1. Today is Friday 26th September, 2014. This is the Round Up. And I begin writing it while prone, having been floored by Express’s headline.

    **GAYS MUST WAIT
    http://ift.tt/ZUf46A /
    **PM: Gay rights not legally possible
    http://ift.tt/1BeFnzN /

    From a government that showed the legal sophistication to alter the Constitution such that they could interfere with the voting process and not need special majority comes this crystallised turd.

    We need a referendum to remove a handful of archaic laws from the lawbooks, just for starters, so that the government can get itself out of adults’ bedrooms? And yes, some of what some of you consenting adults do in the bedroom is in fact illegal in Trinidad and Tobago, even between men and women.

    As for singling out the Roman Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago, I hope Archbishop Harris has something to say and in a hurry. Kamsie could use another lil’ dose of embarrassment, on the heels of the Chief State Solicitor’s denials.

    That said, we won’t need to look far for, “Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris yesterday stated that the Church would not be drawn into any debate on whether it would sanction same sex marriages.” (http://ift.tt/1BgcPWD) And this is in an article where Kamsie’s own religious leader had far more to say and more definitively on the matter.

    All that said, I hear and appreciate religious objection, this coming though in a country where both polygamy and marriage under the age of consent do occur, and both under religious rites.

    It should also not be that people of a particular belief or orientation impose themselves on others. That’s not what granting everyone their space and place is about. Making room doesn’t mean necessarily that someone else needs be imposed upon. Thus, civil union, yes. Marriage in a church that is accepting of homosexual relationships, sure. Forcing a church that doesn’t hold to your view to marry? Nuh-uh.

    Further, given the government’s dedication to the concept of multiculturalism, this stance on the Prime Minister’s part is not a little bit surprising.

    At the same time, it isn’t, because the government has typically suffered convenient multiple personality disorder on public policy.

    Did I say yesterday that I really like Kamsie’s Freddie Mercury-inspired jacket?

    **‘50 Trinis fighting with ISIS terrorists in Syria’
    http://ift.tt/1CqP5BB /

    One, how did they get visas? And two, how did they get visas? And three, while we were fighting to get Trinis detained in Venezuela out, did this come up at all?

    **Cost of police uniforms jumps from $10m to $40m
    http://ift.tt/ZUf3zB /

    Is there a single version of the Police uniform now? We seem to have been through so many iterations, including ones that looked like NYPD and another that looked like US Navy camoflage.

    Did we spend this much on the grey wool blend and custom-tailored pants as we are on this canvas-y dark blue get up that the Police are wearing now?

    Given Griffith’s admission that the Grey-and-Blue uniform is still being used, is it that we are issuing officers with multiple sets of different types of uniforms?

    Re food cost and Wowsie coming back again with, “they eating,” did anybody hit him a clout outside the Parliament chamber for that dotishness? Maybe Wade Mark given that he has conducted the Committee Meeting like he is in fact dealing with children?

    All that said, these are just two of the multiple expenditure lines for which the Government could not or would not give satisfactory answers in Standing Finance Committee Meeting this week.

    If you haven’t listened to the meeting on Parliament radio or watched it on television, this is your last chance to see exactly how your Government intends to spend your money today. The meeting continues at 11:00 AM, with the Ministry of the Attorney General, I believe, being the first to take questions on their allocation and spending plans.

    **Griffith mum on Opposition’s queries of LifeSport funding
    http://ift.tt/1CqOYGo /

    You would think that given the mess that the Ministry of Sport had been under former Minister Anil Roberts that the Prime Minister would want to hand a superhero the portfolio to at least give the impression that something was being done about it. At least Roger Samuel would have made great drama of holding a fast, or Vasant Bharath would have talked very quickly, whipping his tail from side to side in a convincing manner… Wait… No… That’s another work of fiction.

    Either way, Kamsie tosses that bone to one of her retirees, and he maintains the status quo.

    **T&T to pay off stadium loan in 2019
    http://ift.tt/1CqP2pq /
    **Moonilal: $189m more to complete facility
    http://ift.tt/ZUf06V /

    Why are we still spending money behind the Tarouba Stadium?

