Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 18th 2018 Contents news A11
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tempers flared in the Senate on Tuesday after
Leader of Opposition Business Senator Wade
Mark accused Government of operating the Secu-
rity Services vice president Nigel De Freitas had
to suspend the sitting for 15 minutes so members
could calm down.
In his private motion, Mark called for annul-
ment of a Freedom of the Information (FOI) Ex-
emption Order on the SSA which went into effect
on December 14. He said the order appeared like a
thief in the night and represented an assault on the
rights of the citizens as well an attack on freedom
of the press.
The exemption bars anyone from obtaining in-
formation on the SSA under the FOI Act.
When Mark said the order showed that the PNM
is running a secret private service “similar to SS
Gestapo under Nazi Hitler in Germany”, Attorney
General Faris Al-Rawi rose to object and referred
to Standing Order 46.4.
Mark responded: “I don’t understand how 46.4
coming into this? Are you a Gestapo?”
The Opposition senator was cautioned by De
Freitas but did not end there.
“I have now started,” he declared.
De Freitas asked Mark to retract his statement
and apologise to the House, which he did. How-
ever, as he rose to resume his contribution, he
remarked that he had only just started but the
Government was getting jumpy.
“There are dark intentions on the part of the
Government to undermine the rights and free-
doms of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he
shouted across the floor.
Again Al-Rawi objected, quoting the same stand-
ing order. De Freitas gave Mark a final warning
and urged him to be careful with his contribution.
Mark replied that he was expressing his opinion
and he maintained that the order was “nefarious.”
Al-Rawi responded under his breath, but Mark
shot back: “No! You cannot talk to me! Get out of
De Freitas immediately intervened and told
Mark to take his seat as the Senate erupted into
an uproar with loud exchanges between the Gov-
ernment and Opposition benches. The sitting was
suspended for a few minutes to allow members to
regain their composure.
When the sitting resumed, Mark said the SSA
can do anything and get away with it as 37 people
had been fired last December.
He said between 2015 and December 2017, the
agency spent $500 million of taxpayers’ money
“and we can’t get information on this agency be-
cause the Government removed its checks and bal-
ances. We see this as a total disgrace.” See page A16
With the Water and Sewerage
Authority (WASA) already being
overstaffed by 2,000 employees,
the State-owned company is on a
drive to utilise all of its staff and
get rid of contract workers.
This was disclosed by Minister
of Public Utilities Robert Le Hunte
during his address at Tuesday’s
launch of the authority’s e-Billing
Service and Rapid Response and
The new App, where one can
pay their respective bills, report
leaks and request truck borne
water will be ready for download
on android phones and on iOS de-
vices by month’s end.
Commending WASA’s staff for
being able to develop the app
internally via its Information
Technology Department, the min-
ister recognised another internal
achievement where WASA is hav-
ing its staff carry out sanitation
The authority’s Operations Di-
rector, Sherland Shepherd, also
supported the minister’s state-
ments by adding that to repair
the 2,600 leaks identified as of
WASA will now implement night
shift staffers from 8 pm to 4 am
to have repairs in respective com-
munities repaired, including one
crew in Tobago where about 200
leaks have already been identi-
In the North, he added, there
will be three crews as it covers a
large area with about 500 leaks
having been identified.
“My objective is doing more
with less and therefore you have
seen we are attempting to, be-
fore we talk about sending home
workers, utilising them in a more
effective manner,” Le Hunte said.
He also noted that management
will also seek to have the existing
staff help fix the ageing infrastruc-
ture. Also, frontline employees
will undergo customer service
training and implement supervi-
sory measures to ensure that im-
proved customer service relations
are carried out to the public.
Le Hunte also took the opportu-
nity to scold workers about their
work ethics and communication
“Employees, you are the ones
to move the authority forward...
We all need to get together, work
together, recognising the prob-
lems that we have because we are
not delivering the level of service
that the population expects from
us,” Le Hunte said.
“We need to understand that
we all are servants to the people.
We have to interact with the pub-
lic and in trying to fix their needs,
to do it with a certain degree of
passion, enthusiasm and speed.
Let the population see by virtue
of our actions the transformation
that we are trying to make in the
organisation,” he added.
WASA deploys night shift workers to repair leaks
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