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Pauseforacoors lands hat-trick

Sports - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:44

The John O’Brien trained Pauseforacoors made it three wins from three starts yesterday as she made every yard of the running to win the feature Handicap for three-year-olds and over horses rated 70 and over.

Punters made Pauseforacoors the 4/5 favourite to land the hat-trick and she delivered a long neck in the time of 1:12.00 on a wet/fast track at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.

When the starter sent the six-horse field on its way, Brian Boodramsing sent Pauseforacoors straight to the front and she never saw another rival until 100 metres from home when second favourite Princess Suri came to challenge.

Going up the backstretch, Pausaeforacoors had a length lead on the top-weighted Whisper Light with Princess Suri closing up in third. These were followed by Onefortheroad, Root of Jesse and newcomer Risk To Riches trailing.

At the far turn, Boodramsing allowed Pasueforacoors to stride on and she opened a three-length lead on Princess Suri which came in pursuit as Whisper Light was being tapped for toe in the conditions.

Onefortheroad was keeping on at one pace in fourth with Root Of Jesse struggling ahead of Risk of To Riches.

At the top of the straight, Pauseforacoors held a healthy three-length lead on Princess Suri on which Ronald Ali was asking for maximum effort and she was responding.

However, the post was always going to come too late for Princess Suri and Pauseforacoors ran out a cheeky winner by a neck with Whisper Light 8 3/4 length further back in third.

Training honours for the day fell to the in-form Glenn Mendez, who saddled three winners in Cape Canaveral, Golden Choice and Lombard Street.

Riding honours for the day were shared between Boodramsing and Ricky Jadoo, both of whom rode two winners apiece.

Categories: News

Sprint relay team finishes 7th in Finland

Sports - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:41

The Men’s 4x100 metres team was T&T’s last hope for a medal at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships but the local quartet crossed in a disappointing seventh place in yesterday’s final at the Ratina Stadium in Tampere, Finland.

Running in the order of Kion Benjamin, Carlon Hosten, Timothy Frederick and Tyrell Edwards, the national relay team clocked 39.87 seconds in a race which they had the quickest reaction time of 0.143
However, they faded and it was the American team of Eric Harrison, Anthony Schwartz, Austin Kratz and Micah Williams, winning gold the first of the Championships for the USA, with a world-leading U-20 time of 38.88.

Copping silver was Jamaica, improving its national U-20 record to 38.96 while Germany (39.22) replicated its bronze medal-winning performance from 2016 in Poland, after edging Japan (39.23) on the line.

The final day of the youth track and field meet will take place today but there will be no T&T athletes competing. The 14-member team will be a disappointed bunch

Though a disappointing day for the local team, T&T’s Ato Boldon did have something to celebrate with his athlete, Jamaica’s Briana Williams, completing the sprint double. Yesterday, she broke the Games record to nab gold in the women’s 200m.

Racing in lane three, Williams took a marginal lead on USA’s Lauren Rain Williams as they entered the straight. She then extended her lead in the second half of the race and crossed the line in a championship record of 22.50. Rain was a distant second in 23.09 and Poland’s Martyna Kotwila bagged bronze in a personal best of 23.21.

On Tuesday, the 16-year-old Jamaican sprinter won the women’s 100m in 11.16. Coincidentally, Boldon was the first athlete to complete this feat, winning the first ever double sprint title in World Junior Championship history. T&T’s most successful athlete won the 100m and 200m titles in Seoul, South Korea back in 1992.

At the previous U-20 Championships two years ago, T&T’s Khalifa St Fort also coached by Boldon placed third in the women’s 100m, winning T&T’s lone medal of the Championships.

Today is the final day of the biennial youth meet, however, no T&T athlete from the 14-member team, will be in action.

Categories: News


Sports - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:38

Jason Holder completed Bangladesh’s devastation with career-best match figures of 11 for 103, as West Indies cantered to a 2-0 series win, their first at home since 2014. Holder, who took five for 44 in the first innings, followed up with six for 59 as Bangladesh folded for 168 in the second innings and for that he was named Man of the Match and Series at Sabina Park, Jamaica yesterday.

