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MIDWIVES OF HISTORY By Rae Samuel

posted by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated ]

Rae Samuel
The present Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago may have objectively accomplished what the late Dr. Winston Murray espoused and what various Tobago leaders/politicians advocated from time to time.

Under his watch the ferry service, the old one and the one that has come pre-collapsed, are ongoing sources of woe. Very soon, a nautical version of 'Justice on Time' will appear. Or 'p h' water taxis. We dream of an efficient, reliable vessel and get an Ocean dream.

In the air it is rapidly becoming the same. Caribbean Airline pilots are expressing concerns about the standard of air safety, and rightly so. It is one thing to have a sea going vessel stuck at sea. Not so with air travel. Who wants the fame of being the first to cause a Bee Wee/Caribbean airways fatal flight? Remember folks, almost always, it is 'pilot error' that is blamed for plane crashes. To say otherwise is to ground fleets across the world. So we can respect the pilots' attitude re safety in the air. Indeed, one might ask whether the Prime Minister is willing to show up at the airport and hop a plane to test if the pilots are correct. He did it with the slow ferry.

I do not know if the meeting with the leader of the Opposition addressed the whole question of travel to Tobago. The sparring re the agenda had gone public which would have skewed the whole discussion; one would imagine. Why was this meeting called in the first place? We are told that matters of national concerns were discussed. Did they include (if not why not?) police killings, outstanding wage negotiations, incessant flooding, the pending CLICO fire sale, blatant disregard for the rights of the accused, Mariano Browne's never-ending calls for right wing politics disguised as 'alternative economics', David John Williams /TTFA’s voracious appetite for foreign coaches, three so far?

We will have to wait and see/hear even as another flash point matures against a tapestry of social savagery, the likes of which generations had been inured to believe could not happen here in this 'fun now gun-loving paradise'.

I refer to the demonstration coming on 4th August. It could turn out to be a 1970 moment. A student demonstration against racist treatment of West Indian students at Sir George Williams University in Canada morphed into the biggest popular demonstrations since 1937. Out of it grew popular movements in culture, sport, education, in economic life, which destroyed the myth of Eric "Messiah" Williams and initiated a decade of almost toe to toe battles between progressive movements and the then PNM regime.

History has her own way of choosing her midwives and no one knows how movements are born or which direction they will take. Mao Ze Dong used to say a single spark could start a prairie fire. But the leadership must be ready. CLR James wrote that Cipriani flinched with the coming of the Butler/Jim Barrett led uprisings, though he had done much to prepare the conditions. What will the demonstration ask for? What will this born again unity, necessary as it is, produce by way of tangible demands? When asked, one trade union leader said "What after the 4th...the 5th!

We need to be clearly told beyond generalisations.

THE GAS RUSH: PLAN BUT NO POLICY by Cathal Healysingh

posted 24 Jul 2017, 07:54 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 24 Jul 2017, 08:15 ]

Cathal Healysingh is a Civil and Environmental Engineer by training with twenty-four years of experience combining technical, socio-economic and environmental aspects of development in management.

He has worked with donor and other multilateral organisations, national governments, private sector, local elected village councils, and community based organizations, including indigenous peoples, in all thirteen members of Caricom.

What happens when a government has a plan but no policy? Answer: It runs into the proverbial wall at top speed.

A plan is a schedule of activities, resources and a budget to achieve an objective. A policy is a set of principles and guidelines which establish why and how an intended action ought to take place. We see readily that a Policy must precede a Plan. This is especially so when managing natural resources. Let us look at energy resources for example.

The T&T government has been in the business of oil/gas exploitation for over 100 years (oil) and about 30 years (gas). Yet, the Government does not have an energy policy. It does have a Master "Plan" for gas. The reason why there is no energy policy is because it was never ever questioned that we were going to do anything else but rush the gas. Hence the "Gas Rush" became the unwritten de facto Energy Policy.

Now this “Gas Rush” is happening because the Government has an "Industrialization Policy" which can be summed up as an open door invitation to "the bigger the better", with no controls, no regulations. A free for all from which we collect rent, revenues largely through taxes. The consequence of never having an Energy
olicy is that the long-time plan of 100 years, 50 years, 20 years and 10 years ago remains the same today - monetize all one time.

