Sunday, December 23, 2012

Notes - 2004

These were all carried as voice reports in the news on i95.5 FM in 2004. They were transcribed from one of my steno pads. I've always loved stationery and I find Steno Pads to be very useful as well, more so than a diary for me. Anyway it was nice to see some of the events of that time. I don't have dates and they appear in the order that they appeared in the notebook.

The Trinidad and Tobago Haulier’s Association is calling for greater efficiency from the Port of Port of Spain. Workers representing 50 trucking companies have switched off their engines as a sign of protest against the situation on the port which they say has been going on for years. Ramesh Garib of the Hauliers Association this morning described the situation as ridiculous where truckers wait on the port for three days before getting 1 container to transport. The hauliers have been striking for just under a week and they say the operations of the port are being adversely affected with no export or import containers being moved resulting in a huge backup of the systems. They say more equipment needs to be brought and management needs to be improved.

Constitutional expert Dr Lloyd Barnett this morning attempted to absolve Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Patrick Manning and his cabinet from primary responsibility in the dismissal of then Chairman of the Unit Trust Corporation Mr Hubert Alleyne. Dr Barnett today traced the line of correspondence leading up to the October 9th announcement of the decision. A Jamaican national, Dr Barnett is responding to closing statements made by Dr Claude Benbow, attorney for Mr Alleyne at the ongoing hearing before Justice David Myers in the POS Civil Chamber Court. Representing the Attorney General, Dr Barnett said it was regular practice that the Governor of the Central Bank communicate with the President through the minister of finance. Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams penned his views on the dismissal of Mr Alleyne in a letter to Mr Manning on October 8th preceding the announcement by then Acting President Dr Linda Baboolal. Mr Barnett said a court cannot inquire into Presidential decisions.

Roger Mc Clean of the Department of Economics at the UWI has identified three pillars that the media must recognize in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mr Mc Clean was a panelist this morning at the Press Freedom Conference organized by the Caribbean Journalists Association. Addressing the gathering which consisted of media workers and students Mr Mc Clean said the three building blocks are awareness, change and care. Mr Mc Clean called for a wider response. Journalist Tony Fraser lamented what he described as a peeping tom mentality where more concern was placed on who has the disease rather than on how they got it and how it can be prevented.

Caribbean workers are being called upon to do more to show that they care about reducing stigmatization and discrimination regarding HIV/AIDS. A delegation headed by the National AIDS Coordinating Committee recently returned from the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. At a press briefing by some of the local delegates this morning Public Relations Officer for the Caribbean Epidemiology Center, CAREC, Jones P Madeira said Caribbean leaders need to be seen as embracing people living with disease. Mr Madeira also said there was a flicker of hope in the turn around of the epidemic in the region. Technical Director of the NACC Dr Amery Browne said one of the first steps of the committee at this point will be to initiate a sensitization program aimed at health care providers and parliamentarians.

The problem at the North West Regional Health Authority is said to be one of management. It was recently revealed that the NWRHA owed the National Insurance Board in excess of $100 million in PAYE and Health Surcharge. At a news conference this morning Minister of Health John Rahael said the Authority’s management broke down years ago. It was said this morning that the debt went unnoticed for such a long time because the ministry does not micro manage. Permanent Secretary in the ministry Reynold Cooper said the monthly financial reports do not guve a breakdown of what is owed rather a global figure. Minister Rahael said he does not believe that any of the NWRHA’s management benefitted financially as a result of the non payment of the taxes. Addressing the issue of protesting pharmacists, Minister Rahael said he held an emergency meeting with some pharmacists this morning and he was given the assurance that they would return to work today. Minister Rahael said the hunt is now on to find two CEO’s one for the North West and the other for the North Central Regional Health Authorities.

A full compliment of Government ministers turned out this morning to pay their final respects to former Minister of Public Administration, Gordon Michael Draper. Mr Draper died last week in London, England. This morning he was hailed as a man who made an indelible mark on the international community. It was said that the Public Sector Reform Program developed by Mr Draper was adopted by over 25 countries. Health Minister John Rahael described Mr Draper as a great and humble man who he knew from as far back as their days at the Arima Boy’s Government School. He said Mr Draper was an ambassador par excellence. Representing the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration Managers Mr Art Stevenson said the organization was working on finding a way to honor Mr Draper’s work. Also among the scores present this morning were M.P. for St. Agugustine, Winston Dookeran and former parliamentarian Carlos John.

President George Maxwell Richards, Former President ANR Robinson, Ministers of National Security Martin Joseph and Fitzgerald Hinds, Commissioner Trevor Paul along with former Police Commissioners Everald Snaggs and Hilton Guy were among those who turned out to pay final respects to slain Acting Inspector Edward Williams at the Trinity Cathedral this morning. Officer Williams was shot dead last Tuesday while on duty as the bodyguard to former President Robinson. During his eulogy Mr Robinson likened the events of last Tuesday to his experience during the coup of 1990 when he was ordered to lie on the floor to avoid being shot by intruders to the Red House. Mr Robinson described the fallen officer as a hero who should be honoured accordingly. During his address Canon Knolly Clarke decribed Officer Williams as one of God’s martyrs whose death must not be in vain.

The role of the magistracy in the non serving of justice was raised this morning at a meeting of the Joint Select Committee appointed to inquire in to and report on Municipal Corporations and Service Commissions. Chairman of the Police Service Commission Christopher Thomas raised the matter after acknowledging that absenteeism by police officers when matters come before the courts was leading to the dismissal of many cases. Chairman Thomas suggested that a network of information be established to ensure that such instances can be avoided. The issue of recruitment and promotion within the police force was also raised with Senator Roy Augustus suggesting that nepotism and cronyism still plagued the service. There was a suggestion that a vibrant human resource unit be established not just for the police but the public service at large. Mr Thomas this morning said that they will be suggesting to cabinet yje formation of an oversight committee to monitor the action of the Police Commissioner as it relates to responsibilities delegated to him by the Public Service Commission.

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