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Champs T&T start positive at CAZOVA tourney

Sports - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 06:27

T&T made a bold statement in its opening match and quest for a hat-trick of titles at the Men’s CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Championships at the Ismay Van Wilgen Sports Hall in Suriname yesterday.

The three-time champions took 86 minutes to record a 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 triumph over Haiti, in the first game during the morning session programme.

Skipper Ryan Stewart led from the front for T&T with 13 points and Akim Bushe (11) also in double figures on the scoreboard, but the game’s leading scorer was Jean Phillipe Bayou with 15 kills in his 16 points for Haiti.

T&T had the 39-34 edge in spikes and led 10-4 in blocked shots, but were completely dominant (10-1) on serve with Stewart contributing 60 per cent of the points.

And since the defending champs had not even trained at the venue before, the fact that they prevailed in straight sets was an ominous sign for their future opponents—Barbados followed by Suriname and Bahamas the next morning, respectively.

T&T spent most of yesterday recovering from jetlag after their flight arrived very late and coach Sean Morrison pointed out that, “We started slowly and as a result of not getting in a practice session”.

The former national player said he was very content with the way his players were able to improve as the match progressed. He said Haiti played very well.

Stewart echoed the sentiments of his former teammate and expects the team to perform at the higher level next time out.

Haiti coach Yves Larrieux stated: “We played well, but made too many mistakes at bad moments.”

Their captain Christian Toussaint said: “It was a learning experience and hopes that it will propel them to win our other two games in the round-robin stage of the tournament”.

After this stage ends on Tuesday morning, the top two teams will battle for the title during the night session, following the bronze-medal match.

Categories: News

GREAUX TRAPS NACAC SPRINT GOLD

Sports - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 06:12

Reigning national 200 metres champion Kyle Greaux captured the men’s 200 metres gold medal when he stopped the clock at 20.11 seconds at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Senior Track and Field Championships in Toronto, Canada, yesterday.

Greaux got the better of hometown favourite Aaron Brown who clocked 20.20 seconds for silver and Nigel Ellis of Jamaica who secured the bronze medal behind a time of 20.57 seconds.

In Friday’s semifinal run, Greaux posted 20.74 seconds to secure his place in the final, while his national teammate Nathan Farinha could only finish fifth in heat two in 21.70 seconds which denied him a shot at the title.

In the women’s equivalent, Semoy Hackett finished fifth in 23.27 seconds which was an improvement from Friday’s 23.31 for third place in the semifinals. Reyare Thomas who qualified with a time of 23.62 in fourth place, therefore, advancing as one of the fastest losers finished eighth in the medal run in 23.73 seconds.

The race was won by Jamaican Shericka Jackosn in 22.64 seconds with Crystal Emmanuel of Canada second in 22.67 and American Phyllis third in 22.91 seconds.

Cleopatra Borel followed up her gold medal triumph at the recently concluded Central American and Caribbean (CAC Games) Championships in Colombia with a silver medal yesterday. She threw the ‘iron-ball’ a distance of 17.83 metres on her first and third throws in an effort to challenge American Maggie Ewen, who achieved 18.22 metres in her first and fourth throws with Jessica Ramsey another American came in third with 17.80 metres from her first two throws after fouling four other attempts.

National long jump champion, Andwuelle Wright finished fifth with a best of 7.80 metres he registered on his last jump. of his seven attempts.

The top three places were occupied by Marquis Dendy of the USA (8.29m), Tajay Gayle of Jamaica (8.24m) and his teammate Ramone Bailey who did 8.09m.

In the men’s discus, T&T’s Akeem Stewart did not finish in the six-man field.

In the men’s 4x100 metres sprint relay, the T&T quartet Nathan Farinha, Johnathan Farinha, Jalen Purcell and anchor Greaux captured the bronze medal in 38.89 seconds. Canada won the gold in 38.56 seconds from Barbados (38.69) with Jamaica fourth (38.96) followed by the Turks and Caicos next in 41.21 as the USA did not finish.

In the women’s race, the team of Tyra Gittens, Khalifa St Fort, who was sixth in the women’s 100 metres title run in 11.28 seconds, Hackett and Thomas in that order, did not finish the race as the USA captured gold (42.50), Jamaica the silver (43.33) and Canada (43.50) secured the bronze medal.

Jehue Gordon, who qualified for yesterday’s final in fourth place with a time of 50.02 seconds finished seventh in the final behind a time of 50.12 seconds. Kyron McMaster of the IVB won the gold medal in 48.18 seconds with Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte next in 48.91 and American Khallifah Rosser third in 49.13 seconds.

In the women’s 400 metres contest, local girl Sparkle Mc Knight crossed sixth behind a time of 56.33 seconds.

The event was won by American Shamier Little, who clocked an impressive 53.32 seconds followed by Jamaica’s Janieve Russell (53.81) second with another American Georgranne Moline third in 54.26 seconds.

In the women’s triple jump event, T&T Ayanna Alexander finished sixth with a best leap of 12.94 metres. Shanieka Rickets of Jamaica jumped 14.25 metres to win the gold from Tori Franklyn of the USA whom did a 14.09 jump and Dominica’s Thea Noeliva Lafon finished third with a leap of 13.74 metres.

On Saturday, Tyra Gittens came up just short of the podium showing after a leap of 6.25 metres in the women’s long jump event. American Sha’keela Saunders jumped 6.60m to bag the gold ahead of her compatriot Quanesha Burks (6.59m) with the bronze going to Jamaican Tisanna Hickling, who recorded a distance of 6.38m.

Hurdler Ruebin Walters registered a time of 13.72 seconds for a fifth-place finish in the men’s 110 metres hurdlers event title run.

