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The murder of Mc Donald’s branch manager was a “hit.”

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 16:05

Ashmeed Mohammed, shortly after 11 pm, opened the door to the restaurant at Cipriani Boulevard after hearing a knock. Three armed men stormed in and opened fire on Mohammed.

Several staff members, who were still at work, carrying on post-closing duties were unharmed but said to be in “extreme shock.”

Mohammed died on the scene. Police said the gunmen escaped in a waiting Tiida vehicle.

Officers have already taken surveillance footage and are in the process of viewing.

Employees are very scared for their lives.

See full story in tomorrow’s edition of the T&T Guardian

Categories: News

Tobago set to dethrone PoS

Sports - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 01:11

Tobago last registered a win at the National Primary School Track and Field Championships in 2009 and on Wednesday the team is set to resume its winning ways at the Atlantic sponsored Primary School Track and Field Championship better known as the ‘Primary School Olympics’ which will be held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.

The Minister of Education Anthony Garcia is expected to open the championship which begins at 9 am, with music for the march past being provided by the T&T Police Service Band.

The team from the sister-isle will be jetting into Trinidad on Tuesday morning and will stay at the Cascadia Hotel in picturesque St Ann’s.

The 90-plus member squad is confident of dethroning the perennial champions Port-of-Spain and Environs, which will be seeking to win the championship for the eighth consecutive year.

Buoyed by superb performances at the National Secondary School Track and Field Championship, last month, Tobago is expected to lift the title.

The Tobago contingent must be confident with the likes of National Champions Janae Alexander and Kevah Scott leading the charge. They expect that J’eleshai Alexander And Ben Israel Bannister along with Maliyah Cupid and Amarley Henry can bring Championship honours back to Tobago.

In what looks like a very open and competitive 56th renewal of the longest Primary School Games in the Caribbean any of the top five Districts can win it this year. These Districts include Port of Tobago, Port of Spain and Environs, Caroni, St George East and Victoria.

Head coach of Port-of-Spain, Derek LeGendre has stated categorically that this year’s training programme was the worst in the district’s history, He said: “We never prepare like this, and it does not send the right signal for our budding athletes. Something must give as children are being kept away from the training sessions. I cannot say if it is a subtle sabotage,” he ended.

The powerful St George East team will be looking to the outstanding U13 Sprinter Jabari Branche to lad their charge. He will be ably supported by Janella Walcott, Symphony Patrick and Jaydon Goodridge.

The Caroni Education District which has placed third for the past two years will again be a threat with Kurt Cruickshank leading the coaching of the team. They possess some talented athletes headed by Jenna Thomas, Sahara Oliver, Tenique Vincent and Tyrique Vincent. The central based giant are coming to improve their position and win the 2018 championship.

Victoria which has a Simplex Athletic Club presence and is coached by the shrewd Gunness Persad must have an outstanding chance of winning the games. The zone has Under 13 speedster Sierra Joseph, along with the Chinappo duo of Kadeem and Hakeem. the team also has in its line-up, Jael Archibald and Josiah Huggins to place them high on the medal count.

North Eastern Education District which is known for its exploits in the National 3K event will be coming to better year’s performance with the assistance Hannah heath, Kevin Robinson, Jenique McLaren, the speedball Imanni Mathews and Jabari Rusell.

The action-packed 58 event programme is expected to be overflowing with all district in Trinidad being requested to bring the Standard Five Classes to view the games along with the schools which will represent the District at the March Past of Teams.

Port-of-Spain and Environs School are expected to come out and support the National event with the schools in the proximity of the Hasely Crawford Stadium expected to be out in full force.

Categories: News

Iron Man, Jumbie collide

Sports - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 01:10

The strict safety requirements and training that are a must for all members of the T&T Powerboat Association (T&TBA) to undergo, were put to the test yesterday when the crews of Iron Man and Jumbie escape serious injuries following a boat collision in the first race of the fourth regatta at the Trinidad Yacht Club in Glencoe.

The collision took place during the first circuit race for boats in the 130 mph event.

The crew of Guy Costa and James Hadeed and Jumbie’s duo of Davide Brush and Justin Deckel were quickly out of their boats and attended to by members of the safety boat and were treated by the medics.

Costa got a small cut above his left eye which needed minor attention.

After that setback, the day’s programme went on with Fire Chief dominating the F class.

Meanwhile, there was no further racing for the crews of the boats in the 130 mph class leaving them to be spectators.

Categories: News

Ramnaths win Scotia charity golf

Sports - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 01:06

The pair of Takoor Ramnath and Deana Ramnath took the 19th Annual Scotia Bank Women Against Breast Cancer charity golf tournament that was played at the St. Andrew’s Golf Course in Moka on Friday.

