Posts tagged ‘Government’

August 14, 2014

Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC on Constitution Amendment Bill 2014 Pt 1

November 13, 2013

Wesley Gibbings – General Secretary Association of Caribbean Media Workers Pt 1

Aired November 13, 2013 on ieTV. Wesley speaks about threats to journalism and journalists in the Caribbean and the role of journalists versus the role of government.

June 26, 2012

The Amazing Verna St. Rose Greaves.

T&T has many problems but one good thing was that it had the most incredible Minister of Gender, Youth and Child development.  Verna St. Rose Greaves is a social activist and a fighter of much ferocity who amazingly ended up as that Minister.  Suddenly the talk became about human rights for all people and she was the champion of that fight. Last Friday she was removed from Cabinet for political reasons and my heart broke. She is the most wonderful compassionate person I know and she is a friend.  If the world were ending I would want to call Auntie Verna.

Here is Part one of my interview with her today.


January 20, 2012

More from Anonymous (apparently)

February 27, 2011

Young T&T activists speak out against the death penalty.

Faced with a major problem with serious crime in Trinidad & Tobago, the current government is ( rather predictably) pushing for the reimplementation of the death penalty. The penalty has never left the books but following the Privy Council decision in the case of Pratt and Morgan , governments have been unable to execute anyone for many years. To circumvent this the government is now moving to amend legislation to essentially limit the time frame for appeals to 18 months. On the face of  it this flies in the face of  due process but that is another matter  .

A recent survey indicated that 91% of the population are in favor of  a return to the death penalty. In an interesting turnabout, when asked if they would support the possibility of the death penalty if an innocent person might end up hanged the  support level dropped to 35%.

The Trinidad Express has an interesting look at the survey and the death penalty internationally here.

There are a few voices locally such as Verna St. Rose Greaves who have taken a strong moral stand against the return to hangings in T&T . Even more heartening are a few young activists who are also speaking out like twins ( so yes, you are seeing correctly) Brendon and Brandon O’Brien. Check out their videos and spread the word.

February 19, 2011

Interesting result from a disturbing question.

Latest poll results @7pm T&T time

There has been a lot of media discussion in Trinidad & Tobago over the last week on the matter of LGBT rights and even ( rather amazingly)  same-sex marriage. This is a result of  a debate in the senate on an unrelated matter (the Statutory Authorities Amendment Bill)  that took a surprising turn when some  senators brought up the subject saying the discussion could lead to same-sex marriage. Since the debate was specifically about people who are NOT married that was patently ridiculous but Government Senator and Minister of  Planning, Mary King took the matter and ran with it indicating that LGBT matters should be discussed in the future. Local LGBT groups, most notably CAISO, have leveraged the discussion through the media and  are getting a great deal of local and regional mileage.

Having interviewed both Minister King and Colin Robinson of CAISO in the last week I can report that the matter is definitely building up some momentum. The question is what will this momentum lead to?   The current government hinted on the campaign trail that the matter of  equality could be dealt with by a referendum – a suggestion so patently silly it is surprising anyone was misguided enough to bring it up. When human rights are involved it usually requires a government willing to ignore a fear of political fallout and do the moral thing.  No one in their right mind would suggest that a referendum be held to give Catholics or left handed people equal rights.

In any case, the Trinidad Express has noted the debate and is conducting a referendum of their own by posting a poll asking “Do you support calls for the government to grant equal rights to members of the gay community?”  This being the developing world  and part of the highly homophobic English Caribbean one would have expected a bloodbath. While members and friends of the LGBT community might certainly leverage the internet to add to the ‘yes’ votes – the same opportunity is available to those who think that all people should not have equality. Being a loud and  generally boisterous group it would have been likely that the anti-equality forces, buoyed by sheer numbers would have dominated the poll. Strangely, this has not been the case. The current result has been holding at 56% ‘yes’ to 46% ‘no .

There may be mitigating factors given that more educated people may be more likely to take the poll, or that large numbers of anti-equality folks may not have internet access or do not bother to read the online papers. There is also another possibility – maybe a large portion of the population actually really does feel that all citizens are entitled to protection under the law. Yes, it is depressing that so many people have voted ‘no’, but in the context of this part of the world it is still encouraging that they are in the minority.

Will anything come of the current discussion in terms of  changing the current legislation? The government would need balls to make such changes  and in this country no government so far has had anything even close  to that.

For background on Trinidad & Tobago’s current laws that omit protection based on sexual orientation have a gander at Lisa Allen-Agostini’s excellent blog post “About those gay rights” here.

Keep an eye on the poll here.

November 4, 2010

Shubh Deepawali and more…

Today, a large chunk of the world’s population celebrates Deepawali or Divali ( as it is known in this part of the world). It is the Hindu celebration of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. I am not a religious sort myself but I think  most of my readers would join in me wishing for a bit more knowledge rather than ignorance.

In other news, I think we can all feel a bit better that we live in a world where , thanks to Barcelona, the words Queer Kissing Flashmob can exist together. As I mentioned before this is meant to be a response to the imminent arrival of the Pope in Barcelona. His less than moderate views on the LGBT world have led the community to plan a kissing flash mob protest. Through several minutes of earnest digging on the web – okay, I just went to their Facebook page – I managed to find one of the posters for the event.

I hope his Holiness appreciates all the hard work and Photoshop work that went into preparing for his visit.

I have been uploading a number of past interviews I did to Vimeo recently to make them available to a wider audience. Though I seldom watch my own interviews I sat through one I did a few months ago with local writer, commentator and T&T Humanist Association founding member , Kevin Baldeosingh.  Much of the interview’s content is specific to Trinidad & Tobago, but it also deals with the responsibility of governments to make difficult decision about minority groups even when such protection isn’t popular with the general population. You can decide for yourself. I will say, though, Kevin is one of the smartest people I know, so it is worth a listen regardless. Abortion rights and LGBT rights starts at around the 12:31 mark.

In honor of Deepawali/Diwali might I suggest that everyone read India’s own