That was also their highest score in four innings this series.

Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, was the lone shining light from his side, top-scoring with 54. That came on the back of a six-wicket haul earlier in the day that triggered a West Indies collapse as they were bundled out for 129 - the lowest score against any visiting Bangladeshi side - giving Bangladesh a slight opening in the Test.

Shakib’s six for 33 is the best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi in an away Test.

Chasing 335, Bangladesh needed to come up with its best batting performance of the series. The team began that pursuit by losing Tamim Iqbal early. Undeterred, Liton Das counterattacked, punching Holder for four fours in one over. Liton stayed put with his aggressive approach, which fetched him 33 runs in quick time, before Keemo Paul put an end to it when he held onto a catch at gully. Mominul Haque managed his best contribution of the series - 15 - which ended just before the tea interval, when Roston Chase had him lbw. Mominul ended his series with a solitary run from his three other innings.

Mahmudullah, who also endured a wretched Test series, perished meekly when he tried to loft Chase over midwicket, but Shai Hope intercepted the shot with a well-timed jump. Shakib and Mushfiqur then added 54 runs for the fifth wicket, with both batsmen hitting boundaries quite freely.

Shakib took a liking to Paul, collecting his first four boundaries off him, flicking and driving through the covers, before cutting him twice past point in the 20th over. Shannon Gabriel, too, felt the brunt, going for three fours in the 29th over: two straight drives and a square-cut.

Mushfiqur’s first four came via a reverse sweep against Chase, before he unleashed cuts, glides and straight drives against Miguel Cummins. Holder, however, went through the gate, created by a large bat-pad gap, to bowl him in similar fashion to Gabriel in the second innings in Antigua.

With his next ball, Holder gave Nurul Hasan a pair, the batsman falling lbw in almost identical fashion to the first innings, although this one was more adjacent. Mehidy Hasan survived the hat-trick ball, but soon became Gabriel’s first victim, Devon Smith taking the catch diving to his left at second slip.

Shakib struck three more fours to reach his fifty, before Holder struck again. Rabbi and Abu Jayed followed suit. It was the completion of West Indies’ recovery after enduring a torrid time during first half of the day.

Like with the bat, Shakib played an important role with the ball, but he also found help from the younger bowlers, with Mehidy Hasan, Abu Jayed and Taijul Islam sharing the other four wickets. But it was he who paved the way for the fightback, snaring the first three wickets in the morning, taking out Devon Smith, Keemo Paul and Kieran Powell. Smith and Paul were stumped, while Powell was adjudged leg-before going back to a length ball. Taijul and Jayed struck next, dismissing Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmeyer, and soon after the lunch break, Mehidy bowled Chase, who top scored with 32.

The innings also saw wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan complete a Bangladesh record of three stumpings when Holder ran past a Mehidy delivery in the next over. Shakib then bowled Cummins and Gabriel in the same over to end the West Indies innings nine overs after lunch. (CMC)