But the world has changed and our national gas tank is reading close to empty. In 2012 Robert Riley declared when leaving the country "the era of cheap gas is over". No one blinked. Why would we? God is a Trini and oil and gas are infinite. Right? Both the red party and the yellow party are fundamentalists in the belief that God is a Trini because neither has ever wondered what would happen the day the tank empties. As karma would have it, the red party is likely to be batting when this happens.

Today, as I write, consultants engaged by the Environmental Management Authority are finalizing a revision of the 2005 National Environmental Policy (NEP). The 2005 Policy contains an Energy Clause which requires a cost benefit analysis (of social-economic-environmental impacts) to be carried out when committing large amounts of finite energy (oil + gas) to a particular use - like LNG, methanol, ammonia, desalination, or just about any use that requires large and continuous volumes of oil/gas. The consultants presented a draft of the revised NEP to the Public in POS recently, which I attended. Guess what? They had removed the Energy Clause.

Also interesting is that the Energy Clause has never been invoked. Ever! This means that the last 40 years of heavy gas based industrialization took place without us knowing the full costs and benefits to the country. "Hmmm," you might say. If that is so, would we not want to retain the Energy Clause in the new NEP? Of course: because what is left of the oil/gas in the ground is deeper, much deeper and more expensive and carries a higher risk in getting it out of the ground. Also, what is left is worth more than what has already been extracted, minus the paltry sums in the Heritage & Stabilization and Green Funds, although it is rumoured that both Funds have been leveraged.

The Energy Clause is essential to the future of this country especially the children. I made this point at the consultation. Yet, I bet that the Energy Clause is removed in the final version of what will be the 2018 NEP. I make this bet with a heavy heart but I must be realistic, because the same people who are overseeing the "last of the gas" were the ones taking notes when "money was no problem" back in the 1970s.

The 2018 revised NEP will be full of fluff without a strengthened Energy Clause and we as a nation will be full of fluff if we do not insist on having and using the Energy Clause to inform us of the costs and benefits of using what is left of our finite reserves. I am not optimistic because a recent survey by the EMA reveals that less than 2% of the population know that the NEP even exists.

Right now many of the long term gas contracts government has with foreign oil/gas companies are coming to an end. The price of the gas that was supplied to them over the period of the “Gas Rush” has never been made public. The new contracts will no doubt also seek to shield the value of the gas from the Public. What we do know however, is that successive governments have always sought to make exploiting our gas as cheap and easy as possible for the foreign investor. Now that getting the gas is more expensive, the foreign companies want more concessions and our government is prepared to give way precisely because there is no Energy Policy.

The government can no longer subsidize our carefree lifestyles of drinking, liming and driving about the place willy-nilly and in some cases, badly wounded. Oil/gas employs less than 4% of the work population and pays 50% of the bills. We are headed for the proverbial brick wall at top speed. The reason for all of this, as I said, is an absent Gas Policy.

It is ironic that, very recently, talk of getting a gas policy has surfaced but it refers to a renewable energy policy. Government is more
Image result for atlantic lng comfortable having a policy for renewable solar energy than finite fossil energy. Never-the-less, the goal set for introducing renewables is 10% by 2021. While this is unlikely, it is also meagre given that household energy consumption in the form of electricity is only 7% of what is consumed nation-wide. This is tiny compared to the massive amounts of energy stripped and exported in the form of LNG, ammonia and methanol every day. There has been a traffic jam of LNG vessels lining up in the Gulf for the last 17 years. They come in empty and leave each with cargoes worth roughly $US 25M of liquefied gas cargo on board. I kid you not!

I will point out one of the several massive elephants that sits in the national room as a result of an absent energy policy. It is the Mission Statement of the National Energy Company of Trinidad & Tobago (NEC) which is: "To be a global leader in the development of sustainable energy-based industries."

When I was a Director of NEC, before I was removed without notice, (I was the only environmental engineer to ever sit in the Board Room of our national energy companies), I pointed out that the NEC was on a Mission Impossible because oil and gas are not by definition sustainable resources. They are finite. They are non-renewable. The tank can empty. It was always a little distracting sitting in the Board room with the huge logo and Mission Statement mounted on the wall. It used to remind me of a TV series called “The Twilight Zone” from back in the day.

