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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 09:23 AM
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'Cuba good enough for PM, good enough for us'
'Cuba good enough for PM, good enough for us'
THE fact that Prime Minister Patrick Manning hops on a plane to Cuba every time he catches a cold shows that he prefers the Cuban administration to his own, says "Drummit 2 Summit" organiser Michael Parris.

"It is so ironic that when our prime minister gets ill, he doesn't go to Port of Spain General Hospital, he doesn't go San Fernando, he goes to Cuba, and that alone would show the quality of the society and the quality of the administration," said Parris.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Cuba, he said at a media conference yesterday about last week's police intervention at their very first Drummit event at the St James Amphitheatre.

Governments were trying to convince people that something was wrong with the communist country by feeding them lies, and that was why they wanted to have a ceremonial welcome of the Cuban drum and the Cuban elements throughout their event, he said.

"We have people there right now who are giving us the real picture and letting us know about the quality of health care they receive, the excellent education system, the excellent organic-farming industry, and the excellent agricultural programme. They grow a lot of their food, they are self-sufficient. And I think that message was sort of lost here during the summit," insisted Parris, an environmentalist by profession but who calls himself a patriot.

Ironically, the media conference, which got interrupted by the police three times after the amphitheatre's caretaker pulled out of the $1,000 contract, was also held at that venue. And according to environmental engineer Cathal Healy-Singh, they intend to host a second one on the same spot, come May 23.

"We indicated to the amphitheatre people that we want to do it here because this is where we started and we didn't finish, so as of now, this is the tentative venue for the second summit," he declared.

Parris said that at the event last week, the group did not break any laws and the police had no grounds for stopping the event. On the other hand, while no apology has been forthcoming from the police, he said they must be commended for choosing to uphold the laws and allowing the event to continue.

"A lot of people were scared, and parents with kids even took them home when they saw the police come with all their arms and their tear gas, and we just thought it was unnecessary," he added. "We just hope that this is not the intention of the Government to use this issue of force at any community event or public event where people just talking about issues".

Project administrator Shivonne Dubarry added that they were able to stand up and contest the police's attempt to shut them down because they knew their rights, and as a result of that, she is calling on the rest of society to get on board.

"We had people here who knew and understood their rights and were not intimidated by the police. They had no grounds for what they were doing, that is why we are asking all citizens to start questioning the Government; start questioning the rules and the laws that are in place; start questioning the system and to start questioning what we are told," added musician Javed Juman.

Parris and the other organisers said they intend to send letters to US President Barack Obama and other leaders in the western hemisphere about issues affecting them in T&T, like basic human rights and sustainable development.

With respect to the Commonwealth heads of state meeting in November, the group said the Government should look at all the poverty in Trinidad and Tobago before thinking of spending so much money.

"We are saying that that should not take precedence over the people. At the last summit, a lot more was spent than was said, there are a lot of different figures coming out.

"For one, a lot more was spent on the summit than on health care, than on education, even than on agriculture, and we are saying that this is not fair because a summit is not going to feed our nation or take care of people when they get sick, added Parris.

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