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At the age of 14 years, Solange Skeene yesterday became the youngest player in the history of the Shell Tranquillity Open Tennis Tournament to have won the Women's Singles title. She achieved the feat during the finals at Victoria Avenue in Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Her victory over Carlista Mohammed on court 2 turned back a 30-year plus record that was held by veteran Elizabeth Gibson who won it at the age of 15. The match also produced a new record time for the longest match in the tournament's history at two hours and 56 minutes, a mere four minutes shy of three gruelling hours battle for title honours.
Skeene who turned 14 just two weeks ago and was beaten by Shenelle Mohammed in the final last year, thought she was in for another dreadful defeat when Mohammed (Carlista) took the opening set 6-3. But the St Joseph Convent Port-of-Spain Form 2 student, dug deep, scoring shots at the right time to claw back into the game with a 6-2 second set win. And in a final set that barely had room for error, Skeene being cheered on by father Dexter Skeene, a former national player, prevailed 7-5 to lift a title that she credits to the Almighty God.
Afterwards she said, "Firstly, I would like to thank God for giving me the health, strength and resilience to last throughout the match and eventually win." Though her experience in the game had been less than half of her opponent's, Skeene said she was not worried when she went a set down as her focus was to play her best, which worked out in the end.
Last night Skeene was back in action when she teamed up with Emma Rose Trestrail to face the pair of Trevine Sellier and Anya King in the final of the Women's Doubles on court 2.
Meanwhile, Aidan Carter began his quest for honours in the Men's Singles by disposing of Kino Francis in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, while Richard Mc Letchie and Ebolum N'Wokolo also got perfect starts by prevailing over Jaydon Alexis 6-4, 6-4 and Luca Shamsi 7-5, 7-6(0) respectively.
There was also victory for Neil Lingo beating Peter Moore in the Men's Veterans Singles 6-4, 6-4 and Gian Luc Robinson, pulling off a hard-fought 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 win over Ethan Jeary on court 1.
RADHICA DE SILVA
Mechanic Roddy Ramsingh went to help a friend fix his car on Friday night, but that good deed cost him his life when gunmen opened fire and killed him.
Police said Ramsingh, 46, aka Lacy of Delhi Road, Fyzabad, was shot several times in the chest and head. His cousin Ramnarine Chaitoo, 47, of the same address, was shot in his feet.
Police believe both men were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Witnesses said around 11:15 pm outside Spot's Bar, a short distance away from Ramsingh's home where he was fixing a car, two men approached and started shooting. The man who was reportedly marked for death scampered out of sight and tried to hide between the cars where Ramsingh was working. The gunmen opened fire, killing Ramsingh and wounding Chaitoo, who was rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital where he was treated. Villagers said another person was wounded but they had no information on his identity.
At Ramsingh's home yesterday, his mother, Brenda, was in a state of shock. Brenda was attending her brother's wake when she got news that her son had died. She describing him as a quiet person.
Sister Sharon Gopie said Ramsingh was a respectful and hard-working person. "He would get up from his bed day or night and go and help anyone who asked him for help." She said Ramsingh was a father figure to her son, Tyler, whose father died two years ago. She said last week Ramsingh told Tyler that "any time the Lord was ready for him, he knew where he was going."
An autopsy is expected to be performed tomorrow at the Forensic Science Centre. Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 800TIPS.
The National Gas Company Limited (NGC) and Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC) have quietly returned to the negotiating table after a major stand-off that resulted in the NGC cutting off natural gas to the company and CNC taking the State-owned enterprise to the UK Court of Arbitration.
The stand-off earlier this year, led to the Government accusing CNC of trying to bully the NGC for gas and saying it is not a secret that NGC will have to pay significantly higher prices for gas in 2019.
“The behaviour of CNC which has shareholders who hold significant shareholding in other plants in Point Lisas is instructive and disappointing,” the ministry had said.
CNC had called for the NGC "to be transparent and stop hiding behind vague statements that don’t have any basis in reality."
It also accused NGC’s chairman Gerry Brooks of high handedness in the negotiations: "Even though NGC is in effect owned by the people of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Brooks’ precipitously heavy-handed tactics have just negatively affected the livelihood of more than 400 people, thereby threatening to wreak further havoc on the economy of the country."
In a memo to its staff, CNC revealed that its negotiating team had resumed talks with the NGC and was working feverishly to get a long-term gas supply contract with the NGC.
