Thursday, 12 February 2015

10 T&T laws you didn't know existed


It is illegal to:

1.      Beg - s.45(b) of the Summary Offences Act 1921, as amended.

2.      Engage in fortune telling - s.45(e) of the Summary Offences Act 1921, as amended.

3.      Repair, wash or clean a vehicle on the street - s.64(1)(a) of the Summary Offences Act 1921, as amended.

4.      Fly kites. - s.71 of the Summary Offences Act 1921, as amended. Kite flying is only legal in Queen's Park and Arima Savannahs

5.      Blow your horn in municipal areas between 9pm – 5:30am - Rule 12(2) of The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Regulations under the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act 1934, as amended. N.B. Municipal area” means one of the areas under the First and Second Schedules of the Municipal Corporations Act 1990, as amended

6.      Sell fresh meat or fresh fish in Princess Town outside of the public market - Section 6 of the Country Markets Act 1905, as amended. The fine is currently $200

7.      Import a mongoose - s.2(1) of the Mongoose Act 1918

8.      Pay workers with anything other than money - The Truck Act 1918, as amended. The truck system was the practice of paying wages in goods, or of requiring workers to purchase goods at certain shops. This led to workers being compelled to take goods of inferior quality at a high price.

And the others
9.      Whilst considered incestuous and therefore illegal prior to 1911, a man can now legally marry his sister-in-law after his wife has died. - Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act, 1911

10.  The extremely unfair Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, 1846 has never been amended and unfortunately remains law in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

T&T law on camouflage clothing

Q: What is the law on wearing camouflage clothing in Trinidad and Tobago?


A: It is illegal to wear or import any item of clothing resembling the uniform of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force... 

Summary Offences Act 1921, as amended
98. (1) A person not serving in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force shall not wear, without the Minister’s permission, the uniform of any member of that Force, or any dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of any such uniform: This enactment shall not prevent any person from wearing any uniform or dress in the course of a stage play performed in a place duly licensed or authorised for the public performance of stage plays, or in the course of any bona fide military representation. 
(2) Any person who contravenes this section is liable to a fine of two hundred dollars. 
(3) Any person not serving in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force who wears, without the Minister’s permission, the uniform of any member of those Forces, or any dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of any such uniform, in such a manner or under such circumstances as to be likely to bring contempt upon that uniform, or employs any other person so to wear that uniform or dress, he shall be liable to a fine of four hundred dollars.
  
219. A person, other than a member of the Defence Force, who without lawful excuse (the proof whereof shall lie on him)—
(a) wears the uniform or any portion of the uniforms of a member of the Defence Force; or
(b) wears any costume or any article of clothing or apparel so closely resembling the uniform or any portion thereof of a member of the Defence Force, as may cause such person to be mistaken for a member of the Defence Force, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars and to imprisonment for eighteen months.

213. Any person who—
(a) imports or brings or is concerned in importing or bringing into Trinidad and Tobago any prohibited goods, or any goods the importation of which is restricted, contrary to such prohibition or restriction, whether the goods are unloaded or not;
(b) unloads, or assists or is otherwise concerned in unloading any goods which are prohibited, or any goods which are restricted and are imported contrary to such restriction; 
(c) knowingly harbours, keeps or conceals, or knowingly permits or suffers, or causes or procures to be harboured, kept or concealed any prohibited, restricted or un-customed goods;
(d) knowingly acquires possession of or is in any way knowingly concerned in carrying, removing, depositing, concealing, or in any manner dealing with any goods with intent to defraud the State of any duties thereon, or to evade any prohibition or restriction of or applicable to the goods;
(e) is in any way knowingly concerned in any fraudulent evasion or attempt at evasion of any import or export duties of Customs, or of the laws and restrictions of the Customs relating to the importation, unloading, warehousing, delivery, removal, loading and exportation of goods;
(f) sells, offers for sale or exposes for sale any goods which he knows to be prohibited or restricted, shall, notwithstanding sections 248 and 249, incur a penalty—
(i) on summary conviction in the case of a first offence, to a fine of fifty thousand dollars or treble the value of the goods, whichever is the greater, and to imprisonment for a term of eight years;
(ii) on summary conviction in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars or treble the value of the goods, whichever is the greater, and to imprisonment for a term of fifteen years; and
(iii) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term of twenty years.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

T&T government picking Ministers out of a hat

Allow me to to take a break from legal rights to indulge in some politics and give my view on the recent reshuffle.

