Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2014 Contents A5
July 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan
has been sidelined with the forma-
tion of a new Cabinet-appointed
health committee. The committee
is headed by Minister of Trade,
Industry, Investment and Commu-
nications Vasant Bharath.
While Khan is a member of the
committee which comprises 11 people,
insiders within the health sector said
he was not asked to lead the council
despite being the substantive person
in charge of the country s health sec-
tor.The Sunday Guardian understands
that Khan is unhappy with the move
and has complained that it makes
him almost redundant.
In a telephone interview yesterday,
Khan confirmed that he was on the
committee but when asked for details
on its objectives, he directed all ques-
tions to Bharath.
"I am just on it because I am the
Minister of Health. You should ask
Vasant about it, he is the chairman,"
The Sunday Guardian has learned
that the quietly formed committee
had its first and only meeting last
Monday, but is expected to meet again
tomorrow to determine short-term
and long-term solutions to problems
plaguing the health sector.
This committee seems to share a
portfolio almost parallel to that of
the Minister of Health and includes
Education Minister Dr Tim
Gopeesingh, Housing Minister Dr
Roodal Moonilal, Minister of Tertiary
Education Fazal Karim, Minister of
Gender, Youth and Child Develop-
ment Marlene Coudray and Minister
of Community Development Win-
The committee also includes the
four heads of the Regional Health
Authorities (RHAs). The Sunday
Guardian understands that the com-
mittee is expected to implement a
health system that mirrors the Cana-
dian health care system.
In a brief telephone interview on
Friday, Bharath confirmed that Cab-
inet had appointed the committee
and that he was asked to head it.
"We are expected to look at
endemic issues affecting the health
sector," Bharath said.
"We have been mandated to deter-
mine the major issues affecting the
population as it relates to health and
the recommendations would be
implemented through the RHAs," he
said. "We are simply an oversight
Bharath denied that his appoint-
ment to head the health committee
sidelined Khan in any way.
"He is still the minister in charge
of policy for the sector, but he has
a lot on his plate," Bharath said.
When the Sunday Guardian point-
ed out that Bharath, as substantive
head of two ministries and a junior
Minister of Finance also had a lot on
his plate, Bharath demurred.
"It really is a concentrated effort
because, as you can imagine, both
the Ministry of Health and the Min-
istry of National Security have insti-
tutional problems that they have
inherited," he said.
Those problems include the waiting
time for service at hospitals and clin-
ics, shortage of nurses, doctors emi-
grating in large numbers, and a bed
With the committee s next meeting
scheduled for tomorrow, he said, he
had a timeline for implementation of
the committee s ideas.
"Yes, I do have a timeline in mind
for implementation of some of the
ideas, but I would rather not say at
Fuad sidelined ...as Cabinet appoints committee
to oversee health sector
Leader of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Yasin
Abu Bakr is "back in the field." Bakr, who
24 years ago today led the historic attempted
coup to overthrow the Government, says
that he can now solve the nation s crime
problems in a different way and is getting
back on the ground to accomplish that.
"Look, I don t even have a gun. I don t own
a gun. I don t like guns because I am pro-life
and I have a heart filled with love," he said.
In an interview with the Sunday Guardian
on Friday, an energetic and jovial Bakr said
for four months in 2012 he "ran" the most
dangerous streets in East Port-of-Spain and
"nobody raise a gun."
Bakr said he was retained as security con-
sultant for a private company (name called)
with a Housing Development Corporation
contract to refurbish the apartments on Duncan
and Nelson streets, Port-of-Spain.
"You could go and check what I am telling
you, because I only deal with the facts and
the truth. Not a gun was raised in the time
I was there," he said.
Bakr believes his presence and the respect
that he commands among the young, disen-
franchised youths could help curb the crime
"We have a different approach, offer a dif-
ferent approach to the young men and women,"
He said the statistics show that when the
Muslimeen was at its strongest, the murder
rate in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989 was either
under 100 or just above it.
"It was never as high as it is now. We will
even cooperate with the police. If they have
an arrest warrant for someone in our group,
we will ensure that person goes to the police.
We not hoarding or hiding anyone from the
law," he said.
"There are several methods to lock down
the crime situation, but the police lost ground.
Police cannot stop them. That clown, that
Minister of National Security (Gary Griffith)
said he could stop a coup in two hours, where
was he during 1990? Was he in the army
then? They cannot do anything to stop crime.
The Prime Minister call them dogs of war and
they take that," Bakr said.
He said he had no respect for Griffith but
called on him to "come clean" about the role
of the soldiers in a spate of kidnappings which
the Muslimeen was blamed for.
"Is I who buss the mark and tell the FBI
and the DEA who really doing the kidnappings,"
Bakr was referring to the 2005 high profile
kidnapping and subsequent death of US citizen
Balram Maharaj. Four Trinidadians are currently
incarcerated in Washington for Maharaj s mur-
der, among them Leon Walter Nurse, a former
sergeant in the T&T Defence Force and a for-
mer member of the TTDF Special Forces Unit.
"I am now waiting on him (Griffith) to give
the nation an update on the soldiers who were
involved in Maharaj s murder and whether
they admitted to 16 other kidnappings that
the police were trying to blame on us," he
Bakr did admit that a "breakaway faction"
of the Muslimeen was established in Carapo
and was in a "small fight" with another gang
based in Port-of-Spain.
"I know there s a small thing between some
breakaway Muslims and the Rastas (Rasta City
gang)," he said.
He said the police seemed to be focussing
its attention on the Carapo branch of the
Jamaat and he did not know why.
Bakr said he formed the Jamaat-al-Mus-
limeen 45 years ago and was not going to give
up its leadership anytime soon. He said the
member from Carapo, Rajaee Ali who has
been detained twice in the past two months,
was being made a scapegoat.
When asked if Ali was tipped to be his suc-
cessor, Bakr laughed.
"You have to be careful when you ask them
kind of questions," he said.
"But nah, there is no truth to that. That is
speculation, and you have to be careful when
people speculate to you," he said. (RS)
See Page A17
Imam warning men
"I do have a message and a
warning to all those men who seem
to have lost their minds and
brutalising women," he said.
He said the Qur'an teaches that a
man must love God, then the
Prophet, then his mother three times
before loving his father.
"Women are revered and must be
protected and I hearing men setting
women on fire, killing women..nah,
that isn't right," he said.
"I just want the men to know that
we are coming for them, within the
legal guidelines of course," he said
with a laugh.
Bakr: I can solve the crime
Dr Fuad Khan
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