Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 21st 2016 Contents RADHICA DE SILVA
Now that the Paris Agreement on Cli-
mate Change is in full force, there are
plans to use waste from the Beetham
landfill to generate electricity as part
of this country's pledge to
reduce carbon emissions.
Students from eight second-
ary school, including Barrack-
pore East, ASJA Girls, Hillview
College, Holy Cross College,
Diego Martin North, St Antho-
nys, Tabaquite Secondary and
Brazil Secondary, heard about
these plans during a symposium at
the University of T&T, Point Lisas.
Deputy permanent secretary
in the Planning Ministry
Andre Laveau said T&T
became a signatory to the
Paris Agreement on climate
change on April 22.
The Agreement went
into effect on November
4, mandating governments
to limit global temperature
"The ministry is exploring potential
for wind, solar, and waste-to-energy pro-
jects to achieve this country's emission
reduction targets involving the electricity
generation sector," he said.
Laveau said of a waste to energy facil-
ity is being considered for the Beetham
"In addition, the development of
a local solar photovoltaic manufac-
turing facility is being explored by
government through the National
Energy Corporation and InvesTT.
"This will involve construction of a
matallurgical grade sil-
icon plant, a polysilicon
plant, a float glass plant
and an integrated solar
PV plant. The consult-
ant is on board and is
spearheading the in-
process," he said.
Laveau told the stu-
dents new career paths
will open once renew-
able energy technolo-
gy is used.
In addition, the
ministry is creating an
for renewable energy.
been published for the
design and installation
of solar water heaters
while standards have
also been finalized for
solar photovoltaic sys-
tems," he said.
He noted that incen-
tives can be accessed
for persons and busi-
nesses interested in
the purchase of these
types of equipment.
Zika and the
right to life
Student, Hugh Wooding Law School
The outbreak of the Zika virus and the per-
sistent presence of other illnesses, including
sexually transmitted diseases and chicken-pox,
has put the focus on laws governing abortion.
A pregnant woman infected with such diseases
may encounter challenges associated with foetal
impairment raising the issue of abortion. In light
of the presence of diseases known to be harmful
to unborn children, how do the laws of T&T deal
Illnesses which are likely to affect the foetus
In cases of Zika, a pregnant woman faces the risk of
giving birth to a child with microcephaly, a birth defect
in which the infant has an abnormally small head. Babies
born with this condition are likely to suffer intellectual
disability, speech and movement delays, vision problems
and facial distortions.
Unborn children infected with sexually transmitted dis-
eases such as syphilis, HIV/AIDS, gonorrhoea and genital
herpes face the risk of blindness, bone deformities, and
intellectual disability upon birth. Where a woman contracts
chicken-pox during the first or early second trimester of
her pregnancy, newborns may experience birth defects, low
birth weight, or scarring. In such instances, that uneasy word
'abortion' might cross the mind of a pregnant woman con-
fronted with the prospect of such risks to her unborn child.
A pregnant woman must, therefore, be aware of the limited
circumstances in which an abortion can be performed within
the ambit of the law.
Laws on Abortion
Abortion is illegal under the Offences Against the Person
Act, Chap. 11:08. Section 56 stipulates that any pregnant
woman who knowingly carries out or attempts to carry
out her own miscarriage, or any person who helps her do
so, is liable to imprisonment for four years. Section 57
imposes a penalty of imprisonment for two years on
any person who supplies any poison or instrument
which is intended to be used to carry out an abortion.
However, there is a single exception provided for
in common law where abortion might be legally per-
formed, to preserve the mental and physical health
of the pregnant woman. In the case of R v. Bourne
 3 All ER 615, it was held that an abortion was
lawful because it had been performed in good faith
in order to prevent a 14-year old girl from becoming
a "physical and mental wreck"
. The Medical Board
of T&T has expressly incorporated this common law
principle into their Code of Ethics in the Practice
of Medicine, stating that foetal abnormality is no
justification for abortion unless it threatens the
life or physical or mental health of the woman. The
Code goes further to advise medical practitioners
to obtain agreement in writing from at least one
senior colleague that the procedure is warranted.
We live in a society where the wave of diseases
which are potentially harmful to unborn children
tends to ebb and flow over time. Though rigid abor-
tion laws have incited debate surrounding a wom-
an's right to control her own body versus pro-life
arguments, the law remains that foetal deformi-
ties caused by such diseases are not a legal basis
for abortion unless it jeopardizes the physical and
mental health of the pregnant woman.
This column is not legal advice. If you have a legal
problem, you should consult an attorney-at-law.
Monday, November 21, 2016 guardian.co.tt
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