PEOPLE'S NATIONAL MOVEMENT

Building a Nation Together

  
  
  

PEOPLE’S NATIONAL MOVEMENT

(Office of the General Secretary)

 

List of 2016 Aldermen submitted to the Elections and Boundaries Commission

 

Arima Borough Corporation

 

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Michael Castellano                               Calvary

Kendal Sherwyn Charles                      Arima North East

Anthony Davis                                     Arima West/O’Meara

Lisa Roxanne Morris-Julian                  Arima Central

Linette Ramcharan                               Malabar North

Brennon Patterson                                Tumpuna

Bertiney Jason Pollidore                       Malabar South

 

Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Christopher Shane Supersad                Balmain/Calcutta#2

Nanda Bowlah                                     Carlibay/Calcutta#3/Mc Bean

Dinah Valene Thurton                          California/Point Lisas

Aaron Sheraz Mohammed                    Claxton bay/Pointe-a-Pierre

Deonarine Deyal                                   Perseverance/Waterloo

Beeran Rambaran                                 Las Lomas/San Raphael

Charlene Monsegue                              Caparo/Mamoral       

Marvin Figaro                                       Caratal/Tortuga

Allison Diedre Thomas                         Freeport/Chickland

Keith James Johnson                            Piparo/San Pedro/Tabaquite

Natasha Boodhan                                 Longdenville/Talparo

Jamal Bennette                                     St Mary’s/Carslen Field

Mark Sheldon Lutchman                      Brechin Castle/Esperanza

Vindra Figaro                                       Gasparillo/Bonne Aventure

 

Chaguanas Borough Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts       

Janelle Fiona Joe-Ryan                         Edinburgh/Longdenville

Lisa Rachael Holder                             Enterprise North/Esmeralda

Ronald Herman Heera                          Enterprise South

Sharon Angela Archie                          Cunupia

Shodan Mahabir                                   Felecity/Endeavour

Mustaqim Ali                                        Munroe Road/Caroni Savannah

Sabeer Ali                                             Charlieville

Sharda Singh                                        Montrose

 

Diego Martin Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Akeiah Claudina Glasgow                   Chaguaramas/Pt Cumana

Susan Hong                                          Goodwood/La Puerta

Katty-Ann M Christopher                    Covigne/Richplain

Keron Vernon Seebaran                       Diamond Vale

Marcia Vikleen Marslin                        Petit Valley/Cocorite

Symon De Nobriga                               Morne Coco/Alyce Glen

Catherine Mendez                                St Lucian/Cameron Hill

Kern Solomon                                      Belle Vue/Bossiere#1

Andy Felician                                       Moka/Bossiere#2

Joseph T. Lewis                                    Bagatelle/Blue Basin

 

Mayaro Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Brinsley Maharaj                                  Cocal/Mafeking

Kyron Fabian Onique James                Mayaro/Guayaguayare

Romel Ramnasibsingh                          Rio Claro South/Cat’s Hill

Imran Ryan Baksh                                Biche/Charuma

Nisha Laurel Nedd                               Rio Claro North

Jainarine Singh                                     Ecclesville

 

Penal/Debe Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Terrence Honore                                   Palmiste

Cindy N.V. Dowridge                         La Fortune/Hermitage

Gregory Lange                                     Debe East/L’Esperance/Union Hall

Mario Persadie                                      Debe West

Karisa Collin                                         Barrackpore West

Deodath Jagessar                                  Penal

Suraj Banarsee                                      Rochard Road/Barrackpore

Richard Ramadoo                                Quinam/Morne Diablo

Curtis Emmanuel                                  Bronte

 

Port of Spain City Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Jameel Bisnath                                      St James East

Roald Ramkissoon                               St James West

June Durham                                        Woodbrook

Charlene De Peza                                 Southern Port of Spain

Allan Samuel                                        St Ann’s River South

Keno Romeo                                        St Ann’s River Central

Clint Baptiste                                       East Dry River

Abena Hartley                                      Northern Port of Spain

Akil Durham                                         Belmont North & West

Darryl Rajpaul                                      Belmont East

Stephen Harper                                     Belmont South

Hillan Morean                                       St Ann’s River North

 