West Indies vs Bangladesh
3rd day, 2nd Test
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 354
BANGLADESH 1st Innings 149
WEST INDIES 2nd Innings
(overnight 19 for one)
K Brathwaite b Hasan 8
D Smith st Hasan b Hasan 16
K Paul st Hasan b Hasan 13
K Powell lbw b Hasan 18
S Hope lbw b Islam 4
S Hetmyer lbw b Jayed 18
R Chase b M Hasan 32
S Dowrich not out 12
J Holder st Hasan b M Hasan 1
M Cummins b Hasan 1
S Gabriel b Hasan 0
Extras (b1, lb2, w1, nb2) 6
TOTAL (all out, 45 overs) 129
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-28, 3-53, 4-60, 5-64, 6-97, 7-122, 8-124, 9-129
Bowling: Abu Jayed 8-1-21-1 (nb1, w1), Mehidy Hasan 11-2-45-2, Kamrul Islam 2-0-3-0 (nb1), Shakib-Al-Hasan 17-5-33-6, Taijul Islam 7-0-24-1.
BANGLADESH 2nd Innings
(target: 335)
Tamim Iqbal lbw b Holder 0
Liton Das c Hope b Paul 33
Mominul Haque lbw b Chase 15
Shakib-Al-Hasan b Holder 54
Mahmudullah c Hope b Chase 4
Mushfiqur Rahim b Holder 31
Nurul Hasan lbw b Holder 0
Mehidy Hasan c Smith b Gabriel 10
Taijul Islam not out 13
Kamrul Hasan lbw b Holder 0
Abu Jayed b Holder 0
Extras (b4, lb2, nb2) 8
TOTAL (all out, 42 overs) 168
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-40, 3-52, 4-67, 5-121, 6-121, 7-138, 8-162, 9-168, 10-168.
Bowling: Holder 13-3-59-6, Gabriel 9-2-29-1, Paul 7-0-34-1 (nb1), Cummins 5-1-20-0 (nb1), Chase 8-4-20-2.
Result: West Indies won by 166 runs.
Series: West Indies win two-Test series 2-0.
Man-of-the-Match: Jason Holder.
Man-of-the-Series: Jason Holder.
Umpires: R Illingworth, S Ravi; TV – R Kettleborough.

Categories: News

Skills for youth in the 21st Century

Columnists - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:38

“World Youth Skills Day is calling on global communities to engage youth to identify types of investments needed to support youth skills development. Together we can all make a difference in youth and skill development and work towards creating a more sustainable future for all” (World Bank Group).

Today, Sunday, July 15, marks World Youth Skills Day. Is T&T equipping our youth with the knowledge, skills, competencies, values and attitudes they need to function effectively and APefficiently in the 21st Century? I don’t think so! I remember when I was studying for my Master’s Degree in Education in London, we discussed the issue of the “sabre-tooth” curriculum. In short, it referred to educators delivering a curriculum that did not meet the needs of today’s students. The sabre-tooth tiger is extinct, yet, the curriculum referred to on my course was “teaching” students how to catch these tigers!

I am sure that many of our educators don’t have the technological skills and competencies that our youth of today possess. I recall being amazed at the speed with which my three-year-old great-nephew in London could manoeuvre his iPad to find exactly which story or rhyme he wanted to access. And years ago, when I had to critique two presentations written in Spanish and was experiencing difficulties, as my Spanish is not up to scratch, my seven-year-old great-niece laughed saying: “Aunty Leela, haven’t you heard of Google translate?” Although the translation is not always correct, this tool helped me enormously.

Today there are many modern platforms with translation tools. As my sister told me then: “Today’s children are ‘wired’ differently.”

We live in an interconnected, technologically advanced world and many of us are experiencing difficulty keeping up with technology. God knows how many parents are unable to assist their children with their school work. This is why I agree with the late Prof John Spence, who rightly said that where there are gaps in parenting, the school must strive to fill those gaps. This is not to say that parents should abrogate their responsibilities, but inevitably, there may be areas where schools must “take up the slack.” How effective, for example, is ICT training in our schools? I understand that there are still a few places in T&T where internet access is limited. Can we level the playing field?

My friend’s daughter asked me to comment on her CV before she submits it to various companies, as she is seeking summer employment in London. She admits that she developed many of her amazing skills and competencies, for example, her digital literacy proficiency, outside of the school setting. Our youth need assistance in recording their skills and capacities in ways that will make their applications for jobs “stand out.”

It was Gandhi who said: “The future depends on what you do today.” What are we doing today to ensure that our education system is equipping our youth to meet the challenges of today’s fast-paced world?

Textbooks and “blackboards” are still the “staple diet” in many of our schools. Our education system continues to fail too many of our children, and yet, we keep teaching the “sabre-tooth curriculum.”

