Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2018 Contents A16
Sunday, April 8, 2018
There is no end of stories revolving around the ferry
services between T&T. Every day there is a new
development regarding this critical communication link
between the two halves of our nation. The Cabo Star's
schedule has been erratic and the return of the T&T Spirit
has been shifted again and again, while the re on board
the Trini Flash has damaged the reputation of this facility.
Add to that the uncertainty surrounding the arrival of
the Galleons Passage and its deployment.
Prime Minister Rowley sought to put things in
perspective when he declared that it was not true to say
that Tobago's shelves were running low on supplies. In
fact, he con rmed that the situation was more one of
stories being peddled by the media and the Opposition.
These ferry woes beg the question whether we are serious
about ensuring reliable links between the two islands.
We have examples of well-run ferry services right next
door. Residents and visitors enjoy a very reliable connect
around St Vincent and its many Grenadine islands.
Reports are that there are regular services operated by
the private sectors and that they have not had the kinds of
troubles that we have been experiencing.
It may be time to look to the "small islands" for lessons
and guidance in how to operate such a critical link and
repair the damage that has been done. We can only hope
that the arrival of the Galleons Passage will be the start of
a more positive phase in the movement of passengers and
goods between the two islands.
Are we serious about the ferry?
In the years of the West Indies Federation, the Caribbean
demonstrated that it could stand together as one nation.
Unfortunately, that grouping collapsed and several of
the countries, except for Montserrat, would gain full
The legacy of the Federation remains with us in the
grouping of these same states under the Caribbean
Community and Common Market that was birthed right
here at Chaguaramas. The grouping has had its ups and
downs but on re ection achieved more cohesion in a
shorter space of time than did the states now known as
the European Union. The reference to Dominica and other
Eastern Caribbean states as "small islands" is disparaging,
to say the least, since in that country's case it has a larger
landmass than Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and the
Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts Nevis.
We should put an end to such references and recognise
that it is not about size but an ability to be a nation-state.
So let's continue to rally around Dominica and other
member states of our Caribbean community and do so
with genuine empathy for the challenges that they face
from time to time.
National pride is one of the greatest values we can have
as a country. When it appears in the form of world-class
performances by our sportsmen and women it is an
opportunity for all barriers to fall down in our homage to
these champions. Let's give them the support at the early
stages of their development so that we can enjoy longer
rides of pride.
Homage to our champions
That breaks the law five times over.
a) Illegal access to a computer
system b) Illegal data interference.
Sending unauthorized data.
c) Identity theft related offence.
d) Violation of privacy. e) 'serious
emotional distress' in clause 18 is so
vague that almost anyone can come
under its net, so a religious person
can feel 'emotional distress' over semi-
nudity and your teen can be charged
and be subject to ten years in jail and a
million dollars in fines.
Example 2. The politician.
If a politician claims 'serious
emotional distress' over a meme
that you receive and share ridiculing
him, you could be liable and
charged $300,000 or face three years
Example 3. The journalist.
(Related to the politician).
Clause 8 could be death of
investigative journalism. Now that
everything is stored on computers,
say goodbye to all transparency in
governance. Once that data is deemed
private by government or public
servants, or statutory authority, a
journalist, simply by receiving a leaked
document by a 'whistle blower' is as
guilty as the person sending it. Both are
subject to a two-year jail sentence and
a 100,000-dollar fine.
The burden of proof through-
out lies on the accused. That has
an unconstitutional feel about it.
The ines are ixed.
In this form it makes criminals
of all of us, muzzling perhaps the
only institution of our democracy
that actually works.
the country saw during the 1990
coup attempt when a radio station
kept us going. Our voice is needed
with greater urgency than ever
before as we slide into anarchy
as among the most murderous
countries worldwide without oil
to cover the rot.
In the clamour of voices on
the Internet we need a Cyber-
crime Bill. The Internet has made
journalists' out of everyone, ran-
domly, often irresponsibly. For
example, teenage boys have com-
mitted suicide after being outed as
being gay, libel and slander laws
broken with impunity.
Enter the Cybercrime Bill 2017.
The ostensible intent of the bill is
laudable---to protect us all from In-
ternet, and/or computers, and cell
phones including child pornogra-
phy, revenge porn, hate speech,
incitement to violence, blackmail-
ing, protection of national secrets,
company classi ied information,
cyber bullying, computer related
forgery, identity theft, sending vi-
ruses, and spam.
Terrifyingly, the bill criminal-
izes not just whistle-blowers and
journalists but you, me, everyone.
It is draconian, vague, and wide
in scope, similar to legislation
passed in repressive regimes.
Think Turkey, China, Thailand,
E ypt, Russia.
Example 1. The teenager on
Take your average teenager who
'frapes' his friend by pretending
fully felt like a personal betrayal
perhaps because the news came
while I was looking at the Cyber-
crime Bill 2017. Her death felt like
a death knell for journalism itself.
In smoke- illed rooms and pubs,
in newsrooms and typewriters in
London, my International Journal-
ism colleagues and I cut our teeth
on the butt end of the anti-apart-
heid movement, cold war, gen-
ocide in Rwanda, the struggle in
Northern Ireland, the intifada, the
irst Palestinian uprising against
Israeli occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza, the Rodney King
verdict and LA riots, a live Gulf
war and the internet deluge.
Winnie and Nelson Mandela,
above all, were synonymous with
many journalistic beginnings.
They were emblematic of what
would be our ideals---power of a
complex, matriarch like Winnie as
reviled as she was revered; causes
bigger than the journalist; strug-
gles for humanity, watchdogs for
the oppressed and vulnerable;
holding governments to account,
a voice for the voiceless.
In T&T despite low pay, high
price to health and personal
lives, long hours, deadlines, high
stress, veiled threats, journalists
continue to provide a mirror to
this nation in the public interest,
as watchdogs and fall guys. Jour-
nalists across media have broken
story after story, of misuse of bil-
lions of dollars of public funds,
and outright corruption, way back
from Johnny O'Halloran to the
Airport scandal, from Udecott,
to SportTT, and everything in be-
We are jaded from being ac-
cused of partisan reporting by
successive governments. We take
our role as the ifth estate and a
pillar of democracy seriously, as
A participant in the easter bonnet parade hosted by San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello yesterday is assisted as she
walks up Lord Street to Harris Promenade, where the parade ended. PICTURE RISHI RAGOONATH
Small island pride
Managing Editor Julian E Rogers
Guardian on Sunday Editor
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