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Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

Secondary schools head slams Govt

6 hours 35 min ago

President of the PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket Council (SSCC) Surujdath Mahabir criticized the Government for not supporting women cricketers.

In a fiery speech at the opening of the league yesterday at Fatima College grounds in Mucurapo, the former national player said: “Today, I want to thank PowerGen for staying the course with Secondary Schools Cricket for 22 years. This is phenomenal given the fact that the economy is the way it is at the moment.

“They have shown great commitment to this country’s cricketers both boys and girls. Every cricketer over the last 20 years coming from this country and playing for the West Indies would have played in the Secondary Schools cricket league. It means that PowerGen would have had a hand in their development. We want to say thank you to this caring Corporate citizen.

“Their continued sponsorship comes just a month after the government snubbed women cricketers in this country by failing to bring World Cup matches here.

“They decided not to support the girls who would have worked hard to bring glory to this country and the region. Instead, they decided to invest in fete match cricket which is the CPL.”

Rain put a damper on proceedings and a planned Super Six tournament was called off because of flood at the Mucurapo Road grounds. However, those present heard from two West Indies players in the form of Keiron Pollard and Samuel Badree.

Pollard gave an address as a former player in the Secondary Schools system calling on the players to make best use of the opportunity afforded them, while Badree, who is a curriculum officer, represented the Ministry of Education.

Speaking on behalf of sponsors PowerGen was Krishna Rampersad, Head of Engineering, Reliability and Support Services who gave the assurance that Powergen will continue to support the league.

He added that they were happy with the administration of the league and they were looking to great performances from the cricketers.

The league gets off next Tuesday with matches across the country.

PowerGen too strong for Munroe Road

6 hours 38 min ago

PowerGen cricket club stormed into the semifinals of the UNICOM UWI T20, when they defeated Munroe Road by 62 runs in their clash on Monday night at the UWI Spec in St Augustine.

With the win, PowerGen will now meet Merry Boys in the first semifinals on Friday at 6.30 pm.

Monday night, Munroe Road won the toss and decided to send PowerGen into bat. This decision backfired as the powerful southern unit scored a massive 202/6 off their allotted 20 overs. Leading the way was Jeron Maniram who smacked 63 off just 30 balls.

T&T Red Force player Akeil Cooper was also in good form and crafted 47 off 28 balls. Towards the end of the innings all rounder Teshawn Castro sent the crowd wild with 30 that required only nine balls. West Indies opening batsman Evin Lewis had earlier struck a quick 23.

Needing to score at 10.15 runs per over Munroe Road was always going to find it tough and fell for 140 with one over to spare. Chris Pattia who had earlier claimed 2/32 when PowerGen batted, smacked 45 off 27 balls, while Akeem Alvarez made 18. The pick of the bowlers for PowerGen were Mark Deyal 3/31 and Sanjiv Gooljar 2/23. For his explosive batting Maniram was named man of the match.

Last night Alescon Comets met Central Sport in the last play off for a semifinal spot. The winner of this match would meet defending champions Cane Farm in the second semis.


PowerGen 202/6 in 20 overs
(Jeron Maniram 63, Akiel Cooper 47,
Teshawn Castro 30, Evin Lewis 23,
Chris Pattia 2/32) vs Munroe Road
- 140 all out in 19 overs (Chris
Pattia 45, Akeem Alvarez 18, Mark
Deyal 3/31, Sanjiv Gooljar 2/23) -
PowerGen won by 62 runs.
Man of the Match - Jeron Maniram.

Walters, Guevara win gold at USA meets

6 hours 41 min ago

T&T’s Ruebin Walters of the University of Alabama (UAB) raced to gold in the men’s 60m hurdles at the UAB Blazer Invite at the Birmingham Crossplex Arena, Birmingham, Alabama in the United States on Friday.

Walters, a senior student/athlete, clocked 7.76 seconds to ease to victory after advancing to the final with the fastest qualifying time of 7.83.

Also winning a medal at the meet was field specialist Portious Warren, who copped silver in women’s shot put event. Her best attempt came in her final heave, measuring 15.71 metres.

She also had throws of 14.43m in her first try, fouled both the second and third attempts before tossing the object 14.87m in the fourth attempt and went further on her fifth toss, reaching 15.00m before getting to the mark which placed her second.

Mauricia Prieto also of Alabama just missed out on a medal in the women’s 300m, placing fourth in a time of 39.42 in the timed final. Semoy Hackett also competed in the event and she won her section in 39.59 but was seventh overall.

