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Thompson, Yorke head CCCAN title defence

Sports - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 00:22

Cherelle Thompson and Kael Yorke, two individual gold medal winners from last year’s successful T&T team, have been included in a 34-member swimming team ratified by the Amateur Swimming Association of T&T (ASATT) for the 31st Central American and Caribbean Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Championship which is scheduled to take place in Aruba from June 29 – July 3.

Last year, T&T as host claimed a historic first ever overall title at the National Aquatic Centre, in Balmain, Couva, holding off the challenge of Puerto Rico.

The win by T&T marked the first time an English-speaking country had ever topped the overall points table and it came via the all-around effort of the 64-member swimming team as well as the Open Water members, four water polo teams, the two divers and the synchronized swimmers.

Overall, T&T swimmers without the injured USA-based Dylan Carter, who missed the final two nights of competition, tallied 65 medals (21 gold, 26 silver and 18 bronze) for 938.5 swimming points and 1 2,595 combined from the five disciplines and top spot overall

Puerto Rico topped the swimming points table with 987 and also won the most medals in the swimming competition, 74 (32 gold, 19 silver and 23 bronze), but was second overall with 1, 217 points.

The teams were originally set to be confirmed last Tuesday after being proposed by the Swimming Committee. However, the council meeting which was to immediately follow the swimming committee meeting did not have a quorum.

Those council members present stated their agreement to the proposed swimming team, and the teams for the 3 Kilometres and 5 Kilometres Open Water swim, and the secretary was advised to initiate a round-robin to get the requisite numbers to ensure a quorum of votes was had to ratify the team.

With the council meeting being aborted, a new meeting was scheduled and held on Saturday at which the secretary announced the result of the round-robin where the aforementioned teams were ratified.

At this meeting, the council voted that the 10 Kilometres Open Water swim team be ratified as per the results of the Open Water trial held two weeks prior.

The swimming committee recommended that the team not be considered as there was a referee’s report that stated that the trial held for the meet was not 10k.

It was stated that the race buoys shifted due to currents and altered the distance of the course.

After vibrant discussion, it was agreed by the majority at the council that the CCCAN Open Water 10k should be ratified as the athletes were required to achieve a place and not a time, and the selected athletes completed the course and should not be faulted due to external factors.

The CCCAN Open Water Championships will also take place in Aruba, but from July 4 to July 6:

T&T CCCAN swimming team
Boys: Josiah Changar, Nikoli Blackman, Stachys Harley, Zarek Wilson
Girls: Caitlyn Look Fong, Gabrielle Vickles, Joy Blackett, Neishelah Caseman, Savannah Chee-Wah, Zoe Anthony

Boys: Kadon Williams, Malik Nelson
Girls: Adrianna Gooding, Brianna Bocage, De Nicha Lewis

Boys: Aqeel Joseph, Graham Chatoor, Jeron Thompson, Josiah Parag, Kael Yorke, Obadyah Ince
Girls: Danielle Williams, Deshor Edwards, Gabriela Donahue, Ileana Bocage, Jada Chatoor, Jahmia Harley, Racine Ross

18 & Over
Boys: Abraham Mc Leod, Christian Awah, David Mc Leod, Josiah Morales
Girls: Cherelle Thompson

Open water teams
3 Kilometres
12 – 13:
Girls: Zoe Anthony, Savannah Chee Wah, Gabrielle Vickles
Boys: Nikoli Blackman, Zackary Pichery, Lucius Harrison

5 Kilometres:
14 – 17:
Girls: Jada Chatoor, Chisara Santana, Dominique Nurse Allen
Boys: Kyle West, Gabriel Bynoe, Jared De Silva

18 & Over
Girls: Shania David
Boys: Graham Chatoor, Josiah Parag

10 Kilometres
Girls: Chisara Santana, Sabrina David
Boys: Gabriel Bynoe, William Reyes, Sebastian Marchand

18 & Over
Girls: Shania David

Technical staff: Neal Marcano (manager), Maurice Faria (coach), Chabeth Haynes (assistant coach), Dexter Browne (assistant coach), Derek Changar (chaperone).

Categories: News

Armstrong, Davidson spike third qualifiers title

Sports - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 00:18

Malika Davidson and Phylecia Armstrong were back in winners row when they captured the fifth and final leg of the 2018 T&T Volleyball Federation National Beach Volleyball Circuit qualifiers at Saith Park, Chaguanas on Saturday.

In a highly anticipated showdown with reigning national champions and fellow two-time winners so far this season, Abby Blackman and Rheeza Grant, Davidson and Armstrong were convincing winners, 21-14, 21-18.

In the semifinals, Davidson and Armstrong, coming off a disappointing third-place finish in the fourth leg of the qualifiers overcame La Teisha Joseph and Suraya Chase, three-time participants on the NORCECA Tour this season, 21-18, 19-21, 15-10 while Blackman and Rheeza Grant, who represented T&T at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, last month whipped Youth Olympic Games qualifiers duo
Tsyan Selvon and Brittney Choon 21-12, 21-8.

Joseph and Chase, surprise winners over Davidson and Armstrong in the semifinal stage of the fourth round took bronze by beating Selvon and Choon 21-12, 21-12.

When the tournament served off in the morning session, Blackman and Grant topped Pool A with a 2-0 record courtesy wins over Asma Charles and Ebony Williams 21-8, 21-8; and Joseph and Chase 24-22, 21-14. Second were Joseph and Chase, after beating Charles and Williams 21-4, 21-14

And in the lone Pool B encounter, Davidson and Armstrong scolded Selvon and Choon 21-11, 21-11.

With the win, Armstrong and Davidson joined Blackman and Grant with 17 points each atop the individual table standings, from which the national selection committee will determine the duo to represent this country at the upcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquillo, Colombia from July 20 to August 3.

The top two women’s team also contested a playoff match on Sunday, where Grant and Blackman got some redemption with an 18-21, 21-17, 15-11 victory to emerge as the overall top pairing.

