Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2013 Contents A29
Saturday, November 16, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Appealing for everything
cricket match with no umpires?
Citizens appear free to behave in any fashion: drive
like the devil chasing them, have numerous children
they cannot afford to take care of, drink and smoke
like there is no to-
morrow and when
the inevitable disas-
guessed it---call on
the Government to
solve their problem.
What is the Gov-
ernment's approach? Well, their strategy mirrors that
of an Indian spin bowler---appeal for everything.
The Minister of Transport appeals for safer driving;
the Minister of Health appeals for better living habits;
the Minister of Education appeals for teachers to do
their duty; the Minister of National Security appeals
for police officers to perform; the Prime Minister ap-
peals for everything.
The problem is nobody seems able to enforce any-
Beetham, Morvant, Laventille
must marginalise themselves
Until the residents of Beetham, Morvant, Laven-
tille and Sea Lots make themselves marginal con-
stituencies they are going to continue to live in the
The marginals that are hotly contested get goods
and services and promises galore.
As it is the PNM that "owns" the votes in these
communities have zero motivation to do anything
about their condition, and no other political party is
going to waste political capital fighting a foregone
People of Sea Lots, Morvant, Beetham, Laven-
tille.....wake up! You want development? You want to
matter? You want politicians working for your vote?
Vote for anybody but the PNM next elections and
see what happens after.
And even if you give your vote to another party
and they in turn do nothing for you, how is that any
worse than what you've experienced for the past 51
Phillip Edward Alexander,
Social & Political Activist
Diego Martin river
has to be cleaned
This is the Diego Martin river at the Westmoor-
ings end showing islands of dirt and debris higher
than the river banks.
Where is the water supposed to go in the advent
of heavy rains? What will happen to Diego Martin
again in the advent of "bad" weather? Where is the
water supposed to go if the river is already full,
higher than capacity, with silt?
The Diego Martin Regional Corporation/Ministry of
Works, we implore you to remove this silt from the
river to mitigate against flooding.
The 65,000 people who live in Diego Martin de-
serve much, much better service than this!
Phillip Edward Alexander,
Social & Political Activist
A homeless man makes himself comfortable as he takes a midday nap on one of the benches along the Brian Lara Promenade,
Thursday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Below is the article which
should have appeared yesterday.
Whatever defence is put forward on
behalf of crime fighter William
Bratton for his statement that "...only
three things work for no money or low
wages: a tool, a fool or a mule", the fact
is that there still exists in our country,
small though the number may be, civic
minded persons who are prepared to
accept inadequate pay packages in the
name of public service.
Some have expressed the view that
Bratton s catchphrase has been taken out
of context and is being given far more
prominence than deserved. An appropri-
ate retort might be that it was incum-
bent on the learned gentleman to ensure
that he did not offend or insult people
who take their duty to country seriously.
Unless of course, all those in the
audience who applauded upon hearing
his remark are comfortable residing in
one or more of his categories.
I am confident, however, that dedicat-
ed professionals such as teachers, nurses
and other public servants who all
deserve salary increases would more
than likely have taken offence without
compromising their positions that they
As a former State Prosecutor in the
Office of the Director of Public Prosecu-
tions, I know the hardship faced by
honest and competent professionals who
have decided that it is more important
to work in the interest of justice than to
fulfil their material needs.
And I am aware that to date, despite
minimal increases over the years, the
salaries of State Counsel remain woeful-
ly unacceptable. This is an urgent mat-
ter that must be addressed by the
Salaries Review Commission.
But why should any indictment be
laid or derogatory remark made against
professionals who are genuinely com-
mitted to service at all costs?
It is correct to say "that at the end of
the day we all have to eat" but for those
persons who give the welfare of their
country paramount importance, it is
unfair to throw them into any of the
three categories as proposed by Bratton.
When I worked in the office of the
DPP, I often lamented that State Coun-
sel across the board were not properly
remunerated and that the various offices
and departments were haemorrhaging at
the middle because of the exodus of
highly trained attorneys who could no
longer accept the low wages.
Instead of merely complaining, a
group of state attorneys revived the
Association of Legal Officers (ALO) and
took our case for the provision of better
terms and conditions to Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj, the Attorney General
at that time.
Although he appreciated our position,
he explained the difficulty in acceding to
all our requests including the figures we
proposed for increased salaries.
Eventually, there were increases to the
pay packages, albeit significantly less
than requested. It was agreed that the
acceptance of the increases would not
deter future submissions for better
working conditions, including salaries
and we continued to make our point
about being underpaid whenever appro-
In order to increase their monthly
incomes, some attorneys chose to have
additional jobs such as lecturing, and
therefore were forced to make even
greater sacrifices in order to ensure that
their core responsibilities and duties as
state attorneys were not compromised.
To use the Bratton benchmark, how-
ever, such individuals would be labelled
"fools" because instead of "digging
deep", they ought to have left the serv-
ice and moved to greener pastures. It is
their "bad" for remaining in a place
when there were other more financially
viable options available.
However, had such persons left the
service, many of the institutions that
function today would have been virtually
shut down to the detriment of adminis-
tration of justice.
Thankfully, there are individuals who
would rather carry a greater workload
and have less sleeping hours so that
their respective organisations are not
starved for highly trained and honest
professionals. But again, by Bratton
standards---those people are no more
And of course the fact that these per-
sons are willing to work assiduously for
little pay means, applying the principles
of Bratton, that they are in fact "tools"
meaning that they are used or controlled
So why all the fuss about a little
remark that many would choose to let
Because in this nation, we allow too
many insults to be hurled without con-
sideration of the adverse repercussions.
the trial judge in directing the jury, stat-
ed that "to call a childless woman an
"old mule" is perhaps the grossest insult
that can be thrown at a woman in the
appellant s station in life."
Similarly, it is most revolting to chas-
tise civic minded individuals who place
little emphasis on the mighty dollar.
It is hoped that should Bratton cost
taxpayers a large sum of money which
he deems to be commensurate with his
service, that the payment would not
make the citizenry appear to be "tools,
fools or mules."
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