The negotiations resumed just after Carnival and brings some hope to 400 workers who are likely to go on the breadline if no agreement can be reached. The shutdown has already resulted in millions of dollars in losses to CNC and potentially millions of US dollars in foregone revenue to the Government because of no production from the plant.
NGC: The matter is still sub-judice
Both CNC and the NGC are remaining tight lipped on the negotiations. Yesterday, the Sunday Guardian sent the following questions to Brooks.
1) Have the NGC and CNC returned to the negotiating table?
2) If so are the parties any closer to reaching an agreement?
3) Is the price of gas still the major point of disagreement?
4) Do you feel confident that an agreement will be reached?
5) Has either party given a timeline for a resolution?
Brooks did not respond, but the company’s communication’s manager Lisa Burkett told the Sunday Guardian, “The matter is still sub-judice and NGC would prefer not to make a comment at this time.”
At the heart of the battle is the price at which the NGC is prepared to sell natural gas to the downstream companies and the continued shortage of natural gas.
Ammonia is also used for the production of plastics, fibres, explosives, nitric acid, and intermediates for dyes and pharmaceuticals.
T&T is the sixth largest producer of ammonia in the world and the largest exporter of the commodity to the United States. A recent study showed that T&T earns the most amount of money per molecule of gas from ammonia than from any other thing produced using natural gas.
This means that taxpayers get the greatest benefit from the natural gas being used to produce ammonia than it does for LNG, methanol or urea.
It effectively means with the continued shutdown, the country is failing to have in operation a major plant that produces its most valuable commodity.
Meanwhile, as uncertainty continues in the downstream sector and in the refining sector at Petrotrin, there are ads in the daily newspaper in which companies from Kuwait are seeking to recruit locals with experience as refinery operators or operators in the local downstream sector.
Hours after his home was allegedly shot up by members of the Unruly Isis gang, police arrested a 26-year-old close male relative of murdered gang leader Selwyn “Robocop” Alexis.
However, family members strongly believe that police officers are either being misled or intentionally targeting the Alexis family.
On Wednesday, the family claimed, police officers from the Central Division Task Force went to a house at Nimblette Street, Enterprise, where they detained Alexis’ relative for questioning. Relatives who were present, including the man’s mother, attempted to speak with the police officers but to no avail.
The man was taken to the Chaguanas Police Station where he was questioned in connection with several shootings in the area and claims that Unruly Isis members are being targeted by four men, including Alexis’ close male relative.
“I was told by the police that they have four names and I know that one of them in prison so how the police could say he and three others were recently involved in a shooting in Enterprise, that people saw them on the road. Something not adding up and the police did not make the proper checks,” the relative said.
Relatives said at the time of the alleged shooting, CCTV footage shows the man who was arrested was at home. "Again, why the police did not look at all the CCTV footage that we have to prove otherwise?
Alexis' relatives intend to seek a meeting with Head of the Police Complaints Authority David West on what they called "constant police harassment." They will also hand over a list of names of officers to the PCA.
On February 10, a white SUV occupied by four of Alexis’ children between the ages of 21 and two was shot at along the Old Southern Main Road. No one was hurt.
Robocop was killed in 2016. Two of his brothers were also killed—one in 2016 and the other in 2017.
Efforts to reach ASP Wayne Mystar for comment were unsuccessful since he did not answer his phone. He also did not respond to a whatsapp message.
CHARLES KONG SOO
The Lady Young Road will remain closed today to facilitate the clearance of debris by the Ministry of Works and Transport in order to be reopened to the public tomorrow. This was announced by Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan yesterday.
Motorists were able to drive from the Morvant Junction up the Lady Young where they had to make a detour down Maryland Hill. The Lookout was used as a staging area for the heavy earth moving equipment and trucks to remove the falling debris and rubble.
Speaking on-site to reporters Sinanan said “The road has been closed off as of 6 o'clock yesterday (Friday).
“We intend to keep the road closed for the entire day today and tomorrow to try to get as much work done as possible.
“We're trying to gain access at this time to the top of the ridge to bring down all the loose material that is up there.
“It is posing a slight challenge however, we expect to have it completed by tomorrow evening and should have the road passable for Monday morning.”
Sinanan said the challenges now being faced by the ministry was as a result of last year's inclement weather.
He said the plan was to walk the entire Lady Young Road with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Works Ministry to identify all the vulnerable areas so at least they can take full advantage of the dry season to address it. Sinanan said they were also doing the same exercise on the Saddle Road and on the road to Maracas.
RADHICA DE SILVA
Twelve families from Cedros and Guayaguayare who lost their homes because of massive coastal erosion are still waiting for housing accommodation.
