Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 2nd 2014 Contents Uneasy lies the head.
That might have been the case
on Thursday as Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissesssar, decked
in Emancipation outfit and tow-
ering head wrap, solemnly
announced Sports Minister Anil
Uneasy, since it would have
been admission of yet another
issue to hit her Government,
plus the fallout from it all ahead,
particularly Roberts criticisms of
colleagues. Nine months shy of
general elections. And 19 front-
The embattled Roberts exit
from the Cabinet may have been
a fitting way for Government to
end the fourth session of the
Tenth Parliament on Thursday.
And to enter the fifth and last
session of the term next Monday,
with Roberts either alongside
fired, shifted and departed MPs
on PP s Parliament s back
bench---behind PNM MPs.
"We waiting for him! We took
too much ridicule and insults
from him," PNM whip Marlene
Or Roberts might be out com-
pletely if he sticks to his promise
of resigning his D Abadie,
O Meara seat. If so, the House
Speaker will announce it at
Monday s session.
Roberts is the latest of 19
shifted from PP frontlines,
including those who ve resigned
(Jack Warner, Chandresh Sharma,
Terrence Baynes, David Abdulah)
and the dismissed (Mary King,
Collin Partap, Herbert Volney,
Only the Attorney General,
Education s Tim Gopeesingh and
Labour s Errol Mcleod retain
Roberts may have misread the
PM s first Life Sport statement in
which blame wasn t cast on him,
giving him leeway to claim inno-
cence---when her statement actu-
ally left the door open for a res-
His eventual resignation letter
conveyed anger and frustration
at the situation. The PM s
Thursday statement revealed
concerns Roberts duties were
being "burdened with mounting
controversy and Life Sport ques-
tions"---essentially her Govern-
But it was a case of "damned
if you do and damned if you
don t." Government may still be
"damned" on the Roberts fall-
out, where some constituency
support and Life Sport partici-
pants are concerned. And on
Life Sport probes results.
Roberts claim of Cabinet col-
leagues against him, alludes not
only to Life Sport whistleblower
National Security Minister Gary
Griffith, but also COP s leader-
PP officials, however, said res-
ignation from the seat wasn t
necessary and conversations
might be held with him. How
successful that will be, is uncer-
tain considering Roberts senti-
ments on his colleagues.
Resignation from a seat is a
signature move of Jack Warner
one which Warner advised Her-
bert Volney to do in St Joseph
also. Roberts has now also
echoed complaints Warner made
when he left the Government
that some colleagues were
If Roberts proceeds, the seat
remains vacant without by-elec-
tion and he ll be out of Parlia-
ment leaving PP with 26 seats.
That may not hamper upcom-
ing procurement legislation, but
it ll affect bills requiring three-
fifth and two-thirds majority
votes---including PP s constitu-
tional reform legislation if that
comes in bulk.
On the Life Sport probes, Pub-
lic Service head Reynold Cooper
went on vacation from Monday
until mid-month, the office of
the prime minister confirmed.
Acting is Joan Mendez, who offi-
cials said doesn t need to wait
for Cooper s return to deal with
The Integrity Commission,
probing Life Sport issues is
awaiting replacement for
accountant Joel Edwards who
resigned recently. Accounting
competency is critical to the
President s House is examining
applications for a replacement,
for scrutiny by the President on
his return from vacation next
week, it was confirmed.
Start of Parliament s first ses-
sion in 2010 was a celebration
after the PP took office. Mon-
day s event holds no such
pageantry, perhaps fittingly con-
sidering Government s roller
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, August 2, 2014
All of you are pilgrims in the journey towards the city
of liberation. Every life is but a stage in the journey,
your body is a rest-house for a short stay during the
pilgrimage. The mind is the caretaker in the place of
our rest. Do not treat the Mind as a Master or Owner,
but take care of it so that the house we are privileged
to occupy is not damaged or polluted. We must treat
the watchman politely and not destroy its interiors. A
restless mind is an important source of ill-health.
Many are constantly afflicted with some source of
worry or other, never free from anxiety. Why?
Because they are identifying themselves with the
body! One acquires their body, through their past
activities and deeds, caused by the twin pulls of love
and hate. You can escape from this cycle, if you
realize the Oneness of the Divine being present in
you and in everyone.
THE LAST PARLIAMENT
Remove duty on oxygen machines
With, hopefully, budget preparations
being in train by the Minister of Fi-
nance, I thought I would put in my two
cents for pensioners who usually get
•First, portable oxygen concentra-
tors (I emphasise portable). They are
the life-blood for people with COPD, in
particular with advanced emphysema.
These attract ten per cent duty and
subsequently 15 per cent Vat. That
means a concentrator costing say
US$2,000, would in fact be increased
by over 25 per cent landed.
It is difficult enough to find
US$2,000 but to make one's life more
liveable, to have to pay a further 25 per
cent, is iniquitous. Such concentrators
should be duty and Vat-free. These
concentrators, unlike others, allow the
"patient" to move around, go to sports
events, malls, cinema---things taken for
granted by the general population.
•Second, annuities. Having pur-
chased an annuity over time when em-
ployed, the individual gets a tax break
on the premium, so I have no problem
with having to pay tax when the annu-
ity is encashed. But for how long?
I purchased an annuity over ten
years and have been paying tax for 17
years on the proceeds. My recommen-
dation, therefore, is that once an annu-
ity has been paid for ten years in
successive months and the person in
receipt of same is over 70 years-old
then the proceeds of said annuity
should become tax-free.
Lump sum payments/proceeds are
unacceptable. It must be appreciated
that the proceeds of an annuity never
increase. Would the Minister, Members
of Parliament and the Civil Service go
for 17 years without an increase?
This would be easy to control by the
relative insurance company supplying
a certificate to the effect that 120 pay-
ments have been made.
The above suggestions of course are
quite selfish ones but I am aware of the
problems many pensioners are having
to deal with when facing day-to-day liv-
ing and "breathing" expenses as I do.
The cost to the Gov't of the day,
considering that after nine years it will
now cost $1 billion to bring two build-
ings originally costing $100 million-
plus each into play, will be
Instead of Orville London asking for an airline dedi-
cated to Tobago only, he should be asking for a bridge
from Toco to Tobago. It's not a new idea.
This Government will be well advised to start looking
at the prospect of getting one of the superpowers to
help them construct a bridge immediately.
In a very short time a bridge can pay for itself. No
more transport vessels which are costing a fortune to
run and maintain; no more subsidising the airline and
vessels; no more corruption with who gets contracts for
buying vessels etc. The last deal will be on the bridge.
A toll gate on both sides will cost less than what is
charged to take goods across, thereby bringing down
the cost of living in Tobago.
Let's start now before the money runs out.
Gary de Freitas,
Bring back idea of
bridge to Tobago
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