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Be more social

Business Guardian - 8 hours 22 min ago

The time is certainly right in T&T for us to be MORE social. According to the Social Progress Index Report 2017, social progress is defined as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.

The Social Progress Index measures 50 indicators of social and environmental outcomes to create a clearer picture of what life is really like for everyday people. The index divides the indicators across three broad dimensions of social progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing and Opportunity.

Elements of the Social Progress Index are marked with a blue dot where the country performs comparatively well, a red dot where it performs relatively poorly, a yellow dot where its performance is average for its peer group and a grey dot when there isn’t sufficient data to make a judgment.

According to this report, under the Basic Human Needs dimension, T&T had red dots in the sub-sections of Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Undernourishment, Water and Sanitation, Shelter and Personal Safety. Under the dimension of Foundations of Wellbeing, the red dots appeared in the sub-sections of Health and Wellness and Environmental Quality. Opportunity dimension had the red dot associated with sub-sections of Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice and Access to Advanced Education. What were the positives? The yellow dot appeared in the dimension of Opportunity associated with the sub-section of Tolerance and Inclusion.

This report presents a gloomy picture of life in T&T. However, the data is positive in that it indicates the time is right for us to be MORE social. There is a cry at this time for MORE entrepreneurial approaches to social problems. The time is NOW for us to be MORE social as social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs are needed to develop new models for our country if we are to improve the quality of lives for our citizens.

We have always had social entrepreneurs in T&T. However, the new name is important in that it implies a blurring of sector boundaries. In addition to innovative not-for-profit ventures, social entrepreneurship can include social purpose business ventures, and hybrid organisations mixing not-for-profit and for-profit elements, such as homeless shelters that start businesses to train and employ their residents. The new language helps to broaden the playing field. Social entrepreneurs look for the most effective methods of serving their social missions.

If we look closer within our country, I am sure we can recognise our social entrepreneurs. For instance, there is The Butterfly Project founded by the visionary leader Asiya Mohammed. I had the opportunity to interview her (one of many social entrepreneurs in our country) in 2015 on her work to help improve the lives of domestic violence and sexually abused victims. Her project was born from her travels in Africa and seeing the potential of women employment through teaching them a skill. She has always been fascinated by jewelry and art, whether collecting street art in South Africa, purchasing paintings of Arabic calligraphy in Egypt, or buying wooden jewelry in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2014, she founded the Butterfly Project, which sells jewelry and art, all designed and hand-crafted by survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Each piece is sold with the survivor’s anonymous story and a portion of proceeds is used to provide her with a monthly income and free retraining. Through a battery of volunteer lawyers, the project also offers legal aid advise to women who are victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Three jewelry lines have been launched thus far from the work of the women. Asiya has found ways to commercialise the jewelry and art. Whether or not the jewelry or art is sold, she absorbs the risk of the project by paying cash to the women. She has been invited to export the model to Africa and other countries.

Do we have more social entrepreneurs tacking different social problems facing our country? I am sure we do. However, it is my view that we need MORE social entrepreneurs if we are to provide a better quality of live for this present generation and for our future generation.

Let us be MORE social – it’s definitely good!

Nirmala Maharaj is a doctoral candidate at the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business. Her research is in social entrepreneurship. Contact her at 689-6539 or e-mail [email protected]

Categories: News

Trio shares the secret to online success in real estate

Business Guardian - 8 hours 25 min ago

It took just a week for entrepreneurs Ryan and Sarah Rajpaulsingh and their business partner Ryan Olton to gain social media traction for their online real estate business, My Bunch of Keys Realty Limited. That is how quickly they were able to connect with customers on their aggregator website which lists properties for sale.

The innovative trio, who also have brick and mortar presence—their office is located on Long Circular Road, St James—have managed to distinguish themselves in a highly competitive market, with an interactive website that features virtual tours of listed properties, with walk-through videos, photographs and key information, including financial institutions that provide mortgages.

They are not directly involved in the buying or selling properties but instead connect real estate agents with prospective customers.

As a one-stop shop for buying a home, the online platform, while not the first of its kind in T&T, is the fastest and most reliable fully optimised mobile solution in the sector.

The business is the brainchild of Sarah Rajpaulsingh who came up with the idea while browsing through local real estate listings online. She found that the available online resources did not provide the experience she was expecting, or provide the up to date information she was looking for, so she decided to so something about it.

“As a young couple we were renting and I would browse the websites available at the time. I would find myself getting frustrated at how long the property would take to show up or be listed. Sometimes the property would be expired because it was listed since 2009,” she recalled.

Rajpaulsingh encouraged her husband to create a real estate online resource featuring properties for sale in a user-friendly format. He, in turn, linked up with his friend, Olton,who had skills in web developing, having worked on websites and online platforms for the local entertainment industry.

Although none of them had any experience in real estate, they combined their training in online marketing and their strengths in finance, planning and social media and set about developing the business.

The trio chose a name for their business that reflects a cozy and welcoming atmosphere which is also linked to some of the platform’s capabilities.

For example, there is a wish list option, My Bunch, which allows prospective home buyers to bookmark properties they like so they can return to them later.
Social media success

Within a week of the website’s launch earlier this month it had drawn more than 2,500 visitors. To build on this successful online debut, there are plans to attract more interest via traditional radio and print advertisements.

“Before online came along everyone went to the classifieds to look at properties. What you are getting in the classifieds is a description, a one-liner, black and white,” Ryan Rajpaulsingh noted.

The company’s success in reaching their target audience is due largely to the experience Olton and Rajpaulsingh gained while managing Facebook pages for big names in entertainment and the corporate sector.

“Right now, we have a Facebook page aligned with the website. We’ve gotten 500-plus fans and that’s just in one week. We have a few ads running on Facebook and Instagram as well,” Rajpaulsingh said.

This advertising blitz, paired with an online giveaway, has so far attracted 27,000 people, he said, and has proven to be more effective than traditional forms of print advertising which are seen in the morning, but forgotten by the end of the day.

He pointed out: “Social media is a platform where people can pick up the phone continuously and when the advertisement is in their face all the time, it resonates with them even more. It is therefore more applicable than a radio advertisement.”

The platform, which features profiles of realtors, earns revenue through the annual membership fees paid by the agents for unlimited listings per month, social media postings, technical support and membership add-ons. No fee is charged to the buyer that locates a property on the site.

“This is not something that we decided on yesterday and then tomorrow it is launched,” said Olton, explaining that the platform was custom-built from scratch, with features included based on feedback from the public, real-estate agents and financial intuitions. It took two years to build and involved some sleepless nights along the way, he said.

The trio said the knowledge they have gained in the sector has connected them with a close-knit community of very knowledgeable and experienced professionals.

In addition to visiting their site and taking advantage of the resources available there, they advise prospective home buyers to hire a reputable real estate agent or agency to benefit from their experience and knowledge.

