Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 12th 2013 Contents A11
Saturday, October 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Day Party? Outing?
Solid sheeting $860.00
Hollow sheeting $800.00
External corner $975.00
SKYON POLYCARBONATE AWNINGS
Public Services Association (PSA)
president Watson Duke is threatening
to shut down all government offices
Duke issued the threat yesterday as
he spoke with workers at the Licensing
Division at Wrightson Road, Port-of-
He said safety regulations were being
broken at nearly every government
office in Port-of-Spain.
"None of the buildings in Port-of-
Spain have a certificate from Fire Serv-
ices. They will see an orchestrated shut
down of Port-of-Spain, the seat of
T&T. We will close up every single
government building. No man will
respect you unless you know they
could do something," he said.
Employees at licensing office walked
off the job last Tuesday claiming health
and safety violations at the facility and
Duke directed the workers that accord-
ing to the Occupational Safety and
Health Act the employees had a right
to walk off the job.
Duke showed up at the office shortly
after 8 am yesterday when members
of the public were already being served
by the workers.
He pulled out a bullhorn with a siren
and walked though the building advis-
ing employees to leave their work and
"Scatter, sign the book and buss it.
Don t feel sorry for the public because
they don t feel sorry for you. They say
you corrupt," he advised the workers.
"It has no fire alarm here. The roof
is falling to the ground where you can
see the wire mesh in the ceiling. This
building needs to be demolished. We
are not supposed to work here half
day. We are not supposed to work here
at all," he said as he addressed the
workers inside the building.
Members of staff quietly followed
Duke to the middle of the compound.
"Somebody must give an account
why it (the buildings) were never cer-
tified by Fire Services. You can t have
one bogus fire alarm? Where is the
evacuation plan? It ever had a drill?
Where is the muster point?" he asked.
Duke said the building had asbestos
issues, was termite infested and the
roof was caving in.
He said the only refurbishment
made to the buildings were, "painting,
painting, painting and more painting"
He said the building would take an
estimated 1 billion for refurbishment.
Duke held up a letter which was
dated last December and addressed to
Transport Commissioner Rueben Cato
from Fire Prevention Department. The
four-page letter claimed the premises
were in breach of safety regulations
and fire codes.
He said he spoke with a "good"
Senior Counsel who was willing to
take the matter to court.
Duke said he intented to file legal
action against Cato and the permanent
secretary of the Ministry of Transport
In response to the week-long action,
Minister of Transport Stephen Cadiz
said yesterday the premises were visited
by structural engineers and officials
from CARIRI last Wednesday and they
were compiling a report.
"I want everybody to understand
there was no notification from the PSA
regarding any issues. He (Duke) went
down there with no request and took
it upon himself. OSHA were down
there on Wednesday and they deter-
mined what it was. Instead of Duke
finding out in a systematic way, he is
doing it in a bravado, the ramajay kind
of way," he said.
Cadiz said the report would be on
a structural point of view, the air quality
"There are deficiencies that we are
correcting. None are life-threatening.
He (Duke) goes down there every
morning after they start work and calls
them out. We acted in a responsible
manner by getting the surveys done.
He keeps complaining about my inac-
tion," he said.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the
Caribbean must stand united even as member states
guard their separate identities.
Persad-Bissessar said this at Thursday s jubilee
celebrations of the University of the West Indies,
Cave Hill, Barbados.
Persad-Bissessar, a graduate of the university, deliv-
ered the keynote address.
She spoke of the need to "appreciate the value of
strong institutional structures for a sound education,
even as we caution that academic learning is only
part of the journey."
She said as individual nations and as a region,
while "our distinct character has mystified the world
for many decades, we must embrace the need to
advance integration, diversification and inclusive
"As Prime Minister, decision-making must always
past the test of maximum benefit and the greater
interest," Persad-Bissessar said.
Persad-Bissessar said since becoming Prime Min-
ister in 2010, one of her goals was to ensure an
"absolute need for a strong system of education that
teaches not only the need for knowledge, but also
the honourable and ethical use of knowledge."
She said she fully understood that while serving
as education minister in a previous Government
between 1995-2001. Persad-Bissessar said, nine years
later, when she became prime minister, it was one
of the first areas of priority.
She said over the past three years "this has been
driven by my vision for universal early childhood,
primary and secondary school education."
Achievement of that objective required the com-
bination of the physical expansion of the availability
of education, with delivering 100 per cent technology
and internet access to each child entering secondary
school, and the increasing access to Government
support for persons pursuing tertiary level educa-
"The children of Caribbean nations are growing
in a world where they have to compete harder than
we did, for relatively less resources than we accessed,"
She said beyond heritage, culture and ethnicity,
"we are now at a moment in time where education
and social systems must be broad enough to identify
the very different natural and learned skills and
abilities of children."
Persad-Bissessar said the region s teachers had a
critical role to play in the development of our chil-
"We have pushed the boundaries further out by
reforming the system of early childhood education,
an education sub-sector where we are almost at our
target of 100 per cent access," she added.
According to Persad-Bissessar the secondary school
system has taken a quantum leap forward by every
student entering the system receiving a web-enabled
"This has virtually eliminated the digital divide
between them and their counterparts around the
world," the PM said.
"For our children to ably compete in tomorrow s
world, their right of access to technology must be
seen as being equal to their right of access to education
itself," Persad-Bissessar told her audience.
Saying to achieve that "our region s political think-
ing, approach to economic planning, and relationships
with other countries through well-woven diplomatic
and trade relations must continue to advance."
Persad-Bissessar said Caribbean people should
never succumb to short-term benefit over our larger
responsibility for long-term sustainability.
PM bats for greater
Duke threatens to shut
down govt buildings in PoS
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, chats with Jesiah Andrews, second from right, front row, as she
stands with a cross section of other Trinidad and Tobago students outside the Walcott Warner Theatre after
the 7th annual Distinguished Alumni Lecture at Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies,
Barbados, on Thursday night. PHOTO COURTESY THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
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