Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2017 Contents news A5
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at MSP over cut
There is said to be a massive unrest cur-
rently looming at the Maximum Security
Prison (MSP), as prisoners serving life
imprisonment have begun a hunger strike
over the fact that they are now under lock-
down for 23 hours daily.
The T&T Guardian was yesterday told by a
prison officer, who wished not to be identified,
that the rest of the prison population is also
now threatening to go on a hunger strike until
the relevant authorities resume the normal
scheduled airing hours.
The officer said on Thursday, officers re-
porting to duty were allegedly given surprise
instructions by senior officers at MSP to lock
down all inmates by 3 pm.
"This can't happen. It won't work. There is
a system in place at all the prisons throughout
T&T. When I joined the Prison Service, John
Rougier was commissioner and we met this
system in place," the officer said.
"There are guys in here since 1980, 1982
and the list goes on. The point is, you can't
lockdown these guys for 23 hours a day. That's
He said 'lifers' are usually scheduled for air-
ing from 6 am to 6 pm, while remand prisoners
are usually given one hour with extra time to
engage in different activities, such as games.
The games are usually under strict supervision
of prison officers.
The prison officer said the remand is totally
locked down by 4.30 pm and "only prisoners
who went to court are the ones who are out
after that, everyone else is locked down."
The officer pleaded to the authorities, on
behalf of the prisoners, to return the prison
recreation schedule to normalcy.
"It has been going on so for them for ump-
teen years and to have it taken away from them
will cause a reaction, possibly the stall of res-
toration of justice. It can cause riot as well and
officers' lives can be at risk," the officer said.
Efforts to reach the Prison's Officers Asso-
ciation president Ceron Richards for comment
were unsuccessful as calls to his cell phone
went straight to voicemail.
Integrity body never called Marlene but ...
'I couldn't turn
down my PM'
After not hearing a word from
either the Integrity Commission
or the T&T Police Service on the
probe against her for the past 15
months, newly-appointed Min-
ister of Public Utilities Marlene
McDonald says it is time to move
on with her life.
But McDonald yesterday made it
clear that she could no longer live
in the past, adding if she was not a
strong woman she would have long
crumbled under public pressure.
Her comments came minutes
after she was presented with her
instrument of appointment by
President Anthony Carmona at
President's House, St Ann's, follow-
ing a brief swearing-in ceremony
attended by Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley and guests.
In the 15 months she was out of
the Cabinet, McDonald admit-
ted she "sat in the wilderness,"
"contemplated many things," but
maintained her dignity. But having
being offered the ministerial post
by Rowley after an impromptu re-
shuffle on Wednesday, McDonald
said she was willing to take on the
Asked if she was aware she was
still under investigation by the In-
tegrity Commission and the Fraud
Squad, McDonald said after being
removed as Housing Minister last
March she had made herself availa-
ble to all investigating bodies.
"I hid no where. It showed my
bonfides...it showed that I was
willing and still willing to speak to
any authority...which ever authority
is doing the investigation. And after
15 months no one has called me. Am
I to sit for another 15 months in the
past to listen to who say and I say?
No! I am not doing that. If I was not
a strong person we could have talked
about mental. You see, I understand
how to grow up tough."
Saying she has been accessible
all the time, McDonald said after
receiving no word from the com-
mission and the police "I have to
She noted, however, Rowley had
reposed a lot of confidence in her
to manage the ministry assigned
"I have to look now at what is
happening at Public Utilities. I will
certainly have a discussion with the
former minister, then I will be able to
tell you about prioritisation."
While McDonald has been cleared
on part of the matters before the
commission, a number of other al-
legations are still being investigated.
McDonald said she did receive
two letters from the commission,
one dated December, 2013, which
she received in January 2014, and
one dated March, 2015. The sec-
ond letter stated the commission
was going to reopen the case but in
both instances she said the allega-
tions were "baseless and they were
named by nameless and faceless
persons...mischievous in nature.