Even as we celebrate the achievements of the top 200 students who sat the SEA, I posit that what they had to endure was not the best strategy for organising a placement exercise in T&T. And then we have the trauma being experienced by the 2,595-plus students who scored less than 30 per cent—13.6 per cent of the 19,185 pupils who sat the exams this year. Let’s not play the blame game but put our heads together to address the many factors that lead to underachievement, as well as the obstacles that stand in the way of our young people’s creativity, innovation and lifelong learning.

I urge T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce to work with our Government to build capacity; ensuring that training programmes to prepare youth for life/the world of work include skills that are relevant to the labour market/future jobs. Let’s play our part to promote integral human development in T&T, that is, the development of each person and of each dimension of the person.

Each youth is a gift from God. He/she comes into this world with great potential. Our responsibility as adults is to invest in youth and to create conditions for them to realise their potential and to flourish.

Leela Ramdeen

Categories: News

When banks take advantage of power

Columnists - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:36

Following his successful China trip, the Honourable Prime Minister broke the news that two Chinese banks were invited to establish operations locally, no doubt much to the relief of aggrieved banking consumers disgusted at what passes for banking in Trinbago.

However, when foreign banks enter new markets they employ local bankers to navigate their operations, showing them local practices, but sadly, therein lies the very foundation of consumers’ discontent with local banks.

Our over-esteemed bankers are visionless, puerile, haughty, narcissistic and destructive.

Two prominent foreign banks operating here and run by Trinidadian bankers are well acquainted with the level of quality service dispensed in their home countries, yet, driven solely by insatiable profit motives they shamelessly treat their own people with a level of gross indignity and total disrespect unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Customer service from local banks is as bad as management refuses to render even a scintilla of care or relief to the suffering masses whose pivotal combined savings propels local banking.

Claiming that their existing labyrinth of compliances are Central Bank’s directions, they voice no disgruntlement, nor petition their regulators on behalf of their customers’ utter frustrations, becoming silent cynical bankers of mistrust, perceiving and treating every single consumer as a money launderer, knowing in North America and Europe clients are welcomed and treated with respect when opening accounts, then sensibly monitored for laundering.

While banks are a necessary evil, they need not be calculatingly evil, and cognisant of this, Thomas Jefferson warned Americans: “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”

Banks, due to their much sought after commodity, take comfort in being powerful behemoths inevitably blinding themselves to the true tenets of banking, oblivious they exist solely on other people’s money, endowing in their parasitic advantages.

My earlier business mistakes were trusting my then bank directing me to convert operating capital to fixed deposits paying four per cent to collateralise overdrafts at 18 per cent.

When you write a bank about their arrogance and instead of communicating with a long-standing client, they instantly close all your accounts despite fund availability, spitefully bounce incoming cheques “account closed,” return preexisting balances, deliberately disable your merchant PoS system to malevolently incapacitate your business operations while reservedly ascribing “fit & proper” infallibility to themselves and pay attorneys to drag out and weaken a claimant, that is evil banking.

When a bank refuses to cash its customer cheques solely of their animus for the messenger, that is evil!

When banks continually operate two of 13 teller booths disregarding people suffering in line, that is pure evil!

Renowned TIME magazine referred to Trinidad banks as “Predators in paradise,” shocked at hefty usury fees associated with a particular project they funded.

The IMF reported in 2002 that “Trinidad banks do more to hurt rather than advance Trinidad’s economy.” Small business is the engine of any economy, yet “certain” businesses are waiting beyond six months just to be approved for its pivotal point-of-sale system accepting electronic payments.

While this payment terminal can be purchased for average US$300, local banks bereft of conscience lease merchants each terminal from $3,600 to $6,000 annually, then charge them a voracious five per cent processing fee when world average is two per cent.

And you’ll be utterly humiliated by the requirements to open business accounts wherein all directors have to be “approved” in a country grossly lacking an indispensable secondary financial market as in developed nations.