Point Fortin Borough Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Abdon Mason                                       Techier/Guapo

Kwesi Thomas                                      Egypt

Reynold Carrington                              New Lands/Mahaica

Kennedy Richards                                Hollywood

Leslie Pascall                                        New Village

Bryana Fortune-John                            Cap-De-Ville/Fanny Village

 

Princes Town Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Terry Garib                                           Reform/Manahambre

Terrance Ganga                                    Ben Lomond/Hardbargin/Williamsville

Ramdeo Boochoon                               Corinth/Cedar Hill

Ariel Christopher                                  New Grant Tableland

Rheal Thomas                                       Hindustan/St Mary’s

Steve Roodal                                        Fifth Company

Nathaniel Sebastian Malchan               Moruga

Haniffa Salamat                                   Lengua/Indian Walk

Roger Harkoo                                       Inverness/Princes Town

Nicole Nikelia Geoffroy                       St. Julien/Princes Town

 

Sangre Grande Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Seeta Mala Juteram                              Vega De Oropouche

Martin Terry Rondon                           Toco/Fishing Pond

Paul Markinley M Mongolas                Sangre Grande North/East

Turnyka Carla Simone Gill                   Velencia

Elizabeth Petranella Wharton               Sangre Grande North/West

Rajcoomar Bhagaloo                            Cumuto/Tamana

Anthony Anton Wolfe                         Manzanilla

Reynold Peters                                     Sangre Grande South

 

San Fernando City Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Naigum Joseph                                     Springvale/Paradise

La Verne Smith                                    Marabella West

Phillip Montano                                    Marabella South/Vistabella

Robert Parris                                         Pleasantville

Teresa Lynch                                        Cocoyea/Tarouba

Patricia Victor- Wilson                         Mon Repos/Navet

Vidya Mungal-Bissessar                       Les Effort East/Cipero

Anderson Williams                               Les Effort West/La Romain

Arnold Soogrim                                    Marabella East

 

 

Siparia Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Richard Abayomi Akil Gooding          Avocat/San Francique South

Camille L Greenidge-Charles               Siparia East/San Francique South

Christine Neptune                                Palo Seco

Maurice Anthony Alexander                Siparia West/Fyzabad

Anand Ramsumair Maharaj                  Otaheite/Rousillac

Gerald Debesette                                  Brighton/Vessigny

Rasheed Mohammed                            Cedros

Arlene Ansilla C Ramdeo                    Erin

Eileen N Applewhite-Steele                 Mon Desir                 

 

San Juan Laventille Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Lyndon Lara                                         Maracas Bay/Santa Cruz/La Fillette

Eldon Coker                                         Febeau/Bourg Mulatresse

Franz Lambkin                                     Morvant

Kwesi Antoine                                     Caledonia/Upper Malick

Sherwyn Jones                                      St Ann’s/Cascade/Mon Repos West

Jason Alexander                                   St Barb’s Chinapoo

Akil Audain                                          Beetham/Picton

Adanna Griffith-Gordon                      Success/Trou Macaque

Ashmead Mohammed                          Aranguez/Warner Village

Pernell Bruno                                        Barataria

Darren Winchester                                Petit Borug/Champ Fleurs/Mt. Lambert

Raphael John                                        San Juan East

Jodi Johnson                                         San Juan West

 

Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation

Names                                      Electoral Districts

Travis I Williams                                   Auizonville/Tunapuna

Paul Leacock                                         Bon Air/Arouca/Cane Farm

Cordell Clarke                                       Curepe/Pasea

Arron Thomas                                       Caura/Paradise/Tacarigua

Judy Garner                                          Cleaver/D’Abadie

Josann Moses                                        Wallerfiled/La Horquetta

Tova-Lin Bartholomew-Sandy              Five Rivers

Christa Ariel Alexis                               La Florissante/Lopinot

Candice Allain                                      Blanchisseuse/Santa Rosa

Keena Gibson                                       Carapo

Desell Josiah Austin                              Mocoya/Trincity

Martin Sean Gonzales                           Maracas/Santa Margarita

Stephan Wattley                                    Mausica/Maloney

Marcia Chan Pack                                 Valsayn/St Joseph

Narine Mahabir                                     St Augustine South/Piarco/St Helena

Claude Belle                                        Kelly Village Warrenville

MEDIA RELEASE:

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 7th 2016

 

Please see below the:

  • Names of the twelve finalists for the PNM’s 60th Anniversary Calypso Competition
  • Singing position of the finalists for both songs
  • Name of the vintage social-political commentary song drawn for by each Calypsonian or his or her representative.