“This is not a fete in here, this is madness!” The lyrics from David Rudder’s 1987 road-march runner-up entitled “Madness” is the most apropos encapsulation of what happened last Monday night when the Prime Minister made a myriad of changes to her Cabinet for the fourth time since winning the 2010 election. For those of you who’ve lost count, we’ve witnessed the removal of eighteen Ministers and a few other non-cabinet appointments during this administration, but none more drastic than the last few. Judging from the comments of political analysts, columnists and callers to various talk-programmes, the entire country was shocked by some of the “resignations” and dismissals, but the appointments left me even more bewildered. Clearly, anyone with a pulse has an opportunity to be appointed as Minister of, or Minister in a Ministry under the PP government.

The PP’s farcical selection method for Ministers is the main reason for the government’s constant failure. This administration has put a calypsonian as the Minister of Arts and Culture, a trade union militant as Minister of Labour, a television presenter as Minister of Sport, a gynaecologist as Minister of Education, and a dj has had the most varied experience as Minister of Public Utilities, Works, National Security, and then Justice. Although my focus is on Ministers, I must mention the most ridiculous appointment of all, which involves a woman with a basic information technology certificate being made the Director of the Security Intelligence Agency.

Despite this, the incongruous appointments continue with the new Sport and National Security Ministers. Firstly, the PM’s initial appointment of “Brent Sanko” [sic] makes me wonder how much was known about this man besides what was pulled from Wikipedia; and secondly, how does being an average (at best) footballer qualify a man to oversee all sports in a country? Yes, he was the only Soca Warrior to score a goal at the 2006 World Cup, but even then he didn’t know what he was doing because he actually scored for Paraguay instead. For copious reasons (which I won’t get into here), comparisons to the PNM’s 1991 appointment of Eugenia “Jean” Pierre would be illogical -- 20 years removed.

Then, we have an elderly soldier as the 5th Minister of National Security, in as many years. Carlton Alfonso has been given a job at an age above the highest retirement age in the world. And what ever happened to “learning from your mistakes”? The PP has tried three soldiers and yet (arguably), the most effective period in crime-fighting was when a FIFA executive was at the helm. We had a glimpse of a soldier’s mentality from speed-talker, Gary Griffith, when he advocated for more citizens to be armed, in order to bring a “sense of security”, and then the importation of armoured personnel carriers. Had he made a more sagacious investment, last week’s fiery domestic violence tragedy would not have happened because the Brasso Police Post would’ve had a vehicle to respond to the victim’s calls.

The government needs to start treating a Ministerial appointment like a real job as opposed to “ah wuk”, and the PM needs to understand that her role is similar to that of a Human Resource Manager in this regard. As the HR Manager, proper recruitment procedure should be followed; i.e., identify, interview, investigate, and offer (if suitable). Many are called, but few are chosen and this is what the choosing of Ministers should entail. I was seriously perturbed to hear Brent Sancho admit that he was vacationing in New York when he received a random call offering the ministerial appointment. Is that all that goes into selecting someone for a position in our parliament -- a long-distance phone call?

A Minister has the same responsibility as a CEO of a company; therefore, diversity of knowledge and the ability to lead are most vital. Knowledge of a single area (the army or football) is almost irrelevant in a multi-faceted government ministry. CEOs focus on developing and implementing high-level strategies and making major policy decisions; which is exactly what government ministers are required to do. Are these skills that a soldier and a footballer would’ve acquired before appointment? Or are we hoping for on-the-job-training?


As someone said, the next reshuffle might see “Saucy Pow” as Minister of Gender Affairs, Machel Montano as Minister of Road (and Works), and Lurbz may get the call for Minister of Affairs. With this government, I feel like we’re playing football and we keep bringing on players in the 89th minute just to give them an opportunity to play for the final sixty seconds. Back in my school days, we called that a “corbeau-sweat” (pronounced “cobo”). Coach PM is giving everybody “ah sweat”, so let’s see who’s coming off the bench next!