Monday, 31 August 2009

PTSC! See if you could have pity on me, please?


It's good of the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday to editorialize of the public bus service and of the need for the responsible authority ---The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC)--- to launch a better marketing programme.

As a regular commuter along the Arima-Port of Spain-Arima and Port of Spain-Petit Valley-Port of Spain routes ---the hassle of the jammed-up traffic's too much for me--- my preferred choice is the PTSC; but, I'm afraid, the PTSC oft-times behaves like the errant spouse ---she does not adequately reciprocate her appreciation that it's she from whom, above all others, I've chosen to hitch a ride. Here's why I've drawn such a conclusion:
  • Along the Priority Bus Route ---whereon the Arima-Port of Spain-Arima buses ply:
  1. When you see a bus stop, or a bus stop shed, what you see is not necessarily what you get ---a bus stop is not necessarily a bus shed and vice versa.The so-called Limited-stop bus service (Express Commuter Service [ECS]) ---fares for which cost almost double that of "All-stop" buses ($4/$2.50)--- invariably stops at stops set some 30-40 metres away from the bus stop sheds where all "All-stop" buses stop and, at some bus stops, not at all.
  2. Some crucial points are not blessed with any kind of bus stop, e.g.: between Morvant Junction and Seventh Avenue, Barataria; then, eastbound between Carib Brewery, Champs Fleurs and Farm Road, St. Joseph; then, at Centenary Street, Tunapuna; then at St. Michael Road, Tacarigua; then between Five Rivers Crossing and Railway Road, railway Village, Arouca; then between Lopinot Road, Arouca and Second Crossing, Arouca.
  3. Arima-bound ECS buses depart City Gate, Port of Spain, every half-hour ---matters not the crowd patiently waiting for one, the crowd from which PTSC already collected fares via prepaid tickets--- but, just a stone's throw away, for just a dollar more than the PTSC fare, a maxi-taxi at any time may be had.
  4. There's not a map anywhere installed, or printed for sale, to show where, for the various routes, the stops are located.
  5. Many times, on approaching a bus stop, drivers do not reduce speed or get into the left lane the better to observe if commuters there are awaiting.The practice is even more rampant if, perchance, there's a maxi taxi illegally hogging the bus stop bay.
  6. If you don't have a prepaid ticket, you don't have a chance, for bus drivers are banned from the onboard selling of any ticket to ride.
  7. The trailer-compartment of air-conditioned articulated buses somehow always are hot, as if the vents are clogged/closed.
  8. The sills are not properly cleaned ---dust lingers on them...what else, I shudder to think.
  • Along the Port of Spain-Petit Valley-Port of Spain route:
  1. The service runs only once per hour, at the top of the hour ---meaning, at best, hourly, in any one direction, only 49 persons may use it, for 49's the seating capacity of the bus type regularly exposed on that route.
  2. The buses often get stuck in the horrendous St. James traffic jams, for along Western Main Road, St. James they must pass. In truth, more than once have I found myself stuck in such horrible St. James traffic, that, by kind permission of "Baldhead" ---one of the regular drivers--- I would get off, go shopping, then come back aboard just 10-15 metres beyond where I'd disembarked!
  3. Because of point 2., the schedule regularly gets screwed.
  4. Points 4., re: Along the Priority Bus Route, also applies.
  5. Points 6., re: Along the Priority Bus Route, also applies
  6. Points 7., re: Along the Priority Bus Route, also applies.
  • Overall:
  1. The service is severely curtailed or entirely non-existent on weekends and Public Holidays.
The fixes to the problems identified in the above list of points are, from the points themselves, most self-evident. Over, then, to you, Messrs PTSC!

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Hullo? Did Colm just get ah buff from his Daddy?


Hello? What's this that Aretha Welch wrote at paragraph four of her Independence Day 2009 story in the Trinidad and Tobago Express, captioned: "Be prepared for the journey forward, says Manning"?
Manning added: " Without discipline, there is chaos, mediocrity and failure....Without discipline there is also always the increased possibility of tragic outcomes like broken homes, unfulfilled potential, avoidable accidents and premature demise. So much beauty and promise tragically lost."

Hullo? Did Colm just get ah buff from his Daddy?

With breath bated I wait on the Dragon-slayer's swift ---but always tiresome--- reaction to any who, as his Quixotic view leads him to believe, attacks him or his.

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Sequitur to A Nun.


Dear "A Nun",

I presume, by your pen name, that you're Roman Catholic, therefore, versed in Latin. Ergo interrogo quapropter deicida Chimaeram laudare festinas sic exumplo abdicans caputitis quom prafecturae per secordiae suam absiduus adflictant non adsero exculpare
[Translation: And so I ask, "What prompeted your rush to shower such praises on the Dragon-slayer, except if your intention is to absolve him of the long-established tradition of leaders tendering their resignations when, over and over again, their hand-picked subordinates, through their wilful negligence, visit innocent taxpayers with incomprehensible suffering?"]

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Lasahtahwh...Los Attajos...Los Atajos!


In the 2009 Independence Day issue of the Trinidad and Tobago Express, Louis B. Homer produced a good yarn of life today in Abyssinia Village, Southwest Trinidad. It's mind-blowing stuff, not because its heady brevity ---left to me, it'd have been at least four-pages long and decked with many photos--- rather beacuse, at long last, journalistic ---editorial?--- focus is being shifted to non Port of Spain-centric-non-negative news.

I remember Al Ramsawak, too, used to pen some enthralling tapestries of "country life", in The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. But, sadly, of late that rag seems to have lost orientation, preferring to relegate news of rural Trinidad and of Tobago to anywhere but its front pages, preferring, too, to grand-charge any who call them out for so doing.

I'm eagerly looking forward, then, to the Express's promised next Louis B Homer story, this time of Los Attajos ---which, by the way, is colloquially pronounced as Lassatahwh and is a corruption of the Spanish word "Los Atajos", meaning "The Shortcuts".

Good show, Louis and the Express! Good show!


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Saturday, 29 August 2009

Spend to lift up a few? Or, to lift up the whole dang country?


Which is of greater national priority:
  1. To take TT$2.100,000,000.00 and pay for 4 helicopters that nobody but Manning, Imbert and a small clique of predators want and which will "crash and burn" ---that means "deteriorate till they become worthless"--- within 3, 4 years? Or,
  2. To take TT$2,100,000,000.00 and pay the full and complete annual bills ---up to TT$60,000.000 per annum--- of 300 public and publicly-assisted schools (we have so many?) in Trinidad and Tobago, FOR THE NEXT 19 YEARS, thus enabling such 300 schools (again, I ask, "We have so many?) to groom the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, scientists, musicians, athletes, engineers, technicians and medical professionals so badly needed to transform our neck of the woods into something worthwhile?
So, the question before us is, "Should the TT$2.1 billion be spent to lift up a few persons ---each chopper can take 15 aboard; and, if they're bought, only a few would pocket million$$$ in profit [graft?]--- or, to spend it to lift up the whole dang country?

You, the people, judge! Our children and theirs expect us to give our verdict come the next whatever national election. Don't disappoint them!

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Friday, 28 August 2009

Choops!

Choops! Just got home to find that, for the umpteenth time this month, no water in the pipelines! Choops! Checked the two each-600-gallon water tanks and they were bone dry. Choops! And, to crown it all, in the letterbox was a quarterly bill from WASA! Choops! Choops! Choops!

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Wildly silly wildmeat statutes.


News, yet again, of someone being arrested for possession of wild meat outside of the hunting season symptomizes why, to so many, the law is itself a wild beast, an unbroken ass, to be precise. For, where there are no laws limiting how much wildmeat one may hunt/trap/snare/catch during the hunting season, there can be no just law controlling possession of such viands after said season is closed.

