Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 21st 2013 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 21, 2013
Several meetings by Arima Borough
Corporation (ABC) councillors to quell an
on-going "war" between its mayor and
the Member of Parliament for Arima have
failed to yield results.
Mayor Ghassan Youseph said on Thursday
that since his installation in 2010, he has
been at loggerheads with MP Rodger Samuel,
who allegedly told him he wanted to be
prime minister of Arima.
Both Samuel and Youseph are members
of the Congress of the People (COP).
The ABC is also COP-controlled. This
Friday, all 14 corporations will be dissolved.
The infighting comes days after Samuel
had threatened to resign from the COP.
Youseph said that several attempts have
been made to control him, which he will
"That is a problem. How can you solve
Youseph said several plans by the ABC
to develop Arima has been met with stum-
bling blocks. He spoke about the Arima
Administrative Complex which was sup-
posed to have been built on the same site
of the Arima Town Hall.
However, the complex never got off the
ground after Samuel told him that five acres
was needed for the construction of the com-
"Council told him we don t need five
acres. Eventually that fell flat."
Youseph said they also fought over the
upgrade of the Larry Gomes enclosure and
the Arima Velodrome. Samuel, Youseph
said, wanted to upgrade the enclosure, while
Youseph felt repairs to the velodrome was
Youseph said Samuel never consulted the
council concerning the enclosure. The lands
belong to the corporation. Recently, Youseph
said, he heard Samuel announce that tenders
were out for the enclosure.
"When I inquired what he was going to
do he got upset about that."
Youseph said Samuel had planned to con-
struct a roadway and car park on the enclo-
sure, which would not have benefitted
"As far as I am concerned, he (Samuel)
has controlling tendencies that make it very
Last December, Youseph said one of his
councillors wanted to invite the Ministry
of Health to a public consultation on the
proposed Arima Hospital. The council,
Youseph said, passed a motion to hold the
consultation. Youseph said Samuel did not
agree with the proposal and everything fell
by the wayside.
The ABC also had a proposed site for the
Arima market but "somebody else had a
Youseph said while the pulling and tugging
continues, burgesses and citizens were suf-
fering for lack of amenities and infrastruc-
"We ve had enough problems with tribal
politics." Youseph said the COP has to do
a lot of cleansing.
Councillor: COP not leading effectively
Councillor for Calvary Wayne Bertrand
said the COP had failed to lead effectively
and there were too many squabbles within
the party. Bertrand said the war between
both men should have been nipped in the
bud from early.
"Disciplinary action should have been
He said several council meetings for them
to work things out failed miserably.
"They have to get their act together,"
On Friday, COP councillor for Arima Cen-
tral Clinton Jennings joined Jack Warner s
Independent Liberal Party at a public meet-
ing in Cunupia.
In an interview hours before he defected,
Jennings said the rift in the COP and the
ABC continues to be "a sore that was left
untreated. It was allowed to fester."
Arima North East councillor and deputy
mayor Patricia Metivier said even though
the meetings and discussions with the coun-
cil failed to bring results, she appealed to
both men to put aside their differences and
get down to the business at hand.
(See pages A10, A11)
While having a diplomatic passport
signals a world of benefits to members
of diplomatic missions accredited to and
living and serving in a guest country, for
a minister of government it is nothing
more than a quick way to get through
And still in some countries like the US,
they must to go through the same rigours
as all regular passport holders.
A source from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs in the midst of the brouhaha about
diplomatic passports being returned, told
the Sunday Guardian that having a diplo-
matic passport, without being a diplomat
who is a member of a mission, is really no
"A diplomatic passport can be given to
anyone who is travelling and representing
the country in some sphere."
He said diplomatic passports are often
given to sportsmen and athletes and while
that makes them a diplomat in the sense
that they represent the country, "they are
entitled to none if the benefits or privileges
of a diplomat attached to a mission as laid
out in the Vienna Convention 1962."
"Having a diplomatic passport may earn
you some diplomatic courtesies depending
on the country you travel to. There may
be a line used for holders of special pass-
ports, these lines tend to have less people
so you get through immigration faster.
"Depending on the country or your rea-
son for being there you may be given the
courtesy of not having to go through strin-
gent security checks, they may not search
your luggage," the source said.
He added that while that may apply to
some countries, in others it is business as
usual. In the United States there is no spe-
cial line for diplomatic passport holders,
"they line up like everyone else, they get
rubbed down and their bags get checked,"
the source said.
To make the point, he made reference
to a 2006 incident involving Venezuela
President Nicolas Maduro, who, at that
time was the Venezuelan Foreign Minis-
"Maduro carries a diplomatic passport,
he travelled to the US and when he got to
the JFK International Airport, New York,
he was taken out of the line, taken to a
room and searched. Having a diplomatic
passport did not give him immunity, not
even after he identified himself as a gov-
ernment minister and a diplomat."
According to a report on the incident
posted on CNN.com, when Maduro
claimed that the actions of the airport
security violated his international diplo-
matic rights, a White House spokesman
pointed out that the mission working out
of New York should have known better
since "there are procedures and processes
to request airport courtesies for digni-
Trouble in Arima
...as mayor, MP fight
burgesses suffer for amenities
'A quick way
to get through
passport is just...
Arima mayor Ghassan Youseph at his office at the Arima Town Hall
on Friday. PHOTOS: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Deputy Arima mayor Patricia Cedeno-Metivier.
Tears flow freely at funeral of murdered family PAGE A12
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