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Updated: 46 min 52 sec ago

Taylor is top ICC all-rounder

3 hours 58 min ago

In the latest ICC women’s rankings released on Thursday, the 26-year-old Jamaican held a handsome lead in the all-rounders rankings over second placed Ellyse Perry of Australia.

Taylor was the only West Indies player in the top 10 as Marizanne Kapp of South Africa along with the New Zealand pair of Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite rounded out the top five.

In the batting rankings, Taylor lay fifth with Aussie Meg Lanning occupying the top spot and Indian stroke-maker Mithali Raj in second.

Aggressive right-hander Deandra Dottin was installed at number eight but was the only other West Indies player in the top 20.

Taylor featured at number two in the bowling rankings behind seamer Kapp, with veteran Indian fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, third.

Off-spinner Anisa Mohammed is the only other Caribbean player in the top 20, in at number seven.

Taylor has been the most prolific all-round player for West Indies in recent years, scoring 3732 runs from 98 One-Day Interntionals at an average of 44.

She has taken 114 wickets with her off-spin at an average of 18.

The World Cup runs from June 24 to July 23 here in England.

Rowley leads U-18s to second win

3 hours 59 min ago

Chad Rowley made it 16 goals in two matches when he scored seven times as host T&T Under-18 boys water polo team improved to 2-0 courtesy a 16-4 demolition of Jamaica when the 2017 Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Swimming Championships continued at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain, Couva, yesterday.

Scorer of nine goals in T&T’s 24-8 crushing of Barbados on Thursday’s opening day, Rowley was again the main scorer for T&T with Jason Hackett adding a beaver-trick and two each from Joshua Welsh and Tyrece Joseph while Jean-Luc Hinds added the other for the 2-0 locals. For Jamaica, Cody Jones got three, and Joel Parnell, one.

However, the T&T Under-18 Boys are second on the table behind today’s opponent, Puerto Rico which followed up their 16-9 defeat of Jamaica by blasting the Barbadians 27-8 also yesterday.

T&T Under-15 Boys, will need a win today against Bahamas to avoid losing their best-of-five series, 3-0 after the visitors won their second match, 12-7 to add to Thursday’s nail-biting 12-11 win.

Once again, Gabriel Sastre was the man doing most of the damage for Bahamas with half of his team’s goals while Nicholas Wallace-Whitfield got two, and Gabriel Encinar, Thor Sasso, Damian Gomez and Thomas Iling, the others.

Ross Gillette led T&T with two goals with the quintet of Nathan Hinds, Everson Latchman, Christian Chin Lee, Yannick Robertson, and Kelvin Caesar also scoring.

Last night in the Open men competition, T&T men tackled Barbados after losing 17-4 to pre-tournament favourites Cuba while T&T women suffered a second straight loss, 18-10 to Mexico after an 11-7 loss on Thursday to Venezuela. Competition resumes from 1pm today at the same venue until June 28.

Bravo, lawyer says CWI failed to follow process

4 hours 1 min ago

Breaking his silence for the first time since the controversy erupted eight months ago, the 28-year-old said CWI’s only communication with him was to indicate that his contract had been terminated and to inform him of flight details home.

He said no CWI official had sought to engage him on the matter and he found this particularly disappointing since in the past his future to West Indies cricket.

“Even though you saw a tweet on my Twitter account, no one actually asked me if I did that,” Bravo told Massy United Insurance’s Line & Length Network in an exclusive interview set to be aired this weekend.

“I went to sleep the day after the tweet, woke up at 6:30 am trying to get myself ready to head to Zimbabwe for the Tri-Series an all of a sudden I saw two emails – one from Roland Holder (CWI cricket operations manager) and one from Richard Pybus (former CWI director of cricket) stating that my contract has been terminated and I was being sent home.

“The other email was from Roland Holder with my flight details but no one actually asked me anything.”

darren-bravo

He continued: “I was also given an ultimatum, after being sent home, to take down the tweet by 4 pm and apologise on twitter but at the end of the day no one can prove if Darren Bravo actually went on his Twitter account and tweeted that.

“There was no due process, there wasn’t anything. No one asked me anything. Up to this day, no one called me and asked me so it has been very disappointing.

“Yes I want to play cricket for West Indies again but at the end of the day when I step back onto the field, I want to be able to be happy, I want to be able to enjoy my cricket once more and that is probably something I have been lacking for the last year playing for West Indies.”

The impasse arose last November after Bravo rejected a downgraded central contract from CWI and president Dave Cameron subsequently said in a television interview that the player had not merited an enhanced retainer because of his “declining averages” and “poor performances.”

