Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2014 Contents A7
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The measure is expected to be debated in the
Senate next week, leader of government business in
the House of Representatives, Dr Roodal Moonilal,
told the T&T Guardian yesterday.
Told that some Independent senators were
concerned about the legislation, Moonilal said while
the People's Partnership Government remained
committed to advancing the legislation, it would
listen to the concerns of the Independents when the
matter came up. He said the Opposition was
expected to support the measure, having done so in
the Lower House last week.
Moonilal said he was expecting "a good debate
and we'll take it from there. At this stage I don't
know any compelling argument that has been
lodged in the public domain but we are quite
prepared to advocate on behalf of those bills."
Moonilal said if the Independents had a different
view it was their right to express that view in the
Senate. "We look forward to hearing their views on
these matters," he added.
Moonilal said the Government could not pre-
commit to reconsidering the legislation.
"We have already considered (and) if there are
compelling arguments raised by anybody one will
want to listen to the argument."
He stressed, however, that the matter had already
been "considered and resolved by the House of
An Opposition senator said the matter was dealt
with in the Lower House and the PNM was not
expected to have any major concerns with the
legislation when it was brought to the Upper House.
DEBATE SHIFTS TO SENATE
Bigford performs a
version of Merchant's
One Superpower at
the launch of the
TriniJazz Project CD
at the Little Carib
Thursday. A sold-out
audience was treated
to a full performance
of the CD, which
Williams and Rodney
with Bigford. The
album is produced by
Michael "Ming" Low
Chew Tung. PHOTO:
Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas
says while he has "no problem in principle with
increased pension" for judges, the manner in which
the Government was seeking to implement the
increases was highly improper and insulting to a
constitutional institution---the Salaries Review
This is in the wake of passage in the House of
Representatives last Friday of the Judges Salaries and
Pension (Amendment) Bill and the Retiring Allowances
(Legislative Service) Bill, which propose hefty pension
increases for former parliamentarians.
The legislation, which was supported by the Oppo-
sition in the House of Representatives, provides for
retired judges and parliamentarians to receive a pen-
sion that is indexed to the current salary and
allowances of sitting judges. Judges pensions are to
be tax free.
Dumas said the matter must be "looked at very
carefully." He noted a judge retired with some 60
rulings pending and some of the people involved in
those matters might have already died.
Should such a judge be given these significant
increases? he asked. He said the fact that the Gov-
ernment was seeking to approve the measure before
the SRC had completed its job evaluation exercise
for MPs was improper and an insult to that organ-
isation. Dumas said politicians seek election on the
basis of serving the people, yet many constituents
said they did not see their respective MPs after they
were elected. He said there were many "non-per-
forming MPs" in this country but yet they were
seeking these increases to be paid by the same people
they claimed to want to serve.
"On what basis is this increase being given?"
Dumas asked. He said he served in the public service
for 34 years and felt he served the nation well. The
new bill proposes that an MP can get significantly
higher pension after only four years service. Dumas
said he, too, felt he should benefit from an appropriate
pension instead of the "pittance" he now received.
He said any increase should be done on the basis
of performance. The move seemed to be a self-
serving exercise, he added.
Proposed pension payout
an insult to SRC---Dumas
Acting Foreign Affairs Minister
Dr Roodal Moonilal says visa
waivers for the People s Republic
of China are not a done deal.
He said it would require "collab-
oration and negotiation" between
the two countries.
Moonilal was responding to calls
by the Opposition Senator Faris al-
Rawi, for further details on the issue.
Speaking at the 40th anniversary
celebration of bilateral relations
between T&T and the People s
Republic of China at the Diplomatic
Centre in St Ann s, Port-of-Spain,
last Sunday, Persad-Bissessar said
the Chinese community had invested
much in T&T in the areas of culture,
the economy, and the arts, to name
a few, since its members first arrived
on the country s shores more than
200 years ago.
"When I visited China last year,
there was a great difficulty with the
Chinese getting visas to come to
Trinidad. That is no more since we
have opened the embassy," Persad-
Bissessar said at the dinner.
She also indicated that T&T would
not be the first to allow it, as Jamaica
in February approved a new regime
that would allow Chinese nationals
to visit Jamaica as tourists for up to
30 days without a visa.
Moonilal s release said yesterday
that "as a first phase, we could look
at persons who already have a visa
to get into the United States or else-
where, that those persons could
come to T&T so there would be some
kind of first filtering process."
Moonilal added that Persad-
Bissessar was very clear that no deci-
sion was made on the visa waiver,
and that consideration would be
given to the request.
"In addition to agreeing to con-
sider it, the Prime Minister was also
very upfront about her priority being
for T&T citizens to enjoy a similar
He said Persad-Bissessar told the
Ambassador of China that was
something "we can look at. And of
course we would want reciprocity.
That is to say we would want to have
likewise" visa-free travel to China.
No done deal in
Chinese visa waiver
Dr Roodal Moonilal
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