Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 18th 2013 Contents A5
Saturday, May 18, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Telecommunications Authority of T&T
(TATT) will soon issue a request for proposals (RFP)
for a third mobile telephone provider. The RFP is
expected to be issued, possibly within a month.
The announcement was made yesterday at the
authority's launch of its public education campaign
themed Be Alert! Be Aware! Be Attentive! in obser-
vance of the 2013 World Telecommunication and
Information Society Day.
Minister of Science and Technology Dr Rupert
Griffith delivered the feature address during which
he made the announcement.
Griffith said along with the RFP for a third provider,
the authority will introduce number portability. This
will allow mobile phone users to retain their phone
numbers when changing from one network operator
to another. Asked by the T&T Guardian how soon the
RFP will be issued, Griffith said possibly within a month.
The authority's chairman, Selby Wilson, who deliv-
ered welcome remarks, told the T&T Guardian, "We
are certainly going out to the market with an RFP
to invite other suppliers to participate in a bid.
Whether we get a positive response or not is left up
to the commercial decision of those who will par-
ticipate in the bid. We believe that the market can
accommodate another provider.
"One of the things we are doing to encourage par-
ticipation in this RFP, we will be offering the 700
megahertz spectrum (4G) which is the 4G, and offer-
ing to the third operator a spectrum in the 800 band
to provide voice services. So, they would have an
opportunity to participate in both voice and data
TATT: Third mobile
provider on the cards
God still reigns supreme in
T&T, according to the Consti-
tution, and gay rights will not
be a part of the Government s
draft national policy on gender
Minister of Gender, Youth and
Child Development Marlene
Coudray, finally breaking her
silence on the controversy yes-
terday, said gay rights were not
a part of the gender policy which
is now before Cabinet, nor were
they likely to be.
Coudray was responding to
questions on a survey by the
Research Services Inc, which
reportedly showed the majority
of citizens were either tolerant
or accepting of homosexuality
and that it was not politically
Coudray, who was at an open
house held by her ministry at
the Centre of Excellence, was
asked whether gay rights would
be included in the gender pol-
"There is nothing in (it) that
speaks to any gay rights. There
were rumours all over the place
that certain things are in the
draft that are not," she said.
"The draft policy is before
Cabinet and those issues were
not part of it, so they are not
likely to come up to affect the
policy at all at this stage."
Coudray said this decision
was not hers, but the unanimous
wish of the Inter-Religious
Organisation (IRO), which rep-
resents 25 different religious
organisations, and a large num-
ber of other faith-based organ-
"It really is not up to me," she
The ministry held two con-
sultations with the religious
groups at Capital Plaza on April
24 and May 3 and, according to
IRO head Pundit Harrypersad
Maharaj, they sent out a warning
in advance to the Government
that it would not get support
for the legalisation of homosex-
Coudray said, "I convened a
meeting with faith-based organ-
isations and the IRO and its
members and we had a very
extensive, open and frank dis-
cussion with them.
"We had to extend the dis-
course to two days and we came
to terms with what they would
like to see (in the gender policy).
They reminded us the Consti-
tution is based on the supremacy
"So those views are docu-
mented to be put forward. Pro-
posals were formulated to be
sent to the Finance and General
The F&GP is a subcommittee
The minister said some word
on the policy would be coming
soon. Asked if a representative
of the gay community had met
with her, she said no one sought
to meet with her as minister.
Asked to comment on the
survey, Coudray replied, "We
need to know the sample size
and all of that."
She said it took 30-plus years
for the gender policy to come
into being but it had never before
reached the level of Cabinet,
which was something to be
She said the delay was due to
an effort to hear everyone's
Maharaj, noting that religious
groups represented a significant
proportion of the population, said
the argument put forward was
that gender, according to religious
beliefs, constituted male and
female, not homosexuals or other.
"We all unanimously agreed
that from time immemorial
humans were created as male
and female, not homosexuals
and all these kinds of things."