Jamaica’s Hansie Parchment won the run in 13.28 seconds from American Aleec Harris (13.49) with Barbadian Shane Brathwaite third in 13.52 seconds.

Categories: News

Unions warned about looming job crisis

Business - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:28

Labour leaders must be like politicians, seeking members’ interests only when they need them. That was the advice from Dr Andre Vincent Henry, director, Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies, at a forum on Social Protection hosted at the school’s Valsayn campus.

“It cannot just be about every three years you do a collective labour agreement. I will submit to you that some trade unionists are like that, every three years they come to mobilise you to protest for a collective labour agreement,” he said.

Henry said trade unions must go beyond collective bargaining into broader issues that affect the modern worker.

“Non-standard employment is going to become more and more the norm in the Caribbean. We need to be thinking how to organise workers who are engaged in non-standard forms of employment. This affects employment security and it affects earnings. Workers in non-standard arrangements tend to have limited control over when they work and how many hours they work.”

He also warned of a global job crisis where there will be insufficient jobs for the next generation, noting an international trend of “weakening and dismantling of labour laws.”

“There is wage despair, workers are worried about rising inequality, family incomes are in crisis and minimum wages are insufficient to lead a decent life. There is a failure on the part of governments in addressing these crises, ” Henry said.

Job creation results in more robust and inclusive poverty reducing growth, he said, adding that there is proof that the economies of developing countries which invested in creating quality jobs grew faster and there were lower levels of income inequality.

“A foreign direct investment approach that seeks to portray the jurisdiction as low wage, is in a sense, shooting yourself in the foot,” he said.

Michael Annisette, general secretary of the National Trade Union Centre, encouraged workers at the forum to move away from past stereotypes that they are only able to sell their labour, while the “one per cent” that owns big businesses are the ones influencing important pieces of legislation.
“Workers must also own businesses and have a voice at the highest political levels, he said.

Categories: News

Imbert: NIF oversubscribed by 50 per cent

Business - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:26

In a series of tweets over the weekend, Finance Minister Colm Imbert hailed the success of the Government’s $4 billion National Investment Fund (NIF) which he said had been oversubscribed by more than 50 per cent. The offer period for the bond ended on Thursday.

In one of the three messages via his Twitter account, Imbert wrote: “Overwhelming vote of confidence from the public in the NIF Bonds. Congratulations to all who worked on putting together the NIF prospectus; on the market research; on the advertising and marketing campaign; on the investor outreach programme. Largest single bond offer in T&T ever.”

In another he stated: “NIF Bonds offer oversubscribed by over 50 per cent. As per prospectus, priority will be given to individuals.”

This was followed by another tweet: “$4B NIF bond issue has been very successful. All targets have been met. Special thanks to the hard working teams at the MOF, FCB, EY.”

Notification of allotments is expected on August 30, and refunds will be given on September 3. The bonds will be listed on the T&T Stock Exchange from September 4.

Because they have been oversubscribed, individual investors will be given priority and everyone else will receive a pro-rated allotment.

The bond issue was rated as investment grade quality with a high level of creditworthiness by regional rating agency Caribbean Information and Credit Ratings Services Ltd (Caricris). It was available from July 12 priced at $1,000 per unit and comprises assets transferred to the Government from CL Financial (CLF) and its subsidiaries.

Government issued the high interest tax-free bonds to recover funds owed from its $23 billion bailout of Clico after the insurance giant’s 2009 collapse.

The bonds were available in three tranche: five years (4.5 per cent), 12 years (5.7 per cent) and 20 years (6.6 per cent )

Categories: News

Investigate purchase of Coast Guard vessels

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:03

Political activist Devant Maharaj has written to Australia’s Attorney General Christian Porter calling for an investigation into T&T’s planned AU$100 million purchase of two new Coast Guard vessels from Austal.

Maharaj revealed the correspondence yesterday during a press conference at the law chambers of attorney and maritime law expert Nyree Alphonso in Port-of-Spain. He said the complaint, which was also forwarded to that country’s Opposition Leader and transparency institute, centres around the absence of proper procurement procedures for a contract signed by the T&T Government with the Australian shipbuilder.

The contract was signed in July when Austal representatives came to T&T following a visit by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and a Government delegation to its headquarters earlier this year. The proposed deal is to be financed through a loan arrangement with the T&T Government.

“The Australian Government supports ethical business practices and the prosecution of those who engage in illegal practices, your office has a responsibility not only to the people of Australia but also to that of T&T to ensure that this $100 million deal was conducted in conformity with international best procurement practices,” Maharaj wrote.

Porter has acknowledged receipt of the correspondence, which was sent, last Thursday, but has not responded substantively.

Maharaj said he first became concerned when he noticed that the deal was struck without the input of government technocrats or officials from the Coast Guard.

“I ask the question if the Australian PM had visited T&T and decided to buy $100 million in pan, without any sort of expert advice, would the Australian people and Parliament be as equally as accepting as we in Trinidad have been?” he asked.

Alphonso, who has been critical of Government’s handling of the procurement of vessels for the inter-island ferry service, also raised concerns about the deal with Austal. She noted that T&T had a relationship with the company dating back to 2009 when Government ordered six patrol vessels for the Coast Guard.

“Within months of the vessels arriving here, many of them were not operational or badly operational,” she said.

Alphonso claimed the vessels had design flaws which made them unsuitable for rough seas like those between Trinidad and Tobago.

She produced a report from the New South Wales Police Force which showed that it had experienced similar issues with the Austal patrol vessels in its fleet.

In addition with the suitability of the vessels, Alphonso noted that Austal does not have a large presence in the western hemisphere.

