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Diode last won the day on June 19

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  1. Progressive Empowerment Party

    Best add these links in...two Facebook pages... Phillip Edward Alexander: https://www.facebook.com/phillipedward.alexander Progressive Empowerment Party: https://www.facebook.com/peptrinbago/ Alexander and the PEP are seemingly being ignored by the mainstream media but the following is growing. The YouTube videos only have a small number of views, but on Facebook it's another matter entirely. Each nightly video gets 300-600 live viewers and by the next day the view count grows to a few thousand. They had a decent sized demonstration against the Cybercrime Bill recently, enough to stop the bill's debate in its tracks...there was barely a word about it on the news, but the pics on the right of the below show what was happening. Pretty decent for a quickly organized gathering relying on word of mouth and a relatively new Facebook movement.

    As I understand it, while the appeal has allowed the collection to continue, the government has to publish that the submission of forms is optional. If they are not submitted, a follow-up letter will be sent addressed to the homeowner, and that is the legally binding one that has to be responded to. The idea of valuating one's own home and sending in photos is completely absurd, but absurd seems to be the name of the government's game. They won't even collect more money than what they spent on that silly stadium, so in a real sense the property tax could have been postponed by just leaving that thing alone. As for the traffic fines...well, it's really for another topic but they are equally absurd. Those fines seem higher than some criminal charges, and are higher than some people's monthly salaries! Not to mention the absurdity of them: What constitutes obstruction of a warden, as opposed to just covering it in the same manner as obstructing a traffic police or licensing officer? Why is caught speeding by a camera higher than caught speeding otherwise? Why is not using a seat belt almost 5 times more than not using a child seat? Instead of these obscenely high fines, just leave the fines where they are and actually enforce them! These are obviously money collection fines, not penalty fines.
  3. Progressive Empowerment Party

    I have been following Phillip Alexander and the PEP for a while now. He live streams at about 8:00 almost every weeknight on Facebook and really gives a reality check about what is going on and has been picking up quite a following, as has the party itself. It's going to be a major uphill battle for the PEP, but there is definitely potential for them to upend the political landscape. Let's not forget that COP was able to steal almost a third of the vote in 2007 and almost took a few seats - and they appeared relatively at the last minute. On the other hand, the PEP has a few years to work with: If they can pick up just a little more steam than the COP did in 2007, we could very well see the PNM/UNC cycle finally broken. In any case, they have my support.
  4. Minister Sinanan

    Based on recent events, Minister Sinanan is coming off to be as clueless and incompetent as the rest. The cleanups are a positive step but I don't believe the licensing move was ever his initiative. The roads are in a serious state of disrepair with major faults left unchecked for months on end. The entire sea bridge between Trinidad and Tobago has collapsed in spectacular fashion. First the freight side of the bridge fell apart taking the small sellers in Tobago with it, and now the passenger side is dead in the water too - literally. Just in time for the peak travel season, too. Is it this government's objective to make Tobago call for secession?

    The entire thing is a big mess, as seems to be the norm with this government. I do not agree with property tax as it is a recurring tax on something already purchased and taxed upon purchase via a high stamp duty. Secondly, if a property tax must be paid then it must be used to better the community in which it was paid; not controlled by central government to be used however it feels. It also needs to be introduced slowly and fairly. The simple reality is people have become accustomed to not paying property tax, and before the hiatus the rates were far below what is being requested now. Increases need to come slowly over a period of time, not suddenly dropped in at a far higher rate.
  6. buy stock online

    Welcome sparkle, can you elaborate a bit more on what you are trying to say or ask? You can trade stocks online in T&T.
  7. Property Tax

    We will just have to wait and see what the property values come out as. From the sounds of it, most people should have relatively low rates to pay, but the flipside as you indicated will be the pensioners. Many live in old homes that now command much higher values than they once did due to their area more than the structure itself. Now I am not in favor of any property tax; in my view it's a tax on something that has already been bought and paid for. It's common practice around the world yes, but that doesn't make it right. If we do have to pay property tax however, it should be paid to the local government body and used to improve the local area, not sent off to the central government's coffers where it can end up anywhere. Secondly, maybe calculating based on the rental value should not be the way to go. I don't know what an alternative would be, but there's got to be something fairer that can be used.
  8. Trial by Jury

    Dangerous. Very, very dangerous. Trial by a jury of one's peers is a fundamental tenet of democracy, and we are already in many ways too much of an elected dictatorship. Not to mention that as corrupted as we are, the powers that be will have too much power to determine guilt or innocence at their own convenience.
  9. The Murder Rate