Bunch of Keys Realty Ltd can be reached at (868) 35-BUNCH.
Accounts: (868) 312-KEYS
Tech Support: (868) 329-KEYS.
Email: [email protected]

Categories: News

UWI students in China for Huawei’s programme

Business Guardian - 8 hours 29 min ago

Five undergraduate students of The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine are in China for Telecom Seeds for the Future 2018, a two-week work-study programme sponsored by the Chinese information and communication technology (ICT) giant Huawei.

The programme helps in bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world work experience in the ICT and telecommunications field.

On May 19, Qarun Bissondial, Nicholas Mitchell, David Orr, Rachel Peters and Tristan Sankar from The UWI St Augustine’s Departments of Computer Science and Information Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering together with colleagues from the University of T&T (UTT) met with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his delegation at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen.

At the opening ceremony for the programme, Dr Rowley delivered a brief address to the students acknowledging the importance of ICT to the future of T&T and encouraging them to make good use of the opportunity provided by Huawei.

The students then delivered two delightful performances—a traditional Chinese song they learned while in Beijing and a rendition of the Mighty Sniper’s Portrait of Trinidad, with one of their cohort accompanying on steelpan.

The performances delighted the audience, particularly the Dr Rowley who sang along to the calypso and gave the students a rousing round of applause at the end.

Categories: News

CAL launches Caribbean Upgrade

Business Guardian - 8 hours 30 min ago

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has launched “Caribbean Upgrade, a new service where economy class ticket holders can bid for available Business Class seats on all eligible routes.

Chief executive officer, Garvin Medera said: “We are delighted to introduce the Caribbean Upgrade bidding option to our customers. Caribbean Airlines is committed to giving even more travellers the opportunity to experience the warmth of the islands, in the comfort of business class at a price they choose.

He continued: “Caribbean Upgrade, is managed by Plusgrade and went live on May 22. It’s a simple and easy-to-use service.”

All eligible customers will receive a Caribbean Upgrade e-mail seven days prior to departure, inviting them to bid for available business class seats. All passengers who bid will be advised 24 to 28 hours before their scheduled departure whether the bid was successful.

The customer’s credit card on file will be charged with the corresponding amount.

Upgraded individuals will also receive an updated e-ticket. If the bid is not accepted, the passengers will fly in economy class as planned and will not incur any additional costs.

Customers taking advantage of Caribbean Upgrade will enjoy the benefits of CAL’s business class travel which include: priority check in, three complimentary checked bags with priority baggage handling, access to business class lounges, priority pre-boarding, additional leg room, personalised in-flight service, in-flight meals, fine wines and a selection of premium beverages.

Categories: News

Stewart dominates men’s shot put

Sports - 8 hours 41 min ago

Paralympics gold medallist and two-time javelin and shot put record holder Akeem Stewart dominated the field in the men’s shot put event to win gold on the opening day of the Hampton International Games, yesterday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.

The Falcon athlete’s best toss measured 18.49 metres to take the top spot on the podium with Rebirth’s Hezekiel Romeo in second place with 17.54m and Kesean Phillips of Kaizen Panthers with 15.69m.

Stewart will be seeking his second gold when he competes in the discus throw this morning against a familiar foe in Phillips.

Over on the track, Simplex sprinters Jalen Purcell and Kumaria Durant, the men’s and women 100m champions, will be looking to complete the sprint double when they face the starter in their respective 200m races.

Purcell raced to gold in the dash early yesterday in heat four of four, winning in 10.54 seconds in the timed finals ahead of second-placed Jerod Elcock (Abilene Wildcats) in 10.55 and Elijah John (Concorde) in third with 10.63.

Durant sped to gold in 11.71 with her clubmate Shikyla Walcott taking silver while the bronze medallist was Shun-Shauna Mason of Abilene in 11.89.

The Men’s 400m event had spectators at the edge of their seats with a close battle between Tacuma Sterling of Alpha Athletic Club and Kaizen Panthers’ Darren Alfred but it was the former clocking 47.46 to take first place. Alfred crossed second in 47.81, while Khaliyq Abdullah of Simplex was third in 48.40.

In the women’s version of the race, it was a two-athlete affair and Memphis Pioneers’ Tyla Scott was victorious in 57.31 with Alena Clarke of Point Fortin New Jets (PFNJ) second in 1:00.12.

Back on the field in the women’s javelin event, Antonia Sealy (Unattached) sent the spear 38.85m in her first attempt to seal the gold medal. Gwendolyn Smith of Palo Seco had her best effort in her final throw which measured 36.90m to cop silver. Rowland Kirton-Browne of Barbados bagged the bronze medal with 35.40m.

Shaunna Downey of the University of the West Indies (UWI) emerged the winner in the women’s discus with 40.68, beating Kianne Blackman (Memphis Pioneers) into second with 39.00 while Joy Squires of Barbados was third with a 37.53-throw.

Zenith’s Savion Joseph was third in the men’s long jump with 6.57m. Winning was Antonio Weekes of Barbados in 7.02m and second, Suriname’s Navaro Aboikoni (6.89m).

Selected results

Boys U-20: 1 Timothy Fredericks (Simplex) 10.40; 2 Kion Benjamin (Memphis) 10.49; 3 Ako Hislop (Kaizen) 10.55
Girls U-17: 1 Akilah Lewis (Concorde) 11.78; 2 Naomi Campbell (PFNJ) 12.08; 3 Deleth Charles (Memphis) 12.13
Boys U-17: 1 Kester Richards (Unattached) 10.92; 2 Willon Agard (PFNJ) 11.20; 3 Justin Sandy (Abilene) 11.26
Girls U-17: 1 Shaniqua Bascombe (Cougars) 11.75; 2 Soniya Jones (Antigua/Barbuda) 12.01;3 Leah Bertrand (Simplex) 12.13
Boys U-15: Jesiah Greenidge (Concorde) 11.49, 2 Naeem Nelson (Simplex) 11.70; 3 Keston Chase (Cougars) 11.78
Girls U-15: 1 Karessa Kirton (Cougars) 12.57 (12.561); 2 Jaycelle Bailey (PFNJ) 12.57 (12.570); 3 Kady Ann Pierre (Cougars) 12.74
Boys U-13: 1 Jabari Branche (Abilene) 12.64; 2 Hakeem Chinapoo (Simplex) 13.23; 3 Tahir Chance (Morvant Jets) 13.31
GirlsU-13: 1 Janika Jordan (Cougars) 12.82; 2 Sierra Joseph (Simplex) 13.02; 3 Sahara Oliver (Striders) 13.43
Boys U-11: 1 Makaelan Woods (Cougars) 13.69; 2 Jaleel Eugene (Memphis) 13.69; 3 Savian Adams (Cougars) 13.75
Girls U-11: 1 Jenna Marie Thomas (IG Fastlane) 13.97; 2 Jenique Mc Laren (Toco Tafac) 14.15; 3 Shania Thomas (Cougars) 14.41
Boys U-9: 1 Sean Hart (Cougars) 15.49; 2 Zayne Martin (Memphis) 15.70; 3 Malik Charles (PFNJ) 15.76
Girls U-9: 1 J’Nae Bertete (Cougars) 15.75; 2 Annya Jordan (Mason Hall) 16.24; 3 Safiya Bristol (PFNJ) 16.38
Men Masters: 1 Norton St Louis (D Force) 11.35; 2 Garvin Farmer (T&T Masters) 11.62; 3 Philbert Ryce (D Force) 11.76
Boys U-20: 1 Onal Mitchell (PFNJ) 47.95; 2 Jabari Fox (PFNJ) 48.67; 3 Jaden St Louis (Cougars) 48.99
Girls U-20: 1 Jodiah Mc Sween (UTT) 58.16; 2 Kadesha Melville (Abilene) 58.31; 3 Dianne Hamilton (Palo Seco) 59.63
Boys U-17: 1 Malachi Heywood (PFNJ) 50.60; 2 Kengel Christopher (Tigers) 51.77; 3 Jordan Pope (Concorde) 51.99
Girls U-17: 1 Rae-Anne Serville (Memphis) 54.53; 2 Nicola Pesnell (Memphis) 59.08; 3 Malika Coutain (PFNJ) 59.77
Boys U-15: 1 Michael Jack (Cougars) 51.86; 2 Cyril Sumner (Memphis) 53.20; 3 Joshua Bux (Burnley) 53.30
Girls U-15: 1 Natasha Fox (PFNJ) 57.45; 2 Xea Bruce (Toco Titans) 59.48; 3 Kadija Pickering (Abilene) 1:00.08
Boys U-13: 1 Jumario Russell (Memphis) 59.94; 2 Kyle Williams (Burnley) 1:00.81; 3 Hakeem Chinapoo (Simplex) 1:00.91
Girls U-13: 1 Kayleigh Forde (Cougars) 1:03.22; 2 Kelescia Downes (Barbados)1:03.35; 3 Gianna Paul (DPAC) 1:04.42