We have paid scant regard neither to the earth below our feet, mountains, valleys, our underground aquifers, rivers, coastlines, wetlands and sea, nor to the animals that live in our forests. We have indeed paid scant regard to each other. The Social Code amounts to “the devil take the hindmost”. Service in most public services has never been so bad. The wall is approaching but we will not run out of gas before we hit the wall because we have no Energy Policy. On top of that Government is set to remove the Energy Clause from the 2018 National Environmental Policy.

I would like the NWU, the PEP and even the supporters of the red and yellow, to initiate an island wide conversation about food-water-energy security challenges in this country if we are going to soften the impact of the wall and have a future our children will find worthwhile living in.

IT CANNOT WORK FOR US! by Michael "Bro. Scobie" Joseph

posted 15 Jul 2017, 06:19 by Gerry Kangalee

I have listened to and observed, over the years, the many people in this so-called Republic of Trinidad and Tobago analyzing the system and trying to figure out what is wrong with it? To me this question is so comical. It’s almost bordering on contempt. Most of the questions are coming from people who claim to be highly educated; high up on the intellectual totem pole pretending to be agonizing over our catastrophic societal situation and who are seriously seeking for solutions to address this systematic elusive puzzle to which most of them contributed. But I know we are tolerating too many game players and political carpetbaggers.

This system is not a puzzle, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find the answers to all the questions that are engaging the minds of many. We have inherited a most corrupt colonial system from the British Empire; one that was always stacked against us, coming out of Slavery. We took it lock stock and barrel and are hell bent on making it work for us. Is there any method to this madness?

Since gaining self rule (independence), this system has failed my parents who spent their living years trying to understand it, and how to work with it, but to no avail: hence, the reason for the 1970 uprising by their off spring, which was crushed by the agents of colonialism amongst us.

It has not worked for our generation and our offspring of the post independence era: hence the reason for the overcrowding of the jails and for old, young and innocent blood flowing in our streets. We look on helplessly as our grandchildren take their places in the line of victimhood, with no greater expectation than those before. Where have we reached as a nation?

All because we are too spineless in the face of our failed colonial realities, we must now live in fear of a generation that will have theirs: by any means necessary. They cannot be blamed, for it is we who failed to confront the new pirates head-on, so that generations to come would have a better future and enjoy a more fulfilling life style from the sacrifices made through blood sweat and tears by generations before. They will never be able to, once we keep on burying our heads in the sand and displaying our learnt ignorance of the fact that these youths today want to enjoy their ancestors back pay.

What makes us believe that this system could be made any better? I would really like all these technocrats, economists and social scientists to prove me wrong. To bring about a change of attitude in the people that would rebound to building a fair and just society, we must be prepared to change the entire neo-colonial system that we inherited from pirates and sea dogs. Yes, this is the type of system that is leading us down the road of total chaos.

There is nothing that can be salvaged to the benefit of our future generations from this decayed and dying slave master plantation system. Yet most of us are prepared display a sense of false pride and hold on with our last ounce of courage and die with it. As long as the gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to expand at the present rate, be prepared to be victims.

The only way to avoid such a fearful future is to create a new and just society that is people oriented, where every citizen has a right to benefit from the country’s patrimony. We are all entitled to royalties from the wealth of our blessed country. Coming together to eliminate the piracy in our governance or die trying should be our first move towards changing the system, not killing each other every day for nothing at all.

SOMETHING RESEMBLING A TRADE UNIONIST By Tony Bedassie

posted 15 Jul 2017, 04:16 by Gerry Kangalee

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), led by OWTU president general Ancel Roget, is calling on all its members to come out on August 4th to attend a march in Port of Spain. It is not surprising that after nearly two years in government the honeymoon seems to be over. Or is it?

The labour movement has thus far been quiet. With one former trade union president as Labour Minister, maybe they thought that things would be different. The previous administration also had a former unionist as its Labour Minister but to what benefit?

One wonders what they plan to announce at this rally. For long I have held the view that labour and government have differing objectives. That their courses will never put them at the same point, the same finish line. One must question though if that statement holds true for this bunch. Trade unionism is supposed to be seeking betterment for the working class. Has that been the reality of late?

Time after time we have seen the eventual outcomes of some of the most vociferous leaders of this movement ending up as government ministers, senators and so on. Yet never have we seen any improvement in the lives of the working class or with respect to the laws governing trade unions and their operations.