    **Govt to end $$ for Vision on Mission
    http://ift.tt/1CqP1BP /

    Note to self: Avoid i95.5FM when Wayne Chance is on the radio for the next couple weeks.

    **Kamla signs another treaty in crime fight
    http://ift.tt/1riBwC1 /

    Believe it or not, this one was easy for us because we have some of the best and most stringent gun regulations in the world. Our record keeping is, quite frankly, phenomenal. It’s really hard to acquire a legal firearm here, and the Commissioner of Police has it in his ambit to call in every legal firearm at his whim.

    What we’re missing is enforecement of our gun laws. So I’d say that signing this treaty is more about cosmetics than anything else.

    **WASA urges public to still conserve water
    http://ift.tt/1rpwgLE /

    This is important. All, please be mindful of your water consumption.

    **Probe into alleged robbery by cops
    http://ift.tt/1BeFoE4 /
    **Casino couple robbery: CoP investigating
    http://ift.tt/1CqKPSR /

    This is one to watch, after Police Station searches, death threats and witnesses being moved to protective custody.

    I am still bemused that someone would have over half a million dollars in cash in duffel bags in a house.

    Has the Financial Investigations Unit been prompted to take a look at these people’s business in the aftermath of this robbery?

    **Clico to sell MHTL shares
    http://ift.tt/1CrrJvE /

    This is a sad day in the nation’s history. Methanol Holdings is one of the the most valuable and profitable assets in the CL Financial empire. But there are those in the industry who would tell you that this was long in coming, that it was being set up to happen, and that there are other local bodies with interest in the sale going through.

    **‘My body may relent by weekend’
    http://ift.tt/1BgcPWH /
    **‘Racing heart’ but Kublalsingh still on hunger strike
    http://ift.tt/1riBtpP /

    I believe that Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh has prepared himself for martyrdom.

    I believe that the Prime Minister will, foolishly, allow him to die on her doorstep.

    I believe that should Dr. Kublalsingh die, any pretension that this is a caring government will be worse than hypocritical.

    I believe that Dr. Kublalsingh’s image will be the Prime Minister’s albatross.

    Pray for Kubes, folks. Have a great weekend, everyone. //

  2. Today is Thursday 25th September, 2014. It is the day after the Republic Day holiday.

    **TERRORIST WATCH: PM tells UN T&T will join the fight; Griffith: We are not isolated
    http://ift.tt/1vj6vfo /
    **T&T, US co-sponsor resolution against terrorism
    http://ift.tt/Y78S9N /

    In this story, we have, again, the following:

    Theme: Looking for Notice —- Typical of the current administration is its ability to push itself up front and look for the photo op. What exactly does “co-sponsoring” this resolution mean? And why would you co-sponsor a resolution you have reservations about? Did somebody send you to co-sponsor the resolution? If there were reservations, could you not let someone else co-sponsor, and bring back to Trinidad and Tobago the requirements so that we can work out what we need to do here?

    Theme: Governance by Vaps —- “High-level national security sources told the Express that red flags have already been raised with respect to Trinidadian recruitment and involvement in terrorism, in particular ISIS… Footage of the beheadings was released by ISIS via videos, and in one a man with a distinct Trinidadian accent was heard.” So we tune up national security infrastructure because of international notice and because we heard an accent that sounds like ours in a grainy video. This after we dismantle and run down all of our surveillance and protection capabilities, open our borders wide for four years, allow our our Immigration Division to be shut down for extended periods, and turn our soldiers into a mockery of what they are supposed to be.

    Theme: Love of Chupid Talk and Buzzword —- “I cannot reveal what information we have but there is a clear and present danger out there… We have to understand that in the world out there, there is a pattern with global terrorism and it’s not that Trinidad and Tobago has this magical force field around us that can prevent terrorism,” [Minister of National Security Gary Griffith said].

    The fact is that we have no kind of field around us at all.

    Kamsie’s Freddie Mercury-inspired jacket was nice though.

