President Scolds MPs: Citizens Hurting

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President Paula-Mae Weekes inspects the Guard of Honour 
at the Reopening of the Red House on Friday




PORT-OF-SPAIN – PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes says that citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are hurting.

She was addressing both Houses of Parliament at the reopening of the Red House in Port-of-Spain on Friday. Also present were judges of the High Court and Appeal Court of TT.

The President said she received correspondence from the public on a daily basis “ complaining bitterly, in essence, that existing laws do not address their serious concerns and that some laws appear to benefit narrow sectarian interests rather than the interests of all.

“I suspect the citizens, rightly, because they harbour the mistaken belief that I have the jurisdiction to take action directly and/or to assume orders to the power that be.

“The assembled know better.”

President Weekes said she was therefore delivering the message of the citizens that neither Government nor the Opposition was hearing or ignoring.

She said, “And the message is as simple as it is poignant. They are hurting.”

The President added, “While Parliament and other leaders of the country are dabbling in semantics about whether we are failed state or in a crime crisis our citizens are being murdered at an alarming rate.

“They lack opportunities for employment or are losing their jobs. Food prices are spiraling beyond the reach of many and more and more of our children are falling into the at-risk category.”

She said citizens were entitled to look at Parliamentarians and demand solutions to ease their pain.

“They want you to work together for their good. Even the most desperate understand the nature of politics and that some degree of toeing the party lime, posturing, ole talk and picong come with the territory.”

The President added, “But at the end of the day, fidelity to the people, our vulnerable women, our defenseless children, our angry young men must be the primary and paramount concern of Parliamentarians.”

Listen to President Paula-Mae Weekes say citizens of TT are hurting:

She said in her 22 months in office, she has assented to 46 acts of Parliament, issued 23 proclamations, but the man in the street, the business executives and public servants “will be hard press to find, far less to measure any improvement in their day-to-day circumstances.”

The President called for legislation to promptly deal with issues facing the nation.

She said the Parliament should be associated with values of law and order, truth and justice, morality and decency.

She said, “A well-established columnist in an article shortly after my inauguration, commented that I reminded him of a stern longtime creole aunty tanty.

“I accept that as a badge of honour since in my experience aunty tanties are usually proponents of sober thinking, discipline, good behaviour and deep reflection.

“They often tell us what we already know and use opportune moments such as these to give us timely reminders just in case we forgot.”

Listen to President Paula-Mae Weekes speak about the values of an aunty tanty:



A Day in History: January 24


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