Diary of a foolish genius: Fixing the passport office dilemma

Okay, I have just done some cleaning up and tossed out the garbage. How else can I make myself useful for the next few minutes?

I know: how about helping to fix the passport office dilemma?

This one is tricky. The passport offices are unfit for work and citizens will be greatly inconvenienced while they are fixed.

Photo: It is a matter of office space, right?
Photo: It is a matter of office space, right?

Well, perhaps the Government can place some of the Immigration employees at the empty 1 Alexandra Place, Woodbrook office that it is already renting from Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi for $8.2 million per year. Perhaps the Ministry of National Security can look for more such unused offices.

Are the Prime Minister’s relatives still at her official Port of Spain residence? Can we send them back where they came from and use there too?

No. That’s silly. They probably have squatters’ rights already or something…

Well, it is the school vacation. Maybe we can use some primary and secondary schools as bases and combine that with a shift system which increases productivity for the next month and a half.

Maybe some CEPEP or Life Sport workers are capable of helping. Or teachers or retirees can be paid retainers to chip in. Let’s see how many passports we can handle if we put our minds to it.

Well, there will be an additional cost attached there. And the money will go to laymen who act as temporary staff rather than financiers and contractors. So that probably won’t fly. Hey, I only spent five minutes on this!

Photo: I can't believe I live in a world where Mr Live Wire has a column!
Photo: I can’t believe I live in a world where Mr Live Wire has a column!

The Government has an idea too. We can jail the head of the biggest union in the country and spend time and resources fighting the case through the Industrial Court and maybe the Court of Appeal and Privy Council. And, if the workers protest, we will refuse to pay them.

I suppose that is just as good eh? It sure worked with that Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler fellah when the police held him at the same spot the People’s Partnership signed its Fyzabad Accord.

Surely much brighter minds than mine with a think-tank of highly paid advisors would not get this one wrong.

Let me go change a light bulb or something…


Editor’s Note: Wired868 stresses that Mr Live Wire is not a SC and his views are best ignored. Besides, who gives good advice away for free?

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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  2. Well, to clarify, it is from Al-Rawi’s immediate family and I don’t think he was a senator at the time. I believe it was a late deal done by Manning.
    I’m assuming he only became a senator under Rowley.

  3. Government rents buildings from senators?
    Something about that strikes me as unethical!

  4. Maybe is not just these days, but petticoats finally fully exposed?

  5. You’re welcome Rhoda. What is even more sad (and perplexing) is the Opposition’s apparent willingness to go along for the ride in accusing the workers of sabotage. But then these days it seems as if there is little to distinguish between UNC and PNM in such matters.

  6. Thanks for elaborating, Gerard. Few enough members of the public seem to understand what public servants are protesting against. Their only concern is the inconvenience.

  7. The TTParliament website has most of the legislation, Michelle, or you can google it.

  8. Thank you so much for posting that entire part of the Act for us to read. Is there a website that compiles all T&T legislation so people can see what the laws are for themselves? Just curious.

  9. It disturbs me that the Government’s best solution to this is ‘jail Duke, and threaten to withhold workers’ pay to prevent them protesting’. It disturbs me that it takes so long to relocate offices and fix problems in existing buildings, but they outfitted and moved Parliament to the Waterfront in record time. Word is, gov’t MP’s were fighting for spaces in Tower D. It disturbs me that the Minister’s response is ‘so what, all government buildings have health issues, as long as it’s not life and limb’.
    But what disturbs me most of all, is members of public who are NOT disturbed by the thought of having to seek services in these same ‘sick’ buildings, with the poor working conditions and poor facilities in which to accommodate selfsame public. Why is the public so happy to put up with these unfit conditions for themselves as well as workers? And why are some citizens so unwilling to lay any blame at the Government’s feet for failing to address the situation before we arrived at such an impasse?
    No, instead they prefer to chastise public servants for not serving poor citizens in appalling, dinosaur-era workspaces, so that they won’t be inconvenienced. Because, we the taxpayers, paying their salaries. Who’s paying the Ministers’ salaries, and when will we demand that they do their work??