Cameron mistakenly inferred that Bravo had previous held a Grade A contract prompting a Twitter rant from the Trinidadian in which he labelled the Jamaican administrator “a big idiot.”

Barbadian lawyer Donna Symmonds, a member of Bravo’s legal team, said her client’s rights had been breached and said subsequent attempts to negotiate with CWI had ended in frustration.

Bravo is West Indies’ premier Test batsman, with 3400 runs from 49 Tests at an average of 40, including eight centuries and 16 half-centuries. (CMC)

Indians continue Trini frustration

4 hours 3 min ago

Last year, the Indian cricket team came here to play a Test match and had to sit by and look at the Queen’s Park Oval outfield and not play any cricket. A damp outfield kept them indoors. Fast forward to a year later and the rain came belting down to deny them another match at the mecca of local cricket.

A total of 39.2 overs were possible and in that time the Indians raced to 199 for three before the heavens opened to put an end to the first match of the Seagrams five-match series. The teams will return to the Oval tomorrow hoping to play the second match weather permitting.

The heavy rainfall that has been experienced in Trinidad over the last week continued and the heavy downpour at the Oval left the outfield unplayable. Earlier, the West Indies won the toss and decided to insert India, hoping to make early inroads into their batting with swing available early in the morning. The 9am start would have influenced skipper Jason Holder’s decision. However, soon after he must have regretted that decision as Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan played unfussed.

With the West Indies attack far from menacing, the duo piled on the runs much to the disappointment of the handful of spectators who showed for the match. Dhawan coming off an excellent Champions Trophy started off rapidly, while Rahane was comfortable with constructing an innings.

Soon after adjusting to the conditions of the pitch, Rahane blossomed beautifully and played an array of wonderful strokes all around the ground. The two recorded the third Indian century opening stand in the Caribbean before being separated. Young fast bowler Alzari Joseph produced a slower delivery which was scooped into the air by the right hander Rahane with his score on 62. He faced 78 balls and struck eight fours.

Yuvraj Singh followed and saw the demise of Dhawan after a wonderful knock of 87. He was trapped leg before to Devendra Bishoo playing across the line. He faced 92 balls, sending eight to the boundary and two over it. Holder then accounted for Singh (4) to retard the scoring rate.

Skipper Virat Kohli and former captain MS Dhoni then came together and was setting up nicely for a late assault when the rain arrived. Kohli was not out on 32 of 47 balls, while Dhoni was on nine.

SCOREBOARD

 

West Indies vs India

 

India innings

A Rahane c Holder b Joseph 62

S Dhawan lbw Bishoo 87

V Kohli not out 32

Y Singh c Lewis b Holder 4

MS Dhoni not out 9

Extras w 5

Total for 3 wkts (39.2ovs) 199

Fall of wkts: 132, 168, 185.

Bowling: J Holder 8-0-34-1, A Joseph 8-0-53-1, A Nurse 4-1-22-0, M Cummins 8-0-46-0, D Bishoo 10-1-39-1, J Carter 1.2-0-5-0.

Windies in need of confidence—Drakes

4 hours 4 min ago

On Thursday, the Caribbean slide plunged to their second loss of the official warm-ups and fifth defeat overall in four weeks, to be without a single win heading into the June 24 to July 23 tournament.

“Like anything else we wanted to win the cricket game. We wanted to get into the game today. We didn’t do that from a batting perspective,” Drakes said following the four-wicket defeat.

“We didn’t put the runs on the board to be able to control the game so we’re a little disappointed in today’s effort as a batting unit.”

He continued: “I don’t think it’s a matter of turning it around, it’s just a matter of getting them to understand what it takes to build a batting innings, construct a score, put a target on the board where we can defend.

“It’s about building confidence. Certainly over the next couple of days it would be getting them to focus on playing positive cricket, playing brave cricket and also playing smart cricket.”

West Indies slumped to an embarrassing 63 all out off 23.5 overs after opting to bat first at Lime Kilns Ground. They lost their last seven wickets for three runs in the space of 49 deliveries.

In-form openers Hayley Matthews (19) and Felicia Walters (14) put on 35 for the first wicket but were two of only three players in double figures.

Off-spinner Anisa Mohammed then took two wickets as South Africa lost four wickets before reaching their target in the 19th over.

Drakes said despite the loss, there were signs West Indies had what it took to compete effectively.

“Felicia is developing nicely and Hayley so far on tour she’s been getting some starts and she knows if she carries on she’s going to put this team in a strong position,” the former West Indies player pointed out.

“Anisa bowled well today, seemed to have good control. We took some wickets there and created some pressure so it would have been interesting to see if we had a score on the board how the game would have panned out.”