Reyare Thomas was second in heat three in the women’s 60m dash while Sarah Wollaston, a freshman at the University of Central Florida (UCF) was third in heat five.

Thomas crossed in 7.60 and Wollaston in 7.71 to respectively place 12th and 17th overall. Neither were quick enough to reach the final as only the eight fastest times advanced.Also on the weekend at the

Commodore Invitational in Vanderbilt-Multipurpose Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, Asa Guevara sealed gold in the men’s 200m final and bagged two bronze in the 400m and the 4x400m.

The University of Texas junior won the first event in 21.73 in a time finals then clocked 47.87 in the one-lap race before partnering with his UTEP teammates to cross in 3:16.88.

On Saturday at the Texas Tech Corky Classic in Lubbock, Texas, Louisiana State University (LSU) junior Zakiya Denoon picked up two medals. She bagged a bronze in the women’s 200m dash in 23.56 and won silver with her LSU team in the 4x400m relay final in 3:42.14.

Louisiana State University sophomore Akanni Hislop placed fifth in the men’s 200m in 21.59 while his teammate Xavier Mulugata placed 15th in 22.45. Hislop was also part of the LSU 4x400m relay unit that placed sixth in a time of 3:15.71.

Volleyballers humbled in Florida

6 hours 44 min ago

The local women’s pair of Pauline Regis (formerly Woodroffe) and Phylecia Armstrong put up a brave effort but were defeated in both their matches when the 23-team double-elimination DigtheBeach Volleyball Fall Series served off at Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida USA on Saturday.

The tournament marked the return of Regis to international competition after a four year hiatus while Armstrong, who partnered with Malika Davidson to finish second at the the Flow National Beach Volleyball Championships in December was making her international debut.

However, coming against host players who have been part of the tour for a few seasons, Regis and Armstrong went under 10-21, 12-21.

The T&T women then had another chance to get to the final via the round-of-16 of the losers bracket, but they were again beaten, but not before a much improved showing, 18-21, 19-21.

Despite failing to make inroads in the competition of their, both players and their coaching staff led by Kirth Regis are looking forward to improving on their relationship on the court and better results.

Lewis looks ahead to IPL auction

6 hours 44 min ago

While the region awaits Cricket West Indies to announce its World Cup qualification squad, Guardian Media Sports knows one player that looks bound for Zimbabwe. Hard-hitting opener Evin Lewis revealed to us on Monday night that he has received a call to be part of the squad.

As the groups and schedule were announced on Monday by the International Cricket Council (ICC), captain Jason Holder said, “It will be a challenge and we sat down and have formulated plans as to how best to approach the tournament.” Those plans seem to include Lewis.

The opener, who has become hot T20 property, is well aware of the monumental task the Windies face. It may also call for a readjustment of focus on his part, from the shortest format to One Day cricket. Lewis played 20 One Day Internationals (ODI) for the Windies last year. He said, “It feels great to be selected for the first time for a West Indies World Cup team with 50-over cricket… It’s just a matter for us, going out there and trying to execute our plan and trying to play hard cricket, and trying to win. It is very important that we win this tournament so we can qualify to go to the World Cup.”

The West Indies has been drawn with the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland and the winner of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2. It’s a draw that Lewis has labelled “tough”. Commenting on West Indies’ Group A draw, the left-hander told us, “It’s very tough for us. We haven’t had a great 50-over season thus far. It’s important for myself to keep doing my best, keep playing for the team most important, and trying as best to see how far we can reach in the tournament.”

This year could be a big year for the 26 year old. Much of 2017 was spent establishing himself in leagues around the world. He is expected to be one of the names that pops up during the Indian Premier League auction that takes places on January 27th and 28th. He maybe hot property but the batsman is still battling with uncertainty.He said: “I’m a bit nervous. This is my first time expecting and something great could

happen here. I am just waiting on the date, anxiously. I’m just waiting to see how it will end up and which team I might play for.”

For now, Lewis is focused on leading his side to the UWI T20 title. Later this week, Powergen will face Merry Boys in the semi-finals, and his team is looking for inspiration from its star.

Champs Windies must win today

6 hours 46 min ago

The year 2016 turned out to be a wonderful one for Windies. They won the ICC Under-19 World Cup by defeating India in Bangladesh.

The senior teams—men and women—went on to win the ICC World T20 in India.

Two years later, Windies’ senior team is struggling to qualify for the ICC World Cup in England in 2019. And the Under-19 team faces the danger of becoming the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup in this edition in New Zealand. Windies lost their opening clash against New Zealand and now face South Africa. Their last game will be against Kenya but they wouldn’t want to leave it too late and their fate on other results. If Windies go on to lose the clash, New Zealand and South Africa will most likely go through to the quarterfinals.