“We are buying two Cape class 58-foot vessels and I cannot find a single country in the world who have purchased one of those vessels. Isn’t that interesting?” Alphonso said.

Noting that Austal and fellow Australian manufacturer INCAT were the only producers of fast ferries in the world, Alphonso said Government should consider the latter as the T&T Spirit and Express and other leased ferries were all produced by the latter.

“Their aesthetics value tends to be greater than an INCAT vessel, but when you are looking for a vessel to give 15 to 20 years service, I don’t think aesthetics is what you are looking for,” Alphonso said.

Categories: News

Weekend murders take toll to 336

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:01

Police are investigating murders in Arima, Blanchisseuse and Laventille between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

At Tecoma Boulevard in La Horquetta, Arima, at around 6.45 pm on Friday evening, Ariel Thomas, 30, was in the gallery of his home when an intruder jumped the front wall.

The man shot Thomas several times in the head and chest. He was taken to the Arima District Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Less than 12 hours later, homicide detectives were summoned to the scene of a stabbing at a beach house in Blanchisseuse.

According to reports, the incident occurred at around 6 am. Garfield Pickering, 47, the caretaker for the beachhouse, was arguing with a group of men when they reportedly drew knives and stabbed him several times. He died on the way to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. The suspects were in custody up to late yesterday.

The latest incident took place at Mango Alley, Laventille, at around 4 pm on Saturday afternoon. Residents reported hearing gunshots and found 36-year-old Anthon Cox lying at the side of the road with several gunshot wounds. He died on the scene.

These murders and the death of a victim from a shooting in D’Abadie last week, raised the murder toll for the year to 336.

In that incident, Alika Scipio, Timmy Rangopaul, Tremaine Paul and 15-year-old Karimah Abdullah were shot while driving along Boy’s Lane in D’Abadie, at around 8 pm on Wednesday night.

Scipio, 25, of Laventille and Rangopaul, 25, a PH taxi driver from Oropune Gardens, Piarco, died at the scene.

Paul, 19, of Maloney Gardens and the teenager from St Anns were taken to hospital for treatment. Paul succumbed to his injuries on Saturday morning. Abdullah remains warded in hospital. No arrests have been made in connection with the now triple murder. Investigations are continuing.

Categories: News

Thanksgiving in T&T for Thai cave rescue

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:00

The power of co-operation and friendship was highlighted yesterday when the Thai Consulate hosted a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate the success of the international rescue mission for 12 young boys and their football coach from a cave in northern Thailand last month.

Speaking at the event at the consulate in Belmont, Honorary Consul Joan Wilson said the operation was made a success through the involvement of several countries. She thanked the countries whose nationals participated.

“Their active participation in the rescue mission is testimony to the remarkable strength of international friendship, co-operation and teamwork,” she said.

“One of the striking aspects of rescue was the way it brought the international community together as everyone pushed aside their differences and worked for a shared common goal and with a spirit of common humanity.”

Wilson said 10,000 people participated, including 2,000 soldiers and 200 divers and representatives from 100 government agencies.

As part of yesterday’s ceremony, Wilson lit 13 candles in tribute to those who participated, including former Royal Thai Navy Seal Petty Officer First Class Saman Kuna, who died while assisting in the 18-day operation.

In brief remarks, British High Commissioner Tim Stew said the operation showed the power of selfless acts of quiet bravery.

“It is the definition of bravery to put the lives of others before your own,” he said as he noted that his country’s prime minister had personally thanked members of the British Cave Rescue Council that participated. Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy John McIntyre said the US Pacific Command sent a search and rescue team to assist. McIntyre said he was amazed by the boys’ will to survive and the dedication of the volunteers to risk their lives for strangers.

Quoting legendary US actor John Wayne, he added: “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Caricom Tedwin Herbert delivered remarks on behalf of the T&T Government.

On 23 June, 12 boys went exploring in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province with their football coach and ended up trapped deep inside a flooded cave.

Efforts to locate the group were hampered by rising water levels and strong currents, and no contact was made for more than a week. The rescue effort expanded into a massive operation amid intense worldwide public interest. On 2 July, after advancing through narrow passages and muddy waters, British divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton found the group alive on an elevated rock about 4 kilometres from the cave mouth. Between July 8 and 10 all of the boys and their coach were rescued from the cave by an international team.

Categories: News

Special training to benefit hearing impaired

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:58

As part of its effort to improve services for differently-abled students, the Ministry of Education recently completed a two-week sign-language exercise for 22 members of the Student Support Services Division.

Officials said it was part of a wider initiative aimed at increasing the sign language proficiency of officers and coincided with the ministry’s thrust to cater specifically for students with special needs.

Ten special education teachers recently participated in the Certificate in Teacher Orientation and Professional Development for Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Learners offered by the University of the West Indies in collaboration with Gallaudet University.

The programme took place from July 9 - 14 at the Cascade School for the Deaf courtesy the T&T Association for the Hearing Impaired. The Ministry, through its School Supervision and Management Division, oversees the Cascade School for the Deaf and the Audrey Jeffers School For The Deaf in Marabella.

Additionally, deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstream schools benefit from the provision of teachers of the deaf and interpreter assistants at El Dorado West and East Secondary Schools, South East Port of Spain, and Marabella South Secondary.

Applications are currently being short-listed for the employment of additional interpreter assistants in preparation for the new academic year.

Categories: News

Princes Town man charged with murder

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:58

A Princes Town man will appear before a San Fernando Magistrate today charged with the murder of Curtis Marcano who was shot and left to die in a track near his home.

The shooting occurred on July 17 and Marcano succumbed to his injuries eight days later at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Homicide officers, led by PC Lewis, conducted investigations and arrested a 28-year-old man of Teesdale Road, Mandingo, Indian Walk. He spent the weekend in police custody. After investigations were completed, a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and instructions were given for a charge of murder to be laid.