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When a guardian turns against one of its wards.

On Wednesday June 4th 2009 at about 15:03 hrs AST, this writer posted a commentary in his "Kilkaytay Every Stone" blog in which, in his usual outside-the-box style, he took a leading Trinidad and Tobago newspaper, the Guardian, to task over what he deemed its abandoning of the long-held trust of its readership. (See: http://kid5rivers.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-can-newspaper-that-from-its-very.html)

Twelve minutes after posting, he circulated the link to his blog commentary to his usual mailing list, which included the daily newspapers of Trinidad and Tobago ---that was his wont and, regularly, his commentaries would be chosen by them and published in their 'Public Opinion" pages.

On Thursday August 27th, at about 16:37 hrs, he received a threatening email from IP address 200.108.18.158, sent by Business Mail , which sender signature he knows to be that of the Business Editor of the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. The IP address 200.108.18.158 is one that's generated out of where "What's My IP Address" website identifies as "Carapichaima, Trinidad". (See: http://whatismyipaddress.com/staticpages/index.php/lookup-results). That makes sense, for the main operations offices of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper are now located at Chaguanas, Trinidad, not far from Carapichaima.

Here's what that email from IP address 200.108.18.158 said:
From: Business Mail <business@ttol.co.tt>
Date: 2009/8/27
Subject: Re: Can we any longer trust the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian?
To: kid5rivers <5rivers.kid.publik@gmail.com>

To Whom it May Concern,
The contents of the statements in this blog under the heading, “Can we any longer trust the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian,” have been drawn to the attention of the Trinidad Publishing Company Limited and its Editor, Mr. Anthony Williams, who wish to - express their strong objection to and disapproval of the extremely defamatory and disparaging statements made therein.
The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper continues to be the leading newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago and at all times its staff and employees adhere to the highest levels of professional standards of integrity and ethics. At all times, it has distinguished itself as unbiased and fair in its editorial policy, its reporting and in its dealings with all its stakeholders.
In these circumstances the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian condemns any and all statements and inferences in this blog which attack the credibility and integrity of the newspaper or any of its members of staff, including its editor and/or management. Further, Mr. Wilson has indicated that he has never been contacted to provide his comments and therefore denies any imputation that he had not accepted or returned the calls for him to do so[p1] .
The Trinidad Publishing Company therefore calls upon the creators and managers of this blog to immediately retract the said statements under the heading “Can we any longer trust the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian,” and issue an apology forthwith, failing which the Trinidad Publishing Company Limited will exercise all its available legal options.

The Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

On Aug 26, 2009, at 3:15 PM, kid5rivers wrote:

Dear Editor/Head of News,

Can we any longer trust the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian?

(See:http://kid5rivers.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-can-newspaper-that-from-its-very.html)

Richard Wm. Thomas,
5rivers.kid.publik@gmail.com
Five Rivers,
Arouca,
Trinidad and Tobago.

Until we try we'll never know what we can do.

For more of my writings visit >>kid5rivers.com<<


Ignoring the glaring bloopers contained in The Trinidad Publishing Company's (TPC's) email, if, in truth, the TPC does go through with its threat to take legal action against this blogger ---meaning, to sue him--- then the Guardian could be said to be even more anti-its-readership than the blog commentary in question suggests, for, any such lawsuit will be interpreted by bloggers and citizen journalists everywhere as intended to stifle their operations, meaning, their constitutional right. After all, it takes more than chump change to bring or defend a High Court action, even though the new court rules make it much easier for anyone with a modicum of commonsense safely, smoothly to navigate the court system.

This blogger cannot recall any instance where a Trinidadian newspaper has sued an individual --or anyone--- for defaming it, nor can he recall a blogger being sued for blogging. It seems, then, that history's about to made. The question is, does the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian wish to on the wrong end of history, for the instant she makes the move to file suit, she'd have stepped into a veritable minefield, a minefield long set for her by the provisions of the very constitution which also guarantees her freedom to do her do.

How so? Well, as already mentioned, every blogger is nothing more than a citizen journalist, akin to a pamphleteer of yore, who, by dint of law, not any law, but the supreme one, is guaranteed freedom of thought and expression. In other words, every blogger has the inalienable right to think as and of what he/she likes and then to express those conjurations as he/she likes, sort of like because he/she the same "poetic licence" that a comedian or news media cartoonist has. Most jurisdictions simply describe such right as the right of freedom of speech.

And, what does the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago say, regarding "free speech and expression"? Here goes:
2. This Constitution is the supreme law of Trinidad and Tobago, and any other law that is inconsistent with this Constitu­tion is void to the extent of the inconsistency.
4. It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely:
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
(c) the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life;
(d) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions;
(e) the right to join political parties and to express political views;
(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
(g) freedom of movement;
(h) freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance;
(i) freedom of thought and expression;
(j) freedom of association and assembly; and
(k) freedom of the press.
In short, the Constitution clearly delineates that the freedom extends not merely to silently-held thoughts, but, equally to every openly-articulated venting of such thoughts. Since the published opinions of this blogger ---which the Guardian fretfully wishes to squash--- were, first, his silently-constructed thoughts, on what leg of legality, then, may the Guardian wish to stand in initiating suited pursuit of him. Inherent in the freedom to express thoughts is the complete protection from those who are offended on hearing/reading of them. Indeed, David Mamet masterfully summed up the argument when he gave the 2008 Alistair Cooke Memorial lecture:
"...For the First Amendment ensures not that speech would be fair, but that it would be free. It cannot be both. It may be free and onerous, indeed, hateful and obscene; or it may be fair, which is to say, “adjudicated”, in which case, the power to limit speech is given to a judge. And who, among us, is wise enough to so rule? None of us are! For none of us can create language…it’s created by culture. We can suggest, but language is formed by the interaction of multitudes in the purpose of the culture of the whole. The culture will choose between Beta and VHS, whether to accept “blog” or “bodywash”, between the “homeland” and “politically-correct”. And it is the culture which should censure racial and sexual epithets, the harsh penalty being exclusion from the group..." (http://mangochatnee.blogspot.com/2009/07/beyond-speechifying.html)

It's clear, therefore, that were the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian to proceed to find consummation of its for-now blustering against this blogger, such a course would also all but bury the healthy, mature and democratic growth of free thought and expression, not only on the Internet but in the country as a whole, for Trinidad and Tobago is yet a democracy, one governed under a constitution democratically crafted...the rag proclaims herself to be the Guardian of Democracy...let her now go forth and prove she's such!

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Thursday, 27 August 2009

T&TEC: Power to Wreck Your Handiwork!



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Continue the furrin trend!


If furriners are the best option to do the dirty work of local construction that certain people feel locals can't do, then furriners are also the best option to investigate when locals ---native or naturalised--- make a mess of local things. Furthermore, because locals all know or are related to one another, it makes eminent sense for furrin-only people to be given such investigatory role. Had enuff?

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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Can we any longer trust the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian?

It's a golden tenet of every true journalist that game-changing news are better printed than stifled, even if such printing incurs the wrath of whomever may, by such publication, be offended. That said, here goes!

How can a newspaper that, from its very birth, has been viewed and embraced by an ardent readership as the Watchdog of the pillars of democracy suddenly seem to turn traitor and seek instead to molly-coddle those who habitually abuse those pillars the same way that any incontinent dog would the nearest tree trunk, wall or fire hydrant?

