Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 27th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
The Education Ministry is still looking
for a suitable location for the Maracas
Bay Early Childhood Care and Education
(ECCE) Centre, Yolanda Morales-Car-
valho, the media relations co-ordinator
for the Ministry of Education, said yes-
She made the comment as she claimed
reports that the facility would have been
constructed by the Education Facilities
Company Ltd (EFCL) in time for the school
year, or was postponed, were inaccurate.
"If you check the Internet it has been
said many times over," Morales-Carvalho
said in a telephone interview.
She added: "The Ministry of Education
is standing by the agreement to build the
school. However, it was previously agreed
that a location was needed to be identified
for the construction of the centre by a
committee of members from the com-
"The land that was initially identified
was not suitable and we are still looking
for a suitable location.
"If you realise, in the case of the new
ECCEs, they must all have the same stan-
dard dimensions, layout and features to
Activist and member of the Congress
of the People (COP), Brian Garner, said
the sod had not been turned on the pro-
posed site, although the school had been
earmarked for construction and should
have been built two years ago.
He said the problem the residents
encountered was that most of the land at
Maracas Bay was state land and the
bureaucracy involved in getting the des-
ignated land from the Commissioner of
State Lands signed over to the Education
Garner said once that was done the
school could be built as everything else
had been done, including surveying, Town
and Country Planning approval, water and
He said: "We re just waiting to get that
piece of paper from the Commissioner of
State Lands to go to the Ministry of Edu-
cation, then to the EFCL who supposedly
has a contractor ready to start building.
Garner said a lease was signed with the
Ministry of Community Development to
temporarily house the 30-40 children at
the Maracas Bay Community Centre.
He said, however, that the centre was
so far off the beaten track that he feared
they may lose some children s attendance.
Garner said there was already a problem
with children not going to school and it
was imperative the community got the
document from the Commissioner of State
Lands to go ahead with the new facility.
He said a piece of land off Bay Road
was ideal as it was near the main road
and parents could pick up and drop their
Garner said not even a prefabricated
structure could be built in time to accom-
modate the children before the new term
but he was hoping a permanent building
for the school would be ready by the next
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says
he does not know why Independent Liberal
Party (ILP) interim leader Jack Warner would
feel his party is any different from other
parties the People s National Movement
(PNM) has fought.
That was Rowley s response to questions
on Warner s statements last Saturday that
the Opposition and the Government were
coming together because the ILP was a threat
Warner made the comment during a walk-
about in Laventille. He was referring to the
Opposition and the Government s collaboration
on finding a solution to the crime problem.
Asked to comment on that at a press con-
ference at the Opposition Leader s Office,
Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Rowley was dis-
"The PNM is a political party that has been
here for 50 years. I don t know why Warner
would feel the ILP is different to other parties
the PNM has fought."
Rowley said while the collaboration between
the Opposition and the Government was being
done in a "deeper" way this time, there had
been collaboration before.
He said under the Patrick Manning PNM
regime, the government went to Parliament
with a package of crime legislation.
The UNC, which was in Opposition at the
time, said it would not support it unless the
government agreed to review the arrangements
for appointing a Commissioner of Police.
The process then was that the commissioner
was appointed by the Police Service Com-
mission but the prime minister had the power
to veto it.
Rowley said the Manning administration
eventually agreed with the UNC to change
Also, the present Opposition has collabo-
rated with the Government on several pieces
of legislation, more than in previous times,
The Opposition Leader made it clear, how-
ever, that he saw a distinction between col-
laborating at the level of Parliament and "get-
ting involved in the day-to-day activities of
the executive," particularly in relation to east
There has been no agreement yet between
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley on a
Talks are still ongoing and are just explorato-
ry for now and the only thing the two have
agreed on so far is to work expeditiously on
whatever they agree.
"Nothing has been agreed upon," Rowley
yesterday told the media at a press conference
at the Opposition Leader s Office, Port-of-
Rowley was referring to talks, which he ini-
tiated, between him and the Prime Minister
to find an urgent solution to the crime problem
he has deemed a crisis.
"We have a crisis on our hands. There is
excessive criminality and it s having a negative
effect on all lives," he added
Rowley said it was hoped an agreement
would be reached when the Government and
Opposition met again on Thursday and he
had a sense the Government would agree to
some of the Opposition s policies and disagree
with others. From indications, it appeared the
two sides would disagree on the role of the
Defence Force in crime-fighting, he added.
Yesterday, Rowley said the Opposition
remained firm in its view that the Defence
Force should not be given the same powers
as the police, though soldiers could, when
necessary, work together with the police.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan last Sat-
urday said he was of the opinion the Defence
Force had a greater role to play in the fight
against crime because the police have proven
to be less than effective and less than suc-
Rowley yesterday outlined the ten-point
plan the Opposition presented to the Gov-
Topping the list is a request for the Gov-
ernment to abolish as quickly as possible the
existing legislation on the appointment of a
Commissioner of Police.
Rowley said the present law was convoluted
and opened itself to foreigners.
New legislation should also give the Com-
missioner of Police tenure, moving away from
the "ten days" mentality (in which only acting
commissioners of police are appointed for
Noting that good leadership was a prereq-
uisite for a properly-managed Police Service,
he said: "I feel this is something that should
be done urgently.
"This action should be immediate and
urgent so as to allow the appointment of a
suitable national who will have proper tenure
and who must set about to bring effective
management of the human and other
resources made available to the Police Serv-
"This will boost the morale of the men and
women assigned to policing and can help
restore confidence in the Police Service and
its prospects of success."
Rowley said law enforcement was the key
to effective crime-fighting. The invasion, lock-
down, retreat, picking up people in "graps"
and releasing them in "graps" method were
not adequate policing, he added.
The other nine points in the PNM plan are:
• An immediate manpower audit of the
Police Service, dealing with issues of promo-
tion and acknowledging the need for an infor-
mation-gathering unit, such as the Special
Anti-crime Unit of T&T.
• Activate existing laws to establish munic-
ipal police units in the 14 local government
bodies and the Tobago House of Assembly,
of 100 officers a corporation for increased
patrolling and information-gathering.
• Amend existing legislation to give greater
powers to the Police Complaints Authority,
including the right to independently prosecute
offending police officers. The effort to eradicate
unscrupulous officers must be done with
• The immediate establishment of a stand-
ing crime suppression joint select committee
of Parliament to oversee the security system.
• Amend existing law to make witness tam-
pering a specific offence with the severest
• Amend the law to make the forcible evic-
tion of people from their premises a specific
• The Government s return to a sustained
implementation of the Urban Renewal Plan
for East Port-of-Spain, using recommenda-
tions from the Ryan Report on crime.
• The Government must commit not to
• The Government must be clear on its
position on anti-gang legislation.
• Accept the Caribbean Court of Justice as
T&T s final court of appeal.
...dismisses Jack's collaboration claim
No site for
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, right, talks with Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh,
left, Opposition MP Marlene MC Donald, second from left, and Senator Lester Henry after a
press conference at the office of the Opposition, Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
No agreement on crime plan yet---Rowley
'Crisis on our hands'
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