Categories: News

Noah’s Ark set up in Marabella

News - 8 hours 56 min ago

Murdered school footballer Noah Simmons made a difference in his crime-riddled community before his life was snuffed out and in remembrance of him, the Marabella Family Crisis Centre has named their football field in his honour, calling it Noah’s Ark.

During a charity football match between youths of Shiva Boys College and Marabella Family Crisis Centre, held in honour of Simmons at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium yesterday, MP for Pointea- Pierre Dr David Lee presented a cheque to Bossiere to assist in setting up the Ark.

Lee said the Ark will offer a chance to youths to improve their lives even though their community was infiltrated by criminals.

Chief Executive of the centre Terrence Bossiere said the Ark will be a haven for the youths of the Marabella Trainline who wanted to be freed of poverty and criminal elements. He said five youths currently sleep in the Centre even though it does not have proper windows or a back door.

“Football is the love for the youths. We have a ground where we need to do some work because there are stray dogs around and we always have to be cleaning up. We will fence it around. There is a homework centre there as well and we have OJT’s coming and helping the Trainline children with their homework. There are youths who face challenges and need security and safety.

We provide it. The Trainline children get school assistance from OJT students on Mondays and Wednesdays and we have seen the benefits because our children are now passing for good schools,” Bossiere said.

Saying Noah was his mentor, Bossiere said the Ark will be open to the people of the Trainline and sports will be used as a deterrent to crime.

Noah was shot dead at a cousin’s home at Marabella on May 8, the day he turned 16, by a man who warned him to stop speaking to a girl in the community. He was a star footballer at Shiva Boys College and was instrumental in the success of the school when it took home the championship title for the Under-14 team in 2016.

Categories: News

E Class Outlaws takes overall regatta lead

Sports - 8 hours 59 min ago

E Class campaigners in the T&T Powerboat Association’s National Championships, Mobil Outlaws, have taken the overall lead to date on the points standings after another impressive display at Sunday’s Red Stripe & Smirnoff Regatta No 4 in front the Yacht Club, Chaguaramas.

The consistent Outlaws’ team of Brent Branker (Driver) and Jason Ross (Throttleman), claimed 635 points from their first and second place performances at the Circuit and Sprint events respectively, for an overall points tally of 2,865 with one more regatta to go in June.

Outlaws lead their closest 80 mph class rivals Hammertime by 1480 points with Papi Chulo in third (1,235).

Trident, the G Class boat that competes in the 60 mph category is second overall with 2370 points while F- Class Fire Chief is in third (2,350) and A—Class Motul Monster, the fastest boat in the all the classes, settling for fourth on 2,125 points.

Like Mobil Outlaws the Trident team was second in the sprint and first in the circuit race for a 605 points total Sunday. It had only Limitless to compete within the sprint only, as Limitless team of David Singh and Otis Walker was disqualified in the second race.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief’s dominance in the previous regattas allowed it to maintain its standings on the table. After winning the sprint ahead of Extreme Measures, the crew was disqualified in the circuit race and received only 405 points on the day. In the A Class category however Motul Monster did not take part but had already accumulated a sizeable advantage on the field that includes Mr Solo Too, Iron Man, Cat Killer, Paramount, Big Thunder and Jumbie, to stay fourth.

Monster with 2125 points, leads Iron Man (1,795), Mr Solo Too (1,290) and Cat Killer (1,085) in the class. Iron Man appeared to have been well positioned to take the top spot Sunday, until it collided with Jumbie in the sprint just off the foreshore in Mucurapo, preventing all the racers from crossing the finish line. In the other race however, Jumbie cruised to the win, ahead of Cat Killer.

TTPBA president Roger Belle said an investigation was done on the crash and it was considered an unfortunate accident.


Categories: News

Mc Collin near perfect in Mavericks win

Sports - 9 hours 5 min ago

T&T senior national women’s team Goal Shoot, Kalifa Mc Collin was near perfect in the circle as she helped benecos Mavericks get back to winning ways in the ten-club 2018 England Vitality Netball Super League, 68-36 over former employers Celtic Dragons on Saturday.

Playing in front their home fans at Hertfordshire Sports Village, Mavericks, with Mc Collin starting on the bench, stormed into a sizable first-quarter lead, 16-8 and with the introduction of the “Calypso Netballer” the margin grew wider to 21 goals, 35-14 at the half-time interval.

The third period proved to be yet another one-sided affair for Mavericks as Mc Collin and goal attack Karyn Bailey dominated their defenders to push the lead to 30 goals, 52-22.

With victory all but certain, Mavericks eased up considerably in the final quarter, but still outscored their opponents, 16-14 to come away with the 69-36 triumph to make amends for last week’s shock loss to Severn Stars 44-55 at the University Arena, University of Worcester.

In the end, Mc Collin, who was the league’s sixth-best scorer last year as a Dragons player with 526 goals from 567 attempts at a league-best 92.8 shooting percentage, tallied 15 goals from 16 attempts while Bailey once again led the way with 50 from 54 attempts.