    **Central farmer gunned down
    http://ift.tt/1xknJ01 /
    **Three shot after all night fete
    http://ift.tt/1v3mekz /
    **Three men shot as ‘rival gangs’ square off in Sando
    http://ift.tt/1xki6z4 /
    **3 men shot after Popcaan concert
    http://ift.tt/1v3me3V /
    **PH driver shot dead
    http://ift.tt/1xkiaP9 /
    **Woman doused with acid remains in hospital… Suspect still on the run
    http://ift.tt/1xki61X /

    And while Kamsie et al continue to talk fat about terrorism prevention, the blood-letting continues right here in Trinidad and TObago, and noteworthy that it is not taking place in the places where the Army is being deployed.

    **US State Dept: T&T crime at critical level
    http://ift.tt/1v3me42 /

    How, further, Kamla can stand in the United Nations and co-sponsor a resolution with the United States on counter-terrorism when the same United States has in their 2014 Crime and Safety Report poo-pooed Trinidad and Tobago’s crime situation is more than frontish. It’s almost schizoaffective.

    After reading the report itself (http://ift.tt/YcjvIJ), I have to say that our security administration cannot possibly be grounded in reality.

    **PM: A good time to be a Trini
    http://ift.tt/1xki2iE /

    And with all that said, no, it’s not. Not at a time when people have to get up at four o’clock in the morning to get to work for 8:00AM. Not when public transportation is in such a mess that ridding the country of illegal options will leave many a community cut off. Not when the underprivileged have no choice but to lock onto the teat of state for life, and the same state can cut them down in a hail of bullets with no hard questions being asked. Not when a body has to beg the divine for travelling mercies on the nation’s highways to avoid injury or death. Not when people have to pledge that they will die just to get their government to listen to and act on a rational argument and promises made.

    It’s a good time for some, but not a good time for a Trini in general.

    **Residents protest in support of highway…as HRM members unveil ‘win-win’ route
    http://ift.tt/Y78R5R /
    **Moonilal: I didn’t pay highway supporters
    http://ift.tt/1rc4FyK /

    There is something bordering on insane in the notion that one should be required to protest protesters, especially when there is no budging on the matter being protested.

    **German firm tells Government: Sell MHTL shares or else
    http://ift.tt/Y73yU1 /

    "Government could face a major legal battle and risk to the country’s credit ratings if it fails to sell its 56 per cent stake in Methanol Holdings Trinidad Limited to Proman Holdings, through its consortium Consolidated Energy Ltd (CEL). This is the view of the lawyers for the German company…"

    This is an asset in the CL Financial empire that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago should not have lost.

    The nation would do well to keep eyes on this and other CL-related matters, as assets of the empire are either lost or divested cheaply, and keep a running balance sheet to determine what the impact on state resources will ultimately be.

    **MSJ calls for more accountability
    http://ift.tt/1B9rrXQ /

    "The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) says Republican status should bring with it a new level of citizen involvement in national life, a new sense of responsibility and a higher standard of accountability by public officials particularly the politicians who are in office."

    We are well past “should bring”. We live in an era now where access to information is easy, and persons ought not to be lazily forming their opinions around sound-bites and the spoutings of pollsters, talking heads, and bloggers.

    I do not exclude myself here.

    Read. Research. Make Google your friend. You have online newspaper archives and an ever-improving Parliament website. You have access to the laws of Trinidad and Tobago at the Ministry of Legal Affairs website. Many of our legislators make themselves available via social media.

    **‘HIV/Aids on the rise in Tobago’
    http://ift.tt/Y73wvk /

    It was just in 2008 when a Trinidad Guardian headline read, “HIV/Aids on the decline in Tobago” (http://ift.tt/1v3me47)

    And in 2011, we had this, “AIDS committee ‘in limbo’ after Govt shutdown… claims international funding in jeopardy” (http://ift.tt/Ycjwwh)

    And since then, there’s been this, “NATIONAL HIV AND AIDS STRATEGIC PLAN 2013 - 2018” (http://ift.tt/Ycjwwj), but I can’t say what action has taken place on the plan since.

    **Pharmacist defends Sure Cure: ‘It is a case of mischief’
    http://ift.tt/1B9rsew /

    "The real test does not come from spurious, arbitrary lab tests."