The winners were followed by Camille Chatoor and Jennifer Grainger, while the third place was secured by the pair of Benda Clarke and Hillis Richards.

Next in line was Kissoon Gannes and Rohan Ravikumar, with former Queen’s Park cricketer Chris Galt and Richard Trestrail securing the fifth spot.

There were other awards on the day with a major one going to Adrian Sampson for the ‘hole in one’. Nearest the pin on the fifth hole was Hillis Richards and on the 15th was Camille Chatoor.

A prize was also given for the best-dressed male and female teams. Topping the ladies were Nicole Lawrence and Paige Hurd, while not to be outdone amongst the male was Peter Ghany of the Scotia Foundation and Graham Khan.

A total of 40 teams, comprising two players each, took the course in a competition devised through the partnership between Scotiabank Foundation and the St Andrew’s Golf Club for the last 18 years.

For the second straight year, the Scotiabank Foundation will be donating the proceeds of the Golf Tournament to the Family Planning Association (FPA) of T&T. Last year, FPA received $100,000 towards their efforts in promoting women’s health and wellness. The FPA provides a number of services to women, including contraception, pap smears, voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and breast examinations, consistent with the Scotiabank Foundation’s mandate of supporting women and engaging women in the community. In 2016, tournament proceeds went to the T&T Cancer Society, towards their Community Cancer Screening Clinics in Mayaro, Matura and Moruga.

Cudjoe: Golf is not only for the privileged

Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe is calling for more participation from the nation’s youths in the sport of golf and wants to make it clear that the stigma that the game is for the privileged must be removed.

The newly installed minister of Sport made her comments at the end of the recently concluded Prime Ministers Golf tournament that was played in Tobago. Cudjoe said, “It is important that we remove the perception that golf is a sport for the privileged members of society. Internationally, golf is a sport that not only contributes to physical and mental health, but it also pays handsome rewards to those who excel in the game. There is, therefore, need to popularise the game countrywide and encourage more of our people – especially the youth – to take up the sport.”

She added, “This means more youth clubs and initiatives to promote youth participation, it also means greater access to quality facilities.

Presently, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs is giving consideration to exploring Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) to begin to upgrade works on the Usine St Madeleine Golf Course and Club House, as well as the Sevilla Golf Course.”

She ended by saying, “After this experience, I’m now even more excited and energized to move these projects closer to fruition, everybody needs to experience the greatness of golf. It’s about building friendships, promoting corporate social responsibility and improving the lives of the less fortunate.”

Rajkumar, Singh prevail at PM’s Charity Golf

The veteran golfer Carlos ‘Sexy’ Baynes and his partner Ramlogan Roopnarinesingh gave a wonderful display at the Prime Minister’s Charity Golf tournament in Lowlands, Tobago last weekend but ended up behind the eventual champions Johansen Singh and Dave Rajkumar.

Singh and Rajkumar representing Scaffolding Manufacturers Limited took the Classic. Baynes and Ramlogan Roopnarinesingh, who was sponsored by Logan Contracting, finished in the second spot, while the pair of Michael Charles and Mushtaq Sookoor, representing Action Millwright, placed third.

Former Attorney General Anthony Smart and his compatriot Jevon Andrews, sponsored by First Citizens, ended in the fourth position, followed by the pair of Robbie Narine and Rodney Phillips, representing National Quarries.

(sponsors in brackets)

6. Danny Jaggernath & Robert Parris (Home Mortgage Bank); 7. Ronald Clarke & Glen Redhead (National Petroleum); 8. Steve Waldron & Darren Marcello (Junior Sammy Group of Companies); 9. Daniel Boodram & Onjay James (Caribbean Cornerstones Limited); 10. Ravi Deonarine & Harry Rambally (Jagessar Group of Companies); 11. Wayne Baptiste & Tori Baptiste (Angari Team1); 12. David Sebastian & Clint Marcelle (Murray Engineering Limited); 13. Ashram Beharry & Tommy Boodoo (Bourse Securities); 14. Andrew Jupiter & Kenneth Ferguson (Kenson Limited); 15. Newman George & Ulric McNicol (CH Associates Limited).

Categories: News

Ramdin’s century spurs Central into final

Sports - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 01:00

Skipper Denesh Ramdin slammed a century for Central Zone as it romped into the final of the T&T Cricket Board (T&TCB) Senior Interzone Tournament after a massive 184-run win over North in the team’s semifinal match at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy yesterday.