Meanwhile, a man from Morvant and a woman from St James, who beat and robbed a Williamsville businessman on Thursday, will also appear in court.

The couple is believed to have robbed the businessman around 3.42pm. The victim, 37, told police he was conducting sales when two people entered his business place and announced a robbery.

He handed over a quantity of cash and in the struggle that ensued the victim was beaten with a piece of iron. The assailants escaped in a silver Nissan Tiida which was later intercepted in Ste Madeleine by members of the Rapid Response Unit and the Southern Division Task Force.

The couple spent the weekend in police custody and will appear in court today.

Categories: News

PM leads tributes to VS Naipaul

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:50

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has extended condolences to the family of novelist and Nobel Laureate, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, who died Saturday at his home in Britain, six days shy of his 86th birthday.

“This proud son of T&T established himself as an icon in the literary arts on the global stage and his world-renowned achievements caused his birthplace to shine in a positive light,” he said in a statement issued shortly after news of Naipaul’s death.

Rowley said the Nobel Laureate was “unwavering in his resolve to tell his stories as he saw fit. Moreover, his strength of character was responsible in no small part for his renowned success.

“His literary works will always remain a testimony of his strength and amazing talent as well as ensure that he will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace,” Rowley said.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar described Sir Vidia’s works as inspiring and uplifting.

“For people of my generation, the children of the post-Colonial society that was Trinidad and Tobago, a society and people struggling to find and assume our identity after centuries of being ruled as marginal addendums to a social, economic and political framework that previously treated us as merely tolerated outcasts, Sir Vidia’s work was inspiring and uplifting.

“Like so many of my local and regional contemporaries, I would have been raised on books from Europe and England which described and deified people, cultures and civilisations that essentially reflected all that I could never be, until, as teenager and young adult I read Miguel Street, The Mystic Masseur and A House for Mr Biswas.

“And it was in these works, still so dear and personal to me, as they also are undoubtedly to many other of my countrymen and women, that Sir Vidia’s greatest contribution to my country and the world became not only clear, but inspiring in the greatest possible way,” Persad-Bissessar said.

His widow, Lady Naipaul who described Sir Vidia as “a giant in all that he achieved” said he died “surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour.”

Locally, people took to social media to post their tributes to Sir Vidia.

Columnist Ira Mathur shared a photo of her son at an event with the Nobel Laureate during his 2008 visit to T&T and wrote on Twitter: “I heard of his death in the middle of a family celebration. Something shattered in me. The greatest writer in the English Language dead at 85. #Walcott, now him. #CaribbeanLiterature. Thank you for the words #SirVidia.”

On Facebook, Nigel A Campbell recalled his encounter with the renown writer:

“The UWI SPEC hall was ram, and all I thinking was, ‘if I don’t get up early to join that line, he might only sign a few books and leave.’ So you could imagine the scramble when his readings were over, and the announcement was made to form a line for signings. So here I was in the line with my ratty copy of the first American edition of his first novel, The Mystic Masseur. (US$5 on eBay in 2001. Some people don’t value “old books”) I nearly left the book in my car thinking that he wouldn’t want to sign an old book.

(My pal Afra and his mother said, ‘nah bring it.’)

“So you could imagine my horror when Vidia wife, Nadira, grab the microphone and said, ‘Sir Vidia won’t be signing old books, only new books purchased at the event.

“At this point, I was three from the front of the line. Someone earlier handed him random pieces of paper to sign so they could have his signature. He get vex or she get vex, I ain’t know who to blame now.

“I turned to my right, and his agent Gillon Aitken standing next to me, watched me dead in my eye and said, ‘don’t worry, he will sign that.’

“Aitken shepherded my book to the author. I smile inside.

“We reach the man, he flip it, he turn it back to front. He said, ‘I haven’t seen this in a long time.’ He glanced at me. He was not impressed, I guess, as he said nothing to me.

“He signed it quickly and pushed it aside and looked to the next person in line. I was still rambling to him, “thanks for your presence, for your writing,” but he moved on.

“Now that he is gone, my $5 investment has taken on a new significance. An encounter that lasted all of 30 seconds maximum is now an heirloom. (My daughter likes to write.) Thank you, Sir Vidia. RIP.”

Sir Vidia, who was born in Chaguanas on August 17, 1932, wrote more than 30 books, won the Booker Prize in 1971 and the Nobel Prize in literature in 2001, following the late St Lucian Derek Walcott who won the award in 1992.

The Nobel Prize in literature committee awarded Sir Vidia for “having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.

“Naipaul is a modern philosopher. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony,” it added.

Sir Vidia, who as a child was read Shakespeare and Dickens by his father, was raised a Hindu and attended Queen’s Royal College in Trinidad. He moved to Britain and enrolled at Oxford University in 1950 after winning a government scholarship.

His first book, The Mystic Masseur, was published in 1951 and a decade later he published his most celebrated novel, A House for Mr Biswas, which took over three years to write.

The editor of the Mail on Sunday, Geordie Greig, a close friend of Sir Vidia, said his death leaves a “gaping hole in Britain’s literary heritage” but there is “no doubt” that his “books live on”.

His first wife, Patricia Hale, died in 1996 and he went on to marry Pakistani journalist, Nadira.

Categories: News

PM invited to international ganja conference

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:47

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and members of his Cabinet have been invited to attend an international cannabis conference to be held in Jamaica next month, to help in their ongoing discussions on decriminalisation and possible legalisation of marijuana.

Douglas Gordon, founder of CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo, extended the open invitation to T&T’s policy makers during a telephone conversation with Guardian Media.

