Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 3rd 2013 Contents A5
Friday, May 3, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Things turned uncomfortable for
Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee
Sing when he took the media to see
the problems of the PNM strong-
hold of east Port-of-Spain yester-
day. Residents turned the heat on
him and the city corporation.
The tour was to give the media
an appreciation of the challenges
the PNM-controlled corporation
were facing, the mayor said.
Residents pay taxes but continue
to live in squalor, he said.
It was while Lee Sing was standing
in the middle of Clifton Street
addressing the media that the shout-
ing from residents began.
A resident urged a group of Cepep
workers to follow the tour. "Is the
mayor we riding with. He can t go
back on he word."
But a Cepep worker shouted:
"Tomorrow is pay. I not coming.
This is the third time they come and
they didn t do nothing."
A surly young man, using obscen-
ities, asked: "Who is we councillor?
We don t even see we councillor.
Not one thing they do for we. They
only come around election time.
They feel we is clown out here."
Lee Sing answered: "Your
thoughts are precisely my thoughts."
The councillor for the area is
Natasha Young, who was not among
his entourage. The mayor said she
was a schoolteacher and could not
make it to every event.
Dillon Skeete, a resident, said a
box drain project which the Port-
of-Spain City Corporation began
before Christmas last year, was halted
Lee Sing under fire
in tour of Laventille
Government is still await-
ing amendment proposals
from Independent and
Opposition senators for the
controversial legislation to
precept soldiers in the anti-
crime fight, Attorney Gen-
eral Anand Ramlogan said
Speaking at yesterday s
post-Cabinet media briefing,
he said thus far no amend-
ments have been forthcoming
from either Independent or
Opposition Senators, both of
whom have voiced strong
concerns about the legisla-
"So debate will continue
and we will let the chips fall
where they may. We don t
intend to back down from
this," Ramlogan said.
Saying he would wait to
get amendments from the
two sides, Ramlogan said
Government remained open
to suasion and useful sug-
gestions but also preferred to
consider the issue within the
confines of its proposals for
He questioned what
changes on soldiers with
which the Independents and
Opposition senators would
"This is the fifth time I
have asked for this sort of
clarification and nobody has
given it to date," he added.
Ramlogan said while sen-
ators in the Parliament have
been "quarrelling and argu-
ing" about the potential ero-
sion of rights under the bill,
in the public domain, citizens
rights were being abused by
culprits "and nobody saying
He suggested legislators
should examine the bill
through the eyes of people
who were affected and "stop
legislating from aircondi-
tioned cars and villas and
come down to the ground.
"We need to get real and
stop being armchair politi-
cians and pontificating from
on high and face the realities
of the situation," he said.
While confirming this
month s murder rate had
"decreased significantly," the
AG said the murder rate was
still unacceptable for a small
state, particularly since crim-
inals were deeply rooted in
"We therefore need a dif-
ferent strategy to what has
gone before," he added.
Other government officials
from the Senate said debate
on the "soldiers bill" would
likely resume towards the end
of the month, since debate
had to take place on the anti-
doping and beverage contain-
The Lower House is
expected to resume next week
Friday when the Customs
Amendment Act would be
The Chaguanas West seat,
formerly held by former
national security minister Jack
Warner, would also be
declared vacant then.
Government still awaits
independents on soldiers' bill
After Government s move to
amend the libel law, journalists
will only be prosecuted if they
deliberately print something they
know is false, or similarly abuse
their power to engage in vendettas
and print falsehoods, says Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan.
Ramlogan explained that at yes-
terday s post-Cabinet media brief-
This followed Wednesday s
announcement by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar that Gov-
ernment would amend the libel and
defamation law, enhancing press
The amendment prevents jour-
nalists from being criminally
charged and prosecuted under Sec-
tion 9 of the act for malicious pub-
lication of any defamatory libel.
Ramlogan said as the PM had
promised, she brought the amend-
ment to Cabinet yesterday and it
It requires a simple majority vote
for parliamentary passage.
Ramlogan said the amendment
would exempt journalists from
prosecution and possible one-year
jail time under the current Section
9 of the libel law. The public would
still have recourse to protection, via
Section 8 of the law, if journalists
publish facts they know to be
He said the only way journalists
would be prosecuted is if they mis-
use or abuse their power to know-
ingly publish a falsehood.
Ramlogan said journalists would
not suffer prosecution if they pub-
lished something recklessly, irre-
sponsibly, negligently, didn t check
facts or didn t have the whole story,
or even published something mali-
He added: "But if they abuse their
power to undertake vendettas and
deliberately publish things they
know to be wrong, then they face
"The prosecution will have to
prove the journalist/editor knew
beforehand the information they
published was false and deliberately
set out to publish it despite knowing
it was false."
Saying Government had removed
the "onerous" part of the libel law,
which had been in existence for 167
years, for today s World Press Free-
dom Day, Ramlogan said no one in
T&T had ever been charged under
However, he said the existence
of the law had frequently caused
journalists to seek legal advice.
Journalists can still face prosecution for abuse
AG on planned amendment to libel law:
soon after. He claimed a report made
to the corporation that someone had
been shot on the job site was a fab-
"Ask any elder around here. That
is not true. They making the com-
munity look very bad. We don t have
no voice in the back here. We ain t
getting no work, nothing," he added
Lee Sing said the job was halted
because the contractor could not
complete it. "I will ensure it will be
completed in a short time," he said.
Asked if residents would be
employed, Lee Sing said: "Whatever
is possible, we will do."
The mayor showed the media bro-
ken steps, the broken road and
makeshift drainage in the depressed
community. He took the media to
a community centre in Desperlie
Crescent, Laventille, which he said
had been a work in progress for 16
Pupils of the Forest Reserve Anglican School show the Petrotrin Steelband Challenge
Trophy which they won at the Pan For Blue competition among school steelbands at
Coronation Park, Egypt Village, Point Fortin, yesterday. The band played Fay-Ann Lyons' All
Over to lift the trophy. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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