Batting first, Central Zone scored a massive 293 for six off its allotted 50 overs. In reply, North was no match as it was dismantled for a paltry 109. Ramdin batted brilliantly as he guided Central home. After the loss of two early wickets, Ramdin found an able partner in Mark Deyal and the pair brought Central right back into the contest with a century stand. Deyal has been in great form in this tournament before he fell for 59 off 53 balls with eight fours and a six.

Ramdin fell towards the end of 101 made off 133 balls with six fours and a six. Also making significant contributions were Derone Davis with an unbeaten 36, Nicholas Pooran 31 and Saiba Batoosingh 27. The pick of the bowlers for North was Rishaad Harris who grabbed 3 for 49, while Dexter Sween took two for 51.

When North responded it lost wickets at regular intervals and slipped to 22 for three early during its reply. Joshua Da Silva who has been the batting mainstay in this tournament was sent back by spinner Davis for one. Skipper Darren Bravo hang around for a while making 23 off 48 balls with two fours before Kastri Singh had him caught behind. Davis ended with three wickets for 18 runs, while pacer Anderson Phillip took two for 21, Singh two for 31 and leg-spinner Imran Khan two for 18 off nine overs.

Central and South East will contest final on June 3 at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Balmain, Couva.


Central 293/6 (50) (Denesh Ramdin 101, Mark Deyal 59, Derone Davis 36, Nicholas Pooran 31, Saiba Batoosingh 27, Rishaad Harris 3/49, Dexter Sween 2/51) vs North 109 all out (Darren Bravo 23, Tion Webster 19, Derone Davis 3/18, Anderson Phillip 2/21, Kastri Singh 2/31, Imran Khan 2/18). Central won by 184 runs.

Categories: News

T&T Under-20s fall to Costa Rica

Sports - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:57

T&T Under-20 men’s football team suffered a 2-0 defeat against Costa Rica in its opening match at the Guadeloupe Six-Nation Invitational Tournament at the Stade René Serge Nabajoth, Les Abymes, on Saturday night.

T&T gave a decent showing but could not prevent conceding goals on either side of the half. Costa Rica’s goals were scored by Ronaldo Araya and Yecxy Ramos Jarquim, one from a free kick that took a deflection before going in, and the other late in the match from a well-struck shot from some 25 yards out.

The game was played on a wet outfield after a heavy downpour before kick-off and it rained during parts of the match.

T&T coach Russell Latapy described the encounter as a useful exercise for his troops which are preparing for CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifiers in November.

“It was a keenly contested match and a good all-round performance by our boys,” Latapy said.

“Considering also that this was our first international match as a group and knowing too that we had a few new faces with some of the more regular players being left at home because of exams, I was pleased to see the way we executed certain things on the field and the way we carried ourselves out there against a good Costa Rican team” Latapy said.

“We conceded the first goal on virtually the final kick of the half and that was due to a lack of experience and composure which will only get better with matches like these. I thought we were solid and we limited Costa Rica’s attacks in our half.

“In the second half, I would say we had the better of the exchanges for the first 15 to 20 minutes with a couple of good chances to get on the scoresheet, but we didn’t take them.

Their second goal came from a quick break up the park and from a resulting corner the player had a really good hit from about 25 yards out. Overall, I was satisfied with some aspects of our play and we will be looking to better some areas and have a go at it again in our second match,” Latapy added.

T&T was scheduled to face Martinique in its second match from 6 pm last evening.

Guadeloupe and Haiti drew 0-0 in Saturday’s second match, while Costa Rica had previously beaten Martinique 3-0 and French Guiana and Guadeloupe drew 1-1 on Friday

Categories: News

Calls for Attin-Johnson, Mollon to return

Sports - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:55

Attempts are being made to convince midfielder Maylee Attin Johnson and Akheela Mollon to return to the T&T Women’s team currently competing for the top spot in Group C of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

National coach Jamaal Shabazz said they have had to do this because of the lack of commitment from the country’s under-20 players which competed unsuccessfully at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship at the same venue a few months ago.

At the post-match press conference after the Soca Princesses hammered USVI 10-0, Shabazz said parents of the Under-20 players are more concerned with them receiving scholarships and focusing on their studies than representing their country at football.

This lack of commitment has led to the overuse of veteran midfielder Tasha St Louis in the team. According to Shabazz, “When I came into this set up in August last year, I never expected that Tasha would be playing such a big role. We know that she is captain and I thought she would have been used sparingly. We did not get the commitment from the Under-20s and the pool isn’t too big, so she still has a lot of minutes to play.”

The T&T women are expected to finish at the top of the group to have any chance of progressing to the Concacaf qualifiers. But Shabazz is taking no team for granted as he believes more is needed if T&T is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in France. Saturday’s win came from a beaver-trick from influential midfielder Mariah Shade and a double from Karyn Forbes. Shabazz said he was pleased to have received maximum points but he will have to move players around due to the number of matches they have to play, and the time to play the matches in. Competition for places in the team has also lifted the intensity of his team’s play.

