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Gopaulsingh, Pierre get Masters silver medals

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 22:21

T&T’s Anton Gopaulsingh and Rochelle Pierre were the lone top three medal winners for this country at the just concluded Pan American Masters Swimming Championship in Orlando, Florida.

The 43-year-old Gopaulsingh, competing in the men’s 50 metres backstroke 40-44 category, touched the wall in 31.07 seconds to trail Leandro Okuda (29.34), a meet record, while Abdiel Garcia was third in 31.31.

The 28-year-old Pierre was the other medal winner for T&T over the eight days of competition, when she got home in the 25-29 age-group 50 metres butterfly in 32.65 seconds, well behind Brazilian, Lisiane Destro who won in a record 29.00 seconds. Carolyn Fittapaldi was third in 33.39.

In addition to the two top-three finishes, the eight-member T&T contingent also won an additional 24 medals for top 10 finishes in individual and relay events, to which all team members contributed, attesting to the strength of this small team.

Given the meets base in the swimming powerhouse of the USA, and the relative ease of access to attend for eligible countries, this proved to be a highly competitive event, with 65 swimming World Records and 136 Pan American records being broken.

Almost exactly a year ago, a team of 12 qualifying swimmers from T&T travelled to Europe to do battle with the World’s best at the 17th FINA Masters World Championship.

The team produced very good results, with three top ten finishes and a further seven finishes within the top 20.

Despite the difficult conditions of the oppressive Orlando summer heat at an indoor venue with no air conditioning, team T&T made their presence known in and out of the pool—with their vociferous support for their team-mates as well as their performances in the races.

The full team included 2017 World Masters swimmers Anton Gopaulsingh, Curtis Harper, Mosi Denoon and Rochelle Pierre, and saw the return of Adrian Mike and Raul Vieira to international competition.

Foreign-based swimmers Debbie Attin-Neville and Clyde Akbar joined the team of pool swimmers, while William Carr was the sole open water competitor representing team T&T.

This competition was an important stepping stone for T&T Masters Swimming in the preparation for the 18th FINA Masters World Championship which will be held in Korea in August 2019.

Categories: News

T&T girls draw Spain in Futsal tourney

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 22:18

T&T will come up against Thailand, Spain, Bolivia and Tongo in Group C of the sigh-team Girls Futsal Tournament at the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games that will make its Olympic debut in October with Tecnopolis Park as its main stage, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Group D will feature Chile, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Cameroon and Japan.

And in the boys’ event Group A will feature Argentina, Egypt, Panama, Iraq and Slovakia while Group B is made up of Iran, Solomon Islands, Costa Rica, Russia and Brazil.

The futsal draw was held at the Buenos Aires City Hall on Friday.

The first two teams from each group will play to determine which National Olympic Committee representatives will compete for the gold medal as well as the match for third place.

Both tournaments will kick off on October 7, one day after the opening ceremony. The final for the women’s competition will be held on October 17, while the men’s title match will take place the next day.

Members from the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, municipal government officials, authorities from the Argentine Football Association, and representatives from all teams that will take part in the competition were in attendance for the event.

There will be 11 days of non-stop action, with four matches per day that will awaken the football passion of all Argentines and foreigners visiting Buenos Aires for the multisport competition.

The two groups of five teams - both for the men’s and women’s division - will play in a round-robin format and will be comprised as follows:

Men’s:

Group A: Argentina, Egipt, Panama, Iraq and Slovakia

Group B: Iran, Solomon Islands, Costa Rica, Russia and Brazil

Women’s:

Group C: T&T, Thailand, Spain, Bolivia and Tonga

Group D: Chile, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Cameroon and Japan

Categories: News

Babwah, Barnes cop Carebaco gold

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 22:14

The local pair of Andrew Babwah and T’Shelle Barnes won T&T’s second gold medal at the Under-11 to Under-17 CAREBACO (Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation) Championship when the final day of competition served off in Paramaribo, Suriname, yesterday.

Playing in a four-team Under-11 Mixed Doubles round-robin series, Babwah and Barnes outclassed Suriname’s Terrence Huang and Gillian Jones 21-10, 21-19 to end with a perfect 3-0 record.This after the T&T duo defeated

Surinamese pairs’ Jeric Van Der Leuv/Le Yan Sharon, 18-21, 21-14, 21-10 and, Shaquille Somedjo/Megan Chen, 21-9, 21-13, in their first two matches on Monday.

On Tuesday, Barnes won T&T’s first gold medal, in the Girls Under-11 Singles round-robin series with a 21-5, 21-1 beating of Guyana’s Mishka Beharry to end with a perfect 4-0 record in the five-team round-robin series.

On Sunday last, Barnes began the tournament with comfortable wins against Suriname duo, Morgan Chen, 21-3, 21-5; and Le Yan Sharon Li 21-5, 21-7; and on Monday she crushed Gillian Jones, also of Suriname, 21-5, 21-2.

When the competition concluded last night, Barnes was also in the hunt for the Under-11 Girls Doubles title with Suriname’s Chen against Jones and Sharon Li while Babwah contested the Under-11 Boys Singles final versus Suriname’s Jeric Van Der Leuv.

Babwah and Hassan Khan ended fourth in their five-team Doubles round-robin series with a 1-3 record.

T&T’s Vance Juteram advanced to three finals in the Under-17 Division on Tuesday’s penultimate day of competition.

In the Boys Under-17 Singles semifinals, Juteram swept past Jair Naipal of Suriname, 21-14, 21-15 and came up against another hometown player, Danny Chen in the final last night after the latter defeated countryman, Kevin Karg, 21-14, 21-13.

Juteram then paired with Uzair Omardeen in the Boys Under-17 Doubles semifinals for a 21-12, 21-19 win over Chen and Karg 21-12, 21-19 for a finals’ lash with Chen and Naipal, who downed Jun Lim Cheung and Donovan Zhong of Suriname, 21-10, 21-16.

The Mixed Doubles Under-17 semifinals proved much more of a battle for Juteram as he partnered Guyana’s Priyanna Ramdhani to beat Chen and Chaista Soemodipoero of Suriname, 21-12, 14-21, 21-16.

In the decider, last night, the T&T/Guyana pairing battled Suriname’s

Naipal and Erisa Bleau who ousted Dominick Scantlebury and Robyn Sobers of Barbados, 21-16, 21-16.

The T&T Under-13 contingent has so far won three bronze and one silver medal.

In the Boys Under-13 Singles semifinals, Suriname’s Dickson Liao stopped the run of T&T’s James Babwah 21-11, 21-17, with the latter getting bronze.

Babwah got some redemption though as he teamed up with Adityah Maharaj in the Boys Doubles to beat Barbadians Nathan King and Joshua Valere 21-16, 18-21, 24-22 to reach their divisional final.

And in the Girls Under-13 Doubles, Danyelle Barnes and Sanna Guria ended with a 2-1 round-robin win-loss record for the silver medals, while countrywomen, Kara-Ashley Robertson and Amara Urquhart were winless for a 0-3 mark.

However, in the Mixed Doubles Under-13 semifinals, the T&T pairs were beaten in their semifinals, with Aditya Maharaj and UUrquhart losing to Suriname’s Darshil Ramdhin and Chantal Huang, 14-21, 17-21, while Babwah and Guria were ousted by Angelo Chen and Melody Sjauw Koen Fa, 19-21, 17-21 to settle for bronze.

Categories: News

Maracas Open Water Classic set for Sept 16

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 22:12

The 2018 edition of the Subway Maracas Open Water Classic will come off on Sunday, September 16 at the Maracas Bay, Maracas from 8 am.

Subway has proudly partnered with the Amateur Swimming Association of T&T (ASATT) and 2018 will mark the fifth consecutive year that Subway is the title sponsor for this marquee event.

This open water swim event is one of the longest running open water swims in the Americas and in the 2018 edition will see the

1,000m race for all ages, and the 3,000m and 5,000m race for 13 & Overs.

