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Ali: No plans to take depleted WI lightly

Sports - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 04:45

KARACHI—Fast bowler Hasan Ali says Pakistan will not underestimate West Indies, even though the Caribbean side will boast a weakened side for the three-match Twenty20 series starting here Sunday.

The reigning World champions will be missing several of their leading stars as Chris Gayle, captain Carlos Brathwaite, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Evin Lewis have all opted out of the historic tour.

“West Indies are good batting side, we won’t be complacent even if they’re not coming with full strength,” the 24-year-old fast bowler said here Thursday during a training session.

“It is good to know that WIndies team is coming, we all are excited to be playing cricket in Karachi after nine years. I look forward to the series.”

The series will be first undertaken by a major Test-playing nation in the country since militants attacked a Sri Lankan team bus nine years ago, injuring several players and leaving several of the security forces dead.

Since then, Pakistan have played their home series in United Arab Emirates.

And even though several of the Windies stars have opted out of the series over security concerns, Ali said it was only a matter of the time before Pakistan welcomed all the leading players.

“Cricket is returning to Pakistan,” he pointed out.

“Big names came to Pakistan with World XI [last September] and also for PSL (Pakistan Super League) games this time. Those who didn’t come today, will surely come tomorrow.”

West Indies, however, will still have the likes of Marlon Samuels in their line up for the matches which will take place on April 1, 2 and 3 at the National Stadium.

Samuels was at the heart of the Windies two T20 World Cup triumphs, producing Man-of-the-Match performances in the 2012 and 2016 finals.

The Windies are scheduled to arrive on Saturday. CMC

Categories: News

Look Loy’s appointment in fray at question

Sports - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 04:43

The appointment of T&T Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy to the board of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) could take centre stage when today’s reconvened annual general meeting (AGM) of the TTFA is held at the National Cycling Centre (NCC) in Balmain, Couva.

A member of the board, speaking to Guardian Media Sports on condition of anonymity, said that TTFA president David John-Williams, who is also chairman at the AGM, is set to argue that the election of the TTSL’s representative Look-Loy was illegal, as he believes there was no quorum when the November 25 reconvened meeting took place on December 23 last year, and it did not have the presence of the chairman due to ill health.

The TTFA president received the backings of Zvonimir Boban, the FIFA deputy general secretary, who in a response to a letter from John-Williams, said in his written response last last week, “According to the information reported in your letter, we deem that the decisions to reconvene the General Meetings of December 9, 2017 and March 17, 2018 would appear to have been in line with the relevant provisions of the TTFA Statutes, as on both occasions the quorum was not achieved 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the meetings. Furthermore, we also underline that since the election of a member of the TTFA board of directors is on the agenda, a quorum will be required at the next duly convened general meeting.”

Reports emerging from the last reconvened meeting on March 17 stated the lack of a quorum to discuss the critical matter of the TTFA’s audited financial statement, led John-Williams to adjourn the meeting, though his association’s constitution stated otherwise.

Only last week Osmond Downer, considered an expert on T&TFA constitutional interpretations, explained that for a reconvened meeting, an adjournment was only necessary when dealing with election or dismissal of an officer or officers.

John-Williams in his letter to FIFA pointed out, “If a quorum is not achieved 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the general meeting, the general meeting shall be reconvened 14 days later at the same place or at a venue notified by the general secretary at least seven days prior to the meeting date.”

He added, “Article 24 par. 3 of the TTFA Statutes reads -A quorum is not required for the second meeting of the general meeting unless any item on the agenda proposes the amendment of the constitution, the election of a member of the board of directors, the dismissal of a member of a body of TTFA, the expulsion of a Member or the dissolution of TTFA.”

It means today’s AGM will require a quorum, a minimum of 25 members out of a total of 49, which is still likely to pose a challenge due to the reluctance of delegates to show at meetings.

Meanwhile, John-Williams could be in for a surprise with delegates planning to move a motion and reappoint Look Loy as the TTSL representative, if it becomes an issue. Apart from Look Loy, Sam Phillip who resigned as chairman of the T&T Pro League three weeks ago, was also elected as pro league representative at the December 23 meeting.

Contacted Look Loy assured he was legally elected, as the December 23 meeting did have a quorum.

“It was adjourned only because there was no one to address the financial matters,” Look Loy explained.

He believes John-Williams is attempting to remove him because of his willingness to oppose the wrongdoings in the management of the sport.

