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T&T to face Brazil, Serbia at Worlds

Sports - 15 hours 59 min ago

T&T’ senior women’s volleyballers will come up against two-time Olympic champions Brazil as well as European powerhouse Serbia in the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship which is scheduled for Japan from September 29 to October 20.

T&T is in Pool D of the 24-team and is the only team which will be making its debut in the event after qualifying as one of the seven teams from NORCECA on Sunday at the National Cycling Centre in Couva, as runners-up to Mexico.

The Krystle Esdelle-captained 34th ranked T&T will also meet Bulgaria (17th world ranked), Turkey (12th) and Azerbaijan (24th) in its round-robin pool play.

Commenting on the draw which was based on the teams FIVB World rankings as of August 7, 2017, Mushtaque Mohammed, president of CAZOVA was quick to point out that T&T, the record seven-time Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) champions, inclusive of six-in-a-row will not have it easy.

He stated, “The Brazilians, ranked fourth in the world are former Olympic champions and also are coming off a recent victory at the World Grand Prix, while world third ranked Serbia was second at the last Olympics and third at the Grand Prix, as has been force in European volleyball for some time now. Turkey also placed 11th at the Grand Prix while Bulgaria and Azerbaijan are expected to be good playing teams as well.”

|“What is good for the T&T team is that they have played Brazil before at the Pan Am level, and while it may be a higher level of competition, some of the players may be familiar to them.
“So going into the competition we (CAZOVA) have to be realistic and cannot expect that T&T, the first ever English-speaking Caribbean team to qualify to the World Championship will top the group or win many matches.”

He added, “What we can hope for though, is for the team to get full support in its preparation for the elite competition and take as many points as it can from its opponents and embrace the experience.”

As a former President of the T&T Volleyball Federation, Mohammed said he was also proud to see the investment made in acquiring the services of Cuban-born coach Francisco “Panchee” Cruz is paying off.

“Under my presidency Cruz was introduced to the local programme close to over ten years ago, and since then the team has been able to make steady progress.”

“They are the dominant team in CAZOVA and have made great strides in being competitive at the NORCECA and Pan American levels and qualified last year to their first ever FIVB World Grand Prix competition,” stated Mohammed

Defending champions USA, which qualified automatically will compete in Pool C alongside rivals Russia, Argentina, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Kenya, Pool B comprises China, Italy, Korea Republic, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico while Japan, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Germany, Cameroon and Cuba will compete in Pool A.

Russia which will be competing in a record 17th World Championship of the 18 editions of the FIVB’s flagship competition, having only missed out in 1967 is the most accomplished team in the tournament’s history with seven gold medals, including as USSR.

FIVB WORLD RANKINGS

Pool A: #6Japan, #8Netherlands, #9Dominican Republic, #13 Germany, #18 Cameroon, #25 Cuba
Pool B: #1 China, #7Italy, #10 Korea Republic, #13 Puerto Rico, #19 Canada, #26 Mexico
Pool C: #2 USA, #5 Russia, #11 Argentina, #16 Thailand, #21 Kazakhstan, #33 Kenya
Pool D: #3 Serbia, #4 Brazil, #12 Turkey, #17 Bulgaria, #24 Azerbaijan, #34 T&T.

Categories: News

Soca Warriors debate next move

Sports - 16 hours 2 min ago

What’s next for the Soca Warriors?

I suppose that the answer to that question is more complicated than losing a football match or even a regional tournament.

Our current ranking position of 83 tells its own story and being last in the Hexagon could relate to the status of the game at this juncture.

This brings to the table the opportunity to view matters in hindsight from as long as the appointment of former national coach Stephen Hart through to the victory over the USA by Dennis Lawrence and his squad. Starting from the beginning would be the work of Hart for the period that he was employed until he was replaced.

Some stability was brought to the national programme vis a vis team preparation and to a certain extent, communication with the foreign-based players, which was actually the ideal way to jump start his programme.

Knowing Stephen for many years during his career as a coach attached in different capacities for the Canadian national teams, I understood the former national Midfielder’s approach which bears similarity to the Canadian Pattern regarding local and foreign-based players.

However, as we walked along the road of challengers, a number of unforeseen problems began to show themselves coming from unexpected directions.

Firstly, the improper communication which existed between the T&T Football Association (TTFA) and the coaching staff which appeared to divide the players into different directions started casually affecting the smooth running of sessions, even when the selection process was said to be complicated with issues that had nothing to do with the game itself.When things appeared to be corrected and the team began to appear to be heading in the right direction, coach Stephen worked hard at trying to find the players with the right attitude as opposed to be prima donnas, an issue which most coaches undergo from time to time.

The fans were becoming more interested as the team was appearing to be good competitors in the regional setting.

However, a terrible start to the Hex started to scare the TTFA and they went for a change in coach, without even reviewing the progress that the team had made prior to the sudden losses.

Enter a new coach Tom Saintfiet, a Belgian whose claim to fame had nothing in his portfolio. His accepted contract was the joke of the century when he admitted that if he failed to win the next two matches in the Hex, he will be fired. So said, so done.

The selection of Dennis brought satisfaction as the former national defender had been under coach Roberto Martinez with Everton FC. Although his coaching certification was short of what is expected for national teams, his player’s experience plus his learning from high profile club coaches, got him the job.

Honestly, success for Dennis was far-fetched, especially after he defeated Panama in the early stages and fought Mexico down to the wire of a tough defeat.

Naturally, despite some impressive portions of the matches, it was clear that Dennis was short of some tactical adjustments and he was fast beginning to learn about player behaviour.

It must be recorded that he had done well in his analyses of some of the players whose commitments were far from what was expected. He made what appeared to be drastic changes, but the transition from mediocre turned into progressive and a route to better results. USA was his huge payday and that was enough to give him the chance to continue the job and prove his real test between now and the next Gold Cup.

A one year match schedule programme will be a key factor, even before Dennis documents his principled choice regarding the process for selecting our national teams. On completion of the above we shall wish to see the trail in search of success, the improved choice of his coaching assistants and most of all, his constant search of players from every part of the country.

Finally, it is necessary for coach Dennis to prove his worth by the quality of his team’s preparation, his analyses of previous matches by showing deficiencies using videos of each match and methods of improvement.

The onus of a coach is to show that his methodology, organisation and creation of major features for success within his teams. That is crucial for the longevity of his profession.

Categories: News

QRC’s Bedassie is Cricketer of the Year

Sports - 16 hours 4 min ago

Batsman Narvin Bedassie grabbed much of the attention this North Zone season and for that he was named the Cricketer of the Year at the league’s glitzy awards ceremony on Sunday at City Hall in Port-of-Spain.

In front of a large and appreciative audience with the Mayor of Port-of-Spain, Alderman Joel Martinez in attendance, along with Cheryl-Ann Wilkinson, advisor to the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia and Agnes Lara-Cyrus, sister of Cricket legend Brian Lara, Bedassie along with the leading players of this year’s competition were honoured.

The prolific Under-19 Queen’s Royal College (QRC) student stated that he was very humbled to be selected but he was even happier that his school Queen’s Royal College has returned to the highest level of Cricket at Secondary School level.