The event is for persons of all ages with the 2017 event attracting persons from age 8 to 79. In the different races, there would be prizes for various age groups from juniors straight up to the seniors.

The Subway Maracas Classic not only attracts some of the country’s top competitive swimmers mbut also leisure and masters swimmers.

The 1,000m event was introduced in 2017 in order to widen participation to persons who may not yet be ready for the 3000m and 5000m swims.

The sport of open water continues to be a growing one with athletes representing T&T at Carifta, Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) and more recently the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

In fact, for the first time, T&T has earned a female place in the Pan Am Games in the Summer of 2019 in Lima Peru.

Last year, Graham Chatoor of Marlins won the men’s 5km swim, while on the women’s side Chisara Santana of Tidal Wave Aquatics emerged the champion.

For the 3km swim, Josiah Parag of Blue Dolphins emerged the men’s champion and Courtney Lawrence of Marlins took the women’s title.

Sheni St. Hillaire of Point Fortin Aqua Darts emerged the winner of the inaugural 1km race for 13 & overs, while Ileana Bocage of Flying Fish emerged the first girl; while in the kids version of the 1km Zoe Anthony of Marlins registered the fastest time overall, with her brother Zachary emerging the fastest male 12 and under.

Registration for the event is in progress until September 9th, with late registration (with penalty) ending on September 14th.

With registration, all participants receive a commemorative T-shirt and a swim cap. For more information and to register online, click the Subway Maracas Open Water event page on the ASATT page on Facebook or call 771-1147.

Categories: News

T&T crashes at final hurdle

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 22:08

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent—Guyana’s last round victory over the Windward Islands coupled with T&T’s heartbreaking loss to Jamaica helped them to capture the Regional Under-19 50-over title yesterday.

Both teams headed into the final round of matches with a similar record of four wins and one loss, but Guyana was crowned champions after they soundly whipped the Windwards by seven wickets, while T&T lost by four runs to Jamaica.

Needing a win to have any hope of doing the double after capturing the 4-Day title, T&T fell agonisingly short.

They looked to be on their way to victory when Justyn Gangoo (3-4) and Crystian Thurton (3-17), ran through Jamaica’s middle order to rout them for just 107 runs.

But Sanjay Browne and Kirk MzKenzie had other ideas, as they reduced T&T to 73-9. However, the last wicket pair of Jayden Seales and Gangoo put on 30 runs to carry their side within a whisker of an unlikely win.

It was not to be though, as Roberto Simpson trapped Seales lbw for 24 to spark wild celebrations among the Jamaican players.

Meanwhile, Guyana’s victory was spurred on by a spirited bowling performance by opening bowlers Joshua Jones and Qumar Torrington, along with Kevelon Anderson.

Jones struck with just the second ball of the innings, dismissing Jaheil Walters for a duck without a run on the board and 12 runs later he also accounted for the wicket of Teddy Bishops.

And once Anderson was brought into the attack, he quickly snapped up the wicket of topscorer Jahseon Alexander for 22, to spark a middle order collapse which saw the Windwards lose their last seven wickets for 54 runs.

Anderson was the main culprit, finishing with figures of 4-26 and he received good support from Torrington (3-26) and Jones (2-23).

Guyana was actually in early trouble at 14 for two at one stage, before a 63-run partnership between Sachin Singh and Kevin Sinclair carried them to safety, with Sinclair topscoring with 39 and Singh stroking an unbeaten 27.

The day’s other match between Barbados and the Leeward Islands ended in a no result due to inclement weather.

Barbados were seemingly on their way to victory, having posted a total of 174 for six in their 20 overs and then restricted their opponents to 33 for four before the rains came.

Guyana ended with 27.8 points, T&T was second with 22.3 points, Jamaica third on 20 points, Barbados fourth on 18.8 points, the Windwards finished fifth on 17.2 points, with the Leeward Islands (8.8) and Canada (0.6) points bringing up the rear.

Scores

At Park Hill Playing Field: The match was abandoned due to inclement weather.

BARBADOS 174 for six in 20 overs (Kilano Brathwaite 45 not out, Joshua Bishop 37 not out, Kadeem Alleyne 33, Shian Brathwaite 31; Uri Smith 2-28, Kiam Pemberton 2-29)
LEEWARD ISLANDS 33 for four in 5 overs (Joshua Bishop 2-15, Matthew Forde 2-17).

At Arnos Vale Playing Field: Guyana defeated the Windward Islands by seven wickets.

WINDWARD ISLANDS 105 in 33.5 overs (Jahseon Alexander 22; Kevelon Anderson 4-26, Qumar Torrington 3-26, Joshua Jones 2-23)
GUYANA 106 for three in 24.3 overs (Kevin Sinclair 39, Sachin Singh 27).

At Sion Hill Playing Field: Jamaica defeated Trinidad and Tobago by four runs.

JAMAICA 107 in 42 overs (Carlos Brown 28; Justyn Gangoo 3-4, Crystian Thurton 3-17, Joshua James 2-18)
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 103 in 33.3 overs (Jayden Seales 24; Sanjay Brown 4-40, Kirk McKenzie 3-21). (CMC)

Categories: News

SOCA PRINCESSES RECORD 2ND WIN

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 22:04

Kayla Taylor netted a first-half double as the T&T Women footballers strolled past Antigua and Barbuda 5-0 for a second win from as many matches. The teams met in the Women’s Caribbean Football Union Final Round Qualifiers to the CONCACAF Finals Round of World Cup qualifiers in Kingston, Jamaica last night.

With the win at the Independence Park (National Stadium), the Anton Corneal-coached Women Warriors joined host Jamaica atop the five-team standings with maximum six points each.

However, the ‘Reggae Girlz’ have a superior goal difference to the ‘Women Warriors’ ahead of their clash tomorrow night.

Cuba is third with three points ahead of its clash with Bermuda last night while Antigua and Barbuda are without a point in the five-team competition at the end of which the top three will qualify to the final phase of CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualification.

As early as the fourth minute, the Women Warriors were on the scoresheet through Janine Francois before Kayla Taylor, made it four goals in two matches with T&T’s second in the 16th.

It then took the T&T women until the 30th minute to add a third item, via captain Tasha St Louis from the penalty spot.

Nine minutes later, Taylor, the hat-trick hero in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Cuba, extended the advantage to 4-0 with her second of the afternoon and a tournament- best fifth in the competition.

Things could have been worse for Antigua and Barbuda at the interval, had T&T’s Kenya ‘YaYa’ Cordner found her scoring touch, as she muffed three clear-cut chances.

It took the Soca Princesses a while to settle after the restart before Norway-based forward Cordner finally made it 5-0 in the 65th minute with a close-range tap.

It was now a matter of how many goals the Tasha St Louis- captained T&T women would get.

But to their credit, Antigua and Barbuda who had conceded 16 goals in its first two matches, 9-0 versus Jamaica and 7-0 versus Cuba then defended desperately to keep down the scoreline.

Elsewhere, Costa Rica and Panama booked Central American qualification spots yesterday as well ahead of their group decider tomorrow while the trio of the USA, Canada and Mexico, the top three ranked teams in Concacaf were automatic qualifiers to the final round of eight teams.

USA will welcome the region’s top women’s national teams for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which will crown a regional champion and qualify three teams directly for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, plus the fourth-place finisher to an Inter- Continental Playoff.