In their opening matches, the T&T women were dominant, and the scoreline reflected it, despite attempts by USVI to contain them early in the match.

Izler Browne, the USVI coach who was a former national player and coach, said her team’s challenge was over and they can now focus on the coming matches.


US Virgin Islands
v Grenada, 4pm
Dominica v T&T, 6.30pm


Categories: News

Influence of party financiers

Columnists - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:08

In the recent judgment in the court matter against Jack Warner, Justice Frank Seepersad commented that there was “a culture of kickbacks and corruption” involving the financing of political party campaigns and that “campaign contributions are the functional equivalent of bribes which ensure that favourable treatment is given by the government to those who provide the said funds.”

This statement is not a revelation. It has been known by many for a long time although one editorial writer would regard it as “an eye-opener.”

That this corrosive relationship between financiers and elected leaders has been ongoing for decades is due primarily to the fact that it is viewed by the party members and supporters as an accepted part of the political culture in order to obtain sufficient funds for the conduct of election campaigns with the foremost objective of winning. As the saying goes “one hand does not clap” and supporters “like it so.”

For supporters, there is no greater purpose in life short of devotion to God than seeing their party capture government and retain it, whether they themselves benefit or not. The means for doing so are not considered important.

Party leaders exploit this tenacious sentiment to form a government in order to keep elected members strictly in line and any semblance of dissent is characterised as betrayal and subversion of the party.

The ultimate sanction is expulsion from the party and ostracisation by its support base. I went through this experience for objecting to the overweaning influence and dictates of financiers and for insisting that allegations of corruption should be dealt with. With respect to the latter, I was told that if I have evidence I should go to the police with it. I was ridiculed and condemned for allegedly bringing down government.

While submissiveness to the demands of financiers is most likely a feature of the functioning of all governing parties, my experience has been confined to the Panday-led UNC administration. Mr Panday was a man of few secrets.

On the night of the General Elections victory of 1995, Panday would publicly identify three financiers for their efforts in achieving his party’s electoral success.

One was put in charge of the National Gas Company to vet all proposals for energy sector investments. Another was placed to head the Tourism Development Company to identify non-energy sector investments.

The trio determined investment project priorities and was adamant that the new Piarco International Airport Project was one of utmost urgency, which it was not. The Desalination and Inncogen projects were also undertaken to benefit financiers without a proper scrutiny and appraisal of the respective proposals.

One financier became a multi-faceted contractor involved in civil engineering projects, airport construction and equipment procurement, building construction and even the purchase of vehicles for the Police Service. This financier possessed the clout to have deadlines regularly extended, rules and procedures circumvented and cost-overruns routinely approved.

There was another who had lobbied for the staging of the under-17 world football tournament and was awarded a consultancy for stadium construction projects.

One financier, prominent for his support hitherto of the PNM, came on board after a couple of years.

He had ownership and control of an insurance company and was able to influence government to ignore violations of laws, regulations and best practices in the management of the company as outlined by the Supervisor of Insurance.

Through his close association with government officials, he had set plans in motion for the acquisition of a number of state enterprises including Tanteak, Caroni Distillery and Lake Asphalt. He also had instructed his protege to run for the post of deputy political leader of the UNC party.

Financiers even sat down with the then Prime Minister to determine the allocation of ministerial portfolios and even the selection of election candidates.

Suffice it to say that a mockery was made of democratic principles and politics where elected representatives were supposed to be in control.


Categories: News

The UWI signs MoU with Sussex University

Business - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:04

In its thrust to broaden its international reach and reputation, the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

The two universities have committed to collaborate on research-based solutions for sustainable social and economic development and teaching at the graduate level. The MoU will see joint research, publications, staging of conferences and academic meetings, exchange of academic material and other aspects of teaching and learning.

The MoU was signed on April 26 during the SALISES’ 19th Annual Conference held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, as part of the calendar of events marking The UWI’s 70th anniversary. Director of IDS at University of Sussex, Professor Melissa Leach also delivered the conference’s distinguished lecture on the topic, Equity in the Anthropocene: Charting Transformational Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures.

Commenting on the MoU, Professor Leach said: “I am delighted that IDS has signed an MoU with The University of the West Indies, and look forward to close collaboration into the future on the many topics where we share common interests.”

Director of SALISES, Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, said: “This MoU presents an excellent opportunity for collaborative research and academic engagement between the two institutes. This relationship will further expose our research fellows and students to international best practices in policy planning and, importantly, to programmatic implementation.”