With captain Stafanie Taylor sitting out the contest with a slight ankle injury, Drakes said it was important to give as many players an opportuity as possible to press their case.

“We did not play with Stafanie Taylor. We’re still looking at the combinations and giving the ladies opportunities because they haven’t played much cricket back home and obviously to get the opportunity to play cricket here going into competition I think that is a positive for us.” (CMC)

IF I WERE PRIME MINISTER ...

7 hours 50 min ago

If I were Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, I would feel a sense of quiet hope in the small storm of a public protest which kitchen staff at the Port-of- Spain General Hospital chose to kick up in the aftermath of Bret, as was broadcasted on the television news on Thursday (June 22) night.

Under their noise-making, I would be encouraged by the revelation of the group’s spokeswoman that these workers have been coming up with their own designs for important utensils, such as a funnel and a swizzle, in the absence of these being supplied on time by their employer.

And I would pay special attention to what she said about workers bringing their own blenders and other utensils to make sure that they could deliver for the patients of the institution.

While I would secretly wonder at the possible causes of scarcity in the first place, I would let my heart feel uplifted at the way these workers—as it appears—are treasuring their jobs and going beyond the call of duty to serve in these times of constant complaints and threats to strike.

I would also take careful note of the spokeswoman’s complaint of the workers feeling “taken for granted.”

As a Prime Minister discerning the positive message coming from the Port-of-Spain Hospital kitchen staff workers, I would appreciate the deeper spirit of resilience, tolerance and optimism that characterises our people.

And I would look to see how my government can tap into this spirit as a means of navigating the future social storm that threatens to blow much bigger than Bret.

Rudolph Williams

St James

A WORD ON FLOODS TO THE WISE

7 hours 53 min ago

If you know, way from in front, that the land is prone to flooding, why build the family mansion there? If, for some reason, one is determined to build there, why not have the house erected several feet above the level of the flood waters?

You could still have a gallery upstairs and enjoy the view. You might still be marooned, but at least you would have all your electric appliances and expensive furniture untouched. What is a kitchen and drawing room doing on the same level as the swamp? Maybe some people like the headache of having to purchase new electrical appliances and furniture every single rainy season.

If you have to use the ground floor of your property, how about only plastic furniture and any other household equipment light weight enough to be carried upstairs? A small fridge and a micro wave oven, a two-burner stove, a couple hammocks, could be at ground level. Fix up downstairs with some small plants and light weight decorations. Make it look nice. People could still come by the house to lime.

I have no suggestions for parking cars and trucks or about the planting of the swamp land. That is beyond my imagination. I from down in town.

Lynette Joseph

Diego Martin

WE MUST DO MORE FOR ELDERLY

7 hours 53 min ago

Thursday June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Recent local events have brought this problem to the forefront of national consciousness. The death of a senior citizen on the grounds of the Port-of-Spain Hospital highlights the need for far more training of hospital personnel.

This man may have been delirious and disoriented. Pain may have attributed to any confusion or aggressive behaviour. If staff had considered certain ageing-related aspects, they could have prevented this tragedy. People forget that they, too, are growing older every day. What goes around comes around. According to the World Health Organisation, elder abuse takes many forms, including neglect.

This year, the theme of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is: Understand and End Financial Abuse of Older People: A Human Rights Issue. It’s certainly an ironic theme if we consider recent complaints against the financial sector. Financial abuse in corporations and in the home is rampant.

Earlier this week, a 32-year-old caregiver in San Fernando was convicted for stealing more than $100,000 from her 80-year-old patient. As a gerontological consultant for Age Caribbean, I have encountered a range of local instances where older people are vulnerable to financial abuse.

As a society, we have not sufficiently prepared or protected older people from the risk of fraud and victimisation. Like many other developing countries, when it comes to the way we approach policy and legislation affecting older people, we are found wanting.

This was clearly reflected in comments from the board in the TT Association of Retired Persons’ (TTARP) first magazine issue for 2017, which claimed “it may be time for our association to start agitating for its (rightful) space.” In a country where the proportion of older people is increasing at an unprecedented pace, it is naive to believe that our society will face no consequences from our mistreatment and neglect of older people.

There is a glaring need for more sensitivity, training and policy implementation to support a sustainable society. Too many questions, complaints and tragedies surround our ageing population. But there are resources and solutions available to address this.

Remember, nobody is immune from old age. Ministers, doctors, taxi drivers, teachers...we are all human beings at the end of the day and we all deserve to grow old safely and with dignity. Let us all do our part.

Age Caribbean is doing our part by helping to raise awareness about the seriousness of this year’s theme of financial abuse.