The Concacaf Women’s Championship is scheduled to be played October 4-17, 2018 in Texas

Standings

LATEST STANDINGS
Teams........................P..W....D.... L.... GF...GA...Pts
1. Jamaica.......................2..... 2.....0......0...... 13....... 0.......6
2. T&T...............................2..... 2.....0......0........ 8....... 2.......6
3. Cuba............................2..... 1.....0......1........ 9....... 3.......3
4. Bermuda.....................1..... 0.....0......1........ 0....... 4.......0
5. Antigua & Barbuda..3..... 0.....0......3........ 0.....21.......0

Matches

REMAINING MATCHES
Tomorrow
Antigua & Barbuda
vs Bermuda, 4pm
T&T vs Jamaica, 7 pm
ON SUNDAY
Bermuda vs T&T, 3 pm
Jamaica vs Cuba, 6pm

Categories: News

Entrepreneurship, diversification debate

Business Guardian - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 21:55

Entrepreneurship, often defined as “the capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit,” is a key instrument in the economic toolbox of any nation.

Entrepreneurs are thought of as national assets, since their efforts contribute significantly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employment.

Entrepreneur vs employee

The realities of an entrepreneur versus an employee are starkly different in nature.

As such, any drive to develop entrepreneurship can only be successful with the input of those who know the realities best but in the absence of a structured system through which experienced entrepreneurs can mentor younger ones, the discussion continues: How can we find a balance between risk and opportunity? Between funding and education? Mentoring and competition? There are no quick fix solutions; yet, economic growth and balance are dependent on the solution.

The T&T case

The World Bank describes T&T as “a high-income country, rich in natural resources, with well-developed, globally competitive oil and gas industries.”

The local energy sector, which contributes approximately 44 per cent of GDP, has been the major economic contributor for several decades, and has allowed T&T to maintain its positive economic growth from 1960, up until the recent sharp decline in global oil and gas prices. But this high dependency on the energy sector has led to underdevelopment of non-energy sectors, which tend to attract little investment, and are often reliant on government subsidies and transfers.

Economic diversification is essential for economic stability and long-term growth. For several years, decision-makers have been engaged in the diversification debate; however, there has been very little growth in the non-energy sector.

The World Bank suggests that T&T needs to be more open to direct foreign investments and focus on improving the business environment. Much of the discussion around diversification suggests that any diversification strategy that supports new and emerging sectors should be government-driven.

At the 2016 T&T Energy Conference, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley stressed the importance of diversification as one way of weathering the impact of the current economic downturn, caused by the precipitous drop in international commodity prices. But when will there be measurable results emanating from these discussions?

There is a symbiotic relationship between economic diversification and entrepreneurship development.

Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship is an essential tool in creating a balanced economy. So what are the key elements required to drive entrepreneurship? How do we produce individuals willing and able to take calculated risks that will generate profits and benefit both stakeholders and the nation? This is by no means an easy task.

The challenges of entrepreneurship

The high failure rate of small and medium enterprises suggests that entrepreneurs experience several major challenges, including inadequate funding, poor planning and management, lack of product differentiation, and not paying enough attention to the needs of their customers.

Insufficient funding is one of the most significant contributors to failure.

The inability to access start-up funding because of a lack of personal resources is all too common; yet, many start-ups that are successful at getting funding—statistics suggest more than 80 per cent—still fail, which creates high risk for financiers. Funding providers have generally avoided start-up businesses for this very reason.

To protect themselves, they set mandatory requirements that businesses must be in operation for a minimum of three years before they will even consider an application for funding. While certain government agencies do offer financial support for entrepreneurs, even these agencies have stipulated limitations regarding the types of businesses they are able to support.

The challenge is further complicated by the fact that financial backing is not the only kind of support entrepreneurs need. Giving money to an entrepreneur who lacks financial management expertise is likely to lead to poor results and possible failure.

In 2002, the National Entrepreneurship Development Company (Nedco) was established and mandated to promote entrepreneurship in T&T.

This was a strategic move but the company lacks the critical resources to produce meaningful, measurable results, on a scale that will positively impact the national community.

It would be far more useful to evaluate entrepreneurs’ needs and the realities of their business environment, in order to identify the critical gaps hindering their growth and development.

Promoting entrepreneurship demands clear policies that are able to overcome such challenges, and achieve successful, sustainable enterprises.

It should be noted that in addition to Nedco, a number of support programmes have been created to promote entrepreneurship.

The value of the entrepreneur

Diversification is critical to a sustainable economy. To effectively diversify, we need to have a bank of successful entrepreneurs investing in a variety of goods and services.

Promoting and supporting entrepreneurship requires the focus to work through the maze of challenges and conflicts that exists.

Are adequate resources being dedicated to the national diversification objective? Are policies designed to promote entrepreneurship across all levels of the education system? Are we doing enough to move past discussion, to planning and implementation? What can the private sector do to promote entrepreneurship?

Changes in the energy sector have demonstrated both the risk and impact of a poorly diversified economy.

Both diversification and entrepreneurship are processes that require proper lead-time in order to yield results; we must aggressively refocus on them if we are to achieve economic growth and stability, and this must be done sooner rather than later.

Can we objectively say that we have given adequate resources towards either?

• Nichole Joseph-Cupid is an entrepreneurship and business solutions provider based in T&T.

Categories: News

The Venezuelan gas deal: Risk versus rewardwill

Business Guardian - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 21:45

The “historic” gas deal signed between T&T and Venezuela on August 25, 2018 is a structural solution to T&T’s gas supply woes experienced by the petrochemical sector over the last few years. This deal, set to flow in 2020 and beyond, coupled with increased local production will provide greater certainty to NGC, Atlantic LNG and many companies operating in the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, and will promote increased business confidence, increasing the likelihood of further business investment.

While much of the details of the deal remain confidential, there are a few considerations that should be explored to assess the risks and rewards to T&T as a country.

Three considerations:

• Counterparty risk

• Forward or market contract pricing

• Geo-political factors

1. Counterparty risk: Who are we dealing with?

“Counterparty risk is the risk to each party of a contract that the counterparty will not live up to its contractual obligations. Counterparty risk is a risk to all parties and should be considered when evaluating a contract.” www.investopedia.com/terms/c/counterpartyrisk.asp

In this case, the agreement has been signed by Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, T&T’s National Gas Company and Shell.

However, in December 2017, “Fitch reduced the Venezuela’s long-term foreign rating to C from CC and called a default “highly probable,” according to a statement. S&P also downgraded the sovereign and state run-oil company PDVSA to CC from CCC, two notches from default.”

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-03/venezuela-cut-deeper-into-jun...

More recently in March 2018, Moody’s also downgraded PDVSA’s ratings to C from Ca. Moody’s lowered the company’s baseline credit assessment (BCA) to “C” from “Ca” and the country’s rating to C from Caa3. “C” is the lowest rating possible and is typically attributed to counterparties that are in default.

“The downgrade of the Venezuelan government’s ratings were based on Moody’s expectation that the continuing erosion of Venezuela’s payment capacity will lead to heavy losses to bondholders, with ongoing defaults on interest payments on various bonds compounded by upcoming principal maturities, and the limits on Venezuela’s ability to restructure its debt posed by current US sanctions that prevent US investors from accepting new debt instruments under a potential debt exchange, which will further exacerbate losses.” www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-PDVSAs-ratings-to-C-stable-out...
Should we be worried?

The good news is that we are not looking for financial payments from PDVSA or the Venezuelan government, we need only to receive a commodity, natural gas from the Dragon gas field. It has been made clear that Shell has the responsibility for transporting the gas to the Hibiscus Platform (jointly owned by NGC and Shell). But who is responsible for extracting the gas in the first place? If it is PDVSA then, we should be concerned about their ability to continue to operate and fulfill their contractual obligations to us, especially considering the country’s current precarious financial situation.

A good way to structure the deal and mitigate this risk, is to ensure T&T and Shell have operational responsibility and associated property rights to take the gas from the ground, in addition to transportation, processing at Atlantic LNG and eventual sale on the global markets.

However, if we are taking some risks, we should be compensated for it, this is where the price of the gas comes in.