Alicia Travis, who got the starting nod ahead of Mc Collin added three from nine attempts in the win for Mavericks, now with a 9-3 win-loss record and 27 points, the same as Manchester Thunder.

Wallace’s Swifts fall to unbeaten Fever

Jamaican goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler and the West Coast Fever continued their perfect start to the Suncorp Super Netball season with a 63-54 win over T&T’s Samantha Wallace and the New South Wales Swifts, at the HBF Stadium in Perth on Sunday.

Powerful goal keep Courtney Bruce, was huge in defence for Fever, with six intercepts and three rebounds against the Swifts attackers, while their entire mid-court was effective throughout.

Shutting down Fowler has been a challenge no team has been able to achieve so far this season and it was no different in this match, but the Swifts did manage to use slick ball movement to get back into the contest, but still trailed 11-16 at the end of the first quarter with Wallace netting seven of eight attempts.

Swifts made a raft of changes, bringing Sophie Garbin into goal shooter with Wallace moved to the bench for the start of the second quarter but while the intercepts dried up, Nat Medhurst and Verity Charles still routinely found their target in Fowler who tallied 30 goals from 33 attempts in the first-half to help Fever build a 35-25 lead with Wallace adding eight more from nine attempts for Swifts.

Swifts fought hard in the third quarter, with Wallace converting seven from eight and England international Housby five of eight, but they were unable to make inroads into the deficit as Fowler continued to dominate at the other end with 11 from 13 for Fever to take 49-37 lead into the final quarter.

Wallace and her team-mates refused to roll over though, scoring 10 of 12 while Housby scored all seven attempts, but once again Fowler proved too much to handle at the other end of the court with 12 goals from 13 attempts.

Categories: News

Local fans enjoy Heineken’s viewing party

Sports - 9 hours 8 min ago

Hundreds of local Real Madrid fans descended upon the Five Islands Amusement Park in Chaguaramas to see their side claim their 13th European Cup/Champions League title.

Liverpool fans must have predicted the outcome as there were outnumbered almost four to one at Heineken’s annual viewing party, as the Spanish giants cruised to their record third title in as many years, yesterday afternoon.

Regardless of affiliation, the 2,000 fans present were boisterous as the game started open, with chances for both European heavyweights.

There was a deafening silence among Liverpool fans after their top goalscorer Mohamed Salah was forced off injured after a rough tackle by Real Madrid’s captain Sergio Ramos after 30 minutes.

While most remained optimistic after both teams went in at half-time level, Liverpool fans’ hopes of claiming their sixth title were dashed minutes later by a shocking mistake by their inexperienced German goalkeeper Loris Karius, who gifted Real Madrid a soft opener.

Liverpool fans found their voices as Sadio Mane equalised four minutes later leaving many fans questioning if the game would be a repeat of their team’s impressive comeback win in 2005.

However, their celebrations were short-lived as Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale scored an acrobatic winner, three minutes after the coming off the bench in the 61 minute.

The goal was described by many present as a contender for goal of the competition and left local Liverpool as dumbfounded as their fellow supporters watching it live in Kiev, Ukraine.

Some Liverpool fans were already drowning their sorrows in the array of Heineken products on offer when Bale finished off the game near the end due to another mistake by Karius.

Karius was the butt of jokes from Real Madrid fans as they heckled their opponents until the final whistle.

“He (Karius) look like he get bribed. It looks like he wanted the last one to score,” one fan shouted as he celebrated with his friends.

Although most of the Los Blancos fans present wore replica T-shirts bearing their top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo’s name and number, the reigning Fifa’s Best Men’s Player and Ballon d’Or winner did not manage to score in the final.

They were already repeatedly cheering “Hala Madrid” for several minutes before the referee blew the final whistle, as a Liverpool fan invaded the pitch to prevent Ronaldo from making a final attempt on goal.

As they watched their players collect their medals and trophy on the massive screen erected for the event, the large contingent of fans celebrated with a life-sized replica of the iconic trophy provided by organisers. They were then treated to a performance from reigning Soca Monarch Aaron “Voice” St Louis, who donned a Real Madrid T-Shirt for the occasion.

“We knew it would be hard after Salah got injured but the team still tried. We need a new keeper though,” one Liverpool fan said as he left the event shortly after the game.

While a large number of attendees were able to predict the result in a competition but only five were chosen at random to claim prizes.

In an interview after the game, Carib Brewery’s corporate events coordinator Keisha Maharaj described the event as a major success.

“It was more than we expected. People were coming by the door asking if we had tickets for sale. People had been calling non-stop to get tickets,” Maharaj said as she explained that the majority of attendees won entry to the event through a competition.

Asked whether the size of the event would be increased to cater for the large demand, Maharaj said: “We actually want to keep the crowd to a certain number to maintain that experience and personal touch.”

Categories: News

Richards 2nd in Prefontaine Classic 200m

Sports - 9 hours 12 min ago

T&T’s sprinting sensation Jereem Richards raced to second place in the Men’s 200 metres at the Diamond League’s 44th Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon in the United States, yesterday.

Running in lane five, the Commonwealth Games champion sprinted past Canadian Aaron Brown, who was in lane four, on the straightaway and finished in a time of 20.05. Brown set a season-best time of 20.07 for a third-place finish with American Noah Lyles winning in a world-leading and personal-best 19.69.

In other results, South Africa’s Caster Semenya set a meet record in the 800m while controversy swirls about a rule that could limit her from competing at the distance.

Semenya defended her title in the event in 1:55.92 seconds, which is also the top mark in the world this year. American Ajee Wilson was second in 1:56.86.

Semenya is the two-time Olympic and three-time world champion in the 800m. But she could be impacted in the future by a new rule that has drawn criticism.

The IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, announced last month that starting on Nov. 1 it will limit entry for all international events from 400m through the mile to women with testosterone levels below a specified level. The IAAF maintains that women with unusually high testosterone levels have a competitive advantage over other women.

South Africa has said it may challenge the hyperandrogenism rule in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Semenya was among the sport’s highest-profile athletes at the only US stop on the international Diamond League series.

Ronnie Baker won the men’s 100m in a wind-assisted 9.78 seconds, besting fellow American Christian Coleman in second in breezy but sunny conditions.

Coleman, who holds the world record in the 60, won both the 100m and 200m last year at the NCAA championships in Eugene and claimed the silver medal in the even at last year’s world championship. He was making his outdoor debut in the Pre.

On the women’s side, a pair of Ivory Coast athletes topped the podium in the 100m. Marie Josee Ta Lou was first in 10.88, followed by Murielle Ahoure in 10.90.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the 400m in 49.52. Organisers announced on Friday that Allyson Felix had withdrawn from the race for undisclosed reasons.

Justin Gatlin had been scheduled to run in the 100m on the men’s side, but withdrew because of hamstring tightness.

The next Diamond League stop is May 31 in Rome.

Categories: News

We have lost the village

Columnists - 9 hours 27 min ago

It’s that time again when we celebrate the arrival of our ancestors from India to provide cheap labour on the British plantations and eventually settle here as part of what has become an amazing national mosaic of harmony in diversity.

