Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2017 Contents news A13
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 guardian.co.tt
wants to put
COP back on track
Former chairman of the Congress of
the People, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan,
who is seeking to become the first female
political leader of the party, said if she
is elected she will attempt to regain the
trust of party members and supporters
and instil confidence in the people to get
the politics right.
In a statement. Seepersad-Bachan said the
country's grim political climate was created
out of the constant erosion of good govern-
ance in T&T. She said the COP must work
to re-establish its unique identity and that
must be done "independent of any other
The COP was part of the People's Part-
nership Government which was led by the
UNC from 2010 to 2015.
Seepersad-Bachan said she intends to
strengthen participatory democracy within
the party as well as demonstrate and model
good governance for the country.
She said she is not asking the members to
give her blind loyalty but to be loyal to the
party's vision and ideals.
Seepersad-Bachan, who also held the
public administration portfolio in the former
Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration, said
she will try her best to steer the COP back on
track. She said in recent years the party, which
was formed out of a demand for transparency
and fairness in Government, had veered off
its original course.
The COP elections will take place on July 9.
Opposition MP Fazal Karim has called
for a revision of the qualification re-
quirements for instructors at driving
In his contribution to a Senate debate
on legislation to amend the Motor Vehicle
and Road Traffic Act, Karim said anyone can
not operate a driving school once he or she is
driving for at least
three years. He said
he wanted to know if
the number of accidents
and fatalities is related to the
fact that the country did not have
proper driving instructors.
Karim also raised concerns about
the way taxi drivers dress, add-
ing that there might be need for a
dress code for driving instructors
and a code of ethic for the driving
schools as well. He said those things
are very important and the Govern-
ment should not try to punish mo-
torists by imposing heavy fines and
penalties for offences.
He said according to police statistics there were 839 road
traffic accidents on the nation's highways from 2012 to pres-
ent. Giving a breakdown, Karim said the most accidents were
on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway---86 with 110 fatalities,
71 accidents were on the Uriah Butler Highway resulting in 81
deaths, Solomon Hochoy Highway had 74 accidents with 87
deaths, the Priority Bus Route had 48 accidents with 55 fatal-
ities and on the Claude Noel Highway there were 16 accidents
with 23 fatalities.
Earlier Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh dismissed claims
by Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal that the measures be-
ing proposed in the bill were part of a multi-million dollar tax
scheme targeting poor people.
Deyalsingh said it was not true that there are infringements
on the constitutional rights of citizens in the legislation.
Media will be
Public Administration and Communications Minister
Maxie Cuffie says he is confident that after Parliament's
Joint Select Committee completes its deliberations on the
Cybercrime Bill, all stakeholders, including the media,
will be happy with the legislation when it is debated and
approved in Parliament.
Cuffie commented on the legislation during a cocktail re-
ception at the Government Campus Plaza, Richmond Street,
Port-of-Spain on Thursday night. The legislation was intro-
duced in the House of Repre-
sentatives earlier this year and
sent immediately to the JSC
for further consultations.
Vice President of the As-
sociation of Caribbean Media
Workers (ACM) Jabari Fraser
and vice president of the
Media Association of T&T
(MATT) Joel Julien spoke of
Fraser said the regional
media body is very concerned
about the legislation and is
providing support for the
national association. Julien
appealed to Cuffie and JSC
member, National Security
Minister Brigadier Edmund
Dillon, to do what they can to
address the concerns of jour-
According to Julien, the legislation contains provisions that
"We are hoping that you would take our calls and appeals for
exemptions for journalists," he said.
Julien said journalists believe the proposed legislation will
stymie their work. He said T&T ranked 34 in the last press freedom
index report, which was ten points better than the previous year.
Cuffie in response said he wanted to assure journalists that the
Government remained committed to "getting legislation that treats with
the issue of cybercrime as well as protecting the freedoms of journalists
and the public in general."
He said it was for those reasons the bill was referred to the JSC and not taken
through all stages of debate in the Parliament as yet.
Cuffie said there have been extensive consultations and in the JSC and Gov-
ernment, Opposition and Independent senators will be able to bring their views
and the concerns of the public in the final bill that is passed.
"And you can be sure that with the Government, Independents and Oppo-
sition combined, working on the bill, I think we will get a product that will be
satisfactory to the public in general and I think the interest of journalists will
be protected," he said.
Cuffie said he was aware that there had been representations made by jour-
nalists and other stakeholders about what is important in ensuring the bill is
acceptable to the population at large. He said he had "every confidence that
the final product will be acceptable to the journalist fraternity, the public of
T&T and the politicians."
Earlier MATT expressed its dissatisfaction about the level of consultations
on the measure.
Matt said previously that it remained "deeply troubled" that the bill had
retained the potential to criminalise professional journalists working in the
According to MATT: "This is a strategy already used against the press; we see
provisions as drafted in this bill encouraging that practice against the press."
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