Maharaj said Leela Ramdeen,
of the Catholic Commission for
Social Justice, who was at the
consultation with the minister,
referred to the Rome Statute of
the International Criminal Court
which declared that the term
gender referred only to the two
sexes of male and female.
Maharaj said while there
might be objections to the reli-
gious community's position, its
members are holding to it very
"We can't tell people how to
live their lives but we are saying
it must not become lawful.
"If the Government ever
intends to legalise same-sex
marriages in T&T, we are send-
ing out a warning in advance it
will not get the support of the
Coudray: Gay rights out
of proposed gender policy
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray, right, greets radio talk show
personality Tamara Williams at the open house function hosted by her ministry at the Centre of
Excellence, Macoya, yesterday. Looking on is permanent secretary in the Ministry Sandra Jones.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Gay rights are no different from human rights
and to state on International Day against Homo-
phobia and Transphobia that the Government is
not in support of them has upset Colin Robinson,
head of the advocacy group Coalition Advocating
Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso).
Robinson was asked his response to Gender Min-
ister Marlene Coudray's disclosure yesterday that
gay rights were not a part of the draft national
policy on gender and development.
The policy deals with the human rights of men
and women, boys and girls.
Coudray said the religious community had sent
a strong message it was not in support of any gender
rights that were outside of male and female.
Robinson said he did not want to respond to that
because it was nonsense.
"What does the Rome Statute have to do with
a gender policy in T&T?" he asked.
The Rome Statute, put forward to the minister
by Leela Ramdeen of the Catholic Commission For
Social Justice, defines gender as male and female.
"We expected the gender policy to be a vehicle
for dealing with gender-based inequality that targets
the lesbian/ bisexual/gay/ transgender people. I am
treated differently because I love a man who is
male," Robinson said.
"We are treated differently based on who we
love. There are laws in T&T that say non-hetero-
sexual activities are illegal. They are criminalising
sex people have in private."
Clearly upset, Robinson told the Guardian, "For
the minister to make such an announcement on
International Day against Homophobia and Trans-
phobia shows the Government is out of touch with
the people and chooses who has rights, and that
they don't care about a certain group of citizens."
'Govt out of touch
with the people'
Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Row-
ley says the People s Partnership Govern-
ment, and not the dismissed board, must
take responsibility for the "kangkatang"
at State-owned Caribbean Airlines.
Commenting yesterday, Rowley said
changing the board "doesn't do anything
but put us on the first step in a long journey
to getting (CAL) back to sanity."
He said CAL was properly mismanaged
and the appointment of the previous board
to run that billion-dollar enterprise had
been a scandal.
Rowley said: "The outgoing board should
never have been there in the first place.
They were entirely unsuitable."
Rowley said the airline was made to make
the same mistakes the former BWIA made.
He said a viable business plan was devised
for CAL under the Arthur Lok Jack board
and that plan should be reimplemented in
the interest of the airline.
He said CAL was "really doing well" under
the Patrick Manning government.
Rowley said when the People's Partnership
came to power, CAL had "US$150 million in
the bank as its current account and working
cash flow. And that was a healthy situation."
According to Rowley, the PP Government
and not the board, decided to purchase a
number of ATR aircraft from the current
account, and that was not the best way to
finance the project as it resulted in a cash-
flow problem for the airline.
He said the Government also appointed
unsuitable people to the board.
He said over the past three years, "the
minister, the chairman, the board, the man-
agement was just one kangkatang after the
During the same period, he said, Gov-
ernment wasted US$150 million from the
current account and added another $800
million in debt and re-established the Lon-
don route "in a most ridiculous way."
Rowley said he objected to the arrange-
ment to have Air jamaica as part of the CAL
arrangement. Rowley said he raised the mat-
ter in his no-confidence motion against the
Prime Minister last year but no government
minister responded. But if the statements
made by the Opposition in that debate had
been heeded, he said, the board would have
been changed earlier and the airline could
have been in a better position.
Rowley heaps scorn on CAL
Caiso up in arms...
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