I’ve often said it is a celebration of Indian survival, rather than arrival.

The arrival of our ancestors marked the beginning of a period of extreme deprivation, of betrayal, bondage, and hardships that were more than enough to break the spirit of anyone. But not those pioneers; they struggled against the worst odds to carve a space for themselves—and us—through sheer determination and an extraordinary will to survive.

In the end they defeated colonialism and bigotry, and not just survived, but moved all the way to the centre of society, earning their space at every rung of the socio-economic ladder in our modern society.

This year is the 101st anniversary of the repeal of the indentureship law and 173 years since our first Indian ancestors set foot on Trinidad soil.

In my book, Beyond Survival: Indians in Trinidad and Tobago 1845-2017 I trace the origins of indentureship and take the reader on a visual narrative to tell the story of the cultural persistence that helped Indians preserve some of the richness of the motherland while embracing the best of their new home.

While it is a tribute to those who persevered to keep our culture alive, it is also a warning to my generation of the dark clouds ahead that threaten our way of life if we become complacent and fail to make the efforts to protect our culture.

Today, as a result of modernity and affluence, some vital components of that culture are disappearing. What I lament most is the loss of The Village—that space where we all grew up as one family, where the whole community nurtured every child, where family was everyone you meet, where events were celebrated together, where we managed our lives with a sou sou hand or the panchayat and everyone helped put up the walls and roofs of our humble dwellings. It was a community built on trust and faith in one another.

We have lost the village and are at risk of losing more because of our affluence and perhaps because we have become too busy to pay attention.

In The Village, everyone was family. We respected our elders; grandparents were the vital link that ensured some measure of spiritual and cultural continuity. Today they are relegated to geriatric homes or they are themselves too busy.

In The village a wedding meant a family gathering of everyone to contribute and to come together to sing and celebrate as they prepared a feast for the day of the nuptials. Today, we have ceded it to the caterer and the sterile environment of the buffet and the RSVP so your plate of food is carefully calculated and paid for. Today’s wedding is no longer the weeklong happy event in which everyone had a role; it is a highly selective and ostentatious event marked by economic or social class divisions that determine your suitability to be on the guest list at the lavish receptions at the Hyatt and other such symbols of affluence.

Western traditions are erasing the culture that our ancestors preserved.

That is but one example of how we are allowing ourselves to be swallowed up into the mainstream western culture.

Culture and society are dynamic and we expect some measure of change. But when we allow everything to be become secondary to economics and new social trends we are heralding the death of culture. Our ancestors fought off assimilation; we, it seems, are embracing it to the detriment of the whole society that risks losing the charm and beauty of Indian culture.

It is not too late to restore the village. But first we have to see the wide canvas of a society that has been enriched by our diversity and the distinct culture of all the people—ours included—that have contributed to creating this wonderful cultural quilt that is T&T.

Jai Parasram is a journalist, communications and media specialist and author. His latest book BEYOND SURVIVAL is a tribute to Indians in Trinidad and Tobago.

Categories: News

Spirits players

Columnists - 9 hours 28 min ago

Monks at Grimbergen Abbey in the spirit industry closed their brewery in 1797 when the Austrian Netherlands were annexed by France.

In each colony there was a separate revolution from the one in France. In the West Indies it took on the flavour of rum, tobacco, and sugar.

The West Indies were important as a sooq for slaves and as a source of sugar and chic spirits like rum.

It was a major theatre of turbulence since territories were possessions of Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, all of whom were belligerents at some stage of the American Revolutionary War.

Their elected assemblies and plantation systems mirrored colonies like South Carolina. Nevertheless, they did not unite in even a limited campaign of opposition to Britain.

Their economic status guaranteed persistent naval clashes, seizures, and re-annexations.

British colonies like Jamaica, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados, the Leeward Islands, St Vincent, and Dominica did not ally themselves with the 13 American colonies, even though they were linked to the rebel colonies by trade before the war.

Both before and after the 1776 American Declaration of Independence from Britain, America’s 13 colonies also played a key role in these skirmishes.

Under King George III the island territories were vital streams of revenue to support efforts during the American Revolution.

This explains why in 1778 the British withdrew five thousand troops from New York for the conquest of St Lucia—given its fine harbour at Gros Islet Bay to monitor the French around Martinique who had recently captured Roseau from the British.

Jamaica was the finest jewel in the British Diadem—long before India.

By 1781, a plot was concocted among Comte de Grasse, of the French WI fleet and Francisco de Sangronis of the Spanish Indies, and the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez to aid the Americans, defeat the British naval squadron at New York, capture the British Windward Islands and conquer Jamaica.

It was at The Battle of the Saintes, named after a cluster of islands between Guadeloupe and Dominica in 1782 during the American Revolutionary War that the French and Spanish abandoned plans to invade Jamaica.

In the Age of Sail, planters among them the family of Joséphine de Beauharnais, a Martinican, who became the first wife of Napoleon and Empress of France, were among aristocrats who grew in stature from sugar and the sin of slavery.

The character of French West Indian agricultural rum was akin to brandies with its peppery vegetal fragrance flourishing from the dark-chocolate volcanic earth at the foot of Mount Pelée.

Revolutionaries fled to Trinidad from Grenada, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Dominica under a Cedula of population to Blanchisseuse, Champs Fleurs, and Laventille.

Roume De Saint-Laurent was the architect of this migration policy.

He resided in Tobago where he remodelled its systems of law and taxation.

His friend, Toussaint L’Ouverture was a witness at his divorce hearing and second marriage to Marianne Elizabeth Rochard—a coloured woman from Grenada.

The British were wary about the French Revolution spreading to Trinidad.

Sir Ralph Abercromby arrived in 1797 with 18 warships forcing Chacon to surrender at the Valsayn Estate with assurances for the safety of the French landed gentry.

When the French closed the brewery at Grimbergen Abbey in 1797, Heineken’s Alken-Maes filled the market gap with brown and blond lagers using the Grimbergen brand in Belgium.

Carlsberg exports them and pays royalties to the abbey. Other abbeys like ‘Chimay’ and ‘Westmalle’ continue spirit works. ‘Leffe’ allows spirits players to use its name.

A 2015 excise duty hike in Belgium resulted in spirits sales dropping by eight—60 per cent depending on the brand and with spirits players responding differently.

Diageo Belgium cut margins; Pernod Ricard Belgium reduced the volume of its bottles and Bacardi Martini Belgium increased margins. Retailers removed low rotation spirits from their shelves.

More than 200 years after French troops forcibly closed the brewery at Grimbergen Abbey the Monks have decided to restart brewing. There is no immaculate perception.

So their new craft beer will stand on tradition but will certainly be a ‘spirit of the 21st century’ competing against ‘Boukman Botanical Rhum’ infused with allspice, clove, cinnamon, and natively foraged woods and barks from two of Haiti’s most renowned terroirs for rum: Croix des Bouquets and Cap Haitien.

