Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 19th 2016 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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The country’s most
Lawyers for the PNM have suggested that the Elec-
tion and Boundaries Commission (EBC) should have
the power to adjust the hours of polls in circumstances
of bad weather.
Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes made the statement
yesterday as he began presenting submissions against
an appeal brought by the United National Congress
(UNC) to challenge the decision of High Court Judge
Mira Dean-Armorer to dismiss its election petitions
over the result of last September’s general election.
Mendes suggested that even if the court agreed with
Dean-Armorer and the UNC that the EBC did not have
the power to extend the poll in Trinidad due to heavy
rain on election day, the law should be modified to allow
for it in the future.
“What happens if an unforeseen circumstance occurs
that put certain voters in a different or unequal position
to other people? The system does not cater for if there
is a situation which results in unequal circumstances?”
Mendes asked as he noted that voting is a fundamental
right under the Constitution.
His suggestion did not appear to sit well with members
of the appeal panel, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, and Appel-
late Judges Allan Mendonca and Peter Jamadar, who all
quizzed him extensively on it.
“What exactly is the role of the EBC? Is it to conduct
the election according to law or is it to correct those
situations?” Archie said.
Archie and Jamadar both suggested that such a move
would give the EBC the power to cancel or postpone
an election without having to get approval from the
Parliament or the President.
In response, Mendes dismissed their concerns as he
said a modification to the law should be limited to
weather conditions and not for every unforeseen cir-
The EBC is expected to present its submissions when
the case continues this morning.
UNC election appeal ends today
Fed up and frustrated over what
they claim has been absolutely no
representation from National Secu-
rity Minister Edmund Dillon, mem-
bers of the Lifeguards Association
of T&T are demanding that they
be removed from that ministry and
be placed back under the purview
of the Ministry of Local Govern-
The call was made at a press con-
ference yesterday at the National
Union of Government and Federated
Workers (NUGFW), Henry Street,
The union's president, James
Lambert, who led the charge and
who called on Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley to intervene said since
Dillon first came into office last year,
he had not met with the association,
despite repeated requests to discuss
Saying the association has been
"abandoned" by Dillon Lambert
added: "Since the Ministry of
National Security came into office
in September 2015 we have had one
meeting with the then permanent
secretary in May 2016 with the
intention of having a subsequent
meeting in July that year.
"Up to this date we have not had
the opportunity of meeting with the
permanent secretary or any high
officer at the ministry.
“The business of operating life-
guards is unbecoming by that min-
istry and the Minister of National
Security has not an iota pertaining
to the lifeguards. He absolutely do
not know what is happening and on
several occasion we have tried to
meet with him."
Due to the high crime rate, Lam-
bert added, it appeared the National
Security Ministry was "unable" to
handle the problems facing life-
He said a few meetings were held
with members of the Human
Resources Department of the min-
istry but that also proved futile as
no grievances were addressed since
the department said no directive was
given to address the problems.
Lifeguard and health and safety
officer, Augustus Sylvester, who also
spoke said there were about 120 life-
guards but that figure needed to
reach at least 200 to man the nine
beaches throughout the country
He said out of the 120 only half
work on weekends due to the shift
"Going to the public beaches is
risking your life," Sylvester said,
adding workers were also faced with
continued late payments of salaries.
"That has been putting workers
in a lot of financial debts as they
have to pay the banks late fees for
almost one year," Sylvester added.
He said the drowning of 23-year-
old Javel James some two weeks ago
at Maracas could have been avoided
if there was motorised equipment.
Curtis Hernandez, the associa-
tion's president, also complained
that workers were not sent on their
annual medical for the past year.
He said there was a jet ski for life-
guards at Maracas but two years
have passed since it was sent to serv-
"It went for service and never
came back to this date," Hernandez
On what course of action the
union intended to take Lambert said
if the issues were not addressed then
the necessary course of action would
In a press release yesterday the
Ministry of National Security said
it was aware of the problems facing
the lifeguards, adding that it had
held several talks with the union.
The ministry said it would hold
another meeting to discuss the mat-
Return us to Local Govt
Fed up lifeguards after no action by Dillon:
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