Categories: News

Threat to Caribbean public sector

Business - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:03

Young finance professionals in the public sector are in the dark about their future due to a lack of transparent career paths, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Generation Next: managing talent in the public sector found that young finance professionals in the Caribbean value clear career paths, but only 17 per cent believe clear paths exist in their current organisation.

The report is the last in ACCA’s global Generation Next series, which explores the work preferences and career ambitions of over 1,400 ACCA members and students working in the public sector, aged 16 to 36 years old.

Alex Metcalfe, ACCA head of public sector policy said: “Generation Next respondents in the public sector say a transparent career path is the most important issue in both attracting them to an employer and retaining them there.

“Across the sector, developing talent has been a challenge given austerity and the tightening of government budgets, which often hit learning and development budgets. The Generation Next survey showed that 96 per cent of respondents were attracted to public sector employers that would provide the opportunity for them to learn and develop skills. It is essential public organisations meet this challenge.”

The research also found that experience at work was essential for attraction and retention in the public sector. The sector itself can offer a dynamic work experience, where employees can develop professionally whilst working to tackle leading societal challenges.

Speaking on T&T’s respondents’ views of what constituted effective learning and development in the public sector, Julie Hotchkiss, ACCA market director of Europe and Americas said: “On-the-job learning was one of the most-used learning activities in the sector globally, and was ranked the third highest effective learning strategy by public sector respondents in Trinidad and Tobago (29 per cent).

“Job rotations and secondment were considered to be the most effective (38 per cent) followed by attending external workshops (32 per cent). On-the-job learning and job rotations are forms of experiential learning, where the employee ‘learns through doing’. Clearly, there is an opportunity for public sector employers to increase the use of these experiential forms of learning to increase the effectiveness of their learning and development strategies.”

A large majority of Generation Next in the Caribbean believe technology will enable finance professionals to focus on much higher value-added activities in the future. 91 per cent of public sector respondents in the Caribbean take this view, compared with 87 per cent across the global public sector.

The next generation of professional accounts in the public sector are imagining diverse careers and gaining a depth of work experience. The future of talent in the public sector is facing many forces of change. It is vital that employers respond to the work preferences of Generation Next in order to position themselves best for responding to this changing landscape.

Alex concluded: “Public sector organisations are typically unable to compete on remuneration for top talent, but must instead communicate a holistic offering to their candidates that includes clear career paths and a positive work environment. Yet whatever strategies they decide to adopt, it is essential that public sector employers recognise the importance of talent management as a key component of their future strategies.”

Categories: News

B’dos PM threatens to leave CCJ

News - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:00

BRIDGETOWN—Citing disrespect from the T&T-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart says if his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is re-elected in the upcoming general election, his administration will leave the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction.

Stuart, who was speaking late Saturday at a political meeting in the parish of St. Michael, said he also had a problem with the limited number of cases brought before the regional court.

“That court has heard two cases for the year—one from Barbados and one from Guyana,” said the Prime Minister, who added that Barbados will not return to the London based Privy Council.

“. . . we are not going backward, life goes not backward or tarries with yesterday, but once the Democratic Labour Party is re-elected to office, I am determined to put Barbados on the same level as every other Caricom country by delinking from the Caribbean Court of Justice in its appellate jurisdiction. We went in first and we can come out first.”

Stuart told supporters he was not commenting on the decisions of the CCJ, noting that as an attorney he respects the decisions made by the regional court.

To date, the only countries that have signed onto the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction are Barbados, Guyana, Dominica and Belize.

In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ hears appeals from the lower courts in both civil and criminal matters, while in its original jurisdiction, the court interprets the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas for countries, businesses and citizens of Caricom.

Barbadians will go to the polls in a general election on Thursday to elect a new government with the contest expected to be between the ruling DLP and the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) headed by Mia Mottley, who is seeking to become the first woman head of government in the country.

Categories: News

Police still questioning shooting suspect

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:59

Police were up to late yesterday still questioning the suspect held in connection with last Tuesday’s shooting of Scotiabank employee Rostan Mahabir. They confirmed that charges have not yet been laid.

Snr Supt Zamsheed Mohammed revealed during a walkabout on High Street, San Fernando, on Friday that an arrest had been after investigators conducted surveillance work. H said the suspect was arrested around 2.30 pm on Friday at a house in Fyzabad in an operation co-ordinated by South Western Division police.

Mahabir was shot in the abdomen shortly before 8 am Tuesday as he was about to enter his work place on the corner of Penitence and High Streets. The gunman grabbed his computer bag and ran down Penitence Street.

Mahabir, 28, was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to repair serious internal injuries. He remains warded in a stable condition at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where his condition is being closely monitored.