The third annual CanEx conferences takes place in Montego Bay, Jamaica, September 27 to 29.

Keynote speakers for the event are former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, former television host in the United States, Montel Williams, and Bruce Linton, founder of Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC).

Gordon said he believes if government officials attend the conference their eyes will be opened to the medicinal and economic benefits of marijuana and the need to address the laws surrounding it.

“I had people who gave me a mouthful the first time I held this conference as to why what I was doing was anathema to good sense or being raised properly and these people have come full circle.

“These people are now huge advocates for the industry. They understand not just the power of the medicine—which is significant and that really is the main point—but they also understand the economic opportunities to be unlocked by countries that have been otherwise challenged for a very long time,” Gordon said.

“And when you put those two things together it is an incredible, not just compelling, argument that says you cannot wait any longer. I would encourage not just government ministers but also members of the medical fraternity, business people, potential investors, healthcare practitioners, cultivators, farmers, people in agriculture—a wide section of individuals—who should be looking at this industry,” he said.

Gordon said especially given the medicinal benefits of marijuana, we have a “moral obligation” to move it forward responsibly.

Williams has used medical cannabis products to effectively manage the symptoms of his multiple sclerosis (MS) since he was diagnosed with the disease in 1999.

At the height of his television career Williams experienced his first symptoms of MS—a sharp and 24-hour neuropathic pain in his feet and legs. When pharmaceuticals proved ineffective, his doctor recommended medical cannabis as part of his treatment.

Ever since, Williams has been using cannabis products as a medication to manage the debilitating symptoms of his MS.

Gordon, son of businessman Ken Gordon, said he grew up in a household, like most others here, where it was thought that marijuana was a bad thing. He has said, however, his mind has changed dramatically on the issue.

“I was raised to know marijuana was bad but as I got older and got more information (my mind changed). I understand why my parents did it; it wasn’t malicious. At the same token I understand it was based on information they did not have and that is the key now, there is no excuse for ignorance. There is too much information out there and it is not a fly-by-night information. It is empirical data from top institutions around the world and there is no reason to second-guess the research, no reason to not be informed about it,” he said.

The CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo is a business-to-business conference that brings together cannabis industry professionals from 20 countries across North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and South and Central America to discuss the latest advances in the medicinal, health/wellness, legal, regulatory, business and investment landscapes.

The event features presentations, panel discussions and exhibitions from experts, policy-makers, researchers and business people, and provides a professional platform for knowledge sharing and high-level business networking.

The conference began in 2016 when Gordon said he recognised the issue of marijuana legalisation was moving quickly at a global level.

Gordon believes the Caribbean region has an important part to play in the global movement.

He said apart from the important medicinal benefits to be derived from marijuana, governments need to understand that the industry can also stimulate economic growth.

“A lot of governments are having conversations around the taxable income or taxable value and that is an absolutely important conversation but the economic impact is much more significant than that,” he said.

Gordon said while Colorado—the first state in the US was able to achieve US$150 million in taxable revenue from marijuana—more importantly 15,000 jobs were created as a result of the industry.

He said the economic impact of the industry to Colorado was calculated at US$ 2.5 billion.

“So this is not only a new opportunity in terms of taxes but it is a huge opportunity to create this whole economic ecosystem that benefits individuals as well as benefits the whole economy,”

Gordon said given the state of the global economy, now is the perfect time to act on the issue.

T&T is expected to hold its first local public consultation on the issue of the decriminalisation and possible legalisation of marijuana soon.

This was the key outcome as cannabis activists met with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Fitzgerald Hinds for around two hours last month.

The meeting between the Government and the activists was facilitated after Rowley received a petition from Caribbean Collective for Justice (CCJ) head Nazma Muller which featured 10,000 signatures calling for the legalisation of marijuana.

Muller and her team, including criminologist Darius Figueira, CCJ director Denise Carew, Colin Stephenson, co-founder of T&T’s first incorporated marijuana law reform NGO, C420, and media personality Joshua Seemungal attended the meeting.

Categories: News

Displaced vendors still to be relocated

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:41

Vendors from the Drag Brothers Mall are still uncertain about their future, says custodian of the facility, Winston Scott. He made the comment following a meeting of the vendors who were displaced following a fire at the mall last week.

‘I do not think the authorities are ready to give us a time frame on when they will relocate us. We have not reached a complete understanding on the time frame that would be used from there to the Eastern Market, Charlotte Street. People are not even satisfied that they want us to go to that market,” he said.

The vendors met with officials at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development after a fire gutted the Drag Brothers Mall at Independence Square.

The building housed approximately 26 booths with two occupants to every booth, Scott said. They have been told by the authorities that they will be relocated to Eastside Plaza on Charlotte Street.

Scott said Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen, an attorney, is giving the vendors legal advice. He was at their meeting with officials of the Housing Ministry.

“The lawyer is trying to establish the fact that we vendors must get a written agreement that once that building is built the people who go to the Eastside Plaza must be returned to it,” Scott said.

“The authorities are saying that they cannot give us a time frame on what will happen next. They have to go to Cabinet, they have to go to the Ministry. We have reached a point where we will hold on and see how long it will take.”

According to Scott, the displaced vendors are struggling to make ends meet.

“They cannot make any money. That is the first thing to look at. People were always scared of the Charlotte Street market. From what we know, no one has ever had a success story inside there,” he said.

Categories: News

PM confirms PNM re-election bid

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:40

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has confirmed that he will be seeking re-election as political leader of the PNM. He said he has the right to prevent “imps” from entering the executive to ruin the party and on September 30 the party will be called upon under the one-man one-vote system to vote not just for a political leader but for executive members.