Williams reign comes to an end

Daneil Williams, local streak of seven tournament wins on-the-trot came to a halt on Sunday after he and new playing partner, Ryan Stewart had to settle for the fourth spot.

Williams, who captured the national title with Daynte Stewart last year and then went on to win five more titles as a partners before adding another with Nathanael Noreiga earlier this month, combined with Stewart (R) but went down 12-21-, 14-21 to Youth Olympic Games qualifiers duo, Daynte Stewart and Marley Davidson.

It was the second win on the day from as many meetings for Stewart and Davidson over Williams and Ryan Stewart after a 19-21, 21-18, 21-15 outcome in their Pool B round-robin clash.

Earlier on, Christian Francois and Marlon Phillip, the latter, another former player partner of Williams at the FIVB World Beach Volleyball Championship last year defeated Daynte Stewart and Davidson 21-19, 21-9 in the semifinals while Joel Theodore and Abraham Eccles stopped Williams and Ryan Stewart 21-15, 19-21, 15-13 in the other.

Francois and Phillip then took top prize after they defeated Theodore and Eccles 21-12, 21-17 in a clash of national beach volleyballers.

Despite the loss, Williams is still in a joint share of the lead among the individual athletes on 17 points with Daynte Stewart, five more than Theodore and Eccles in the hunt for CAC Games team selection.


Women’s round-robin
Pool A:
• Abby Blackman/Rheeza Grant by Asthma Charles/Ebony Williams 21-8, 21-8
• Abby Blackman/Rhheza Grant bt La Teisha Joseph/Suraya Chase 24-22, 21-14
• La Teisha Joseph/Suraya Chase bt Asma Charles/Ebony Williams 21-4, 21-14
Pool B:
Malika Davidson/Phylecia Armstrong bt Tsyan Selvon/Brittney Choon 21-11, 21-11
• Abby Blackman/Rheeza Grant bt Tsyan Selvon/Brittney Choon 21-12, 21-8
• Malika Davidson/Phylecia Armstrong bt La Teisha Joseph/Suraya Chase 21-18, 19-21, 15-10
Third place
La Teisha Joseph/Suraya Chase bt Tsyan Selvon/Brittney Choon 21-12, 21-12
Malika Davidson/Phylecia Armstrong bt Abby Blackman/Rheeza Grant 21-14, 21-18

Categories: News

Martinique beats T&T U-20s

Sports - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 00:07

T&T’s men’s Under-20 team went down 2-1 to Martinique in its second outing in as many days at the Guadeloupe six-nation Tournament on Sunday evening at Capesterre-Belle-Eau.

Following the team’s 2-0 loss to Costa Rica the previous evening, T&T, captained by Judah Garcia on the day went into the match hoping to come out with a favourable result. Head Coach Russell Latapy made a few changes to his starting team from Saturday’s encounter in an attempt to get fresh legs on the park as well as use the opportunity to present playing time to more members of his squad. T&T played its second encounter in as many days with Martinique playing Costa Rica in the previous match on Friday, losing 3-0 to the Central Americans.

Martinique took a 20th-minute lead and grabbed a second from a dubious penalty in the 50th minute for a 2-0 lead. Halftime substitute John Paul Rochford would pull a goal back for T&T in the 68th minute when Kishon Hackshaw got around his man on the left corner before crossing into the area for Rochford to hit home the first time.

Head Coach Russell Latapy later spoke about the match.

“It was a tough, scrappy and physical game. We gave up two goals on two defensive mistakes which are not acceptable at this level, but then again we’ve come here to get the playing time and these things are not unexpected from us at this stage considering we haven’t had much international experience,” Latapy told TTFA Media.

“We made some changes from the first game with it taking a lot out of us and this one also was a physically demanding on the players with very little recovery time after we played the day before. We lacked a bit more quality in the final third and we had some decisions which went against us. The young referees made some mistakes and it caused tempers to boil over which resulted in players from both teams clashing near the end. It’s the first time our boys were encountering something like this in an international match. These type of things among other aspects are what we’ll take away with us from the encounter. Also, it is learning to stay focused and sticking to the game plan instead of having our mental concentration throw off,” Latapy added.

T&T was scheduled to play French Guiana last afternoon in the play-off for fifth place while Costa Rica will take on Haiti in the Final. Haiti beat French Guiana 1-0 in the second outing on Sunday. T&T is preparing for CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying in November.


20. Jabari Brice, 12. Darnell Hospedales, 2. Kerdel Sween, 4. Jabari Graham (5.Jessie Williams 63’), 3. Deron John, 8. Anthony Samuel (14.Darnell Charles 60’), 10. Judah Garcia (Capt), 16. Isa Bramble (11.Jordan Riley 46’) 17. Shake em Joseph (15. John Paul Rochford 46’), 6. Brandon Semper (9. Jayden Prowell 46’), 13. Kishon Hackshaw.
Subs not used – 1. Denzil Smith, 7.Shem Clauzel,
Head Coach – Russell Latap

Categories: News

Soca Princesses outplay Dominica 3-0

Sports - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 00:05

T&T senior women’s football team got win number two in the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers yesterday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, after hammering Dominica 3-0.

Overlapping defenders Jenelle Cunningham, Rhea Belgrave and the consistent Karyn Forbes were the scorers in another dominant display for the home team in front an appreciative crowd.

Forbes who is fast making a name for herself as the Cafu of T&T women football, was again on target in the 54th minute when she skilfully curled the ball over the grasp of Kimberly Elie from a free kick on the left side to hand the host a three-goal advantage.

The goals came following a series of relentless attacks all night that should have reflected a larger margin of victory.

Earlier Shenelle Arjoon who returned to the starting line up delivered a cross from the left side which posed problems for the Dominican defence, and Jenelle Cunningham benefitted when she blasted the loose ball into the roof of the net in the 5th minute for a 1-0 lead.

The home team might have had another one moments later when Arjoon picked out Janine Francois with another left side cross, Francois’ header was pushed wide by an acrobatic Elie.