Rochelle Amou

MSc Gerontology

St James

Witco down by $0.35

8 hours 2 min ago

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 260,123 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $5,038,844.15.

Guardian Holdings Limited was the volume leader with 147,000 shares changing hands for a value of $2,381,400, followed by Grace- Kennedy Limited with a volume of 64,890 shares being traded for $175,221.45.

JMMB Group Limited contributed 25,000 shares with a value of $31,500, while The West Indian Tobacco Company Limited added 17,000 shares valued at $2,142,000.

Clico Investment Fund enjoyed the day’s sole price increase, climbing $0.01 to end the day at $22.51.

Conversely, The West Indian Tobacco Company Limited suffered the day’s sole decline, falling $0.35 to end the day at $126.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 247,575 shares valued at $5,572,669.25. It advanced by $0.01 to end at $22.51.

Cocoa gets attention in Tobago budget

8 hours 4 min ago

A concerted effort will be made to link Tobago’s agriculture sector with the school feeding programme.

Seed funding is to be provided to encourage more people to undertake agricultural ventures.

As he presented Tobago’s budget request for fiscal 2017-2018, Secretary of Finance and the Economy in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Joel Jack said human capital development is “central to the developmental strategy” of the current administration.

The 2017-2018 expenditure estimates include a development request of $1.71 billion and recurrent estimates of $ 3.2 billion, totalling $4.91 billion. Under recurrent expenditure, the school feeding programme will cost $50 million and the Agricultural Incentive Programme $4 million. The development programme estimates include an Agro-Park at Friendship Estate at a cost of $10 million and the Agricultural Access Roads Programme at $80 million.

Jack said the THA will initiate financing mechanisms to benefit the economy. This will include a cocoa rehabilitation programme through the Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries.

“We are cognizant of the fact that fine flavoured cocoa is in high demand and fetches premium prices on the international market. We are also mindful of the historical importance of cocoa to the Tobago economy. The Division proposes to utilise agricultural lands to develop an effective value chain in cocoa and chocolate production,” he said.

Priority will also be placed on facilitating youth involvement in agriculture, through training and a revision of the Youth Apprenticeship Programme in Agriculture (YAPA), Jack said.

“During the next fiscal year, the Division of Education in collaboration with Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) will begin construction on five early childhood centres in Roxborough, Courland, Adventure, Bon Accord and Belle Garden,” he said.

Jack noted that the requested amount is a reduction of just under $22 million from last year’s request.

In addition to agricultural initiatives, the THA will review potential Public Private Partnership proposals to develop innovative solutions to housing needs in Tobago.

“As we seek to address our current and emerging challenges, our success will depend on reasoned collaboration, mutual trust, and reliance on our sense of patriotism,” Jack said.

The budget debate begins on Tuesday.

CWU demands report on TDC

8 hours 10 min ago

With the shut down of the Tourism Development Company (TDC) expected by month end, Joseph Remy, Secretary General of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), has renewed his call for the Tourism Ministry to make public the report which influenced that decision.

The report was done by Cecil Miller, former head of the Barbados Tourism Authority, who was hired by the T&T Government to prepare a document on the TDC and what actions should be taken with regard to its operations.

At a media briefing at CWU headquarters in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Remy said Miller was contracted do the in depth investigation into the TDC without the knowledge of the workers and union.

“It is only fair to know what was the information that guided the Cabinet in making that decision.

In the early stages, the minister indicated that it was confidential information and it was going to be laid before Cabinet and she could not provide a copy based on the initial request,” he said.

Remy said the CWU has made a request through the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of the report which contains several recommendations, including re-classification of work and restructuring of the TDC.

“We felt that it would have been prudent for all of us to be privy to that information. That would have guided us as to if the Government’s decision was the most rational,” he said.

Commenting on the Ministry’s claim that the report cannot be released publicly as its sensitive contents could be used by competitors, Remy said: “The competitors that they are talking about in this instance are not any local competitors. They are talking about regional competitors in the tourism industry. The irony of this is that Cecil Miller is a Barbadian tourism expert and a former head of the Barbados Tourism Authority which is a direct competitor to T&T, yet he is privy to all the information relative to operations of TDC.”

He said the CWU’s next step will be to seek judicial review.

“In circumstances like these, where grave injustices have been meted out to individuals as citizens of T&T, where certain rights have been denied, then there is an obligation to provide justifiable means of taking this decision,” Remy said.

T&T not importing Brazil beef

8 hours 11 min ago

Local consumers need not be concerned about the recent decision by the US Department of Agriculture to suspend imports of fresh beef from Brazil citing food-safety concerns. The Ministry of Agriculture is reassuring the public that T&T does not import fresh beef or any other fresh meat from Brazil.