    Coming from a senior pharmacist, this is quote downright scary. And if there is any reason at all for people to stop taking Sure Cure products in light of this scandal, it’s that one statement.

    Have a great day, everyone. //

  3. Today is Friday 19th September, 2014. There are in parts, collective sighs of relief as the United Kingdom remains intact for at least a little while longer. Sierra Leone begins a three-day lockdown in the fight to stop Ebola’s spread. The French have joined the United States in attacking ISIS by air. This is the Round Up.

    **PM PROBES ROWLEY…orders commission of enquiry into Las Alturas apartments under former housing minister
    http://ift.tt/1tsO49b /
    **Probe into failed housing project
    http://ift.tt/XPOF8F /
    **Utter madness
    http://ift.tt/1twmjMY /

    The Newsday headline ironically gets it right.

    Now, do not get me wrong. I have no problem with a government looking into a failed construction project to determine where things went wrong with it.

    However, the Prime Minister has timeline and summary of the entire project in her speaking notes in Parliament yesterday. Certainly, these would have been extracted from more comprehensive source documents which are, clearly, available for examination.

    Your first step is “Commission of Enquiry”?

    Yuh never hear about an audit, Kamsie?

    And is one even necessary? Yuh ent done have *EVERYTHING* yuh need to move forward and take action already? All this for 26 million dollars? The old people have a saying about candles and funerals that Kemlr has quite clearly never heard.

    Further, given that Las Alturas was a UDECOTT project and by the terms of reference that the Prime Minister has outlined, shouldn’t this have been considered in the Uff Enquiry into the costruction sector, an enquiry that cost taxpayers a reputed 46 million dollars already?

    To put this foolishness into perspective, Adolphus Daniell walked away with 34 million Jwalas without doing a lick of work. Action to date: Zero.

    But then, perhaps an enquiry is indeed required in order to get facts straight. Kemlr claims that the project fell under Dr. Keith Rowley’s oversight when he served as Housing Minister from 2003 to 2007. Rowley’s response to that is in the links following.

    **Rowley: $20m payout for lawyers: I am not responsible for collapse, says Opposition Leader
    http://ift.tt/XPP0Ir /
    **Rowley: Lawyers will benefit most
    http://ift.tt/1twml7z /
    **Al-Rawi: PM will face embarrassment
    http://ift.tt/XPOZV0 /

    No need for these articles to be summaries. All of their content is pertinent.

    **‘Small response by PM to big issue’
    http://ift.tt/1tsJpUY /
    **Kublalsingh on second day of hunger strike: PM handling it wrong
    http://ift.tt/1twml7D /

    From the Guardian article: Leader of the Highway Re-Route Movement Dr Wayne Kublalsingh said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is wrong in her handling of the disputed Debe to Mon Desir leg of the Point Fortin Highway. He also dismissed claims by Persad-Bissessar that he was holding the nation to ransom, saying she was instead being held to ransom by “certain people” who have been “obstructing her heart, kindness and integrity to do the right thing.”

    A friend summarises the situation thus: “Dr. Kublalsingh has not said don’t build the highway. He has simply asked that it be re-routed and that the Armstrong report be reviewed. So this nonsense about whether the highway is needed or not is irrelevant. The arguement here is where it is being routed. If you look at what is suggested by their movement it is actually shorter and less costly to do what he suggests. The PM has painted a picture as if he does not want the highway at all and that is not true.”

    **Full support from mother of activist
    http://ift.tt/1tsJjwB /

    In the mean time, Dr. Kublalsingh seems to have prepared his family for his making the ultimate sacrifice for the cause.

    Kamla has near forty Police slayings on her hands in the past eight and a half months alone. Will the death of one activist move her?

    **Changes please Debe residents
    http://ift.tt/1twmjNa /

    "…some residents said even though they were bracing for impending floods… they did not want the highway to stop…"

    I. Do. Not. Understand.

    From the article: Nazamud Sahadath, of Pundit Trace said since the construction started, Debe had experienced the worst flooding in history. “We are calling on Government to build a box drain at Sahadath Avenue and this will take away the water flow. Last month we had three feet of water under the houses.”

    Uhm… How big that box drain hadda be?!