2. Forward or market price?

The Government of T&T has stated that “commercial terms of gas sales agreements are subject to the strictest confidentiality clauses” and as such the public will not be privy to this information. However, as reported in the Trinidad Guardian on August 26, 2018, “the Prime Minister took the liberty to say the prices are very competitive and in some cases lower than what we are paying to domestic upstream producers in T&T.” www.guardian.co.tt/news/2018-08-26

Given the amount of public disclosure, it is tough to assess the favourability of the deal and the associated risk-reward dynamics. However, the news that prices negotiated are lower than some of those agreed to with domestic upstream suppliers, is most welcome. It says that we are getting a discount (or some compensation) for dealing with a counterparty that has some financial credibility issues (not to mention political and social issues as well).

However, the gas is set to flow from 2020, so have we locked in prices today for gas to be purchased and delivered in the future? If so, then we have entered into a “Forward market contract.” The “Forward price is the predetermined delivery price for an underlying commodity, currency, or financial asset as decided by the buyer and the seller of the forward contract, to be paid at a predetermined date in the future.”
www.investopedia.com/terms/f/forwardprice.asp

However, if market prices go down by the delivery date, then the seller (in this case Venezuela) usually wins, as they get a higher price for the commodity, when the current market price is lower. The converse is also true, if natural gas prices go up, T&T would have benefited from locking in the lower price.

To neutralise the effect of future commodity price movements, and to eliminate any associated market risk: if the authorities have entered into fixed price contract arrangements on the purchase side (ie T&T buying the gas from Venezuela), then we should immediately start negotiating the fixed price future contracts on the other side with our customers, for when we finish processing the gas and have to sell it on the global market. The key is to lock in the profit margin immediately. This is called hedging.

Another strategy in commodity-based transactions is just to agree to a premium/discount over market rates at the time of delivery. The current gas border deal could also have been set at some generous discounts to final market prices, to compensate both Shell and T&T for the services that are provided to prepare the gas for sale on the global markets. In this case, the profit would be realised once the costs to transport and process are less than the differential between how much we buy and sell the gas for.

3. The geo-political consideration

The tense relations between the US and Venezuela are well known, in May of this year, one day after a Venezuelan election the US government called a “sham,” the Trump administration placed a fresh third round of sanctions on the beleaguered country. Some in T&T have wondered, if we as a country deal with the Maduro regime (who is the real antagonist of the US government, not the people of Venezuela), if we could get backlisted too? However, this is a relatively low probability as the recent “sanctions fall short of direct penalties on the oil sector, which the Trump administration has said would harm the Venezuelan people and American companies. They do not bar United States companies or citizens from selling oil products to or importing them from Venezuela.” As reported by the New York Times on May 21, 2018.

Accordingly, it would be a reach for the US to penalise us, a neighbour, for making this deal. Having said this, any transactions or agreements with the Maduro government, rank as “very high” on the political risk spectrum.

Financial, operational, market and political risks have been identified above, but much can be mitigated by appropriate deal structuring. For the public this will remain a black box for this time. However, it is hopeful that the benefits to T&T which include the bolstering of our natural gas supply and the setting of the frame for sustained increased LNG production, will provide net benefits and the requisite returns to the people of T&T

• Navin Dookeran ([email protected]) is a lecturer and programme director of the Executive MBA at the Lok Jack GSB and was previously the head of credit risk for Manulife Bank and Trust, and worked at the RBC Financial Group, Toronto, Canada.

Navin Dookeran

Categories: News

Should we move away from the NGC model?

Business Guardian - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 21:41

Reporting on the signing of the Dragon Gas deal between Venezuela and T&T, American outfit, Bloomberg News described it as a lifeline being thrown to T&T as it struggles with natural gas curtailment.

While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, it reflects what the international community sees as this country’s challenge to meet its gas commitments.

As we discussed last week, the reasons for the gas shortages are myriad and both the PNM and UNC governments have to take the blame. So do the upstream producers who, despite having contracts were unable to fulfil them—and in the case of bpTT— while it has returned to contracted levels it is no longer prepared to have excess gas behind pipe to supply the National Gas Company on a needs basis.

This shortage has cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars and it has led to the NGC being taken to court by several downstream companies for a breach of contract due to its failure to deliver sufficient gas to their plants.

The question to ask is: why was the NGC being sued when it is not a gas producer? The answer: this is due to what we call the NGC model.

In this model, with few exceptions, the NGC buys all the gas from the upstream producers—it owns the pipeline infrastructure— the gas is then piped to customers and sold to the petrochemical plants at a profit.

There are three exceptions to this rule. In the case of Atlantic LNG, the upstream producers like bpTT and Shell sell directly to the Point Fortin plant and bpTT due to its interest in Atlas methanol sells directly to the plant as did EOG resource to CNC ammonia plant.

For a long time there has been the argument that the NGC model was not working because, according to companies like bpTT, the risk reward was out of sync, with the state-owned enterprise almost guaranteed profits without taking the risk of looking for and producing natural gas.

The NGC has argued differently, saying it takes risks by partnering with the petrochemical producers and profiting when prices are high and making little when commodity prices are low.

Gregory McGuire, who worked at the NGC and is a supporter of the company remaining sole aggregator, argues this offers the downstream tremendous flexibility in terms of its product-related pricing mechanism.

He said, “By this mechanism, which is not common place in the natural gas business, NGC shares some of the market risks with the petrochemical producers and reduces their most significant operating costs at a time when revenues are relatively lower. Contrary to the view that NGC uses its monopoly position for price gouging and profiteering, it is the big risk taken on product-related pricing that has in the past generated significant surpluses in period of high prices. This has allowed the entire industry to grow and prosper.”

Helena Innis, an energy consultant, said the NGC model is best for T&T because of the vertical integration of the dominant upstream suppliers.

Innis said the government allows the upstream producers to sell directly to the downstream petrochemical companies that could likely result in there being no downstream domestic market.

“The profit motive will win,” she added.

In an article in the T&T Guardian, former Finance Minister Mariano Browne argued that the NGC was doing a disservice to the country.

He said, “The market has now become more competitive contemporaneously with higher prices demanded by the upstreamers. And supply is still smaller than the demand. The balance of power has shifted to the upstreamers who control over 90 per cent of the production and therefore a strangle hold on capacity and utilisation. And the upstreamers priority is liquefied natural gas, not petrochemicals.”

Browne added, “The primary purpose of a firm in a competitive industry is to meet the needs of its customers. There is no business if there are no customers. To do so, a business must have a unique value proposition and compete either on cost or product differentiation. When looked at in this light, NGC is in a weak position and its crude tactics jeopardise the industry and the country’s economic future.

It is clear that the NGC has served the country’s interest well, but as McGuire notes it cannot remain static. There are also questions about transparency.

Why should the NGC negotiate in secret with petrochemical companies when renewing a contract?

Would it not make sense to ensure that everyone knows there is a Point Lisas price for gas and that is the price all businesses coming to the NGC for gas must be prepared to pay and run their models on?

To do otherwise is to open the company to allegations of favouritism.

The other reality is while it makes sense for vertical integration, the challenge of being a middleman in a period of gas shortage and then offering gas to a new plant in which you have a stake reeks of conflict of interest.

When this was put to the NGC, this was the company’s response, “NGC continues to work assiduously with all stakeholders to bring relief to the current gas situation in the best interest of the industry.”

Asked if the issue was raised in legal proceedings against it, the NGC answered, “All legal proceedings are bound by strict confidentiality agreements.”

n Next week we end by looking at the issue of contract transparency and the way forward.

Categories: News

Venezuelan gas—good move for T&T

Business Guardian - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 21:38

Last Saturday’s signing of an agreement between T&T and Venezuela for the export of natural gas from Venezuela to this country has the potential to lead to further downstream investment in T&T.

It is also a major success for both the government and for Shell Trinidad which is partnering with the National Gas Company on the construction of the pipeline from North Eastern Venezuela to its Hibiscus platform off the North Coast.

Over the last decade there has only been one additional downstream project started in the country, that being the Mitsubishi methanol plant that is being constructed at La Brea.

