Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 10th 2018 Contents A18
Saturday, March 10, 2018
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Acting President Christine Kangaloo’s call for Chief
Justice Ivor Archie to delay his sabbatical leave, until
substantive President Anthony Carmona can respond to
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s queries on the issue,
may be the calm before the storm.
Indeed, judging from Rowley’s body language in
Parliament yesterday, it seems he may be close to
making up his mind on the matter—whether it be
invoking Section 137 of Constitution, or at the very least,
rescinding the sabbatical leave, since it would appear it
was granted on a premise which did not exist in judicial
The PM had previously made it clear he would
not interfere in the impasse between Archie and his
charges, since guarding the independence of the
judiciary was critical given the implication of the
impeachment of someone in such high office.
However, even in the face of the fact that the
allegations of misbehaviour levelled against the CJ
are yet to be proven or discredited, one cannot help
but feel it is only action through Section 137 that will
assuage public concern about how it is being dealt with.
The judiciary’s concern about the public’s failing
confidence in it over these matters are certainly not
ill-placed and it could be that stepping down, should
impeachment not be initiated, may be the only way to
bring the situation back to some sort of normalcy.
Reality hits home again
News of the death of abuse victim Rachel Madoo
yesterday brought home the stark reality of just how far
we are from attaining the goal of the millions of women
worldwide who were celebrating International Women’s
Day this week. Shelter from the often relentless pursuit
of abusers is but one of the issues which fall under the
broad banner of safety, through legislation, for women
going through such situations worldwide.
We have heard these stories all too often—victims in
abusive situations who seek the sanctity of protection
orders and other social mechanisms, only to find
themselves still at the mercy of their abusers for varying
When will we finally be able to change the narrative
on this matter?
Support Cedros fund-raiser
This newspaper lauds the T&T Under-20 team’s
decision to host a two-match fund-raiser for victims
of the recent coastal erosion phenomenon in Cedros.
While some eight affected families have received
housing assistance from Government, many of them
had complained about the lack of response to their
plight from the national community, since they lost the
majority of their belongings during the event. We thus
urge support for the Under-20’s endeavour.
Calm before the storm?
Members of the Girl Guides Association of T&T during a march hosted by the San Fernando City Corporation in celebration
of Inernational Women’s Day along Harris Promenade, San Fernando on Thursday.
PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Mid term marked—PNM, UNC
That bewilderment confirms the dis-
tance between the administration and
the “ground” and the fact that John
Public—in recession—is more sensitive
to bread and butter issues than latest
corruption-busting. How PNM handles
the reconnection challenge remains
Certain PNMites bank on turna-
round with Imbert’s mid-year review—
by end of April—which will indicate
economic status. And correspondingly
yield political projections.
With the oil price around US$61—
more than the 2018 Budget basis of
US$52, hope is for a better cushioned
political road for Government “...Be-
cause if we continue drifting, we’ll drift
to defeat,” one adviser said.
Apart from increase of Opposition
stocks—largely assisted by decrease of
Government’s—the Opposition’s pro-
file has been adjusted.
New faces—David Lee, Barry Pa-
darath—are Parliamentary frontline
chargers. Opposition Leader Kamla
Persad-Bissessar’s solidified her lead-
ership winning internal polls (not with-
out controversy), and improved local
government holdings in the East-West
UNC now also has marginal seat su-
pervisors Jearlean John (La Horquetta),
Gerald Ramdeen (St Joseph), chairman
Peter Kanhai (Tunapuna).
From mid-term herein, the political
rating war becomes much sharper.
And the marks which count will come
not from image-shapers at the top, but
from John Public on the “ground”.
following tomorrow’s Muslim groups’
rally themed “National Stand against
Oppression and Terrorism”.
PM’s outreach on Wednesday—
among aspects on which his leadership
may be judged—would have profiled to
his National Security Council who’s
who in the Muslim community, who’s
for and against what and how best
relations can be improved. Govern-
ment and groups will be held to any
assurances made since—especially fol-
lowing consolidation among Muslim
sectors—mishandling on any side isn’t
Security improvement’s one aspect
of PNM’s general election manifesto
yet to become full blown. Certain plans
from each manifesto category have
been worked into Budgets 2016-2018,
but many others—including a code
of conduct for MPs—remain pending
along with legislative agenda pace (ex-
pected this year.)
A handful of Cabinet changes have
occurred with McDonald’s, topping
scores. Spotlight speakers have shifted
from Finance’s Colm Imbert and At-
torney General Faris Al-Rawi–to OPM’s
Young. Several “newbies” are yet to
make their mark. Some like Tourism’s
Shamfa Cudjoe—have been marked by
While Government has counted
among achievements an anti-cor-
ruption thrust, maintenance of
public sector jobs and energy initi-
atives, administration unpopularity
has also been acknowledged at cer-
tain levels, befuddled at continuing
criticism and pushback on assorted
hey didn’t all look two and
half years older. But some
MPs have weathered the
first half of the term better
After assuming Gov-
ernment and Opposition roles on
September 7, 2105—30 months ago at
Wednesday’s mid-term mark, UNC MP
Rudy Indarsingh in Parliament yester-
day, was convinced the Opposition’s
handled it better.
“Look at you—since September 7,
2015, you looking bruised and bat-
tered, tired, tired! Too much wuk?!
Indarsingh probed PNM’s Randall
“Leave me alone nah boy—I looking
tired?!” Mitchell replied energetically.
Prior to proceedings, however, In-
darsingh was less jovial, complaining
of an alleged tiff with Education Min-
ister Anthony Garcia—and continuing
rumbling throughout debate.
“Couva South!” cautioned new Min-
ister Marlene McDonald who’d been
heartily welcomed back by a clutch of
backbench colleagues flocking around
Another clash occurred later when
UNC’s Roodal Moonilal attempted
to rechristen Prime Minister’s office
spokesman Stuart Young.
Moonilal, called upon to withdraw
the term “badjohn” and apologise,
duly did—with the unamused Young
also apologising to the public gallery
for the “immaturity”, he said occurred.
With 29 odd months left of the
term, both sides will be preparing—in-
ternally and externally—for upcoming
two years of elections and possibly a
Barataria by election.
For Government, holding steady
with economic stability battling, cer-
tain setbacks and stumblings have
dogged the term: delayed projects in-
cluding flagship Sandals resort, ferry
fiascos, murder rate spiralling—and
other security issues compounded by
the recent Carnival threat.
How much Wednesday’s meeting
between Muslim representatives and
the Prime Minister will improve rela-
tions remains to unfold. Particularly
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