Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2017 Contents A12
March 22 - 2017
Tobago Today, Tomco Building, Plymouth Road, Scarborough.
Editor, Camille Mc Eachnie -
Sales Manager, Sonja Romany -
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A product of Guardian Media Limited
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Venezuela's socialist leaders seize bakeries in 'bread war'
CARACAS---For the past 25 years, after he
immigrated penniless to Venezuela from Portugal,
Eduardo Dos Santos has personally taken care of
the loyal clients at Mansion's Bakery.
But now the downtown Caracas corner store is in
the hands of die-hard socialists, and Dos Santos is out
of a job, as a result of the latest attempt by the
government to reduce the sprawling food lines that
have become the symbol of Venezuela's descent into
With cameras rolling, agents from the National
Superintendent of Fair Prices raided Mansion's
last week and accused the owners of hoarding
scarce sacks of government-imported flour,
saying the subsidized goods should have been
used to make price-regulated loaves but instead
was turned into more expensive croissants and
The government said it was taking over the
shop for 90 days, turning control over to a pro-
government neighborhood committee given the
task of distributing bags of staples door-to-door.
"This group of scoundrels arrived and kicked
me out," the 52-year-old Dos Santos said, adding
that he feared for his life recalling the violent way
he was expelled from the store where he started
off as a lowly sales clerk and which he now
manages. "One grabbed from me the store's keys
and said 'Get out of here.'"
Within hours of the takeover, new young,
dreadlocked and tattooed shopkeepers took
down the Mansion's Bakery sign outside and
hung up photos of President Nicolas Maduro, the
late leader Hugo Chavez and South American
independence hero Simon Bolivar. Many of them
danced behind the counters to salsa music.
The only thing missing was the bread, at least
when The Associated Press visited the newly
renamed "Minka" bakery Friday afternoon, when
the day's supply had already run out. (AP)
We created what we call an
endowment fund ... and at last
count we had given almost
$60,000 to that school so that
they can provide apparatus
to assist those students."
Chief Secretary KELVIN CHARLES giving the
assurance that children with special needs will
be receive more attention from the THA.
Fix THA's accounting system
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles'
announcement that, from next
month, Tobago House of Assembly
workers will be paid on time was
greeted with mixed emotions: relief
by some and scepticism by those
familiar with the THA's accounting
The latter group knows the Assem-
bly's accounting problems are system-
ic and endemic and needs overhaul-
ing before any meaningful change can
take place. Successive Auditor Gen-
eral's reports on the THA's finances
have revealed some scandalous find-
ings. Reports have pointed to a lack
of accounting for large fixed assets as
well as the absence of millions of dol-
lars in every Division. The reports
also speak of poor accounting prac-
tices, lack of suitable personnel and
a general poorly structured system.
It's all well and good to hear of the
Assembly's accounting mishaps in the
media but when they hit workers'
pockets in the form of late or garnished
salaries the magnitude and seriousness
of the problems become real.
By and large, none of the problems
is new. In 2004, four years after the
People's National Movement (PNM)
was swept to power in Tobago, the
then Secretary of Finance and Enter-
prise Development Secretary, Dr
Anselm London refused to pay Toba-
go Regional Health Authorities work-
ers because the accounting department
"had not followed the required
. The problem,
the public was told, would have been
corrected by March 1st of that year.
Dr London, a noted economist and
stickler for procedures was said to be
the PNM's accounting messiah. How-
ever, even he did not succeed in fix-
ing the system.
In 2007, some three years after Dr
London took his stance of honouring
monetary requests only if they met
the "required accounting procedures"
then Minority leader, Hochoy Charles,
during debate on the THA's budget,
revealed that Infrastructure and Pub-
lic Utilities Division's workers were
being paid late. He suggested it
was a lack of central government
funding but was told there were
"problems with the accounting"
Once again the official response
was "the problems are being
Sadly, twelve years later, work-
ers from the same Division are
facing similar problems and some
have not been paid for more than
three fortnights. They welcomed
Charles' statement and will hold
him to his word.
Workers in other Divisions are
being affected too. TRHA's work-
ers, who were paid late in 2004
,are still suffering a similar fate.
This time around the problem is
worse as salaries are garnished
-by as much as $1000 per per-
son per month for several months
without prior notice - because
there is "a glitch in the account-
Interesting the system is per-
ceived as being so weak and archa-
ic that On-the-job-trainees were
emboldened enough to manoeuvre
the accounting system for alleged
illegitimate reasons. They now face
The long and short of all of
this is that, regardless of how
well-meaning Mr Charles' inten-
tions are, unless the system of
accounting is properly addressed,
his promise to pay workers on
time will not be kept.
Administrator of the Division of Finance and the Economy Claire
Davidson-Williams, RIGHT, gives the feature address at the World
Consumer Rights Day programme on March 15 at the Victor E Bruce
Financial Complex, Scarborough. Others at the head table, from left,
are Scotiabank's Regional Senior Manager of Investigations and Loss
Prevention Jennifer Koo-Rogers and Consumer Affairs Unit Manager
Langdon Phillips. PHOTO AND INFORMATION COURTESY INFO DEPT, THA
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