Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2013 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 30th APRIL, 2013
Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing says the
city and the country are ill-equipped to handle
any major natural disaster, including flooding.
"Port-of-Spain is nowhere (near) ready for any
major natural disaster, including a major flood,"
he said yesterday.
His comment comes in the wake of the Mete-
orological Office's announcement on Sunday of
the possibility of heavy rainfall and subsequent
flooding, which yesterday raised questions about
the country's ability to mitigate natural disasters.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian by phone,
Lee Sing said: "I think the country does not take
natural disasters seriously."
He added that the State had not made available
adequate resources to "keep drains clean and
Within the city, corporation staff "do their best
to keep it clean but we lack the human and finan-
cial resources to adequately keep it clean."
The city's $198 million recurrent expenditure,
he said, was also not enough to address issues,
such as those, since salaries, rent and other bills
were paid from it. Although he had a $20 million
developmental budget, it too was not enough, he
Lee Sing identified as a major problem the East
Dry River, which, he said, "is in a state of disrepair."
He hoped newly-appointed Works Minister
Suruj Rambachan would make it a priority.
Lee Sing: City
not ready for
Continues from Page A1
Additionally, he said, there needed
to be some strengthening of the leg-
islation to give the ODPM more teeth
in emergency situations, such as the
power to call heavy equipment con-
tractors out in case of disasters.
While ODPM CEO Dr Stephen
Ramroop yesterday agreed evacuation
in some instances was necessary, he
believed it needed to be done in a sys-
tematic and scientific manner.
In a telephone interview with the
T&T Guardian, Ramroop said the
ODPM was unable to command people
to evacuate their homes. He also said
it would be not be feasible to have
people evacuate every time there was
a threat of rainfall.
"People need to develop a culture
of resilience," he said.
Ramroop said people needed to have
homes that were disaster-ready.
The development of early warning
systems, the restriction of new devel-
opments, especially in high-risk areas,
and other initiatives were also neces-
sary to curb and prevent natural dis-
asters, such as the flooding which hit
Diego Martin almost a year ago, he
He said the ministries of Housing,
Local Government and Planning and
Sustainable Development should also
come together to discuss a retrofitting
budget for older buildings to equip
them to modern standards to with-
Ramroop also agreed with Lalla that
the ODPM needed more legislative
teeth but said there was a document
before Cabinet which sought to do
Works and Infrastructure Minister and Local
Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan
yesterday assured his ministries were monitoring
the situation in Diego Martin and other high risk
He said after last August's tragedy the Works
Ministry had been engaged in a lot of work in the
He was referring to the deaths of 66-year-old
Solomon Britto and 31-year-old Everold Bentham,
both of La Puerta, Diego Martin, after heavy
flooding and landslides wreaked havoc in their
Rambachan said citizens also need to be more
careful about where they discarded their garbage
and not dump it in the rivers and drains.
He said he met with the 150 litter wardens
employed under his ministry and he has instructed
them to enforce the law. Littering carries a fine of
Sport Minister Anil Roberts
yesterday hit back at the chair-
man of his party, Carolyn Seep-
ersad-Bachan, telling the Con-
gress of the People (COP) chair
to "leave me alone and look in
the mirror before you attempt
to discipline me."
That was Roberts' response to
an announcement by Seepersad-
Bachan on Sunday she had been
directed by party leader and Legal
Affairs Minister, Prakash Ramad-
har, to ensure all COP MPs
adhered to the highest standards
of party discipline.
She was responding, during a
press conference, to questions
about Roberts' absence from the
COP meeting at the party's
Charlieville, Chaguanas, office.
Ramadhar, who also spoke at the
press conference, said he would
be speaking with Roberts soon
about the matter.
Roberts said yesterday he
would not be attending any COP
event until a matter involving
another COP member, Kevin
Ratiram, was resolved.
Roberts said that matter should
have been taken before the party's
disciplinary tribunal but had not
been dealt with despite an alleged
claim to the contrary by former
party chairman Joseph Toney. He
said other members of the com-
mittee denied the claim.
Roberts said about two weeks
ago, the party's acting general
secretary, Clyde Weatherhead,
said he was in the process of set-
ting up an independent tribunal
to deal with the issue. He said
yesterday he would "not attend
or participate in any COP func-
tion, meeting, fundraiser, or any-
thing until that issue has been
dealt with under the constitu-
"She is the only Cabinet min-
ister in the history of T&T that
arrived late for 148 out of 153
Cabinet meetings," Roberts
claimed. "She is the laughing
stock of the Cabinet of T&T. She
is totally indisciplined and cannot
be punctual at the most impor-
tant meeting in the country."
Roberts also said she was not
representing her San Fernando
West constituents properly as
some of them had visited him in
his D'abadie/O'Meara con-
stituency for assistance.
"So if she is talking about
errant MPs I think she better look
in the mirror first," he added.
He said Seepersad-Bachan
was aware of his reason for not
attending the COP events and
all the party chairman was
required to do was ensure the
tribunal was established to deal
with the matter.
He said he was ready to appear
before the tribunal to assist but
said he wanted to know if COP
was about justice for some and
Contacted by telephone yes-
terday, however, Seepersad-
Bachan said Roberts was telling
untruths, adding he was making
excuses for not attending any
COP event since 2010.
The Cabinet, Seepersad-
Bachan said, had a code of con-
duct and his claim about her
arriving late was not of interest
to the national community as
there were many more important
issues to deal with.
She said Roberts was also
treating the party and the nation-
al council with total disrespect
and behaving as if he had no
responsibility to the COP. The
party membership had contin-
uously expressed concern about
Roberts' absence from COP
events, she added.
She said the matter involving
Ratiram was an old issue which
had already been dealt with but
she had decided to look at it again
in fairness to Roberts.
Roberts ready to defy COP chair and says:
Carolyn can't discipline me
Expert: ODPM needs more teeth In a story published on Sunday, April 28, statements were
erroneously attributed to Diego Martin North/East MP Colm
Imbert, who spoke in Parliament last Friday.
The story was headlined "Imbert talks of 'racial behaviour'
at Works Ministry."
In fact Mr Imbert was quoting the comments, on a
reported threat to change the communications department
at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, from a speech
made by former Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner the
Mr Imbert has pointed out to us: "For the record, I said no
such thing and I have no knowledge what is happening in
that ministry at this time."
We are happy to correct the report and apologise to Mr
Imbert for the error and for any distress or inconvenience it
may have caused him.
GET IT RIGHT
SURUJ MONITORS SITUATION
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