Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2018 Contents A20 letters on sunday
Sunday, March 25, 2018
During the debate of the four
bills that the AG recently laid in
Parliament on the "Registration
of Land," I heard the Leader of
the Opposition speaking about
the approval process of land sub-
I was very pleased to hear her
speak about the fact that there
is a duplication in the approval
process by sending plans to the
CMOH (County Medical Of ice of
Health) Department and then to
LHA (Local Health Authority). I
am perplexed as to why a prac-
tice that was stopped in the 1970s
has returned in the 21st Century.
The Public Health Ordinance is
a 1915 Ordinance, which often
clashes with other agencies like
Town and Country and EMA.
This is one of the sticking points
existing. Because very often,
health of icers want amendment
to T&C approvals, just madness.
What merit could sending plans
to the CMOH add to the building
process in 2018? No one seems
to know. I visited the Couva Cor-
poration to collect a plan that
was refused by CMOH and I was
told that CMOH had sent back
over 200 application in less than
a year without approving them.
This was after staying there for
over two-plus years. Many con-
tractors, surveyors, and private
home owners see the sending of
plans to CMOH as a backward
step with absolutely no merit.
Anyone who went through this
process will agree with this. I
would like to say, however, that
since Mrs Robinson-Regis has
taken over the Planning Ministry
there is a de inite improvement
in the speed and general ap-
plication process at Town and
Country departments through-
out the country. But we still have
the frustration of dealing with
CMOH, especially when every
corporation has an engineer and
building inspector. I wonder if
plans are sent to CMOH to give
work to the CMOH of icers.
I know there were some com-
mittees set up to streamline the
building process. And I want to
congratulate the Government on
this. But it's almost two years this
committee has been set up to
streamline the building process.
Why is it that not all corporations
send plans to CMOH if it was re-
ally a requirement? I would like
to remind the Government that
when the construction sector
starts to boom, the entire coun-
try starts to boom. Don't frus-
trate the very sector that could
stimulate the economy.
In my recent letters I have been lamenting the
darkness of racial politics derived from a con-
venient arrangement between tribe and leaders
for patronage, privilege, pro it, and power,
continuing ad in initum in this country, and
would have asked rhetorically whether there is
any light of hope to free us of this evil, dream-
ing in the process of an Evita (Evita Peron who
had the adulation of the masses in Argentina)
who would lead us out of this bondage.
And lo and behold, as if my dreams were
about to come true, our own Evita in the form
of the new President has come on the scene
bearing the light of hope in the message she
articulated in her inaugural speech. Here, the
theme of her address, drawing on the poignant
message of the lights of Divali, was the people
cultivating their own personal light, their own
enlightenment as it were, doing so by draw-
ing inspiration from the achievers around us,
in being exemplars in the roles we play, and
making a positive difference in those roles by
surrounding ourselves with an aura of peace
to counter the suffocating violence around us,
with a special word to the media, acknowledg-
ing their critical role, to be enlightened in their
approach to their important function in shap-
ing the society.
It is interesting that, respectfully, her appeal
seemed more to the citizens of this country,
and by implication, less to the leaders, a not
unreasonable conclusion drawn from her com-
ment that, "I well understand that your (the
people's) reservoir of patience with holders of
high of ice has all but run dry (Express, March
20, p 17)." And maybe too, again respectfully,
this appeal directly to the people reflects on her
awareness of her role as being apolitical, even
as Head of State, not being able to influence
policy in the legislative sense, or more accu-
rately, not to interfere in the politics because of
established tradition. But of more telling signif-
icance is the fact that this appeal to the hearts
and minds of the people to chart their own way
forward seems an acknowledgement of a hith-
erto subdued truth that the people constitute
the society and not their leaders, and in true
democratic style of "government for the peo-
ple, by the people," they must chart the way
forward. Again, by implication and with the
greatest respect, the leaders must be the serv-
ants of the people who will have acquired from
what the President would have recommended
in her address, the light, or the enlightenment
if you will, to choose their leaders based on
character, competence, and leadership. and
move away from the curse of tribal af iliation,
as is won't.
But even as the President's message of light
paving the way through the darkness is like my
dream come true, I am no dreamer, and I know
that with all the goodwill the President has spo-
ken, it is the politics and the whims of political
leaders that are the reality.
For the perks of racial politics are almost ir-
resistible, but maybe her call is the magic that
would produce the light, indeed the enlight-
enment, to make us aware that such is mere
dross, and true gold lies in the light we can
exude to make our country a better place.
Dr Errol Benjamin
Q: Domestic violence has reached a crisis level in T&T.
What do you think can be done to positively address
"I think that men should be taught how to treat women
with respect and value them for their worth and ability."
Arifta Seepersad, acting vice-principal
"Sadly, men, women, private and public sector have failed.
Public education and anger management programmes;
upkeep prevention programmes; court processes must be
efficient (heavy penalties to the guilty.) Corporate T&T must
facilitate Employee Assistance programmes (EAP) sessions to
staff. To the abused: SPEAK OUT."
Marlene Chin, assistant vice-president, corporate
"It is important to find out why abusers perpetuate abuse.
People should be educated properly and provisions should
be made for safe houses for those affected. Counselling is
important to deal with this escalating problem for all affected."
Judith Nath, businesswoman
"Change law enforcements response to reports,
establish strict penalties for domestic violence,
increase funding for victim support services, and
help them to become economically independent."
Tegan Medina, licenced land surveyor
"The State must provide the necessary resources at the
local government level in every community so that both
victim and perpetrator can receive counselling."
Oral A Saunders, enrolled nursing assistant
"We have to be our neighbour's keeper. Look out for those
around you and assist them in getting help to deal with
life problems before they escalate into violence. Learn to
protect and defend yourself."
Mary Poonwassie, housewife
"It is never okay for someone to hurt or threaten you. If you
feel unsafe, recognise there is a problem. Talk to someone
trustworthy. This is the first step in getting help. It might just
save your life."
Andy Diaz, pastor
"Curbing and preventing domestic violence must be multi
sectoral; sustained focus on changing cultural norms,
attitude and obsolete legal provisions that promote
acceptance and encourage violence."
Debra Sahadeo-Deena, records and information
Please send your comments and suggestions
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