Keagan Simmons and Kimani Melius struck half-centuries in the first game but no other batsmen managed to go past 26. That’s the first thing they need to rectify and give the bowlers more cushion. The bowling too failed to impress after the below-par show from the batsmen.

One thing is for sure, South Africa will not present anything on the platter to the team from the Caribbean. It was ruthless against Kenya and went on to post the highest total of the tournament so far—341—after a century from Raynard van Tonder. Both teams can’t take anything for granted but there’s more at stake for Windies at the moment.


Windies (From)
Emmanuel Stewart(c), Kirstan Kallicharan, Ronaldo Alimohamed, Alick Athanaze, Cephas Cooper, Jarion Hoyte, Joshua Persaud, Jeavor Royal, Keagan Simmons, Bhaskar Yadram, Nyeem Young, Kimani Melius, Ashmead Nedd, Kian Pemberton, Raymond Perez.
South Africa (From)
Raynard van Tonder(c), Matthew Breetzke, Jean du Plessis, Jason Niemand, Gerald Coetzee, Jade de Klerk, Fraser Jones, Wandile Makwetu, Thando Ntini, Jiveshan Pillay, Hermann Rolfes, Kenan Smith, Akhona Mnyaka, Andile Mokgakane, Kgaudise Molefe.

Panorama of arrangers

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:49

Yes, the annual National Panorama competition is served by the best pannists on the planet performing on the best tuned instruments. After 55 years of the competition, globally acclaimed as the most prestigious steelband and percussion orchestra competition, Panorama is not so much a duel of who are the best pannists or which steelband executes best on final night.

Panorama is epitomised as actually being a competition of outstanding musicians, and which arranger best interprets a steelband’s Tune of Choice, judged by a panel of adjudicators on eight minutes of music.

Since 1963, these National Panorama finals have been enhanced by some memorable arrangements produced by some truly remarkable musicians, among them being Anthony Williams, the late Clive Bradley and Jit Samaroo, Leon “Smooth” Edwards, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Ray Holman, Robert Greenidge, Bobby Mohammed, Earl Rodney, Steve Achaiba, the Austin brothers (Milton and Rudin), Ken “Professor” Philmore, and the list goes on.

Who can forget Mohammed’s earth-shaking, innovative arrangement of Kitchener’s ‘67 in the 1967 final. With blackpainted instruments spilling off the Queen’s Park Savannah stage well into the Drag, south’s Guinness Cavaliers created history by repeating its 1965 victory, the only San Fernando steelband to ever win the Panorama competition more than once.

There are so many Panorama excellently arranged tunes of choice that to list all of my favourites would require much more space to itemise them all.

Apart from a few that have won the competition there are a few that were beaten.

Coming immediately to mind is Desperadoes’ 1982 and ‘84 runner-up placings with Bradley’s arrangements of Lord Nelson’s Party Tonight and Baron’s Jammer, respectively.

Prior to that, in the 1972 final, the competition was won by Harmonites playing Rodney’s arrangement of St Thomas Girl, followed by Tokyo playing Gerald “Belly Charles’ interpretation of Kitchener’s Miss

Harriman. But, several pan folk sat up and paid attention to Ray Holman’s innovative treatment of Pan on the Move, Panorama’s first “owntune” composition.

The Woodbrook band was placed third but the door was now opened for 45 ensuing years of “own-tune” Panorama compositions, Boogsie Sharpe being the main progenitor of this genre of steelpan composing.

Also within this category of memorable non-winners are Smooth Edwards’ 1987 arrangement of De Mighty Trini’s Curry Tabanca and Philmore’s treatment of Designer’s Pan by Storm in 1990, the southern band placing behind Renegades performing Samaroo’s arrangement of Kitchener’s Iron Man.

I also have indelible memories of Trinidad All Stars’ 1982 scintillating final night performance of Heat, also arranged by Edwards and placing second to Samaroo’s Pan Explosion.

I still have a vivid recollection of that final night when All Stars performed and the Savannah seemed to be an actual inferno hot fiery arrangement accentuated by the amount of dust raised on the night by throngs of supporters stage side.

Speaking of Renegades, another of the Charlotte Street band’s nostalgic final night performances was in 1992 when Samaroo succeeded in succinctly interpreting Kitchener’s masterpiece of Bee’s Melody but apparently not sufficient enough to impress the judges. That night the judges placed Renegades third behind Exodus and Phase II Pan Groove.