However, TT would not be denied as Rhea Belgrave headed home a cross from almost on the goal line, as Elie failed to attack it in her area and T&T closed the first half with a 2-0 advantage and in total control of the contest. The host only goal in the second half came from Forbes, despite many attacks at the opposing team’s goal.

Meanwhile, the USVI got its first win of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Championships at the A to Boldon Stadium in Couva yesterday, rebounding from a demoralizing 10-0 defeat to T&T on Saturday to whip Grenada 3-0.

The USVI team, under the former T&T player and coach Izler Browne, left it late though as they were frustrated by many chances. The breakthrough came when Maya Hadeed’s tame shot from the top of the area appeared to be heading outside, but instead ended up in the back of goalkeeper Connie John’s nets in the 74th minute.

Later the USVI went two up when John fumbled Bianca Canizio’s low drive in the 89th minute. And with the goal wide open, Canizio dashed in with a flash to pounce on the loose ball.

Substitute striker completed the 3-0 win by shooting into an empty goal in the 91st minute.

Browne’s team will next play Dominica tomorrow in the first game at 4 pm.


Categories: News

Mickela must dodge father’s shadow

Columnists - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:58

Mickela Panday is one of the most recognisable figures in our national community. Despite our mutual affiliation with the T&T Guardian newspaper, she and I have never met. Like many Trinbagonians, what I know of her comes from her public reputation—as a practising attorney, a former member of parliament, and, most of all, as the daughter of Basdeo Panday.

It would be an understatement to say that politics and social activism run in her veins. In fact, if her father was still the political leader of the United National Congress she would have probably succeeded him in that role and gone on to become the first female prime minister of our country. Of course, we all know how things turned out. Mr Panday lost the party’s internal election on January 24, 2010, to Kamla Persad-Bissessar. And the younger Panday was not included on the slate of candidates that contested the general election the following May. In one fell swoop, the Panday legacy had been extricated from the UNC.

It’s understandable why Mrs Persad-Bissessar took such a draconian action. In order to secure her position as leader of the UNC, there could be no lingering influence from her former boss. This meant that Ms Panday —being the heiress of the deposed king—had to go as well. It’s ironic that the familial connection that paved her way into the world of politics also ended up ushering her out of it. But the father-daughter duo would not be so easily silenced. And their ousting from parliament gave them an unrestricted license to criticise the current and past administrations.

To Ms Panday’s credit, her style is very different from that of her father’s. While he is usually caustic and condemning, she tends to be more academic and balanced. That being said, they both seem to be particularly invested in commenting on the missteps of the People’s Partnership. No surprise there. But it leads to an important question regarding Ms Panday—whether she is her own person or just an extension of her father.

This brings us to Sunday afternoon’s open forum at Gaston Court, Chaguanas. In the days leading up to the event, there was speculation abound that she was going to announce the formation of a new party. Or at the very least, use it as a litmus test to determine what sort of feedback she received before proceeding any farther. However, following a scripted speech, the audience’s contributions were glowing tributes to her father instead of suggestions on what direction she should take.

It is clear that Mr Panday casts a lengthy shadow over his daughter’s plans. But let’s not forget his own words following the election results of 2008, when he blamed the COP for splitting the opposition vote which ensured a PNM victory. According to former UNC senator Devant Maharaj, there is a concern amongst the party’s membership that history would repeat itself. That very concern could be what Ms Panday is counting on, hoping to use it as a bargaining chip to secure her return to the political arena.

Thus far, Mrs Persad-Bissessar has refused Ms Panday’s request for a meeting. But that doesn’t mean she won’t be open to it in the near future, especially in light of Sunday’s turnout. If Ms Panday is welcomed back into the UNC, it’s only because Mrs Persad-Bissessar wants to avoid a diffusion of the anti-PNM vote. It’s left to be seen if they are both willing to put aside their personal ambitions for the good of the party.

Personally, I would very much like to see Ms Panday return to parliament. Her youth and experience will benefit our country’s stagnant political discourse. But she needs to put some distance between herself and her father. The identity of being Basdeo Panday’s daughter has gotten her far enough, now she needs to distinguish herself with an agenda of her own; that means having fresh ideas, not rehashing those of the past. We already know all there is about her being a Panday, now we want to know more about who she is as Mickela.

Ryan Hadeed

Categories: News

Hidden Disabilities

Columnists - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:57

“Every gang leader I have spoken to had a learning disability”
Archbishop Rev Jason Gordon.
Newspaper article,
Friday 18 May 2018

There has been no formal study done on the incidence of hidden disabilities among gang members. The Archbishop’s comment, made at the opening of the Catholic Religious Education Institute’s (CREDI) “Hidden Disabilities Conference-What You Cannot See”, last Wednesday, is thought to be accurate by most of us who work in the field and very probably indicative of a serious problem: the inability and failure of the educational system to harness the potential of children with disabilities, hidden or not.

The good priest knows because by his own public admission, he is dyslexic and that is a hidden disability. He is in quite good company: Leonardo da Vinci; Albert Einstein; Mohammed Ali; Steve Jobs; Ingvar Kamprad (Founder of Ikea); Richard Branson; Harry Belafonte; Bill Gates, to mention a few of the great ones.

What do they all have in common? First, they don’t see things exactly like us. They think differently. They think “outside the box” and they are the ones responsible for much of the progress humankind makes and they have to fight to make their way in the world.

In T&T, and much of the world, especially the developing one, children with hidden disabilities are failed in the school system and so make it outside, on their own, in diverse capacities.

Unfortunately, far too many are lost to society and end up in prison or in Lapeyrouse.

A disability is defined as “any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”. Another way of looking at it is to consider the way society interfaces with it, i.e. that a “disability does not inhabit a person but resides within society”. It is the way that society responds to the person with a disability that determines whether a person is disabled or not and the response of society is poor.

