Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2016 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 11, 2016
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Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie
says his ministry s 2016 budgetary allo-
cation is expected to be reduced by more
than $23 million.
He said this in an interview with reporters
at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Con-
ception, Independence Square, Port-of-
Spain, following a service to mark the begin-
ning of Lent.
Cuffie was asked to give an update on
the call by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
last December for ministries to reduce their
spending by at least seven per cent in the
wake of prevailing economic conditions.
He said all ministries met last Monday s
deadline to submit their reductions.
He said the exercise was conducted against
the background that salaries and employ-
ment could not be touched, adding that
some ministries will cut their development
programmes, while others will reduce the
cost of delivering goods and services.
Without being specific, Cuffie said his
ministry considered stopping the construc-
tion of libraries and other projects which
were "not entirely on-stream so we deferred
them to another financial year."
In seeking to explain the process for the
adjustments, he said recommendations were
submitted to the Ministry of Finance and
it would determine "what is possible to take
out and what we shouldn t take out."
Cuffie said he did not want to "identify
exactly what decisions were made and wait
for the Ministers of Finance and Planning
to make a decision."
He said some ministries were looking at
reducing "waste in relation to state agencies
and some looked at waste in relation to the
He said some ministries may cut by more
than seven per cent. Questioned on the
proposed mass transit system to deal with
the country s traffic problems, Cuffie said
an announcement would be made by the
Prime Minister after the Government
received an Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB) report on the project.
He said that report was expected this
month, adding that "so far no decision has
Cuffie said the Government was looking
at the entire issue of contract labour. He
said the intention was "to, if possible, elim-
inate contract labour, not by firing people
but by giving them a long-term and more
secure form of employment."
He insisted people with valid contracts
would not be affected.
As Catholics observe Lent following the
Carnival celebrations, Cuffie said he was
committed to "be always totally honest,
more so during Lent."
Earlier in the service, Catholic priest Fr
Michael Cockburn said if citizens were to
make lifelong sacrifices the country could
be a better place to live. He noted there
were gangsters and evil in the country.
He said T&T could become a good nation
when citizens "learn how to overcome that
selfishness, which causes indiscipline and
makes you want to kill other people."
He said the many wrongs in the country
today, including corruption, were caused
"Lent helps us to reverse the madness.
We stop the corruption, we stop the law-
lessness, we stop the killing and violence
because we stop our selfishness," he added.
As Christians embarked on the Lenten
season yesterday, a Roman Catholic priest
has called for them to become ambassadors
Making the call during his Ash Wednesday
sermon to mark the beginning of the Lent,
Monsignor Christian Perreira encouraged a
packed congregation at the Lady of Perpetual
Help RC Church, San Fernando, to change
Just as a camera has a three-legged tripod
so too do Christians, said Perreira who
"On Ash Wednesday we have our own
tripod. We begin this journey on three very
special points which can be called tripod
because we have to change the lens of our
life so that we can see the things that God
wants us to see. Our tripod is called prayer,
fasting and alms-giving.
"On those three points we as big people
and as young people must seek to change
and adjust the way we look at life so that
we can all begin to see the way God wants
us to see.
"Prayers and alms-giving are very impor-
tant but the biggest leg was fasting," he
While the church expects people between
the ages of 14 and 60 years to be more con-
cerned about fasting, he said it was also
possible for people under 14 and over 60
years to also do some kind of "doing with-
out," even if it meant not eating or drinking
"Basically, the big sacrifice we are called
to do is to try to fast from those things
which harm other people so that we will
try not to do things which hurt others, like
saying bad things about them."
During the Lenten season, he said, Chris-
tians were called upon to be ambassadors
"If ambassadors of United States work
in an embassy and that is why parishioners
at Our Lady of Perpetual Help if we are
ambassadors for Christ then our parish must
be an embassy.
"Therefore, we must build our parish in
such a way that we maintain the standards
of goodness and righteousness which will
truly allow us to be true ambassadors for
God, true ambassadors for Christ.
"One of the main things that we have to
be to make our church truly the embassy
of God is that our parish and our schools
must become an oasis of God s mercy... a
place where in the dryness of the world
around us, in the desert of wrongdoing and
all kinds of corruption, here is the family
of God, we seek to be an oasis.
"In our offices, in our communities, on
the streets of San Fernando and wherever
we operate our lives, I will like us, who are
ambassadors of Christ, to so cultivate the
pattern of behaviour that we reflect what
is called the work of mercy."
He told parishioners they would be judged
on whether they were merciful, kind and
caring to others. He asked them to help one
another to remain committed and focused
After being called to lime at a bar on Carnival
Tuesday night, Gasparillo labourer Akeem Ligh-
burn was shot dead by someone, relatives believe,
he once called a friend.
Even as friends gathered at his Lumsden Street
home yesterday, a female relative said: "His killer
could be one of these guys standing here now."
According to reports, Lighburn, 23, who worked
at the San Fernando General Hospital s mainte-
nance department, was liming with a friend outside
Rudy s Bar along Thompson Street.
Around 8.57 pm, a man wearing dark-coloured
clothing and a Marvin Gaye hat walked up to
them, pulled out a gun and shot Lighburn twice
in the head.
He fell to the side of his Nissan Tiida as his
friend ran to the Gasparillo Police Station and
reported the shooting.
Sgt Mac Intosh, Cpl Hosein and other officers
went to the scene and found Lighburn already
dead. DMO Dr Francis ordered the removal of the
body to the San Fernando Mortuary and it was
transferred to the Forensic Science Centre yesterday
for an autopsy.
Police said although Lighburn was charged once
for possession of a narcotic, he was not red-
flagged as a known criminal. They said there was
no motive for the murder.
At his home yesterday, relatives, who asked not
to be identified, were clueless as to why he was
killed, saying he kept to himself most of the time
and would usually lime at the bar.
They said Lighburn did not participate in the
Carnival and was liming at "De Avenue" near his
home earlier that afternoon and someone called
They said he left home and based on the infor-
mation they got, he was at the bar gambling alone
and had won $1,300 on two machines. However,
when he lost $300, he decided to cash his winnings
and went outside to lime with his friend.
They said his killer came to the bar and bought
drinks and it seems that they were all drinking
together before the shooting. They said the killing
could not be motivated by robbery, as his winnings,
cellphone, wallet, jewelry and car were now with
Cpl Deo of the Gasparillo Police Station is con-
Cuffie's budget to
be cut by $23m
Priest to Christians: Be ambassadors of Christ
Ashes are placed on the foreheads of members of the congregation during an Ash
Wednesday service at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help RC Church, Harris Promenade,
yesterday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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