By Raffique Shah
September 14, 2014
Nine out of ten people, if asked to comment on Government’s 2014-2015 budget, would quietly, and many grudgingly, say it was a good package.
For the average citizen, what matters most in the annual Appropriation Bill are what new measures strip him (or her) of some portion of his earnings or wealth, meaning taxes or levies, and what new benefits accrue to him by way of increases in grants, subsidies, soft loans and so on.
Continue reading ‘Better bite the bullet now’
By Andre Bagoo
September 09 2014 – newsday.co.tt
STATING Government is moving to safeguard the welfare of society, Finance Minister Larry Howai yesterday unveiled a record $65 billion budget. It contained increased benefits on a wide range of fronts, including pension enhancements which will affect more than 131,020 retired and self-employed persons, a new minimum wage, improved allowances for the disabled and easiser access to mortgages for more than 26,100 prospective homeowners.
In the fifth Budget of the People’s Partnership administration, Howai announced:
Continue reading ‘WELFARE BUDGET’
By Raffique Shah
August 31, 2014
One thing we citizens can celebrate on the 52nd anniversary of the nation’s independence is just how dependent we are on our illustrious politicians to tell us what is wrong and what is right, what is good for us and what is not.
Mere mortals that we are, and ignorant ones at that, we were blissfully unaware that for five decades-plus, we had engaged in general elections 13 times (counting 1961), but mostly, the results have yielded governments that did not reflect the will of the electorate. This seething but invisible problem has been the root cause of all our woes — rising crime, nagging poverty, dysfunctional health and education systems, and so on.
Continue reading ‘One dose of democracy’
August 29, 2014 – guardian.co.tt
The controversial Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed in the Senate last night with the support of Independent Senators Dhanayshar Mahabir, Rolph Balgobin and David Small.
After almost three days of heated debate, the bill was passed at 11.09 pm with a total of 18 senators voting for it and 12 against it. All the Opposition Senators present and six independents voted against the bill. However, the bill received the three Independents’ votes only after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar agreed to accept an amendment to the controversial runoff clause put forward by Mahabir.
Continue reading ‘Bill passed after heated debate’
By Raffique Shah
August 16, 2014
What the railroading of the runoff provision in the Constitutional Amendment Bill in Parliament last week showed is that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will not heed the voices of reason, even if they come from within her own ranks.
Hubris having enveloped her soul, and with an army of sycophants massaging her ego with every word uttered from their mouths, the lady sees in every critic an enemy bent on destroying her. On the eve of her political self-destruction, paranoia has compounded the toxic mix that will hasten her demise.
Continue reading ‘Real People Power’
By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 15, 2014
To hear Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Anand Ramlogan tell it, one would think that August 12, 2014, was a red-letter day for Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy. They seem to indicate that somehow our society realized one of its brightest moments when the PP voted legislation to recall parliamentary representatives after three years of service if the needs arises, to creating time limits for the prime minister and, most important, to require that each parliamentary representative receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast at a general election though not necessarily more than 50 percent of the total voters of that constituency. Although I have no problems with the first two resolutions, I don’t know what democratic magic occurs when 50.1 percent rather than 49.50 percent of a constituency votes for a candidate of their choice.
Continue reading ‘Staining the Soul of Our Nation’
By Raffique Shah
August 09, 2014
By insisting on going ahead with certain constitutional amendments that many, if not most, citizens find objectionable in the extreme, the Government is mischievously playing with fire. Knowingly, the trio of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar are leading the charge of a dark brigade that could well see the society rent asunder by political strife than allow reason to prevail.
Continue reading ‘Playing with Fire’
Statement by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar delivered in the House of Representatives about government’s decision to implement constitutional reform.
Following is PM Persad-Bissessar’s full statement:
I am pleased to make a statement on the first day of the epoch-making and revolutionary changes we have ushered in through the new Standing Orders.
Continue reading ‘PM’s Statement on Constitutional Reform’
By Winford James
June 26, 2014 – trinidadexpress.com
The opposition last Friday joined with the government in passing the Judges’ Salaries and Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The collaboration was for me not only momentous, but also staggering in its bold exploitation of opportunism and power.
Continue reading ‘Govt and next govt to themselves?’
By Rhoda Bharath
June 24, 2014
Sometimes the beauty of a goal is in its build up, not the scoring.
Last week, on June 14th to be precise, Express journalist Ria Taitt revealed that the Lower House (MPs) had just approved amendments to two bills giving themselves fat new pensions. The story took about 48 hours to really generate interest because it’s the middle of the first round of World Cup 2014 in Brasil. And soccer-mad TnT, caught up with the beautiful game, barely have time for Anil, weed stashes, prostitutes in hotel rooms, or Government programs that are funding criminals, far less to pay attention to debates in their Parliament. Oh, and we had a long holiday weekend. And Laventille and the Police/Army were at war.
Continue reading ‘Own Goals and Penalties’