About 15% of our school-aged population have a hidden disability of some sort that affects their schoolwork. That’s around 50,000 children. A child with a hidden disability looks and generally behaves like any other child but with occasional unusual behaviour, e.g. difficulty paying attention in class; difficulty following complex orders; lack of energy; unexplained weight loss etc. Something is wrong. But it is invisible, hidden.

Some of these hidden disabilities are physical, e.g. vision or hearing problems which together account for about a third of hidden disabilities. Because children are so amazingly adaptable to a visual or hearing problem, all children should be tested for hearing at birth and at entry to school and as early as possible for vision which, in T&T, means at school entry.

There are other hidden medical disabilities, diseases like “sinus” and asthma that keep children up at night and cause them to be sleepy in school (you can’t be alert in school unless you sleep well). Certain types of epilepsy cause school failure as do anaemias and thyroid problems but these are rare. Really, the vast bulk of hidden disabilities are the psycho-social ones like dyslexia and other learning disabilities; ADHD; autism and the socio-emotional disturbances related to abuse and to poverty.

Many of these children fail school, are termed delinquent and end up in prison. A 2005 British study of children with anti-social behaviour found that 35% had a mental health disorder or a learning difficulty. In 2005 the UK Dyslexic Institute, in a sample of 357 prisoners in Yorkshire, determined that 20% were dyslexic. An Israeli study in 2006 discovered that one in three prisoners had a learning disability and half were ADHD. A US study found that 13% of inmates in one prison system had significant hearing loss, i.e. deaf

We do not know what is happening in our prisons, of course. We know what’s happening in the schools. It’s not good.

Categories: News

$0.70 increase for GHL

Business - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:49

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 15 securities of which five advanced, eight declined and two traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 272,160 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $4,236,469.04. Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited was the volume leader with 116,137 shares changing hands for a value of $918,354.23, followed by NCB Financial Group Limited with a volume of 67,050 shares being traded for

$368,775. Trinidad Cement Limited contributed 24,323 shares with a value of $65,227.06, while Republic Financial Holdings Limited added 22,241 shares valued at $2,282,541.91.

Guardian Holdings Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.70 to end the day at $17.18. Conversely, Unilever Caribbean Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.32 to close at $32.18.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 4,160 shares valued at $83,650. It declined by $0.06 to end at $20.11.

In Monday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index advanced by 6.34 points (0.51 per cent) to close at 1,243.98.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 1.28 points (0.07 per cent) to close at 1,726.60.

• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 1.58 points (1.57 per cent) to close at 102.39.

Categories: News

Digicel rolls out LTE technology

Business - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:47

Digicel is introducing superfast LTE mobile data technology across T&T, optimising its cell sites across the country to deliver speeds up to ten times faster than exiting 4G technology, the telecommunications giant announced yesterday.

The company has already optimised LTE equipment in Diego Martin, Carenage, Chaguaramas, Port of Spain, Maraval and St. Ann’s.

Improvement work was also done recently in Barataria, El Soccoro, Aranguez, Couva, Freeport, Sangre Grande, Valencia Champs Fleurs and St Joseph.

“The immediate benefit is that customers in these areas are able to get the right amount of signal to make calls, send texts and experience a more consistent stream of data. However, some customers may experience issues when making or receiving calls from areas where improvement work is ongoing,” the company said in a release.

By the end of this month, Piarco, Charlieville, Arima, D’Abadie, Santa Rosa, Chaguanas, Claxton Bay, Tunapuna, Trincity, Couva, Lopinot and Tobago will all be optimised.

The new network will deliver expanded coverage, greater reliability and superior availability. Digicel said, allowing customers in more places to have the smoothest streaming experience, while using multiple apps and internet-based services on their smartphones or other internet-enabled devices.

“Our network transformation is now in full swing and we have stepped up the pace to begin deploying LTE within a few months, so that our personal and business customers can connect to the future of advanced mobile data.

“With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, our LTE will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, wearable fitness trackers, remote monitoring, immersive 4K video and more,” Chandrika Samaroo, General Manager, Home Entertainment, Digicel T&T, said.

“Our island-wide LTE rollout is another example of Digicel’s continued investment and leadership in delivering an amazing network experience to our customers.

“We are in it for the long haul and are very excited about reaching more people in more places and connecting them new things at prices that will continue to be affordable.”

Ahead of launch, Digicel will be helping customers to get ready for LTE with information about handset compatibility and upgrading existing SIM cards to access the technology.

Categories: News

CAL offers more leg room on flights

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:45

Although Caribbean Airline’s (CAL) financial position has improved, CEO Garvin Medera says there is still a lot to be done

“The reality is that the airline is very seasonal. Each quarter would present different challenges. It is not constant throughout the year, so profitability as a whole for the airline does not necessarily hinge on one quarter or the other. We have improved significantly year-on-year,” he said.

According to Medera, among the challenges for the state owned carrier is that it did not make a profit on the airbridge.

“Anytime we put up flights on the airbridge we make a loss, so any improvements would have been on other routes,” he said.

Medera spoke to the media following the launch of CAL’s Caribbean Plus product at the airline’s head office, Golden Grove Road, Arouca, yesterday.

Caribbean Plus offers extra leg room in the economy cabin of CAL’s Boeing 737 aircraft and affords travelers the opportunity to pre-book and pay for seats in rows 4-10 with additional leg room.

The programme starts on June 1.

Seats may be bought on all routes subject to availability, except domestic flights between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Prices of the seats would depend on distance.

He said recent increases in energy prices would affect the airline’s expenses but were a normal part of doing business.

Categories: News

More revenue for GML from World Cup

Business - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:42

Revenue from television rights for the World Cup is expected to improve Guardian Media Limited’s (GML) financial position in 2018, chairman Peter Clarke said yesterday. The increased revenue is the result of an agreement signed in 2015 with DirecTV for free-to-air television rights in T&T of FIFA events, including next month’s World Cup in Russia.

He said CNC3 would be broadcasting live football in high definition on “television and digital platforms, together with radio commentary, multimedia content and full newspaper coverage of events.”