The former FC Santa Rosa coach is promising that if John-Williams attempts to adjourn the meeting for yet another time, he will rally other delegates to vote for a chairman to ensure the meeting goes on according to the constitution.

He believes Boban’s call for a quorum Saturday is based on inaccurate information fed to him by the president.

Look Loy is also set to raise concerns about approval granted by the TTFA to host two Caribbean Football Union (CFU) women’s tournaments next month and another in May.

WALTER ALIBEY
 

Categories: News

Invoke Section 137 now!

Columnists - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:35

The Dr Rowley-led Government has earned the record that it has consistently failed to act on national issues. Just as US President Donald Trump touted the Mexico Border Wall, the PNM Government has continued to tout the “Great Wall of China” around the Judiciary. This is proving disastrous for the integrity and confidence in the Judiciary.

At the time of writing, I have only seen the article “CJ confided to Thomas-Felix: Hounded for Homes” in the Trinidad Express dated March 26, 2018. This article speaks of conversation(s) between Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Industrial Court President Deborah Thomas-Felix via a series of text and/or whatsapp messages during December 2014. CJ Archie apparently vented frustrations over several persons who were conned by his convicted friend, Kern Romero who was “hounding” him for housing from the HDC.

If what is reported is in fact true, then many questions arise. What kind of “friendship” did CJ Archie have with his friend Kern Romero that would result in any person being able to “hound” him for housing? Was the head of an independent Judiciary subjected to influence of any kind as a result of his relationship with Kern Romero? Was the “hounding” limited to housing?

The discussion continues as to whether Ms Deborah Thomas-Felix was aware of these matters. If she was, and shared these types of communication(s) with the CJ, could we reasonably begin to believe that she was not aware that the CJ had named her as his “supervisor” in pursuing Labour and/or Human Rights studies? If the article of 26/03/18 is in fact true, why didn’t CJ Archie and/or Deborah Thomas-Felix make a report to the police?

Questions loom large as to exactly how much did the CJ buckle under the constant “hounding.” Next come the alleged role, if any, did a prominent lawyer play in the purported affair.

I wish to remind the Honourable Prime Minister and the Government, the Honourable Chief Justice and Her Honour Ms Deborah Thomas-Felix that these matters strike at the very heart of independence of the Judiciary and the confidence of our high Office-holders.

My recent columns referred to the perceived “blighs” which high Office-holders seemed to be extending to each other. It appeared that former President Carmona extended a “bligh” to CJ Archie while the Prime Minister and the Attorney General continuously fortified the “Great Wall of China” to the benefit of a few.

During the last few days, we have heard unconfirmed statements to the effect that the Minister of National Security is before the US Courts being accused of allegedly “defrauding” one Neville Piper, an elderly man. Up to the time of writing this column, there have been no reported decision of the matter in the media nor have there been any statement from the Prime Minister as to factual details. My take on the matter is not whether the Minister of National Security is guilty or not found guilty or pending a trial.

he issues to be addressed are whether the Minister informed the Cabinet of the particular case, and if so, to whom. Why was the Prime Minister silent on the matter, if he was in fact informed? How many times was the Minister required to fly to New York whilst he was a Minister? Did he declare such trips as being personal in nature or in the pursuance of his functions as a Minister? Who paid for any of these trips?

Were there drastic increases in the levels of crimes when the Minister was out of the country attending to his personal defence in the case before the US courts?

Since 2015, we appear to be headed down a tragic slope. Whilst some high office-holders continue to “play the fool,” ordinary citizens are experiencing severe hardships. Entitlement to a perk or “term” of Office is one thing, exercising your discretion to utilise such perks when your country is suffering is another thing.

Categories: News

PLIPDECO records $39m last year

Business - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:30

Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Ltd, (PLIPDECO), in its parent and consolidated financial statements, is reporting $39 million in group profit for the year ended December 31, 2017. The group closed the year with total assets worth $2.8 billion. Chairman Ian Atherly, in his report accompanying the financial statements, said the challenges being faced by the country due to the declining economy has continued to negatively impact the fortunes of the corporation.

He said, “This has affected trade patterns, the demand for goods and services and consequently Plipdeco’s revenues.”

Looking at Group revenue, the group closed the year with $256.8 million in revenue and this represented a $12 million decline compared to the prior year.