I am not optimistic about any new global bank knowing who will navigate it, who will continue their paradigm of shameful customer service and usury fees, no doubt taking advantage of the characteristically paralysing reluctance of Trinbagonians rising up and seriously challenging its banking abuses, recognising that the policies and practices of predatory banks are the root causes of many injustices they suffer in today’s society.

TREVOR HOSTEN is an entrepreneur and consumer’s advocate, and founder of Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) which petitioned Government for and obtained Trinidad’s Banking Ombudsman (now the FSO) and the Bankruptcy & Insolvency ACT of 2006.

Categories: News

Scope for girls in aviation

Columnists - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:34

The Second Sex was once on the Papal Index of Forbidden Books. “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” professed Simone de Beauvoir.

She argues that “humanity is male and man defines woman not herself but as relative to him.”

He is essential. She is incomplete. He imposes his will on the world whereas woman is doomed to inwardness. But every human life is an intimate interplay of immanence and transcendence.

Historically, however, women have been denied a transcendent role. The aviator Amelia Earhart remarked that for women: “...her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.”

Today is World Youth Skills Day. According to the UN, youth are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality jobs, greater labour market inequalities, and longer, more insecure school-to-work transitions.

Young women are even more likely to be unemployed and underpaid. That is why education and training are key determinants of success in the labour market.

But unfortunately, existing systems are failing to address Sustainable Development Goal Target 4.4, which calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.

In November 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) convened the inaugural Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Global Summit in Montreal, Canada.

At this event, Dr Fang Liu, secretary-general of the ICAO, confirmed that her organisation had updated its forecasts for three key air transport professions: pilots, air traffic controllers, and aircraft technicians.

She revealed that 620,000 pilots will be needed by 2036, to fly the world’s 100-seat-and-larger aircraft. But even more important than this figure is the fact that no less than 80 per cent of these future aviators will be new pilots not yet flying today.

A similar story is playing out with respect to the future air traffic controllers, maintenance personnel, and other technicians needed.

These are just a few of literally hundreds of direct and indirect aviation-related career categories being impacted by current air transport growth and attrition factors.

These ICAO figures concretise the need for more and better skilled aviation personnel in the years to come, not only to increase the overall numbers but also to replace those who are retiring.

Dr Liu proposed three main solutions: (i) facilitating access to aviation training and education programmes which lead to dependable recruitment opportunities and shorter-term career advancement returns; (ii) shedding light on the full range of aviation professions including: information technology and cybersecurity specialists; specialists in unmanned aircraft systems and drones; baggage management specialists; airport managers and directors; and (iii) instilling greater aviation awareness in high school and younger students, and especially young girls, in addition to continuing work with the university-level and young professional demographics.

Attracting women to the industry is an important priority. Eight decades after Amelia Earhart’s failed solo flight, 29-year-old Shaesta Waiz, an Afghan refugee, became the youngest woman in history to accomplish a round-the-world solo flight in September 2017.

The Transport Storage and Communication sector, of which aviation is a part, has the potential to prioritise development of aviation services within this non-oil economic sector, in keeping with the diversification agenda of T&T. Two factors account for the role that an airport plays in air cargo operations.

First, the metropolitan area acts as an attractor of freight, linked to consumer market demand, high added value manufacturing activities and cold chain logistics (perishables, pharmaceuticals).

Second, there is the decision by freight forwarders to use an intermediary location within their network, which often spans continents. Airports such as Anchorage, Memphis, Louisville, Liege and Leipzig have almost the totality of the cargo they handle attributed to their connecting role.

Panama City is a hub that services two ranges—(i) the circum-Caribbean, via a hub-and-spoke network structure, and (ii) a latitudinal intermediacy, connecting medium and long haul destinations in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The time is ripe to encourage our girls to enter the aviation industry as air transport professions and for the former US Army Camden, Waller and Carlsen Air Bases to be revitalised inside a plan to become intermediary locations for cargo from selected “Lima Group” members like Chile, Canada, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Guyana.