Speaking at the party’s family day at the Edinburg 500 grounds, Chaguanas, Dr Rowley reminded PNM supporters that he was the one who led the charge to change from the delegate system to an individual one.

“I am putting you on notice that I intend to put my name forward to lead the PNM into the next term,” he said. “You have the right to vote for whoever you want to lead this party but I have a right to prevent you from electing into the party’s executive imps who will damage this party.”

He added that there are those who criticised the party over the last seven to five years but had maintained their party membership.

“I take careful note of who offered themselves. I will stay silent on some and I will not stay silent on others because I have a responsibility to protect the party.

“There is one particular imp who spent the last four years before the election going to every mosque in this country saying Rowley is against Muslims. You want to run in party office now.. meet me in Balisier House.

“There is another one who took the position that this skin colour of mine disqualified me from being leader of the PNM,” Rowley said, adding that there are “raggamuffins” within the party.

He said in 2015 he took the position that he would not get involved in the campaign but this time around he will be fielding a full slate.

“There’s nothing worse than going to battle and at the first sound of the enemies’ canon those behind you start to shoot you in the back,” he said.

Dr Rowley also took a dig at the media for what he called “encouraging stupidness.”

He said he had gone to spend a few days in Tobago.

“I maintain a functional house in Tobago on my grandfather’s land. As Prime Minister I am entitled to 30 days leave a year. I take three of 30 days and go home to Tobago and the next thing I know that is the biggest thing in Trinidad and Tobago because the media in this country has encouraged stupidness,” he said.

“Watson Duke can call up the media and tell the media the Prime Minister is in Tobago and what is worse the Prime Minister is in Tobago driving around with his glass down and that is news,” Rowley said.

Focusing on crime, he said the matter will not be politicised as criminals did not care what party card people held.

He also criticised the Opposition for “praying for Maxie Cuffie to dead” instead of supporting the La Horquetta/Talparo MP during his time of illness.

Categories: News

Rowley: Roget refused to meet with me

News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 22:38

Don’t threaten me. That’s the warning Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is sending to OWTU President General Ancel Roget. Dr Rowley said he had no quarrel with the union leader and had invited him for talks but he refused.

“He refused to speak to me as Prime Minister. He preferred to stand on the pavement and shout and I understand he is coming to kneel down outside the Prime Minister’s residence to march,” he said.

“I want to say to the leader of the OWTU I have no quarrel with you but get your facts straight. The house in St Ann’s is not my house.”

Rowley, in his address to supporters at the PNM’s Family and Sports Day at the Edinburgh 500 Recreational Grounds yesterday, commented on Roget’s call for workers to gather outside the Prime Minister’s official residence at St Ann’s on August 26 to kneel and pray for Petrotrin. The union leader claimed the State-owned entity is on the brink of disaster.

The PNM leader, who declared that his homes are at Goodwood Park and Mason Hall, said: “The house at St Ann’s is a Government office and those of us who work 24 hours a day work at the back of that house.

“And if I too was getting $100,000 for doing nothing I would walk around the country and kneel down too. But let me say to the workers of Petrotrin, as I said to the leader of the OWTU, don’t threaten me. I will not be threatened because I am not in fear of losing any election.”

Dr Rowley said as Prime Minister his door is open for talks with anyone in the country who represents workers and citizens. However, he reiterated that Petrotrin must be restructured and he assured workers of the energy company that they will not be thrown out on the pavement. In fact, they will be offered equity in the new company.

“At this point in the country’s history what has to be done has to be done and what has to be done is that Petrotrin has to be restructured,” he said.

“We are not engaging in any old talk about who earns what at Petrotrin. We are engaging in looking after the interests of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago and so far as Petrotrin is concerned we are engaging in ensuring that whatever the country has to offer in the hydrocarbon sector under Petrotrin, the interests of the workers and the families of Petrotrin are taken care of. That is not taken care of by high paid people walking around the country trying to create mayhem.”

Dr Rowley recalled that when an offer was made to TCL workers to take certain advantages, they were encouraged not to do so.

“I want to tell Petrotrin workers when the steel industry collapsed around the world and our steel industry owners in Trinidad and Tobago wanted to talk to the workers there were those who were telling them don’t talk to the owners. The owners then closed the doors and left a liquidator in charge,” he said.

He added that the PNM is a political party and did not hide the fact that it sees its fortunes in the political arena. He urged Petrotrin workers to distinguish between a trade union and a political party.

Responding to comments by Public Services Association (PSA) leader Watson Duke, who is demanding that each public servant be paid $15,000 a month as part of settlement outstanding monies owed to them, Dr Rowley said public servants are not being neglected.

He said: “Let me not talk to Watson Duke at all. Let me talk to the thousands of public servants who look for their monthly pay roll from the Government every month. This is a Government facing the difficulty we have faced...There has never been a month you have not been paid.”

He gave public servants the choice of either following Duke or the Government.

On the progress of the National Investment Fund (NIF), Dr Rowley said it was oversubscribed by 50 per cent. Government intended to get offers of $4 billion but the figure stood at $6 billion.

He also stated that the F his detractors gave him for his performance is high on the scale of the alphabet.

“Down on the alphabet you have a W an O a T and they tell me that means waste of time. You have a U meaning undermine. “So let me settle with my F because if I had gotten an A they have those who say depending on how you approach the matter A can be a well-known...let me stop right there,” he said.

Categories: News

T&TFA seeks meeting with US Embassy

Sports - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 08:17

After the United States Embassy here in T&T put all the blame from T&T national girls Under-15 team not securing visas to participate in a CONCACAF tournament in the United States earlier this week, through a news release on Friday by the Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, John Mc Intyre, the T&T Football Association (TTFA) headed by David John-Williams, the president issued the following release.