How can a media house that has stood with generations of Trinidadians and Tobagonians from the time of World War One ---and, for nigh on one hundred years fostered such literary genii as Sir Vidya Naipaul (through his dad, Persad), Eric Roach, John Babb, Lenn Chong Sing, Elma Reyes, Valentino Singh, Clevon Raphael, Keith Shepherd, Compton Delph, David Prescod, Francis Joseph, Dunstan Eric Williams and Keithos Anderson in whose authorship and wit we regaled--- suddenly seem to veer off such noble course as if to cater to the oppressor class, unless she has sold her soul for thirty-pieces-of-silver's worth silver...like, a larger chunk of government advertising budget...which budget, by the way, is more than tantamount to thirty pieces of silver...many millions more?

Oh! If the above was true, how those to The Great Beyond departed from amongst that throng must in their final resting places be turning! And bowing their heads in shame, too, those who yet are quickened!

In case the reader is wondering of what I'm ranting, ponder this: "Why would the top dog in an institution such as the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian direct his underlings '...not to lead the newspaper with crime stories unless they are exceptional and unless he is consulted and gives his approval...'?"

A directive of the just-stated nature would, having come to hand some two months after it was given, surely would warn everyone but the uninitiated that some kissing-up ---as suggested in the opening paragraph--- is already taking place and, if not already, all will, sooner or later, observe that, in truth so is the case, wouldn't it?

And, what if those conclusions are drawn after a most impeccable source has furnished a hardcopy of an email dated June 4th 2009, in which the Acting Editor-In-Chief of the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper, Anthony Wilson, batted away certain major concerns voiced by Hazel Ross-Perot, Manager of the journal's South Trinidad Bureau, about the rag's choice of lead story that day and editorial policy in general, as, indeed, such a source has?

The contents of Wilson's email strongly hint that, at least since June 2009, the Guardian has descended from its lookout to cavort with the predators, in the process becoming a media house that no longer can be trusted to bark out the truth. But, regarding spin, readers maybe tempted to draw other conclusions, for they also tend to suggest ---and this is so sad--- that he is not broadminded enough to grasp how pandering to vested interest denudes him and his paper of every vestige of credibility in the public eye, as, truly, now in the public eye his hasty put-down of Hazel's forthright query is.

Skip down to view the contents of both the Wilson email and the one to him from Ross-Perot that triggered it. Read, then see whether his doesn't prompt recollection of how, once, a respected man sold out for thirty pieces of silver. Let the parties twixt whom those emails flew step forward and deny they ever took flight! Only if they're given to fleeing from furnishing facts ---history defines them otherwise to be--- would they so demur. In any event, Ms Ross-Perot would not! Why? Because originally she's not us, therefore, innately not susceptible to what's long been derisively called "Trickidadianism" ---she became a naturalised citizen on November 13th 2003 (See: http://www.news.gov.tt/E-Gazette/Gazette%202003/Gazette%20No.%20184%20of%202003.pdf)

In any event, too, they cannot, for, before posting this exposé, every attempt by this writer to extract a comment out of Messrs Kissoon and Wilson and Ms Ross-Perot failed ---somewhat excusable with the former and latter, because they're on vacation, totally unforgivable with the other, for he neither accepted nor returned my call, even though, of his professionalism, just recently, publicly, I did high admiration of him express . Perhaps what he said in his email somewhat clarifies why he does not swoon at my type of pampering?

Here goes:
From: Anthony Wilson <awilson@ttol.co.tt>
Date: June 4, 2009 2:42:51 PM GMT-04:00
To: "Hazel Ross-Perot" <hazel@ttol.co.tt>
Subject: Re: Hospital Jitters vs Missing Mom found Dead
Thanks for your note Hazel.
1) You may not know, but we have a firm mandate from the MD, Mr Kissoon, not to lead the newspaper with crime stories unless they are exceptional and unless he is consulted and gives his approval;
2) Today's story was a follow-up to a story that was blurbed on the front page of the Express yesterday.
3) I have been a journalist for 19 years and there will be occasions when we travel to assignments and they are not used or not used how we would like.
4) Today's newspaper had a plethora of news stories.
On Jun 4, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Hazel Ross-Perot wrote:

Anthony,

Hospital Jitters Vs A Date with Death and Missing Mom Found Dead. Vendors remind us regularly the front page sells a newspaper. We were very disappointed this morning when we didn't see Rishi's photos from Manzanilla or La Brea used prominently. Both Newsday and Express used photos of Gail Joseph's daughter being comforted by a relative on their front pages. We used only a small photo of the deceased on page eight to accompany Anika's story.
Rishi & Radhica covered the Alutrint protest in La Brea for 7 a.m. Rishi then headed to Manzanilla and reached there about midday . As soon as he got back to San Fernando he transmitted the pix and asked Robert to use them. Radhica's story on the La Brea protest was not used either. These distant assignments cost the company additional travelling and subsistence. Our staff also feel very demotivated when their work is not published.
Regards,
Hazel

So much, then, for what ---by the phrase tucked neatly neath its every front-page banner--- where the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian publicly proclaims itself to be: "Guardian of Democracy"! See here:

Thus, it's reasonable to deduce ---if the email accurately portrays the since-June-2k9 state of its affairs--- that the Guardian's day-to-day editorial offerings are dictated not by the person who, in such institutions, ubiquitously do ---the Editor-In-Chief or his underlings--- but, shriek!, by its Board of Directors, none else; and, a company's Board, we know, answers directly to the shareholders, who, as already described, being shareholders, are driven by blind desire to maximise the returns on their investment dollars, naught else. In a future post, I hope to show that, by their BDE & ADE choice of front-page-published contents, such, indeed, is the case at the Guardian..

Meanwhile, to me, the email is more than enough evidence to suggest that the lines between owner and journalist have become blurred, very blurred, leading one further to wonder how intensely underlings at the Guardian of Democracy must in their seats be uneasily fidgeting.

Which overall assessment, if true, leaves us only to ask, "What's the next dastardly decision for the seemingly treacherous Guardian to take...other than that taken by the one who originally found thirty pieces of silver too alluring to refuse?"

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Collapses symptomize severe government vision abridgement.

Rotted/rusted utility poles, broken water mains, potholed roads (rather, paved potholes), minefield-mimicking footpaths, manmade-clogged manmade and natural watercourses, unkempt public buildings, now this ---major bridges collapsing all over the place (Caroni, Macoya, Balandra)--- all of which are symptomatic of how severely abridged is this government's vision, of how bent it (the government) is on severing the linkages that bind us, the people, as one and, most of all, of how urgent the need for its (the government's), term of office abruptly to be abridged, so that we, the people, may reconstruct anew...before everything else collapses.


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"POW!...POW!...POW!"

A firearm is a firearm...is a lethal weapon ---intently/expertly-used, any firearm can/would kill/seriously maim any living target lined up in its sights; it nonsense, thus, for media houses to engage in complicity with the local law enforcement authorities by reporting that this firearm or that, discovered/seized by the latter, is high-powered, especially so when low-powered ones are never by the former properly described, for one of the unwelcome consequences of such complicity is the lulling into a false sense of security by the run-of-the-mill reader/viewer of any media report concerning such discovery/seizure where the epithet "high-powered" is not used ---a firearm is a firearm...is a lethal weapon and every one of them, when its trigger is pulled, barks, "POW!...POW!...POW!" never "pow!...pow!...pow!"

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Nous dansons sur un volcan!

History records that, on the balmy evening of June 5, 1830, the Duke of Orléans hosted a grand ball at the Palais Royal in honour of his brother-in-law, the king of Naples.