 

SINGING

POSITION

NAME

SOCIAL-POLITICAL COMMENTARY - VINTAGE

1

DIANNE HENDRICKSON – LADY WONDER

MEMORIES OF 1960  -

MIGHTY DUKE

2

MICHELLE HENRY

NOT A DAMN SEAT FOR DEM – LORD KITCHENER

3

CARLOS JAMES - SKATIE

GET TO HELL OUTA HERE –

SPARROW

4

ROBERT ELIAS – MIGHTY TRINI

JAHAJI BHAI – BRO. MARVIN

5

KAREN ECCLES THOMAS – KAREN ECCLES

RUNAWAY – SINGING FRANCINE

6

WESTON RAWLINS – CRO CRO

MAN FAMILY – ZANDOLEE

7

SEKON ALVES

JERICHO – LORD KITCHENER

8

GARY CORDNER

NO DOCTOR NO - SPARROW

9

DONALD O’CONNOR – DUANNE

O’CONNOR

P.A.Y.E.– SPARROW

10

KARENE ASCHE

LET THE JACKASS BRAY - CHALKDUST

 

11

ANN MARIE PARKS CUDJOE-

TWIGGY

DON’T BLAME THE PNM-

MIGHTY STRIKER

12

JOANNE ROWLEY - TIGRESS

MR. TRINIDAD - MAESTRO

 

[TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO] The PNM, commemorating its 60th anniversary this year, will host a grand Calypso Competition on November 19 at the Queen’s Park Savannah.  Twelve finalists will compete for over two hundred thousand dollars’ worth of cash, prizes and of course bragging rights.

The names of the twelve finalists were announced on Monday November 7 at a Media Conference at Balisier House.

The twelve finalists were chosen from a pool of sixty-eight persons who submitted songs for consideration by an independent panel of judges. On the night of the competition, each contestant will sing two songs – a nation building song which some of them may have written for the event AND a vintage social-political commentary song only made known to them at the draw for positions.

There was much excitement at the live draw for the vintage social-political commentary song, as some of the Calypsonians would not have even been born when these songs were hits on the local airwaves. While some Calypsonians expressed glee, others stated that they were anxious to get started on learning the words and preparing their interpretation of their selected song.  There was a collective sigh of relief when the competitors learned that they would be presented with the lyrics and a CD with a copy of their selected vintage Social-Political Commentary song.

Deputy Political Leader, Joan Yuille-Williams, in thanking the sixty-eight Calysponians and songwriters who entered indicated that each of them shall receive a 60th Anniversary souvenir in recognition of their contribution to the art form. She said she was delighted by the response and gained respect for the Calypsonian when, as a teacher, she relied heavily on Calypsoes to map the history of Trinidad and Tobago for her students.

Over the past year the People’s National Movement has been celebrating its 60th Anniversary with a number of activities including, multi-religious events, Constituency Conferences, the Heliconia Foundation’s 60 Years through Art, a family day in Tobago and an exhibition at NALIS. Baliser House has also been re-fitted as a museum, of sorts, with historical images depicting the contribution of the party to the framing and development of the country from Independence to today.

Tickets for the PNM’s 60th Anniversary Calypso Competition are available, Cleve’s Crosby’s, San Fernando East Constituency Office and Balisier House, Port of Spain.

Address by Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley,

Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

and

Political Leader of the People’s National Movement.