Clarke’s projection of better results follows on the financial year ended December 31, 2017, when the company posted a loss of $3.1 million. However, he did not offer further details when he addressed shareholders at GML’s Annual General Meeting at the Kapok Hotel, Maraval, other than to say having the rights will contribute positively to revenue in December 2018.

The chairman also told shareholders that during the financial year, the company generated $19 million in operating cash, while total assets amounted to $354 million.

“The country’s economic slowdown has had a considerable impact on advertising spend across all sectors, a local reflection of a global down turn in traditional media advertising,” he added.

In the annual report, which has been posted to the T&T Stock Exchange, Clarke said the company had implemented a number of planned structural changes necessary to remain competitive, including a redesign of the newspaper.

“Parallel to this, the country’s economic slowdown has had a considerable impact on advertising spend across all sectors—a local reflection of a global downturn in traditional media advertising.

“As a result, revenues reported were $138 million ($164 million—2016) reflecting a decline of 16 per cent, whilst a before tax loss of $2.2 million ($16 million profit—2016) was incurred,” he said.

Managing Director Nicholas Sabga announced a new corporate social responsibility in the area of recycling that is currently being tested internally.

Sabga said the company wants to change attitudes about recycling and plans to eventually broaden the initiative to the wider public, including shareholders.

Categories: News

Housewife accused of faking kidnap ordeal

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:26

A Couva housewife has to appear in the Couva Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with falsely reporting to police that she and her son were kidnapped by four men. 

Sapna Chinyan, 32, claimed the kidnappers had demanded a $30,000 ransom for their safe release.

According to media release from the Corporate Communications Unit of the Police Service, the woman reported that around 7.30 am last Thursday the men abducted her and her six-year-old son from their Carli Bay Road home.

She said the four unarmed men took them in a Nissan Almera to a location along the Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay, where they demanded the ransom.

The police claimed Chinyan told them she was allowed to leave to collect the ransom money, but the men kept her son until she returned.

She made the report around 11.40 am at the Couva Police Station.

However, the police obtained CCTV footage which allegedly did not corroborate her story. She was subsequently charged with wasteful employment of the police by PC Visham Ramoutar of the Couva CID.

Chinyan appeared before a Justice of the Peace last Friday and was granted $5,000 own bail. The matter will next be heard on Thursday when she will appear before a magistrate.

Categories: News

Retrograde step to withdraw from CCJ

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:22

Former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) retired chief justice Michael de la Bastide says if Barbados withdraws from the appellate jurisdiction of the court it will “seriously undermine the standing of the court in the eyes of the people of the region.”

He is hoping that the threat to withdraw would not become reality.

Barbados was the first Caribbean country to adopt the CCJ as its final Court of Appeal and that decision has become an issue in the current campaign for the May 28 election in that country.

Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has signalled “once the Democratic Labour Party is returned to office Barbados will be withdrawing from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court of appeal.”

Stuart had first raised the issue at the Caricom inter-sessional in March where he said that only four Caricom countries—Barbados, Guyana, Dominica and Belize—had made their CCJ their final court of appeal.

He told a political meeting: “I think the attitude coming from Port-of-Spain leaves much to be desired in terms of how it’s treating Barbados and I am not going to have a situation where other countries in the Caribbean keep a safe, distance from that court while Barbados supports it.”

The Barbadian leader has also expressed unhappiness with the rulings of the court saying they “were not reflecting positively on Barbados.”

Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, de la Bastide said if Barbados withdraws from the court it will be a “retrograde step,” for that country and one that will “seriously undermine the standing of the court” in the region.

“One hopes it does not come to pass,” de la Bastide said.

Stuart made it clear Barbados will not return to the Privy Council as its final court of appeal, but offered no alternative to the CCJ, prompting de la Bastide to ask “is he going to make the Barbados Court of Appeal the final court?”

He hopes that if Stuart wins the election that the threat would not be carried out.

Just why T&T had failed to join the CCJ has to do with politics and de la Bastide said the politicians will have to say why the court established by Caricom member states in 2001 and inaugurated in 2005 and which is based in Port- of- Spain had not been adopted by T&T as its final appellate court.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi blames the Opposition UNC for this. He said “the matter of full accession to the CCJ is one that lies squarely within the realm of the UNC politics.”

Legislation to make the CCJ the final appellate court requires a special majority—which is three-fifths of the Parliament voting in favour of the change from the Privy Council to the CCJ.

Al-Rawi said, “The ability to take full matters to the CCJ is based upon constitutional majority which the UNC has blatantly said they would never support.”

This, he said, was “borne out by the fact” that they “blatantly refused to do it when they were in government in the period 2010-2015.”

As a result, he said, “there is nothing that the present government can do to compel the move toward the CCJ as the final court of appeal.”

Al-Rawi conceded that “there may be merit in some of what he (Stuart) is saying in so far as it coincides with the current position of T&T.” See Page A16

Categories: News

Woman in court for attempted murder

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:19

A woman charged with the attempted murder of her husband was granted $250,000 bail when she appeared before a Sangre Grande magistrate yesterday.

Kamatie Ramdial 57, of Valencia, appeared before Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne of Sangre Grande First Court.

On March 14, her husband, Anslem Picton 57, of First Caigual, Sangre Chiquito was found at the side of the road in Matura suffering from gunshot injuries.

Villagers called in police officers assigned to the Matura Police Station and the injured man was taken to the hospital.

Investigations led by Sgt Greaux led to the arrest of Ramdial. She was charged following instructions received from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.

Ramdial is scheduled to reappear in court on June 11.


Categories: News

Five years jail for fiery death

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:17

Doubles vendor Nizam Mohammed will spend the next five years in jail for killing a man by setting him on fire.

Mohammed was charged with murder, but he was found guilty on March 28 to the lesser offence of manslaughter on the basis of provocation. Yesterday, Justice Maria Wilson sentenced him to 15 years in prison but the ten years he spent in custody awaiting trial was subtracted.