Police have not been able to get a statement from Mahabir because he is being kept sedated.

Investigations are continuing.

Categories: News

Sacked UTT workers approach Labour Minister

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:40

The Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), the recognised majority union for workers at the University of T&T (UTT), is yet to receive critical information from Education Minister Anthony Garcia on recent retrenchments at the institution.

Second vice president Sati Gajadhar-Inniss said the union submitted a counterproposal to the UTT’s proposed restructuring in February but the university’s board and management had “blatantly refused to discuss” the matter.

“The union did write to the Minister of Education on April 10 but to date is yet to receive a reply,” she said.

Gajadhar-Inniss said the UTT board has also been unwilling to consider adjusting allowances for high paying management, or other cost-cutting proposas which the OWTU claims would have saved more the university more than $40 million.

Approached for comment yesterday, Garcia said: “I have left all questions to be answered by the university’s board and management.”

Meanwhile, eight of the workers retrenched by the UTT are now seeking answers from Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus about the staff cuts at the university

The workers, who are being represented the Sanctuary Trade Union which is led by political activist Devant Maharaj, are asking whether UTT served notice to the Ministry of Labour but the retrenchments.

On May 11, 30 UTT staffers were served retrenchment letters, They include 11 lecturers from Centre of Education programmes. Last Friday, more letters were distributed at UTT campuses at O’Meara, Valsayn Teachers College, John Donaldson and Point Lisas.

Categories: News

Sinanan denies ethnic cleansing claims

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:39

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has denied claims of ethnic cleansing of T&T’s East Indian community via the property tax.

He did so in response to questions from reporters when he attended the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha’s (SDMS) Indian Arrival Day dinner at the Radisson Hotel, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday night.

Prof Dilip Dan, head of the Department of Clinical Sciences at The UWI, who was honoured at the event, had referred to ethnic cleansing and claims that the reintroduced property tax targeted East Indian when he spoke at the function.

However, Sinanan said ethnic cleansing had no place in T&T and was not a factor in any of Government’s decisions. He added that traditionally East Indians have always been comfortable paying property taxes.

In his address, in which he focused on ethical leadership, Professor Dan said although the majority of T&T’s scholars are of East Indian origin, they make up only 18 per cent of corporate T&T and major Government posts are not proportionately obtainable by that ethnic group.

He also said most cases of racial prejudice had been adjudicated by the courts and pointed out that Radio and TV Jagriti, media outlets operated by the SDMS, had faced many legal battles.

SDMS Secretary General Satnarayan Maharaj said the organisation’s schools, which had once been described as cow sheds, are now the prefered schools in the country.

He said Lakshmi College had been called a “see through” college because at one time its administrators couldn’t afford doors and windows but had broken every record in the Caribbean for three consecutive years by winning the President’s medal.

Maharaj added that SDMS schools will not close down due to a lack of Government funding because they are self reliant and raise their own funds.

Categories: News

Cops to review footage from murder scene

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:35

Kelly Chatoor, brother of murdered businessman Navindra “Nari” Chatoor, said pertinent information has been passed on to the police and he is confident his family will get justice.

Navindra Chatoor was shot four times at point-blank range by a gunman who walked up to him shortly after 10 pm last Monday while he was serving customers from a burger cart at Cross Crossings, San Fernando. An autopsy revealed that he died of gunshot wounds to the head and upper body.

His brother praised the police for responding quickly to the scene.

“We have no problems so far and we are confident that we will get justice,” he said.

Investigating officers have taken statements from eyewitness and have a description of the gunman. They will be reviewing surveillance footage from nearby businessess.

Chatoor believes his brother’s murder was a “hit” and that it might be linked to the murder of another brother, Rishi, who was fatally shot on May 22, 2015, at a bar not too far from his home in St John’s Village.

Chatoor, who is the registered owner of Chatoor’s Burgers, a business he started on August 3, 1996, on the Gulf City Link Road, said his mother, Shirley, is very distraught about the violent death of another of her sons.

However, he was reluctant to comment further on his father’s killing in 2006 and the murder of another brother, Kimraj, in 2008. He did point out, however, that yet another sibling, Balchan, had died from poisoning.

Chatoor said his family is law-abiding and are business people who are “not involved in anything illegal.”

The murder of Nari Chatoor, the fifth member of the family to be killed, took place nine days before the three-year anniversary of brother Rishi’s death. His funeral took place last Friday morning.

Categories: News

Penalties for principals and teachers

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:34

In cases where the safety of students is jeopardised, principals and teachers can be suspended, Education Minister Anthony Garcia warned yesterday at the launch of the North Central Regional Health Authority’s (NCRHA) SUNreach Training Programme for teachers at the Mount Hope Women’s Hospital.