As stated earlier there are too many memorable victorious arrangements to list them all but I shall endeavour to name some of my personal favourites, the year and their arrangers.

Tribute to Spree Simon (1975), played by the top three bands in the final; Rebecca (1983), Clive Bradley; Pan Night and Day (1985), Beverly Griffith and Jit Samaroo, respectively; Woman is Boss (1988), Boogsie Sharpe; Iron Man (1990), Jit Samaroo; Musical Volcano (1991) / In My House (1999), Robert Greenidge); High Mas (1998), Clive Bradley; Different Me (2016), Carlton Zanda Alexander; and, Full Extreme (2017), Smooth Edwards.

Panorama 2018 will be served by some of the finest steelband musicians/ arrangers in the land so come Sunday, January 28 expected “cat piss and pepper” in De Big Yard Queen’s Park Savannah.

Large Conventional Bands will have their preliminary adjudication in their respective panyards and other nearby venues on January 20-23.

It’s not noise control that’s killing Carnival

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:38

What utter nonsense from the promoters of the Red Ants fete, that keeping the volume for the music at a fete within the specified levels would kill carnival.

These band leaders-turned-fete promoters have been killing carnival for years with their lack of creativity in costume design. Every year we see the same bikinis, feathers and beads. The only difference is everyone is a year older and who played in red last year, will play in blue this year.

Congratulations to the EMA for finally deciding to impose the law. Hopefully they will turn their attention to fireworks next.

C Peters

Stick to your guns, EMA

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:37

I would like to commend the Environment Management Authority (EMA) on the position it has taken with respect to the noise level at fetes and other cultural events. I have no problem with people enjoying themselves at these parties, but like anything else, it cannot be at the expense of law abiding citizens going about their normal business or simply wanting to enjoy the peace and quiet of their homes.

I am heartened that finally a law enforcement authority in this country is prepared to enforce the law. Maybe if other such authorities follow suit there would be a significant reduction in the level of lawlessness in this land.

It is my fervent hope that the EMA does not bow to any outside pressure and disregard the rights of ordinary citizens for the enjoyment of their property.

Finally, I would like people to take note of the suggestion of the Managing Director of the EMA that maybe it is time that the promoters of these big fetes consider holding these events at venues where there would be minimal, if any, inconvenience to the general public.

Vikram Persad,

35 new buses coming from China

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:31

Thirty five Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, specially designed for the geographical environment of T&T are on their way to this country. The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) confirmed the buses would be here soon.

NGV Global news reported yesterday that Chinese bus manufacturer Higer, based in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, has shipped the CNG buses to this country. The report said the new Euro V vehicles will replace ageing buses in the public transportation fleet where most of the vehicles are more than eight years old.

ANSA McAL falls by $0.10

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:30

Overall Market activity resulted from trading in 13 securities of which five advanced, five declined and three traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 257,263 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $4,505,183.74.

NCB Financial Group Ltd was the volume leader with 115,530 shares changing hands for a value of $779,827.50, followed by GraceKennedy Ltd with a volume of 66,000 shares being traded for $207,900.

The West Indian Tobacco Company Ltd contributed 27,535 shares with a value of $2,477,951.68, while Guardian Holdings Ltd added 21,326 shares valued at $362,733.36.

Scotiabank Trinidad & Tobago Ltd registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.10 to end the day at $60.50.

Conversely, ANSA McAL Ltd registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.10 to close at $62.39.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 79,486 shares valued at $1,669,206.

Clico Investment Fund remained at $21.00. Bourse Brazil Latin Fund remained at $8.10. Calypso Macro Index Fund remained at $21.40.

Fortress Caribbean Property Fund Ltd SCC — Development Fund remained at $0.67. Fortress Caribbean Property Fund Ltd SCC — Value Fund remained at $1.70. Praetorian Property Mutual Fund remained at $3.05.

The Second Tier Market did not witness any activity. Mora Ven Holdings Ltd remained at $14.49.

St Vincent threatens to sue T&T over forex

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:27

KINGSTOWN, ST VINCENT—The ongoing currency issue in which Vincentian traders in agricultural produce are unable to convert their earnings to Eastern Caribbean dollars after plying their trade in T&T could end up before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, told a press conference on Monday that while his government has implemented short-term measures of “a sensible, practical nature” to deal with the matter in Kingstown, a long-term solution is needed.

As a result of the ongoing situation, some traders have large stockpiles of T&T currency in Port- of- Spain and farmers in St Vincent are reluctant to sell their produce to these traders because of the delay in getting paid.