The Ministry said in a brief statement that it is “actively monitoring all developments out of Brazil related to food safety and will take immediate precautions should it determine there are credible or potential health risks to Trinidad and Tobago consumers.

“As it relates to this latest suspension in the US of fresh beef imports from Brazil, Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat is collaborating with Ambassador Amery Browne in Brazil on any developments which may impact Trinidad and Tobago.”

The United States on Thursday announced the immediate suspension of all imports of beef products from Latin America’s largest nation because of safety concerns.

The decision by US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue came three months after a major scandal into allegations of bribed meat inspectors shook Brazil’s meat industry and prompted several countries to temporarily halt imports.

EOC, Maha Sabha gets ok to provide views

8 hours 21 min ago

The Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) and religious group— the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha— have been given permission to provide their opinions on a lawsuit brought by Trinidad-born gay rights activist challenging this country’s homophobic laws.

The two organisations were granted permission to file written submissions in the case brought by Jason Jones, when the case came up for hearing before Justice Devindra Rampersad in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday morning.

The Council of Evangelical Churches made a similar application yesterday, however its lawyers informed the court that their client was reconsidering their position on the application and would inform the court of its decision by the next hearing on July 25.

The T&T Guardian understands that the religious groups are contending that Jones’ claim offends the tenants of their respective religions and would impact negatively on the country’s morality, if he is successful.

The commission is a State run organisation mandated to work towards the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity for citizens.

In the lawsuit, Jones is challenging Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalises buggery and serious indecency even between consenting adults.

Jones is also claiming that the long-standing legislation contravenes his constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of thought and expression in addition to being in direct contradiction to this country’s international human rights obligation.

His lawyers are also contending that the legislation opens his client to public prejudice and ridicule as it labels him and other homosexuals as criminals.

Jones’ lawyers are seeking to side step the “saving clause” feature of the Constitution which precludes a court from striking down and reviewing legislation which were in existence when the Constitution was drafted and that have been marginally changed since.

They claim that the controversial legislation amended in 1986 and 2000 repealed and replaced pre-Independence sexual offences legislation, covered by the savings clause, and thus is open to review.

Jones’ lawsuit is one of several landmark cases filed by Caribbean LGBT activists challenging regional homophobic laws.

Last year, Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson challenged T&T and Belize’s immigration laws which allow for refusal of entry to regional homosexuals visitors. While the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) dismissed his case, both Governments admitted that the laws were not enforced.

In August, last year, Belize’s Supreme Court struck down that country’s sodomy laws, after a case similar to Jones’ was filed by a local activist.

Jones is being represented by Richard Drabble, QC, Rishi Dass and Antonio Emmanuel, while Fyard Hosein, SC, is leading the State’s legal team.

Gun, ammo seized in South

8 hours 23 min ago

Southern Division police believe they may have prevented a number of murders when they arrested three men and seized three guns with over 100 rounds of ammunition, during two separate incidents on Thursday night into Friday.

In the first incident, police in responding to a domestic violence report in Golconda, arrested the alleged abuser, who was seen entering his victim’s premises with a loaded pistol.

Around 11 pm on Thursday, constables Smith, Figaro, WP Boodram along with Sgt Sankar went to a house at Golconda Settlement, Golconda, following a report that a woman was being abused by a male relative.

The man fled before the police arrived. Officers continued to monitor the scene and around 5.30 am, on Friday, saw the man entering the premises where the woman lived. He was nabbed by the cops who, upon searching him, found a loaded .23 pistol, aong with 51 rounds of ammunition and a ski mask.

Inspector Don Gajadhar, commended the officers for their dedication to duty, saying that they may have prevented a murder. The perpetrator, a 37-year-old construction worker is expected to appear before a San Fernando Magistrate on Tuesday.

Police may have also prevented multiple killings in the La Romaine district when they arrested two men and confiscated a Taurus and Baretta pistol along with 85 rounds of ammunition during a special exercise conducted between 3 am Thursday and 9 am Friday.

Police received information that two men, one of whom was discharged from hospital after being wounded in a shooting incident which claimed the life of a male relative last week, may have purchased the weapons to to avenge his death. They were nabbed before they could carry out their act.

During that exercise which included Sen Supt Mohammed, Gajadhar and Sgt Ramroop, six other people were detained for robbieries and other crimes.

Plea for hot meals for flood victims

8 hours 25 min ago

An appeal has been made for hot meals to be provided to those still grappling with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bret.

It came from founder of Is There Not a Cause (ITNAC) Avonelle Hector-Joseph.

She described the situation as “dread”.