“This was due mainly to declines in throughput at the port in both containerised cargo and general cargo. Containerised cargo saw a decline of 6225 tonnes or 3.7 per cent which when further dissected indicated decreases of 1.7 per cent in exports, 0.2 per cent in imports and 21.7 per cent in transshipment.

“General cargo which declined by 70,338 tonnes or 23 per cent experienced a 39 per cent decrease in exports and a 23 per cent decrease in imports.”

What is clear he said, is that despite the economic challenges, the Corporation has continued to execute its planned equipment acquisitions, capital projects and upgrades with the intention of maintaining competitiveness, increasing productivity and overall efficiency.

“The cost management drive and revenue diversification which continued during 2017 has resulted in great strides and will be followed through in 2018. Consistent with the execution of its strategic planning horizon, the Corporation is about embark upon a substantial investment that forms a part of transforming itself into a logistics services player.” 

Categories: News

Angostura Holdings nets $111.1m in group profit

Business - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:28

Angostura Holdings Ltd (AHL) is reporting $111.1 million in group profit after tax for the period ended December 31, 2017. This represents an 8.9 per cent decrease in group profit after tax compared to the prior year.

AHL closed the financial period with cash and cash equivalents of $152.8 million. The company’s chairman Rolph Balgobin, commenting on the performance of the group, said for the period the group reported a 7.3 per cent decline in revenue.

In his statement accompanying the audited summary consolidated financial statements he said, “The revenue in 2017 was due to the strategic decision to downsize the loss-making export bulk rum business and focus on brand building.”

“Bulk rum sales represented six per cent of the group’s revenue in 2017, compared to 18 per cent in 2016-a reduction of $60.9 million.” pecifically referring to the brands, he said the rum brands and signature

Angostura Aromatic bitters businesses performed “favourably” with revenue growth of six per cent to $537.7 million and increased operating profit of $22 million in 2017.

Overall, Balgobin said the business performed “creditably, surpassing the average financial performance in the non-energy manufacturing sector for 2017,” despite the overall revenue decline and the impact of a change in depreciation methodology, “as we prepare for an increase in investment in plant and equipment.”AHL is expected to pay out a total dividend of $0.21 per share.

Categories: News

Central Banks holds repo rate at 4.75%

Business - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:27

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of T&T has decided to hold the repo rate at its current level of 4.75 per cent, according to the latest Monetary Policy Announcement (MPA).

The repo rate is the rate the Central Bank applies to overnight financing provided to commercial banks that are temporarily unable to meet their liquidity requirements.

Commenting on its decision to hold the rate at 4.75 per cent, the Bank, in a statement issued, said: “Since the last meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in November 2017, global growth prospects have continued to strengthen.

“In January 2018, the International Monetary Fund marginally raised its projections for global growth in 2018 and 2019, partly to take into account tax changes in the United States (US), while noting the risks from a possible rise in global trade protectionism.”

The Bank said monetary policy actions in advanced economies have been muted thus far in 2018 with the exception of the US, where the Federal Reserve increased the Federal Funds rate in March representing the first in a series of rate hikes expected this year.

The Bank also noted that domestically, headline inflation measured 0.9 per cent in February 2018 (year-on-year) with core inflation (which excludes food prices) even lower at 0.5 per cent.

It added, however, inflationary pressures have eased considerably, symptomatic of tepid demand conditions. It said while production indicators suggest a pick-up in economic activity in the energy sector during the second half of 2017, activity in the non-energy sector remained lacklustre.

“Within the energy sector, natural gas production rose year-on-year by 10.0 per cent in the second half of 2017, mainly owing to new gas output from the bpTT Juniper field, while petroleum output improved by just 0.9 per cent. The increase in natural gas output helped to alleviate the gas shortages in the downstream sector, facilitating higher output of methanol and liquefied natural gas,” the bank added.

It said private sector credit growth rose in January 2018 by 6.2 per cent (year-on-year) compared with 3.7 per cent in November 2017 based partly on a recorded pickup in business lending, but added that it is not clear whether this momentum will be sustained.

“Liquidity levels drifted upward during the first two months of 2018 facilitating government borrowing from the financial system in the first quarter. Commercial banks’ daily excess reserves at the Central Bank averaged $3,725 million in February before dipping just below $3 billion in March.

“Meanwhile, rising interest rates in the US combined with relatively stable rates domestically have pulled the TT-US yield differential on three-month treasuries further below parity.

