News and Comments
Trinidad and Tobago
Prime Minister Kamla Persad -Bissessar recent description of some journalists as “rogues” was quickly pounced on by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, as a sure sign that the fall of the Peoples Partnership government was imminent. While we understand his desire to be washed in the blood of the lamb, as a fighter for press freedom, we find his memory to be quite short, since all political parties, including his Peoples National Movement (PNM), in Trinidad and Tobago and indeed the entire Caribbean are skilled in bashing journalists when it suits them.
We stand firmly by the journalists, in Trinidad and Tobago, who are perhaps the very last practitioners of independent journalism in the region. While, we note from time to time, there are those who support particular party lines, we find the independent voices to be more fully represented than in many other Caribbean nations.
The Warner(s) Affair
It is now common knowledge that Jack Warner’s problems are far from over since the FBI is at present describing one of his sons as a “cooperating witness” in some business deals bordering on money laundering and other activities. We also note that the Prime Minister is requesting members of her cabinet to not comment on Mr. Warner’s current tribulations.
The Mahogany Coconut group has called for the firing of Jack Warner from the cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago, on more than one occasion. We find no comfort in doing so but we realized a long time ago, that he was on a course that does not assist with good governance. His callous remarks about those who oppose him on any measure are also distasteful to all progressive Caribbean thinkers. The fact that he is the Minister of National Security makes a mockery of those who are genuinely interested in the real security of our citizens.
However, as the Warner plot thickens, it now encompasses one of his sons and this is a further embarrassment for both the Prime Minister and her government. We believe that our calls for his removal from the government and his exit from public life have been correct all along. We now call once more for his removal from office as his entire family name is now bad news and exposure for Trinidad and Tobago.
The recent fire at a dump in St. Thomas, Barbados, clearly shows that unless there is more careful planning given to where such dumps are located , a major environmental disaster might occur which will cripple an already weak economy and endanger the health of its citizens. We have seen a rapid deterioration in the environment over the last twenty five years. While we are aware that many efforts are being made to correct some of the issues, we are also aware that a lot more needs to be done.
We believe that such sites should not be downwind form neighborhoods, thereby avoiding inhalation problems for residents. There are other negatives which come with such sites: rodents, destruction of plant life and threats to water supply. We also have the problem of very limited land space therefore the size of these dumps should be seriously controlled to avoid the ugliness of such undertakings. We are nevertheless impressed with the rapid response of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) that was ready to respond to what was a very dangerous fire. We hope they would not rest on their laurels but continue to impress upon government and all interest groups to escalate programs that ensure we can handle such emergencies whenever they occur.