Mohammed 45, his wife, Putitia and former worker, Timothy Sammy, were jointly charged with the 2008 murder of Stephen Joshua, also called Jumbo.

The incident occurred at the couple’s Cipero Road, Friendship Village, San Fernando home on May 3, 2008, during an altercation.

Following a trial in the San Fernando Third Criminal Court, Putitia, 39, and Sammy were both found not guilty while Mohammed was found guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Mohammed did not give evidence during the trial but his defence was provocation and self-defence.

He claimed Joshua was always harassing him. On the day of the incident, according to the State’s case, the altercation began when Joshua entered Mohammed’s home and the argument continued outside.

Putitia called the police for help. Eyewitnesses testified that they saw Mohammed cuff Joshua repeatedly and attempt to wrap an electrical cord around Joshua’s neck.

Joshua fell into a drain. Mohammed picked up a container of gasoline, poured the contents on Joshua and set him on fire with a lighter. The victim died ten days later at the San Fernando General Hospital. An autopsy revealed that Joshua was burnt to death.

In passing sentence, the judge said Joshua’s wife, in her victim impact statement, said she has not yet recovered from her husband’s death. The wife said Joshua’s death was gruesome, slow and painful and affected her mentally, physically and financially.

Although Mohammed was provoked, the judge said a custodial sentence was appropriate because a life had been lost. The judge starting point was 24 years in jail but it was reduced it to 21 years after she took into consideration the prisoner’s age, he has three children, no previous convictions, among other mitigating factors things.

Wilson shaved off another six years because he had indicated since 2016 his willingness to plead guilty to manslaughter. Mohammed’s wife Putitia and three children—who are still in school— were among several relatives in court. Mohammed was represented by Israel Khan SC and attorney Alima Alexis while the case was prosecuted by state attorney Trevor Jones.

Categories: News

Man arrested after scaling airport fence

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:12

Almost two years after he was freed of being a member of the gang linked to the assassination of Dana Seetahal, SC, a man from Carapo has been arrested for trespassing at the Piarco International Airport.

The suspect was arrested at the airport by Airports Authority security on Sunday after he was spotted running near the terminal building. He remained detained and is expected to appear in the Arima Magistrate’s Court today.

A short video clip of the incident was shared on social media sites and services yesterday. It shows a bare-backed man surrendering to a group of security personnel.

In the video, the man is heard attempting to give an explanation for his presence in the restricted area. His voice was barely audible above the sound of equipment operating in the background.

The man told security officers he was attacked while walking near the University of T&T (UTT) ECIAF Campus at Caroni North Bank Road in Centeno, which borders the runway of the airport. He claimed he passed through a hole in the fence to escape. His claims were being investigated by police up to late yesterday.

Categories: News

Archie leaves again on six-week vacation

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:03

Embattled Chief Justice Ivor Archie has gone on vacation leave until the end of next month.

An email sent by his administrative secretary Shabiki Cazabon to Judges and Masters of the T&T Supreme Court yesterday, a copy of which was obtained by the T&T Guardian, advised that Archie would be out of the jurisdiction from May 19 to June 30 to continue his vacation leave, which was cut short due to his mother’s death earlier this month.

The email stated that Appellate Judge Allan Mendonca will act as Chief Justice between May 19 and June 7 and from June 18 to June 29. Appellate Judge Alice Yorke-Soo Hon will act as Chief Justice from June 8 to June 17.

The correspondence comes less than three weeks after a similar email was circulated May 2, indicating that Archie’s vacation ended when he returned to T&T for his mother’s funeral that week.

Contacted by Guardian Media yesterday, Cheryl Lala, communications consultant to President Paula-Mae Weekes, confirmed that Archie’s apparent second leave period was simply a continuation of the first, which was approved by former president Anthony Carmona, earlier this year.

“I think it was just a continuation of the leave...When you add it up, the previous leave was broken a few times,” she said.

She went on: “She (Weekes) granted permission for him to be out of the jurisdiction and as far as the leave is concerned it was granted before by her predecessor.”

While Archie’s initial seven-week leave period would have been “broken up” by the Judiciary’s one-week Easter vacation and his early return, questions are still being raised over how these could result in him essentially going on six additional weeks vacation.

“It simply does not add up. The highest he should be entitled to is two more weeks if we consider the holidays last month and if he resumed duties as soon as he returned for his mother’s funeral,” one judge, who spoke to Guardian Media under the condition of anonymity, said.

The judge said that while Archie returned on May 2, his first official court appearance was a week later, when he presided over the admission of over 100 new attorneys.

He also questioned if Archie took more than the allotted six weeks before he left to pursue a fellowship at the Federal Judicial Centre in Washington, DC, at the end of March.

“Another six weeks? From where does this entitlement arise?” the judge asked.

He explained that beyond leave during the Judiciary’s Easter and Christmas breaks, judges are entitled to between four to six weeks vacation, which falls within the Judiciary’s annual summer vacation between August to mid-September. The Chief Justice and Appellate Judges are entitled to six weeks.

In the event that judges have to work through the August vacation period or have to leave the jurisdiction during the Law Term, they may apply for permission for such leave.

The issue of Archie’s leave first arose in March after it was revealed that Carmona approved a six-month sabbatical to allow Archie to participate in the fellowship.

While Archie stated that the sabbatical policy was decided by the Salaries Review Commission (SRC) and an internal Judiciary sub-committee, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and several of his colleagues questioned whether an official policy was ratified.

Archie then announced that he would be taking 35 weeks accrued vacation leave. However, he amended his position to seven-weeks after questions were raised over whether judges were entitled to the accumulation of their vacation leave.

Categories: News

Parties ready for Mickela’s entry

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:01

It’s a free country.

That was the general sentiment from United National Congress (UNC) and People’s National Movement (PNM) officials yesterday to moves by Mickela Panday and her group to form a political party.

Panday and her supporters received a loud “yes” from some quarters when the question of forming a party was raised at an open forum she hosted in Chaguanas on Sunday. Chairman of the function, Dr Ronald Roopnarine, said the “consensus was clear” and the group intends moving ahead with plans for a party.

