Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2014 Contents A29
Saturday, June 28, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Iam not sitting in an ivory
tower. I am not a millionaire. I
am a public servant of T&T
and I do not qualify for a pen-
sion until I complete at least ten
years of continuous service.
Even then, should I decide to
retire after ten years, the pen-
sion I would be entitled to
would be a carefully calculated,
minute fraction of a full pen-
sion. Should I work until the
mandatory retirement age and
receive my full pension, I am
told to expect roughly half of
the salary earned at retirement.
My current salary is $8,500
I have a BSc and the only
thing between me and an MSc
is the final thesis, but I have
accepted that my salary is a
result of my choice to work in
the service of my country.
Given the above, it pains me
to hear politicians on both sides
of the floor stand, trying to
console each other as they
lament the dire conditions they
face upon demitting office.
These same conditions they will
be facing upon retirement I find
myself in as a full time employ-
ee of a government ministry.
The difference is that I pay
taxes; I am not furnished with a
driver, or PBR pass or any other
allowances. Based on the criteria
stated by parliamentarians, I am
almost in a state of mendicancy
now and I will surely be facing
outright vagrancy when I retire.
I do not deny that there is
hypocrisy among some of the
naysayers, but I cannot accept
that people who enjoy tax-free
income and perks while treating
the treasury as their own per-
sonal piggy bank have any right
to pontificate about hypocrisy.
There are honest, hardwork-
ing, educated people in this
country who toil away at full-
time jobs every day just to be
We earn too much on paper
to qualify for most assistance,
but too little in reality to afford
a brand new car, a decent home
or plot of land. We eke out our
meagre living, abide by the rules
and day after day we show up
for work because something is
better than nothing.
It is people like me who pay
taxes. Business owners and mil-
lionaires can adjust their books
and pay taxes cleverly. Twenty
five per cent of my income and
then NIS comes out before I
can even smell my pay cheque.
This part of my salary is what
politicians play with. That is
what people call "state funds."
The money that is spent on
policies whether I agree with
them or not. I cannot refuse to
pay taxes because I disagree
with the helicopters, travel,
What I want the public to
know is that there is no such
thing as "state funds." The
treasury is not some magical
place in the sky where money
just appears. That money is my
salary, your salary, the VAT we
pay on goods and services and
the royalties earned from
exploiting the resources of our
I did agree that there was a
need for pension reform, how-
ever I could not fathom that the
politicians who have determined
that the economy cannot bear
anything higher than an 11 per
cent increase for other public
sector workers would choose to
burden that same economy with
increases of over 100 per cent.
Now my bitterness begins to
show, my anger, my disgust, my
complete hopelessness when I
realise that the opposition also
agreed to the Bill and has pro-
ceeded to defend this position.
Where does this leave citizens
like me? The ones with no voice
but that of a vote, when clearly
that vote has been rendered
In the 1960s in the US, when Lyndon
Baines Johnson was president, then
First Lady, "Lady Bird" Johnson undertook
an extensive beautification drive through-
out the country in a effort to provide a
more pleasing environment and to rid the
nation's interstate highways of its count-
less junkyards that frequented its length.
It is through her efforts the now fa-
mous bluebonnets of Texas bloom in
abundance throughout the length and
breadth of the state.
In fact, this has become her lasting
A couple of months back, on my drive
from San Fernando to Port-of-Spain, I no-
ticed that there was a project to line the
highway from Chaguanas to Caroni with
It caused traffic during the time and I
remember being a bit frustrated being
stuck in it. However, with the rains over
the last month, I have noticed that the
plants are beginning to grow and sprout
along the entire length of highway.
I cannot wait for these plants to ma-
ture, as a fully-blooming bougainvillea is a
sight to behold.
The plants are hardy and required little
maintenance, so I expect that the high-
ways would be a kaleidoscope of colour in
the years to come.
Could this become one of the PM's
legacies in time?
Imagine my consternation on Thursday
when at 5.40 pm there was standstill
traffic on Tragarete Road. Using the
usual evasion tactics to try to make my
way to Diego Martin, proved futile as
traffic was built up throughout Wood-
brook, on the Foreshore, along Mucurapo
Road, through St James, up the ramp
heading into Cocorite.
Finally, the reason became clear! A
small section of road in the vicinity of the
West Shore Hospital had been patched
and remained impassable due to the
placement of orange cones around the
area. As soon as you passed that ob-
struction it was free sailing.
Will somebody have a heart for the
Iwant to state that after the three de-
bates the party conducted, I am very
proud to be a member of the Congress of
We have succeeded where the coun-
try has failed, to hold a live debate during
the last general election between politi-
cal leaders. As for the other major politi-
cal parties, you are yet to see this
openness and transparency as we have
demonstrated in the COP.
We, the COP, set the standard---new
politics in action. Hopefully, the commen-
tators will take note of the pioneering
nature of the COP.
Congratulations to the election com-
mission of the COP. Congratulations to
the political leader Prakash Ramadhar
and every member of the party.
A pedestrian is forced to walk on the road after a van is parked illegally on
the sidewalk at Harris Promenade, San Fernando on Thursday, obstructing
the walkway and putting lives of pedestrians at risk. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Beautification of highway a legacy in the making?
Have a heart for motoring public
COP sets standard in live debates
100 PER CENT PLUS FOR MPS,
FIVE FOR PUBLIC SERVANTS
Links Archive June 27th 2014 June 29th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page