She also appealed for more volunteers to come on board to help bring relief to flood victims.

“We have been to places like Haiti and Florida but to see this in your own country...it really hurts my heart. I got a call from a single mother this morning (yesterday) that her 10-year-old son is sick because he drank contaminated water ... it is really sad.

“We need companies to encourage staff to donate. We want to provide hot meals over the weekend and we are asking for vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals,” she said.

Hector-Joseph said medication for diabetes and hypertension is also needed as well as canned food, toiletries and building supplies.

ITNAC is currently on an awareness drive to foster a sense of caring throughout the country.

“We need to send a message to the rest of the population that while there may be people who were not affected by the storm there are many people who need help and we need to care about them and we need to provide some comfort to them.”

She said ITNAC will provide meals and supplies to flood victims in Sangre Grande on Saturday, Oropouche on Sunday and will also be dealing with individual cases.

The next phase will be assisting in reconstructing homes, Hector-Joseph said.

Co-ordinator of Sewa International TT (Sewa TT) Revan Teelucksingh said the response from the business community has been “really good” as many supermarkets are steadily donating foodstuff. Sewa has been providing ready.

He said Subway has agreed to provide vegetarian six-inch sandwiches at a cost of $10 each. From Tuesday to Wednesday 1,114 sandwiches were distributed to people affected by the storm along with 700 cooked meals in affected communities.

Teelucksingh said even before the storm struck Sewa TT had formulated a four-point plan.

“The first phase was to prepare and distribute cooked food because we did not know how long the storm was going to last. Then we looked at reducing the risk of water-borne diseases by providing bottled water.

“Next was to help with clean up operations and provide groceries and lastly to do an assessment of the communities to ensure there are no outbreak of diseases like gastroenteritis and leptospirosis,” he said.

Teelucksingh said Sewa TT is also promoting awareness since with the flood waters there could be an increase in vector borne diseases like dengue.

He said people willing to support the group’s efforts can make cash deposits to Sewa International TT’s Republic Bank account 870 801 107 401.

Although there have been numerous reports of damaged homes, Habitat for Humanity T&T said it is not yet overwhelmed with calls for help.

Tracy Hutchinson Wallace, communications officer for the organisation, said people are still cleaning and assessing the losses.

“By next week we expect a lot of calls to be coming in. Right now we have community officers in the field talking to residents,” she said.

“Right now it is not as overwhelming but once the clean up has finished we expect many more calls by early next week and by then we will definitely need help from engineers, construction companies and land surveyors,” Hutchinson Wallace said.

She said the organisation is asking for donations of building material, including galvanise, nails, hurricane straps, windows and doors.

Donations to Habitat can be made at any branch of Republic Bank to account 180 482 534 101.

No help for flood victims—Moonilal

8 hours 27 min ago

Prime Minister Keith Rowley didn’t bring residents one assistance grant or even one hamper when he recently toured flood-ravaged Southern areas, Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal declared yesterday.

“He (PM) just fly past and his Prado (SUV) wet up people,” Moonilal said in Parliament yesterday.

He made the complaint as he spoke in debate on amendments to the Motor Vehicle legislation. Moonilal said proposals for red-light cameras to penalise speeding drivers, should be reconsidered since motorists can get killed or robbed when stopping at red lights late at night in T&T.

Focusing on damages following the recent passage of Tropical Storm Bret, Moonilal said, “As of now, I’ve not heard of one person who’s gotten an assistance grant for this from any agency.”

Moonilal said if there had been a proper drainage plans for rivers and drains “we wouldn’t have had this week’s catastrophe.”

Moonilal said if Government raised $2.1b from the proposed motor vehicle fines, “I suggest 50 per cent of those road and traffic fines be used to clear drains and fix roads...(as it is ) we have a $1.3 billion (Lara) Stadium whose opening ceremony cost $2.3 million.” (See box)

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar was successful in obtaining agreement for Parliament to debate Government’s handling of storm issues as a definite matter of urgent public importance.

A motion on the issue which she raised cited Government’s “failure to provide adequate resources and relief in a timely, effective and efficient manner to alleviate the hardship, suffering, anguish and distress of the population.”

House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George agreed to allow debate on the motion last night.

Persad-Bissessar had said many areas were affected and Government had failed to address issues amid the devastation.

She said people “were suffering hardship, unable to provide food for families; homes in entire areas have been destroyed; others have been flooded out and people remain marooned in some areas without any assistance from Government.

“There is an urgent need to provide water and basic food supplies to persons living in these areas. Families need urgent help to clean their homes and drain it of contaminated water. Rivers, drains and waterways need to be immediately cleared and cleaned to provide flood relief.”