A major reason for the lack of new investment has been the shortage of natural gas that had plagued the country since 2011 but which has intensified since 2014. Uncertainty of a gas supply and the increased prices that are being demanded by the NGC are major reasons why investors have dried up in the Petrochemical sector.

Take, for example, the recent decision by the Proman group to build its methanol plant in the United States. Sources tell Business and Money that the company, which has significant investments in T&T, would have preferred to build it here but the conditions did not allow for it. The loss of such a plant is a loss of jobs for locals in the construction phase and a loss of a stream of revenue and foreign exchange to the ex chequer.

It is why this deal with Venezuela is so important.

In a real sense 300 million standard cubic feet of gas is a relatively small tranche, especially when you consider that this country’s demand is closer to 4.5 bcf/d. This also opens the door for the development of a relationship between the two countries that can see further corporation and the big fish of Loran Manatee being processed in T&T.

This was not lost on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who said, “We may have been able to save our industry by getting a secure source of gas for the downstream sector. It may, over time, also allow us to look at the expansion of the downstream sector and investments there, as long as we can show investors we have a secured stream of gas,” Rowley told journalists on the flight back from Venezuela.

The Prime Minister noted that the situation allows, for the first time, Venezuela gas to be processed in T&T.

“T&T is a processor and exporter of natural gas. Venezuela’s resources of natural gas have never been an input but after today...Venezuelan gas will come to the international marketplace to be monetized for the benefit of the people of Venezuela and the people of T&T and that being so, the sky is the limit,” he told reporters in Caracas.

Dr Rowley added, ”What we have just witnessed is the coming together, in a situation which existed for two years but which has now come to the fore, to be operationalised for the people of T&T and the people of Venezuela. Geologically we are connected and historically we have used our hydrocarbon resources as the engines of both our economies. There have been many changes some for better, some for worse, but in recent times under recent and current leadership, a new impetus has attended our requirement to co-operate in our hydrocarbon legacy.”

The Prime Minister admitted that the cost of building the pipeline was a concern but said Shell was helping with the estimated $1 billion needed to build out the infrastructure.

But what’s in this for Shell?

One imagines that Shell is in this for the long haul and the big fish.

For one, the company will make a profit on its investment in the pipeline. It allows the major to position itself as the leading multinational in Venezuela, a country that has become an almost pariah internationally due to its nationalisation of oilfields.

For Shell, there is also another major prize and that is the Loran Manatee field in which there is 10 trillion cubic feet of gas. That is enough gas to support an LNG train for 40 years. If the Venezuelans agree to it coming to T&T, this could be a major prize for Shell.

There are real possibilities but, as many have said, more information is needed and the issue of contract transparency needs to be addressed.

“Our Starfish development, which achieved first gas earlier this year, and Dolphin development projects were both accelerated following the acquisition of Chevron’s assets in the ECMA which gave us full operation of the upstream value chain.”

Economist Dr Roger Hosein said told Business and Money that while the government should be happy about the extra gas that is going to be available for both downstream and LNG, he warns on the LNG side that the prices are likely to remain depress as the US ramps up production of the commodity.

He said the T&T government had to be aware of the supply side imbalance in LNG.

While there are those who believe it is the upstream producers and LNG that drive the energy sector, in many ways it is really the downstream sector that is the mainstay of the economy.

Consider this: it is the downstream petrochemical companies that are responsible for the purchase of close to 40 percent of the country’s natural gas. This means that the gas produced by the upstream companies like bpTT and Shell require a market. Without the downstream companies like MHTL or Methanex or even CNC a large part of that market is gone.

The Government has depended heavily on billions of dollars in dividend payments from the National Gas Company. The NGC makes most of its money from the sale of natural gas to the downstream companies. Therefore it is the downstream sector that is a major part of government’s ability to earn taxes and dividends from the NGC.

Categories: News

The importance of this gas deal

Business Guardian - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 21:35

Venezuela’s ambition to become the largest exporter of gas in Latin America dates back many decades, well before the start of the on and off talks with T&T on utilisation of cross border gas assets.

That country, now beset by economic and social turmoil, has the potential to produce 1,200 million cubic feet and 28,000 barrels per day of condensate gas and has been pursing partnerships with neighbouring energy producing nations, as well as private entities, in it quest to become a major gas production hub.

Its best prospects for realising that dream now reside in the Mariscal Sucre project—a development of great interest to T&T—since it encompasses four giant deposits located in northern Paria Peninsula (east Venezuela): Dragón, Patao, Mejillones and Río Caribe.

Dragón field alone is expected to produce some 300 million cubic feet of gas. That, combined with the other deposits that make up the Mariscal Sucre Project is expected to reach more than 1,000 million cubic feet in the coming years.

With 198 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, Venezuela holds the largest such reserve base in Latin America and the eighth-largest in the world. However, our closest Latin America neighbour has been hampered by a natural gas deficit in its industrial western region which it is seeking to alleviate by developing it offshore natural gas reserves located in the projects.

Apart from Mariscal Sucre, where the Dragón field is located, development is also being pursued in Rafael Urdaneta and Deltana Platform.

It must be remembered, that for both countries, the political and economic scenarios were quite different when the talks started on cross border gas arrangements. Venezuela, then in the “glory days” of the Hugo Chávez Bolivarian Revolution, was still enjoying bumper years of oil production. Then the Chavez regime embarked on forcible seizure of foreign-owned upstream energy assets and drilling activity began to decline.

Meanwhile, in T&T, just around the turn of the 21st century, a Patrick Manning administration was in place when the first Atlantic LNG train was established. The facility eventually expanded into a four-train, 14.8mn t/yr liquefaction complex and this tiny twin-island state evolved into a prosperous gas-based economy.

Bilateral agreements on hydrocarbons started in 2007 when Chávez and Manning signed the Framework Treaty for unification of hydrocarbon reservoirs, along with a series of trade and public safety agreements.

This had been preceded, in December 2004, by Chevron Texaco’s discovery if 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Loran field which straddles the territorial waters of our two countries.

Venezuela subsequently signed deals with Chevron Texaco and Repsol to increase natural gas production. Chávez expected the Loran to advance Venezuela’s plans build its own LNG plant.

It is no surprise that negotiations between the two countries on developing cross-border gas fields have stalled several times over the years. However, these do not detract from the significant milestones that were achieved leading up to last Saturday’s historic agreement, signed in Caracas, Venezuela.

Also not to be overlooked is the fact that progress in negotiations have been relatively few and far between and that, in the case if T&T, has extended over the life of more than one political administration.

So while the talks began during the tenure of the late Patrick Manning, neither he nor his People’s National Movement (PNM) where at the helm in August 2010. That was when, just months into the People’s Partnership administration of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, this country and Venezuela signed a long-awaited agreement to develop natural gas reserves on their maritime border.

Then, in September 2013, a preliminary agreement, also during Persad-Bissessar’s tenure. Another deal was signed to exploit the Loran-Manatee field.

In the intervening years came the drop in oil prices which sent both countries into economic tailspins.

It was therefore a significant step forward in the protracted negotiations when, in December 2016, with Dr Keith Rowley just over a year in the Office of the Prime Minister, the two governments signed an agreement to facilitate transport and sale of Venezuelan gas to this country. Since then, closed door talks have focused on hammering out a deal that is financially and commercially viable, with legal protection from any risks.

What both sides have now agreed to is for150 million cubic feet of gas per day—eventually increasing to 300 million cubic per day—to flow from Venezuela’s Dragon field through a 17-kilometre pipeline to Shell’s Hibiscus platform offshore T&T. From there, the gas will be distributed by the National Gas Company. Operations are slated to begin in 2020.

While full details have not yet been made public, the deal is also supposed to cover, among other things, joint development of Venezuelan gas reserves with the participation of companies from T&T, as well as construction of a 300-kilometre gas pipeline that would ship gas from Mariscal Sucre to Güiria.