******

46th Annual Convention of the People’s National Movement

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain

 

THEME: “Proud of the Past: Focused on the Future”

 

Mr Chairman, Cabinet Colleagues, Chief Secretary and Secretaries of the THA, Mayors, Chairs of the Regional Corporations, Officials of the Diplomatic Corps, Specially invited guests, Executive Officers, members, well-wishers and supporters of the PNM, members of the Media, other distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

I greet you very warmly in the name of the People’s National Movement.

I am very delighted to see so many bright faces here today…..in spite of the times.  Many of you have journeyed long distances to demonstrate your dedication, your loyalty and your commitment not only to this epic Movement in which you take such absolute and exceptional pride, but more so to your Country to which you have stubbornly and justifiably pledged your precious lives. I am so proud of all of you. The PNM is proud of each and every one of you.

For it was just about 60 years ago, that a once very prestigious Regional Organisation refused to renew the employment contract of Trinidad and Tobago’s most outstanding scholar, a young man, at the time merely 44 years of age, relatively unknown at home, but highly regarded and respected in world renowned professional and academic circles. This young man was too intellectually endowed and forward thinking in spirit for those who were steadfastly bent on keeping the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Region forever harnessed to the dark and dismal age of slavery, indenture and colonial domination.

Little did the imperial forces of that era realise that by that one dastardly act of downright discrimination, they would have set the stage for emergence of the most progressive, powerful and dynamic political force ever to have awaken the subliminal spirit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

For 60 eventful years, this movement has stood its ground, proud and tall, as the most tested, proven and only genuine broad based political institution the nation has ever known: protecting, promoting and preserving the best interests of all the people of our blessed Republic.

That Organisation which refused to renew the contract of this most illustrious son of our

soil was known as the Caribbean Commission: one of the last relics of the colonial past.

It has since faded into irreversible nonexistence and oblivion.

 

By now you should recognise that the victim of discrimination of whom I speak was

none other than our first and only Chief Minister, first and only Premier, first Prime

Minister, the PNM’s first Political leader, the Founding Father of our Nation, Dr Eric

Eustace Williams.

 

Today, 60 years thereafter, your Political Party, the People’s National Movement stands supreme: a monumental tower of strength: admired, revered and respected by men and women of good repute but envied, feared and maligned by those of unpatriotic, evil and nefarious intent.

This is your Party, your Movement, your Standard Bearer, loved, cherished and endeared by the masses: the only true National Political Institution to have graced and governed our precious land with class, dignity, distinction and decorum: the People’s National Movement.

For sixty productive years we have witnessed well over 70 perpetrators come and go, paraded up and down as political parties, leaving behind nothing more than their selfish and forlorn distractions: no legacy to enrich our lives, no loss to mourn, no loving memory to cherish.

On the other hand, for us in the PNM, this is a time of rejoicing, a time of celebration. 60 years ago I was just 7 years of age. Today, thanks to the endearing legacy of the spirit of democracy, championed and defended by the PNM, you have chosen this proud Tobagonian as your Political Leader and more eminently, the Nation’s sixth Prime Minister.

The moral of the story is: that in PNM Country, the sky is the limit, the limit for those who are determined to keep their feet firmly rooted on the ground with hands stretched on high reaching for the stars.

Today, at this 46th convention, we reflect with pride on our unmatched achievements, the full scope of which is too overwhelming to present in detail. Time does not permit.

But let me, by way of one simple typical example, summarise for your benefit the PNM’s proud and indestructible record of our Nation’s phenomenal growth and development over the past 60 years, applying one of the most generally accepted indicators of progress used in the world at large and especially among developing states.

Let the records speak for themselves and let me leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Between the periods 1956 to 2009, the year which preceded the PNM’s passing of the mantle of Governance to the most despicable regime that has ever befallen our Country, here is what we proudly left in their care:

In 1956, the number of customers who were in receipt of a supply electricity was a mere 34,569. In 2009, the figure had climbed to a staggering 408,117. The highest numbers were in Central and South Trinidad, 68,767 and 124,059 respectively. Central and South Trinidad alone accounted for 192,826 T&TEC Customers, close to 50%.

Let’s look at how streetlights were allocated: In 1956, there were only 3,284 Street Lights installed in all of Trinidad and Tobago. By 2009 that figure grew to a massive 154,307: Again the highest number was 52,796 in South Trinidad. Central and South Trinidad alone accounted for approximately 93,000 street lights, just short of two thirds of the total of 154,307 installed throughout the Country. 