Categories: News

Politics with hurricane force winds rules

Columnists - 9 hours 30 min ago

Politics, as practised in T&T, is as destructive a force as the hurricanes which annually blow through the Caribbean. Defined as the search for and acquisition of power to govern in the interest of the society, politics as practised here, damage and distorts the social, economic, and political capital of the country. It is a politics which prevents the real human potential of the people of T&T from emerging.

Moreover, the political culture prevents us from making the best use of our human talents and physical resources.

Yes, we have discerned in a general way the negatives of politics; but we have not stated the negatives in very stark terms, and have not sufficiently analysed our condition to appreciate how the plaque-forming blockages of politics are clogging the arteries and weakening the sinews of the body politic.

This column puts in focus a few of the destructive and obstructive elements of the political culture that has evolved since the 1950s.

• Political mobilization and organisation along ethnic and racial cleavages have poisoned the system and large numbers of those who participate in politics.

• The politics of inequity in education has kept groups of people from achieving their full potential.

• After an election, the resources of the State are too often distributed along the lines of race and party, the in-party feeds its constituency at the expense of the out-of-power group.

• The under-utilization of the best human talents in the nation results from partisan political appointments.

• The politics of campaign financing and its destructive and distorting ways have maintained and expanded colonial privilege, skewed income distribution, and diminished the value of the franchise.

• The politics of nepotism and its concomitant corruption have facilitated destructive outcomes, inclusive of antagonism between and amongst groups of citizens.

• The practice of politics aimed at the destruction of institutions to achieve political objectives has retarded institutional and national development.

• Unprincipled politics has exaggerated and expanded unethical behaviours in the society.

• The misallocation of land resources to create and shore up political constituencies has resulted from partisan and incompetent politics.

• The decades-long undermining of local government has retarded the possibilities for rural development, and so too the much needed renewal of our urban centres.

• The failure of Parliament to achieve its full potential for progressive lawmaking has resulted from partisan politics, the structural dysfunction of the Parliament, and the refusal of the parties to makeover the institution.

• Cabinet as a decision-making body is hobbled by political bias.

• Attempts at constitutional reform are focused on capturing the power to secure the Treasury and to retain the political advantages in-built into the outdated Republican Constitution.

• Obstructionist politics blocks initiatives that can achieve advance–whichever party is in opposition condemns legislation and policy measures, often measures which they initiated when in power.

• Partisan, racial, and obstructionist politics has locked the legal system into colonial hankering after the Privy Council while the Caribbean Court of Justice remains underutilized.

• Political considerations take precedence over sound economic thinking and planning, and overpower economic logic, planning and implementation.

• The politics of obstruction has prevented the election/selection and appointment of a Commissioner of Police for more than five years.

• The politics of obstruction has restricted, and in certain instances, prevented the successful dismantling of criminality.

• The politics of race, of overvaulting desire, of political “bad mind,” and the incapacity for progressive leadership have crippled every effort at the creation of a national government.

• Fictitious political campaigns which major in bacchanal, “mauvais langue” and avoid the real issues facing the economy, polity and society, preserve electoral politics as farce.

• The politics of self-marginalization—we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated and controlled by the politicians, their dysfunctional parties and political practices—has “chained us up” while the politicians and parties run away with the power.

Judged against the above failures, shortcomings, and malignancies, the politics practised here has placed the society and economy in intensive care. The remedies put forward and administered by the parties, governments, and opposition parties have not been able to revive the ailing body politic.

New remedies are ours to prescribe and follow if we are to break out of this self-imposed incapacity to intervene to recapture the power.

Categories: News

Equality for Tobago and Trinidad

Columnists - 9 hours 32 min ago

Last Wednesday and Thursday, the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (Salises) of The University of the West Indies (UWI) held two events in Tobago to launch its Outreach Programme.

The centrepiece of those events was the Constitution (Amendment) (Tobago Self-Government) Bill 2018.

Highlights of those discussions included the issue of whether T&T should consider the idea of becoming a federal state because the issue of internal self-government for Tobago will still leave Trinidad as the dominant partner in the union despite the proposal for there to be “equality of status” between “the Island of Trinidad” and “the Island of Tobago.” When read alongside section 13 of the bill which seeks to amend the powers of the Presidency in section 80(1) of the Constitution by replacing the existing provisions by proposing that the President shall act in accordance with the advice of “(a) the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet, in relation to matters under the Government of Trinidad and in relation to Tobago in matters under the Fourth Schedule…”

Nowhere in the bill is “the Government of Trinidad” defined, while the “Tobago Island Government” is clearly defined in section 6 of the bill. However, provision is being made for the President to exercise powers in respect of an entity called “the Government of Trinidad.” Subsection (b) then goes on to specify the manner in which the President shall act on the advice of “the Tobago Executive Council” separate and apart from the Cabinet.

This issue has also raised the question of why the jurisdiction of the Tobago Island Government is defined and there is no definition for the jurisdictional boundaries of “the Government of Trinidad.” The jurisdictional limits for Tobago statutes are defined in section 18 of the bill as follows:

“A Tobago Statute shall have effect in Tobago, Little Tobago, St Giles Island, Marble Island, Goat Island, Sisters Island and such area of the archipelagic waters of Trinidad and Tobago, including any islands, the seabed and the subsoil, that lies within eleven miles from the low watermark of Tobago.”

With Tobago being specified to enjoy “equality of status” with Trinidad, there is a debate about why is there no definition of the equivalent jurisdictional boundary for “the Government of Trinidad” stated in the bill.

It is difficult to corral Tobago in the way defined without corralling Trinidad in a similar way, otherwise, the principle of “equality” will be difficult to enforce as Tobago will remain inferior to Trinidad.

Perhaps, where the issue of the continued inferior status of “the Tobago Island Government” is confirmed lies in section 18 of the bill that proposes in a new constitutional section 141 AD (3) (a) where provision is being made for a Fiscal Review Commission which will be empowered to “determine and recommend to Parliament the sums required to be appropriated to Tobago in each financial year.”

This particular section clearly does not confer on the Tobago Legislature any power to appropriate funds for Tobago and leaves intact the arrangement that Tobago will still have to depend on the national Parliament for its budget.

This Fiscal Review Commission will consist of (i) a Chairman appointed by the President in her discretion after consultation with the Chief Secretary and the Prime Minister, (ii) two members appointed by the Tobago Executive Council, and (iii) two members appointed by the Cabinet.

In the absence of any definition of “the Government of Trinidad” which is mentioned in section 13 of the bill, there is only a curtailment for Tobago. If the principle of “equality” is to be meaningful, there must be a similar “Government of Trinidad” defined in the bill with the same limitations as the “Tobago Island Government.”

Perhaps, the only way that such constitutional equality can be established will be to change T&T from being a unitary state and convert it into a federal state. In that way, the state of Tobago can be “equal” to the state of Trinidad which could have similar institutions as are being contemplated for Tobago and above the two “equal” states will be the Federal Government of T&T, much like California (very large) and Vermont (very small) being equal states of the union in the USA and the Federal Government being located in Washington, DC. This bill will offer that opportunity if adequately amended.

