Kamla will deal with this

Moonilal also said he felt that the country must “move on now”, following President George Maxwell Richards’ revocation on Monday of Nizam Mohammed’s appointment as PSC chairman. “So we the Government are looking forward to the new appointment,” Moonilal said.

Persad-Bissessar who left Trinidad on Saturday to attend the Organisation of American States (OAS) Hemispheric Summit in Washington DC is expected home today.

Moonilal spoke to reporters, making his feelings on the Nizam Mohammed affair known following a function on San Fernando Hill in which several persons received letters of appointment from the Forestry Division to serve on four committees. The simple ceremony was also attended by Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan who is Member of Parliament for San Fernando West.

Responding to a question from the media about the decision by Richards to revoke Mohammed’s appointment, Moonilal said: “The President took his time and acted and we respect the decision of the President. I think the country should move on.

“We intend to address the matter on the return of the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and to settle the leadership issue of the Police Service Commission.”

At a recent sitting of the Joint Select Committee, Mohammed raised the issue of an ethnic imbalance within the upper ranks of the Police Service.

His remarks created a furore with many persons calling for his immediate resignation.

Despite the uproar caused, Moonilal noted that Mohammed’s utterances placed the topic of race “in the national domain” and sparked public debate. He went on to say a second debate has started now that Mohammed’s appointment has been revoked.

Moonilal had earlier delivered the feature address and also assisted in the distribution of appointment letters to 33 persons who were selected to sit on the San Fernando Hill National Park, National Wetlands, Wildlife Conservation and Honorary Game Wardens’ Administrative committees.

He told committee members, that security is now a major issue at national parks across the country and the ministry will be speaking to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Forestry Division in an attempt to strengthen the ability of the Forestry Division to police its own facilities.

“We are looking at a new policy approach to strengthen the security component of the Forestry Division so that we will take less resources, manpower and equipment from the national Police Service,” Moonilal said.

According to Moonilal, national parks are places for families to enjoy but the increase in the crime situation, is now cause for concern. “There is no purpose having a beautiful park if you cannot go with your families, with your loved ones, if you cannot go and enjoy it.

“Parks throughout the world are known for the amount of people who come and use them. We cannot have a facility where as it gets dark at 5.30 pm you need to leave, you need to escape, you are scared if you come with your wife, your children, your husband and so on, you will be robbed. This is a serious challenge,” Moonilal said.

He also promised that the wildlife conservation committee will deal with issues such as the importation of exotic endangered species for private use and the illegal trade of animals for sale as pets.

“I think all of you have been following the story of the cougar. I think our cougar is now at the zoo, but even at the zoo we have several challenges with respective groups over the status of that animal and issues as well with our legal and policy responsibility in the matter. So by no means is this matter closed,” Moonilal said.

There will also be a review, he added, of penalties and fines which are very minimal for serious offences.


"Kamla will deal with this"

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