But here are some more interesting figures of which you should be extremely proud: In 1980, the number of Business Enterprises in receipt of a supply of electricity was 21,201. This rose to 37, 673 in 2009, over 16,000 additional business enterprises, more than 75% increase. The number of Industrial enterprises on supply rose from 1,525 in 1980 to 3,047 in 2009, virtually 100% increase.

And I can go on and on: the Maximum demand for electricity in 1956 was a meagre 25.5 Megawatts. In 2009 it shot up to an unbelievable 1,668 Megawatts. These are indisputable indicators of monumental and unprecedented growth and progress for any country of our size. Today the Nation’s four major Power Stations are all located in Central and South Trinidad: Penal, Point Lisas, Couva and La Brea.

Interpreted in any language that you wish: Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Patois  or Chinese, even the most disingenuous, the unrelenting obstructionists or the hired detractors must, in conscience,  acknowledge that the growth and development of Trinidad and Tobago was not only phenomenal but it was widespread and balanced.

The reality is that there has been development and progress all around us: whether in the sectors of Industry or Commerce, construction of Primary and Secondary Schools, Increased Farming, Agriculture or Fishing facilities, Oil and Gas exploration and production, Urea, LNG, Methanol, Ammonia, construction or expansion of Hospitals, Health Centres, Early Childhood Centres, Community Centres, Craft and Specialist Training Institutions, establishment of Universities, Colleges, the School Feeding Programme, award of Scholarships, Universal Free Secondary and Tertiary education, Technical and Vocational Training, Youth Camps, Public Transport, Industrial Estates, Road Construction, Local Banks and Financial Institutions, Unit Trust Corporation, Housing Development and Expansion,  TTMF, Home Mortgage Bank,  Bridges, Parks, Recreation Grounds, Concert Halls, Air and Sea Transport. Wherever you go blindfolded or not, development and growth all over the place for the benefit of all. Yes, we in the PNM have every reason to be proud. You name it and we did it. From Colonialism to Internal Self-Government, to Full Self Government, to Independence and finally to Republican Status. All under the caring and watchful eyes of your Movement, the People’s National Movement.

But, sadly, all is not well. We have to agree, that, in the midst of these endearing diamonds of progress, we continue to be confronted with the nagging spate of crime and lawlessness which has been poisoning our environment and undermining our gains.

But we must be practical. There is no quick fix.

Let us be brazenly honest with ourselves. Over the past twenty or more years we have been spending billions of dollars outfitting and equipping our Police Service with great expectations of a more secure and peaceful environment for us all.

It is taking just too long for us to reap the benefits of these investments. I am convinced that the solution goes beyond the wealth of resources placed at the disposal of our law enforcement officers.

The time has come for us to take a fresh look at the model of policing which we have been practicing over the years.

I hear your voices from all walks of life clamouring for partnering with the police.  It is a legitimate, genuine and justifiable call; a call to join minds and hearts in the fight against the forces of evil. But this partnering will not occur in a vacuum.

It requires putting in place the institutional framework to make the partnering happen and to make it work.

Under the current model, the police service sticks slavishly to traditional operational protocols. They have been more reactive than proactive, responding rather than preventing. Do we continue along these traditional lines or do we change our philosophy?

Evidence abounds that social disorder and criminal activity has been rising exponentially all over the world and this has been forcing societies to re-examine the role of the police in public safety policy initiatives. The most up to date trend is to seek to prevent crime through mutually trustworthy relationships and seamless partnerships between the citizenry and the police. 

This is what “Community Oriented Policing,” is really all about.

I am yet to receive a reassuring perspective of how Community Oriented Policing (COP) is currently optimised within the context of the current levels of criminality with which we have been challenged.

I want to let you know that I have heard your cries loud and clear. And today, I serve notice that, working in close collaboration with the Minister of National Security, I propose to take a direct interest in overseeing a comprehensive review of the way in which Community Policing functions within the Police Service of Trinidad and Tobago. It appears that over the years we have just played around with the philosophy not maximising the phenomenal potential which this modern day approach to policing can have on alleviating the spate of criminal activity which we face in Trinidad and Tobago today.

