Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 20th 2017 Contents A20 commentary
guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 20, 2017
Opposition Leader Kam-
la Persad Bissessar SC is
right! At the recently held
meeting between her and Prime
Minister Dr Rowley, she refused
to support any legislative avenues
which the Government may be
considering in an effort to solve
the recent judicial/JLSC mess.
It would appear that the PNM
Government has now realised
that it should have submitted a
bid to United States President
Donald Trump to establish the
wall between the US and Mexico
rather than establish a "Great
Wall of China" around the Judici-
The explanations provided by
the Honourable Chief Justice and
the JLSC have left the legal pro-
fession up in arms and the wider
It is simply incredible that
members of the JLSC could so
boldly declare that they should
not be blamed in any way for the
appointment of former Chief
Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar
as a High Court Judge.
I ask the JLSC to tell the coun-
try where is Justice Marcia Ay-
ers-Caesar whom you recently
appointed to the High Court
Why was she appointed despite
having over 50 part-heard mat-
ters in the Magistrate's Court?
"Res ipsa loquitur" (Latin: the
thing speaks for itself).
The answers (or lack thereof) to
these questions, thus far, are ex-
actly why the Government should
not have established a "Great
Wall of China."
Further, the explanations pro-
vided by the Honourable Chief
Justice and his former Chief Mag-
istrate are significantly at odds
with each other. Who to believe?
The population cannot hold any
confidence in the Judiciary unless
one of them is found culpable in
one way or the other.
The Judiciary would be ren-
dered to nothing more than a
regular political party, if both
the Chief Justice and the former
Chief Magistrate were to merely
coexist within the Judiciary with-
out steps being taken to investi-
gate what they have said and what
they have done.
It, therefore, does not take an
Einstein to figure out that the
regarding the Judicial and Legal
Service Commission and the
Judiciary's handling of some 53
part-heard matters was wrong as
a matter of law and fact.
Pretty soon we might see for-
mer Justices Marcia Ayers-Cae-
sar, Humphrey Stollmeyer and
Roger Hamel-Smith appearing on
MTV/VH1 series, "Where are they
now?" An investigation would
undoubtedly assist in providing
material to assist such a series.
In order for the Judiciary to
once again become a credible and
transparent organisation in which
the public can have confidence,
the manner of its appointment
process must also be reviewed
and recommendations imple-
But these are not matters which
are novel or somehow difficult.
Why do we have three Ministers
(Mr F Al-Rawi, Mr S Young and
Mr F Hinds) in the Ministry of the
Attorney General yet no tangible
suggestions have been put for-
ward by them to date.
What of the other matters
which Dr Rowley proposed to talk
to Mrs Persad-Bissessar about.
Dr Rowley has been openly
critical of the Integrity Commis-
sion. Is this priority at this time
because the PM is aggrieved that
MP Marlene McDonald has not
been cleared of complaints re-
ported against her?
Whatever the reason, somehow,
Dr Rowley appears to feel it does
not have integrity in its opera-
However, when he (Dr Rowley)
met with a former Chairman of
the Commission at short notice
in the past, he had no difficul-
ties with the Commission at that
On the matter of crime, not
enough has been said or done to
satisfy citizens and to make the
country safe again.
How many times have we heard
talk from various Government
Ministers that there ought to be
reform of the system of appoint-
ing a police commissioner. I must
repeat this question yet again.
What is the Honourable Attor-
ney General doing? He had all of
the answers when the PP was in
Why can't the Government
make a serious dent on crime at
this time? How are we to begin
consoling the many families who
have lost their young loved kids?
Tobago's self-governance has
How is talk of this issue lending
any assistance at this time to the
deteriorating tourism industry
and contracting economy in To-
People are still unable to trav-
el freely between Trinidad and
Tobago (whether by air or sea)
thanks to the Government.
The shores of Tobago are over-
ridden with seaweed (sargassum)
and causing a hydrogen sulphide
(rotten-egg) scent to overpower
tourists staying at its top hotels.
Seaweed is not being removed on
a regular basis and is therefore
forming huge mounds of rotting
There have been reports out of
Magdalena Hotel that no regular
clean-up is being undertaken on
the island much to the dissatis-
faction of the few tourists and
locals vacationing there.
