Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 10th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Three Caribbean leaders, including
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,
left Port-of-Spain for Johannesburg,
South Africa, yesterday to attend today's
state memorial service for Nelson Man-
Some 59 world leaders are expected to
attend the service at the FNB Stadium in
Mandela died last Thursday and will
be buried following a private funeral on
Haiti's President Michel Martelle, the
Prime Minister of The Bahamas Perry
Christie, deputy Prime Minister of St Lucia
Philip J Pierre and Grenada's deputy Prime
Minister Elvin Nimrod also left on the
Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Row-
ley and Opposition Senator Farris Al-
Rawi, permanent secretary in the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs Margaret Parillon, chair-
man of the Emancipation Support Com-
mittee Khafra Kambon and journalists
Khamal Georges, Juhel Browne, Andrea
de Silva and CNMG director Kevan Gibbs
also travelled with the Caricom delega-
They left on a special Caribbean Airlines
charter shortly after noon yesterday, via
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the aircraft
was expected to be refuelled before con-
tinuing to South Africa.
The delegation is expected to arrive in
South Africa at 6 am South Africa Stan-
dard Time, the service begins five hours
Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simp-
son-Miller and the presidents of Guyana,
Donald Ramotar, and Suriname, Desire
Delano Bouterse, left separately, Persad-
Bissessar told reporters at the diplomatic
lounge at the Piarco International Airport
She said she was honoured to be at the
helm of the delegation going to say farewell
Rowley was not at the news briefing
called by Persad-Bissessar.
Al-Rawi was seen chatting with other
members of the delegation before they
Mandela Day is to be observed in T&T
next year as a tribute to the former South
Africa leader, who died from complications
connected with a lung infection. The date
for the T&T celebration of his life has not
been announced as yet.
The Mandela memorial service is to be
attended by 59 world leaders, including
US President Barack Obama, Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro, Cuba President
Raul Castro, Kenya President Uhuru Keny-
atta and India President Pranab Mukher-
jee.There will be public viewing of Man-
dela's body tomorrow and Persad-Bissessar
and other Caribbean leaders will be among
many who will pay their last respects.
The T&T national flag is to be flown
at half-mast today and Wednesday on
Government buildings and schools as a
mark of respect for Mandela.
The Prime Minister has also asked Min-
ister of National Security Gary Griffith to
ensure that the flag was flown at half-
Persad-Bissessar has appointed Local
Government Minister Marlene Coudray
to act as Prime Minister during her
absence. The delegation is expected to
return home on Thursday.
Pennelope Beckles-Robinson says she is not considering
leaving the People's National Movement (PNM) and remains
a loyal member of the party.
She made the statement while defending her decision to
attend Government Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal's international
table-top beating and curry duck competition in Debe on
Beckles-Robinson, the PNM lady vice-chairman, said her
appearance at the event had nothing to do with politics.
On Saturday night, Beckles-Robinson stunned many when
she turned up at Fun Splash Water Park, Debe, for the com-
She was greeted with loud cheers by the mainly United
National Congress (UNC) crowd as she was welcomed by
Beckles-Robinson, speaking with the T&T Guardian in a
telephone interview, assured that her loyalty to the PNM
remains firm and she had no intention of switching allegiance
from the Opposition party.
She said: "Nobody has approached me, absolutely nobody
from any political party has approached me at all and even
if I were approached the point is I am a member of the PNM
for the 23 years and I remain a very loyal member of the
"I have had no approaches and quite frankly it is not up
for consideration, leaving the PNM or joining any political
party. That is not at all within my contemplation."
Moonilal, in a brief interview with the T&T Guardian, also
assured that Beckles-Robinson was not being "poached" by
He said: "She was guest and we were happy to have her
and she brought greetings to the people of Oropouche East
and it was a wonderful evening.
"(Saturday night) centered on the quality of the curry duck
and the wide and versatile skills of the table-beaters. We con-
tinue to enjoy a cordial relationship with her (Beckles-Robinson)
after many years of parliamentary friendship."
Invited by PNM supporter
Beckles-Robinson explained that on Friday she was invited
to the event by Fun Slash owner, and known PNM supporter
Vijay Ramai, and on Saturday while on her way to La Brea
she decided to attend the competition.
"I only stayed for half-an-hour," she said.
Beckles-Robinson mingled with Moonilal, Education Minister
Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Gregory Bissessar, husband of Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan and Minister of Arts Lincoln Douglas during the
event. She was seen sharing a hearty laugh with the ministers.
She also delivered brief remarks at the event which was
received with thunderous applause from the audience.
Beckles-Robinson said she was not surprised by her recep-
tion, since she believes that as a Trinidadian she can go any-
where in the country, even in an opposition party's heartland
and not face hostility.
No rift with Rowley
Last week, PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley surprised many
when he axed Beckles-Robinson from the Senate. This prompt-
ed speculation that it was a deliberate move by Rowley after
Beckles-Robinson signalled her intention to contest leadership
of the party.
Addressing this issue once again, Beckles-Robinson assured
there was no "animosity" between herself and Rowley.
She said: "There is absolutely no question about my support.
He is the political leader. He has my fullest support.
"We still maintain a very good relationship and we had
discussions on it (her removal from Senate) and I was fully
aware of what he was going to do."
She said she did not see the problem with her contesting
leadership in the PNM, since it was Rowley who initiated the
one man-one vote system in the party and declared all positions
"He is the one who has made it very clear in terms of
these positions being vacant and as a leader that is what he
has said and I think that all credit should go to him for that,"
she said. (See page A6)
Sacked CEO of the Eastern Regional
Health Authority (ERHA), Dr Ameena
Ali, was back in her position yesterday,
after Health Minister Fuad Khan stepped
in to calm an impasse within the author-
ity.In a release yesterday, the ministry said
the decision came after Khan met yes-
terday with Ali, chairman Dr Stephen
Bhagan and members of the board.
It said issues that were of concern to
all parties were discussed at the meeting,
which it described as cordial and advisory,
adding "everyone had the opportunity to
speak openly and freely."
The release said several issues were
raised, some of which were resolved, while
others required further clarification and
detailing. It added, however, that after
the meeting it was agreed the letter of
termination to Ali would be withdrawn.
A retreat will also be planned in the
near future to ensure continued positive
working relationship, good governance
and proper industrial relation practices
with the ERHA.
The board had announced its decision
to fire Ali over the weekend, noting it had
come after repeated complaints of poor
performance. Specialist ERHA staff,
including doctors and nurses, had report-
edly threatened mass resignations over
the issues raised.
The ERHA covers the Sangre Grande
Hospital, Mayaro District Medical facility
and 15 clinics within the region.
Penny: I'm not
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, centre, and the President of the Haiti Michel Martelly, third from left, pose for a photo
following a press conference at the Piarco International Airport yesterday, after announcing plans for their trip to South Africa.
Also in photo are, from left, deputy Grenada prime minister Elvin Nimrod, Minister of Local Government Marlene Coudray, Prime
Minister of The Bahamas Perry Christie and deputy St Lucia prime minister Philip Pierre. Coudray will act as PM in Persad-
Bissessar's absence. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Regional group for Mandela memorial today
PM proud to get
ERHA CEO reinstated after board meeting
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