Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 2nd 2016 Contents LOYSE VINCENT
Public Services Association president
Watson Duke is urging staff of Tobago
Regional Health Authority (TRHA) to
take action against the current admin-
istration of the Tobago House of Assem-
The call came after monthly paid
employees observed a cut in their salaries
for the month of October, leaving them
confused and angry.
Staff subsequently received a letter
stating: "As a result of PAYE adjustments
for the 2016 tax year; this is as a con-
sequence of PAYE deductions for the
months of June to September that were
lower than normal. In other words, your
taxes have been adjusted to ensure that
you are not liable to repay tax at the end
of the year."
The letter went on to state that addi-
tionally, there are five Mondays in the
month of October; therefore, an extra
week of National Insurance deductions
However, Duke said the action taken
by the TRHA was illegal.
"That action contravenes the law,
which states that should the employer
find any excess payments, the employer
is supposed to sit with the employee and
mutually decide on the best course of
approach to treat with the situation."
Tobago Today understands that
employees salaries were cut from as
little to $400 to over thousands of dollars
by the action.
Duke said the Division of Health and
Social Services has a history of misman-
aging public funds.
"This current administration has
always failed to manage the island s
finances efficiently. They have always
been tardy with payments to peripheral
workers, and then we have the situation
with back pay and employees
allowances," he said.
"This kind of behaviour is what the
THA is accustomed meting out to staff
-- this is tantamount to abuse."
He added, "This is what happens when
you tell yourself you have 12 seats and
you can throw your weight around and
do whatever you like, but this behaviour
According to Duke, the PSA will meet
with employees and based on feedback
they will determine what steps will be
However Duke said the ultimate step
would be to remove the current admin-
istration and only then will they see
Attempts to contact Secretary for
Health and Social Services Claudia
Groome-Duke on the issue yesterday
were unsuccessful, as she was said to
be in meetings.
Newly-appointed Works and Transport Minister
Rohan Sinanan says he is humbled by the con-
fidence placed in him by Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley "to run one of the largest ministries at
a time when the country needs the Ministry of
Works to get going."
He is promising to "work in the interest of the
country and the people."
Sinanan, who ran the People s National Move-
ment s successful 2015 general election campaign,
replaces Fitzgerald Hinds as Works and Transport
Minister. Hinds has been reassigned to the Public
Utilities Ministry following the dismissal of retired
Brigadier Ancil Antoine.
Also getting the axe in Monday s Cabinet reshuffle
was Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre, who has
been replaced by former Rural Development and
Local Government Minister Franklin Khan. The
new Minister of Rural Development and Local Gov-
ernment is former San Fernando Mayor Kazim
Sinanan, a deputy political leader of the PNM,
admitted his new ministerial responsibilities would
be a challenge, "especially with the economic cir-
cumstances." He said he planned to give it his all
and would "scrutinise the award of contracts"
given questions raised under the former admin-
Among the projects on the table are the Valencia
to Toco Highway, the Wallerfield to Manzanilla
Highway, continuation of the Point Fortin Highway
and the Chaguaramas causeway.
He said he intended to make sure that he lived
up to his oath of office and not disappoint people
who put their trust in him. He said his objective
was to "serve the people and the country to the
best of my ability."
In the case of Khan, while this is the first time
he has been appointed Energy Minister, he is no
stranger to the sector.
"I am a petroleum geologist and I worked for
over two decades in the industry, so that is my
professional training. I intend to bring my expertise
to bear on the Ministry of Energy," he said.
Khan, the chairman of the PNM, has served on
the Cabinet Standing Committee on Energy in
both the Patrick Manning and Keith Rowley admin-
istrations and said he is "reasonably familiar with
some of the issues."
Asked whether there would be any conflict of
interest in his new portfolio given his involvement
in the sector in a previous incarnation, Khan said:
"I have no interest in any energy sector companies
as we speak."
In the Cabinet reshuffle announced via a press
release from the Office of the Prime Minister, Hosein
replaces Sarah Budhu in the Senate and now holds
the Rural Development and Local Government port-
folio previously held by Khan. Budhu contested the
seat for Caroni East for the PNM in the last general
election but was unsuccessful.
Minister in the Office of the Attorney General
and Minister of State in the Office of the Prime
Minister Stuart Young is now Minister in the Office
of the Prime Minister. (Trinidad Guardian)
NOVEMBER 2-8, 2016
Charmaine St Louis, a student of the Vocational Skills Programme's Floral Art Class, shows off her work
at the recent World Food Day celebrations at the Parade Ground next to the Dwight Yorke Stadium.
PHOTO COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SECRETARY
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