He said, “I am very proud to have been able to be an asset to my school and to ensure that we returned to the Championship Division, after a year in the Senior Division.”

Bedassie, the captain, led by example and marshalled his team to ensured that QRC returned to the top in Secondary School Cricket League. He scored some 500 runs for the season which included two centuries.

Martinez in his address commended all in attendance for being supportive of cricket and their children’s development.

He said, “This competition is the nurturing ground for our future and from what I see here today, cricket is in good hands.”

Amir Jangoo, a former student of Fatima College, was named the boys’ Sports Personality of the Year along with Holy Name Convent’s Georgia Lee Gill, getting the award for the girls.

However, the T&T player Jangoo, had the honour of being inducted into the North Zone Cricket Hall of Fame.

The Chairman’s award for the Most Destructive Player of The Year went to Leon Bassano of St Mary’s College (CIC). His school emerged the champion of the Under-13 and U-14 Divisions.

Last year’s champion Fatima repeated in the U-16 Division while QRC claimed the senior boys’ title. St Francois Girls won the girls’ title with Holy Name Convent as runner-up.

Fatima and CIC were joint winners of the U-17 Knock-out title with Tranquility Government and Diego Martin North being joint winners of the U-19 competition.

In the Girls U-15 Knock-out, Holy Name Convent stopped St Francois while Success Laventille edged Tranquility in the Flow U-19 competition.

In the Powergen Knock-out competition, CIC continued its great form with wins in the U-14 and U-15 divisions.

Chairman Kelvin Nancoo lauded brothers Dwayne and Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard for making the awards ceremony a success.

Nancoo said, “Our former players, national and international has shown that they will always assist cricket and youth development and I thank them sincerely.”

He also lauded Paul Clarke for another superb ceremony before warning that “those who want to be serve must be selfless and always put the students and the sport first”.

North Zone development team to tour USA

Sixteen U-15 cricketers of the Zone have been selected to tour the United States next year as part of a North Zone development team as guest of the Atlantic Regional Cricket Board.

The group of players making the trip in next August include Jeremie Cruickshank (Fatima), Zachary Siewah (Fatima), Joshua James (Success), Suraj Rampersad (CIC), Requelme Harewood (Diego North), CIC vice captain Mathew Gittens, QRC captain Sachin Emrit, Jemel Perez (Diego North), Johnathon Ward (QRC), Rashawn Rampersad (Woodbrook Secondary), Gerald Chin (CIC), Mahendra Harryman (Trinity), Rene Lucio (Diego North), Chaedon Ramond (Fatima), Jahrud Nedd (CIC) and Jesse Butts (Fatima).

Aaron Kirbanali will coach the unit with Dwayne Davis operating as his assistant coach and trainer. Other officials are Kashif Sandy (manager/Tour umpire), Allan Neptune (assistant manager/Tour liaison) and Randy Baliram (security/photograher).

All players and their parents and officials are asked to attend a meeting on Saturday in the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) office at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain from 9 am.

Categories: News

Nicklaus for a birdie and another success

Sports - 16 hours 8 min ago

Nicklaus, named after the greatest Major championship golfer of all time, has an excellent opportunity of outplaying inferior rivals in a Novice Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good’ ground Redcar today; names like this should be encouraged.

Everyone was inferior to Jack during his fabulous career which one lived through and enjoyed immensely. Stories abound about Nicklaus, one stems from an afternoon at Newbury races, long ago.

While standing in the betting ring, with the late professional backer, Alex Bird, another shrewd investor, Leslie Woods, came and mentioned that Nicklaus, after a tardy start in the final round, was making inroads on the leaders in the English Open; ‘is he odds against?’ asked Alex.

‘Odds against, you can get 7/2’ to which I blurted out (without thinking, as usual!) ‘put me £200 on please!’

Less than a minute later Leslie said ‘you’re on’ and we further discussed the race in hand.

An hour or so later Jack had gone right through with his effort and was long odds-on to win, he did.

In my lifetime I’ve never had such confidence in another human being; that was a tremendous sum of money then but Nicklaus was just unbelievably consistent and reliable, especially when putting within nine feet, crouched right over the ball as if his life depended on it.

William Haggas hasn’t named this Exceed And Excel colt Nicklaus without good reason and, judged on his second effort over seven furlongs of Kempton polytrack three weeks ago, it’s unlikely he will be 7/2!

Haggas is a real ‘favourite’ but others are trainer, Ed Walker, and jockey, Pat Cosgrave, who again team up with Stephensons Rocket, one of ten ‘decs’ for the Novice Stakes over a straight mile; this is a potential ‘beaut’ judged on his close second, over a similar distance at Sandown five weeks ago.

The diabolical, bookmaker-inspired, practice of late withdrawals now smacks of endemism and is desperately unfair to punters; no wonder ‘real’ professionally-minded bettors hate bookmakers.

Mametz Wood has a similar profile, second first-up three weeks back and fancied by in-form Karl Burke to go one better in a Novice Auction Stakes over seven furlongs of Newcastle tapeta, under talented 3lbs apprentice, Clifford Lee.

They all look solid for our daily patent, famous last words, eh?

Categories: News

No taxation without transformation

Columnists - 16 hours 20 min ago

The current government is taxing us for the misdemeanours of previous governments, including the last two, which committed massive waste, blunder, arrant slackness. If the Government is bent on transferring private wealth to support the socialised economy, socialised labour, socialised services, no problem. But what is the nation getting in return? More blunder, waste, bust?

Look at the bust to bust history of past governments:

Caroni (1975) Ltd. After Tate and Lyle wound up its business here in the mid-1970’s, their assets—land, labour, machinery, transport, technical expertise, experimental projects, research facilities and welfare programmes—were acquired by the Government. And then, quickly, it went into bust mode. Management slackness, unaffordable staff salaries, fraud, malingering, theft, debt, the failure to properly diversify products and markets. I moved to get the government to accept a proposal for transformation of this valuable stock of resources, including 77,000 acres of state land, in 2002. The government promised to keep Usine St Madeleine open. It all went down, ingloriously, quietly, to hell in a coconut shell by 2008.

Petrotrin. I also knew Texaco. The copious dams, bungalows, beautifully maintained pasture, orchards, dairy; the spruce and shiny tanks and pipes. Plenty employment for the villagers: farmers, labourers, technicians. But the cry went up! Texaco must go! A white man was slapped. A tank was burnt down, sabotage. And then, little by little, everything fell apart: the beautiful cows, diary. I know. I saw it. I lived on a hill behind Texaco. I saw the diary in Texaco go into ruins, and after this the pipes, tanks, infrastructure. Exorbitant staff salaries, poor state management, abysmal maintenance, big blunders, sloth, corruption, debt and some theft.

T&TEC. This company has tried very hard to avoid the pitfalls of the other two. Over the years its services have improved radically. It has professionalised its staff from top to bottom. It has improved its technology. It has survived housing booms, the interminable extensions of homes in hinterland communities and tracks. But it has barely kept its head above water. It is in financial bust mode. It ought not simply to await the Regulated Industries Commission for a price hike. This will just excise our pockets more. It ought to diversify. Into new pathways of power. Green technology, photonic and protonic power! This is inescapable.