It reads: ‘The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has taken note of the recent statement issued by the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, Mr John McIntyre.

With utmost respect for the sovereign authority of the Chargé d’Affaires, and based on the already agreed plan of action decided by the TTFA given the matter surrounding visa applications for our Girls Under-15 Team, the TTFA will be seeking an audience with the U.S. Embassy through the Chargé d’Affaires.

Notably, it remains our desire to maintain the cordial relationship we have developed with the U.S. Embassy over these many years. A relationship that augurs well for the TTFA and all stakeholders of football. Therefore, following an opportunity to meet and treat with this matter directly, with a designated official(s) of the U.S. Embassy, the TTFA will be better positioned to treat with visa-related affairs.

Additionally, we wish to state that a recent report in a local daily news publication, ascribed to the President of the TTFA, was taken out of context, and more importantly, was not sanctioned by the TTFA.”

Speaking earlier this week after the local girls’ team was not granted US Visas to attend the tournament at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, USA, T&TFA president John-Williams suggested that the governing body for the region, Concacaf, looked into the idea of hosting the event and others in the feature in other countries, because most Caribbean nations are faced with problems when trying to acquire US Visas.

However, in a strongly worded reply from them, the T&TFF was cited as being the ones to drop the ball on the matter.

According Mr. McIntyre, who wrote: “I, along with my embassy colleagues, rarely comment on visa matters due to the respect we have for the privacy of the applicants and our rules and regulations. However, I must respond to the Red Card commentary of Mr David John Williams. Why we have chosen to respond is because your failure to plan is effecting promising football (soccer) players from Trinidad and Tobago to whom we would welcome playing in the USA. In addition, your comments can adversely affect our ongoing efforts to grow our sports diplomacy programs here in T and T.

I will be blunt. Mr Williams and the TTFA just flat out dropped the ball on the visa process. Our Embassy for MONTHS noted that individuals and groups should plan well in advance for any trips to the USA. The Trinidad and Tobago Girls Under-15 representatives approached the Embassy about visas after we were closed on Tuesday, July 31 to get their visas by Friday, August 3 with the Emancipation holiday in between. No names or details about the visa applicants were provided. Even after games were rescheduled, there was too little time allowed, just two working days for an established 7-10 day process, not to mention that this is peak visa season when most people have to wait six weeks just for a visa interview. Many groups have successfully travelled to the USA by being prepared and planning in advance. In fact, if you look at our Facebook page from a few weeks ago you will see a youth team playing in the USA at a major football (soccer) tourney.

I want to take this opportunity to again ask the Trinidad and Tobago public, as we have since April, so please plan in advance for travel to the USA. Know, as you see in the news almost daily, we are committed to our relationship with the citizens of T and T at all levels, including sports diplomacy. Don’t let folks with cocoa in the sun mislead you.”

Categories: News

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News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 08:06

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Categories: News

Great Race boats on show

Sports - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 01:57

Dozens of fans came out for a final view of their favourite boats at the Chevron Great Race Boat Show at Pier2 Chaguaramas yesterday, before Saturday’s running of the 2018 edition of the T&T International Great Race event from Trinidad to Tobago.

For this year’s 50th anniversary of the event, three international participants, including Lucas Oil from the United States, will be coming to contest the 130mph ‘A’ Class, where T&T’s top racers such as Mr Solo Too, the event’s defending champion, Paramount, Motul Monster, Jumbie, Ironman and Cat Killer will compete.

The race which is now sanctioned by the world governing body for the sport—the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), will feature a standardised course that will take participants out of the gulf and straight to Scarborough for the finish, a challenging 95-mile drive.

Categories: News

Teniel forgoes Olympic track qualification bid

Sports - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 01:54

While the 1972 Munich Games were marred by the attacks and kidnapping of the Isreali Olympic Team by Palestinian terrorists within the Olympic village, the XX Olympiad also marked the last time that T&T participated in road cycling at the quadrennial competition. The quartet of Clive Saney, Anthony Sellier, Pat Gillineau and Vernon Stauble competed in the Road Race, however, since then T&T’s road participation has been all but deserted.

Leslie Rawlins, Gene Samuel, Maxwell Cheeseman and Njisane Phillip have all proudly flown the red, white and black around the banked velodrome since ’72 but the dust has been left to gather an appreciable heap on the road. This has not been due to a lack of attempts since names such as Richard Dickie and Emile Abraham immediately come to mind as those who would have creditably tried to break this drought in the past, albeit unsuccessful for their respective reasons.

The qualification for track cycling at Tokyo2020, the 12th edition of the Olympic Games since our last participation in road cycling, starts in just under a month for the Americas and the process spans a year and a half. The recent success of our track cycling program in Colombia has expectedly enticed our hopes for a yet another qualification. It is this hope that has fostered T&T’s appetite for this form of the sport.

However, Teniel Campbell has decided to defy this natural attraction and penchant for track cycling even after snatching three bronze medals on the velodrome at the recently concluded Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

Instead, the 2018 CAC Games Road gold medallist has squarely lined up the Road Race at Tokyo2020 in her cross-hairs.

Dubbed the “Caribbean Cycling Queen”, you can always find Teniel with her smile on her face. If she does not have one then the odds are that she was unhappy with her performance in a race regardless of the podium outcome. Photo credit: UCI/WCC

To bolster this decision, six (6) months into her high-performance stint at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland and the PSL cyclist has been gifted with the opportunity to ride with Cogeas-Mettler Professional Cycling Team.

