Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2017 Contents A18
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Head of News Shelly Dass email@example.com
Editor Irving Ward -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Editor Business Andre Worrell --
Robert Alonzo -- email@example.com
Darren Bahaw -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports Editors email@example.com
Email the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsroom (daily) telephone 225 4465, ext 2042,
2043, 2003, 2005
Newsroom email email@example.com
Newsroom (Sunday) telephone 225 4465, ext 2030,
Sunday Guardian email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax 225 3147 50
Address Guardian Building, 4 --10 Rodney Road, En-
Managing Director Lucio Mesquita
Circulation Manager Cashyap Sharma
Sales Manager Sonja Romany
Port-of-Spain classi ieds
22 24 St Vincent Street, (PO Box 122)
Telephone 225 4465, ext 4232, 4235, 4251, 4254
Chaguanas Sales Of ice 225 4465, ext 6002, 6003
San Fernando Bureau 225 4465, ext 6101, 6104,
Internet address guardian.co.tt
The images that circulated over the weekend of secondary
school students bullying, physically attacking and robbing fel-
low colleagues were truly shocking.
They all seem to have originated from Siparia West Second-
ary School and we expect that, as promised by Minister of Edu-
cation Anthony Garcia, action will be taken.
The fear is that this may not be an isolated case, with bullying
continuing to be a major problem in our schools.
With mobile phones being ubiquitous nowadays, the upload-
ing of pictures of bullies' actions gives a new twist to the prob-
lem. After all, it doesn't seem to be good enough to bully; some
now think it is even better to show everyone how bad they are.
The challenge for the schools and the authorities is consider-
able: it has never been easy to stop bullying in schools and mo-
bile phones can be hidden from checks by teachers and staff.
However, more attention must be given to this issue for many
good reasons. The obvious one is that no child should be at the
mercy of abuse or attack by other children whilst at school.
And, especially given the rise in crime in Trinidad and Tobago,
schools must be where children learn that violent behaviour,
physical (or any other) abuse and stealing are not acceptable in
Failure to do so may only turn our schools into breeding
grounds of future adults who think they are entitled to take
whatever they want through violence and intimidation.
President Carmona is right to be disgusted at the fake story that
circulated about his wife's supposed death in a car crash.
Sadly, this is not to be the last fake news to circulate of such
bad taste. The internet opened a fascinating world of opportu-
nities to learn and discover but many also realised early on that
it's a perfect space for bad behaviour, especially through social
It's unlikely that fake news---irrespective of how tasteless it is---
will cease to be a problem, as controlling the internet is not an
easy task (and perhaps not to be attempted either).
This also makes traditional media organisations more, not
less, relevant in the digital era. Checking a story's veracity
remains a key responsibility of any newsroom and, although
we are far from perfect and will get things wrong from time to
time, the deliberate placing of harmful and untrue stories is a
step in one direction no editor wants to take.
Social media hoaxers, though, don't share the same views.
Prime Minister Keith Rowley was right in asking T&T citizens to
continue to assist our brothers and sisters in need across the
Caribbean, following the destructive path of hurricanes Irma
and Maria. The support so far has been considerable. We can
do more, though. Above all, we must remember the rebuilding
of people's lives will take a long time.
The easiest mistake is to think that the problems are over as
soon as the media attention moves away from such disasters.
That's when our Caribbean relatives need even more help from
Members of Ste Madeleine Secondary School dance team perform a local folk
dance entitled Bhangra during the preliminaries of the Folk Dance category at
the 47th Annual Junior Arts Festival, NGC Sanfest, Creative Arts Centre, Circular
Road, Mon Repos, San Fernando, yesterday.
PICTURE TONY HOWELL
Apparently, if you
believe the 2017
Budget, there is no
Minister of Health in
T&T. This is surpris-
ing. The present
Minister has made some progress
in the past two years. Item, his
campaign against fast foods, small
as it is, and limited to sweet drinks
There does seem to be a Min-
istry of Health. It was allocated
$6.02 billion. But, search high,
search low, I could ind nothing
else about health. Sure, there
were hints. Government seems to
have the "hots" for "hospitals".
They intend on building hospitals.
Soon we will have a "hospital" for
every community. Diego Martin
hospital; Queen Street hospital
(sorry, Queen Janelle "Penny"
Commissiong hospital); Barataria
hospital; San Juan hospital; El Do-
rado hospital; Chaguanas hospi-
tal; Barrackpore hospital; Cedros
hospital; Mayaro hospital. End-
less "hospital", with six bed and
a non-functioning x-ray machine,
staffed no doubt by Venezuelans
running from the socialist para-
dise next door.
Meanwhile the "private hospi-
tals" going to get properly taxed
for the irst time since 1960 and
the immediate and politically in-
correct response of the owners
is "the public go have to pay for
that". How stupid is arrogance?
They just made the Minister of Fi-
nance look good. You know how
dif icult that is to do?
That is it. No summary of where
we are in health. Number of hos-
pital beds in the country? Health
Centre plans for increased open-
ing hours? What our needs are?
Areas of de iciency? Excuses?
Explanations? Apologies? No
plan, no direction. Just we build-
ing more public hospital, for the
"poor" people and we taxing
the private ones we have, for
the "rich" people. Yet the closed
Couva "Children's" Hospital costs
us TT$430 million a year". But we
building more. This is insane.
I had expected to hear more
about this Non-Communicable
Diseases (NCD) programme that
keeps popping up in the papers.
You know, the one where they say
we eating too much fast food from
foreign which is making us sicker
and poorer? According to the Min-
istry of Health Rapid Assessment
of the Economic Dimensions of
Non-communicable Diseases in
Trinidad and Tobago, conducted
by the Inter-American Develop-
ment Bank (IADB) Trinidad and
Tobago, the economic burden
from diabetes, hypertension and
cancer to TT is about TT$8.7 bil-
That's a lot of money and in July
this year was estimated by the
Ministry of Health to represent
ive per cent of GDP. Priority # 1.3
of this National Strategic Plan for
Prevention and Control of NCDs
is: "increase availability, accessi-
bility and consumption of healthy
foods" and it is estimated that a 50
per cent reduction in diabetes and
hypertension, achieved through
"sustained prevention interven-
tions" can result in savings of "al-
most TT$2 billion in just labour
Of course these savings will not
begin to happen for many years,
not until the present children be-
come adults and for that you have
to stop them pigging away on fried
chicken, potato chips and juice.
According to the Budget, over
the period 2003 to 2016, our
food import bill was an estimated
US$8.91 billion, TT$56.9 billion or
around TT$4 billion a year. How
much of that goes to the fast food
companies is apparently a secret.
What measures are being taken to
reduce that bill, especially now
that foreign exchange is scarce?
Yet food companies have no dif-
iculty in obtaining foreign cur-
rency whilst the ordinary citizen
has dif iculty obtaining US$ for
sophisticated medical treatment
On Saturday, October 7, the ever
redoubtable Gail Alexander pub-
lished an article on a speech given
by President Carmona's wife at
the United Nations this year. "T&T
should strive for food labelling leg-
islation and allow tax breaks on
healthy food imports with higher
taxes placed on the unhealthy
options," loudly declared Mrs Car-
mona. Well done, Madame.
Cut down our food import bill.
Save foreign exchange. Tax fast
food. Subsidise farmers to pro-
duce cheap, healthy food. Surely
these must all be part of your NCD
programme? Not just stopping
sweet drink inside the school.
Dr David Bratt
Bhangra dance Fake health?
Links Archive October 9th 2017 October 11th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page