WASA. WASA is in financial deficit, bust. It too, like T&TEC has professionalised its service and delivery. But it has missed the opportunity to invest in innovative water engineering projects, for example to harness thousands of tons of freshwater, trundling down the Northern Range onto the Caroni Plains. Retention ponds. To harness vast rooftop catchments, stretching from Diego Martin to Arima. There is an endemic problem with line maintenance. A significant volume of harvested water, that is commercial water, is lost.

The Master Gas Plan. In 2001, Mr Manning fell victim to the Gaffney and Cline Master Gas Plan; victim to the sharks of globalisation (from India, Australia, China, Brazil, the US) cresting the surf, waiting to swallow up foolhardy pups. There was no cost-benefit analysis of this multi-billion dollar project. There was a poor assessment of the gas supply situation, and of the growing volumes of competing gas, shale, renewables globally. There was little cognisance the global economic situation. Lloyd Best had warned: smelters were not the best way to use our gas; there was going to be a global recession in 2008. And all the Certificates of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for these projects hid the magnitude of social and ecological impacts. The whole thing fell apart, steel mill, chemical and plastic plants, smelters, industrial estates and ports. Bust! Hundreds of millions of dollars wasted!

Debe to Mon Desir. Debe to Mon Desir was part of the Master Plan mix. The planners felt that a mega-highway, five large interchanges, four lanes, a 12-foot embankment, from Debe to Mon Desir, that is, San Fernando to Pt Fortin Plus, was necessary to support their mega-plan. The Government ignored the advice of the Inter-American Development Bank to upgrade and widen existing roads. The Armstrong Report warned that the CEC for Debe to Mon Desir were severely flawed. They failed to listen. The project collapsed in mid-2015. Fortunately, the San Fernando to Pt Fortin, the necessary highway, has been re-continued. But what waste on Debe to Mon Desir!

Government. Our government is in bust mode. It is scrounging around for money to pay its recurrent expenditure. It has cut deep into our Trini bone. It has reached deep into the vee of my grandmother’s bosom and nicked a coin from her handkerchief knot. This kind of transfer is unsustainable. After governments have busted the commanding heights of the economy, sold or divested their stakes in companies to pay bills, this government is now rubbing down the people in the name of financial prudence. But would it remunerate the nation with financial prudence? Prudent governance? Non-slackness?

No taxation without transformation. This means that the government must not simply tax us and go off laughing to the banks. It must remunerate the nation with serious development, real reconstruction, transformation. It must steadfastly implement its campaign promise: local government reform. Shift the burdens of government from its own shoulders, and place it confidently on the shoulders of local leadership. Constituency government. To incrementally free itself, us, from the matrix of dystopia, bust, everywhere.

Categories: News

Calypso and the church

Columnists - 16 hours 22 min ago

Earlier this year, when he was conducting Brigo’s (Samuel Abraham) funeral, his son, Roman Catholic priest Father Bonnie Anthony Abraham, said he was introduced to spirituality by his father and even did his thesis, “Brigo: Prophet and Sage”, based on his father’s works.

Many people may not appreciate how Calypsonians have played their part in fostering an understanding of our various forms of spirituality.

Calypsonians, being highly creative people, are very different from the rest of us. Each one has given us their unique outlook on life and they should be so honoured in Calypso History Month. The month is a good opportunity to focus on them and what determined their spiritual lives.

We tend to label calypsonians either as political and social commentators or as the composers of festive music. But many calypsonians first began singing at school and church choirs or as devotees in the Orisha palais or at Spiritual Baptist Churches.

Admittedly, there have been times when calypsonians were critical about faiths in T&T, in particular the African faiths, but there are even more times when they sang sincerely and respectfully about spiritual life, liturgy, living and worship.

The calypsonian’s attitudes to African faiths have been documented in books like Professor Gordon Rohlehr’s Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad. He noted that Spiritual Baptist hymns which were recorded and sung by calypsonians began to rival mainstream calypsoes for popularity in the 1930s and 1940s.

What may not be well known is the role played by the Trinidad and Tobago Revolution (Black Power) of 1970. The movement led to works by Ras Shorty I (Garfield Blackman), David Rudder, Andre Tanker as well as the Gospelypso genre.

Dr Michael Toussaint, UWI history lecturer, reflecting on “Trinidad Calypso as Postmodernism in The Diaspora: Linking Rhythms, Lyrics and the Ancestral Spirits”, wrote “We (T&T) are currently witnessing an unprecedented level of Orisha religiosity in the Trinidad calypso”. The calypsoes of Singing Sandra, Ella Andall and her collaboration with the late Devon Mathews immediately come to mind.

Among Catholics a change in liturgy and devotional music followed the Second Vatican Council, opened in October 1962 by Pope John XXIII. Brother Paschal Jordan, now Prior of the Abbey at Mt St Benedict, has written about “The rise of the Black power movement in 1970 and the subsequent consciousness …that began to spill over into new music for worship.”

The simultaneous development of new Catholic music and Gospelypso is outlined by Rochelle Livingstone-Lewis in a 1995 Caribbean Studies thesis. She wrote “In 1972 and 1973, local songs were already composed for use in the Catholic Folk Mass, showing a trend towards the use of indigenous material in a sacred context. This may very well have been the Catholic

Church’s response to this cry for contextualisation of the religion. They recognised that efforts towards making the religion more applicable to the locals was indeed necessary (…) It is in this vein that Gospelypso emerges. The Catholic Church has set the precedent and the climate was right for the emergence of Gospelypso.”

The Youth for Christ organisation held its first Gospelypso rally in 1972 leading to a series of calypso competitions that had, as their theme, the message of the Gospel. Today we may enjoy inspirational works from artistes as varied as Rose (McCartha Lewis), Ras Shorty I, Sean Daniel, Jadee (Jerry Dane Sellier), Isaac Blackman, The Professor (Noel Richards), Diamond (Patrick Purcell Lewis), Denyse Plummer, Delamo (Franz Lamkin), Tambu (Christopher Herbert), Bomber (Clifton Ryan), King Luta (Morel Peters), Sparrow (Slinger Francisco), Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) and scores of older singers.

Some of these calypsonians are prominent in the Christian churches or have made the Churches their forum. Others work among the Spiritual Baptists. Yet others like Nelson (Robert Nelson), and Composer (Fred Mitchell), who is now named Baba Olu Sino Amono Ifayomi, are leaders in the Orisha faith.

Aiyegoro Ome

Categories: News

Garcia faces legal action

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Embattled Siparia West Secondary School principal Sookoo Sonnylal is threatening to sue the Ministry of Education over a decision to relieve him of duties while investigating a verbal altercation he is alleged to have had with a group of students earlier this month.

In a five page pre-action protocol letter sent to Education Minister Anthony Garcia yesterday, Soonylal’s attorneys, Anand Ramlogan, SC and Douglas Bayley, said the ministry acted outside its remit when it replaced him with a school supervisor after a video of the incident was circulated on social media.

“We are constrained to point out that neither the Minister nor the Chief Education Officer has any jurisdiction or power whatsoever in relation to the transfer, promotion and disciplining of teachers, including the principal. This power falls under the sole remit of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC),” the lawyers said.