“The differential stood at negative 51 basis points in late March,” the Bank said.

The MPC in its deliberations noted that domestic inflation was low, there appeared to be little price pressures in the short term, and the nascent recovery in late 2017 in the energy sector had not yet been reflected in a boost to non-energy activities.

At the same time, the committee remained concerned about the potential impact of the US Fed’s anticipated actions in coming months on TT-US interest rate differentials and consequently on Trinidad and Tobago’s external balance.

“Considering these factors, the MPC agreed to hold the repo rate at 4.75 per cent. The bank will continue to carefully monitor and analyse international and domestic developments,” the bank said. The next Monetary Policy announcement is scheduled for June 29, 2018.

Categories: News

Rambharat: 12-foot anaconda poses no immediate threat

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:18

The Ministry of Agriculture will only consider relocating a 12-foot anaconda at its livestock station in Aripo if it seen again or poses a danger to staff and livestock.

In a Facebook post issued on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said Saiyaad Ali of the Serpentarium was invited to the station yesterday afternoon to observe the reptile.

While he said that the snake posed no immediate danger to staff and livestock at the facility presently, Rambharat said his ministry would monitor the situation as some staff members were apprehensive of its presence.

Rambharat also expressed concerns that persons may decide to hunt the protected reptile.

“The huille (local name for anaconda- pronounced “wheel”) is likely to move about frequently and may find itself in danger with persons who may seek it out for sport or consumption (yes, some people consider it a delicacy),” Rambharat said.

The snake was first spotted by one of the workers at the facility on Monday as he went to urinate next to the pond. The snake was in the process of ingesting a seven-foot caiman which it had constricted around moments before.

The worker prodded the snake until it released its intended meal and disappeared under the water.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian, earlier this week, Kristopher Rattansingh, of Wildlife and Environmental Protection of T&T, said that anacondas were often killed by people due to their formidable size and unfortunate reputation.

If seen, members of the public should avoid contact and call in experts, to remove the non-venomous reptile.

Members of the public who wish to contact Wildlife and Environmental Protection of T&T for the removal of wildlife from populated areas can reach them at 341-9983, 748-7100, 497-3373 or 748-3936.

Categories: News

Garcia commends students for clean-up efforts

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:14

The students from El Dorado West, Bon Air Secondary Schools and St Anthony’s College have come in for high praises from Education Minister Anthony Garcia for their participation in two separate projects to protect and preserve the environment.

The El Dorado West Secondary School students, in collaboration with the RBC Young Leaders Project, took part in the “WE Campaign” to create a nation which produces less waste and encourages the conservation of our wildlife.

They began the initiative at school by enforcing a recycling system which encouraged the student population to recycle their used bottles and also brought awareness to the number of plastic items that were used on a daily basis.

Additionally, the students and their teachers participated in a beach clean-up exercise at Manzanilla Beach on March 25.

They picked up approximately 70 bags of garbage along the beach. The main items collected were plastic, glass bottles and styrofoam containers.

Meanwhile, another group of 41 students and teachers from the Bon Air Secondary School and St Anthony’s College successfully executed a similar educational awareness and beach clean up exercise, removing 26 bags of garbage from the Chaguaramas Beach on March 21.

This exercise was initiated as part of the Marine Environment Education Programme in T&T (MEEPTT), at the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) on March 21.

Garcia is urging all students to get involved in more of these civic- minded exercises and to let the experience serve as a motivation to make a positive difference in the society and to continue working towards making T&T a better place.

Categories: News

Blind school objects to Arouca relocation

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:13

The Ministry of Education has been served with a pre-action protocol letter over the relocation of the School for Blind Children from Pax Vale, Santa Cruz to the old Five Rivers Secondary School in Arouca.

The attorneys are representing principal of the institution Derrick Mundy.

Mundy has complained that there were serious concerns raised since the Ministry of Education relocated the school from Santa Cruz to Arouca. Maundy claimed there has been infrastructural problems at the new location.

Maundy is being represented by Scoons Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

The 10-page letter from Scoon’s office claimed there were 32 violations under the OSH Act. at the Arouca school

The letter, which was addressed to Eduction Minster Anthony Garcia, was hand delivered . It outlined breaches under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It said there were numerous complaints of “failing to provide a safe and secure work environment under the OSH Actt Section 6 (2)(a).