Bestowing his royal presence upon the occasion was Charles X, the French monarch, against whose despotic rule there already was such widespread grumbling that he was on the verge of being shaken off from his throne.

At the height of the gaiety, thousands of guests merrily frolicked in the salons and under the trees in gardens festooned with lights.

Bemused by it all, one of the invitees, Narcisse-Achille de Salvandy, a former French ambassador to Naples, turned to his host and cheerily remarked, "You are giving us quite a Neapolitan fete."

Then, switching to a grave undertone, he continued, "Nous dansons sur un volcan!"

The grim latter remark was given as a warning that this heedless throng were making merry on the crater's edge, for Salvandy was fully aware that the fesitivities were being held on the slopes of the very active volcano, Mt. Vesuvius.

A few weeks later (July 28) the volcano (not Vesuvius) erupted. The people rose in arms, and, inside three days of rowdiness, the Duke of Orléans was thrown up as lieutenant-general in charge of running things. As to King Charles, well, he quickly fled the throne. It was then that the people officially acclaimed Orléans as their new leader and installed him on the throne as Louis Philippe I, King of France.

Ici, en la Trinité, nous dansons sur un volcan! Y a-t-il un volcanologue entre nous qui peut sauver notre âme, avant qu'il ne soit trop tard? Parce que tout le monde savent par expérience que celui qui hésite est perdu!

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Saving stranded citizens: It's just a matter of time!


The honey-voiced American singer of yore ---Brook Benton--- once, to an enraptured world crooned, "It's just a matter of time!"

Brook, of course, was melodiously reciting the wistful prayer of one who'd been by some lover ejected that such ex-lover would one day wake up and find that the love rejected was a true love (Watch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG3mhdKLWfw ---It's just a matter of time!)

No kidding, regarding a certain very recent event, it's just a matter of time. For what? For the dragon-slaying head of the responsible government ministry to continue the trend of his tiresome foolishness ---he will insist that the bridges of this nation are in a horrible state because, when the United National Congress (UNC) was in power, it did nothing whatsoever to maintain them. How long before that he does? Who knows? It's just a matter of time!

What is known, though, is that whether he that slays dragons follows his true colours or not, the blame for the confusion subsequent to Saturday's destruction of the Balandra bridge lies immutably at his feet ---the proximate cause occurred under his watch--- thus, he's the one who must feel the full fury of everyone who suffered by it. It's just a matter of time!

Furthermore, the whole sorry non-happenstance triggers this writer wistfully to remind one and all that there would have been an easily-available, readily-accommodating, tailor-made alternative way in an out of the northeastern tip of Trinidad ---especially in the event of a mishap (contrived or natural) along the Toco Main Road--- had the UNC administration's Sadiq Baksh not been stymied in his efforts to have his Ministry ---Works and Transport (wait! Ent that's the same one the dragon-slayer heads?)--- develop the jetty facilities at Toco as, so sincerely, then he wanted and, as is, so clearly, not-for-the-first-time, now seen so dearly needed by all who live in or visit that area? Any reader who instantly does not concur with such exposition, would ---if they were in the shoes of the swarms stranded since Saturday, as, bet all bottom dollars, sometime in the future they'll be. So, yet again, Brook's hooking intonation is relevant. It's just a matter of time!

As to how much more, then, of this Minister's short-statured...oops! "short-tempered" ineptitude can a weary citizenry take? Time will tell, for, as to what the future may bring ---or make one forget--- always, it's just a matter of time!

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Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sugar-sorry saga.


It strains every gram of this rational Trinbagonian's willpower to restrain him from derisively bawling out these questions to Messrs Laughlin and Tambie: "Whaaaaaat???? Wey allyuh was when Caroni was being shut?? Why allyuh didn' open allyuh mouth then? Ent we did keep telling allyuh, 'What sweet in goat mout does sour in dey bambam?' Why allyuh didn' lissen to we then?"

Thankfully, such effort at reticence is required at a time when it's easy for him so to expend ---the Ramadan fast is already commenced. Thus, instead, he'd to them point out that their insistence on reviving what was, without proper consideration for the public interest, put to sleep, is steeped in the misguided notion that so it must for the primary sake of producing the sweet crystals and not the bagasse.

Bagasse is the inevitable detritus of cane-sugar production. But it's value as a byproduct has never been fully appreciated. Whenever that is done, countries through the under- and less-developed world ---nearly every one lies in the Tropics--- will trip over each other to stick sugarcane stalks in their wherever available soil.

It's a topic to which this writer shall revert in the near future and with information off all socks to knock. Trust him: the picture he'll paint will not be nice. For, in truth, it's a sugar-sorry saga!

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Firemen? or, "Fire tenders?"


Regarding the captioned ---the tragic Trinidad Newsday story of the horrible fire at McBean--- if the following is indeed true, then one needs must be angry, then direct that anger to the right quarters, for, to park up a fire tender with its on-board water storage tank empty is akin to being accessory to arson.
"...Upon hearing reports that Couva fire trucks had no water to put out the fire yesterday, as well as accounts that the Chaguanas fire station officers arrived first at the scene, United National Congress councillor for the Couva area, Allan Seepersad, lashed out at what he thought was the lack of disaster preparedness at the Couva Fire Station.

“You always have to be equipped, there is a lack of responsibility and service at the Couva Fire Station which could source water at the Savonetta Fire Station before coming to the scene. The supervision at Couva is very poor,” claimed Seepersad..."


Like this writer elsewhere, previously declared, "It's time for some Babylon Boops!"

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Equal ≠ equitable.


Quite an engaging piece, the captioned letter to the editor by Mr. Devant Maharaj was. Just one observation ---an early one--- that it triggered; and it's this:
Regarding the first two therein points:
1. The preponderance of Indian doctors is not limited to Trinidad and Tobago. A similar phenomenon exists in North America and the United Kingdom where a disproportionate number of doctors are Indian.(And,)

2. There is merit in the state having as a policy objective, the need for racial diversity in the medical profession. However, Ryan admitted that the ethnic imbalance is reversed in the nursing profession but made no similar call for an increase in the number of Indo-Trinidadian nurses.

could it be that the frequency of observed phenomena is directly proportionate to the regularly-reported poor performance of the Afro-male in the formal education sphere and, in particular, the sciences?

Maybe the Central Statistical Office can assist by undertaking/reporting on the relevant survey(s), for, though the National Anthem signs off with "...equal place...", this writer's yet to be convinced that the "equal ≠ equitable" notion is worthy only of defenestration.

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Balandra bridge breakdown beckons Babylon's boops.


Remember how a bombshell launched not too long ago by the ebullient Jamaican reggae artiste, Lovindeer, blitzed the airwaves? The ditty was witty and grittily-named "Babylon Boops!"!

In it Lovindeer spun of a certain bombastic Constable Brown's cavalier bent of boasting what a cop can do to men who violently abuse women who, having falen for their courtship platitudes, embrace them in hope of a better life. Remember it now?

It's sad that, many a time, such abused woman finds herself in such sorry circumstances, metaphorically having moved from the proverbial frying pan to the fire.

On reading the captioned Trinidad Express article of the broken Balandra bridge, Lovindeer's haunting hookline came instantly to mind ---"I want to show what police can do! I want to show what police can do!"--- for the circumstances of the old bridge's destruction seem to be a clearcut case of criminal negligence by a regime, one that obviously had portrayed itself to the electorate in same disguise as a latently-violent suitor would to the innocent object of his affection.

Trinidad and Tobago now holds her collective breath ---to see what police will do concerning the collapsed bridge. It's now eight years that the bride has been enduring open abuse from her man-in-the-house; yet, still she clings to him as a doting wife, despite her wistful off-and-on recollecting of how sweet life was for her when she was shacked up with her former partner.

