Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 22nd 2013 Contents A26
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 22, 2013
PEACE AND JOY AT CHRISTMAS
The annual Love Movement Christmas concert took place at Adam Smith square on December 14. Here,
children hold candles symbolising the peace and joy of the Christmas season.
PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
What started off as a water leak has become a huge pothole for vehicles in
Belmont Valley Road near First Lane. If left unattended, this road will soon be
impassable. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
Fishermen and Friends of the
Sea (FFOS) are shocked that
the source of the ongoing oil spill
has not yet been discovered days
after the disaster began.
It means that as we write our
members hardship and the degra-
dation to our once sacred envi-
ronment is increasing.
The impact of an oil spill is
deadly to all life in the environ-
ment and to human health. We
are left in a quandary regarding
several unanswered questions.
Can the Chairman of Petrotrin
please advise our beleaguered
1. What has Petrotrin done in
the past ten years to address the
20,000+ slow leaks from improp-
erly laid or partially decomposed
oil pipelines which were publicised
ten years ago by the past Chair-
man of the EMA, Prof Agard?
2. Can the Chairman of
Petrotrin say with certainty
whether the present oil spill
emanates from one of these
20,000+ eroded pipelines? Can
Petrotrin shut down these lines
immediately until the spill is con-
3. Bearing in mind the compen-
sation paid by BP to stakeholders,
including fisherfolk after its recent
catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico, can the Chairman now
advise the nation what compensa-
tion it will pay to our affected
4. Can Petrotrin share its emer-
gency response protocols?
5. Can Petrotrin explain why
their clean-up operations are
focussed on only one beach,
Queens Beach, whereas more than
ten beaches are affected to date?
6. Can Petrotrin say what is the
chemical dispersant they are using
and what is the environmental
impact of this chemical on the
7. Based on the fact that
pipelines have been leaking with
the knowledge of the Board of
Directors for at least a decade,
will the EMA now investigate the
Hon Minister of Energy, the
Chairman and the CEO of
8. Residents who live on the
shoreline have not been relocated
because Petrotrin is not providing
security to protect the evacuated
homes. Can the Chairman please
advise the public what are the
relocation guidelines for affected
residents in the event of an oil of
gas disaster such as this?
FFOS supports responsible
monetisation of our oil and gas,
but wonder why so many have
been forced to suffer for so long
with the apparent silence of the
Secretary, Fishermen and Friends
of the Sea
QUESTIONS FOR PETROTRIN
I want to add to Sarah Park's cogent
letter in a newspaper of Thursday 19, ap-
propriately headlined: "Murdering justice
with psychiatry," in which she seems to
suggest that application of the law often
amounts to a denial of justice.
In her letter in reference to the
Dwayne Lewis case, she points to the in-
adequacy of the mechanism to deter-
mine the criminally insane and how that
process can often be exploited to "frus-
trate expedient justice."
I would like to add to this by asking:
how is it that the law can make so many
allowances for the offender, granting
him a reprieve and a real chance of
avoiding criminal prosecution if he is de-
clared insane after the act by a flawed
evaluation system, while the family con-
tinues to agonise over this prospect and
the victim lies cold?
This travesty which springs from the
application of the law is reflected in
other ways, as in the following two fun-
damentals in the justice system.
The first is the issue of evidence as a
determinant of guilt, which the justice
system demands; but how exploited is
this requirement in favour of the crimi-
nal, with witnesses either complicit, in-
timidated or eliminated altogether, and
with the forensic component to evidence
gathering equally inadequate?
In applying the law in this context, the
would-be rapist might be allowed to go
free, while the victim is traumatised for
life.The second is the issue of guilt "be-
yond reasonable doubt," another funda-
mental of the justice system. Here, the
law allows the would-be criminal to go
free if the evidence points to 99.9 per
cent guilt but 0.1 per cent doubt over
Could there not be a form of sentenc-
ing proportionate to the degree of guilt?
And there are other instances of this
travesty in the application of the law, like
the often used "confidentiality clause,"
protectionist in intent, but often a denial
of information that can lead to criminal
prosecution; and on the same wave
length, the issue of libel, again protec-
tionist and legitimately so, but often
used as a "gag" mechanism against the
divulgence of damaging information.
This contradiction in the application of
the law is an excellent research area for
post-graduate students, for the latter
must not only "learn" the law and apply
it; they must also interrogate the law to
unearth its inconsistencies, and strive to
achieve a better balance in how the law
can serve the people---all in the interest
of true justice.
Dr Errol Benjamin
Taxi fare hike unfair
Yesterday I learned with much
glee and appreciation that the Gov-
ernment had ordered a 20 per cent
reduction of prices of three National
Flour Mills products next week.
However, my dreams of a finan-
cial reprieve were dashed when I
learned of an increase of the fare on
the Edinburgh 500 Phases 1-4 to
Chaguanas Main Road route.
I do understand that taxi drivers
provide a valuable service and
should be adequately compensated.
However, this price increase is
not justified. I live in Phase 2 and
after learning of the fare hike I dis-
embarked the vehicle to walk home.
The driver of the vehicle maliciously
shouted after me: "That is a long
walk, eh darling."
I continued on my way and ar-
rived home within 12 minutes. Quite
frankly, for any able-bodied and
healthy person not laden with
goods, that is not a lengthy walk.
Also, taxis to Port-of-Spain and
Curepe are $9 and $7 respectively.
How, then, is a journey not even a
half of either of the aforementioned
trips, worth $4?
Furthermore, in my estimation,
95 per cent of Edinburgh 500 driv-
ers are "PH." They are not burdened
with taxes or other charges that "H"
drivers must pay. Most roads in
Phases 1-3 are well paved and main-
tained. So what exactly prompted
this change in fare?
I can find no justification for this
increase. If the drivers believed the
price increase was a valid one, they
should have informed the commu-
nity of their reasons before enforc-
ing the change in fare, preferably by
posting letters/notices on well tra-
versed places, for example, by Pop's
To the driver who callously told
me: "Is just $1," I'd like him to know
that as a young, unmarried and
childless professional, the fare hike
may not have an adverse effect on
me. However, for many citizens of
our society, that extra $1 may affect
their ability to send their children to
school on a regular basis.
If every service provider in-
creased their prices by "just $1,"
how will most of us survive?
I am writing and speaking as the
Chief Executive Officer of ADM Import
& Export Distributors Limited, and past
president of the Supermarket Associa-
tion of T&T.
I thank the Prime Minister, Kalma
Persad Bissessar, on her Christmas gift
of a 20 per cent reduction in price on
NFM rice, flour, and oil.
On Friday last, many colleagues in the
supermarket industry asked me for ad-
vice, as some of their customers have
been abusing them as a result of this
I advised them to contact the sales
staff of National Flour Mills and ask for
clarification on how to proceed, regard-
We tried to contact National Flour
Mills, but were told the lines were busy
most of the time.
I am kindly asking the management
of National Flour Mills to make a posi-
tive statement on:
How will price reductions be dealt
with for all the stocks already delivered?
Do the reductions extend to bak-
eries, pizza outlets, restaurants, and the
manufacturing industry, or only the re-
I respectfully propose that any future
changes in prices be communicated to
all those involved at least 24 hours in
advance, or before it becomes public
Chief Executive Officer
ADM Import Export Distributors Ltd
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National Flour Mills: Please clarify rebates
Balance scales of justice in victims' interest
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