The recognition and certification board still takes years to deal with applications. The Industrial Relations Act of 1972 continues to be like an albatross around the necks of workers. Yet they continue in their mantra of "When those who labour hold the reins of power."

Has trade unionism lost its direction? Have the efforts of the pioneers of the movement, men like Cipriani, Butler, Rienzi and others come to nought? The agitations of post independence leaders within civil society, men such as Nunez and Daaga, who led the black power movement of the seventies is a far cry from what we are seeing today. Their intention of fostering unity and brotherhood was quickly shot down through the intervention of the Williams led government.

We were and still remain a young nation. The only difference is that now our so called trade union leaders, or at least most of them, can no longer be defined as revolutionary, as grass roots. They have joined the employer class in being chauffeur driven in executive rides and so on; retiring with healthy packages given to them by executives, only now those executives are of their own choosing; of their own anointing, handpicked so as to have some form of continuity, some form of legacy which will guarantee that when the succession of leadership takes place, they can expect to be handsomely rewarded also.

Comparing the early days of the 1930's and 70's to now, we do see some similarities. The dress code of west coat and red hat might be the same; however what the clothing contains within is as different as chalk and cheese. We have devolved from revolutionaries to SOMETHING RESEMBLING A TRADE UNIONIST.

A TALE OF TWO CAMILLES By Rae Samuel

posted 13 Jul 2017, 07:06 by Gerry Kangalee

Camille Guerra, reported to be on several charges related to trying to fraudulently cash a $2.5m cheque must feel hard done by. The lady's name is Camille. She is from Arouca which is near to or in the Arima constituency. Her parliamentary representative is Camille as in Robinson-Regis who also went to a bank and was unable, initially, to deposit funds because she could not comply with regulations re: depositing and/or transacting such amounts. She eventually succeeded, sans scrutiny, and to this day is not required to comply with same or explain the source of funds..

Camille G. must be fact checking and feeling she had no right to soon become a pending 'part heard' matter, regardless of what comes out the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader - a meeting which no doubt will include deliberations on the fate of Chief Justice "Nah leavin”. Camille G. like Camille R/R are both from the East.

Both are into dodgy finance. I do not know if Camille G. supports the PNM. Is it that Camille G chose a wrong bank? What you could get away with in a State owned bank you cannot in a privately owned - all this nuisance talk about shareholders and regulators. Larry pulled off four times that amount during the People's Partnership administration and walked, literally, walked into promotion.

Is it that she chose to deposit the money in Mayaro and that was her undoing? Camille R/R did not wander so far from base. Maybe that vast sum stood out in the South Eastern financial hub. There are two A.T.M's in Mayaro-Guayaguayare situated about ten miles apart.

Maybe this was a case of a ''thief not liking to see a thief with a bag'. I am not calling anyone a thief. I am just using the analogy from the calypso. Besides I cannot afford Gerald Ramdeen whom many have accused of being himself. But did someone call in the Fraud squad, from the Cathedral where they have been stationed since the tragic loss of life at I AM? Remember that particular church service attended by all the leading officers last year? Was this a case of loud, loud whistle blowing?

No pun intended but I hope this soon blows over, at least before the replacement vessels for the Tobago run get here. A report on a local television station claims that the vessel broke down twice before heading to Trinidad; proof that it is perfectly suited to operate between our two islands; that it also is smaller, older and more expensive than newer more reliable ships and does not have on board accommodation for the crew..Well, what's the Hyatt for?

Our faith in Rohan has paid off, if not for the sailing public, for some agent, lawyer, representative of some kind somewhere. Of whom we shall read in the 2021 sessions of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee's hearings. Now we know why it took so long to replace the Galicia. The Minister, the Board, the Port Authority had to get it right - P.N.M style.

OPPOSITION VIOLENCE WILL NOT INTIMIDATE THE PEOPLE By Jesús Rojas

posted 12 Jul 2017, 07:50 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 12 Jul 2017, 08:00 ]

Jesus Rojas, a citizen and resident of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, has been an English teacher for over 10 years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador- Instituto Pedagógico de Barquisimeto. (UPEL-IPB). 

His teaching experience has been in the rural area. He has also been involved in teacher training. His bi-cultural background and focus on community work in conformity with the communal councils that exist in his community. As a social worker he wants to use his professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most of their own abilities and empower them to be the best they can be.
Venezuelan constitutional lawyer Hermann Escarrá stressed that citizens support the call for the National Constituent Assembly because it has understood its function with greater clarity.

