Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 29th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
UNC candidate for the St Joseph
by-election Ian Alleyne, whose cam-
paign motto is getting the job done,
was chided by residents during his
walkabout in the constituency yes-
terday for starting a host of projects
as a political ploy to get votes.
But, Alleyne said, the area had been
neglected even under former MP Her-
bert Volney and he wanted an oppor-
tunity to deliver to the people.
"If I can't deliver, I will walk," he
Alleyne, the former host of Crime
Watch, went from door-to-door in the
area greeting residents and offering to
immediately address their concerns, which
ranged from poor drainage to crime.
He promised that should he be elect-
ed there would be a total lockdown on
crime and said his track record in this
field spoke for itself.
Alleyne, unlike his opponents, has
access to the resources needed to per-
form right away in the area as his party
is in power, a point he made clear when
he said the people want delivery now
and the Opposition was incapable of
doing anything for them.
He boasted that since being
announced as the party's candidate, he
has been delivering.
Alleyne said he was not concerned
by the early polls which showed him
falling behind in the race and said polls
could not deliver.
Leader of the COP and MP for St
Augustine Prakash Ramadhar was also
on the walkabout to show his support
as he lives in the area. (ZC)
of political ploy
Farmers took to the streets of
the capital city yesterday calling
for the removal of Food Produc-
tion Minister Devant Maharaj
who they claimed was destroying
the agricultural sector.
Farmers from Plum Mitan, Plum
Road, Pineapple Fields in Mausica,
Maloney, Bon Air, in Arouca, Man-
zanilla, Chase Village, Los Iros, Rio
Claro and various farming organ-
isations took part in the demon-
The farmers walked from Wood-
ford Square to the Prime Minister's
Office, St Clair, where they gave
a letter to press secretary Francis
They also walked to the ministry
at Serpentine Road, St Clair, where
they gave a copy of the letter to
the minister's secretary. The letter
listed 18 issues.
The farmers want Vasant
Bharath to be reappointed as the
Food Production Minister. Maharaj
replaced Bharath as the Food Pro-
duction Minister in the last Cabinet
reshuffle by Prime Minister Kamla
President of the Agricultural
Society Dhano Sookoo said the
farmers have made numerous
attempts to contact Maharaj by
telephone and in writing but to no
The society, she said, represent-
ed 86 associations with 12,000
Sookoo said the farmers were
giving the minister two weeks to
respond to their queries.
She said one issue brought up
in the letter was how $1.2 billion
was spent by the ministry and
nothing was achieved.
The letter questioned the where-
abouts of 200 head of goats and
cows from the United States, why
flood relief claims were not paid
to farmers, who were the benefi-
ciaries of the mega-farms and
"We want the minister to tell
us what happened to the $1.2 bil-
lion that was spent on the agri-
cultural sector. We want to know
where that went. Why do we have
to import food when our farmers
here have food rotting?" she asked.
Sookoo added: "These are the
issues you need to address that
are destroying the fabric of our
society and their (farmers) liveli-
hood is threatened.
"We are committed to work but
one hand can't clap. We need the
right initiative for the co-operation.
We will fight to protect a sustain-
able and viable sector."
She is also questioning why a
certain oil company was given a
loan by the Agricultural Develop-
ment Bank when farmers were
"I need you to look into these
things. Also over $50 million has
been given to the National Agri-
cultural Marketing and Develop-
ment Corporation. What were their
achievements?" she asked.
President of the Los Iros Farm-
ing Association and a director at
the Society, Chan Sookoo, said
there were many issues that farm-
ers have to deal with that are not
Chan said lack of water, poor
roads, praedial larceny and land
settlement issues were a major
concern for the farmers.
Bon Air Farming Association
public relations officer Brian-
Anthony Dixon said the farmers
were prey to robbers.
"There is a problem getting
water and you have to get up at
2 am to pump it out of a waterhole
and men are waiting to rob you,"
He said farmers were paying
more than ten times what other
businesses pay to lease an acre of
land for farming.
Dixon said farmers were also
faced with pest problems and
"agouti eating our crops."
He also pointed to several types
of watermelons that he was grow-
ing on his land which showed that
the farmers were capable of plant-
ing different produce.
Food Production Minister
Devant Maharaj said the protest
by the farmers was a distraction
to an ongoing criminal probe.
"This protest has been orches-
trated by ASTT and sympathisers
and does not constitute the farm-
ers," he said.
It was arranged, he added, to
distract attention "from the finan-
cial improprieties and complaints
before the Fraud Squad and I would
not be distracted by non-issues.
"They are investigating financial
complaints under the stewardship
of Dhano Sookoo."
Farmers claim in city protest:
President of the Agricultural Society of T&T Dhano Sookoo address farmers during a protest at Woodford
Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
St Joseph UNC candidate Ian Alleyne speaks with Alvin Alfred, a resident of First
Street, Mt Lambert, during a walkabout in the area yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has
a plan to resolve the shortage of
medical specialists by hiring retired
doctors from the UK to work and
train young local doctors.
Khan said he had already spoken
to Commonwealth Secretary General
Kamalesh Sharma on the matter.
"This framework agreement will
assist that in a very, very large way,"
That, he said, would assist in
addressing the current shortage of
Khan spoke at the signing of a
memorandum of understanding
(MOU) between the two countries
which will allow for the promotion
of trade and investment in the health-
British High Commissioner Arthur
Snell and Foreign Affairs Minister
Winston Dookeran were also present
at the signing at the International
Waterfront Complex, Port-of-Spain.
Khan said under the agreement spe-
cialist training for different fields, such
as neuro-surgical training, paediatric
cardiac surgery, haematology and
forensic pathology, without which, he
added, there would not be a proper
judicial system, would be available.
Khan said: "This partnership allows
the Ministry of Health to fulfil its
objectives of modernising and
expanding in the existing competen-
cies of our healthcare facilities.
He said the UK's National Health
Service was one of the leaders in the
world in areas such as research, devel-
opment and innovation.
One of the first events to occur
after the MOU's signing will be a
UK/Caribbean health trade mission
on November 5 and 6.
He said there were also plans to
collaborate with the UK in the primary
health care system by the establish-
ment of electronic patient records,
alternative access to secondary health
facilities that would reduce the strain
on the emergency rooms, enhanced
neo-natal intensive care units and
installing and managing palliative care
services in hospitals.
The arrangement, he said, would
also seek to address chronic non-
communicable diseases. Snell said the
signing came after a long period of
collaborative work between the High
Commission, the Ministries of Health
and Foreign Affairs and other entities.
Dookeran said the agreement must
be seen in the context of what was
happening in global markets world-
UK retirees to help train young
doctors, says Health Minister
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