Categories: News

The politics of legal dependence

Columnists - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:32

The Caribbean Court of Justice performed with distinction for yet another seven-year term, while ten Caricom governments, which created and pledged to be part of the appellate jurisdiction of the court, submerged their populations in political “mamaguy”, and deepened our colonial, psychological dependence on British justice.

To date, only the governments of Barbados, Guyana, Belize, and Dominica have been confident enough to have the CCJ, comprising distinguished jurists of the Caribbean and experienced and expert of judges from the Commonwealth and elsewhere, inclusive of the Dutch Caribbean, replace the British Privy Council.

The excuses utilised to reject the CCJ as the final appellate court cover the nakedness of our existence as a dependent people: we are not yet ready; our judges are not qualified and experienced; the judges on the CCJ are not representative of the ethnicities and cultures of Caricom—there is need for a special dispensation to have Indo-Caribbean judges on the CCJ; the CCJ will be a hanging court; it will be subject to the political dictates of regional governments; conclusively, we as a colonial dependent people cannot trust ourselves to make final decisions about ourselves and our disputes.

Ironically, at the end of the recent Heads of Government meeting (a forum for independent Caribbean thinking about development) the prime ministers of Jamaica and St Lucia concluded that the CCJ is not a priority, economic development is. In addition to being a narrow-minded simplistic notion about the nature of economic and human development, the prime ministers were eight years behind Kamla Persad-Bissessar. She made a similar excuse in 2010. Holness and Chastenet could aim for a more original excuse.

The continuing baseless contention of the CCJ being dictated to by politicians had its opposite reflection recently in what has been described as the modern home of democracy, the USA. There, President Donald Trump all too obviously nominated his party’s judicial ideologue to the bench of the Supreme Court. Compare such a system to an independent regional public sector commission deciding on the judges to sit on the CCJ bench.

Distinguished Caribbean statesmen and jurists Ramphal, Patterson, Barnett, have responded in various ways to those concocted contentions. The response I like best is Sir Shridath’s warning that in the face of the British wanting to be rid of these colonies costing the British taxpayer time and money, Caricom countries could find themselves “loitering on the steps of the Privy Council,” long after the welcome has been withdrawn.

Only four non-Caribbean countries continue to depend on the PC: Is it that we in Caricom amount to no more than flotsam of history, without substance to be fashioned into an independent civilisation?

When is that right time? Fourteen years have passed since the formation of the court and more than 70 years have gone by since the original idea for the court was first articulated by attorneys general at Montego Bay.

The negative must, however, not prevent us from reflecting on the positives achieved by the CCJ over the seven-year tenure of Sir Dennis Byron and indeed over the 14-year existence of the court; the first seven led by the distinguished Michael de la Bastide.

The efficiency of the delivery of judgments–a three-month average for 50 per cent of cases before the court; the technological modernisation of the filing and research systems; the affordability of access to a final court; the several rulings of the CCJ against governments, inclusive of rulings favouring ordinary Caribbean citizens: the Shanique Myrie victory over the government of Barbados—maybe that is what got under the skin of Freundel Stuart; judicial training in a structured systematic manner for courts around the region; the quality of judgments delivered by the CCJ which are being referenced in courts in other parts of the world.

“I see the court as a major element of our human rights of equality. When I am with persons in England for example, I think that I am their equal in every sense, intellectually and morally, so why should their country and their final court be over me and my people. My right to be equal is more obvious if I have the right to be responsible for decisions over our disputes. It is a serious empowerment of ourselves to discharge decisions of self-governance and self-adjudication,” reflected Sir Dennis in a parting interview. He has done his part; what of our politicians?

