
to Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) level was about 60 per
cent and had been projected at
$120 billion (2015); $173 billion
(2016); $182 billion (2017); $181
billion (2018) and $200 billion
Musical send off
for Raf Robertson
An estimated 10,000 health workers,
including nurses at four regional health
authorities in Trinidad are to benefit from
a 14 per cent hike in salary this month,
Public Services Association (PSA) Watson
Duke said on Monday.
Duke told the T&T Guardian the agree-
ment was reached during a meeting with
the Northwest, Southwest, North Central
and Eastern Regional Health Authorities.
He said the RHAs have said the arrears
should be paid this month.
Duke said the 14 per cent agreement was
significant, adding that it was only the PSA
which had legal authority to bargain for the
affected workers. The only outstanding RHA
which has not been settled is now the Toba-
go RHA, he added.
"We are hoping that good sense will pre-
vail. If we have to demonstrate our power
and our strength and our togetherness for
the Tobago House of Assembly and the
TRHA, we would do that decisively and
most dramatically." he said.
Four RHA's settle for 14 per cent wage hike
Hefty penalties for
Finance Minister Colm Imbert
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