Let's hope the bride does not auto-asphyxiate in the process. She won't ---if the police does indeed Lovindeer heed.

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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Minister Mariano's misinformation merits maintained, massive mainstream-media marination.


Ramadan mubarak!

Ramadan is the month when Muslims are commanded to wax more inspecting, not merely of themselves, but also of the world about them ---for it's only thus that the truth concerning the raison d'etre of anything may be had.

In my interaction with him over time, the Guardian Editor, Mr. Anthony Wilson, has always impressed me as one who bristles at being made to look unprofessional or foolish regarding any aspect of his newspaper's offerings ---he's never lethargic at defensively or pre-emptively wielding his proverbial sword in stout guardianship of the honourable hand that him feeds.

All salutes, then, to him, for such. Indeed, if I didn't know better, I'd have sworn that he, too, is Muslim!

Not unpleasantly surprised at all, therefore, must anyone be, on seeing how he responded, as per captioned copy, to Minister Mariano Browne's earlier, effete essay at clarifying copious civic consternation concerning the Manning-administration decision to squander ---can't think of any other way to describe it--- more mega-millions of the taxpayers' treasury to take two, then two, twirly-thingies from AugustaWestland. (See: Let's right outside this government boots!)

Consequently, too, none ought be surprised that, while the here intent is congratulatory towards Mr. Wilson for administering the captioned rebuff, the gravity and urgency of the topic warranted that such directed-at-Mariano rebuff be plastered across the front page of the journal, not as a mere appendage to a Letter to the Editor ---in case you didn't notice, that's how the Minister's explanation was published!

And why moreso than that, from the instant first to the media house(s) he delivered it, Minister Mariano's misinformation merited maintained, massive mainstream-media marination, for he presumes to be not unlike many public officials who, as they go about our, the people's, business, pronounce ourselves predominantly odious to them?

Regardless! Well done, Anthony! Don't let up now: time to make them understand that we are their bosses!

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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Shocking obfuscation of Regulated Industries Commission, re: Publicly-funded schools' electricity bills.


THE CHARGE:
When one is electrically-shocked, the laws of physics and chemistry at once combine irresistibly to provoke all one's hairing promptly to be straightened. The Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) is probably hard of hearing, else it would have come straight in its published-at-caption response to the plea of certain schools for relief/release from their onerous electricity bills.

But, as all know, if one grabs onto the body of another, then one is spared the harsh consequence of an electric jolt ---the last person in the series absorbs everything. By transferring the buck to the government and to the schools, the RIC seems to have tried exactly that.

Thing is, before it so attempted, it forgot completely that if a buck-transferring ploy is tried too late, the shocked cannot escape the harsher consequence that visits the wet, as, indeed the RIC is, through its hand-washing attempt to escape its mandate.

That the bills are onerous, even the RIC ibid has tacitly acknowledged, but, the flow of this missive being elsewhere directed, estimation of that aspect will be left for another/another time: sufficient, now, to inspect what the current laws of Trinidad and Tobago actually have to say about the RIC's Pilatean defence.

THE INSPECTION:
The Regulated Industries Commission is the statutorily-created agency that sets the electricity rates. It so does by operation of the Regulated Industries Commission Act (Chapter 54:73) of 2000 (RICA2k). (http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws/Chs.%2054-55/54.73/54.73%20aos.htm).

In Section 6 of RICA2k the following, relevant-to-this-discussion guidelines to the RIC are prescribed:
6. (1) The Commission may have and exercise such functions, powers and duties as are imposed on it by this Act and in particular—
(a) advise the Minister on matters relating to the operation of this Act including the granting of licences;
(c) ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the service provided by a service provider operating under prudent and efficient management will be on terms that will allow the service provider to earn sufficient return to finance necessary investment;
(d) carry out studies of efficiency and economy of operation and of performance by service providers and publish the results thereof;
(h) establish the principles and methodologies by which service providers determine rates for services;
(i) monitor rates charged by service providers to ensure compliance with the principles established under paragraph (h);
(j) carry out periodic reviews of the rating regimes of service providers;
(k) facilitate competition between service providers where competition is possible and desirable;
(l) investigate complaints by consumers, of their failure to obtain redress from service providers in respect of rates, billings and unsatisfactory service and facilitate relief where necessary; ...and
(n) do all such things as may be necessary or expedient for the proper performance of its functions.
(2) In the performance of its functions under subsections (1)(e), (g), (h) and (j), the Commission shall consult with service providers and representatives of consumer interest groups and any other parties it considers as having an interest in the matters before it.
(3) In the performance of its functions, the Commission shall have regard to the public interest and in particular—
(a) to maximum efficiency in the use and allocation of resources to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable, that services are reliable and provided at the lowest possible cost;
(b) to equal access by consumers to service;
(c) to fair treatment of consumers and of service providers similarly placed;
(d) in respect of consumers similarly placed, to non-discrimination in relation to access, pricing and quality service; (See: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws/Chs.%2054-55/54.73/54.73.htm#sec6)

Noticed, in particular, what the opening blast of Section 3 says: "...the Commission shall have regard to the public interest..."? Saw, also, what Sections 3(c) and 3(d) mentions: "...consumers similarly placed..."? What, then, are the meanings of "the public interest" and "similarly placed"?

"Public interest" is the direct opposite of "private interest". Webster's New World Law Dictionary defines "public interest" as:
The people’s general welfare and well being; something in which the populace as a whole has a stake. (See: http://www.yourdictionary.com/law/public-interest)

But, what of "similarly placed"? Does that mean "in the same geographic location"? Or, does it mean "in-the-same-category-so-we-go-know-how-to-charge-you"?

Thankfully, the RIC's own executive director, Harjinder Atwal, resolved this when said,
“Schools, based on the applicable load factor, are categorised as commercial or industrial consumers,” (See: ibid)

Mr. Atwal's pontification is of another significance which shall be identified as this discussion proceeds.

It's noteworthy that, while RICA2k twice ---and only twice--- speaks of "consumers similarly placed", the other most relevant piece of legislation never once mentions the term, even though, in 2004, four years after RICA2k was enacted, that other bit of legislation was twice amended! That other law is the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission Act (Chapter 54:70) of 1946 (T&TECA) (See: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws/Chs.%2054-55/54.70/54.70%20aos.htm)

T&TECA, thrice, uses the expression "similarly", but, never juxtaposed with "placed". That cannot have been by accident.

The provision of T&TECA that matters is the one which, twice, uses the word "similarly", that is, Section 25, which states:
25. (1) The prices to be charged by the Commission for the supply of energy and services shall be in accordance with such tariffs as may, from time to time, be fixed under section 53.
(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent the Commission from charging other prices by special agreement under section 54.
(3) In fixing tariffs and making agreements for the supply of energy, the Commission shall not show undue preference as between consumers similarly situated, and shall not exercise undue discrimination as between persons similarly situated, having regard to the place and time of supply, the quantity of energy supplied, the consumer load and power factor, and the purpose for which the supply is taken. (See: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws/Chs.%2054-55/54.70/54.70.htm#sec25)

One does not need to have a meter reader come view to determine that when T&TECA says, "similarly situated", it clearly means, "in the same geographic location".