In an interview yesterday, Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said eight families who have evacuated their homes were asked to go to the Ministry of Housing in Port-of-Spain tomorrow to find out whether they will be given temporary accommodation at the HDC's Lakeview Housing scheme in Point Fortin.
Teelucksingh said the families were finding it difficult to mobilize transport, so the Siparia Regional Corporation hired a maxi taxi to take the affected residents to the HDC. He called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to bring in all state agencies at a constituency office in Cedros so that residents can access help with less hassle.
Teelucksingh also said the Land Settlement Agency has not yet discussed permanent settlement of the affected families, two of whom lost their homes which caved into a precipice near the seaside last week Monday.
Since the calamity, Teelucksingh said corporate T&T as well as the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation, Toco/Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, and the Couva/Talparo/Tabaquite Regional Corporation provided assistance. He also said two private land owners from Ramdhanie Development and Perseverance Estate Development were willing to discuss relocation with the LSA.
Meanwhile, Anthony Gunness, whose home went down the 1,000 feet precipice, said they were eager to get the relocation process going.
"Right now nobody cannot sleep. Two families are in the community centre. Some of us staying by relatives but every night we just walking the road, praying that nothing else happens," Gunness said.
He called on Housing Minister Randall Mitchell to speed up the process. At Guayaguayare, no arrangements have been made to house four families who evacuated their homes because of coastal erosion. MP Rushton Paray called on the Government to provide emergency relief.
A lack of funding is one of the main factors that has led to the cancellation of today's Phagwa celebration after 50 years of hosting the event at the Aranguez Savannah, Pundit Satyanan Gosein has said.
The National Phagwa Council of T&T yesterday issued a release stating that due to unforeseen circumstances there would not be any Phagwa celebrations at the venue today.
"Because of funding number one, because of cutbacks and everything, we decided to opt out of the celebrations this year and we want to leave it like that," Gosein told the Sunday Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday.
He chose not to elaborate any further about the situation. "I'm just saying for many factors we have decided to opt out of the celebrations this year."
The National Phagwa Council teamed up with radio station TAJ 92.3FM last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Phagwa Celebrations.
After the National Phagwa Council was founded n 1967, Phagwa was brought into national prominence with celebrations being hosted annually at the Aranguez Savannah.
The observance of Phagwa, or Holi as it is known, was introduced to T&T by indentured East Indian labourers around 1845.
The formation of The National Phagwa Council led to Holi being celebrated on a national scale.
Chowtal and Phagwa groups are usually invited to celebrate at the Aranguez Savannah.
Devant Maharaj says as the litigant against the State regarding the property tax, he is calling upon Finance Minister Colm Imbert to withdraw the present amendments to the property tax laws with immediate effect.
In a release from the former transport minister yesterday, Maharaj said “The Government is trying to reintroduce the infamous property tax while my case is still pending before the High Court.
“This is gross disrespect to the court and the rule of law. Imbert is trying to outmanoeuvre the court by introducing this bill which seeks to fundamentally alter the policy and structure of the existing property tax laws to the detriment of an unsuspecting and innocent citizenry.
“This bill is a vulgar attempt to politicize the property tax by removing powers which were previously given to the Commissioner of Valuations and the President as Head of State and place the reins firmly in the hands of Imbert.”
He said the Finance Minister will now be in a position to exert direct political influence and control as Clause 23 A of the Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill gives him the power to appoint the members of The Valuation Tribunal.
Maharaj said the abolition of appeals to the Tax Appeal Board which was a superior court of record appointed by the President and its replacement with appeals to this Imbert-appointed tribunal smacked of political bias.
He said that that it was a recipe for chaos, victimization, and social disaster.
Maharaj said Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds's statement in Parliament that 150,000 property owners submitted property tax returns was mischievous and misleading. He said many people submitted these returns because they were misled into thinking that they had no choice but to do so because the request mailed to property owners was couched in mandatory terms.
MPs disagree on completion of debate
While Opposition Chief Whip David Lee has accused Government of reneging on an agreement regarding last Friday’s Property Tax/Valuation of Land amendment debate, Government House Leader Camille Robinson-Regis says this isn’t so.
Lee said, “Given the important impact these amendments would have on T&T all Opposition MPs prepared to speak on constituents’ behalf. However, the leader of Government Business indicated they wouldn’t be completing the debate that day but would have three speakers initially and would be obliged if the Opposition did the same.