    **Debe divided: Opposition, support for Kublalsingh and Re-Route group
    http://ift.tt/1DmqX4F /

    "THE people or Debe are torn. The majority are United National Congress (UNC) loyalists and die-hard government supporters, expected to support the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin."

    In this Express article, I see the following words used by persons who have cleared the path for the highway:

    - frightened
    - fearful
    - victimised
    - ridiculed
    - threatened (x2)
    - hounded
    - afraid
    - unfairly treated by the State

    One resident: “This is a flood-prone area already, when the highway (is) complete it will form a ring around Debe which would be like a bowl for people to drown.”

    **Resident vows own hunger strike
    http://ift.tt/1BS9UWq /

    From the article: Debe businessman Indar Jairaj intends going on a hunger strike in support of the building of the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin.

    Please click the link. See Indar Jairaj’s picture. Don’t tell me what you’re thinking. I thought it already. In the words of Kemlr: Let’s move on.

    **PM: Baby grant for fathers too
    http://ift.tt/1wKCYiG /
    **Dads get $500 grant for babies too
    http://ift.tt/1BTDNpk /

    Thus in the first year of a baby’s life, where the mother is absent, the father would be the recipient of the grant.

    The unsophisticated nature of the whole plan aside, did this need to be said?

    If in the first TWELVE months of a baby’s life, the mother is missing, I would think that purchased milk would be an absolute necessity, not so?

    But again, has the need for this type of support been assessed, and does it have to be part of a completely separate programme of support from everything else that the Ministry of Social Development affords?

    **Two schools shut down
    http://ift.tt/1twmjNg /

    And it starts with the closure of two schools, after infection and the sudden realisation that they are bombarded with mosquitoes.

    There is an economic impact to disease that the Ministry of Health and all other responsible agencies seem not to be considering in not having admitted there is a problem, and not getting ahead of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, vector of both ChikV and Dengue, even before ChikV was confirmed in Trinidad and Tobago.

    The disease is now progressed from the North West hills into suburban centres of Belmont and Maraval, and now into schools where children may carry the disease to their families as far abroad, by reports, as Arima and Chaguanas.

    The head of Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) may have understated it when he said that the “full bloom of chikungunya virus is yet to come.”

    **Ebola scare at Mt Hope
    http://ift.tt/1wKCSYh /

    And given the woeful response of the authorities to the ChiV spread, and further the seriousness of the Ebola virus, this Guardian headline above would understandably cause some degree of panic, until one clicks thought and reads the sub-caption, “…but patient had malaria”.

    According to one of my friends, Guardian, #StopIt!

    Have a great weekend, everyone. //

  4. Today is Thursday 18th September, 2014. Scotland decides whether to leave the United Kingdom today. This is the Round Up.

    **WE WON’T BE HELD TO RANSOM: PM writes to Wayne as hunger strike #2 begins
    http://ift.tt/1tjUIyA /
    **PM: We will not be held to ransom by Kublalsingh’s action
    http://ift.tt/XH0mhN /
    **HIGHWAY GOES ON
    http://ift.tt/1qNCx4D /

    After attempting to defraud the population with content of a letter that the Chief State Solicitor denied vehemently having written, the Prime Minister begins, “Dear Wayne”.

    And if that disrespect is insufficient, she goes further, saying to Dr. Kublalsingh that the matter is before the courts so he should stop, but despite the fact that the matter is before the courts, we won’t.

    The TV news also reports that two men came aaaaaaaaallllll the way up from Debe to hurl abuse and insults at Dr. Kublalsingh, one even telling the press with trembling chins that he would start a hunger strike too in support of the highway.

    **Moonilal: Full steam ahead with highway
    http://ift.tt/1ubaDgA /

    Understory: Word is that stomachs were stapled. Not everyone can afford this.

    **…Armstrong: Report was supposed to prevent repeat
    http://ift.tt/1mdrlgK /

    From the article: “DR James Armstrong, former head of the Highway Review Committee (HRC), said yesterday the work of that body was in part supposed to prevent a repeat of the 2011 hunger strike of Highway Re-Route Movement activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh. The HRC was formed on the orders of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar soon after Kublalsingh began his first hunger strike, upon pleas from various quarters—including unions, NGOs and religious bodies—that she move to put an end to the 21-day fast for the sake of Kublal­singh’s life.