They contend the ministry breached Sonnylal’s due process rights, as he was not given an opportunity to be heard on the issue before being instructed to report to the St Patrick District Education Office in San Fernando.

Soonylal’s lawyers threatened to file a judicial review lawsuit if their client is not reinstated by 4 pm today.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian on October 11, Garcia admitted that the TSC had the sole purview to discipline teachers and principals, but denied that the instructions given to Sonnylal constituted disciplinary action.

The T&T Guardian attempted to contact Garcia for a response yesterday evening, but he responded by text message to say he could not answer and would return the call. He did not do so up to late yesterday.

According to the letter, the incident occurred around 12.30 pm on October 4 while Sonnylal was on patrol during the school’s lunch break. His lawyers claimed the video only depicted a portion of the events, as it was recorded by students in a deliberate ploy to embarrass him.

“At the time, a student was secretly recording the incident. However, conveniently, the student omitted to record those portions when the students insulted our client. It is quite clear that these students premeditated this incident in order to ‘trap’ and implicate our client,” the lawyers said as they related their client’s version of the events.

Sonnylal’s lawyers claimed he was informed by other students that a group of students were smoking and gambling in a classroom. While on the way to the area, Soonylal confronted and spoke to one student, who was armed with a piece of metal in the stairwell. He then went to the classroom where he allegedly saw a student with his feet on a chair and he asked him to sit properly as it was a “learning institution.”

Describing Sonnylal as the real victim, his lawyers claimed he was then mobbed by a dozen of the student’s classmates, who began using obscene and threatening language towards him.

Saying Sonnylal, who has been at the school for the past 25 years, felt afraid and helpless, they said he attempted to call the Siparia Community Police four times but got no response.

“In light of the circumstances, namely the hostility shown by the students, the fact that our client was outnumbered and that the students were aggressive, our client reacted as most adult human beings would and uttered two phrases which are at most, debatably injudicious and unfortunate. The extenuating circumstances are clear and outweigh the human foible,” they said.

They also contend that the ministry’s response will undermine the efforts of other educators attempting to tackle school indiscipline and violence and embolden future perpetrators.

“By taking the side of violent indisciplined students who are not afraid to taunt, provoke and attack educators whose efforts are rewarded with an unexplained removal from office, the ministry will send the wrong signal,” they said.

Categories: News

Some celebrate Divali indoors

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Rising flood waters in certain parts of Sangre Grande and environs on Divali evening forced residents to forgo their annual celebrations and change focus to rising flood waters.

As the muddy waters rose to dangerous levels on Divali, the residents stopped focusing on lighting deyas and began removing household items and their animals to higher ground.

The T&T Guardian was told yesterday that the North Oropouche River burst its banks around 6 pm on Wednesday and flooded Vega de Oropouche within an hour, leaving many houses under unusually high water.

Many families were still marooned in their homes up to yesterday.

Housewife Asha Ramdeen said all their efforts in cleaning in preparation for Divali quickly disappeared under the flood waters and they had to begin the cleaning process once again, except this time their task was removing slush and debris.

Many villagers said they expected the flooding due to the persistent rainfall on Tuesday night into yesterday, but didn’t think it would be so severe.

Some said despite the flooding they took their Divali celebrations indoors while some promising to light their deyas last night.

Vega de Oropouche and Fishing Pond farmers reported heavy crop losses and said damage could amount to thousands of dollars. Villagers said there is usually some rain for Divali but they could not recall flooding.

Sangre Grande Regional Corporation chairman Terry Rondon, councillor for the area Anil Juteram and corporation officials visited some of the affected families and promised to bring relief to those affected by flooding.

They will also visit the farmers when the flood water recedes to assist them and provide the necessary arrangement for compensation.

RALPH BANWARIE

Categories: News

Drivers stranded for over 5 hours

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Trinidad is sinking! All must be held responsible!

Those were some of the remarks made Wednesday night by motorists who were among thousands stranded along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, Chase Village, due to severe flooding caused after a nearby river burst its banks.

The Caroni River also burst its banks yesterday afternoon, causing severe flooding in several areas including Las Lomas, Golden Grove Road, Chin Chin Road and Madras.

In Mamoral, villagers rescued a family, including a five-year-old girl, after their car was swept away by the raging flood waters. Villagers had to tie themselves with ropes to get to and rescue the family from the waters.

Residents in Caparo, who were also hit hard by disastrous flooding, are also now fearing a Cholera outbreak as the raging flood waters swept away scores of cesspit covers causing raw sewerage to spill into homes.

Wednesday was the first time in over 20 years that Chase Village had experienced such flooding. In some parts, there was said to be water four feet high.

The water also crossed both lanes of the highway, causing standstill traffic for more than five hours. Some people were forced to sleep in their cars while waiting for waters to subside. Not until 6.30 am were some people allowed to proceed to their respective homes from the “Triangle” at Chase Village.

Businessman Robert Soogrim, of the Fit for Life Pharmacy, said it was the first time he had ever experienced such flooding in the area.

“My pharmacy was flooded. I lost a lot of stocks, too much to ascertain a monetary cost of losses. A lot of things have to be thrown out. We expect the worst again because more rains are expected to come. I have been here 20 years, never saw that before.”

Sachindev Jagassar, from Chandernagore, said it was the first time in seven years he had seen so much flooding in his area.

“People’s homes were under so much water that many lost furniture and appliances. Before I left home today I made sure to put sand bags by my door just in case more flood come up. It was like an ocean.”

One of the residents in Madras, who wished not to be identified, told the T&T Guardian alleged a developer in the area had blocked one of the major water courses.

“People are irresponsible and blocking the water courses and developing land, building up structures all over and we the people have to suffer like this. Our homes are under five feet of water. Who will compensate us? Who will hold the responsibility of this?” the Madras resident said.

Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation chairman Henry Awong said he received scores of reports from Caparo residents who feared a possible health scare because of the flooding.

“I was told that many cesspit covers were washed away by the floods causing sewer to be all over. This is a potential health hazard and I have several crews out there assessing,” Awong said.

“This is one of the worst I have ever experienced. Storm Bret has nothing to do with what happened here overnight. Several areas that never flooded in years flooded, including Freeport, Chase Village, Carapichaima.”

Awong pleaded with the Local Government Ministry to join the corporation’s efforts to bring much relief to those affected.

Categories: News

Sinanan: Rain just too much for channels

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan says while he agrees there are irresponsible people who contribute to the flooding, he believes that the events experienced Wednesday into yesterday were caused because of the volume of rain that fell in the 60 hours.

“Let us be fair to everyone…the volume of rain that fell in the last 48 to 60 hours, I don’t’ think that the water channels, even though we cleared them, could have handled this volume of water,” Sinanan said.

“Yes there is some blame, like unplanned development in the past, but the phenomenal rainfall on a constant basis is what is contributing to the floods and landslips…the ground is water logged and hills water soaked,” he added.

Sinanan, who toured several flood-affected areas in Central and east Trinidad yesterday, said he was currently getting engineers to look at the downstream water flow rivers.

“There is unusual flooding in areas we have never seen before now, but it’s because of the active rainy season.”

Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, who toured Madras, Las Lomas and the Chin Chin Road areas yesterday, meanwhile described the flooding as the “worst ever.”