“The OSH Report sets out some 32 violations of the OSH Act. The Report requires that the Ministry address the violations noted thereirn to the OSH Agency within 30 calendar days of the report.”

“Please bear in mind the the welfare of the children must be of paramount importance coupled with the fact that our client has been extremely understanding and accommodating to date and is hopeful that this matter can be resolved amicably,” the letter said.

Mundy also wrote to the T&T Unified Teachers Association and to the Teaching Service Commission seeking to address the “unsafe and unhealthy conditions at the aforesaid school.”

“It is my hope that TTUTA will recognise the salient issues involving its members’ terms and conditions of employment and safety and health of both the children and employees and be moved with haste to render unflinching assistance toward the successful conclusion of this matter.”

A letter sent from one of the Safety and Health Inspectors, dated last November, gave a detailed report on the findings at the school.

The officer (name withheld) said the findings should be a addressed and a report of the corrective measures submitted to the OSH Agency within 30 days— which expired two months ago.

The letter claimed that there was no evidence to indicate that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment was conducted, there was no documentation to indicate that a valid certificate from the Electrical Inspectorate existed, exposed electrical sockets on the compound, water pudding in classrooms which could result in a risk of slipping and falling on the wet surfaces.

There were also complaints of sharp objects protruding from the structures, old furniture, unsanitary toilet facilities, poor lighting and a “mould-like substance” on the structures.

When contacted, Garcia admitted that there were complaints about facility

“I have not received it and don’t know if it went to our legal department but we heard of several contentions between the principal and the Board. I am not aware of the pre-action protocol but I know we have been trying our best to mediate between them,” he said.

Categories: News

Tobago celebrates Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:12

As members of the Baptist community around T&T celebrated Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day 2018 yesterday, the Tobago United Spiritual Baptist Assembly hosted their Stations of the Cross procession through the streets of Scarborough culminating at the car park at Garden Side in Scarborough.

Also taking part in the celebrations in Tobago were chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Kelvin Charles and his wife Catherine, secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips, assistant Secretary of Education Marisha Osmond and Secretary of the Tobago United Spiritual Baptist Assembly Maeda Edwards-Cowie.

Categories: News

Weekes in Easter message: We can extract the essence of beliefs of others

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:07

President Paula-Mae Weekes said yesterday that one of the benefits of living in a multi-religious society such as T&T, is that “we can all extract the essence of the beliefs of others and discover its relevance to us.”

In her Easter message yesterday, she said the teaching of comparative religion in schools can bring a richer and more complete understanding of the beliefs, practices and fundamental philosophy of the faiths that co-exist in our shared space.

President Weekes said, “Easter is the principal and oldest festival of the Christian Church. The resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of Christian faith and celebration is fitting because Easter, with its guarantee of acceptance, hope and an eternity of joy, follows a period of anguish, rejection and despondency.”

“While Christmas with all its hype might appear to non-Christians as more significant, Easter with its message of rebirth and consequent redemption from sin is the bedrock of Christian belief. It signifies Christ’s victory over sin, evil, death and the grave and gives to all believers assurance of eternal life which is the source of our hope in this life.”

Given the state’s society, she said, Easter might have significance to non-Christians and therefore, “we need exemplars or superheroes who model for us how we might handle pain, disappointment and feelings of hopelessness.

“The Easter narrative can be helpful, whether or not one believes the story to be true, if one focuses on the allegory. Easter teaches us that success is not necessarily about conspicuous worldly achievement but rather about the ability to use personal suffering as a springboard to compassion.”

What is clear, she said, is that Easter teaches everyone to stand firm in one’s principles without compromise or retreat even in the fact of persecution, victimization or ridicule and being prepared to stand the consequences of speaking and living one’s convictions.

Her wish for citizens this Easter, is that each citizen finds something that speaks to them, “in the account of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ Our Lord. May this lead us to live lives full of compassion, perseverance, courage, love and humility.”

Categories: News

La Divina tradition dying

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:05

Rising poverty levels and unemployment are having a negative impact on La Divina Pastora festivities in Siparia with a drastic decline in attendance this year.

While some said the traditional celebrations are not being upheld by the youth, church leaders said the poor turnout was the result of economic hardship.

When the T&T Guardian visited the church yesterday, the lines, which usually stretch to the roadway, was non-existent.

Only 15 people stood inside the prayer room waiting to make offerings of flowers, olive oil, rice, money and gold jewelry to the dark-skinned statue.

