Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 15th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 15, 2014
Former president Arthur NR
Robinson was hospitalised at the
St Clair Medical Centre up to late
Sources said Robinson, 86, who
had been hospitalised several times
in the past few years for high blood
pressure, glaucoma as well as heart
and prostate complications, was
taken to the private hospital by rel-
atives around 9 pm on Thursday.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar visited him at the Eliza-
beth Street, St Clair, hospital around
2 pm yesterday. When she emerged
about 15 minutes later, Persad-
Bissessar said she had spoken briefly
to Robinson and he seemed fine.
"I am very pleased that he
acknowledged when I spoke to him.
He did not speak, but he nodded
his head when I spoke to him," Per-
She said the visit was a "touching
experience" and described Robinson
as a very brave and strong man.
In an interview after the visit,
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, who
accompanied the prime minister,
said Robinson responded well to
her presence and seemed very
Neither Persad-Bissessar nor
Khan was willing to comment on
the details of Robinson s condition
or the reason for his hospitalisation.
But Khan said: "I think Mr
Robinson should be ok for the rest
of the evening."
Persad-Bissessar visited Robinson
a few hours before she laid the
report of the Commission of
Enquiry into the 1990 Attempted
Coup in Parliament. Robinson tes-
tified before the Sir David Sim-
mons-led commission in January
While addressing Parliament
Persad-Bissessar said an inscribed
copy of the report would be given
"It is my hope that the report
will bring satisfaction and consid-
erable comfort to former prime
minister Robinson," Persad-Bisses-
Robinson, who served as prime
minister between 1986 and 1991,
was among the National Alliance
for Reconstruction (NAR) MP and
government ministers held hostage
at the Red House during the armed
insurrection. He was beaten and
shot in the leg during the six-day
ordeal. He served as the country s
third president from 1997 to 2003.
(IRO) president Bro Harrypersad
Maharaj also visited Robinson s
hospital bed yesterday and called
on citizens to remember him in
their prayers. He also appealed to
his fellow religious leaders to include
Robinson in their religious services
on Sunday morning.
"President Robinson has served
this nation and the world in general
in so many ways and we shall be
ever grateful that T&T has produced
such distinguished souls. May our
prayers and meditations give him
strength to recover soon and
courage to his family as well,"
Maharaj said in a press release sent
Robinson's health issues
August 2012---Taken to the St
Clair Medical Centre after
complaining of feeling unwell.
February 2010---Taken to the
St Clair Medical Centre after
collapsing at a funeral in
May 2007---Taken to the
Westshore Medical in Cocorite
after suffering a mild stroke at
his Ellerslie Park, Maraval,
August 2005---Warded at the
Southern Medical Clinic in San
Fernando, nine months after
undergoing endoscopic surgery.
An elderly man held a piece of
cardboard displaying newspaper
reports on the death of a 16-year-
old cricketer, sweat running down
his temples as he faced the Par-
liament building, Tower D, on the
Near him stood a woman hold-
ing a square of bristol board, with
the words "Stand for something"
in bright red letters.
They were not alone. Yesterday,
over nine groups as well as several
individuals stood outside Parlia-
ment, silently protesting several
of the social issues facing T&T as
government officials and ministers
walked past them.
Groups highlighted issues such
as crime, environmental issues,
protection of children, unpaid
salaries, workers issues, political
financing, the Point Fortin highway
and governance. Several protesters
heckled, mocked and jeered at gov-
ernment ministers as they made
their way into the building.
Others tried to question them
but were for the most part ignored.
Activist Kirk Waithe of Fixin
T&T tried to engage several min-
isters. He asked Foreign Affairs
Minister Winston Dookeran to
comment on corruption in Gov-
ernment and Minister of Arts Lin-
coln Douglas to comment on state-
ments he made that ministers
should receive free tickets for
themselves and friends for cultural
Neither answered his questions.
Unemployment Relief Pro-
gramme (URP) contractors held
placards saying they had not been
paid for projects completed
between May and August last year.
"Over 289 projects, 116 of them
were in Chaguanas West during
elections and we have not been
paid yet," said spokesman for the
group of contractors, Danny Per-
A few feet away, Oilfield Workers
Trade Union Communications
Officer Ozzie Warwick stood with
union members protesting the
"poor state of governance."
He warned that on May 23, a
mass protest would take place
dealing with the issue.
"The message is that it is time
to take a stand for T&T. We are
calling on citizens and interest
groups, whatever issues you face,
it all ties in to the poor state of
governance in T&T," Warwick said.
"It is time for citizens to take a
Environmental activist Dr
Wayne Kublalsingh, who leads
the Highway Re-route Movement
in its protest against the Mon Desir
section of the Point Fortin highway,
said the issues being raised yes-
terday were shared by the entire
"We believe in peaceful revolu-
tion, but if we try all means pos-
sible and cannot get peaceful
response we will be forced into a
violent revolution and that is
something we are trying to avoid."
Even Chaguanas West MP Jack
Warner seemed to air his issue
outside Parliament, calling the
People s Partnership Government
the worst government ever.
He said every promise made by
the partnership had been a failure
when it came to delivery to the
"I cannot absolve myself,
because I was a part of that, but
I will live to correct it," Warner
While some ministers and
opposition members were heckled
and booed by the crowd of pro-
testers, some, like junior Works
Minister Stacy Roopnarine, were
ignored, passing without the notice
of the crowd.
Sports Minister Anil Roberts
was one of the few ministers to
engage protesters, walking over to
one of the groups to find out their
"Write me a letter and have it
delivered to me. I am a cabinet
minister and I will talk to the min-
isters responsible about these
issues," Roberts said.
Protest outside Parliament
The Erin Road Presbyterian
School remained closed yesterday
as sanitisation work continued,
after a clerical worker was hos-
pitalised with a diagnosis of lep-
The worker is warded at the San
Fernando General Hospital, Joy
Ramsaroop, president of the Parent
Teachers Association (PTA) con-
For months this school has been
battling a rat infestation problem,
which led members of the PTA to
take their protest to Penal where
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar was launching STAR TT,
on February 11.
The Education Facilities Com-
pany Ltd said the area was sanitised
in February. However, the health
department at the Siparia Regional
Corporation said it was battling a
Ramsaroop said in addition to
the clerical worker falling ill, stu-
dents and teachers also complained
of intestinal problems.
She said the school was tem-
porarily closed for the rest of the
week, after teachers, supported by
the T&T Unified Teachers Asso-
ciation, walked off the job, refusing
to work under those conditions.
After that, she said, workers from
the URP and CEPEP were brought
in to sanitise the classrooms.
However, Ramsaroop said they
were not satisfied with this method
of cleaning, as only bleach and
water were used to wipe down the
desks and chairs. She said the rats
have been running rampant
throughout the entire school,
including the teachers cupboards,
which bleach and water cannot
She said a number of parents,
including herself, have decided not
to send their children to school
until professional cleaners are
brought in to sanitise the school.
Efforts to contact Education
Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh and
his communication officers by
phone all went unanswered.
What is leptospirosis?
According to the Centres for
Disease Control and Prevention,
leptospirosis is a bacterial disease
that affects humans and animals.
It is spread through the urine of
infected animals, including rats,
and can get into water or soil and
can survive there for weeks to
In humans, it can cause a wide
range of symptoms, some of which
may be mistaken for other diseases.
Some infected people, however,
may have no symptoms at all.
Without treatment, leptospirosis
can lead to kidney damage, menin-
gitis (inflammation of the mem-
brane around the brain and spinal
cord), liver failure, respiratory dis-
tress, and even death.
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