As result, Kingstown has set up a facility at the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines that allows the conversion of T&T dollars to Eastern Caribbean dollars.

However, Port-of-Spain says it is constrained by a shortage of foreign exchange in its financial sector.

On Monday, for the second time this month, reporters asked Gonsalves about the situation, which he said he would raise at the upcoming intersessional meeting of Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders in Haiti next month.

“And I will raise it and I will make certain suggestions about certain things which we may have to do beyond what we have been trying,” the prime minister said, adding that he knows that the governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Timothy Antoine, has been trying with the Central Bank of T&T to resolve the situation.

“And we’re not making the progress which we should be making,” he said, adding that the issue is of great importance and that is why he has accorded it that level of importance “and to see if we can have a long-term solution, which is fair.”

Regarding the stockpiles of T&T dollars that Gonsalves said Vincentian traders have in Port -of-Spain, he said: “What you want them to do? To buy Trinidadian goods to bring them here to sell?

“This is what I say to (Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith) Rowley. It’s wrong. It’s unfair. And I haven’t checked the lawyers on it, but I suspect that it is a matter which the CCJ may well have to pronounce on.

“I’m not resting with it. I can’t buy your oil, your products from Petrotrin and I can’t buy your Busta, your Bermudez Biscuit, I can’t buy all of those things, you have a trade surplus with me, with St Vincent and the Grenadines, annually of about $100 million and, listen, when you do it for all of the currency union, because properly speaking, in monetary terms, in economic terms, we should use the number for the whole of the currency union, because we have one currency.

“So, the matter is even worse when you look at it from the standpoint of the currency union. It’s unacceptable.”

Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer, said Port-of-Spain cannot simply say that things are difficult and it doesn’t have the foreign exchange.

“I understand that you have a problem but put aside some of this extra money that you have and pay me.”

Govt offered high-speed ferry for seabridge

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

The Government was offered a high-speed commercial ferry for the seabridge with capacity to transport 970 passengers and 251 cars, sources have told the T&T Guardian.

Emails with details and photos of the vessel were sent to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance from Atlantic Marine Equipment on December 18, days after an inter-ministerial committee headed by Finance Minister Colm Imbert was appointed to look for a vessel following a failed attempt by the Port Authority of T&T (PATT).

The vessel, originally designed as a large high speed commercial ferry, was used to transport US military personnel, vehicles and equipment between Okinawa, Japan, and other ports in the Asia Pacific region. It is now based in Europe.

It was built in Australia in 2001 and is 100.99 metres in length, has a draught of 4.29 metres and travels at a speed of 35 knots. The asking price was just under $200 million.

However, there was no response from either the Office of the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance to the offer from the vessel’s owners.

Last Friday, Imbert announced that the Government had purchased a brand new vessel for US$17.4 million and it will arrive in the country in two months.

SWWTU raises more queries on new ferry

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

The Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) is concerned about the “shroud of secrecy” surrounding the new passenger ferry acquired for the seabridge at a cost of US$17.4 million.

“I have a problem with the shroud of secrecy. It is taxpayers money and I am therefore saying that all information relative to the process should be forthcoming to the general public,” SWWTU president Michael Annisette told the T&T Guardian yesterday.

Former transport minister Stephen Cadiz has also been expressed concern and claimed the acquisition of the vessel “is not within the public procurement process.”

“The Minister of Finance has made the statement the boat has gone for sea trials and was inspected and yet still Nidco has not yet issued a contract. Who authorised the expense to go through sea trial? How will they be paid? The inspectors don’t do it for free and there is no contract with Nidco.”

There are reports that the paperwork for the vessel was sent to Nidco only last week. That agency’s chairman Herbert George, who told the T&T Guardian last week that Nidco is not part of the process, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cadiz is also questioning the silence of Port Authority of T&T (PATT) chairman Alison Lewis.

“As a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance she knows very well how public procurement is supposed to operate, but yet she says nothing,” he said.

Calls to Lewis’ mobile phone went unanswered on Monday and yesterday.

Cadiz wants Finance Minister Colm Imbert to explain how the US$17.4 million price for the ferry was realised.

He asked: “Why is the shipyard giving you the brand new vessel at US$17.4M and not at the full market price? Is there something wrong with the vessel?”

According to the former minister, a brand new vessel similar to the T&T Express would cost US$120 million.

Imbert told Parliament the vessel had been completed but never put into service. (RS)

Penal residents: Cops breaching confidentiality

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

[email protected]

Despite having a 66 per cent crime detection rate, the highest in the country, South Western Division police officers came under fire on Monday night during a police town meeting.