If we are to address the root causes of crime, modern day policing requires our officers to sit around the table  with genuine influential business, cultural, social and youth leaders and benefit from their wealth of knowledge, experience, wisdom and understanding of their local communities. It is happening all over the world. Since the 1970s, adoption of the community policing philosophy has been gaining momentum. It was introduced to Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1990’s. The concept is spreading in more and more cities all over the world to the extent that it was effectively endorsed by the federal government of the United States and has become an exemplary culture of policing in the United Kingdom.

What has become of the Community Policing Regional Councils which were established right here in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1990s?  Where have they gone? They were instituted to partner with our police in finding the best ways to address unique crime issues in their respective communities, to come up with creative strategies and to address the specific concerns of local residents. What has become of these Regional Councils?

The imminent increase in the numerical strength of the municipal police is timely. It falls very much in line with Community Oriented Policing practices. It sets the stage for local communities to become more self-sufficient, more involved and abundantly more proactive in preventing crime and lawlessness and protecting local neighborhoods from the scourge which has taken hold of our communities for far too long.

From hence forth, the Community Policing partnering philosophy must permeate almost every aspect of the police service. 

It is a call to volunteerism: to serve and save our country. Who will answer the call?

In yet another departure from the norm, I propose to discuss with the Minister of National Security the virtues of embarking on a Nationwide Crime Prevention Education and Mobilisation Programme which will involve all sectors of the National Community. Every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago from elementary school age and upwards will be given an opportunity to become involved, to share their views and ideas in the search for solutions to the crime menace.

We will address the question of the Role of the Church, the School, the Parents, the Police, the Business Community, our Professional Bodies, and our Trade Union Movement etc.

 

We will engage in dialogue and debate on issues such as Alienation, Resistance, the effects of Peer Pressure, the link between Education and Crime, Crime and Punishment, Poverty and Crime, the Good Life and Crime, the Dismantling of Gangs and elimination of gang warfare, Juvenile Delinquency, Prisoner Rehabilitation, the impact of the Mass Media on Crime, the impact of Music on Crime and the role for Role Models to name a few.

 

All these are social issues which impact the lives of our people, especially our young people and place pressures on developing societies.

You can expect to hear from us further on these initiatives.

 

So now let me turn my attention to yet another high priority item of the day. I refer of course to Local Government Reform.

 

Now that the Local Government Elections have been called, I am aware that many of you are wondering about the current status of Local Government Reform.

 

Regretfully, the process will not be completed in time for the elections but it is very far advanced.

                                                             

You will recall that the objective was to transfer City, Borough and Regional Corporations to the Ministry of Finance in a bid to remove the systemic bureaucracy and to give local authorities the statutory power to respond autonomously to the demands of their respective communities.

 

As power is devolved away from the current Ministry, the Ministry of Local Government will cease to exist so that Minister Khan can focus his energy fully on the equally important portfolio of rural development.

 

Every Council will now have an integral leadership role to discharge to ensure economic growth and sustainable development in its own community. The “shakers" who make the policy decisions and the "movers" who make these decisions happen will now both come from the Community itself: the Councillors and the Burgesses.

 

I had the privilege of attending the first public consultation in San Fernando in December last year and the last one held in Diego Martin in April this year. They were very instructive and full of energy and interaction. Ideas flowed freely and objectively. Many suggestions have been embraced and we thank the participants for their participation and involvement. It was true democracy in all its glory.

                                                             

The Cabinet appointed Committee also met with the Chief Secretary of the THA, Honourable Orville London, and his team of Divisional Secretaries to benefit from their experience as a good model of local governance. We also met with the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Local Government Authorities: the Chairmen, Councillors and CEOs of the Municipal Corporations where they spoke out on the burning issues of the day.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me say that those in charge are just as concerned as you are about square pegs in round holes, about corruption and inefficiency and about ensuring an improved quality of service delivery.