Commenting on this, UNC MP Suruj Rambachan said, “This is a free country. Anybody who wants to enter the political fray has freedom to do so - we’ll see them on the hustings.”

Asked how UNC might maintain members - especially old Panday supporters - in the face of the Panday group’s moves, Rambachan was tight-lipped. But he added, “The UNC will always retain its maximum base. The party’s been serving people and people are beginning to understand UNC was a very good party in government and they continue supporting it.”

On whether the Panday name would win over UNC members, Rambachan said, “It’s on the hustings, you’ll see the final determination.”

Asked about what he thought of the attendance at last Sunday’s Panday group launch - and that UNC MP Ganga Singh attended - Rambachan said, “It’s good people are going to see what’s on offer, they’re free to go anywhere they want.”

But UNC activist Devant Maharaj, who came out swinging, said third parties only assist the PNM, Team Unity, COP and ILP.

Maharaj added, “I was a part of the Team Unity under then-AG Ramesh Maharaj, I also was part of COP with Winston Dookeran, I saw the rise and fall of Jack and Hulsie. These political figures were much larger than Mickela and they failed. They only beneficiary to a third party has been and will always be the PNM.

“Imagine Louis Lee Sing, whose station was in full swing attacking the Panday administration, now clapping for Panday? Is it that the PNM is silently going to support this new entity knowing they will split the vote?”

He added: “What’s Mickela’s claim to fame other than the Panday name? Panday is trying to live a dream but really putting the population in another PNM nightmare. Panday’s toy of a party to his daughter will be paid for by an unsuspecting population.”

Also commenting yesterday, PNM general secretary Daniel Dookie said, “In T&T’s democratic processes everybody’s free to engage in the political process as they see fit. If people have political ambitions, our system allows them to pursue that in accordance with T&T’s laws. But the PNM’s a political party and we’ll do our job in any competitive environment and do what we have to in order to be victorious at all the polls regardless of who’s contesting - we take on all comers.”

In the absence of COP leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, who’s overseas, COP MP Prakash Ramadhar said he always encourages people to get involved in politic, “but we must all work together in a unified effort if we have to improve T&T. I look forward to many others getting involved not only for leadership but to find solutions, as people are tired of the same old rhetoric.”

COP Parliamentary caucus member Rodger Samuel said,”Personally, I feel T&T’s at a stage where some are disappointed in the Government not doing well and others have trust issues with the Opposition. In such an environment, entities arise - people are searching. But it augers well for politics as it gives new perspectives and redounds to the people’s benefits.”

Tough task—Analysts

Political analysts had mixed reactions to Mickela Panday’s open forum meeting last Sunday, which ended with a call for her to launch a new political party.

Dr Winford James (overseas) said, “I haven’t read all the reports, but if they’re true then it’s not good news for Kamla and the UNC. Mickela may release energies within the Indo-TT constituency that are pro-Panday, young and feel alienated. She’d also create space for the Prime Minister and the PNM - but she has the task of building her brand. Not easy in two and a half years.”

Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, who said the Panday move was the latest of several aggregations he’d heard of being formed, said,”My view is whether the support base is broad enough to take this Panday initiative into the future as a strong political party. From media reports, last Sunday’s gathering was a small group. They need to expand their base and ensure their movement if they’re to survive at all.”

He said currently there are political entities with small numbers of people and whether the Panday initiative would be a significant enough to be a third force, “we’ll have to wait and see”. But he saw them as no threat to the two main parties at this point.

Categories: News

300-plus facing UTT axe—Garcia

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 22:58

An estimated 300-plus workers are being cut from the University of Trinidad and Tobago. While 57 academic staffers have so far received dismissal letters, an additional 287 non-academic staff members are also expected to be dismissed, Education Minister Anthony Garcia confirmed yesterday.

Garcia was replying to queries in the Senate from UNC Senator Wade Mark on UTT job cuts.

Garcia’s figures signalled an estimated total of 346 staffers will be losing jobs.

Garcia said, “Information from UTT states 59 academic staff are to be dismissed, 57 of which already received dismissal letters. In addition, 287 non-academic staff are expected to be dismissed. Discussions are still ongoing between the Oilfield Workers’ Trade union (OWTU) and the UTT,” Garcia said.

He was also asked about the request for information by the union regarding the 287 to be retrenched.

“As part of the negotiating process, the union has been requesting certain information - bits of information - that has been provided to them. However, I’ve facilitated three meetings in an effort to bring both parties together and at the last meeting I held between the union and UTT, the union had requested some additional bits of information.

“The UTT is now treating with that information and I’ve been assured that in the not-too-distant future that information will be relayed to the union.”

Mark expressed concern at the impact retrenchment of 300-plus workers would have on UTT’s quality of education.

On further Opposition questions about whether the Labour Ministry had been formally notified of the retrenchment exercise - and what assistance is being provided by the ministry to retrenched workers -, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus said: “Information from UTT states that with regards to the academic staff, they’re not deemed to be workers under the (governing) act which requires reporting to the ministry.”

The law mandates that job cuts over five must be reported by employers to the ministry.

Mark protested Baptiste-Primus’ information, saying the academic staffers are citizens.

On assistance for workers, Baptiste-Primus added, “We have a programme in our 10-point plan - the National Employment Service - where employers register with us and unemployed/retrenched people are invited to register with the Labour Ministry.

“We’ve also opened a National Retrenchment Register to capture more accurately the number of people retrenched in T&T, as the act states an employer is only required to inform the Labour Minister if that employer is retrenching five or more workers. Under five there’s no requirement.

“So we invite those retrenched to visit our offices and they’ll be given the necessary assistance and guidance where possible.”

Prior to the Senate yesterday, Sanctuary Workers’ Union president Devant Maharaj told T&T Guardian that last Friday, UTT’s president refused to “meet and treat with the wrongful dismissal of the UTT lecturers.”

The union has lodged a formal trade dispute with the Ministry of Labour on the matter.