Persad-Bissessar said: “Men, women and children who live in these flooded areas are at risk of contracting diseases because of the contaminated water entering these areas. Tens of thousands of families are presently suffering—Bret has transformed the affected parts of our country into virtual disaster zones.”

New lawsuit filed over decade old Piarco case

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 22:47

Businessmen Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson and a group of former government officials have yet another lawsuit to avoid prosecution on corruption charges arising out of the construction of the $1.6 billion Piarco International Airport.
The group has filed a new lawsuit challenging the decision of Magistrate Ejenny Espinet to dismiss an application made in their protracted preliminary inquiry, in which they claimed that the charges should be dropped as the State failed to prove its case against them.
In their lawsuit, which came up for hearing before Justice Frank Seepersad in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday, the men and the companies are claiming that Espinet overstepped her boundaries when she ruled on their no case submission on February 10.
They claimed that while she is only empowered to determine whether there was a prima facie case made out against them in the inquiry, in her ruling on the submission, she made numerous statements on their alleged guilt. They claimed that her decision pre-decided the case and showed the “apparent bias” of the inquiry.
They are also contending that she relied on the hearsay evidence of former co-conspirator American Ronald Birk, who was implicated in the inquiry before he agreed to testify as a State witness and the charges against him were dropped.
In their no case submission, the group claimed that the State had failed to prove that there was unlawful conduct and means in the award of the contracts.
During yesterday’s hearing, the accused men’s attorney Edward Fitzgerald, QC, asked the court for a adjournment, as they are awaiting Espinet’s ruling on a recusal application made after she dismissed the no case submission. The decision is expected to be given on July 7.
Fitzgerald admitted that the case before Seepersad would be rendered academic if Espinet eventually agrees to recuse herself.
If she makes the decision, the over decade-old case would have to be restarted as it cannot continue before another magistrate.
In response, Gilbert Peterson, SC, who represented the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) questioned the accused men’s basis for the lawsuit.
“We have an unusual situation in which they are trying to judicially review a decision which is yet to be taken. I have never encountered such a case before,” Peterson said.
Deputy Solicitor General Neal Byam, who is representing Espinet, also said he needed additional time as he had only been briefed on the case on Thursday.
Seepersad agreed with the need to delay the case and adjourned it to September 21. The group is also being represented by Fyard Hosein, SC.
ABOUT THE CASE
The members of the group include former government ministers Sadiq Baksh and Brian Kuei Tung, former Airport Authority chairman Tyrone Gopee and Galbarasingh’s former employee Amrith Maharaj.
Galbaransingh and Ferguson’s companies Northern Construction Ltd and Martime General Insurance are also implicated as parties in the inquiry.
They along with several others were implicated between 2004 and 2005 for alleged corruption and bid rigging in the airport project between 1995 and 2001.
In 2011, High Court Judge Ronnie Boodoosingh quashed proposed extradition of Galbaransingh and Ferguson to the United States to face similar charges. Boodoosingh ruled that the inquiry before Espinet was the best forum for the prosecution as the substantive crimes were alleged to have occurred in this country.
The following year, the businessmen along with all other charged for corruption in the project applied under the controversial Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offences) Act. The legislation gave people charged with specific offences who had waited over 10 years to be tried to apply for their matters to be dismissed.
The group challenged the State after the legislation was repealed with their applications still pending. However, their claim was rejected by the High Court, Court of Appeal and eventually the Privy Council.

I still love T&T

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 22:45

Father Clyde Harvey has been appointed by the Vatican as the new Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s, Grenada. However, he is insisting he is not running from T&T is the wake of the recent attack against him by four men.

Harvey made the comment yesterday after new of his appointment was made during a mid-morning press conference at Archbishop’s House, St. Clair, yesterday, by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli.

“I am going to Grenada not because I don’t love Trinidad or that somebody is trying to kill me,” Harvey said.

Declaring his pride as a Trinidadian, Harvey sought to assure local parishioners that he would always, “love this country, have no doubt about that.”

However, he advised, “My life has been guided by what God calls me to do and on the day when I was asked, although I wanted to refuse, it was clear that was not what God wanted.”

Although he felt he had not yet completed his work with troubled youths in high-risk communities in T&T, Harvey cautioned those after him to beware that, “the work that has to be done cannot be done in a single day or by a single person.”

He said while no one was able to forecast what T&T will look like in years to come, there were some hard-hitting problems such as drugs and guns which need to be addressed.

“Unless we get politicians to deal with that with the strength and purpose required and a community that stands behind them, we will continue to have trouble,” Harvey said.