    "The resultant report had recommended the Government pause construction of the $7 billion highway to re-assess its social and economic impacts, the existing literature on which the committee had found wanting."

    But (begin Mervyn Assam voice) THAU-znds and THAU-znds (end Mervyn Assam voice) want the highway. So the report that the Prime Minister herself commissioned remains ignored by the Prime Minister who commissioned it, even though the report says to pause and review.

    **Lawsuit against run-off bill in court
    http://ift.tt/Xljfqg /

    In other matter where the government has been stubborn, the Independent Liberal Party has taken the government to court over the consitutionality of the Run-Off provision in the Constitution Amendment (2014) Bill.

    On a side note, did you know that the former CONCACAF building on Edward Street is now ILP headquarters?

    **TSTT’s acting CEO resigns
    http://ift.tt/1rcHDql /

    This is interesting. More interesting is that TSTT directors want to appoint Digicel’s former Chief Technical Officer to the position.

    Digicel’s response to a Garvin Medera appointment would be even more interesting given that he left their employ relatively recently, in June 2013.

    **Fuad makes Glenn an offer
    http://ift.tt/1ubaCJC /
    **Fuad offers Glenn a job - I need his expertise
    http://ift.tt/1uWjK5D /

    Member of Parliament for Diego Martin Central and former Social Development Minister Dr. Amery Browne says it better than I can here:

    Does Fuad think he’s spending his own money in this arrangement?

    1) There have been public allegations of abuse of office and direct physical exploitation of vulnerable citizens while engaged at a government ministry. These allegations have NOT been refuted or properly investigated.

    2) The individual in question clearly has no competency or experience that can reasonably qualify him above all other citizens for such a consultancy.

    3) Under such circumstances such a ‘sole selected’ award is highly inappropriate, particularly as vulnerable families may be forced to interact with him in pursuit of prosthetic limbs for their loved ones (as opposed to HDC housing on the last occasion).

    **Browne: Fraud in Life Fund
    http://ift.tt/1uWjK5F /

    Allegations of fraud in the Children’s Life Fund was just the tip of the iceberg in Dr. Amery Browne’s budget presentation. He also hit out at incomplete investigations into number of deaths and medical malpractice, took issue with incorrect statements made by the Finance Minister in his most recent Budget presentation, and major mismanagement in the health sector.

    **Fuad: 50 per cent of T&T women overweight
    http://ift.tt/1rcCSNA /

    This is symptom of a larger societal problem, if we care to examine root cause.

    Longer hours in traffic with children eating breakfast and fast food dinners while in transit, children heading to extra-lessons earlier and earlier in their primary school career to prepare for an ever-mutable primary curriculum on the march toward the Secondary Entrance Assessment examination, and children not being able - given reduction in available hours - to go outside and play unsupervised because of safety concerns…

    Is it any wonder that people, mothers and their children in particular, are getting fatter?

    **Mystar: We are working to minimise police shootings
    http://ift.tt/XljjGx /

    From the article: “The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service(TTPS) shares concern with the public as it relates to shootings involving police, and all efforts were being made to minimise such occurrences in the future.”

    The choice of words here is unfortunate in the extreme.

    Does “minimise” mean that the TTPS will be working to bring Police shootings down to acceptable levels? What would that threshold number be? Twenty dead and sixty wounded per year? Five dead and ten wounded per quarter, perhaps?

    What happens when threshold is crossed? Does the TTPS stop issuing ammunition so that the number doesn’t go above “acceptable” limits?

    And while Mystar says that the public needs to understand that Police are forever in life threatening situations, my challenge here is that we have heard about too many dead by Police where there does not seem to be sufficient credible evidence to support use of deadly force.

    At this stage and in these situations, gunpowder residue tests should be standard fare. But all that Valery Alexandrov seems interested in taking to the press when interviewed is “he was shot in the front”.