And, what does Section 53 of T&TECA have to say?
53. (1) Subject to section 25(3), the Commission may pre­scribe a tariff of prices to be paid by consumers for energy sup­plied to them by the Commission.
(2) In fixing tariffs of prices to be paid by consumers, the Commission shall ensure that rates are adequate to provide sufficient revenue—
(a) to cover operating expenses, including taxes, if any, and to provide adequate maintenance and deprecia­tion, and interest payments on borrowings;
(b) to meet periodic repayments on long-term indebted­ness to the extent that any such repayments exceed the provisions for depreciation;
(c) to create reserves to finance a reasonable part of the cost of future expansion.
(3) Tariffs shall be made or varied by resolution of the Commission and the tariffs so made or varied shall have effect after such date as may be mentioned in the resolution. (See: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws/Chs.%2054-55/54.70/54.70.htm#sec53)

Bzzzt! Read by themselves, Sections 25 and 53 then appear to shortcircuit every proposition that publicly-funded schools deserve an ameliorated electricity rate arrangement.

Bzzzt! Bzzzt! Hold on! Not so fast! T&TECA's Section 25 (2) referred to a subsequent section ---Section 54. It's absolutely necessary to be well-grounded in what that section has to say, for what it says must be fused to the above to get the right reading of what power T&TEC has to influence rates charged for its electricity! See here (the highlights are this writer's):
54. Notwithstanding section 53 but subject to section 25(3), the Commission may make any agreement with a consumer as to the price to be charged for a supply of energy and the mode in which the price is to be ascertained. (See: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws/Chs.%2054-55/54.70/54.70.htm#sec54)

Therefore, regarding the granting of relief by way of concessionary rates to publicly-funded schools, the RIC's hands are not tied. Even if they were, they can easily be loosed, a special rate for publicly-funded schools can be crafted ---T&TEC has the power to make it work! Both Sections 25 (2) and 54 of T&TECA electrifies T&TEC for such purpose! What, evidently, has been blacked-out is the T&TEC's will so to do.

Returning to the RIC's adamance that the RIC's hands are tied because, as its Mr. Atwal put it:
“Schools, based on the applicable load factor, are categorised as commercial or industrial consumers,” (See: http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,105796.html)

On the face of it, one has to assume Mr. Atwal's statement accurately mirrors how the RIC makes decisions. That means it's necessary to revoke the RIC's certificate of approval to do business, for "load factor" is not the sole, rather, but one (1) of six (6) factors that, by law, it's required to consider, when ruminating on what rate any T&TEC customer must pay:
If any one of the foregoing six factors need be given more weight than the others it would have to be the purpose for which the supply is taken, for electricity supply is no longer a luxury consumable: that's why, since way back in 1946, the right to produce and distribute electricity was exclusively vested in the public's hands via the publicly-owned Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission.

CONCLUSIONS;
Publicly-funded schools are neither established nor operated for mercenary purposes, rather for the benefit of
all of society. They, therefore, like the RIC, exist purely to serve the public interest. And, why not? For what greater public interest can there be than that of properly equipping the young to cope with the vicissitudes they'll face when they enter the adult world ---which is what the focus of formal education is?

It's in the public interest, then, that such schools succeed! Thus, also in the public interest that they receive public support.

Such support cannot be platitudinous, but concrete ---it has to take the form that the late Sham Mohammed used to describe as, "Solid, liquid cash!"


RECOMMENDATION:
Therefore, the overriding public interest demands that, for ALL publicly-funded institutions, the Regulated Industries Commission settles on a consumption-charge rate lower, much lower, than that demanded of for-profit institutions which consume similar amounts of electricity.

If the RIC doesn't, then the need would arise to turn out the lights. The question is, "Whose?"


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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Broken down: "budget deficit".

From time to time one hears some senior government minister or bureaucrat mention that, regarding government's fiscal plans, there has been/will be a budget deficit.

Ever wonder what, in layman language, that means?

It means that the government is purchasing and using goods and services without paying for them; and, that, in turn, means that our children and grandchildren will be the ones who will have to pay.

Someone! Please remind me of the biblical admonition of the sins of the fathers...?

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Buh, wait nah!


"Three men arrested as suspects in 30 robberies, committed another while locked away in a cell at the Cunupia Police Station on Monday. The men robbed two Jamaican nationals who were arrested for overstaying their time in Trinidad...
The Jamaicans were detained until immigration officers could come to get them when they were robbed of cash, jewelry, and two pairs of shoes."

Buh, wait nah! When dey lock you up, dey does leave you wid yuh money and jewelry?

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Well, he DID ask for my view, ent?


Snippet from the captioned Trinidad Express article of August 19th 2009:
Manning said the Privy Council determines matters that come before it based on the principles "existing not in the Caribbean, but the UK and Europe".

Referring to the death penalty, he said, "The Privy Council goes out of its way to ensure that the death penalty is not carried out in Trinidad and Tobago.

"I ask you the question, is that your view?

No, Mr. Manning! It is not!

Indeed, I think you've committed an act of contempt of court: by your publicly holding the highest court of our land ---the Privy Council still so is, ent?--- up to ridicule. Plus, you've dissed on our constitution, which clearly insists on separation of powers between the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary. Furthermore, you've opened a window for anti-Trinbagonian demagogues elsewhere in the Caribbean, sooner or later, to call for the rejection of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ---they will use the same argument you used: that the CCJ's located in Trinidad, therefore, "determines matters that come before it based on the principles "existing not in the demagogue's country, but Trinidad".

Well? He DID ask for my view, ent?

2020 vision indeed!

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Dis is real tata!


Well! I declare! We hiring somebody to hire somebody to apply for a wuk? Well dat is real tata...and I NOT talking 'bout de vehicle, eh? What I talking bout is de mechanism dat Manning dem say dey going use to appoint a new, long-overdue, Police Commissioner! And is NIPDEC dat constructing de terms of reference for de process? NIPDEC? What wholly-owned by de National Insurance Board (NIB)? De same NIB who have a heart fuh de head? So what dat mean? Dat de same heart-head go hire de person who might have to lock him up when all de 'uff and puff done get commit? Nah! Dis is too much tata! Too much mann!

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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

NIB cyar win Camille Carr!


In the captioned article, the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday of Tuesday August 18th 2009 briefly reports on the woes of Camille Carr regarding her recent futile attempt to obtain maternity benefits from the National Insurance Board (NIB), she having recently given birth to a bouncing baby girl named Davana. It's a pity that the Newsday chose not to identify who actually wrote the article, thus neither proper accolade nor opprobrium cannot presently fittingly be dispensed. Nonetheless, the content of the anonymously-written report is one that must alarm every reasonable person in Trinidad and Tobago.

Newsday's preamble synopsizes the issue this way:
“If I had any idea that I did not qualify, I would never have applied and gone through all this trouble. I would not have spent $300 plus taxi fare to get two affidavits, and having to carry my baby around in the sun, if I had known”, Natasha Camille Carr, told Newsday.

Carr, of Lowlands, Tobago, said, “It’s very distressing to me... extremely distressing. NIB should give me back my money,” she said.

Carr is the mother of two-month-old Davana.

Carr went to the NIB office at Scarborough Mall with the two affidavits and other relevant documents, only to be told that she did not qualify for the (NIB) special maternity grant.

She said she was told because she and her baby’s father had not been living together for three years as required by the NIB, she could not be legally deemed the spouse of her child’s father...

And concludes with this:
...The supervisor also pointed out, “The (NIB) legal requirement is that, in the case where you are not the legal spouse of the insured man (the child’s father), you would have had to be cohabitating [sic] (living as man and wife) for at least three years, and that is the minimum requirement”.

Carr and her baby’s father, according to her affidavit, showed that the couple had only been living together for 18 months.

