Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 9th 2013 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, September 9, 2013
President of the Public Services
Association Watson Duke has high
expectations that Finance Minister
Larry Howai s 2013/2014 fiscal pack-
age will be a "public officer s budget."
Addressing the media after the sign-
ing of a memorandum of understanding
(MOU) with the National Agricultural
Marketing and Development Corpora-
tion (Namdevco) at Debe on Friday,
Duke hinted at mass protest if the Gov-
ernment failed to cater for the settle-
ment of outstanding debts to public
The MOU gave rise to a four per cent
increase in the wages of monthly-paid
officers for the period January 1 to 31,
Duke said if the PSA meeting with
Howai to present their budget list failed
to send the right signals, "then we will
take a stage and tell them how we want
to be treated.
However, he was willing to give
Howai the benefit of a doubt, "that he
will give some signal toward us in the
budget so we are looking foward to
those signals, toward the agricultural
He said he expected the budget to
provide more disposable income to pub-
lic servants, including an allocation for
the reclassification of Namdevco
employees and salary adjustments from
a long-awaited job evaluation in the
"We have had some discussions with
the Finance Minister and we have
advised him on the expectation of public
officers and the expectation of the PSA,"
"If those signals do not come, then
we expect to at least speak of those
issues in a different way on a different
platform. Not just outstanding debts,
this budget should signal the direction
for public officers within the country.
We are looking for a clear direction.
"As the PSA we are quite careful to
ensure that public officers retain as
much disposable income in their pock-
ets as possible and we want public offi-
cers to have at new identity, a new
vision of self."
Duke said the PSA had a 40-year-
old matter for reclassification, "which
was being dodged by many former pres-
idents of the PSA and many former
governments who claim to love the
country and love public servants and
have totally defied the interest of these
"Now we expect it to be settled with-
in the budget and this budget allocation
so we are listening for something in
that budget regarding that," he said.
Pay $$ owed to
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, project-
ing a "tough" local government battle, has said the
Government has made missteps and failed in some
quarters to "sell" its message.
The PM said so last Thursday, noting local gov-
ernment elections are being held at PP's midterm.
"A low point in the popularity of most governments
as evidenced recently in the United States...But just
as that administration bounced back to sweep the
polls, the PP stands poised to do the same," she said.
The PM said she expected a tough local government
battle and it was PP's objective to ensure every com-
munity had representation ensuring accelerated devel-
opment plans met the target.
"We were elected with the highest of expecta-
tions...one can say our coalition is victim to its own
success at raising the bar in what the electorate now
demands in the new dispensation," she said.
"So while there have been missteps along the way,
the PP has achieved, or is about to achieve so many
things for people's betterment; but we recognise good
news doesn't always make for great headlines. Who's
to blame? We are. We've failed in some quarters in
selling our message, in informing you adequately of
all that has been positively taking place. We've also
failed to spend enough time among you sharing ideas
and learning from you."
The PM said that would change and her Cabinet
reshuffle was to accelerate delivery to meet public
"If 18 hours a day isn't enough for us to deliver,
then we'll have to give 20, find a way to power nap
to recharge and deliver, deliver, deliver. No excuses.
No explanations. Just execution beyond the call of
duty. That's our mantra now," Persad-Bissessar said.
PP can bounce back in local govt polls---PM
An elderly patient who stole another patient s
handbag while being treated in the casualty depart-
ment of the San Fernando General Hospital has been
placed on a $3,000 bond to be of good behaviour
for one year.
Chandrabhosh Maharaj, 63, an epileptic, who arrived
at the hospital in an ambulance complaining of chest
pains, blamed his actions on the medication admin-
istered to him at the hospital, saying it had him con-
He pleaded guilty to stealing a woman's $200 hand-
bag, which contained a $200 cellphone, a $200 watch
and $120. The incident happened at the Accident and
Emergency Department on Thursday around 7.20 am.
The woman left her handbag in a cubicle in the
hospital and went to have an X-ray done.
When she returned the bag was missing.
Estate Constable Anders Lezama observed Maharaj
acting suspiciously and searched him. In a bag, in
Maharaj's possession, the constable found the woman's
Maharaj was taken to the police station where he
Maharaj told the magistrate: "I was a patient. I was
getting IV (intravenous fluid) for epilepsy and I have
a chest problem. One of the doctors advise me to go
in a room under the medication. I was all confused.
The nurse tell me to come in a next room and I pick
up all the bags thinking was mine. I was not thinking
under the medication.
"I apologise for my mistake...I never thief before
in my whole life."
Maharaj said he also suffers from Hepatitis C and
is taking treatment for his alcohol problem.
Patient, 63, bonded for stealing patient's bag
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, left, talks with Sati Seemungal, president of the Palliative Care Society of
T&T, centre, and Dr Karen Cox, the society's secretary at the annual "Poor Man's Dinner" which was held
at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday night.
PHOTO: DARREN RAMPERSAD
POOR MAN'S DINNER
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