Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 12th 2016 Contents Iused to think I would have
about five years before my
daughter started arguing with
me. But Jinaki, who will turn
three in May, has for some
time now been starting her
sentences with: "But Daaaddy...
" which heralds that she s
about to tell me why she
should do something I don t
want her to do. The trouble is,
a lot of the time her reasoning
For example, one evening I
made her a grilled cheese sand-
wich which she ate on her blue
plastic plate. When she fin-
ished, she told me she wanted
to wash her hands so I carried
her to the sink and she put one
hand under the water.
"You have to wash both
hands, sweetie," I said.
"But Daaaddy," she replied,
"only the left hand was holding
the bread and the right hand
was holding the plate."
What could I say? I wasn t
going to contradict Jinaki s
impeccable logic just so she
could have two washed hands.
I also thought I was going to
have more time before she
started talking through my TV
shows. My habit is to watch a
show when I have dinner, but
when Jinaki is around I opt for
a superhero cartoon, so she can
watch too and, more impor-
tantly, won t interrupt my
viewing. At least that was the
plan. But when we re watching
The Avengers or Spiderman or
Iron Man, she always has ques-
"What is his name, Daddy?"
"Well, right now he s a bad
guy but he was a good guy."
"He was a good guy?"
"Yes, but then he got vexed
with Tony Stark and became a
bad guy. But I think he ll be a
good guy again."
In her book It s Not the
Media, sociologist Karen Stern-
heimer writes: "Cartoons by
nature are freer, less con-
strained by the confines of
reality and convention. There
are fewer rules to abide by;
thus cartoons in many ways
mirror the creativity of child-
hood, before the cans and
cants and should and
musts of adult
reality are firm-
I don t
know what s
TV nor do
I know what
she s learning
from our dis-
many parents, I
don t really worry
about media influ-
encing my children
negatively in terms
of values or behav-
iour because, unlike
most parents, I am
actually familiar with
the data about media s
influence on children.
"The research is not
nearly as conclusive as we are
so often told," writes Stern-
heimer, "...results suggest only
a weak connection between
violent programming and
In fact, Sternheimer is over-
stating: most studies have
found no effects at all and
some even posit that violent
media have, as the ancient
Greeks said, cathartic effects.
The real issue with media,
from TV to video games, is
how much they bite into chil-
dren s learning time, especially
boys. And, even if media do
have influence, this can be
channelled by talking during
shows, as I do with
The central issue,
though, is simply
this: I totally enjoy
chatting about the
Incredible Hulk with
Saturday, March 12, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Iwent to the Chaguanas Borough Cor-
poration (CBC) on March 8, for a Local
Government Consultation. The setting
was great, with the Minister of Local
Government outlining his Government's
plan for the transformation.
There was seating inside the audito-
rium and also seating in the open air. Un-
fortunately, I was unable to stay for the
duration of the programme because of
the number of mosquitoes in the open
area. It has left me bewildered that in the
CBC itself, there was such a problem
with mosquitoes and no one thought it
fit to spray the area before.
Actually, it was ironic that the reason I
attended the consultation was to bring
to the attention of the Minister the irrel-
evance of the County Medical Office of
Health (CMOH) in dealing with subdivi-
sion surveys and house plans.
Imagine in 2016 a house plan is failed
by CMOH because it doesn't have venti-
lation. In a day where everyone has AC
units, they want me to put decorative
blocks so that my house could have ven-
tilation. Ventilation for mosquitoes and
smoke from all the bush fires to come
into my house.
I would have pointed out to the Minis-
ter, the fact that the reason for the
prevalence of diseases like Zika and
dengue, is that the CMOH department is
not doing its job.
Let the officers visit places and fine
people for having water-filled containers
and rubbish in their yards, instead of try-
ing to play engineer and hold back peo-
ple's house plans for months, and in
some cases years. Imagine, a health in-
spector told me that my building is not
structurally sound. I never knew that
health inspectors studied engineering.
How could any Government want to
stimulate the economy via the construc-
tion sector, when the very processes of
obtaining completion certificates are so
long, drawn out and tedious. No one in
authority could answer what benefit
does CMOH add to the building process.
Please Mr Minister, let's get the act to-
The previous Government never en-
couraged housing, please take the initia-
tive and eliminate the CMOH from
dealing with plans, whether survey plans
or house plans, because you already have
Public Health Inspectors and Building In-
spectors in each Corporation.
And, Mr Minister, if you want prece-
dent, none of the northern corporations
require CMOH's approval.
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The death of baby Maleek is an absolute tragedy. How-
ever, the treatment of the dog after the fact, was an-
other tragedy. In my opinion, it should never have been
left in the home. Animal Welfare or the police should
have removed it immediately. Instead, the animal was
beaten by the grandfather of the baby, in his grief and
anger. That act alone tells all that the dog was not loved
or properly cared for.
People here claim to love their dogs, but they keep
them chained or locked in small cages. This is not loving a
dog. If you want to have a good family dog, it has to be
treated like family. The baby's dad said he had the dog for
a year, which means it was six months old when the child
was born. Perhaps the dog grew envious of the child, as
I'm sure they had little time for it after the baby arrived.
Animals get jealous. It would have seen how the baby
was treated and felt abandoned---and resentful. And see-
ing the sad condition the dog was in physically, is it any
wonder that it acted as it did?
We have a Dangerous Dog Act, but what we really
need is a "Thoughtless dog owner act." I'm truly sorry for
the family's loss, but I hope it serves as a warning to fu-
ture, and present, dog owners. That dog that you have
chained or that dog you have cooped up in that small
cage is, one day, going to attack you.
Still months and years to
get house plans approved
'Thoughtless dog owner act' needed
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