 

The views of the technocrats, activist groups and the wider citizenry are now reflected in the draft policy on local government reform which was approved by Cabinet a few weeks ago.

 

We plan to bring the proposed legislation to Parliament in early 2017 to lay the legal foundation for the long-awaited local government reform. 

 

A critical component of the Reform provides for a system of recall. If you, the burgesses, are not happy with the level of service provided by your Councillors, you will have the right of recall.

 

We will expand some of the current roles and responsibilities of the Municipal Corporations for example in such areas as Public Health. The Municipal Police will be increased to a full complement of 1107 officers and will be removed from under the purview of the Public Services Commission to the Police Services Commission and subject to investigative oversight by the Police Complaints Authority.

 

Corporations will be empowered to grant approvals for Planning and building for “simple” developments and enact Regulations providing for codes and standards with respect to safety of infrastructure and engineering works.

 

Their role in Disaster Management will be enhanced and they will have responsibility for repairs to Schools and Public Buildings and for the management of Cemeteries and Crematoria.

 

Our vision provides for Local Government Authorities to access Statutory Funds which will be established for each Corporation and allow for unexpended balances in each fund to be carried over.

 

Of course, the Ministry of Finance will be responsible for financial oversight of the Corporations which will also be reporting to the Auditor General’s Department for all monies received and expended.

 

But all this empowerment will not be without their checks and balances. Severe penalties and sanctions for breaches of tender procedures and financial regulations and any financial irregularities will be stringently imposed.

 

Their responsibilities will also include Waste disposal, solid waste management; issue of food badges; interment fees; market dues; other rental income service charges; public health nuisances; motor vehicle ticket system; registration of dangerous dogs; tender packages and a whole range of miscellaneous items the likes of which include General Assistance Grants for vulnerable households affected by natural or man-made disasters; food support, senior citizens pension  and public assistance or disability assistance grants.

 

They will oversee Management of Community Centres and Development of Small Contractors: creating a platform for skills development through a programme of apprenticeship and training for unemployed and underemployed persons and creating a stimulus for small business development by providing fiscal and monetary incentives and training to encourage entrepreneurship.

 

They will assist in Formation of small and medium-sized construction and maintenance       Companies and be required to put in place all the necessary checks and balances, procurement procedures and monitoring mechanisms in the execution of contracts.  And the list goes on and on.

 

A significant departure from what obtained in the past will be a Fixed Month for Local Government Elections similar to that of the Tobago House of Assembly Election and revising the term of office for Councils to every four (4) years.

 

We hold to the view that Councillors and Aldermen should operate on a full time basis and paid a salary commensurate with their enhanced roles and responsibilities.

 

We plan to amend the Integrity in Public Life Act and other relevant legislation to include Chief Executive Officers, Deputy Chief Executive Officers and other senior management staff.

 

So with these perspectives in the forefront of our campaign for Reform at the Local Government level, onward we go to November 28th.

 

A plausible Vision, a dynamic Mission and a clear, unadulterated defined strategic plan for the future of Local Government in Trinidad and Tobago are on the table.

 

We are ready. Red and Ready. Our Candidates have been clinically chosen. They have been walking their areas and listening to the concerns of the burgesses and the views, opinions and sentiments shared by them. They are on their marks, ready, set and rearing to go.

 

We thank those who have served us well in the past and are forever grateful for the contributions and sacrifices which they have made. We thank their families for sharing them with us and with our burgesses and we wish them well in the years ahead.

 

And so, filled with unbridled confidence that we will improve our standing in the control of local government bodies after November 28th, I call upon you to rally the forces, hit the highways and the byways, the villages, the nooks and the alleys and let us maintain the pride of place which only the PNM can display in shaping the destiny of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Proud of our Past and Focused on the Future.

I wish you continued enjoyment of your Convention and trust that you will seize the opportunity to mix and mingle and renew acquaintances and friendship as the day progresses.