“This is worst than what I saw in South Trinidad in the aftermath of Storm Bret,” Hosein said.

He said he stayed in constant contact with the disaster management units in the 14 regional corporations yesterday and added that crews and equipment were mobilising to go out to assess areas and help in clean-up operations.

“Corporations have instructions to go out there and to ensure to see that all rivers and water courses are cleared. River mouths are blocked up, causing the flooding in the low lying areas and people to be marooned in their homes,” Hosein said.

“I have seen many people suffer losses and it’s very heart-breaking to see their homes under four feet of waters.”

However, despite the devastation caused in several parts of the country, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management did not seem to be part of the relief drive yesterday. The organisation’s management did not send out any reports on the flooding and their operatives were not in the field alongside regional corporation bodies. (See editorial on Page A18)

According to the T&T Meteorological Service, the riverine flood alert for Trinidad, due to rainfall activity associated with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over the last 36 hours, remains in effect. Reports from the Water Resources Agency also indicated that water levels in some of the nation’s major rivers as well as their tributaries, including the Caroni River, had reached threshold levels last evening. The flooding is expected to continue for the next 12 to 24 hours in areas already being affected.

Categories: News

‘Tigers’ jump to 2nd spot

Sports - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

St Anthony’s College climbed to the second place on the Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League 16-team Premier Division standings after a feisty 3-2 win over San Juan North Secondary at San Juan North Ground, Bourg Mulatresse, San Juan yesterday.

With leaders Naparima College (26 points) on a bye and second placed Presentation College of San Fernando (22) and fourth placed defending champions Shiva Boys Hindu College (20), having their matches postponed due to unplayable conditions at Fatima and Morne Diablo grounds respectively, the ‘Westmooring Tigers’ were gifted a chance to move up the table.

At the end of the 90-minute contest at San Juan North, they did just that in a very physical contest which saw the expulsion of three players in the dying seconds of the clash.

Jesse Williams of St Anthony’s, Kyle Thomas of San Juan and Kareem John were all given their marching orders for off the ball incidents. Referee Hasely Colette gave John his marching orders after a straight red card in the 90th minute, while Thomas and Williams were sent off after their second bookings each, which were recorded in the 90th-minute of the contest.

Earlier in the match, former national youth player Jaydon Powell converted a penalty to put St Anthony’s ahead, but within four minutes Tyrell Cameron replied for the host, only for N’Kosi Salandy to restore the visitors lead, seven minutes later.

Che Benny, another national youth team member on the ‘Tigers” roster then extended his team’s advantage in the 63rd minute, but San Juan North quickly claw its back into the contest with a Ronaldo Boyce goal in the 66th minute.

The visitors then held on to the narrow lead, with the match ending on sour note for both teams with the dismissals.

With the win, St Anthony’s moved to 24 points from 11 matches and three left to play, two behind Naparima followed by Presentation (22) and Shiva Boys (20), with the latter two having a match in hand each.

Prior to the kick off of matches yesterday, the standings was re-adjusted after the SSFL Executive met and decided to suspend Fyzabad Secondary due to the wrongful use of players Dez Jones and Maurice Dick.

At the bottom end of the standings, Queen’s Royal College and St Benedict’s College picked up crucial wins over fellow strugglers Signal Hill 4-2 and Trinity College Moka 3-2 respectively, to enhance their chances of surviving the relegation drop.

Also, Trinity East got a double from Romario Williams and one from Jarved Elcock in a 3-0 blanking of St Augustine Secondary a at Trincity while Carapichaima East also won 3-0 at Speyside.

 

 

 

Yesterday’s Results

St Benedict’s 3 (Zion Broadbelt, Reuel Tyson, Jabari Jones) vs Trinity Moka 2 (Joshua Fraser, Saleem Henry)

Trinity East 3 (Romaro Williams 2, Jarved Elcock) vs St Augustine 0

Carapichaima East 3 (Mecaheil Alexander, Theophilus Bourne, Elijah King) vs Speyside 0

QRC 4 (Kalev Keil 2, Miguel Williams, Randy Harris) vs Signal Hill 2 (Jabari Mc Millian, own goal)

St Anthony’s 3 (Jaydon Powell 30th pen, N’Kosi Salandy 41st, Che Benny 63rd) vs San Juan North 2 (Tyrell Cameron 34th, Ronaldo Boyce 66th)

 

Yesterday’s postponed matches

Fatima vs Presentation @ Fatima Ground, Mucurapo Road

Shiva Boys vs St Mary’s @ Morne Diablo

 

Latest Premier Division standings

Teams*P*W*D*L*F*A*Pts

1. Naparima*11*8*2*1*23*11*26

2. St Anthony’s*11*7*3*1*36*18*24

3. Presentation*10*7*1*2*22*11*22

4. Shiva Boys*10*6*2*2*26*13*20

5. San Juan North*12*4*6*2*25*13*18

6. Trinity East*10*5*1*4*19*11*16

7. St Mary’s*10*4*3*3*25*20*15

8. Fatima*9*5*0*4*9*12*15

9. Carapichaima East*11*4*2*5*17*18*14

10. St Augustine*10*4*1*5*20*20*13

11. QRC*12*3*2*7*19*27*11

12. St Benedict’s*11*2*3*6*16*25*9

13. Signal Hill*11*2*2*7*11*21*8

14. Trinity Moka*10*2*1*10*13*30*7

15. Speyside*12*2*1*9*7*38*7

Categories: News

SOS basketball tourney jumps off at Maloney

Sports - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Young basketballers will bring the court at the Maloney Indoor Sport Arena alive when competition in the second annual Stories of Success (SOS) Basketball Academy’s Clutch Invitational Tournament jumps off this weekend.

Players from five clubs including Brian Chase Basketball Academy, Maloney Pacers, Spartans, 500 Hawks and the hosts SOS will battle for the titles in two divisions - Under-21 and U-17. Spartans will only compete in the lower division while the other clubs will have team in both groups.

The tournament serves as a condensed high-level competitive showcase for young athletes to display their ability to local and international high school and College/University coaches and scouts.

On Saturday, teams are expected to arrive at 10 am and will compete in the group stages from noon after the opening ceremony at 11 am. The following day will be the semifinals from noon with the first place team in the standings meeting the fourth-place team and second plays third, with the finals in both divisions unfolding soon after.

The two-day event, sanctioned by the National Basketball Federation of T&T (NBFTT), will also feature divisional skills contests on Sunday including three-point shootouts at 2 pm, a women’s exhibition match featuring teams competing in the upcoming Female Basketball Action (FEM.BA) Tournament at 3 pm, and special cheerleading displays performed by T&T Cheer Federation (TTCF) teams from 3.30 pm.

The prize giving ceremony will be held at 5 pm after the finals, the U-17s will play at 4 pm and the U-21s at 4.30 pm.

 

Categories: News

SSFL suspends Fyzabad

Sports - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Fyzabad Anglican Secondary School was yesterday suspended from the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) with immediate effect for its use of utility player Dez Jones and key midfielder Maurice Dick, both of whom it alleged submitted false documents to gain entry in schools' Sixth Form.