Categories: News

The value of common sense

Columnists - 9 hours 35 min ago

Economists and politicians do not debate the impact of random common-sense strategies when they analyse economic policies. One suspects the reason is that such strategies probably do not exist. Actions speak louder than words in the numerous plans for transforming the society gathering cobweb, so when the management of the national stadium decided to cut down trees apparently to accommodate a circus one wondered whether a brain-eating amoeba had infected them. Probably the motive was much-needed income, but whatever the reason, if Carnival masqueraders could enjoy the stadium’s destruction then why not circus clowns.

There are links between economic and political stagnancy with the abuse of national assets, poor infrastructure maintenance, removal of street vendors by vaps, and the recent discovery that the sea separates Trinidad and Tobago. Perhaps the ferry service exemplifies best the dysfunctional consequences of poor governance and political short-terminism. After nearly six decades of independence, we should be experts in ferry maintenance and perhaps, be building them.

It would appear that there is little if any integration of policies and cooperation between government ministries and agencies to achieve efficiency in the implementation of policies. There are no key performance indicators to monitor and measure performance, and transparency and accountability remain serious issues. Often, we cite constitutional reform as the answer to public sector inefficiency. That is debatable.

Unless there are cultural and mindset shifts away from the political five-year syndrome, transformation to a more progressive society will remain a paper goal. For instance, what gives the Mayor of Port-of-Spain or any government agency the moral authority to move street vendors if they do not remove the illegal billboards scarring the environment and which pose dangers to motorists? Installation of every billboard that one could see from the Queen’s Park Savannah, along our highways and thoroughfares contravened various laws. In the eyes of the law, precisely what is the difference between illegal street vending and illegal billboarding? Many of the vendors on Charlotte Street sell local agriculture produce. Many billboards advertise foreign products.

What is the solution? Shouldn’t roadside vending be part of a broader strategy for managing the distribution of agriculture produce and other products? Agriculture is vital to our economy and an essential factor of the tourism economy. Pre-empt unlawfulness, yes, but we would achieve social justice when government agencies stop singling out street vendors and treat them as important contributors to the economy—a paradigm shift. Integrate their activities into the formal economy by assimilating their trade with strategies to make Port-of-Spain worthy of the status of the capital city. What does it take to beautify a city? The Japanese people have planted cherry blossom trees to create an enjoyable experience for themselves and tourists. We have the lovely poui. Imagine if these trees line highways, boulevards, and parks. Remove rubbish, get rid of the downtown stench, deal with the vagrancy problem, refurbish and maintain pavements and roads at safe standards.

Debate on national budgets usually generates heated discussion with the mantra of diversification to save us from economic hell. What do the statistics say? In 2010 the non-energy sector accounted for 58 per cent of GDP, and in 2017 it contributed 68 per cent mainly due to the decline of production in the energy sector, so the argument has merit. What are some solutions? Business people know that an effective strategy to earn new streams of revenue is to exploit current strengths and deepen market penetration where viable. Significant opportunities are in the service sectors, agriculture and agro-based industries, cultural and entertainment industries, tourism, manufacturing, and construction all underscored by an overhaul of the education system. What inventions in medicine, science, and technology would we give to the world? “The time and tide wait for no man,” but common-sense actions concerning the low-hanging fruit would ease the cultural challenges of transformation and impact the quality of life positively.

Categories: News

Hindu leader: Boycott Maha Sabha’s Arrival Day celebrations

News - 10 hours 28 min ago

“Boycott Maha Sabha’s annual Indian Arrival Day celebrations!”

This was the call of a Hindu Spiritual leader via a Facebook post release yesterday.

Satyanand Maharaj, of the Satya Anand Ashram Temple of Truth and Bliss, was responding to Sat Maharaj’s “vexation” call on Friday on TV Jaagriti, for Hindus in T&T to “free their votes” in the upcoming 2020 general election.

In his release, Maharaj told Hindus in T&T who did not agree with the sentiment, to boycott the popular Hindu organisation’s annual Indian Arrival Day Celebrations on May 30, 2018.

He said the secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha was unprincipled and archaic in his position regarding the “no hijab wearing” issue in Hindu schools run by the Maha Sabha board. And went on to describe the organisation’s stance as an embarrassment to the Hindu community of T&T.

“The crude and loutish rant of Sat Maharaj on Friday via the Maha Sabha media radio/TV Jaagriti, only underscores the issues surrounding the hijab. With the exception of few die-hard Maha Sabha supporters, there is little support for the banning of the OJT’s hijab and how it was done by Sat.”

The hijab issue remains a very divisive one, he said. “The educated young Hindu along with others do not identify with the antiquated thinking of Sat’s Maha Sabha of exclusion.”

Last Tuesday the story of OJT Nafisah Nakhid broke when she posted her experience on social media of being disallowed to perform teaching duties at the Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in St Augustine, because of her religious wear.

The story sparked outrage by some citizens, even from the Hindu community and subsequently received the attention of former opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who issued an official release in support of Nakhid.

Her decision to do so was also met with fire from Sat Maharaj, on the same televised show, where he viciously “clapped back” at Persad-Bissessar calling her a hypocrite and warning her that she would “pay a hell of a price” in the 2020 general election for her open support for Nakhid. He also banned Persad-Bissessar from the school’s compound where she was due to deliver an address on Indian Arrival Day.

In Persad-Bissessar’s defense, Maharaj called for the boycott of the celebrations. “It is incumbent on the Hindu community to send an unmistakable message to the Maha Sabha that the position of Sat Maharaj is unacceptable...”

Categories: News

More flak for Maharaj

News - Sat, 05/26/2018 - 22:00

Yet another voice representing the Hindu community in T&T is speaking out against Satnarayan Maharaj’s call for Hindus to “free their vote” and support his ban on Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar from the Lashkmi Girls' Hindu Collage compound in St Augustine.

Businessman Surujdeo Mangaroo, who told the T&T Guardian his statement was not linked to or on behalf of the National Council of Indian Culture to which he is an affiliate, took to his Facebook page yesterday to give his perspective on the content of Maharaj’s interview on Friday on TV Jaagriti and to affirm his concurrence with the boycotting of this year’s Maha Sabha Indian Arrival Day celebrations.

In the “Sat holds no Hindu hostages,” headline release, Mangaroo said the Maha Sabha over the years have fooled themselves to believe that their stranglehold on the Hindu schools and mandirs equate with some command of the Hindus who patronise these establishments.

Mangaroo slammed Maharaj for what he describes as abhorrent and vile statements made by the Hindu leader on Friday. He said Maharaj is unbecoming of the largest Hindu organisation of T&T and labelled his vocal attack on Persad-Bissessar as the “last straw,” of Maharaj’s opinionated and contentious spews. Mangaroo underscored what made the attack even worse was the fact that it came in response to Persad-Bissessar’s defending of the constitutional rights of a Muslim female on-the-job trainee.