    I have never been a supporter of the death penalty, first and foremost because innocents do get executed in the process and there is no coming back from it. Countries with far more experience in the death penalty, with far more thorough judicial processes, where video and DNA evidence are par for the course, sometimes get it wrong - and sometimes not discovered until long after the execution. Apart from this, we are party to agreements with an international community who in the modern era tend to frown upon the practice. It would not be in our interest to simply blank the rest of the world, for international image aside we would just be making our system even less thorough and in so doing, more prone to error. At the end of the day, life sentencing does the job of removing the individual from society, is (I think) arguably less resource intensive than the numerous legal wrangles to conduct the execution, and does not end the person's life in the event of a mis-conviction. Differing views aside, in a developed society the matter would be put to the referendum portion of the ballot paper and the outcome used to decide yey or ney. In either case, I don't think it would make any difference. Why would it not make any difference? Well, we are dealing with people who do not have regard for life. These people live by the gun and die by the gun; what difference does the death penalty make to them? The few who would be dissuaded by the prospect of being caught would just as easily be dissuaded by a life sentence, which means we need to be catching them to begin with. All in all, what we need is to: Make the crime difficult to carry out (everything from lighting to police presence to doing away with PH drivers) Alter the life choices of the killers-in-waiting (social intervention) Finding and apprehending the killers Actually getting the evidence and an efficient judicial system to convict them
  10. The Murder Rate

    I have changed the topic title, seeing as we are no longer in 2016... If I am not mistaken, we have already reached or possibly crossed 40 murders for 2017. This while we are still in January.
  11. The Murder Rate

    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss Lia. It is one thing to hear about murders on the news and another when it is close to home...especially one for whom the majority of their life was yet to come. Please accept my condolences. The police need to stop wasting time and put some serious effort into tackling the crime situation. I have previously indicated my doubts that it can be done in the short term, but that should be no reason not to try. Apart from everything else, we have a priority problem. The reality is that our violent crime rate is far too high. It's not just too high; it's at a crisis level. I think we need to differentiate between the victim and victimless crimes and put the bulk of our law enforcement resources behind the former. It sounds like we also need some serious training for the school bus drivers. The school bus initiative is a wonderful one that was far overdue, but it needs to be more than just designated buses driving around. Those drivers and any other accompanying adult aboard (if there even is one) need specialized training...they need to be sensitized of their role in getting children safely to school, not just earning money on a route. If not already the case, the schedules have to be planned to arrive at the school well ahead of starting time, so that the driver has no excuse to leave behind a child running just a few minutes late for pick-up. Finally, taxi drivers must be held to very high standards to get that badge, and I make no apologies for my view that allowing the PH system to exist is extremely reckless on the part of the government. Nobody in 2017 should be able to get into a vehicle for hire that does not have prominently displayed taxi signage, a highly vetted driver, passenger insurance, GPS tracking and a dashcam. Sounds a bit much? No, I don't think so at all. As for the matter of child marriage...suffice it to say it is unacceptable. I think I will start a separate topic for that and link it here...
  12. Ancil Roget

    Now economist Roger Hosein is saying that the strike could see us devalue down to a US$9 exchange rate. Emphasis mine, to indicate that it seems OWTU action has already dealt a blow to the forex situation. Here's the full article: http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2017-01-07/strike-could-lead-9-us1 I get that not seeing increases for years may be frustrating, but when the wages are so far above the rest of the industry, they should just be happy to earn that much in the first place! If the workers don't want that money then let them stay off the job. There are plenty of blue collar workers out there looking for employment. What the heck, let's go even further. Apart from the increased automation I mentioned above, reduce pay for new hires to the energy sector average and they will probably still get people applying in droves. Paying the industry average would still be high enough for persons coming from most other sectors to see a decent rise in income. It would be a completely different story if this were a highly profitable private company. But no, this is a struggling state owned company. We need to see underpaid sectors elevated to decent wages, not give overpaid sectors even more. OWTU, you are a waste of time and frankly speaking, dangerous.
  13. Ancil Roget

    Exactly. Those figures are only the tip of the iceberg. From my understanding those salaries even exceed what many life-saving medical professionals make in our hospitals. It would be absurd if the government were to give in to an increase to the OWTU. Completely in agreement that the energy industry should be declared an essential service. Perhaps we need to review what services we define as essential.
  14. The Murder Rate

    Hi Lia - certainly we need to tackle the ones doing the wrongdoing now, but what I was trying to say is that it will have little effect, as there will always be more to fill the ranks. Not to mention poor training and being a small country, the heads are just too well connected. The long term social intervention is in my view the only real solution. Cracking down will reduce for sure, and must be done...but I don't think it will significantly reduce crime so much as compartmentalize it. The video of how the Russians operate is encouraging on one hand yes, but such tactics have a major downside...Russia is well known for police brutality. We need to be wary of that. Apart from the real possibility of innocent people becoming victims, it would only further drive a wedge in police/community relations, which must be in good standing to find criminals within those communities. I would much rather we operate along the lines of Japan and parts of Europe. Highly trained, well equipped, disciplined and respected. Both also enjoy very low levels of crime.
  15. Ancil Roget

    The figures are simply astounding. http://energynow.tt/blog/how-do-petrotrins-wage-rates-compare-to-the-rest-of-the-energy-sector Here's the chart depicting the former case from the link. Almost $15k for a labourer? Over $20k for a foreman? And they want to strike?