    **Casino couple robbed: ‘cops’ take $600,000
    http://ift.tt/1mdnVdL /

    From the article: “A source said three men in plain clothes, who identified themselves as police officers from the Northern Division, had a search warrant to execute on someone in the upstairs apartment of the house, who they suspected was staying there illegally. One of the officers even flashed his badge and gave a surname.”

    When I heard this story on the news last night, the Denzel Washington movie “Training Day” came IMMEDIATELY to mind.

    Further, one, there is a huge difference between $300,000 and $600,000, a difference that could probably easily be “unaccounted for”, and two, how does a body come by two duffel bags with $600,000 in cash?

    **7-foot caiman attacks south family’s dog
    http://ift.tt/1uWjJ1s /

    Hunting is banned for two years, including the extermination of “pests” that encroach on urban areas.

    The relevant Ministry may want to consider an organised survey and cull before one of these monsters grabs somebody’s child.

    This bad gyal is seven feet long and is clearly setting to lay eggs. Our spectacled caiman species can lay as many as 40 at a time.

    **Minister: $19 million Carenage fishing centre under probe
    http://ift.tt/1qNCypk /

    Is anybody about to pull up Jairam Seemungal for lying to the Parliament?

    See Hansard of September 2nd, 2011, under Oral Answers to Questions, subject “Carenage Fish Market/Waterfront Development (Construction Project)”: http://ift.tt/1uWjKlV /

    Have a great day, everyone. //

  5. Today is Wednesday 17th September, 2014.

    Today’s Round Up is brought to you by getting up on time, leaving the house well before daylight, and avoiding the morning rush.

    Yesterday’s Round Up could not be delivered because 15 minutes’ delay added one hour and 45 minutes to what is normally a one-hour commute. I can feel my shoulders tightening up again as I think about it.

    At a specific point in the morning, the maxis working my route are all on the highway in traffic or are providing contracted school transport services, the line for the bus to Port of Spain is long, and taxis too are few and far between, also stuck in the traffic.

    So long as there are no Police officers on the de facto taxi stand at Busy Corner, persons attempting to get out of Chaguanas and into town are herded by a tout into cars and the odd PH eleven-seater as these pull to the curb.

    If the Police do arrive and park on the corner, usually around 6:30 AM, commuters must stand in a cluster in the sun further down the Southern Main Road on the official taxi and maxi taxi stands.

    Between 6:00 and 7:45 AM, it’s a rush and a hustle to get into a vehicle, knowing that you’re looking at 90- to 120-minutes at barest minimum to get to a destination that should normally take no more than twenty.

    Yesterday morning, a lady passenger and I hopped into an H-registered seven-seater whose driver seemed to have had a change of heart about taking a trip immediately, wanting to get gas first and come back around.

    While pulling into the gas station, the lady grumbled something about the traffic and getting to town after eight o’clock. The driver turned and said to her, matter of factly, that if she expected him to risk getting a ticket and drive down the shoulder of the highway, she was mistaken, and she should take another car.

    The lady immediately hopped out of the taxi and made her way presumably back to Busy Corner to seek alternative transportation.

    Apparently soured on the notion of facing cross-Chaguanas traffic to go back to the stand, the driver headed straight for the highway and took me by myself to Port of Spain, and on the way we had a lively discussion about road safety, causes of traffic, and on current and pending alternatives.

    On arrival in Port of Spain, cross-town traffic for a five minute is another half-hour’s dance, as hundreds (by my estimate) of commuters, including school children, push into the road to jostle for cars.

    I could go on, and perhaps one of these days I’ll take the time to break down commuter woes more comprehensively through the eyes of a member of the travelling public, resident in one of the fastest expanding dormitary communities in the country, set to grow even faster as uninhabited HDC communities are suddenly filled.

    **Harvey’s thoughts on police killings: Cops toting 3, 4 ghosts
    http://ift.tt/1teadbr /

    Yesterday was the opening of the new Law Term. And at yesterday’s celebratory church service, Catholic Priest Reverand Steve Harvey took the Police to task for potentially stepping outside of the justice system.

    He noted something that I myself have absently thought about but not sought to quantify.

    Who are the Police Officers or Police Units that have been involved in police killings? And how many persons have individuals in these units killed?