"I have toured several of the States and the enthusiasm is impressive, growing stronger. The presidential call for the convocation of the National Constituent Assembly for peace and for a different superior dialogue has now been understood more clearly; And the people are backing that, giving it a lot of legitimacy," he said in an interview on the Sunday show, José Vicente Hoy, broadcast by Televen.

In his opinion, the Constituent Power was activated to go to a superior dialogue, after the opposition rejected different opportunities in the approach to a political dialogue with the Executive. "What would be that superior dialogue? A situation where the dialogues are not chosen by the government or the Democratic Roundtable Unity (MUD), but directly by the people! That is, a constituent process" he said.

The professor said that he has received information that some "intermediate leaders" of the opposition registered in the Constituent Assembly, the election of candidates for which will be made this July 30. "In such a way that we are going to have an opposition presence but with different faces, without a doubt, and that is good, it is plausible," he said.

Escarrá believes that in the opposition there are several sectors: an eschatological one, which wants to get rid of the president Nicolás Maduro at any cost; another that tends to be radical, and one, which in his opinion is the majority, is sensible, serious and has the disposition, desire and longing "that we understand each other from differences."

The constitutional lawyer maintains the importance of some sectors adverse to the government joining the Constituent assembly, to work for the national good. "We do not have to go to hand-to-hand combat between brothers, families; we have to call for peace," he added.

He pointed out that the constituent process is being convened, not only in Venezuela, when there are serious political situations. He said that the country has had throughout its history 16 constituent processes, 12 constitutional reforms and two amendments. He rejected the threats of the sector that projects that the people should not go to vote on July 30 and stressed that, according to what he perceives, citizens will not be intimidated and will go to the polls for peace and dialogue.

SOCIAL WAGE SEMINAR

posted 3 Jul 2017, 18:19 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 3 Jul 2017, 18:30 ]

The Labour Advisory Bureau (LAB) will be hosting a seminar on: The social wage: Collective bargaining going beyond wages and cola on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th July 2017 at the Transport and Industrial Workers Union headquarters, Eastern Main Road, Laventille.

The Social Wage Policy was developed by the Labour Relations Department of the OWTU during the 1987/1988 onslaught against working class. That was a period much like today. Foreign exchange had dried up as the international energy industry went through a down cycle. The employers embarked upon an orgy of attacks on workers’ rights. There was a tsunami of retrenchment and for almost ten years there were massive lock outs, strike struggles and workplace occupations as the workers fought back. By 11989, the IMF had taken control of the country.

Alva Allen
An exploratory committee of the OWTU Labour Relations Department was formed and chaired by the then
Cecil Paul
Chief Labour Relations Officer, Cecil Paul and comprising Sylvester Ramquar, Alva Allen and Gregory Rousseau.

Comrades thought that there was more to Collective Bargaining than the traditional package of benefits in collective agreements. Particularly when it was discovered that Executives of companies enjoyed profit bonuses, low mortgage interest for housing loans, “executive” medical treatment, overseas travel grants and other perks not enjoyed by workers. The team while agreeing to maintain and improve all traditional benefits proposed a new range of benefits be introduced.

They came up with an additional new package of benefits to be part of the collective bargaining process. Two documents were produced namely “The Social Wage: A New Bargaining policy for the 1990’s and beyond” and “Homes for the Homeless” using the billions of dollars workers owned in Pension Funds as the basis of utilising a small portion of the funds, ten per cent, for low interest loans for members of Pension Plans with 5 or more years of service.

Also included were:

  • Profit Sharing using 10% of Gross Profit equally shared 

  • Improved Medical Plans for workers including retirees 

  • Improved Pensions (portability, reduced retirement age, permanent partial disability and better working people’s compensation). 

  • Education and Training 

  • Improved OSH benefits 

  • Ridding the workplace of so-called contract/temporary/casual workforce via Strong provisions in the Collective Agreement 

  • Improved Job Security provisions 

  • New Technology Agreements 

Demanding and getting an active role and greater say in pension Plan investments via the management committees and utilising Shares of the plan via share holders’ meetings to influence Companies policies and direction in workers interests and thereby instituting a national workers plan at firms where pension funds are invested.