During the meeting held at the Penal Rock (Kubairsingh) Hindu Primary School, residents accused officers of breaching confidentiality, not responding to praedial larceny and having unprofessional conduct.

Like previous meetings, there were more police officers than residents in attendance. While some praised the officers for hosting the community meeting, others called on acting Deputy Commissioner Deodath Dulalchan to keep his subordinates in check.

Ramsaran Teeluck, who owns 20 acres of cocoa estate, said he had no confidence in the police claiming he was set up by officers who allegedly seized his licensed firearm and never returned it. Teeluck said he was never charged with any offence and even after consulting with his attorney, the firearm was never returned.

Pensioner Tony Ramsubhag, who owns seven acres of citrus, said thieves have been raiding his fields. Ramsubhag revealed that after reporting the matter at Penal Police Station, he was told that he has to catch the thieves himself before the police could lay charges.

“I am asking for the Praedial Larceny Unit to do something,” Ramsubhag said.

Another resident, Adesh Ganpat, called for better surveillance at the Mon Diablo Fishing port.

“A lot of stuff is coming in, wild meat for example and I don’t know what quarantine measures are in place to protect people,” Ganpat said.

He also recommended having one man police patrols, adding that in the United Kingdom cameras are used effectively to monitor speeding, rather than using speed teams.

Azad Shah, a member of the Penal Police Youth Club, called on senior officers to assist communities in setting up neighbourhood watch groups.

He said while the police were doing a good job in reducing accidents using breathalyser tests and speed traps, more could be done in crime prevention.

In response Dulalchan said every crime reported at police stations must be investigated.

“I am fed up of hearing the cry of farmers and it seems some police are not understanding that once a report of larceny is made it must be investigated like every other crime,” Dulalchan said.

He said while he would be happy to have thousands of cameras at his disposal to monitor speed instead of utilising manpower, this was not the case in T&T.

He noted, however, that a second batch of surveillance cameras has been sourced and the Ministry of National Security is currently identifying areas where they could be installed.

He also said that a crime can be reported at any police station but will be investigated in the locality where it occurred.

Senior Supt of the South Western Division Robert Phillip also assured the public that the police will work towards improving delivery of service.

He urged citizens to continue to work with the police to reduce crime, noting that the Division had a 66 per cent detection rate and had already seized five firearms and a quantity of ammunition for this year.

Glowing tribute made in Senate

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

Sterling tributes were made in the Senate yesterday to the country’s fourth president Professor George Maxwell Richards, a man described as “Trini to the bone,” “the quintessential Trinbagonian who loved the simple life,” and a man with an “infectious and indomitable spirit and love for life.”

The Senate observed a minute silence for a man whom speakers said was well loved by all. Senators described Richards as a man committed to education, a pioneer in the field of engineering, a husband, parent, teacher, director, chairman, professor and president, a man who gave more than 60 years of his 86 years to service and country.

Leader of Government business in the Senate, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said Richards could be “easily categorised into four domains,” that of the scholar and academic, the president, the intense family man, and the fourth Max—the quintessential Trinbagonian lover of the culture the arts, a man who enjoyed “time among friends and enjoying life to the max.”

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Wade Mark described Richards as “a man of multi-faceted dimensions whose life from the cradle to the grave, who epitomised what is meant to be a true Trini, a Trini to the bone with the marrow included. He was Trinidad and Tobago at large. He was the epitome of a true, true Trini, a man of many and diverse parts.”

Mark said Richards was the only one of our presidents “whose DNA harbours Amerindian and Chinese ancestry, let’s strike one for First People.”

Independent Senator David Small recalled an interview which Richards did shortly after his inauguration for a second term as president, “his concern was about crime, and he said life had become very cheap.” The parallels of the president’s concerns back then to “current events is striking,” he said.

Acting Senate President Nigel De Freitas hailed Richards as a “shining beacon of citizenship and leadership.” A man whom, he said, has served the wider national community and had an “unwavering support of and contribution to culture,” who had served the nation “tirelessly for 60 years.”

Small described Richards as a man who was “generous and ready to share his learning with others, he had a fertile mind that planned positive ventures for this country.”

A man whom he said, “did not let the trappings of office stymie his love for life.”

Small said Richards had left the country with a “memory of distinguished career achievements.” Richards he said had been endowed by God with a “heart of a giant and administrative ability and drive to see things through to fruition.”