 

God bless you all and may God bless the wonderful Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

********

 

Once again, the UNC has chosen the auspicious occasion of the Divali season to play politics and attack the PNM. One would recall that in 2012, the then UNC Chairman and Cabinet Minister, Jack Warner, criticized then Opposition Leader Keith Rowley’s attendance at the Divali Nagar. Warner implied that Dr Rowley’s attendance at the Nagar was sacrilegious and “reduced the opening of the Divali Nagar below its lofty and holy expectations". This unfortunate statement was also publically supported by fellow UNC Cabinet members such as Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj.

In similar fashion the UNC Opposition is seeking to score cheap political points by using a Divali celebration to level criticisms against the PNM. In this latest occurrence, the UNC Opposition members of Parliament for Princes Town and Couva North have sought to decry the PNM’s Divali Celebration held on the 27th October 2016. The member for Couva North, Ramona Ramdial expressed anger, calling the event an “insult to the Hindus” and stated that it amounted to a Bollywood show. The UNC Opposition MP went on to state, that the song and dance presentation by Ministers Al-Rawi and Young had no place at a Divali function. However, MP Ramdial’s statement seems conveniently selective and hypocritical when determining what is insulting and what is not, given the facts considered below.

There are a number of instances where Bollywood songs and performances have formed part of the program at the biggest Divali Celebration in the Country, the Divali Nagar. Take for example at this year’s Nagar, a featured Artist, Jyotica Tangri was brought down from India, courtesy Zee TV. This talented artist who performed at the Nagar is advertised online as a playback singer for Bollywood movies. Further in 2015, popular newspapers advertised the attendance at the Nagar of the three popular Bollywood Soap Opera stars, Surbhi Jyoti, Leena Jumani and Neha Marda. They not only attended but entertained fans and signed autographs. Also in 2015, an indigenous band from Ecuador performed at the Nagar and according to one popular newspaper report they, “captivated the audience with their indigenous musical talent and fusion with Bollywood songs”

But it is not only Bollywood stars and artists who graced the stage and performed Bollywood songs at the largest Divali Celebration of the Country. UNC members have appeared on stage at the Divali Nagar and performed Bollywood songs. It was reported in the media that at the Divali Nagar in 2013, UNC Minister Roodal Moonilal appeared on stage “to perform the Bollywood film song, “Baree Door Say Iyee Hai””. He repeated the feat in 2014 by again gracing the Nagar stage. The media reported, “Moonilal performed the Bollywood song “Prem Kahani Mein”.”

The Divali Nagar is the biggest Divali Celebration in the Country and as the few examples show, Bollywood entertainers and performances seem to be a common routine, forming part of the entertainment. On at least two occasions a sitting Minister in the UNC Government appeared on the stage and sang Bollywood songs. In many other instances actual Bollywood singers and actors are invited to perform and feature on the program. During these occurrences, the UNC did not perceive it as an insult, but when the PNM hosted its celebrations and some Bollywood songs were sung, it was singled out and considered an insult, warranting at least two disparaging statements from Opposition MPs. It is curious to know whether the MP for Couva North considered Minister Moonilal’s singing of Bollywood songs at the Divali Nagar an insult, and if so, why didn’t she issue a statement to that effect? The UNC’s hypocritical criticisms of the PNM’s Divali celebrations mask their true intent of seeking to score cheap political points with a Religious and National celebration as well as seeking to incite cultural, religious and racial divisiveness. This must be rejected and unwarranted attacks on the PNM by the UNC, when it seeks to promote the rich cultural heritage that this country has to offer, must stop.

 

Yours in PNM

Camille Robinson Regis

Chairman

Women’s League

The Editor,

It is amazing how many of our self-appointed “independent political analysts” escape public scrutiny, simply because they occupy the commentator’s position, by virtue of their writings or commentaries in the media.

Take for example, Ralph Maraj’s column in the Sunday Express of October 9th, under the heading, “Kamla’s Return?” in which he praised the Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar, for her response to the Minister of Finance’s Budget presentation.

His article clearly demonstrated that it was itself, nothing more than a professional public relations gimmick to boost the image of the Opposition Leader. The information in his article gave the impression that the Opposition Leader provided facts to illustrate how she achieved a great deal under her stewardship as Prime Minister, especially in the area of crime.

Read more: Independent political analysts, letter to the editor

 

 

 

 

 

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