Also in the pipelines are further talks on development of the Loran-Manatee field that straddles the borders of Venezuela and T&T and contain more than 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Already agreed is the allocation of 73.75 per cent of those reserves to Venezuela and the remaining 26.25 per cent to T&T.

This field has the potential to significantly increase overall gas production. There have been discussion of Loran-Manatee by the respective but on the T&T end very little has been revealed about a potential investment decision from the multinational companies holding the rights to develop the acreage.

Also still to be considered is the much smaller Manakin Cocuina field, discovered in 2000, which is estimated to contain around 0.4 trillion cubic feet of reserves with the majority (66 per cent) on the T&T side of the boundary.

There are many other deals still in talks so negotiations over cross-border gas resources will continue well into the foreseeable future. Now that the deal for interconnection to export from the Dragon field to the Hibiscus platform has been finalised, attention can now shift to the other potential pipeline route from Güiria, Sucre state, to Point Lisas.

Success in all these discussions is critical since the Government has promised that the natural gas shortages experienced by local downstream companies will come to an end by 2021. While this is based primarily on the just concluded Dragon gas agreement, other developments are also contributing to the resolution of the gas curtailments, such as bpTT’s Angelin field, with reserves estimated to be in the region of 1.5 trillion cubic feet, where there have been significant developments in just the past few weeks.

These must be viewed in tandem with developments over the past several months, including the Trinidad Onshore Compression project (TROC) which has resulted in additional compression capabilities for the Point Fortin Atlantic LNG plant.

Other significant projects include Juniper, which at peak will produce 590 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Corallita and Lantana fields located 80 kilometres off Trinidad’s south east coast and Sercan gas field, a joint venture between EOG Resources and bpTT, which has the capacity to produce 250 million cubic feet of gas per day.

While a deal has been signed off—particularly the prevailing economic and social conditions in Venezuela—great care must be taken to ensure agreements already in place are kept and future deals are approached with a level of diplomacy. The value and proximity of the assets involved must never be under estimated.

It helps that in this case Venezuela needs these arrangements to succeed as much as, or perhaps more than, T&T. Very likely, that country is staking its economic recovery on successful implementation of Dragón and the other energy deals it is currently pursuing with other countries in the region.

For T&T, currently sitting on an estimated 11.5 trillion cubic feet of proved natural gas reserves, the challenge is not only to bring new gas reserves into production as a means of stemming the current shortage but to also maximise production from existing reserves.

Our economic survival still depends heavily on natural gas, so even while efforts must be made to develop other sectors, keeping this industry alive and ensuring it returns to optimal capacity is crucial.

That is why the Dragón deal was such a significant development.

It is one of many important steps for economic recovery and future prosperity.

Categories: News

Richards, Ahye make Zurich stop

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:13

T&T sprinters Jereem Richards and Michelle-Lee Ahye’s aim tomorrow is to close out their Diamond League season successfully on the penultimate stop in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Commonwealth Games champions will line-up in their respective sprint events against familiar and worthy opponents in a meet where the best athletes in the world will compete in 32 different disciplines.

Richards, who enters the meet with a season’s best of 19.99 seconds, will face off against Noah Lyles, the fastest man in the world this year over both 100 metres and 200m, running 9.88 seconds for the former and a quite incredible 19.65 for the latter.

The American has set or tied, a personal best in each one of his 200m races this year: 19.83, 19.69, 19.69, and 19.65.

World champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey will pose another threat for the top spot. He ran 19.75 to win the European Championships in Berlin, Germany, earlier this month.

The other runners in the half-lap event are South African Luxolo Adams, Aaron Brown of Canada, Alex Quinonez (Ecuador), Great Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Alex Wilson (Switzerland).

Ahye will do battle against Ivory Coast duo Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Murielle Ahoure, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor of Nigeria, Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, Dafne Schippers (Netherlands), South African Carina Horn and Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.

The field will be trying to upset Ta Lou, who is 10-for-10 in 100m races this year, including all four of the Diamond League races she’s entered. She shares the world lead with Asher-Smith, 10.85.

Ahye’s best time for this season was at the Oslo Bislet Games in June when she placed third in 11.06.

Categories: News

Police tames Rangers

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:12

Three different players were on target as Police FC spanked Terminix St Ann’s Rangers 3-0 in the first of three T&T Pro League matches, yesterday.

The Lawmen led 1-0 at half-time thanks to a Kareem De Freitas penalty on the stroke of the referee’s whistle for the interval before second-half strikes from Kurdell Brathwaite, in the 63rd, and another penalty this time converted by Jameel Peery in the 73rd to secure a second straight win after three defeats to start the season.

With the victory, Police moved into the sixth spot with six points, the same as Rangers, but ahead on goal difference.

Last night at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Club Sando tackled defending champions North East Stars while San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force, second and third on the table respectively faced off as well in the second match at Couva.

Today, leaders W Connection, with maximum 15 points after five matches face Morvant Caledonia United at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 8 pm while two hours earlier at Couva, Central FC battles Pt Fortin Civic.

RESULTS

Teams P W D L GF GA Pts
1. W Connection 5 5 0 0 17 2 15
2. Jabloteh 5 4 1 0 7 1 13
3. Defence Force 4 2 1 1 16 6 7
4. Club Sando 5 2 1 2 4 5 7
5. Central FC 5 2 1 2 7 11 7
6. Police 5 2 0 3 8 9 6
7. St Ann’s Rangers 5 2 0 3 5 13 6
8. Pt Fortin Civic 5 0 2 3 3 7 2
9. North East Stars 4 0 1 3 1 5 1
10. Morvant Caledonia 3 0 1 2 6 9 1

TODAY’S MATCHES

• Central FC vs Point Fortin Civic, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva,
6 pm.
• Morvant Caledonia United vs W Connection, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, 8 pm.

 

Categories: News

‘Yaya’ strengthens Soca Princesses attack

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:10

T&T Women Warriors will be going all out to score as many goals as possible when they meet cellar-placed Antigua and Barbuda in their second match at the Women’s Caribbean Football Union Final Round Qualifiers to the CONCACAF Final Round of World Cup qualification today.

The match, the first of a double-header kicks off at Independence Park, National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica from 4 pm, and will be followed by a clash between Cuba and Bermuda.

Currently, host Jamaica tops the five-team standings with maximum six points while T&T and Cuba are next with three points each, followed by Bermuda and Antigua and Barbuda, both without a point.

Speaking on Monday, T&T interim women’s team coach Anton Corneal said he wants another victory to add to the 3-2 triumph over Cuba on Saturday courtesy of a hat-trick by Kayla Taylor.

“Kayla brought a different ingredient to the team. Her composure and her ability to finish showed up in our first game. We were able to capitalise on chances that came our way and she finished the job for us,” Corneal said.

Looking back at the game, Corneal noted that Cuba did have T&T on the back-foot for some periods in the match.

“ We had to defend in long periods and we did that well. I thought we were not able to really play as a team as well as we would have wanted to and this would have been due to our lack of sufficient preparation.

But we were able to put in a couple players into the game who were carrying niggling injuries and they came through which is a plus for us,” Corneal said

He said, “Now we had a bye on Monday so we used the extra time to prepare for Antigua and Barbuda. I told them about the importance of starting with a win versus Cuba and the need to pick our matches and knowing our opponents. Not that any game is a given but knowing exactly the things we needed have done correctly in relation to the opponent as well was important for us.”

T&T will be strengthened with the inclusion of overseas-based trio Lauryn Hutchinson, Naomie Guerra and striker, Kennya “Yaya” Cordner.

On completion of the CFU Final Round qualifiers, the top three teams will advance to the CONCACAF Final Round qualifiers along two qualifiers from Central America.

The trio of USA, Mexico and Canada are automatic qualifiers to the final round of eight teams.

