Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 7th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt June 7 - 2017
Less Wait Time at Accident and Emergency Coming
Steps are being taken to reduce the
amount of time patients spend waiting for
medical attention at the Accident and
This according to Secretary of Health,
Wellness and Family Development Dr Agatha
Carrington at the last week's post-Exec-
utive Council Media Briefing, held at the
Calder Hall Administrative Complex.
According to the Secretary, the quality
assurance team is working towards improv-
ing the process. "We have had two nurses
sent to Texas for training in emergency
care, the layout of the emergency room is
to be addressed with a view to addressing
matters of efficiency and the security of
She said the fact that persons visited the
Accident and Emergency Department for
non-emergency issues contributed to an
extension of the waiting period. "People
are waiting long because persons who should
not be in the ER are there. We have persons
presenting with categories four and five
there, those persons should be reporting
to the health centres."
Dr Carrington said systems are being put
in place to have extended opening hours
at a few community centres.
"With the extended hours to come, we
expect that persons who fall into certain
categories would go to Scarborough Rox-
borough or Canaan Health Centre for treat-
ment thereby reducing the numbers of
patients waiting for emergency care .
She said the Division would also conduct
"re--orientation" programs to educate cli-
ents on who should visit the hospital or
Dr Carrington also addressed the Nation-
al Non-Communicable Disease Plan. This
plan seeks to utilise key approaches to
population health and development includ-
ing primary health care, universal health
coverage, standards of care, integrated man-
agement, the Health in All Policies (HiAP),
as well as multisectoral approaches which
involve the government and the population.
She said the Division has already begun
to implement different aspects of the plan.
"We have put policies in place to deal
with research in terms of policies and gov-
ernance we are also looking at that as well
such that we will be in line with the pri-
The core principles of the plan are pre-
vention-focus, equity, inclusiveness, peo-
ple- centred, evidence-based & results-driv-
en.With regard to health promotion and
disease prevention agenda, Dr Carrington
said the Healthy Eating in Schools program,
which is another major project the Division
has planned, is expected to begin out in
one high school and three primary schools
in the near future.
Passengers on board the T&T
Express en route to Trinidad earlier
today were thrown into a temporary
state of panic after smoke emitting
from the ferry's turbochargers made
its way on deck.
According to passengers, who first
assumed the ferry was on fire, cabin
crew immediately began taking emer-
gency measures and removing those
closest to the smoke to the other
side of the vessel.
The vessel then reportedly stalled
in the open water off Tobago for
nearly an hour before the situation
was rectified. A T&T Coast Guard
vessel then arrived and began escort-
ing the Express to Port-of-Spain.
The ferry, one of two operating
the inter-island route, has been expe-
riencing several problems of late and
is in urgent need of maintenance.
Army cat fight rages
Former Chief of Defence Staff
Kenrick Maharaj says he has
received no response from incum-
bent CDF, Brigadier General Rod-
ney Smart, on his calls for a
retraction to the claim he
(Maharaj) acted on "his own voli-
tion" in authorising the visit of
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
and his family to Camp Cumuto
in March last year.
Smart's response was contained
in a letter to Opposition senator
Smart is currently on pre-re-
tirement leave and is due to return
in early August for his retirement
ceremony. The T&T Guardian was
unable to contact Smart or the
Acting CDF Captain Hayden
Pritchard on Monday.
But Maharaj reiterated on Mon-
day that he had nothing to do with
the visit. He said "correct proto-
col required that if he was invit-
ing the AG to the Camp I would
have written a letter of invitation
and the AG would have respond-
ed with an acknowledgement that
the date suggested was okay. Pro-
tocol required that on the day of
the visit I would have presented
myself to receive the AG and his
But I had no idea that they were
coming. I was not informed and
I was nowhere around."
He said it appeared to him that
what transpired on March 27, 2016
"appeared to be something infor-
mal, and I am not sure what the
protocol arrangements were."
Maharaj said he was saddened
this has turned into "a war of
words" between himself as former
CDF and Smart. He said from a
military standpoint "there is noth-
ing wrong with training for a VIP
from a military or procedural
standpoint, but in this case there
were compromises, children with
weapons, that is just not done."
He said his pain is that "up to
this time, no one has addressed
the critical issue. I do not share
the view about placing children in
the same manner we place adults.
Children are children and those
responsible for the protection of
children are the protective forces,
it is okay to familiarise an adult,
but children are not mentally pre-
pared for those issues. I don't agree
Maharaj reiterated that he is
"deeply concerned that the dis-
turbingly misleading statements
made in the TTDF response carry
the potential to do serious harm"
to his "character and reputation."
He said the letter also did not
address the issue of whether there
was a breach of the Military (Pro-
hibitions) Act 14 of 1996 by allow-
ing minors to handle TTDF weap-
Maharaj said acting CDF
Pritchard would have received his
letter sent last week in which he
asked for, among other things: a
retraction of the statement issued
by Smart in which his name is
mentioned, "an official public
statement be made by the Defence
Force to undo the hurt caused to
Maj Gen Kenrick Maharaj and
members of his family," and that
consideration be given to a com-
prehensive review of the board of
inquiry conducted in the matter
with specific focus on the terms
of reference required to guide its
deliberations, including the central
issue of who was responsible for
the handing over of the military
weapons to unauthorised children
during a range firing practice.
Also contacted on the issue,
columnist Raffique Shah, a former
lieutenant in the army, said the
confusion may have been created
by Smart's wording in his letter
to Sturge. He said the Board of
Inquiry Report "may not have
pointed a finger, we don't know.
It could have said these were
standing operating procedures as
approved by the CDF who at the
time was Maharaj.
I think they owe Maharaj an
apology at the very least to clear
his name, as being the person who
by inference in the letter is deemed
to have been responsible."
Shah said "Maharaj was right
to come out and defend himself."
He said while as the CDF at the
time Maharaj may not have actu-
ally been aware the AG and his
family were invited to the camp.
He is of the view that "the officer
who is culpable is the officer who
was in charge of the range that
day, the senior person." But he
said the BOI Report should have
"apportioned blame where it
belonged and recommended what
should be done."
In his letter to Sturge, Smart
stated that "the BOI deduced that
the Attorney General's children
were not allowed to have
high-powered weapons belonging
to the Defence Force in the pres-
ence of the Attorney General and
members of the TTDF."
Maharaj waits for apology from CDF boss as
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