Jones received two CSEC passes from the June/July exam in 2016, while Dick got just one pass from the same examination. Both required a further two and three passes respectively to earn entry at sixth form level, which were said to have been achieved at the CSEC exam in January 2017.

Speaking to Guardian Media Sports, SSFL president Williams Wallace said yesterday his league deliberated on the matter before making a decision that was based purely on the original CSEC certificates that showed the students/players had received. The players, however still maintained they submitted their original certificates showing two and one passes respectively, which in any event, would have prevented them from gaining places in the school's sixth form programme.

Wallace said apart from suspending the school from the league for the rest of the season, his league will also put the matter into the hands of the Ministry of Education for further investigation.

The SSFL will also sit in the near future to determine if the school will be debarred from participation in the Championship Division of the SSFL next year.

A release from the SSFL yesterday stated the league position was based on a "bogus certificate" the league received from the school over the past few days. Secretary Azaad Khan said,"It was clear to me that while the players' certificate for the 2016 CSEC exam was authentic, they were able to determine that the students did not sit exams in January of this year due to inconsistencies with the school centre number."

Khan also said, "That to earn entry at sixth form required a signature from a Supervisor from the Ministry of Education which would have seen the certificates of the young players. He is expected to deliver a report to the Ministry of Education this morning."

When Guardian Media Sports contacted Dick he said, "I was invited to play for the school by a school official while playing with Guaya United in the T&T Super League and I accepted the offer as I never played at the top flight league before. I was given the assurance that I would get in the school with just one pass. I don't know where that certificate with four passes came from, I don't know anything about that."

He continued, " I know people will not believe me, but I don't know what they did to get me in school. I don't know what is happening in the administration of the school but there is something wrong there."

Fyzabad coach Brian Williams submitted his resignation on Tuesday in the wake of the controversy, saying he does not condone such behaviour and he did not want to be in an institution where it is taking place. The former Strike Squad defender said he took up the job at Fyzabad some two months ago after being bombarded by teachers from the school and community members. He said because he has observed certain types of behaviours at the nation's schools, he made it clear that he did not want to have any part to play in the administration of the team.

WALTER ALIBEY

 

 

 

Categories: News

Vieira nets beaver in 13-2 Mexico drubbing

Sports - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Jordan Vieira scored a beaver-trick to lead T&T ‘Calypso Stickmen’ to another come-from-behind victory, 13-2 against Mexico for a fourth straight win at the Indoor Pan American Cup Men’s Tournament at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in Georgetown, Guyana, yesterday.

Bottom of the table Mexico, without a point after three matches, stunned unbeaten T&T by taking a second minute lead through Luis Solorzano, however it was all one-way traffic after that as T&T then scored six goals without reply to lead 6-1 at half-time.

First, Mickell Pierre tied up the score at 1-1 for T&T in the third minute followed by items from captain Solomon Eccles (fifth), Aidan De Gannes (ninth), Vieira (tenth), and a double from Australian-based Akim Toussaint.

Two minutes into the second-half, Vieira got his second to extend T&T’s advantage to 7-1quickly followed by Pierre’s second in the 24th before Luis Aguilar, netted Mexico’s second in the 27th minute for the North Americans to trail 8-2.

With assistant coach Darren Cowie belting out instructions to go for more goals in the absence of head coach Raphael Govia, who returned home on Wednesday morning due to family reasons, the ‘Calypso Stickmen’ piled on the pressure with Marcus James making it 9-2 in the 28th before Vieira added items in the 29th and 32nd minutes to complete his beaver-trick and an 11-2 cushion.

Toussaint then completed in the 33rd minute, and De Gannes grabbed another in the 37th as T&T completed the resounding win to move to maximum 12 points from four matches and a healthy goal-difference of plus-24 ahead of its final round-robin clash with defending champions, Canada from 3.45pm today, with a win or draw securing a spot in tomorrow’s final from 7pm at stake.

In yesterday’s other matches, Guyana and Canada, both with six points from three matches faced off while Argentina, also with six points tackled Barbados.

On Wednesday night, Guyana stayed in contention for a top three finish with a 12-0 mauling of Mexico, while Argentina toppled Canada 5-3 to move into a three-way tie for second.

Today, Barbados and Mexico meet from 5pm followed by Argentina and Guyana to conclude the six-team round-robin series, at the end of which, the top two teams will contest the final on Saturday, from which the winner will qualify to the Indoor World Cup in Berlin, Germany, next February.

 

 

 

 

Krizia Layne and Blair Wynne scored two goals each to lead T&T ‘Calypso Stickwomen’ to a first win in five matches, 6-3 over host Guyana at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in Georgetown, yesterday.

Beaten in their previous matches against USA (7-2), Uruguay (4-0), Argentina (4-0) and Canada (3-0), the ‘Calypso Stickmen’ were eager for a better outcome against the Guyanese, who entered the match on the back of a first win, 5-1 over Barbados.

Arielle Williams handed T&T the perfect start when she opened the scoring from a penalty-corner play in the second minute and three minutes later, Layne silenced the home crowd with the ‘Calypso Stickwomen’ second, from open play.

However, spurred on by the home crowd, the Guyanese fought their way back into the contest with Nicole Eastman, cutting the deficit in half, a minute later before Marzana Fiedtkou scored in the 18th and on the stroke of half-time, to give the host a 3-2 lead.

The T&T women coached by former Guyana international Jerazeno Bell, came out firing on the resumption and drew level within two minutes thanks to Blair Wynne.

Both teams then struggled to find the go-ahead goal until four minutes from full-time when Layne got her second to put T&T ahead 4-3, then captain Alanna Lewis made it 5-3 from the penalty-spot, a minute later followed by Wynne’s second item on the match on the stroke of full-time to seal a 6-3 triumph.

With the win, T&T moved to three points in sixth spot, level with fifth placed Guyana, which has a better goal-difference.

 

Today’s Matches

Women

Argentina vs Uruguay, 12noon

T&T vs Barbados, 1.15pm

Canada vs USA, 2.30pm

Sixth Place playoff, 7.30pm

 

Men

Canada vs T&T, 3.45pm

Barbados vs Mexico, 5pm

Argentina vs Guyana, 6.15pm

Categories: News

Residents reeling

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

It was hard to tell the roads from the rivers and drains yesterday. But the frustration and despair etched on residents’ faces told a story of the hardship to come.

As deafening rainfall continued deep into yesterday, scores of families in South and Central Trinidad were praying for relief from the mud-coloured water that gushed into their homes.

Others, like Suresh Rattiram, his wife Vindra Mangroo and their seven children, ages two to 14, were praying the rage of the swollen Oropouche River would not topple their plywood home during the night.

With the children trapped in their Suchit Trace, Penal home, Rattiram agonised over the lost materials that were donated to upgrade the structure that rests precariously on shaved logs. The new zinc sheets, pieces of plywood and the washing machine were under water. The children’s school uniforms, which were hung under the house, were long gone with the river.

“Last night all the water came up and ply, galvanise and other things were gone. After storm Bret some people had helped us out with some materials. I don’t get regular work so it is hard,” Rattiram said.

Mangroo makes $200 a week selling doubles on Thursdays. For Rattiram and the children, it’s the only home they have ever known.