Citing a recent case where a principal was suspended after a pupil’s arm was broken during an altercation with a schoolmate, Garcia said: “Some teachers and principals are being penalized because of not discharging their responsibility.

The major responsibility is the safety of the students and in this case, the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) felt that the principal was not exercising due care.”

The minister said the SUNreach programme will give teachers tools to ensure the safety of their students. The programme was developed by the medical team at the EWMSC Paediatric Department to help teachers quickly identify and respond to medical emergencies at school.

Head of the Paediatric Emergency Department at the NCRHA Dr Joanne Paul said teachers are often not aware of the grave danger students might be facing, particularly in cases of injury, allergies or asthmatic reactions.

CEO Davlin Thomas said the NCRHA sees the programme as a strategic opportunity as there has been an increase in cases of children coming to the emergency room with injuries and complicated ailments that can be prevented or minimised if properly managed with early intervention. He said the objective is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with delays in handling paediatric emergencies.

“The first two cohorts of the SUNreach programme have taken the training seriously and excelled at the practical and classroom session of the course, as all participants surpassed the requirements and were awarded certificates,” he said.

So far, 67 teachers from 20 secondary and primary schools in the NCRHA’s catchment area have been trained to provide emergency first response care to children at school.

Garcia and Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh were present for the launch of the third cohort of teachers for the programme which has been oversubscribed since it started in January.

Deyalsingh thanked the NCRHA for a “positive turnaround” in organisational and managerial techniques that have kept the mortality rate down at the Women’s Hospital.

Categories: News

State companies quarrying illegally

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:31

Since 2008, National Quarries Limited and the Estate Management and Business Development Company (EMBDC) have been operating quarries without ownership of the lands, mining licences, or the necessary contracts, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat revealed yesterday.

He described the two state entities as among the biggest defaulters in the quarrying sector but said the Ministry of Energy is taking steps to regulate them and grant the necessary licences.

Rambharat, who spoke at rehabilitation project at National Quarries grounds in Valencia to mark United Way’s National Day of Caring, detailed the extent of illegal and unregulated mining across the country and recounted a recent visit to Windsor Park where he viewed destruction caused by such activity.

“It is the taxpayers’ money that will be spent to correct this illegal quarrying,” he said.

“The persons who gave permission to operate quarries have no responsibility, as well as the persons who did the mining and worst of all not one cent of royalty was received.”

On the issue of hunting, Rambharat said he wants to encourage sustainable practices that protect wild life but understands that from Matelot to Marac, hunting is an economic activity.

“While I like hunting, I am the minister that imposed the most restrictions on hunting and very many more to come,” he said.

While conceding that the benefits from rehabilitation projects like the one in Valencia will be seen in 20-30 years, Rambharat expressed concern about the ministry’s reforestation programme which has been in operation for mamny years, because although some $22 million of taxpayers money is being spent a year, he is “yet to see the value.”

The minister admitted that he has been struggling for two and half years to see the balance between the 3000 jobs created and the value generated by that project.


Categories: News

Fatal accident near Interchange

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:29

A 27-year-old Charlieville man died in an early morning accident near the Couva Interchange yesterday.

Ricardo Ramjattan, a facilities co-ordinator with Prestige Holdings, died instantly when his body was flung from his vehicle and landed on cable barriers on the median of the Solomon Hochoy Highway. His friend Esperanzza Berallo, 24, a Venezuelan national, is warded in stable condition at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Police said Ramjattan was on the southbound lane of the highway when he lost control of his black Bluebird Sylphy at around 5.45 am. He was thrown out of the vehicle which landed on its hood on the median.

Relatives, who gathered at Ramjattan’s home at Joe Lane, Kolahal Road, on hearing news of his death were too distraught to speak. However, a close friend, Andy Samlal, who is married to Ramjattan’s cousin, described him as a good person.

He said he believed Ramjattan, who lived with his parents and was the eldest of their four children, was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.

“He did not drink alcohol, he was not into drugs. He was always normal and very helpful,” said Samlal who explained that hours earlier Ramjattan had picked up Berallo from her workplace, Southern Edge in La Romaine, and they went liming in Couva.

“It is a normal routine for them to hang out after work. She has been living here about three or four years now,” he said. “I was with him until about 11 pm and then we went our separate ways. He was normal.”

Samlal said he found out about the accident from a friend who saw gruesome images of Ramjattan’s body posted in a WhatsApp chat.

Categories: News

Pundit tied up, family robbed

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:27

Unaware that her family was being robbed, the two-year-old daughter of a pundit greeted one of the intruders and went to hug him. This innocent act of kindness did not stop the bandits from grabbing two gold bracelets off her tiny hand.