“The issue is not of religious rights but of simple human rights and dignity. Maha Sabha media last Friday humiliated the large cross section of the Hindu community. It is prehistoric positions as this one on the hijab that has resulted in the pulling away to form a multitude of rival organisations and mass conversions over the years,” Mangaroo said.

Mangaroo said Maharaj misrepresented that the Hindu community was now free to support whoever they wanted. He asked Maharaj to explain just when the Hindu community was imprisoned by any one Hindu organisation.


Categories: News

Analyst: SDMS has no political power base

News - Sat, 05/26/2018 - 22:00

Political analyst Dr Indira Rampersad says Sat Maharaj and the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) do not command a political base as it is a religious organization. She also said Hindus were free to vote for whoever they liked.

She was commenting on the declaration by the secretary general of the organization Sat Maharaj that it will be freeing up the Hindu/SDMS votes.

Rampersad said yesterday “We have to remember that a day in politics is like a lifetime and two years are multiple lifetimes. So we have two years to go and in that time, everything said by Maharaj will more than likely be long forgotten and that impinges on the implications for the future and Persad-Bissessar.

“The Hindu vote does not belong to the SDMS. It is the largest body representing Hindus, but is a religious organization and has never been perceived so much as a political organization.

“It was not a question of freeing up votes because no one was obligated to vote in any particular way, members have voted for the PNM, UNC, COP, and a multiplicity of small parties and never committed themselves to any organization.”

She said Maharaj himself flirted with the PNM, his daughter, Vimala Tota-Maharaj was a senator with the UN, and the organisation was at one time with the COP.

Rampersad said there was a core separation between church, State and politics, however there were overlaps, but the church did not carry political bases and neither the SDMS.

The ministry should have been more sensitive—Sagewan-Alli

Political analyst Indera Sagewan-Alli, meanwhile, said the blame rested firmly at the feet of the Education Ministry that was totally insensitive to a country where even though there was some degree of tolerance, there was also a high degree of intolerance and intolerable practices among the varied religions and ethnic groupings.

She said that was the reality in T&T that cannot be hidden from a Government and a ministry especially one in education.

Sagewan-Alli said they should have been extremely sensitive to this reality and make a much better choice than to send a young girl wearing a hijab to a Hindu school which catapulted the entities into this situation.

She said the conversation should have been how to ensure equitable and transparent treatment of all people and their circumstances in T&T.

Sagewan-Alli said every individual in the country had the responsibility to decide who they wanted to put in Government with their voting finger.








Categories: News

Anti-Gang legislation comes in effect on Monday

News - Sat, 05/26/2018 - 22:00

The Anti-Gang legislation will come into effect from Monday, giving the police the all clear to pursue and prosecute all members from criminal gangs.

Sources said the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) of the T&T Police Service has been keeping close tabs on approximately 2,459 suspected gang members nationwide whose names, whereabouts, and alleged activities are known to authorities.

In a statement from the Attorney General's office yesterday, it was said that Cabinet had given instructions to President Paula Mae-Weekes to proclaim the Anti-Gang Act, 2018 on Monday, having had written approval from the Cabinet, Judiciary, and the T&T Police Service.

Meant to strengthen the criminal justice system and assist law enforcement in its fight against crime, the act was passed in Parliament on May 4 and assented by the President on May 15. However, it did not come into force immediately as Section 2 of the act stated it shall come into operation upon proclamation.

"As such, the Government immediately commenced the process of consultation to ensure readiness by the key stakeholders for the implementation of the act," the AG's office said.

The release stated that the ad-hoc proclamation of the act under the People's Partnership resulted in millions of dollars in payments by the State for wrongful arrest in the failed state of emergency.

"In all the circumstances this Government was keen to ensure that only upon official consultation and confirmation by stakeholders that instructions were issued for the proclamation of the Anti-Gang legislation. The Commissioner of Police informed by way of letter dated May 23 that the T&T Police Service supports the immediate proclamation of the Act. The Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) is in a position to take a leadership role in the pursuit of criminal gangs and the prosecution of the members and leaders of such gangs," the release said.

In a letter dated May 24, the Judiciary also informed that it had no objection to the Government proceeding to proclaim the act.

Once the act is proclaimed, the TTPS will be tracking down and arresting all gang leaders.

During an interview late last year, AG Faris Al-Rawi said the OCIU had been hard at work gathering intelligence across the nine police divisions. He said the act will help in rooting out criminal elements and reducing T&T's crime rate.


Categories: News

Murder on job site

News - Sat, 05/26/2018 - 22:00

1 head shot


Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Fevecque is this country’s latest murder victim. The father of a two-year-old girl was gunned down on a construction site at Shine Street, Port-of- Spain, yesterday around 1.30 pm.

Reports are that Fevecque, from Gonzales, was in the company of co-worker Keith Walcott at a building where they were both working when a gunman opened fire on them killing Fevecque instantly.

Walcott who was also shot was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for treatment. The building where Fevecque died was said to be owned by One Caribbean Media/Trinidad Express.

Police said there has been no known motive for the killing but suspects it was gang related. Fevecque’s killing has pushed the murder toll in T&T to 216 for 2018.

Man stabbed to death


Stabbed multiple times, a man believed to be a missing Penal construction worker was found lying dead in a drain off the Penal/Quinam Road yesterday.

Last night his parents were waiting to identify the corpse which matched the description of their son, who was last seen alive on Thursday.

Investigators said they received a tip off around 1 pm and officers led by Sgt Jaggernauth went to Penal/Quinam Road where they saw the body lying face down.

He was wearing blue jeans and a white and grey polka dot shirt. There were multiple stab wounds to the body. District Medical Officer Dr Rassia visited the scene. Officers from the Homicide Bureau led by PC Cromwell and Cpl Mungalsingh transported the body to the San Fernando mortuary where an autopsy is expected to be done tomorrow once his identity is confirmed.

The deceased is believed to be a 27-year-old from Mulchand Trace, Penal Rock Road, who was a roof and metal fabricator.

Girl, 12, still missing


Samdayah Singh raised her 12-year-old granddaughter Hailey Kinsale from birth and on Thursday her worst fears were realized when Kinsale failed to return home.

The 12-year-old child had gone to play with friends at the basketball court near her Roy Joseph Street, San Fernando home. When night came and she failed to come home, Singh grew worried

Fearing the worst, Singh walked over to her friends' homes but they all said she was not there.

Singh said she did not believe that Kinsale ran away since she was not that type of child.

Singh said Kinsale's parents were very worried about her.

"If anybody have her, please send her home. She is only 12," Singh pleaded.

She also denied that Roy Joseph Street was a crime hotspot saying she lived there for 32 years and Kinsale was known by everyone. Saying she did not know if Kinsale was abducted or if she went away with someone.

Anyone with information on Kinsale's whereabouts can contact police at 999, 555, 911, any police station or call 800-TIPS.

Categories: News


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