Utilising Trade Union membership and workers financial power to negotiate reduced prices on group insurances, telephone plans and other major fixed expenses faced by workers.

Sylvan Wilson
The proposals were taken to the OWTU Labour Relations Department and agreement was had with valuable proposals and contributions
Winston "Man Man" Edward
from Frank Sears, Willock Pierre, Winston Edward, Sylvan Wilson and others. The OWTU Executive and General Council then approved the Social Wage Policy. The process of Seminars with workers and Progressive Unions were held for garnering other views, proposals, and getting agreement on a national front.

Some early successes were had with low cost housing at T&TEC and NP. A profit sharing breakthrough was had at NP and pension improvements were negotiated for Electricity, some Heavy Industries and Oil workers.

But, unfortunately, due to factionalism within the OWTU and non-co-operation from the Manning government in facilitating, particularly, the housing from pensions’ proposals, most of the program was restricted and eventually done away with.

The Labour Advisory Bureau (LAB), which is a non-profit organisation established by the National Workers Union, hopes, through this and other seminars, to rekindle the spirit, skills and negotiating power of the Trade Unions to improve and broaden the struggle for peace, bread and justice for working people.

Contact Ms. Gillian Winter-Roach for further information Telephone: 221-2LAB (2522) or email at gillian.winter-roach@workersunion.org.tt

No more than twenty five can be accommodated.

TRUTH AND POWER by Rae Samuel

posted 2 Jul 2017, 06:36 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 2 Jul 2017, 06:38 ]

During the last American presidential election I expressed my appreciation of and for Donald Trump. I never got caught up the 'good cop Hilary/bad cop Donald' issue. Donald was saying "What you see is what you get'' while Hilary was asking voters to forget the trail of smoking guns that linked her to Haiti, to Libya and to other misadventures in "foreign policy''.

Having gotten into office, Donald may or may not have gotten over his "tot tots' pulling beh
Mario Sabga Aboud
aviour but he remains the same guy: an honest politician, true to his inner self. What his inner self is like is a different story.

Mario Sabga Aboud, speaking from his mind and his large pocket book, reminds us of where true power lies in this country. Some get offended and a while later an apology from the goodly gentleman follows: for what intent and to what reality one does not know. Come, come, comrades, friends, pastors, hillbillies and crooks. Was he lying? Has this not been demonstrated time and again, overtly and covertly?

This same group put the skids under Patrick Manning when he became a political liability. The then Prime Minister of the country, supposedly the most powerful man in the country is summarily summoned to a meeting, something those who voted him in could not do..Shortly after, his political career begins to unravel. He does a Theresa May (really she did a Patrick manning) i.e. calls a snap election and unlike her does not survive. Later on he walks from Port to Spain to San Fernando, en route to political caricature and poor health. No one ever apologised to him.

By the way, this “supposedly most powerful man in the country” talk may not go down too well with Norman Christie.

Remember Godfather One, the movie? The Don was the essence of reticence: diplomatic, reclusive but undoubtedly Il Capo. The eldest son was the opposite: full of hubris, aggressive and aware of the power of the family. Sonny never felt the need to 'tippy-toe' because by the time he had matured and come into the family business power had been consolidated.

Some media reports late last year indicated that the current Prime Minister had gone to a similar meeting with the late head of the Ansa Group. The story was never followed up but apparently the head/s of these groups have the power to summon Prime Ministers at will and to implant their operatives at the heart of the system…ent Gerry Brooks?

Anyway that story is now dead, drowned in the avalanche of blood, be it from police killings or other homicides. The same hubris which Mr. Aboud displayed is on show in the Cabinet. Marlene McDonald, under investigation for misbehaviour in public office, returns to a Ministerial post. Because her matter is taking too long to be “determined and with the growing feeling there is no urgency or end in sight, the PM, seemingly concerned about the injustice is not prepared to have a senior member of his cabinet languish interminably.''

One wonders how all those prisoners, those accused on bail, whose matters are a football amongst the various arms of the judiciary, feel when they read about the above. Nobody is apologising to them. Maybe they should all join the PNM and run for high office.

P.S Makes you wonder if in the end Father Clyde Harvey, in the wake of all that has happened to him and all around him, simply put in for a transfer.