Known as the Miracle Mother of La Divina Pastora, Catholics celebrate her as the Virgin Mary while Hindus called her Siparee or Supari Mai (mother of Siparia) which represents the Hindu Goddesses Kali, Durga and Lakshmi.

Church stalwart Juliana Verna Fermin said she was surprised by the poor turnout. “I think a lot of the traditions are dying. A lot of people who were part of this have died. The church needs to be better organised else this celebration will not go on. We have a lot less people now,” Fermin said.

She also agreed that people were suffering from financial hardship and this could have also contributed to the poor turnout.

However, church member John Ramdeen, who has been engaged in La Divina Pastora festivities for over 50 years, said he too was surprised by the poor turnout. “I think we have about 15 per cent less people and about 25 per cent less people who have come here to collect alms,” Ramdeen said.

Among those who came to make offerings to the statue were Lisa Seepersad of Chaguanas.

“I offered jewelry and money and I expect her blessings. She helped me before and I know that she will help me again,” Seepersad said in reference to the statue. She said this was the second time she came to the church to make offerings.

Nicole Samaroo, of Caroni, who came with her three children aged 10, four and six months, said she was expecting to get some money to buy food for her family.

“I took a taxi to come here. I spent the night out here last night and I may stay here again tonight. My husband cannot find a job and it is really hard taking care of the children. People told me if I come here I will get some help,” Samaroo said.

Sukho Bridgemohan, who has been cutting people’s hair outside the church for 41 years, said he was also surprised by the poor turnout.

“Usually around this time we would have about 100 people already getting haircuts. This year, we only had about 25 people,” Bridgemohan added. He also said the La Divina traditions were dying because people were less spiritual than before.

Categories: News

Champagne flows as Sheron laid to rest

News - Sat, 03/31/2018 - 00:00

Thousands of dollars worth of Dom Perignon and Ace of Spades champagne flowed at the Waterloo Cremation site yesterday as family, friends and other associates said farewell to Sheron Sukhdeo who was gunned down last Monday near a relative’s house on Caroni Savannah Road, Charlieville.

Sukhdeo, 33, a popular auto dealer, was at his mother-in-law’s home when he was ambushed and shot multiple times. He died at the Chaguanas Health Facility.

The funeral got off to a late start as scores of relatives and friends gathered at his home at the corner of 10th Avenue and Caroni Savannah Road.

Several of his friends and relatives were moved to tears as they greeted other mourners at the ceremony. Several of his gold chains were draped around his neck as he laid in the casket.

Members of the media were banned from entering the premises as they attempted to come through the entrance.

The service was officiated by Pundit Maharaj Akaram but was unable to be heard at times as there were no speakers or microphones used during the ceremony.

Several of his friends wore white T-shirts which read “Sheron Auto”, “World Boss”, “return if possible.”

Many of his trophies and gold painted miniature cars lined the bannister of the porch but had to be removed as the casket was taken into the house.

Sukhdeo was cremated in white robes.

Bouquets of roses from gold, white and red covered Sukhdeo as he lay in his brown and gold trimmed casket.

Inside his casket, the words “Sheron Auto” and “World Boss” were also written. A brown pair of boots were placed at his feet.

His colourful vehicles were moved from the premises and parked at the side of the road along with one of the music trucks.

The crowd and vehicles caused a backup of traffic along the busy Caroni Savannah Road.

Members of the Police Service provided security outside the premises to clear the traffic and maintain peace.

The two big trucks accompanied the hearse playing reggae music and other popular songs.

His wife, Rachael, his children Sheron Scott and Sherona, stood outside as the casket was placed in the hearse.

When approached for comment, Rachel did not speak but hugged her children and other well-wishers.

They along with other mourners threw flowers and rice as the door of the hearse was closed according to Hindu rites.

At the cremation site, Sukhdeo’s large gold chains were removed from his neck as friends popped bottles Champagne spilling it onto the blazing pyre.
Police said up to late yesterday they were continuing investigations and that no suspects were held.

Categories: News

Teen killed for gold chain

News - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:59

Weak with grief and with tears pouring down her face, Cindy Dowrich yesterday begged police to find the gunman who murdered her teenaged son for his gold chain.

Rinarco Balgobin, 19, of Southern Main Road, La Romaine, a member of the PNM’s National Youth League, suffered three gunshot wounds to his neck and head as he tried to flee from his attackers around 4 am yesterday.

