Anybody even remember what was big in the news at the start of last week? News happens so fast and furious in this place now it dizzying to keep up.
Last week around this time, wasn't Mental Health issues we was vex about, it was The COP and Mayorgate.....everybody was on tenterhooks, COP was in an emergency meeting on April Fool's Day to prepare for their Partnership meeting come the Monday...and by the time that Monday Meeting ended, we all knew that Prakash Ramadhar (who left the country for a 3-week vacation the next day) and the COP had changed their minds about "principled politics" whatever that means and had decided Eat Ah Food was still their road march of choice. Imagine in the midst of what the party called a crisis the political leader hop ah plane to go on vacay.....Prakash you pull ah Kamla there boy....very fitting.
Oh, and Jack Warner is still on the National Security Council
George Nicholas III threw a hissy fit and resigned from CAL again and less than a day later Devant Maharaj, who claimed he was caught by surprise over the resignation had installed Min of Finance Winston Dookeran's cousin, Rabindra Moonan. Maharaj was open and upfront with us. he admits that Moonan knows nothing about aviation, but what he forgot to reveal as well is that Moonan's business acumen (the purported strength on which he got the job) aint so hot up either. Check the company records. Ask them how the US feel about them...ask questions.
Folks at Mt D'or held a fiery protest and blocked the bus route. Since 2000 police here have been responsible for the deaths of more than 300 people. Atiba Duncan is just another statistic to that list. I'm still wondering if he was being taken in for questioning on outstanding warrants how bullets in his back was making it possible for him to be questioned....but that's just me.
Then there was the protest from the Cunupia Residents Association over a cement batching plant....heavy industry in the middle of a residential area. Since the resumption of smelter talks last year, I've been asking questions about this government's environmental policy...in 2010 on the election campaign trail they talked a good talk about Environmental sustainability being one of their 7 pillars of development. To date, just as with economic diversity, constitutional reform, agricultural reform, technological innovation, gender issues and a number of other areas, Environmental management policies have fallen off the radar. Disgruntled Chin Chin Road residents have been trying to get action on this illegal plant from their MP, Tim Goopeesing since 2011, to date they are being stalled, more so by the Chaguanas Borough Council. On Thursday, April 5th, at a public meeting the residents revealed that the batching plant or Motilal Ramhit and Sons has no EMA or Town and Country Approval, nor does it have any Certificate of Environmental clearance. In fact Motilal Ramhit, a known UNC financier, friend of Roodal Moonilal and holder of many lucrative government contracts (this was all announced at the meeting) seems oblivious to the concerns of the residents and it was only in March of this year that he sought to get approval for his illegal plant. according to T&C regulations, batching plants count as heavy industry and cannot be situated in a residential area, yet this plant has been up and running since last year and the noise and dust emissions are making residents ill. It is alleged that Ramhit first purchased the land for a housing development and then decided to put up a batching plant instead. Ramhit has also built a roadway close to or over a ravine, filling it up and thus obstructing the course of the Cunupia river. All serious implications for the environment....but neither he, nor his friends in Government care. It is ironic that Roodal Moonilal, the Minister with the Environment portfolio, is good friends with this man and has turned a blind eye to the issue. But then again so has the EMA, Town and Country, the Chaguanas Borough Council, The President of Trinidad and Tobago and the Leader of the Opposition, all of whom have been given a file on this current issue. One wonders, with all of the environmental and planning laws being broken here by a man who is clearly a UNC financier why more is not being made of the issue? Is it not juicy enough?
Thanks to the Newsday I'm now advised that Sunway Construction (that company linked to Calder Hart....shhhhhh, the govt does get scared when they hear it) has been granted permission to resume their quarrying activities. In the midst of Mayorgate and Millergate, who really have time to take on the environment....much less a 2010 campaign promise.....
Of course, the story that kept us riveted this week was Cheryl Miller's weird admittance to St Ann's Mental Hospital. The Government, with the exception of Health Minister Fuad Khan, has been very quiet on the issue. And the COP's return to deaf/dumb/mute status tells me that they are firmly back to being the UNC lapdog.
I've said so much about this issue all week that I'm not sure that there is much more left to say. While most of the country has been embroiled in diagnosing Cheryl Miller from the safety of their web browsers, my interest has never been whether she is mentally unstable or not. In my mind that's an issue for Cheryl and her medical practitioner. My issue has always been, was proper procedure followed....the trial will clearly shift away from whether Miller is insane or not, to one of either breach of Human Rights or breach of Industrial Regulations.
But because the Govt knows that it in a tight monkey pants right now you have Health Minister Fuad Khan talking out of every orifice this week, blaming the PNM for politicking the issue, revealing details from Cheryl Miller's report that the public should not be privy too, and threatening to make people accountable. Dr Khan, are you going to take the fall? Because it is alleged, by you self on i95.5 last Thursday evening that the call to St Ann's came from your Ministry. You have been insidiously attempting to get Cheryl Miller to be judged by the public with the information about her mental health that keeps slipping out of your mouth.
Even the Psychiatric Association got in on the politicking this week, without looking at the details of the case, they issued a statement saying that proper procedure had been followed...then we find out on Friday that Cheryl Miller, who had been sitting at her desk writing a letter was detained under the section of the act that refers to people found wandering on roads and highways. I can only assume from this that Tower D does lean onto Wrightson Road.
Attorney Dana Seetahal wrote a column on the legal implications of this case that was so juicily succinct, I may commission a statue in her honour! And it doesn't help either that Reggie Dumas, albeit carefully,has indicated that the Govt's about as steady as a pile of Sunway Construction aggregate!
For the people who need to convince themselves that Cheryl Miller is mad, you missing the point. This was never about the woman's mental state and always about people in positions of power within the state's structure abusing their power. Anyone of us could be Cheryl Miller and have a bad day at work and find that because of an abuse of authority we are detained, incarcerated, denied our rights, with no idea of when we might be free again....Oh wait, that happened for 107 days here last year....no wonder Verna and her Perm Secs felt they could get away with it in a smaller capacity this year...oh, silly me!
I can't wait to see what this week will offer folks.
De Vice Cyah Done!