Richards he said had a deep sense of “humility and an innate sense of fair play,” who he said had an “infectious and indomitable spirit and love for life.”

“Today we mourn you as a nation, tomorrow we say our farewells as an extended family,” De Freitas said.

Judge grants injunction stopping highway project

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

Environmental activist group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has obtained an interim injunction barring the Government from continuing work on the first phase of the $400M Churchill Roosevelt Highway Extension to Manzanilla.

Justice Kevin Ramcharan granted the injunction, which will expire on Monday, during a hearing in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday.

FFOS had applied for the emergency injunction late Monday, however, Ramcharan could not determine the case immediately as he and the other parties served with the court documents were unable to read the filings in time.

In the lawsuit filed in September, last year, the group is challenging the process used by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) for granting a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for the first phase of the project between Cumuto and Guaico.

It is claiming that the process was procedural flawed and failed to consider alternative routes for the project, which would have less impact on the area, known as the Aripo Savannas, and to existing communities.

It is also questioning why the EMA took 10 days to publish the CEC in the national register after it was granted on June 22, last year.

In addition to the FFOS’s lawsuit, concerns have been raised over Government’s decision to award the first phase of the project to Kall Co.

Ramcharan asked attorneys for the Ministry of Works and Transport and the National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) if they were willing to consent to stop the work until the substantive injunction application is heard and determined, next Monday. They refused.

Noting that he was not pre-determining the issue, Ramcharan said the interim injunction would help protect the subject matter of the FFOS’s claim.

Under the injunction, Kall Co is only allowed to continue to survey the site, to construct a temporary site office and to remove logs that have already been felled under permission from the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Presenting submissions on behalf of the group, former attorney general Anand Ramlogan SC claimed that over one kilometre had been cleared since the works began on January 8.

He stated that the works were causing irreparable damage to a forested area, which is home to dozens of species including the endangered ocelot.

“Each passing hour leaves a trail of rampant massacre and destruction of the environment,” Ramlogan said.

Head of the State’s legal team Deborah Peake, SC called upon Ramcharan to disregard the application as she pointed out that the deadline for filing for an injunction set by him had expired.

She also noted that Ramcharan still had to determine whether FFOS should be granted leave to pursue its substantive lawsuit against the highway project.

In response, Ramlogan said his client could not have applied before as Nidco and the ministry had repeatedly said that there were delays in the project.

“It would be rather strange would make such an order to file an application for an injunction restraining something that has not yet occurred,” Ramlogan said.

FFOS is also being represented by Jayanti Lutchmedial, Alvin Pariagsingh and Robert Abdool-Mitchell.

The State is also being represented by Ian Benjamin and Ravi Heffes-Doon.

About Aripo Savannas

The Aripo Savannas is one of three locations across T&T that is designated an Environmentally Sensitive Area by the Environmental Management Authority.

The other two are the Matura National Park and Nariva Swamp. According to the EMA’s website, the area is internationally renowned for its unusual flora and striking vegetation communities and is one of the more intensively studied natural ecosystems in Trinidad.

The website states: “It was designated as a Strict Nature Reserve because it is one of the areas in T&T with high scientific value, as it is the best remaining example of the types of ecosystems found within its boundaries. This designation makes the area eligible for special protection and management under the laws of T&T.”

Nidco’s response

Nidco last night stated that it was confident that it had complied with all statutory regulations before embarking on the construction of the highway.

It also denied claims by Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) over the potential environmental impact of the project.

“The construction of the said highway does not in any way encroach upon the Savannas as is being asserted in some quarters. NIDCO has and continues to act as a responsible State agency and will abide by the terms of the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) granted by the EMA as seeks to improve the lives of all our citizens,” it said.

Carnival assault costs man $12,000

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

Men can be arrested for ‘thiefing a wine’ during Carnival but Govind Seepersad has to pay a woman $12,000 in compensation for groping a woman’s genitals during the festival a decade ago.

Seepersad, 25, was expected to be sentenced yesterday in the San Fernando Second Assize, but he asked for more time to make up the money.

Seepersad, a welder/fabricator, who was then 17, pleaded guilty to the charge of indecent assault.

The incident took place on Carnival Tuesday on February 24, 2009, around 8.20 pm in Penal.

The woman, dressed in a pair of long jeans and black halter top, was walking along the SS Erin Road with her boyfriend during the Carnival festivities. The couple was standing near a supermarket when Seepersad passed on her right side, pushed his hand between the woman’s legs and grabbed her crotch.

The woman’s boyfriend chased after Seepersad and took him to the nearest police officer, PC Vinton Dinoo, who was on foot patrol duty.