“I agreed and informed my Parliamentary bench we’d only have six speakers—three on each side—and return another day to complete debate. To our surprise, when our second speaker completed presentation, the Finance Minister stood to conclude debate disregarding the agreement between myself and the Leader of Government Business.”
Robinson-Regis replied, “We did agree to three speakers each, but didn’t agree to have them one after the other. Speakers proceeded but after their second speaker, their third was out of the chamber. When the House Speaker looked around to see who from their side would speak and no one was standing, she recognised the Finance Minister who concluded debate.”
The amendments will be debated in Senate on Tuesday.—Gail Alexander
A 25 member swim team was selected to represent T&T at the Carifta Swimming Championships in Jamaica from March 31st to April 3, 2018. The selection came following last weekend's National Age Group Long Course Championship which was the last qualifier for swimmers seeking to fly the red, white and black national colours at the Games.
As expected Zoe Anthony of Marlins and Zarek Wilson of Blue Dolphins both of whom amassed 81 points to top their respective Age-Group as High Point winners are in the team.
The 12-year-old Anthony tallied 14 wins and one silver over the five days of competition in the 11-12 boys age-group, the most by any swimmer and inclusive of no fewer than six Carifta Swimming Championship or CCCAN qualification times for next the Games 38th edition.
Blue Doplins’ Savannah Chee-Wah who also achieved a few Carifta qualification times was a distant second with 58 points, four ahead of Tidal Wave Aquatics’ Gabrielle Vickles, another Carifta qualifier.
Wilson, also a 12-year-old, swam his way to 10 gold medals, seven of which were better than Carifta or CCCAN standard qualifying marks and two silver, while Marlins’ Nikoli Blackman (65) and Sea Hawks’ Josiah Changar (59) were second and third respectively overall in their age-group.
On February 17 at the Carifta 5k Open Water Trial which took place at the Point a Pierre Yacht Club, 11 athletes were selected to represent T&T at the CARIFTA Open Water Swimming Championship which will take place in Jamaica on April 4th.
Derek Changar - Manager
Shawn Pouchet - Head Coach - Swimming
Hazel Haynes - Head Coach - Open Water
Mosi Denoon - Assistant Coach
Chabeth Haynes - Assistant Coach
Dexter Browne - Assistant Coach
Maurice Faria - Assistant Coach - Open Water
Ann Thompson - Chaperone
Sherwin St. Hillaire - Chaperone
Caitlyn Look Fong
Sheni St. Hillaire
T&T Open Water Team
Girls 14 – 15
Boys 14 – 15
Michael Mc Leod
Girls 16 – 18
Boys 16 – 18
The T&T Football Association (TTFA) has initiated steps to enter the National Men’s Under-17 Team into the T&T Pro League’s Under-18 Division.
The intention, recommended by Head Coach, Russell Latapy, and supported by the T&TFA’s Technical Director, Anton Corneal, is to afford the current squad of players the opportunity to be actively involved in competition as it continues its preparations for forthcoming CONCACAF qualification tournaments.
The T&TFA wishes to state that it had initiated dialogue with the management of the T&T Pro League. T&TFA General Secretary, Justin Latapy-George, gave the assurance on Friday that the National Under-17 Team, once permitted by the Pro League, will appear in the competition as a National Team and not compete under the title of any other team. Latapy-George said that there had been some disquiet among our stakeholders based on this matter so he needed to clearly state the position of the T&TFA.
He said, “What we have done is to further actions related to our discourse by writing to the League requesting it’s consideration to allow the Association’s National Under-17 Team to compete in the Under-18 Division of the Pro League. We believe that we have submitted a request that will receive favourable consideration. However, irrespective of the final decision of the League, it is important that I extend thanks for their consideration. It is pivotal that I again note that if our application is accepted that the team will compete as the National Under 17 Team.”
Both Latapy-George and Technical Director Corneal stated that it was evident that this type of approach proved to be successful in the past, making reference to the Under-20 Team of 2008, participating in and winning the National Super League that year before going on to qualify for the 2009 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Egypt.
Corneal reiterated the importance of having national teams like the Under 17 and 20 in active competition prior to their respective qualifying tournaments later this year.
“We feel this is the best way to go in terms of trying to ensure that the teams are in active competition over a specific period which falls in line with their preparations prior to the Concacaf qualifying matches,” Corneal said.
T&T Soca Warriors utility player Joevin Jones scored the opener as SV Darmstadt blanked Dynamo Dresden 2-0 in the German 2nd Bundesliga on Friday.