    Why are they still, if they are, on active duty until investigations are properly completed into their shooting incidents?

    Do we have “serial killers” in our Police Service?

    And I believe I heard the Minister of National Security on a tear recently, talking about the public not knowing about criminals firing on officers, and officers having to shoot back. But do they? Do we have law and order descend to the level of the lawless, sans control, sans strategy, sans accountability, sans game plan that goes beyond “return fire”?

    The snippets captured in the Guardian are interesting. It would have been good to hear his homily in its entirety.

    **Dumas: Grant should have cleared his name quietly
    http://ift.tt/Xf1uZC /

    From the article: “Chief State Solicitor Christophe Grant should have taken quiet steps to clear his name, according to former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas.” This is response to the Chief State Solicitor immediately taking to the press to clear his name after a letter made out to have been written by him to Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh was cited by the Office of the Prime Minister.

    And I understand exactly where Mr. Dumas is coming from here.

    By law and practice, a public servant is sworn to secrecy and does not comment in public domain on the goings-on and affairs of the Service. There is a confidentiality oath in fact to which some senior public servants must swear, with legal implications for breaking it.

    However, the last several years have arguably pushed many a public servant to the breaking point, as politicos make skewed exposures in order to score brownie points with the public, often throwing individual public servants under the bus.

    Take for example Tim Gopeesingh’s scolding a school principal in front of reporters, likely knowing full well that she could not and would not correct the assertions he was making about her responsibilities right there and then.

    Another recent example saw the former Solicitor General demit office, and then subsequently write very cautiously in attempt to clear hear name after the Prime Minister and her former boss, the Attorney General, muddied public information on Prison-Gate.

    The AG in particular has shown and pretty clearly, that civil interaction between politicians and public servants is out the door. Grant likely felt - especially when one considers all that happened with Eleanor Honeywell-Davidson - that he needed to get out from in front of this train, established practice be damned.

    And again, while I understand where Reggie Dumas will be coming from, it’s unfortunate that civil discourse between politicos and public servants is an anachronism.

    Sadly too, this UNC administration has firmly established a dichotomy where if one is not for them and their plans and actions, one is the bogey that they have made “PNM”. Thus Grant’s objection, while most defintely non-political - a fraud has been perpetrated against him for all intents and purposes - it is unfortunate that his standing for himself would today appear to be political in nature.

    It probably doesn’t help though that he ghost-writes calypso.

    **Minshall writes PM: As Wayne prepares for hunger strike
    http://ift.tt/1DhCNNq /

    From the article: “Hours before environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh is set to embark on a second hunger strike to protest continued work on the Debe to Mon Desir Highway veteran masman Peter Minshall, lecturer and novelist Merle Hodge and businessman Dave Ramkissoon delivered a letter to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar requesting a meeting to discuss the issue.”

    I know that St. Clair Avenue is where the PM’s office is officially, but is the PM ever actually there? Or is it just a large multi-storey post box?

    Further, Minshall said: “I am in support of the society, the environment, democratic well-mannered communication and democracy.”

    The seeming attempt at fraud that appears to have been perpetrated on the public by collusion of the AG’s and PM’s offices in presenting a letter which was not written by the Chief State Solicitor but presented as such suggests that the government is nowhere close to the realm of “democratic well-mannered communication”.

    I love Minsh and Ms. Hodge, but this call to the PM is likely falling on already deaf ears of wilful individuals concerning an infrastructure project over which they have shown themselves to be increasingly stiffnecked.

    **Speaker bouffs Gopeesingh
    http://ift.tt/1teadrJ /

    "…House Speaker Wade Mark yesterday scolded Caroni East MP and Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh for making a derogatory remark to Opposition MP Nileung Hypolite…"

    Classy.

    **Carolyn wants probe into alleged fight
    http://ift.tt/1DhCMZW /

    I’m sorry. But the COP is way too forgiving and inclusive for my liking. Carolyn herself admits that there are concerns about the return of one of the alleged combatants to the party in the first place, moreso, there are concerns about the role that they have near immediately been granted. And this pretense of civility in the face of verbal and physical abuse, and assault…

    Have a great day, everybody. Keep it copacetic. //