  10. A riddle for you which I just made up. Q. How many immigration officers does it take to change a light bulb? A. None, because Watson Duke said it is against the OSHA act and too dangerous to immigration officer’s health.

  11. Kendall, (“…the government is essentially claiming that you can force workers to perform once the conditions aren’t life-threatening.”) right on the ball, brother. But Michelle, (“…all you can do is hold your head and bawl.”) I think you missed the mark; you do have the additional option of keeping ALL these considerations in the FRONT of your mind when you are in the polling booth next year.

  12. The government officials, including the Minister of Labour, seem to be conveniently quoting only Section 15 (a) of the OSH Act while neglecting to mention that Section 15 (c) provides a much more liberal interpretation of the circumstances in which a worker may refuse to work.
    I have quoted the entire Article below for everyone to read for themselves. Employers had pointed out the potential for abuse inherent in this provision when the law was being developed, but the government (with the full support of the trade union movement, at the time including a very vocal Errol McLeod and his OWTU) insisted on proceeding in this manner.
    Now the chickens have come home to roost, and the solution is not the big stick filing of Industrial Court injunctions that are doomed to failure, but rather open and reasoned dialogue on the way forward, including a review of the legislation to ensure full protection of workers at risk while tightening up areas of potential abuse.

    “15. An employee may refuse to work or do particular work where he has reason to believe that—
    (a) there is serious and imminent danger to himself or others or unusual circumstances have arisen which are hazardous or injurious to health or life;
    (b) any machine, plant, device or thing he is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself or another employee;
    (c) the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he works or is to work is likely to endanger himself;
    (d) any machine, plant, device or thing he is to use or operate or the physical condition of the workplace or part thereof in which he works or is to work is in contravention of this Act or the Regulations made under it and such contravention is likely to endanger himself or another employee.”

  13. What Gov’t wants to war with the unions when the workers clearly have a case? What boss does that? It is the stupidest thing I ever heard and the people will suffer for it.
    Mediation in good faith and problem solving required. Maybe not involving Mr Live Wire… But surely someone can handle this not-so-complex case. Lol

  14. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. the government is essentially claiming that you can force workers to perform once the conditions aren’t life threatening. Pretty desperate ploy that will surely destroy any credibility of the OSH Act if they succeed.

  15. There was an editorial in the Express a couple weeks that called for government to take in front and inspect all their other ministries to be sure that they too do not have OSH violations. Common sense, no?

  16. Gary Griffith is the line minister. So why have we not heard more from him? And he has always been there as advisor. They didn’t care about the workers. I’m sure that is what has escalated things to this point.
    I think it is the Gov’t’s duty to find a solution now and not the workers. And forcing workers to operate in unsafe conditions cannot be the solution.

  17. The Minister said so what all gov ministries have health issues but as long as it’s not life and lamb they good. I think I heard the reason the building is not outfitted is because the contractor selected is not sitting well with another minister. Like them friend wasn’t selected…I still think the 98% completed government campus from 2010 is best suited for immigration. Errol is a disgrace, I wonder where he’ll be next Christmas ?

  18. I have no problem with people protesting poor working conditions. But taking over a month to relocate offices? And not informing the public of anything beyond “services are suspended indefinitely”? Putting out press releases that really don’t say anything? When you have people lined up outside your building from 5 and 6 in the morning, when numerous people cannot travel and the Prime Minister blithely goes off to Brazil, all you can do is hold your head and bawl.

  19. I wonder how long it takes to outfit an office. How about they move some chairs and tables from Immigration for starters?
    All the same, I would like to think that “Jail Duke” and force workers to stay in unfit conditions isn’t the best we will get from them on this one.

  20. They said Alexandria Place not outfitted and a whole heap of BS since 2010…I doubt that they took 4 years to outfit the building and still hasn’t done it but will do it for these immigration officers they trying to jail…

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