Mangroo said after going to the Oropouche East Constituency Office to get help for State housing, she was denied access to see MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. On another occasion, she was told they would not be able to afford State housing.

Categories: News

Heavy agricultural losses

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Acres upon acres of crops were submerged in filthy water in Penal and Barrackpore yesterday as a result of overnight and persistent rains during the day.

Crop farmer Chabinath Ramnanan was almost brought to tears, as for the second time this year his fields in Penal were destroyed. Bodi, bhagi, tomatoes, eggplants and corn near harvesting were all gone.

“I don’t know how I am going to recover from this. Remember we suffered floods in June and I scraped up somehow to plant back. I don’t know how I am going to recover because this is my only source of income and I have a family to maintain,” Ramnanan said.

At 3 am, cattle farmer Dave Hercules waded through the rising swamp in Barrackpore to rescue his bulls and bison. With over 100 cattle, it was a Herculean task getting his animals to safety. His father Peter, on the other side of Wilson Road, lost his same, tomatoes, pumpkin, eggplant and hot pepper crops.

Several businesses in Barrackpore also had to close their doors as some parts of the Rochard Road and Rochard Douglas Road were impassable yesterday.

At Star Bay’s Chinese Restaurant and Bar, Jam Yang and his boys were busily securing sandbags at their door. But every time a truck passed they would have to scoop the water out quickly before it entered the restaurant.

Venturing outside was risky business, as the current of the overflowing Oropouche River almost toppled journalists in the field.

Penal Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy said the flood was as bad as those brought by Tropical Storm Bret last June. Up to late yesterday, the corporation was still trying to assess the damage.

However, he said since Bret no cleaning of waterways were done by the Ministry of Works and Transport or the Ministry of Agriculture.

“People are incensed because of what they are experiencing. We are extending a hand to the region, which we must do. There is a lot of emotional pain because you are extending North of Trinidad, but South of Port-of-Spain there has been no extension of help from the State,” Sammy said.

Categories: News

Series win vital says Law

Sports - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 21:59
NULL

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – Though winning the upcoming two-Test series against Zimbabwe will be vital, head coach Stuart Law said yesterday continuing to make key improvements as a Test unit would be the overall objective.

The Australian said he had been impressed with the strides made on the recent tour of England – even though the Caribbean side lost the series 2-1 – and was hoping to see the squad display more of those qualities on the current tour.

West Indies have been installed as heavy favourites to sweep the series, having never lost a Test to the African nation in eight previous meetings.

“You can’t focus on the end result. You’ve got to focus on the little steps you’ve got to make to get through [the game],” Law cautioned ahead of Saturday’s start of the opening Test at Queens Sports Club.

“We have targets, we have goals. I am sure the boys they want to make sure they’re giving themselves every opportunity to win every contest we go into.

“We just had a reasonable result in the UK – the second Test was outstanding. We lost the other two Tests but we started to show some fight. After that first Test, to come back the way we did was an outstanding effort.”

West Indies capitulated in the opening Test at Edgbaston by an innings inside three days but against all the odds, rebounded to win the second Test at Headingley by five wickets.

Law said both the heavy defeat and the stunning win had been important to the team’s development

“Now, it’s just a matter of the boys putting what they learnt over there [in practice again],” he stressed.

“What happened over there at Edgbaston really creates a bit of mental toughness and I think we need to be that tough from ball one on Saturday. We need to … hang in the contest for as long as we can and push towards what we need.”

Based on the decent progress shown on the England tour, selectors opted to retain the entire squad for the Zimbabwe series, giving players yet another chance to make their mark.

Batsmen like Kyle Hope, who mustered just 41 runs from six innings in the three-Test England series and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, who scraped 24 runs also from six innings while struggling with the gloves, have been given chances to redeem themselves.

Law said it was important selection was not based purely on immediate returns but instead, allowing players the chance to find their touch without the burden of selection pressure.

“We’re not about picking players and discarding them after only a couple games. We are trying to give everyone a fair shake at putting something up on the board – something to really look at, something substantial,” he explained.

“We’re trying to get away from the fact you pick someone, they don’t score runs immediately or take wickets immediately, you send them back and bring someone else in. That just creates an atmopshere in the dressing room where you are always looking over your shoulder.

“We want to get away from that, we want to make sure we are consistent with our selections but there comes a time when players are responsible for their performances out in the middle.”

He continued: “If there are no performances coming forward, they have to make sure they know and they do everything possible to get it right out there. They’ve got to perform, that’s the number one thing … but we’d like to give everyone a fair chance to stake their claim.”

(CMC)

Categories: News

Jwala gets green light to pursue lawsuit against Imbert

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 21:59

Former Central Bank governor Jwala Rambarran is accusing Finance Minister Colm Imbert of sabotaging his appointment as a senior advisor with US G-24 Secretariat because of a political and personal vendetta.

Rambarran made the accusation in his affidavit as he sought and was granted leave yesterday by Justice Frank Seepersad in the San Fernando High Court to apply for judicial review against Imbert’s refusal to release through his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) application for any communication the minister had with the G-24 director about him. The judge fixed the first case management hearing for November 22.

Rambarran, in his affidavit, said since the revocation of his appointment as governor on December 23, 2015, he has been having difficulty sourcing alternative employment.

He said in March 2016 the Washington-based G-24, of which T&T is a member, invited applications for the position of senior advisor, an operational role.

T&T has been represented by the Minister of Finance and the Central Bank Governor who serve as “Minister and Deputy”, respectively at G-24 meetings, stated Rambarran. In fact, Rambarran said during his tenure as governor he functioned at ‘Minister/Deputy’ levels at G-24 meetings, headed official delegations of meetings of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G-24 and Commonwealth Secretariat.

Rambarran said in April 2016 he applied and in July 2016 he was interviewed by a panel comprising G-24 director, Marilou Uy and three other G-24 officials from the Executive Director Officers at the IMF and World Bank.

He said on August 3, 2016, he accepted an offer of employment from the G-24 Secretariat and negotiations had reached an advance stage when things began hitting a snag.

He said on August 16, 2016 he received an email from the director stating that she needed to address “the sensitivity” that the minister might have on his appointment. Rambarran said he formed the impression that the minister was seeking to undermine and prevent his appointment.

“I was very surprised and confused by this development,” stated Rambarran who explained that it was not unusual for former governors to obtain similar jobs at international organisatons.

Rambarran said on October 28, 2016, the director informed him that she had not received any word from the minister and if he was still interested the job she would be taking the next step in the recruitment process, including processing his H-18 passport.

Rambarran indicated that he was still interested and received confirmation on November 28, 2016, that his H-18 passport petition had been approved.

“On that same day, I also received a telephone call from the G-24 director, indicating that she had received ‘very damaging’ correspondence from the Minister of Finance about me.

She said it appeared to be a personal attack as he was totally against the G-24 hiring me as a senior advisor,” stated Rambarran.

He said he conveyed his shock and surprise to the director as the position was not a political one, but purely an administrative job.

“I indicated that I felt I was the victim of political bias. I informed the director that the minister has a personal political vendetta against me and it was the only explanation for his actions, “ the former governor said.