The 26-year old Jones who joined the club in the January transfer window from former US Major League Soccer champions Seattle Sounder last December opened the scoring in the 26th minute for a second goal in as many matches as third on the season while team-mate Tobias Kempe added the insurance item in the 55th minute.
A week ago he scored the equaliser on the hour mark in a 1-1 draw with Heidenhelm.
With the win, Darmstadt improved to 26 points from 25 matches and 17th on the 18-team table, two ahead of cellar-placed Kaiserslautern while Bochum is in the other relegation spot, 16th with 27 points.
Jones and SV Darmstadt will return to action versus tenth spot Inglostadt on Saturday.
This is the second season in European footballer for Jones the son of former Strike Squad defender Kelvin Jones who first campaigned with Finland’s HJK in 2014 winning the Suomen Cup and Viekkausliiga League crowns.
Prior to joining the German-club at the end of the 2017 US Major League Soccer season in November, Jones and Seattle Sounders were beaten 1-0 in the MLS Cup Final by Toronto FC after being crowned champions in 2016.
SV Darmstadt was promoted to the German Bundelisga for the 2015-2016 season but were relegated to 2nd Bundelisga after losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich on the final match day last season.
The global environmantal project "Go Green, not polythene" launched by students of Brazil Secondary School demonstrates the power of our youth, says President Anthony Carmona.
Carmona challenged the students to send in their nomination for the next World Environmental Competition, saying he was confident that they can be winners and bring back the trophy to make T&T proud.
Carmona thanked the Widener University and XTRA Foods, O’Meara, Arima, for helping to make the project a success.
He said he hoped to see a reduction in the amount of plastic bags being used.
Dr Bretton Alvare, chairman of the Department of Antropology, Widener University, said their challenge was not only to shift mindsets, but behaviour of the youth, because he learnt one thing from anthropology—what people think is what they do.
He said they were excited to take on this project. Alvare said the project will include public awareness where they educate consumers and vendors, distribution of promotional materials, posters, magnets, bracelets, brochures, etc.
He said this event alone will not bring about the change we need, but "sustained action on the part of the public and private sector leaders can break our dependence on the use of plastic bags."
Also in attendance was Minister of Education Anthony Garcia.—reporting by Ralph Banwarie
CHARLES KONG SOO
When people hear the word “Beetham”, it conjures up nightmarish images of an area stigmatised with rampant poverty, crime, and violence.
With acrid smoke billowing from the landfill and gun smoke emanating from the enclave, motorists drive through the Beetham Highway gauntlet at maximum speed with their windows up and car doors locked fearful of missiles thrown at their vehicles or debris strewn on the road in attempted robberies in gridlock traffic.
Motorists would rather drive out of the highway sacrificing a rim rather than risk being robbed trying to change a blown tyre on the Beetham. The memory of the trauma comedian Nikki Crosby and other motorists experienced when they were trapped in the protest along the Beetham Highway and missiles were thrown at their vehicles on November 23, 2017, is still fresh in many citizens' minds.
There are many shining examples of hope and potential for good in Beetham Gardens, however, that go unnoticed.
Councillor for Phase 4 and 5 in Beetham Gardens Adanna Griffith-Gordon hosted more than 30 children from schools in the area to see the Black Panther movie at MovieTowne last week Saturday.
24 of the 26 students from the Excel Beetham Estate Government Primary School who took the Secondary School Assessment (SEA) examinations in 2017 had achieved places in secondary schools.
Kareem Marcelle is the first-time winner of the 2017 Makandal Daaga Scholarship at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and is currently pursuing his LLB at UWI.
There are small steps being taken to change the mindset of residents in the community, the negative “Hell Yard” in Phase 4 and 5 has been changed to the more positive “Hope Garden” signs in the area.
When the Sunday Guardian visited the area on Tuesday around 5 pm, residents returning home from work and members of the community stopped by the neighbourhood pie man and doubles men who were doing a brisk trade at Phase 4. A hamburger and hot dog vendor was now setting up his cart. If someone in Beetham wanted coffee, chicken and chips or sandwich from a fast food franchise he would either have to go to Port-of-Spain or Morvant.
Taking advantage of this food marginalization, entrepreneurs did not wait for a handout, they saw an opportunity to fill this need and small shops, cafés, bars and vendors began to emerge selling street food, local chicken and chips, BBQ, doubles, pies, corn soup, and drinks in their community.
There was a boutique store on the corner, what the locals call “Tempo Street,” from the doubles and pie vendors. A little girl went to the adjacent store and bought a bottle of bleach. A grandfather with his grandson holding several dollar bills went into the store to buy lollipops. Young boys rode up on their bicycles to buy from the vendors. Several children rode on hoverboards through the streets and the police vehicle patrols were regular.