Straight off, one must side with Camille in this matter, for a perusal of the the written instructions given to every applicant via the relevant NIB Special Maternity Grant Benefit Application Form ---NI 13--- reveals nothing favouring what the "supervisor" suggests (this writer's highlights):
INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLICANT

1. Use BLOCKS/CAPITALS to complete this form. (sic)
2. The Special Maternity Grant is payable to the mother of the child/children using the father's contributions.
3. Where the mother does not satisfy the contribution requirements regard the Special Maternity Grant in her own right or where the mother is unemployed, the father's contributions will be used to qualify her for the Special Maternity Grant.
4. One (1) Special Maternity Grant is allowed every twenty-four (24) consecutive months.
5. The Special Maternity Grant is a lumpsum payment equivalent to the Maternity Grant of $2500.00 per child.
6. Your form must be accompanied by:
(a) NI 4 - if the applicant does not have an National Insurance Number.
(b) Marriage Certificate if the applicant is legally married.
OR
(b) Where both mother and father are in a common-law union, evidence of:
(1) co-habitation at the time of delivery of the child/children and
(2) marital status of both mother and father,
(c) Birth Certificate(s) of child/children and supporting statutory declaration(s) (if necessary).
(NI 13 Page 8, culled from the NIB's website at http://www.nibtt.co.tt/2009/NI%2013.pdf at 2009 August 18th 0300 hrs)

Any reasonable person thus would conclude that the NIB has to pay Camille the grant for which she applied and that continued refusal so to do warrants the harshest criticism of any court of law.

Were the anonymous Newsday journalist truly investigative by nature, he/she would have easily accessed the same information, thus, thence, more deeply delved into the ocean of teeming ineptitude that many claimants claim to encounter every time they treat with some National Insurance office.

Camille Carr's plight is indicative of what's behind the dystopian condition of today's Trinidad and Tobago: square pegs in round holes throughout infest the halls of decision-/policy-making. It is time to put a stop to such arrant nonsense. Sue them, Camille! That might very well begin the cleansing process.

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Monday, 17 August 2009

Why not "The Trinidad and Tobago Community Police Service"?

Okay! Listen up everybody!

For several years there has existed in our midst, a bunch of police officers, whose duty it is to intervene in the early stages of squabbles, to get the loggerheads amicably to resolve their whatever dispute. Another main plank of these officers' modus operandi is: to become and remain friends of every living person within the district to which they're assigned, so that situations between such living souls would never even reach the squabbling stage ---prevention is always better than the cure, ent?

Such group of police officers ---male and female--- we officially and caressingly refer to as "Community Police". And, why not? For, as already highlighted, their whole and sole mission focuses on fostering and maintaining camaraderie amongst the residents of their assigned jurisdiction. "Quite noble purpose!" I'd say, if asked.

Now, here's my question: "Does that mean that the rest of police officers in the land ---who comprise the overwhelming majority--- are against the communities they serve, meaning, they are "Anti-community Police"?

A famous bard long ago posed, "What's in a name?" So, some might respond, "Richard, boy! No big thing!"

But, any retort of that nature ignores that, back in the seventeenth century, the science of marketing ---which recognizes and appreciates the worth and impact of branding--- was not yet fully grasped. Apparently, four hundred years thence, in Trinidad and Tobago, it's yet to be.

I'm of the view that, insisting for only a small percentage of the police cadre to be regarded as community police creates across-the-board subliminal antagonism towards the vast rest, with whom citizens most frequently interact.

Such an acute assessment allows added agreement as to why policing has so dastardly degenerated to the point where many officers now feel or behave as though they're a law unto themselves ---ever notice how they swagger?

Thankfully, it won't take much to bend things in a different direction: just rename the entirety as "The Trinidad and Tobago Community Police Service"!

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Let's right outside this government boots!

I'm sure Gabby won't mind!

Is it neh...suh...serry
To have so much copters in dis small country?
No! No! No! Nooooo!
Is it neh...suh...serry
To zing here and there with taxpayers' money?
No! No! No! Nooooo!
Well don't tell me, tell Pat oui!
He buying chopper wit we money
Public anger high, everybody want him to go
And he buying chopper jess fuh pappyshow

I see dem
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh and more whoosh!
Copter here! Copter dere! To impress he baleezay troops!
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh and more whoosh!
Zantaying while under he pressure we shoulder droops
Tell Pat I say, dat wouldn't do
Time fuh fresh blood to see bout me and you
And, most of all, to dump Hart and dem,
To stop further Treasury haemorrhaging!

Let's now...let's now, dis govament boots, dis govament boots!
Let's now...let's now, dis govament boots, dis govament boots!


Is it neh...suh...serry to purchase
Dem four helicopters at such exorbitance?
No! No! No! Nooooo!
Is it right now to say dey not equipped wit weapon
When back den he say dey was to deal wit hooligan?
No! No! No! Nooooo!
Well don't tell me, tell Pat man!
He buying dem from Augusta-Westland!
De way Pat getting on man
Like he fraid Rowley have a plan
To overthrow him by counter-rebellion?

I see dem
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh and more whoosh!
Copter here! Copter dere! To impress he baleezay troops!
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh and more whoosh!
Zantaying while under he pressure we shoulder droops
Tell Pat I say, dat wouldn't do
Time fuh fresh blood to see bout me and you
And, most of all, to dump Martin and dem,
To stop further Trini blood haemorrhaging!

Let's now...let's now, dis govament boots, dis govament boots!
Let's now...let's now, dis govament boots, dis govament boots!


Can we afford to be a silent majority
While so many children roam de streets hungry?
No! No! No! Nooooo!
Can we afford to remain passive
While Pat SAUTT army growing more massive?
No! No! No! Nooooo!
Well don't tell me, tell Pat, jeez!
He letting dem do as dey please!
Lord people when you go understand
Jess now we go be like Azerbijhan
If God doh soon put ah hand?

I see dem
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh and more whoosh!
Copter here! Copter dere! To impress he baleezay troops!
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh and more whoosh!
Zantaying while under he pressure we shoulder droops
Tell Pat I say, dat wouldn't do
Time fuh fresh blood to see bout me and you
And, most of all, to dump de PNM,
To stop further Trinbago downward spiralling!

Let's now...let's now, dis govament boots, dis govament boots!
Let's now...let's now, dis govament boots, dis govament boots!


In case yall dunno the melody, here's what Gabby sang back in 1984:
http://www.toronto-lime.com/music/classics/government_boots.htm

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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Taking the Obama health-cue.

Man is innately social. Therefrom do socialist tendencies and policies spring.

When one member of society's ill, the whole society becomes the weaker by that illness. Logic insists that It's the duty of the whole society to guard against the consequences of any one of its members falling ill. This can only be done in two ways:
  1. By implementing preventive measures ---education to instil good hygiene, work- and home-related safety etc; and
  2. The best-socie­tywide-ava­ilable professional care for the ill.
Society, as a whole, needs to approve, oversee and underwrite such measures, else only the well-heeled would enjoy access to the best of 1. and 2. above.

That, in a nutshell, is what US President Obama's Healthcare Reform agenda proposes...unless I'm a wingnut. That, too, is what we need in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Friday, 14 August 2009

Are WASA's present rates legal?


WASA'S MURKY BELIEFS:
It was published by a local newspaper consequent on the desire of the Trinidad and Tobago Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) publicly to clarify the murk clouding the recently-announced water rate increase. Therefore, it belongs in the public domain. What is it? A letter ---doubtlessly transmitted to every media house in Trinidad and Tobago--- signed by WASA's Ellen Lewis. Here it is in its entirety:
No water rate increase

Friday, August 14 2009

THE EDITOR: This is a response to a letter published on August 11 and written by Linus Dedier (sic):

Customers are advised that by virtue of Public Utilities Commission Order No 83 of 1993 the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was authorised to charge a 35 percent increase in water rates for unmetered domestic customers and charitable institutions. At the time of the increase, a decision was taken by the Authority to delay the full implementation of the new rates.