Teniel will compete for the Russian based outfit for the remainder of the world calendar season until December 31st. Though this is a non-paid position in its initial phase, she will still gain UCI World Calendar points and will make her the first ever female T&T cyclist to ride with a pro cycling team. This achievement in itself is a reward for her top 10 placings in two stages of the Women’s Tour of Thailand and the SPAR Flanders Diamond Tour in Belgium earlier this year.

The Women’s Road Olympic qualification differs to that of the track and takes place over one year from October 2018. The top 22 countries in the UCI World Nation Ranking at the end of the period will receive their respective quotas.

That criterion presents itself as a steep incline on the road to Tokyo with Campbell being the only T&T representative competing in World Calendar events. The disadvantageous nature of the criterion stems from the fact that Nations will

have up to eight cyclists receiving points towards their Nation ranking.

In local parlance, this will be similar to climbing through Parlatuvier on ‘big plate’.

There are caveats however in the Olympic criteria that present opportunities for a single cyclist’s qualification. Based on Plain Sports, Bad Manners’ analysis, these are the two most likely pathways to secure the long-awaited nod:

If Teniel finishes the 2019 UCI World Individual Rankings in the top 100, she will automatically qualify Trinidad & Tobago a spot on the Road regardless of T&T’s UCI World Nation Ranking.

Or, if Teniel finishes higher than any other non-qualified nation through the UCI World Rankings at the 2019 Elite Pan American Road Cycling Championships (location to be announced), she will automatically qualify Trinidad & Tobago a spot on the Road.

Speaking recently in an interview with the World Cycling Centre, the 3x Caribbean Women’s Road Champion was buoyant and excited to start her new adventure with the Russian pro team. The decision to go against the grain was a well thought through a process with her coaches both in Switzerland and back home in T&T as Campbell has an eagerness to continuously make history. While she admitted her love for the track and her inkling to return to same for Paris2024, her eyes are set on what needs to be done.

I don’t want to choose between the two. It is possible to do both – a lot of pro women do. Why not the road in Tokyo and track in Paris in 2024? Anything is possible.

If she is successful in her bid, not only would she break an almost half of a century dry spell for road cycling but will also be the first ever female T&T cyclist to compete at the prestigious competition.

Trailblazers often view the roads to success differently. They not only see the challenging task ahead but are able to carve a way through the doubters’ roadblocks. Trinidad and Tobago stand 100% behind Teniel Campbell on her quest to make history and clearing the path that others will follow.

GARY ACOSTA
Cycling Analysis
“Certifications in nothing related to sports with an opinion on everything”
(Plain Sports, Bad Manners—@garyleeacosta)

Categories: News

Alcons soccer academy hosts 48th annual camp

Sports - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 01:50

The Alcons Soccer Academy, the oldest soccer academy in T&T is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its existence. This well-known organisation has gained its popularity for creating the brilliant platform and future for over two thousand sportsmen, mostly soccer players, by conducting the strongest form of soccer education, which resulted in hundreds of Soccer scholarships granted to the students of this institution. The organisation has also produced some finest national team players over the years.

However, this year’s camp will be the 48th edition and it will take place at UTT Valsayn Campus grounds from tomorrow and run until August 17th and then from August 20th to 24th starting at 9.00 am each day and ending at 3.00pm.

The participants will be provided with football education and exquisite exposure through the tutoring of the Alvin Corneal, a former Fifa and national coach. He’s also a former FIFA coaching Instructor to coaches and students from across the world.

His partner will be the current Technical Director of the TTFA, Anton Corneal, and a number of trained coaches will also be present to share their knowledge and experience. The regular campers register annually of the past will attend for a nominal fee as they always have over the years.

As has always been the case of the Alcons, their organisation has been offering to the youngsters who attend their academy free tuition for their everyday attendance in the St. Joseph Training Ground.

Their more recent gesture has been to offer free attendance to community kids who may be unable to afford to pay for the exposure of the great game.

The communities within the vicinity of the eastern region are offered an amount of 30 kids to attend with an entry of first come first served, either by calling 468-9114, 682-5346, or 714-3141, or dropping by the venue at 8.00 am sharp on the morning of the first day of camp.

Balls will be available for use while water, beverages and snacks will be supplied by two of the camps’ generous supporting companies of Malta Carib Alcons, Kiss Baking Co. Ltd. and Spike.

The invitation is our effort to engender the enthusiasm, unearth the natural talent which may be available and hopefully, improve the quality of football for the national teams of the future. Girls are also included.

There will be prizes for the best of the lot

Categories: News

Rocket Wheels stops Pauseforacoors

Sports - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 01:45

Pauseforacoors was stopped in her beaver-trick tracks when the John Leatuad trained Rocket Wheels made virtually all the running to run out an impressive win by one and a half lengths in the Arima Race Club feature event yesterday at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.

With the John O’Brien trained Pauseforacoors installed as the 1-5 favourite, Rocket Wheels landed a good touch for her connection as she cruised home at odds of 10/1 with favourite Pauseforacoors adrift in second with Golden Bid in third.

From the off Ronald Ali sent Rocket Wheels straight to front but she was challenged for the lead by Golden Choice with Pauseforacoors tracking and going well in third.

At the far turn, Rocket Wheels and Golden Choice were locked in battle and Kerron Khelawan sent Pauseforacoors closer to the battling leaders.

At the corner, Rocket Wheels was asked to go win her race and she quickened up nicely as Golden Choice came under pressure from the challenge with Pauseforacoors cruising into second. However, with 200 metres left to race Rocket

Wheels went into another gear and would not come back, and try as the favourite did, there was no stopping and catching Rocket Wheels on the day.

Golden Choice held on for third with Desert Dancer running on for fourth.

The time of the event was a good 1:05.20.

The day’s leading rider was Naim Samaroo who rode two winners in Sunset Clouds and Musical Score.

Categories: News

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