Rather than enjoy the sunshine,
they must instead contend with
a nasty stench. Shouldn't these
things be tackled with ongoing
Whilst we seek to hold meet-
ings now, we must not forget
that we have homesick Ministers
running up expenses on roam-
ing charges to be close to home,
and we have $92,000 on Tobago
Clamp down on these
illegal 'overnight trenches'
Iwrite concerning an activity
which I believe is illegal and gain-
ing momentum in many commu-
nities across the country.
I am also of the strong belief that
the authorities under whose pur-
view this activity falls or those who
are entrusted with the curtailment
of this dangerous activity are turn-
ing a blind eye.
I speak about the cutting of nar-
row but deep trenches across the
roadway by people to run illegal
water and electrical connections to
the other side of the road.
This activity obviously takes
place in the dead of the night when
most of the country is asleep and
the authorities (although on duty)
are less responsive.
However, the resultant effect
the next day is very obvious when
your vehicle passes over the trench
and having passed there everyday
(especially the day before) the brain
shocking and spinal relapse cannot
Where you thought the road was
nice and smooth and having seen
wake-up call followed by a serious
headache to begin with.
Not to mention the resultant
bent tyres and suspension damage
because you just were not aware
of the sudden change to the road
And mind you these overnight
trenches are hard to see, even from
a short distance.
It bemuses me that the authori-
ties have not clamped down on this
illegal activity because it becomes
so obvious the next day that some-
thing was done to the road.
Some try to hide their nefarious
activity by doing a quick patchwork
with sand or gravel but after sev-
eral vehicles pass over it's back to
I am calling on the authorities,
especially WASA and T&TEC to be
more vigilant and clamp down on
this activity because a busted pipe
carrying water or electricity across
the road can have dire consequenc-
es for drivers.
Why test Cursive Writing?
Iwould like to find out from the
Minister of Education why pen-
manship is now being part of the
marking scheme for the SEA.
Suddenly there is a mad rush
for the purchase of a particular
Cursive Writing exercise book.
While penmanship is a crucial
aspect from an examiner's per-
spective, implementing allocated
marks for Penmanship at this
eleventh hour will contribute
nothing but more pressure on our
already overworked SEA students.
In many cases it is easier to read
print rather than cursive.
I agree children must be adept
in writing cursive, but it must be
emphasised and a skill harnessed
at an early stage. What are they
If we are testing Cursive Writ-
ing, then why are we simulta-
neously testing penmanship?
While it should be part of the
presentation, it is subjective and
it should not carry the marks for
One can only imagine the pletho-
ra of unparalleled risks accompa-
nied by this formidable addition
to the marking scheme of the SEA
Teachers are not trained to rec-
ognise hidden disabilities in chil-
dren, so how can they be expected
to determine if a child's disability
is being reflected in their pen-
For the Minister of Education to
have considered an altered mark-
ing scheme, legibility of the stu-
dents' handwriting clearly must
have been a challenge this year.
Who is to blame?
Why wasn't it detected at an
earlier stage and students trained
in this subject area? What is the
job of the school supervisors?
While it is undoubtedly imper-
ative that students exude a legible
handwriting, the time has been
cut too close.
It is essential to consider the
fact that handwriting was not
enforced and encompassed into
children's work over the past few
This is clearly evident, since
the Ministry of Education has
now initiated a programme called
"Penmanship with a Purpose."
The article in a daily newspaper
dated July 14, 2017 states: "The
initiative to refocus schools' at-
tention on the hand-writing skills
of students targets the develop-
mental benefits of engaging stu-
dents in the discipline of writing
well and how these early inter-
ventions support future success.
WALK THE TALK
Things that make you go hmmm...
Depending on who you
believe, the CL Financial
bailout has cost T&T tax-
payers anywhere between $15 to
$3.2 billion of that figure has
been spent on professional fees
and other associated costs, yet
the last time annual audited
accounts were published for the
CLF group was in 2007!
We quarrel about the Minister
of Tourism's roaming fees and
the Minister of Sport's luxury
weekend in Tobago that both ran
up bills in the tens of thousands
of dollars, but barely complain
about billions of our money lost
in the Clico fiasco! Why is that?
I must repeat this
question yet again.
What is the Honourable
doing? He had all of the
answers when the PP
was in power. Why can't
the Government make a
serious dent on crime at
this time? How are we
to begin consoling the
many families who have
lost their young loved
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