Express Editorial : Daily

It is bad enough that former social development minister Manohar Ramsaran and the Panday administration failed to act on the dynamite findings of the Sabga Task Force report into children’s homes and institutions back in 1997. But for Ramsaran to now defend his failure 25 years later on the grounds that his interest “was not personal or to lock up anybody” since it’s not his “character to be malicious” marks him out as having been completely unfit for the job. In what universe, we wonder, is the wilful decision to condemn children to abuse and torture not malicious?

The dangerous and antediluvian thinking demonstrated by Ramsaran has condemned generations of children in State care to horrific physical and psychological abuse and torture. Had the Panday administration acted on the Sabga report with the urgency required, the scourge of physical and sexual abuse existing in children’s homes today would have been eradicated, if not completely then substantially.

Instead, the government buried it in a massive State cover-up for which Ramsaran, then-PM Basdeo Panday, then-attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and the rest of the cabinet including current Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the then-legal affairs minister, must now account.

Until she explains her own inaction in 1997, Mrs Persad-Bissessar will lack the moral authority to castigate the Rowley government for its handling of the recent Justice Judith Jones report into children’s homes while her demand for justice for today’s abused children will ring hollow and reek of political opportunism.

Ramsaran’s comments suggest that the Panday government was less worried about the children and more concerned with protecting their alleged abusers among who were purportedly upstanding individuals including Catholic nuns, high-profile businessmen and staff. According to the Sunday Express exclusive report, when the Panday government was faced with the explosive findings of the Sabga report it opted against laying the report in Parliament and instructed all Task Force members to destroy their copies, effectively shutting down the investigative initiative. As legal adviser to the Panday cabinet in 1997, attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj also owes the country an explanation for this decision.

It is possible that the government was influenced by the example of the Robinson administration’s handling of the Scott Drug Report a decade before which contained shocking allegations against high-profile attorneys, big businessmen and high public officials. Although it triggered a national frenzy when laid in Parliament under the protection of parliamentary privilege, its public release sealed its fate as a prosecution dud on the grounds of being prejudicial to all concerned.

While this might explain the decision not to take an unredacted report straight to Parliament it does not explain the failure to send the Sabga report to the police for investigation while immediately rescuing the children from the State-funded snake-pit of abuse and torture.

We may never know what impact that seminal failure had on the children of 1997 and others who have since followed them into State care. But they are all owed an apology as a start to restitution.


There could be no doubt that the post-pandemic situation is fraught with many problems ranging from concerns for health, education, economy and personal situations.

Among these that may be prioritised according to our individual cares come the national concerns. Even then debate will range over which should be our priorities.

My view is that the greatest and most enduring problem will be our loss of “effective teaching-learning” time over well nigh two years.

The question posed above is probably the single most common question asked of rape victims in our pervasive culture of blaming and shaming of victims for crimes committed against them. The fact that decades of education and generations of experience have not succeeded in destroying this obvious fallacy is testimony to the enduring power of culture in shaping attitudes that inform behaviour, including self-destructive behaviour.

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would now ask of Death. And he said, you would know the secret of death.

—Kahlil Gibran

So, one of our senior paediatricians, RT, died last week Monday and is being buried today. She was young. I was not her best friend so I would not even begin to feel the hurt and pain her friends and close colleagues are feeling at the moment. But I was a friend. The paediatric specialists family is a fairly small one in Trinidad and almost all paediatric-based persons, whether general paediatrics or subspecialty, know and interact with one another often, whether through the Paediatric Society, the hospitals, or liming groups. We all trained each other for specialty exams at some point, and everyone knows everyone.

Minister of Tourism and the Chaguaramas Development Authority staff, have you seen the state of the Chaguaramas boardwalk recently? The boardwalk is looking horrible and run-down.

The shops are no longer open, and there is a lot of moss and overgrown bush around, and not to mention the pollution.

The boardwalk can be used by criminals for illegal activities, so please upgrade the entire area. If monies were allocated to upgrade the Paramin lookout, which was not necessary, money can be allocated to update the boardwalk before the Carnival season.

We need to do better with all of our tourist attractions.

J Ali

The Christmas spirit is starting to spread around us in the malls, grocery stores and our homes. The cleaning, painting and other things that go along with Christmas are beginning to take centre stage. The heart of this is the message of love, and sharing all that pertains to love; this is what I call the spirit of Christmas.

It is a known fact that this year we have had many challenges, some much more than others, and amid everything, “bad blood” may have been created—even more so in the political arena, where we often see our two major political parties going after each other. There is tension all around us, and many are hurting for various reasons.

Reginald Dumas, don’t try to distract the public from all that is taking place in our country today. Focus on bringing bills to protect our women and children.

A 2019 poll indicated confidence in the Judiciary at around ten per cent! And to “independent” Senator Vieira, that kind of writing is on the wall. You may have confidence in the CCJ, but who has confidence in you and other independent ­senators?

The majority of people who seek justice from the courts will never actually reach to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) nor the Privy Council. Our leaders need look to improve our own justice systems instead.