Maharaj added, “The minister, in accordance with Section 51 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act and Regulations, now has 14 days in which to respond to the union. SWU notes that despite the very public disquiet about the callous and wrongful termination of the UTT lecturers, the Minister of Labour hasn’t been heard on the issue.

“The dismissals of the UTT lecturers were harsh, oppressive and contrary to the principles and practice of good industrial relations and unbecoming for an institution that teaches international best practices in management.”

Categories: News

Cops fear reprisals as teen killed

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 22:53

Central Division police are bracing for more bloodshed following the murder of 17-year-old Kevon Paul, who was gunned down a short distance from his Claxton Bay home on Sunday.

Witnesses said a relative was heard calling for “reinforcements” at the crime scene, demanding blood for the death of Paul.

Hours later, a man was shot in the leg near the scene of Paul’s murder and investigators are probing whether it was in retaliation.

A report stated that around 8 pm Sunday, Paul was standing along Lodge Road Extension when a silver Nissan Tiida sedan stopped alongside him.

A gunman emerged and opened fire on Paul, who attempted to run but was hit several times.

The gunman then got back into the car and the driver drove off. Paul died on the scene.

Couva CID and Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region Three officers responded and a search was made for the car and the occupants. However, neither was found up to late yesterday.

Investigators were yet to establish a motive yesterday but noted that the area had been a hotspot of drugs, guns and other crimes. Even residents complained of feeling unsafe in their homes and warned the media of the presence of criminals in the community.

When a news team visited Paul’s Rosehill Street home yesterday, a relative hurled expletives and threats at journalists, adding that he did not want them in his community.

Investigators were also running background checks on Paul to see if they could find any links to his killers.

On Paul’s Facebook profile, there are photographs of him wearing large gold jewellery and in possession of a large amount of cash.

In an unrelated incident, a motive is yet to be determined for the murder of 22-year-old Maraval resident Kadeem Critchlow yesterday.

According to a police report, at about 9.30 am Critchlow, of Le Platte Village, was walking along a dirt track in the area when he was shot several times about the body.

Residents who heard the gunshots later found him dead.

Critchlow’s murder was the 213th for the year so far.

Investigations are continuing.

—With reporting by Rhondor Dowlat

Categories: News

Ashmeed had golden heart

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 22:51

McDonald’s Cipriani Boulevard, Port-of-Spain branch manager Ashmeed Mohammed, 38, begged for his life before gunmen shot him three times on Sunday night.

The last words heard by Mohammed’s colleagues were, “Oh God, no…no…no.” Three gunshots were then heard.

Investigators have described Mohammed’s murder as a “hit”, but up to press time were yet to determine a motive for his killing.

However, Mohammed’s co-workers, family and friends ultimately believe it was his kind-heartedness that led to his murder.

An initial police report stated that shortly after 11 pm on Sunday, Mohammed heard a knock on the door of the restaurant, which was already closed for the night, opened it and was accosted by three armed men. The men backed him up into the restaurant and as he begged for his life shot him three times. The gunmen then escaped in a white Tiida motorcar.

Mohammed lived at Melago, Vega de Oropouche, Sangre Grande.

But in a voice note sent to the T&T Guardian, a weeping woman gave a slightly different account. She claimed Mohammed was called outside by someone riding a bicycle.

“He (Mohammed) does normally help people around with food. If you come and hungry he would have given them food, but it look like they called him out and I don’t know if they asked him for food but like he came back in the store to go to his bag for money and when he went back out we just hear ‘O God, no…, please. I don’t know if one of them hit him with a piece of wood and when he ran back inside they followed him and shoot him but I don’t know, everything just so sketchy.”

Investigating officers said it was a “bizarre” incident, but are of the belief Mohammed may have known one of the gunmen.

Up to press time, investigating Homicide officers were busy viewing surveillance footage taken from in and around the compound, including from nearby businesses.

Speaking at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, Mohammed’s brother, Nizam, fought back his tears as he said the family had no clue why anyone would want his brother killed.

“We do not know who and why and what happened. He never knew of any threats made against him,” Nizam said.

“My brother would have never hurt a fly. He was very kind and very charitable. We are just not sure why.”

Mohammed was the eldest of three children to his parents.

A colleague, who wished not to be identified, said staff at the branch were very distraught and traumatised.

“Most of us have not slept yet. It happened so quickly and we all remain confused but we are praying for justice. Ashmeed didn’t deserve this at all—not even in our nightmares. He was our motivation and reason to come to work. Always smiling.”

The colleague said Mohammed was an “over charitable and happy kind of guy” and would have given anyone in need money and sometimes a meal. “Maybe he was too kind and his heart was of gold, so that the greed of people led to his killing.”

In a statement yesterday, McDonald’s T&T operations manager Kalifa Duncan said they were saddened by the incident.

“The Cipriani Boulevard restaurant will remain closed until further notice as staff mourns the passing of its manager Ashmeed Mohammed. We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague Ashmeed.

Our hearts are with his loved ones,” the release stated.

“Ashmeed was known for his outstanding level of service, enthusiasm and dedication; our team will miss him greatly.”

Shock waves in community

Vega De Oropouche councillor Anil Juteram said yesterday he knew the Mohammed family very well and described them as a “humble” family.

“This sent shock waves. They are churchgoing people and very humble. In fact, Mother’s Day weekend I saw he (Mohammed) and his brother come to do some shopping in the supermarket for their mother and I was shocked to see him because I always knew him to be working,” Juteram said.

“He always worked. His job was his life and he was so dedicated.”

Juteram said Mohammed started off at the Westmall branch and when it closed down he was sent to a south branch until re-located to Cipriani Boulevard. He described Mohammed as a quiet and “decent chap…I have never seen any signs of arrogance or haste in him. He was well-mannered and very soft spoken.”

Addressing rising crime, Juteram said there was a need to bring in joint police and army patrols and “much-needed groundwork and collaboration between the people in the different areas and the community policing.”

Categories: News


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