The robbery took place at around 2 am on the compound of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Freeport where Pundit Gajendra Kumar, a national of India, lives with his wife and children.

During the ordeal, which lasted about two hours, the armed and masked bandits stole approximately $35,000 in cash and about $85,000 worth of 22 carat gold jewelry from India from two vaults in the administration building of the temple. They also relieved the family of electronic devices, phones and jewelry and even helped themselves to beverages from a refrigerator.

Villagers and temple devotees, who gathered outside the temple as word spread about the incident, expressed shock and outrage that the robbers were daring enough to violate an area regarded as holy ground.

The temple, as well as an authentic Indian restaurant on the compound, opened as usual yesterday.

Temple president Seeta Mahabir said the robbers, who were armed with a gun, cutlass and crowbar, did not enter the temple itself. They gained entry by breaking through a door in the administration section, then tied up the caretaker and a female security officer.

“They ransacked the whole place and took his money then they moved to the spiritual head office and that’s where they found the vault. They took all of our money, then they went to the pundit’s house. They ransacked the house totally,” Mahabir said.Pundit Kumar and his family were asleep when the robbers broke into their quarters on the compound.

“They put a hand on his stomach and they say, ‘Wake up, is a hold up.’ They had gun to his head,” Mahabir said.

The pundit’s children, a twin boy and girl, were usually up at around that time to be fed. However, only the girl woke up, while her brother remained under a blanket on the bed.

According to Mahabir, who barely managed to contain her emotions, the toddler greeted the intruders and was going to embrace them when the bandits ordered her mother to put her back to sleep. They removed bracelets from the little girl’s hand.

The bandits tied up the pundit and his wife then plundered their home, taking their phones, jewelry, cash, a television and other electronic items.

“Everything is gone,” Mahabir said.

The money stolen from the temple vault was from last week’s sales at the restaurant.

No one was injured but the family was traumatised by the experience. It was the first time that the temple, which was established more than ten years ago, had been robbed. Mahabir said the Pundit Kumar, who did not speak to the media, is considering returning to India with his family.

“It is a violation of one’s right and a right to safety and it’s a very worrying situation,” she said.

Despite the ordeal, Pundit Kumar conducted Sunday service, which is broadcast live on 106.5 FM, from 9-11 am.

Freeport police are investigating.

Categories: News

Mickela gets support for new party

News - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:25

“The consensus is clear!”

That was the pronouncement from Dr Ronald Roopnarine, chairman of yesterday’s meeting by the Panday family and supporters to discuss formation of a new political party.

Roopnarine made the declaration after hearing a loud “Yes!” from a large cross-section of attendees at the meeting after the question was put to them at the climax of the session at Gaston Court, Chaguanas.

He confirmed that moves will be made in the coming weeks by former UNC MP Mickela Panday and her supporters to form the party.

“We’ve received the mandate from the floor and we shall be acting in this regard,” he said.

However, not all of the people who packed the Gaston Court auditorium, including many past supporters of the PNM, UNC and COP, supported the plan for a new political party. Some, like ex-PNMite Louis Lee Sing, urged Panday to do ground work across T&T first and get views.

However, Roopnarine said: “While there were some with alternative views, we have to go with the majority view. In terms of democracy, the majority spoke and said yes.”

The Gaston Court auditorium, where there was standing room only at the height of the event, was decorated with posters with the words It’s Time and a photo of Panday.

Her father, UNC founder and former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, attended the event and was the centre of attention, with many speakers paying tribute to him but he did not address the gathering.

Notable among the crowds were UNC Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh, who was dressed in yellow, suspended PNM activist Harry Ragoonanan, well known PNMite Dane Wilson, New National Vision political leader Fuad Abu Bakr, former NAR Finance Minister Selby Wilson and former UNC MPs Adesh Nanan, John Humphrey Subhas Panday and Carlos John. Westmoorings businessman Rocky Garcia, Venezuela-born activist Yesenia Gonzales, UNC’s Brian Stone, COP’s Ghassan Yousef and hairdresser and animal rights activist Jowelle de Souza were also in the crowd.

Roopnarine, a UWI lecturer said Panday and her supporters are concerned about T&T’s current “chaotic direction” and plan to chart a path forward in unity.

In her address, Panday listed ills plaguing T&T, including hopelessness among young people. She said political parties aren’t formed by a select group of people, so it was decided to do something different and give people an opportunity to talk.

“Your response here has reinforced that there is hope for Trinidad and Tobago but it takes hard work, determination and genuine interest in country. Today the decision is up to you. You must decide. The time is now to inject adrenaline into the political bloodstream. I feel we’re in the majority.”

Categories: News


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