Speaking briefly with the Sunday Guardian while attending to his customers, Carli, of Carli and Tricia Doubles, said “I born and grew up in Phase 4, I love eating doubles. I didn't see anybody selling doubles in the Beetham, the closest place is Port-of-Spain or Morvant and Barataria.
“So we 'try ah ting' and began selling doubles here two years now.
“It's good if you could find something you like doing and make a little money too.”
While Carli cashed, his assistant “Barra Kuda” put the doubles together.
Mike the pie man, also from the community, said he was selling his delicious chicken, fish, beef, and potato pies on the spot for three years and it was honest and fulfilling job.
Derek Huggins, chairman of the Beetham Community Action Council, said the area was even bypassed by the Cable Company which expanded its services to Barataria first, but residents now have cable access.
He said Beetham had its own J'Ouvert celebrations and blocko parties, and besides the food vendors, there was an Internet café, joiner, fisherman, and hairdresser in the community.
Huggins, a member of the Citizen Security Programme (CSP), said the Beetham also produced doctors, lawyers, politicians, pan people, police officers, prison officers, soldiers, teachers, bank personnel, sports people, government employees, media workers, dancers, and entertainers.
He said unemployment was a major issue for many youths in the area and crime had befallen on some young men.
'Youth afraid to leave community because of rivalry with Picton Street'
Pamela Williams, a teacher at the All In One Child Development Centre, said many young people were not working, this was compounded by them being afraid to venture out of the community because of the rivalry between Picton Street and Beetham, and many of them are even afraid to enter Port-of-Spain.
Williams said some youth go to learn skills and trade at Servol and the T&T Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
The Phase 4 resident said there were also two seamstresses and a tailor in Beetham, and some youths worked at the dump sorting copper and scrap iron.
Williams said when motorists' vehicles shut down on the highway or spun out of control in an accident, residents came out and helped them.
Keon Isaac, 16, from Phase 4 said he hustles in the dump from Monday to Friday recycling objects and sometimes finds money and gold, wedding rings, and even coffins.
Carli the doubles man said even he and other adults also went foraging in the dump when “hard times” hit them.
Keon Daniel, 22, from Phase 5 who also hustled in the dump said the most important thing for youth in the area was jobs and elevating themselves.
Sarah Beckett, from Phase 3, said in order to get on to the councillor for Beetham/Picton Akil Audain to get help, residents had to go to his office in Laventille which was at war with Beetham, and women as well as men were not taking that risk.
Janet Raymond said sometimes when self-help programmes were running in the community, Phase 3 residents were unaware of these programmes while the other Phases knew about them.
Councillor: Literacy and self-help programmes available
When the Sunday Guardian contacted councillor for Phase 4 and 5 in Beetham Gardens Adanna Griffith-Gordon on Wednesday, she had just returned from the play park in the Beetham to oversee the painting of tables and chairs there.
She said there were literacy programmes conducted at the Community Centre in Phase 2 operated by Officer Charles from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), which had a group called Hearts and Minds.
Griffith-Gordon said the Beetham Police Youth Club and residents such as Stephenson Westfield, president of the Beetham Gardens Community Village Council also played an active role in the community.
An entity called the Party for the Advancement of Civil Transformation—involving people who do not subscribe to either the PNM or UNC—is holding its first cottage meeting on Saturday at 2 pm at Valley Harps Pan Yard.
A pamphlet to this effect has been circulating.
Several COP East-West Corridor members—involved in COP over the 2010 period—and members of the business community are said to be involved. Some of the names mentioned in connection with the matter did not want to speak about the issue last Friday. But others affiliated with it urged "as many of you as possible to come and support the future of people-centred politics in T&T."
The pamphlet on the issue stated that T&T has been administered by either the PNM or the UNC for the last 62 years "with corruption, nepotism and rampantly growing crime being the main features of the severely botched attempts to govern by both of these political entities."
It also stated, "T&T cannot survive another five years under exploitation of the PNM or UNC. Our country is on the brink of a total and complete meltdown...As a nation we've been subjected to the most disgraceful and corrupt representation by our so-called leaders...time and time again. They simply do not care...we urge you to come and be part of a new approach to politics...people-centred politics. Compassionate leadership...to take our country into the future."
Several former PNM ministers including Mariano Browne said they were not involved in the effort. Former PNMite Louis Lee Sing also said he was not involved.