The Central American qualifiers kicked off on Monday night with Panama beating Nicaragua 4-0 and Costa Rica crushing El Salvador 11-0.

It continues today with El Salvador facing Panama and Costa Rica against Nicaragua before Friday’s final round double-header featuring Costa Rica and Panama, followed by El Salvador and Nicaragua.

USA will welcome the region’s top women’s national teams for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which will crown a regional champion and qualify three teams directly for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, plus the fourth-place finisher to an intercontinental playoff.

The Concacaf Women’s Championship is scheduled to be played October 4-17, 2018 in Texas, USA.

CURRENT TEAM STANDINGS

Teams P W D L F A Pts
Jamaica 2 2 0 0 13 0 6
T&T 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
Cuba 2 1 0 1 9 3 3
Bermuda 1 0 0 1 0 4 0
Antigua & Barbuda 2 0 0 2 0 16 0

TODAY’S MATCHES

n T&T vs Antigua & Barbuda, 4pm
n Cuba vs Bermuda, 7pm
On Friday
n Antigua & Barbuda vs Bermuda, 4pm
n T&T vs Jamaica, 7pm
On Sunday
n Bermuda vs T&T, 3 pm
n Jamaica vs Cuba, 6pm

Categories: News

More $$ for T&T Marathon winners

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:07

There will be an increase of US$1,000 each to both the men and women winners of the 2018 T&T International Marathon Festival (T&TIMF) marquee event, the 26.2 road race when the 37th edition comes off on Sunday January 27, 2019.

This was revealed by Anthony Harford, Managing Director of All Sports Promotion, which has been hired as the event’s secretariat at the launch of the three-part event at T&T Olympic House, 121 Abercromby Street Port-of-Spain, yesterday

Last year, equal prize money of US$5,000 was provided to the winner of the men and women category, however this time around US$6,000 will be up for grabs when the marathon begins from 5am at Freeport, with the finish outside White Hall, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.

According to Harford, the other prize structures for positions in the marathon, 5K and Relays are yet to be finalised as discussions between the organizing committee, potential sponsors and government agencies are still taking place.

In addition to increase prize money, Harford noted that the T&TIMF has now been expanded into a three-part event.

To start of the weekend, Harford stated that the Relays have been taken out of the Marathon and will take place separately on Friday January 25 around the Queen’s Park Savannah, starting and ending outside White Hall.

The Relays which will feature one full lap of the QP Savannah by each competitor will be contested in three different categories as well, Open, Schools and Women with teams comprising of six individual.

For the Open relay, a new twist has been added in that as part of the six participants, each team must include a youth athlete and one master (over-40).

The Kiss Baking Company-sponsored 5K entitled the Healthy Balance National 5K will come off on Saturday January 26 starting at Woodford Street, opposite All Saints Church and ending outside White Hall.

And on Sunday January 26, marathon walkers will begin their journey to Port-of-Spain from 3am followed by the marathon runners, two hours later.

With regards to the composition of entrants, Harford said it is still early days yet as registration for the event has now opened but a lot of interest in the event is expected to come from Central and South America.

As an part of an incentive to possible participants, race organisers have started off registration with an early discounted price for each of the categories, ending October 31, 2018.

For the 26.2 miles T&T marathon, early bird registration will cost US$45 or T&T$ 315 while for entrants starting November 1, 2018, cost of registration for marathon entrants go up to US$50 or T&T$350.

Likewise, for the Relays, registration starts off at US$30 or T&T$210 but for late comers, the cost will increase to US$35 or T&T$245.

And for the 5K event, registration begins at US$15 or T&T$100, but will climb to US$17 or T&T$120 after October 31.

Registration can be done online via www.ttmararthon.com or persons can call All Sports Promotion at

Last year, Kenyan-born Stephen Mburi Njoroge of Mexico won the men’s marathon in two, 23 minutes and 04 seconds holding off his brother Simon Kariuki Njoroge (2:34.36 hours) while Leah Kigen, the women’s event in three hours, 00.11 minutes

Among the sponsors of the event are Kiss Baking Company Limited, Gatorade, Subway, Blue Waters, Namdevco.

Categories: News

Sports Ministry $$ for volleyball team

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:02

After weeks of uncertainty with regards to this country’s women’s team historic participation at FIVB World Championship in Japan next month, the Ministry of Sports has pledged $439,000 for the team via news release last night.=

The Ministry also pointed out the tardiness of the Executive of the T&T Volleyball Federation in submitting a formal request in a timely manner despite being advised to do so.

According to the Ministry’s release it states, “On June 28, 2018, the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, along with other Ministry officials including Deputy Permanent Secretary (ag) Denise Arneaud, Director of Physical Education and Sport, Patrice Charles and Assistant Director of Physical Education and Sport, Gabre McTair, met with the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation (TTVF), Nicole Selvon and Vice President, Vaughn Martin, in response to The Federation’s email request of June 22, 2018.

At the meeting, the Federation informed the MSYA that the Continental Governing Body for the sport of volleyball, the North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA), had donated eight (8) airline tickets to the team toward its participation in the Pan-American Cup, which was scheduled to take place from July 6 -15, 2018. The TTVF was at the time seeking support in the amount of $150,000 from the MSYA, to cover the outstanding cost of participation of the National Senior Female Volleyball team in the competition and to this end, the Ministry provided $121,000.|”

The release continued, “The TTVF further apprised the Minister that in October 2017, this team qualified for the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Women’s World Championship, which is scheduled to be held in Japan in October 2017. However, the Minister learned that since then, the Federation was yet to submit a formal request for funding assistance, although they had been advised by the former Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, the Honourable Darryl Smith, to treat with such a request in a timely manner. In the same vein, Minister Cudjoe encouraged the TTVF to urgently formalize its request to the MSYA for funding assistance.

Consequentially, on July 24, 2018, the Federation presented its request via email accompanied by an apology for the tardiness of the submission. Since then, the MSYA has been in constant communication with the Federation regarding its commitment to assist with funding toward participation at this Championship. The Executives of the Federation have also worked with the MSYA and SPORTT to fine tune the details of its proposal and the request now stands at $500,000, of which the MSYA has committed to provide support in the amount of $450,000.00. The Federation has received $11,000 to date, to assist with registration and visa fees. The remaining $439,000 will be paid to the Federation within the next week.”

Categories: News

Calypso Girls stay unbeaten

Sports - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:01

An almost flawless shooting performance from T&T shooting duo Samantha Wallace and goal-attack Kalifa McCollin saw the “Calypso Girls” complete another masterful win at the Americas Federation of Netball Association qualifiers, last night in Barbados, cruising to an 82-41 victory over Grenada.

The professional shooters were once again at their best at the netball court in the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium in Wildey with Wallace the goal-shooter, shooting with 91.8 per cent accuracy producing 45 goals from 49 attempts.

McCollin was even more accurate with a 96.2-per cent display, connecting 25 from 26, to guide T&T to its third straight win after easy wins over the United States of America (USA) 86-29 and Canada (80-26), respectively.

Play in the first quarter was balanced with Grenada through its goal-shooter Lottysha Cato (24/27) keeping her team competitive against the athleticism of goal-keeper Shaquanda Green and goal-defence Kemba Duncan.

However, on the other end, there was no stopping Wallace and McCollin, who combined for 22 goals from as many tries, to have the “Calypso Girls” ahead 22-14 at the end of the opening period.

In the second quarter, the momentum remained in favour of T&T and despite the change midway in the session by Grenada coach Oberon Patterson switching Cato to defence in an attempt to slow Wallace but it was ineffective as the professional shooter showed her class and moved T&T further out front, 41-24 at the half.

Coach Wesley “Peppy” Gomes stuck with Wallace and McCollin into the third quarter and they continued to build on T&T’s lead, going into the fourth, up 67-32.

Wallace played the first five minutes of the final quarter partnering with goal-attack Tahira Hollingsworth (6/10)) before she was replaced by former captain Joelisa Cooper (6/7).