His mother said witnesses heard someone shouting “Mammy! Mammy!” before gunshots were fired but she never heard her son’s call for help.

“I was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I did not even hear him. I slept in the living room because I was waiting for him to come home,” Dowrich sobbed.

Wiping away her tears, the distraught mother said she warned Balgobin not to wear the chain as he left home on Thursday night to attend a fete at a bar on Cipero Street, San Fernando.

“I want you to find him. Don’t ask questions. Find out who killed my son,” Dowrich shouted to police and media. Another resident sat on the steps wailing. She screamed, “All yuh tell the police who have the gun!

Tell them.” Other relatives told her to hush. Most of the people interviewed said they were fearful that the killer could return.

A source, who requested anonymity, said Balgobin came home around 4 am to see the killer waiting for him in a secluded area in his front yard.

The first shot missed Balgobin and he tried to run to the back of the house. As he collapsed near the fence, the gunman fired again hitting him twice and killing him instantly.

It was only around 9 am that Balgobin’s family found him on the side of the fence.

Police said Balgobin was robbed of some cash and his chain. However, senior investigators said they have information that the teenager got caught up in a turf war and was killed and then robbed.

Balgobin’s body has since been removed to the Forensic Science Centre where an autopsy will be done on Tuesday. Members of the Homicide Bureau yesterday took statements from residents and relatives.

In a statement yesterday, the PNM National Youth League said Balgobin served as chairman of the Oropouche West Constituency Youth League and was a former Committee Member of the National Youth League Executive 2016-2017.

Anyone with information on the death can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS.

Categories: News

A reflection of Stations of the Cross

News - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:51

The Stations of the Cross dates back to the fourth century and was started by pilgrims who retraced the final journey of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion in Calvary.

On Good Friday, hundreds of Christians leave their beds before dawn to participate in the Stations of the Cross and to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to ensure human salvation.

The traditional stations depict the last 14 steps of Christ: Pilate condemns Christ to death; Jesus carries the cross; Jesus falls the first time; Jesus meets His Blessed Mother; Simon of Cyrene helps to carry the cross; Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; Jesus falls the second time; Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem; Jesus falls the third time; Jesus is stripped of His garments; Jesus is nailed to the cross; Jesus dies on the cross; Jesus is taken down from the cross; and Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Worshippers say special prayers at each Station asking God’s intervention in dealing with society’s ills including depression, homelessness, poverty, crime, violence, marital breakups and juvenile delinquency.

The Stations of the Cross allows Christians to reflect on how they can work together to deal with society’s ills. It also gives an appreciation of the sacrifice that Christ made by shedding his blood as a ransom for the sins of mankind. In these photographs, the Guardian captures the re-enactment of Christ’s journey in several locations across Trinidad.

Categories: News

Port beefs up security after thieves target truckers

News - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:49

Security has been beefed up with immediate effect at the Port of Port-of-Spain after thieves made off with thousands of dollars worth goods from truckers who had lined up along Wrightson Road hoping to board the Cabo Star on Thursday.

In one case, the thieves made off with a truck loaded with a shipment of Nestle products and abandoned the vehicle near the lighthouse, in Sea Lots after stealing the $77,000 worth of cargo.

The driver of the stolen truck had said he parked his vehicle around 9.15 am and went into the Port to confirm his ticket.

Upon his return minutes later the 10-tonne truck was gone. The truck contained a variety of Nestle products, the driver said.

Yesterday, there were some cargo trucks parked along Wrightson Road. Goods were covered with several pieces of tarpaulin strapped down with thick rope.

One driver, whose truck contained cases of soft drink and water, expressed concern for his safety.

“I didn’t get on yesterday (Thursday) and there is no sailing on Sunday so I come today to see if I can get on today (yesterday).

“But is a chance I taking after what happened yesterday. There are Port officers around but I think we need armed police officers outside the Port. This situation getting from bad to worse..... now our lives are at stake,” the driver said.

President of the Inter-island Truckers and Traders Association Horace Amede, when contacted yesterday, said his members were left shaken by Thursday’s incident.

But he described the theft as “nothing new.”

“This is what we have been going through for the longest while with this whole situation.  Even if you secure your vehicle.... is only one ferry working now between the islands....it will now obviously take you longer to process your vehicle and ticket. “Where we used to park.... that is where they have the cars parking to go on the fast ferry. We need the police out there because it is not a nice situation,” Amede said.