He again admitted the events of the last week had left him shaken, but said he was hurt that many of the young men who continue to approach him daily on the streets were mentally unstable and the authorities were not doing much about it except to administer medication. Harvey appealed to citizens to find one such deserving person and foster that kind of care and love.

To the grandmothers left to care for youngsters whose fathers had been killed and mothers whose lives had been lost to drugs, Harvey said it was unfair they had to prove to the State they had the right to care for these people before they could receive any kind of financial assistance.

Hopeful the appointment would benefit both T&T and Grenada, Harvey urged local Christians and non-Christians to demonstrate their love for humanity by joining together to help those affected in Central and South Trinidad by Tropical Storm Bret.

Best man for job

Girasoli congratulated Harvey as he presented him with a purple zucchetto and a wooden cross as he said, “This is the best choice for Grenada.”

Reminding Harvey that a bishop was called to serve rather than rule, Girasoli said Harvey, the former parish priest of St Martin de Porres Church in Gonzales, Belmont, was someone who had come from and walked among the people and therefore understood the people.

Adding that a simultaneous announcement was made in Grenada yesterday, Girasoli said although it had taken more than a year to announce a replacement following the death of Bishop Vincent Darius in April 2016, it was worth the wait as no better choice could be found.

Harvey, who appeared somewhat emotional during his address, admitted to being uncertain about the appointment when he was first approached several months ago.

However, he said God has been guiding him and that although his navel-string is buried in T&T, it was time to minister to others in the region.

Thanking Archbishops Joseph Harris and Girasoli for their guidance and perseverance in what they considered to be the best course for Grenada and the Caribbean, Harvey said: “In saying yes to the suggestion that I allow myself to be considered for St. George’s, I saw that if it happened, it would be an affirmation of the work of some of the giants of the modern Caribbean church as she struggled to discover and reaffirm our Caribbean identity within our Catholic fold.”

SWRHA must pay family for boy’s death

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 22:42

The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has been ordered to pay compensation to the parents of a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who died while being treated at the San Fernando General Hospital in 2009.

Appearing before Justice Carol Gobin in the San Fernando High Court yesterday, attorneys for the authority accepted liability for the death of Evans Massiah.

Gobin did not quantify the damages Massiah’s parents, Guy and Shaheeda, should receive, as she ordered that it be assessed at a later date by a High Court Master.

Gobin also ordered that the SWRHA pay the couple’s legal costs for bringing the lawsuit against it.

In the lawsuit, the Princes Town couple claimed that Massiah was born at the hospital in March 2006 and developed the mental disability due to negligence by doctors and staff in delivering him, as when he was born the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.

Evans was visually impaired, unable to swallow, talk, or even walk. Seeking expert medical care for her son, the couple migrated to the United Kingdom shortly after his birth. His condition reportedly improved and he returned to Trinidad in 2009 for a vacation with his parents.

While the the toddler was here, however, he developed a respiratory tract infection and was taken to the same hospital he was born at for treatment. He subsequently.

His parents later sued the hospital for negligence as they claimed that his death was caused by the negligence of staff at the institution.

Contacted yesterday, a close friend of the family said while they were happy with the outcome of the case, the parents were still too traumatised by their son’s death to be interviewed.

The couple was represented by Shastri Persad and Keshma Sankar, while Winston Seenath and Alyson Cudjoe represented the SWRHA.

Businessman gunned down

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 22:41

Customers at Ernie’s Auto Electrical Shop were sent scampering for cover when a gunman entered the business and shot the owner, Mahendra Ramlogan, dead yesterday.

One suspect was later held when Couva police cornered a gold Nissan Bluebird Sylphy within minutes of the shooting. However, two others escaped by running into nearby bushes.

A police report stated that around 11 am, Ramlogan, 43, was in his shop along the Exchange Ext Road, Couva, when a gunman walked up to him and shot him three times. The gunman then ran into a awaiting car which sped off.

At Ramlogan’s Indian Trail, Couva home yesterday, his employee Anil Rambaran said they were both repairing vehicles when a man wearing a three quarter pants and a bandana over his face walked up to Ramlogan and shot him. He said by the time he looked out, he saw the getaway car speeding off. At the time of the shooting, he said there were about six people waiting for vehicles who ran off the property as soon the the gunman left.

Ramlogan was taken to the Couva District Health Facility where he died while receiving attention. His body was taken to the mortuary at the San Fernando General Hospital. It will be transferred to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for an autopsy on Tuesday.

Relatives were confused as to why he was killed, however, saying he had no enemies and would provide work for customers on credit. His brother, Prame Ramlogan, said the shop has been there for more than 15 years and there was only one issue with a resident of the area, which was eventually worked out.

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