Rambarran said he also indicated to the director that the minister had a conflict of interest because he was instrumental in the revocation of his appointment as governor. He said the director inquired if he knew any top PNM official who could speak to the minister with a view to am amicable resolution.

He said on December 29, 2016, he was informed by email from the director, that the G-24 “had decided not to go ahead with closing on the offer for the senior advisor role.”

Rambarran said if the minister did make those damaging remarks about him then he is utilizing his position “in the furtherance of the execution of a personal and political vendetta that is based on political bias to victimise me.” Rambarran indicated he had applied for several other positions with international organisation but he fears that his candidacy will face a similar fate if and when the minister is contacted. Rambarran subsequently made an official application under the FOIA for any/and all correspondence, references and recommendation during the period June 2016 and January 2017 between the minister

G-24 in relation to himself. Rambarran, through his attorneys Anand Ramlogan SC, Douglas Bayley and Kavita Sarran, is challenging the minister’s position that the requested documents were except under the FOIA.

When contacted via WhatsApp for an official comment yesterday, Imbert replied, “That matter is still subjudice and as such I am unable to comment at this time.”

Categories: News

A feeling of trepidation

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 21:59

Bishop Charles Jason Gordon, who once worked closely with the hot-spot community of Gonzales, will be installed as the new Archbishop of Port-of-Spain in December this year.

The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Archbishop’s House in Port-of-Spain yesterday where Gordon described his feelings as one of “trepidation” upon receiving the news.

Gordon becomes the third Trinidadian to lead the local Catholic Church following Harris and the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin.

He said being the head of the Catholic Church in T&T was a huge responsibility coupled with the challenges faced by the society including the rising crime rate.

Describing T&T as having “incredible challenge and joy at the same time” Gordon said, “To be Archbishop of Port-of-Spain as Archbishop Harris alluded to could wear down an old man and I don’t know that the wearing down is so much as of age as of the complexity of the Archdioceses, of the turbulent nature of Trinidad society, of this joy of life that we have on the one hand and yet the challenge to harness potential and really create a movement for good and a movement for change and building a better society and Church,” Gordon said.

Citing crime as an example he said there were moments when it seemed possible to bring the crime challenge under a different level of control.

“And then the explosion of crime after that says, ‘Well that was a great moment and here we have another one.’ That is the volatile nature of Trinidad society. It is an incredible society, it is dynamic, it has energy and a sense of life second to none but all of these great characteristics of Trinidad society also lead it a society where harnessing...holding unity and creating a movement for positive transformation is also a very difficult and challenging thing.

“Trepidation because the task of being Archbishop of Port-of-Spain is a very serious responsibility but there is a sense of peace because I know it is God who is asking me to do this,” Gordon said.

He said despite the fact that he was out of the country for the past six years as he was appointed the Diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados one of his immediate plans was to re-engage himself with the community, especially those affected by violence and crime.

He said unless ways could be found to bring growth to the most difficult communities, the Church was not carrying out its mandate.

Saying he received a peace award for his work in Gonzales, Gordon said he also intended to use sport as a tool to uplift youths in such communities.

Gordon added that he also intended to “listen deeply” to all sectors of society adding, “To try and understand what is the thing that is ticking deep in the unconscious of our people which connects with the gospel message so that I can start building bridges.”

On plans to encourage the youths to stay in the Church, Gordon said young people stayed in Church when they were connected to Christ and feeling that the Church was meaningful in their lives.

He said there must be participatory, relevant interaction in helping youths understand the gospel.

In the Gonzales community yesterday, mostly the older people remembered Gordon.

Enid Brewster, who said she has been living in the area since 1960, was elated upon learning of Gordon”s accomplishment.

“I remember all the good work he did in the community especially helping the youths getting on the right track. I had two choices either Fr Harvey or Fr Gordon.

“I am very happy he was chosen,” Brewster said.

The caretaker of the community’s Catholic Church Valentine Pemberton Roman Catholic Church agreed that Gordon would make a good Archbishop.

But some of the youths in the area said they had never heard of Gordon and therefore could not comment on his capabilities.

About Gordon

Gordon will replace Archbishop Joseph Harris, who submitted his letter of resignation to the Pope in March this year upon turning 75. Gordon was consecrated Bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown (St Vincent and the Grenadines) on September 21, 2011, a week after Harris was ordained co-adjutor Archbishop of Port of Spain.

Born March 17, 1959, Gordon was ordained a diocesan priest in March 1991 at the age of 32.

He began studies for the priesthood in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the then Regional Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict.

He continued his studies at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium where he attained both his BA and Master’s in Theology. He later completed his PhD in London.

After his priestly ordination, Gordon lectured at the regional seminary and he managed a number of projects in the Living Water Community including Fountain of Hope and the Marian House for young men.

In 2003, Gordon was appointed parish priest of Rosary/Gonzales and created projects to improve the Gonzales community which at the time had been deeply affected by gang-related violence.

He helped start a homework clinic, an internet café and a project known as CITY (Community Interventions Transforming Youths).

In 2007 then Archbishop Edward Gilbert appointed him to the newly created position of Vicar for Administration. Two year later, Pope Benedict XVI made him a Monsignor.

Earlier this year, Gordon was elected vice-president of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, the regional body of Catholic bishops for the English, Dutch and French-speaking Caribbean territories.

Categories: News

Three shortlisted for CoP position

News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 21:59

Three potential candidates applying for the position of Commissioner of Police (CoP) have been short listed by the Police Service Commission (PSC) and vigorous interviews are expected to begin soon.

The T&T Guardian was told by sources close to the PSC that over 20 applications were sent in to the commission for the posts of CoP and Deputy CoP since the positions were advertised in the local newspapers from September 4 to 29.

The short listed candidates will now be required to undergo psychometric tests which include tests of cognitive ability and personality tests. According to the PSC, scores from these tests will be combined to provide an overall score for each candidate and form a component of the final candidate score.

Candidates will then be assessed in various capacities to determine suitability and expand on information provided in the job application form. “These assessments may include, but are not limited to, evaluations of core competency factors,” the spokesman said.

Candidates may also be asked to demonstrate - Proficiency in Leadership by demonstrating competencies in executive policing, leading strategic change, leading a workforce and decision making; Proficiency in People Leadership by demonstrating superior skills in working with others, serving the public and managing performance; Proficiency in Technical Skills by demonstrating professional policing skills and operational management and Proficiency in Business Skills by demonstrating business management skills and professionalism.

Step five of the selection process will include panel interviews where short listed candidates will be scheduled for an interview to determine suitability. Step six will enable best-fit candidates to undergo financial and security checks. The last step will be medical screening to ensure that successful candidates are fit to meet the demands of the role.

“Best fit candidates would be required to complete a detailed medical history questionnaire and be examined by a Medical Officer approved by the Police Service Commission,” the PSC said. No one has held the substantive post since 2012, when Stephen Williams was appointed as acting CoP, a position for which he has received 11 six-month extensions since that time.

When contacted yesterday, the PSC did not want to disclose any confirmation on how many applications were specifically received for the posts of CoP and Deputy CoP. The commission also chose not to disclose its status on the selection process.

The PSC members are Maria Gomes (chairman) Martin George, Dinanath Ramkisson and retired Commodore Anthony Franklin.

Categories: News

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