He said for the past two years truckers have been experiencing difficulties at the Port to get their vehicles and goods to Tobago and blamed this on Government’s failure in sourcing a suitable fast ferry to work between the islands.

“Tuckers are fed-up and frustrated because this is something they have to endure on a daily basis with no end in sight,” Amede added.

Contacted yesterday, Vilma Lewis-Cockburn, manager, marketing and public relations of the T&T Inter-Island Transportation Company, assured that security has already been increased at the facility.

“We have security out there all the time. Our security department is not very far from there (Wrightson Road) and given what has happened the security department has increased patrols,” Lewis- Cockburn said.

The only sea-worthy vessel transporting a limited number of passengers and cargo to and from the island of Tobago, the Cabo Star, will be down for routine maintenance tomorrow (Sunday) and is expected to be back in service on Monday.

The vessel, which normally does not sail on a Saturday, will be in operation today given the demand to transport vehicles to the island of Tobago for the long Easter weekend.

The Cabo Star can carry 300 vehicles.

Meanwhile, the passenger ferry, the T&T Spirit, which was scheduled to return to service yesterday remained out of service as the radar was not functioning properly.

The radar is used to detect other vessels and objects during travel.

As a result, the Port Authority advised that the “T&T Spirit is still undergoing its sea trials.”

The new ferry, the Galleons Passage is expected to arrive in Hawaii today.

Categories: News

Kamla: They’re trying to throw diplomat under the bus

News - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:46

Even as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley waits on a report on the circumstances that led to T&T’s representative at the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Anthony Phillip-Spencer to vote against Dominica’s bid to waive its OAS contributions for 2018 and 2019, a copy of a memorandum, obtained by the T&T Guardian, surfaced yesterday stating that T&T’s Mission in Washington had suggested to the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs in T&T, that this country should support Dominica’s bid.

Note 4 of the memo dated March 22 stated: “The Mission is of the view that the Commonwealth of Dominica should be supported as a fellow Caricom Member-State that has been subject to the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.”

“In this regard, the Mission would like to seek the guidance of the Ministry on this matter in advance of tomorrow’s Regular Meeting of the Permanent Council which is set to begin at 2.30pm on March 23, 2018.”

The ministry has since claimed that T&T’s position offered by Ambassador Phillip-Spencer was “misrepresented.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses had said in an interview that T&T supported Dominica’s bid to waive the fees.

Moses had said, “Our position is not in variance with what was being sought by the country concerned.

What was being sought by the country and agreed upon across the board we are not at variance with that position.”

In a telephone interview yesterday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called on the Government to explain why T&T representative at the Organisation of American States (OAS), Phillip-Spencer declined to support Dominca’s bid to waive its OAS contributions for 2018 and 2019.

Persad-Bissessar noted that the Mission was in support of Dominica waiving its OAS contribution for 2018 and 2019, and yesterday questioned why a different decision was made.

She said, “In that memo it states that they (the Mission) recommended and that T&T support the resolution by Dominica. What happened when that recommendation was made by the Washington Mission?

What happened thereafter where our representative at Washington had an about-turn.”

She added that the Ambassador may be a “scapegoat” for the ministry given the March 22 memorandum.

“I do believe that they are trying to throw a public official under the bus with this. He is a man that has served our country very well, he has a very long history of service to T&T.

In terms of having seen that memo our Mission was recommending that we support Dominica, so what happened between that (on March 22) and the action taken (on March 23)?”

Describing the action as hypocritical, Persad-Bissessar said on one hand when the hurricane occurred Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had said open your homes for Dominican nationals who were affected by the hurricane, but then on the next hand T&T was not supportive of Dominca’s bid to waive the fees.

Phillip-Spencer had reportedly said after the meeting that T&T would instead consider supporting either the deferral of payments of contributions by member states and where possible the implementation of a payment plan.

The ministry, in its statement said, “In an unqualified way the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs regrets the misrepresentation of the position of T&T offered by a public official of T&T during a meeting of the OAS’ Permanent Council relative to a request from Dominica for a waiver of its financial contribution to that organization for 2018 to 2019.”

The ministry confirmed that an investigation into the briefing arrangements of the public official and the circumstances involved in the discussion at the OAS is underway.

It stated its unwavering support for Dominica.

SEE Editorial on Page A18

Categories: News

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