Confronted by the woman, Seepersad said, “I never do that.”

The officer took Seepersad to Penal Police Station and recorded statements from the woman and her boyfriend. The officer took Seepersad to his Penal home where they met his father, who accompanied them back to the station.

In 2016, Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor did a maximum sentence indication where she suggested a three-year bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and the $12,000 compensation as the maximum sentence.

The matter, however, did not get off the ground until last December when Seepersad pleaded guilty before Justice Hayden St Clair Douglas.

His attorney Cedric Neptune said his client was apologetic. He said Seepersad was young and may have had beverages which he ought not to have consumed at his age.

Seepersad, he said, would have just completed school and has no previous convictions or pending matters.

The matter was adjourned to February 28 for sentencing.

Carrington: He was man of the people

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

Former Secretary General of Caricom Sir Edwin Carrington was among those who paid tribute to former president George Maxwell Richards yesterday.

Carrington described Richards as the people’s president because of his down-to-earth personality.

Carrington shared his fond memories of Richards after viewing his body inside the auditorium of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

He said he will always remember Richards for presenting him 13 years ago with the country’s then highest honour, the Trinity Cross, for his contribution to national/regional development.

The last thing Carrington said Richards told him after the award they will see each other again.

Unfortunately, Carrington said because of his demanding job as secretary general of Caricom, they did not see much of each other.

Carrington said he saw him as a humane person.

“I heard many people spoke about him…his enjoyment of Carnival. But it is not that to me. It is his co-mingling with people. He was down-to-earth. He was right there with the average man and woman in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Carrington.

Carrington said he received calls from dignitaries as far as Jamaica and Guyana who expressed their sad feelings of Richards’ passing.

Asked if Richards’ contribution may have gone unrecognised, seeing that there was a slow turn out by the public, Carrington said “I would not say unrecognised. There are some things that take time for people to appreciate. And not only that, the present President (Anthony Carmona) may well have benefited from looking at the records of Richards.”

Carrington said people could have stayed away for two reasons—the rains and Carnival atmosphere.

“I don’t think that affects the way people feel inside. Many people I spoke to on the phone…they called and we chatted, as they told me, man, Richards gone. In other words, there is a feeling out there and not just in Trinidad.”

Carrington said he received calls from dignitaries as far as Jamaica and Guyana who expressed their sad feelings of Richards’ passing.

Former Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon who also viewed Richards’ body said he always had great respect and regard for the country’s fourth president.

“What you saw is what he was,” Gordon said.

Having grown up in the same era with Richards, Gordon said “while we were not bosom friends I was always one who had high regard for him. I think we have lost a man who has played his role extremely well. And we must all be saddened by it.”

Gordon said even though the inclement weather may have been a temptation for people to give up from viewing Richards’ body “I am sorry more people have not turned this morning. I don’t think it’s a reflection of the high regard most people have for Mr Richards.”

Mayor: Give more to support downtown mas

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:59

Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez yesterday called on business people to be more generous to help host downtown Carnival as each year the event has gotten “bigger and better.”

Faced with tough economic times, Martinez said there would be certain cutbacks for 2018.

He assured that the event would still maintain all its pomp and pageantry and monetary prizes would not be adjusted.

Martinez was speaking at a press briefing held at the Port-of-Spain City Corporation yesterday said the downtown Carnival could not take place without sponsorship.

He said an estimated $1.2 million was spent on downtown Carnival annually. He said the National Lotteries Control Board had donated $50,000.

“There was a letter earlier that the NLCB was not going to give us any sponsorship but they have come through.

“We are trying to receive additional monies to bridge the gap,” the mayor said.

Martinez said additional sponsorship was forthcoming including a yearly subvention from the National Carnival Commission.

He said over the years a number of large bands had returned to downtown, adding to the volume of participants.

Chairman of the Downtown Carnival Committee Wendell Stephens, who also spoke, said, “We have written a lot of letters for sponsorship and we are hoping to get a positive response.

“What we have done over the years is reduce the category but not the prize structure,” Stephens said.

He also urged Port-of-Spain businessmen to financially support downtown Carnival.

Martinez also promised that the decibel level would be adhered to during the celebrations.

A statement from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) said the decibel level for a fete is 65 dBA.

“We also want to encourage band leaders to be very mindful of this. It may seem a bit difficult at this time but people will get accustomed to it and understand that the music does not have to be up more than the fete,” Martinez said.

On vending during Carnival Monday and Tuesday the mayor said there was a process to be followed and those who did not abide by the law would be removed by police.