And what happened, the Integrity
Commission say there was no basis
at all in the Integrity in Public Life
Act that I had breached anything."
"So am I to live in the past?" she
asked, adding two of the letters were
passed on to Rowley.
McDonald said she was investi-
gated on the Calabar Foundation
issue and her alleged purchase of
houses from the Housing Ministry
in other people's names. She said
there were other issues which were
"frivolous and vexatious in nature."
But she noted that the PM re-
moved her to allow the authorities
to do their investigation.
"You know what, there was also
a public outcry to have the matter
investigated. It was the best thing to
do to remove me from the centre of
it all...in the fear that I may tamper
When asked if she wanted closure
on the matter, McDonald replied "in
my mind I have closed that. So that
question, talk to the investigating
Contacted yesterday, Integrity
Commission chairman Zainool Ho-
sein maintained hey were is bound
to silence under sections 20 and 35
of the Integrity in Public Life Act.
"I recognise that some may say
that is it taking too long, but unfor-
tunately we have to do the work that
is thoroughly and efficiently as we
can," Hosein said.
He said, however, that if a com-
plaint is made against a person, the
commission will communicate with
the individual and they will be given
an opportunity to provide informa-
tion and documents and answer to
the allegations made.
"When they've done that and we
have investigated everything, then
we evaluate the recommendations
made by the investigations depart-
ment. Then we will make a deter-
mination." See Page A10
I asked Rowley to move---Hinds
Former Public Utilities Min-
ister Fitzgerald Hinds says it
was he who asked Prime Min-
ister Dr Keith Rowley to relieve
him of that portfolio.
Hinds made the comment in
Parliament yesterday, in response
to repeated claims by an Opposi-
tion MP that he was demoted to
Minister in the Ministry of the At-
torney General and Legal Affairs
in Rowley's third Cabinet reshuffle
in 21 months.
He was at the time contributing
to yesterday's debate on a private
motion which calls on the House
to condemn the Government for
its failure to deal effectively with
the crime problem.
"I hear my friend talking about
demotion," Hinds said, adding,
"well let me tell you...in the words
of (singer) Freddy McGregor when
big ship sailing on the ocean we
don't need no promotion... Ras-
Hinds later gave legislators his
version of the story.
"About two months ago I went
to the Prime Minister and volun-
teered for this job because I want to
do something, he agreed with me,
of June and I am quite happy and
willing to join the Attorney General
and the Government to deal with it
(law enforcement)," he said.
He extended best wishes to his
successor, Marlene McDonald who
occupied her new seat in the Par-
liament on the backbench behind
Hinds, who posed for pictures
with McDonald yesterday, said he
wished "my friend, MP for PoS
South, the very best and I assure
her she will get my support be-
cause we work as a team."
Earlier, he said law enforcement
was critical in T&T "and that is
one of the issues we have to work
on, and that is one of the issues
that my new responsibility will
permit me to pay some attention
to (in the Attorney General's min-
Hinds, who remains chairman
of the Joint Select Committee on
National Security, said that medi-
um will continue to be used "to de-
mand from the law enforcement in
this country and those concerned
to give us some more effort, some
more blood in dealing with this ex-
ecutive function on behalf of the
people of T&T."
President Anthony Carmona presents newly-appointed Minister of
Public Utilities Marlene McDonald with her instrument of
appointment during the swearing-in ceremony at the Office of the
President in St Ann's yesterday. PHOTO: ANISTO ALVES
McDonald was fired from the Cabinet last March following media
revelations that she had employed her common-law husband Mi-
chael Carew in her Port-of-Spain South constituency office. A report
from Fixin T&T head Kirk Waithe stated he received information
from Parliament which showed Carew and a director of the Calabar
Foundation were employed at McDonald's constituency office for
five years, while Carew's brother Lennox Carew still worked at the
MP's office. McDonald's common-law husband, who worked at the
office from June 1, 2010 to September 7, 2015, had earned a salary
of $13,400 for the full parliamentary term while Lennox began
working in the office on March 1, 2011 and had been in receipt of
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