In 2007, the Authority informed the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC), which replaced the PUC, of its intention to implement PUC Order No 83 of 1993 on customers receiving a minimum water supply of no less than three days per week.

Customers whose rates are adjusted in accordance with PUC Order No 83 of 1993 are notified by formal letter which cites the order. There has been no new increase in water rates.

The authority to review and or adjust water rates does not reside with the Water and Sewerage Authority. This authority rests with the Regulated Industries Commission, which is the independent regulatory body, charged with administering PUC Orders. Accordingly, customers are advised to address any concern they may have with respect to PUC Order No 83 of 1993 to the RIC.

Ellen Lewis
WASA

Linus Didier's letter may be viewed at http://www.newsday.co.tt/letters/0,105333.html ---"Didier" is the correct spelling, not "Dedier" as Ms Lewis penned--- and it highlights the following:
"...My basic WASA bill dated May 7, 2009 reflected a 35 percent increase in water and sewage rates.

It also had PUC Order 83 Water Adjustments totalling $122 plus PUC Order 83 Sewage Adjustments totalling $78, all backdated to June 1, 2008..."

HOW THE LAW CLARIFIES THINGS FOR WASA:
Perhaps WASA fell into error other than the spelling of Mr. Didier's name, for the Limitation of Certain Actions Act (LoCAA) Chapter 7:09 of 1997, at Section 3 (1) (c), clearly says (the highlights are not in the original transcript):
3. (1) The following actions shall not be brought after the expiry of four years from the date on which the cause of action accrued, that is to say:
(c) actions to recover any sum recoverable by virtue of any enactment.

Which means that were Mr. Didier or any WASA customer to refuse to pay the now-demanded increase, WASA cannot do a thing about it!

Why?

The purpose of LoCAA is to prevent persons from being negligent in exercising their rights in certain matters, in other words, to make them understand how much they must treasure their rights. And it all lends to the peaceful order of society, for equity insists that it cannot be right for someone who has long grown accustomed to a particular status quo to be suddenly therefrom disrupted without their consent, especially where the whole society, too, accepted that status quo...as has been the case with the gracious refusal of WASA to implement the 1993-ordered rate increase.

WASA is not the State, it is a citizen. But not just any citizen, a corporate one, a creature of statute. Thus, iWASA's bound by statute, such as the LoCAA, even though it may think it is the State, for LoCAA itself so says at Section 18 and 19, as follows:
18. (1) Except as is otherwise provided by this Act and without prejudice to section 19 this Act applies to proceedings by or against the State in like manner as it applies to proceedings between citizens.

(2) This Act does not apply to any proceedings by the State for the recovery of any tax or duty or interest thereon or to any forfeiture proceedings under the enactments relating to Customs or Excise.

(3) For the purposes of this section proceedings by or against the State includes “proceedings instituted by or against an officer or other agent of the State” in his official capacity.

19. With the exception of section 6(1), this Act does not apply to any action or arbitration for which a period of limitation is prescribed by or under any enactment or to any action or arbitration to which the State is a party and for which if it were between citizens, a period of limitation would be prescribed by or under any other enactment.

To compound it, while Ms Lewis's wrong-spelling of the protesting customer's title might have been a typo, the assertion she spelt out in her final paragraph is not. In fact, it may be a quite blatant misspeaking of the law. What is the law?

WASA is governed by the Water and Sewerage Act, Chapter 54:40, of 1965. In that Act, at Section 31 (1) and (2), one finds that:
31. (1) The rates and charges to be charged by the Authority for the supply of water, sewerage facilities and other services and facilities shall be in accordance with such rates and charges as may, from time to time, be fixed by or under this Act or any other written law.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent the Authority from charging other rates and charges by special agreement under the provisions of this Act.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF WASA'S RECALCITRANCE:
WASA, then, has the statutorily-conferred power to ignore permission granted to it to increase its rates and charges. Which, apparently, is what WASA did: charge some other rate for its service. But, as the just-quoted Section 31 (2) of the WASA Act says, it may only so do by special agreement.

The question is, "Where's the evidence of that agreement?" For, unless both WASA and every customer it then had when the 1993 order was made--- had then agreed to WASA's holding off of implementing the new rates till some future date to be decided wholly and solely by WASA, then WASA has not a leg upon which to stand.

Well, the agreement was created by inference. It's now sixteen (16) long years ---1993 to 2009--- that WASA's customers have benefitted from the now openly-declared decision of WASA to ignore the PUC's 1993 decision ---see the opening salvo of Ms Lewis's letter.

The PUC order of sixteen (16) years ago has become null and void...by the effluxion of time! Ergo, not a single one of WASA's customers need heed to its sudden demand for a bigger pound of flesh.

THE WAY FORWARD:
In this writer's view, WASA must first go back ---to the PUC's successor, the Regulated Industries Commission--- for fresh approval!

Persons who are negligent or cavalier in guarding and enforcing their rights do so at their peril. WASA is one such person, hence, for a long time, it has been struggling in choppy waters.

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NIB has to be joking, right?


The captioned article declares, in part:
"..The type of payment he receives, the (National Insurance Board) official said, will be determined when Jaimungal visits the NIB office..."

The issue in question concerns a retiree who contributed by way of salary deduction and employer contribution towards the pension plan administered and managed by the National Insurance Board (NIB), which has admitted ---the article did not say when--- that, through its own "internal error", Bridgemohan Jaimungal had been steadfastly refused enjoyment of the fruits of his retirement investment for many, many years.

The unreasonable denial by one of what is rightfully another's is, of and by itself, a grievous act. Thus, here, by its admitted misprision, the NIB has opened itself for much blows.

But, to me, in this matter, what more gets the gall is that which is above excerpted ---that Jaimungal now has to visit the NIB offices to sort out the conundrum of how he is to be paid!

What's wrong with NIB? Why tF (the France) must he have now to do that? Mr. Jaimungal is one hundred and two years old, dammit! How much more callous can any public-serving agent get than that?

Why are our senior citizens treated with such disrespect and discourtesy by these public offices? At the age of one hundred and two he's being told by some sprightly nincompoop who's, no doubt, hellbent on following the every letter ---rather than essential spirit--- of some antiquated policy, that the centenarian must visit the nincompoop's office? I'd wager the roof that the nincompoop in question is a travelling officer!

Or, is this a continuation of the anti-Indo-Trinbagonian trend that attorney Anand Ramlogan has successfully been elaborating before every court in this land? (See: http://kid5rivers.blogspot.com/2009/07/hcflcm.html)

I pray not!

And I further pray that, without further ado, the NIB gets up off its haunches and, before the ink dries on this missive, presents Mr. Bridgemohan Jaimungal with his monies!

And, to Mr. Jaimungal I say, "May good karma follow you always and forever! Relax, now, to enjoy the well-deserved fruits of your labour! You've lived and worked long and hard enough to deserve nothing other!"

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Tired of this joke-riddle:
Riddle: How many country bumpkins does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: Fourteen: one holding the ladder, one on the ladder with the bulb and twelve turning the house!?

Well, here's one to top it:
Riddle: How many pilots does one government administration need to hire successfully to fly one helicopter?
Answer: Thirty-four!

Some helicopter, huh? Well, cease laughing! It our, the taxpayers' money away being frittered. In any event, must make one wonder what's the pilotage figure for the blimp dem.

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