US DEFEATED AT CANCUN By Jesus Rojas

posted 2 Jul 2017, 04:05 by Gerry Kangalee

The US, along with the Venezuelan opposition, has been trying to overthrow the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for eighteen years. In 1999 President Hugo Chávez Frías won the elections and in 2012 President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

In Venezuela, 20 electoral processes have been held in 18 years of government, of which the opposition has won only two processes and has attempted several coup d’états: on 04/11/2002 when they won power for three days and in 2014 in which they won the majority in the National Assembly, after subjecting the country to a US economic and financial blockade and falling oil prices.

In the last 5 months and 22 days of June 2017, the opposition has increased its terrorist acts with some violent demonstrations, with hooded men armed with firearms and have caused the deaths of 68 people and hundreds of wounded, in terrorist attacks against institutions such as schools and health centers, roadblocks and violent demonstrations.

They asked the OAS, for the third time, at the 47th General Assembly, held in Cancún, Mexico (June 19-21, 2017), to implement the Democratic Charter and achieve US intervention. The objective is to present the country as a failed state and in humanitarian crisis to request foreign intervention through the US-controlled OAS, and thus appropriate the largest oil reserves in the world. US lackey Luis Almagro has made three attempts and all have been unsuccessful because of the dignified attitude of most of the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

The United States was also defeated by the United Nations Human Rights Council. "The Venezuelan government is destroying human rights and democracy in Venezuela”, said US ambassador Nikki Haley, noting that "being a member of this Council is a privilege and a country that violates human rights should not be authorized." Ambassador Jorge Valero responded by stating that Washington "has no moral authority to accredit itself as a universal judge in the field of human rights."

But most of the countries of the Council ratified the support of the Venezuelan people to consolidate peace in the country. Representatives from Cuba and Nicaragua expressed their support for the people of Venezuela and the Bolivarian Government in the Human Rights Council.

The member nations of ALBA insisted on respect for the sovereignty of the people, referring to the denunciations of the government of Nicolás Maduro regarding the interference of the secretary general of the (OAS), Luis Almagro. Jorge Valero reaffirmed the Bolivarian Government's vocation to consolidate peace in the country and guarantee the protection of human rights. "They came to try to pressure the countries to issue a declaration to condemn Venezuela," Valero said, adding that we have triumphed with the support of nations that respect sovereignty, democracy and peace.

MIDDLE-CLASS VS. WORKING-CLASS By Peter Garvey

posted 1 Jul 2017, 19:51 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 1 Jul 2017, 19:51 ]

Now, Mr. Bourdain is not innocent in this situation that is garnering the attention of the nation. His airing of his "dinner" with the Sabgas/Abouds (or the combination thereof), was meant to stir sentiments and emotions among Trinbagonians at home and abroad. In my opinion it gave us the opportunity to look inside ourselves even from the insides.

I'll tell you what my issue is, apart from the fact that the family in the documentary figuratively hawked a big fat lump and spat on us, even apart from the perfunctory and patronizing apology. I have taken issue with a perceived truth that the smallest and most powerful ethnic group in Trinidad and Tobago are "protected" by the middle-class, who in turn have accepted that this is their role.

Some people who have taken to Facebook and given their opinions stating that "dey right" and "dey have nothing to apologize for", have missed the boat (the same boat that my African foreparents could not miss/avoid). It is true that their wealth has made them the most powerful, but how have they repaid the same middle-class "buffer"? By calling them "house niggers"; regardless of ethnicity!

Notice I refer to the middle-class as if I am not one of them? That is because I am not middle-class I am of the working-class. I am in the middle-income bracket of the working-class. The difference? I do not call my own hours of work, I do not have employees to pay, I do not have the luxury to apply for overdraft facilities at any financial institution and my net worth is dependent on my paycheck.

Many people believe that the middle-class are those who pay a lot of tax with little representation. That definition is for middle-income earners. Yes the middle-class do pay a lot of tax with little representation also, but when a middle-income earner runs low on funds, he has no other facility than his Credit Union savings or paycheck to rely on.

Those of us who like to adopt incorrect labels of ourselves are merely results of a malaise in psychology that spans centuries. The "power" the Sabgas/Abouds wield is no different than that of the drug dealers all over this country (from low places to high) and the "protection" that they receive comes from the same place. That is a truth that needs to be examined if we are to change Trinidad and Tobago for the better.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE READY TO MAKE THE SACRIFICE FOR PROSPERITY!!!

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