The centre-court was manned well by T&T through varying combinations that included captain Rhonda John-Davis, the wing-attack, centre Candice Guerero and Onella Jack in the wing-defence. And also the Seemungal sisters Shantel and Shernece, who also kept a tight defence, causing numerous turnovers.

In the end, T&T was just too much for Grenada, sealing the 41-goal victory.

The other shooter for the Grenadian team were Cecile Roberts (1/2), Renisha Stafford (9/15) and Kelsie Ross (7/17).

The second match saw Barbados, the only other unbeaten team in the competition, easily get by St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), 66-31.

In the opening match, led by goal-shooter Oshina Graham with 56 goals from 62 attempts the USA got its first win of the tournament, beating Argentina, 74-20.

Today is a rest day for all teams. Tomorrow from 6 pm, T&T will be back on court first when it takes on St Maarten, who has a win against Argentina (36-32) and losses against Barbados (110-12) and SVG (78-27). In the final match on the day, Grenada plays Canada at 8 pm.

Categories: News

Stop buying into US nonsense

Columnists - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 23:55

The most popular parenting memes, blogs, and vlogs all seem to have one thing in common—they encourage parents to do what feels best for them.

What’s ironic about Caribbean parents following such advice, is the fact that the parents writing these blogs live in countries where it would be illegal to discipline in the way in which we “feel” it to be best practice.

These bloggers live in countries where child services WILL take your child if you consistently miss school. They will not be so lenient with parents that send children to school with no books, no food, and no bath.

So no, even these popular mom bloggers don’t parent the way that feels good to them. They live in countries where best practice is in fact law. These women are busy debating on whether to be gluten-free or not. They are not debating on whether daily shouting, licks or taking public transport alone is acceptable.

These mothers who feed you a false sense of comfort would be called in if the child started acting weird in school and cited seeing mommy and daddy fighting as the reason for the sudden change of behaviour.

Let’s stop being blind to what their acceptable parenting standard is versus ours. Of course, they can tell moms to mind their own business. They live in countries where the State is minding the business of everyone. Guess what, in sweet T&T, our children are BEGGING us to mind their business. Our women are begging us to mind their business for them.

The one thing that worked really well is the one thing we seem to have let go of quickly and that was the village raising the kid. We hold on to licks but we let go of the elderly neighbour speaking wisdom into you.

More than half of the children that are abused are done so at the hands of their own parents, so no, you cannot parent how you feel.

Your parenting decisions affect the society that I live in, so yes, it is my business and I will not apologise for making it such.

When you choose to spend on luxury items while your child goes hungry in school, that is my business because eventually that child will become an adult and come into my yard.

To think that the way you parent is your business, is to think selfishly. We live in a world full of people and we must raise our children to be contributing adults that aren’t hurtful to others.

The best athletes in the world have coaches. To think that giving birth gives you the certification to know how to parent is to be naive. Parenting like everything else takes hours of studies. Like business, sports, and trades, there are best practices based in years and years of studies done by professionals.

It is time we turn to them versus our own feelings. It is time we raise our game. Commit to learning and growing. Put our pride aside and be willing to hear that our way isn’t the best. Heck, our way may be downright wrong. It’s okay to have been wrong. It is not okay to shun the information and clench our fists at change.

Categories: News

A 6.9 for our 56

Columnists - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 23:53

In some respects we dodged a potentially deadly bullet last week Tuesday when, for 90-plus seconds, one of the strongest earthquakes in our recorded history halted us in our typically frenetic tracks and sat us down for an important independence lesson.

To be sure, the seismologists advised that while this was not in fact “the big one” it was sufficient cause for contemplation of a possibly catastrophic event we would someday have to face all on our own. There will be no hovering, heavenly vessel to rescue the isolated or to stitch the fractured Los Iros farms. No net to catch the church buttresses. No magic metal plate to seal the bubbling mud in Hindustan and Piparo.

Indeed, such a sombre scenario comes in defiance of the doctrine of divine preference—though believers themselves frequently invoke the image of a dramatic eschaton to end it all. It is an irresistible metaphor on our condition in this season of our independence.

Dr Eric Williams had advised back in 1962 that we would thenceforth be on our own “in a big world, in which you are one of many nations, some small, some medium size, some large.”

When it comes to this, it sometimes does not appear that we have done very well; however conspicuous the trappings of apparent progress. We have long trashed the notion of sovereignty and the path we ought to have cleared to make our way in the world.

It is not today that geo-political quid pro quo is trumping the carving of an independent economic destiny, neither is it a novelty that we choose to ignore clear warning signs of various kinds. The Petrotrin tremors have repeatedly signalled the coming of the end of the game. The diversification challenge has long exhibited evidence of its absolute necessity. Yet, we seem to have ignored the peaks on the graph, the needles of the seismograph, the rumbles in the distance.

Last week, overcome by imminent sexagenarian nostalgia, I reviewed some old Radio 610 recordings with the voices of Lloyd Best and Dennis Pantin and their now 30-year-old views on the future of the T&T economy. This led me to think about the seismologists at the Seismic Research Centre at UWI who must have some of the most frustrating jobs in the world.

However much Joan Latchman, Richard Robertson et al put on a good show in the face of inadequate dedicated resources, we all heard you, professor, and a considerable deficit in public scientific awareness, there must be an agony fed by a sense of our collective neglect and negligence.

Thread after SRC social media thread, in the comments section, betrayed an unhealthy scepticism of science—and its reliance on data and evidence—and a preference for shadowy, alternative fact excavated from the depths of Google and YouTube, and gleaned from unsubstantiated, anonymous WhatsApp dispatches.

To what extent is this not the symptom of the greater malady? That magic and haphazard concoction can somehow turn away an overwhelming tide. That the public discourse and the big decisions can persist devoid of a requirement to sift out facts and mine the evidence.

Against such a backdrop, it is optimistic to believe that anything sensible can emerge, in the near future, out of our investigation of capital punishment, the universality of human rights, climate change, the decriminalising of narcotics–marijuana in particular —and the privileged role of organised religion in society.

The tectonic plates have shifted and continue to move from long-standing moorings. Today’s violence and disquiet and the rumblings of changed circumstance all signal that our 57th must not find us thinking that we have the right to remain as we are.

The earthquake came in time for our 56. We were not handed a six for a nine. This was the real deal.

Categories: News

Scotiabank gains $0.02

Business - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 23:51

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 14 securities of which two advanced, three declined and nine traded firm.

Trading activity on the first tier market registered a volume of 44,499 shares crossing the floor of the exchange valued at $612,079.26.

JMMB Group Ltd was the volume leader with 28,516 shares changing hands for a value of $48,834.05, followed by T&T NGL Ltd with a volume of 3,031 shares being traded for $90,934.89.

Angostura Holdings Ltd contributed 2,386 shares with a value of $37,579.50, while Massy Holdings Ltd added 2,085 shares valued at $97,995.00.

Scotiabank T&T Ltd registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.02 to end the day at $65.02.

Conversely, The West Indian Tobacco Company Ltd registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.54 to close at $88.00.

On the mutual fund market 2,297 shares changed hands for a value of $44,846.41.

Clico Investment Fund was the most active security, with a volume of 2,037 shares valued at $40,738.15.

Clico Investment Fund remained at $20.00. Calypso Macro Index fund remained at $15.80.
Fortress Caribbean Property Fund Ltd SCC - Development Fund remained at $0.67. Fortress Caribbean Property Fund Ltd Ltd SCC - Value Fund remained at $1.70. Praetorian Property Mutual Fund remained

at $3.05.

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

• The Composite Index declined by 1.62 points (0.13%) to close at 1,243.65.

• The All T&T Index declined by 0.89 points (0.05%) to close at 1,713.92.

• The Cross Listed Index declined by 0.33 points (0.32%) to close at 104.04.

Categories: News

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