Categories: News

Veto on steroids

Columnists - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:31

In 2006, in piloting the Constitution Amendment Bill that changed the way the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police were to be appointed, then prime minister Patrick Manning had this to say about the replacement of the prime ministerial veto with a majority vote in the House of Representatives:

“What the legislation now before the House proposes, is that the prime ministerial veto disappears but that the name, as identified by the Police Service Commission, will itself come before the Parliament and also will be the subject of affirmative resolution. The difference between this one and the appointment of the members of the commission is that the police officer who is going to be the commissioner of police will be, in fact, a public servant and has no way of defending himself. In fact, whereas individuals can say, I do not wish to serve on the Police Service Commission and, therefore, I do not want to subscribe to that, a police officer who has served in the service and has legitimate aspirations to be commissioner of police really does not have available to him the option of saying, well, I am not going to subscribe to that process and submit myself to that level of scrutiny which could be abused. If he takes that position what, in fact, he does, he passes up the opportunity to serve the police service at the highest level. That option really is not one available to him and, therefore, this process too suffers from a disability. Again, however, Mr Speaker, we have decided in all the circumstances to go along with this process as identified in our discussions and we are prepared to give it a chance to work to see how in practice it will operate.” (Hansard, House of Representatives, March 15, 2006, p 9).

In responding to Prime Minister Manning on this subject of the removal of the prime ministerial veto, then leader of the Opposition, Basdeo Panday, had this to say:

“I have read certain criticisms on the removal of the veto, coming from wannabe politicians, that the Prime Minister still has the power of veto which he can exercise by his majority in Parliament. Firstly, to insist otherwise than a simple majority—that there be a special majority—would in effect be transferring that veto to the Opposition. The Opposition would now be able to veto the Commissioner of Police. I am talking about the positive resolution as opposed to the special majority. We decided against that because the Government has the responsibility to deal with crime and, therefore, it cannot put the responsibility to appoint the commissioner on the Opposition. They must be responsible at every turn. We thought that was a good suggestion; that insisting on a special majority was not the right thing to do.” (Hansard, House of Representatives, March 15, 2006, p 12).

In dissecting these two views about the removal of the prime ministerial veto for appointments to the offices of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police, it is clear that Manning was concerned about the inability of applicants for these positions to defend themselves against anything adverse being said about them in the Parliament.

On the other hand, Panday took the view that it was important to leave the confirmation of a Police Commissioner to a simple majority of the House of Representatives because he linked that to the responsibility of the Government of the day to be responsible for dealing with crime and that no opposition should be able to frustrate the will of a government on this issue.

After 12 years, the Prime Minister today, Dr Keith Rowley, is describing this process as a “veto on steroids.” It appears that the Government of today wants to have a second look at this constitutional amendment.

In light of the caveat expressed by the late prime minister Manning who said, back in 2006, “to give it a chance to work to see how in practice it will operate,” that is good.

In doing a review, one must appreciate that the Police Service Commission searches for an agency that will carry out the procedural human resources process for its consideration. The issues that have arisen recently have nothing to do with the debate and vote in the Parliament, but everything to do with the pre-parliamentary process for which the Police Service Commission is solely responsible.

Categories: News

Humans united in service

Columnists - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:23

With my father, there is no family gathering when we shoot the breeze. Every moment bubbles over.

An army man to the core, who fought in three wars, an engineer who has both dodged landmines and laid them down, an avid reader of military history and philosophy, an author of eight books, a zumba and bridge addict, who annually climbs higher mountains (literally), his mind operates on a vast canvas.

He expects us to keep up. So when we gathered on a long table last week to celebrate my son’s birthday my father said that it’s too bad, the month of July already belonged to Caesar. My son would have to surpass Caesar to make his mark on the world.

And if we didn’t know that July is named Julius Caesar, Roman general, statesman, dictator, and historian who conquered half of Europe and ruled an Empire, then too bad. We were slackers not keeping up with the wide reading he has taught us is indispensable to this life. Underlying his thirst for knowledge rigorously passed to his children is the philosophy that humans are on this earth to help others. If we don’t, we are parasites.

It’s not good enough for his children and grandchildren to do well for themselves but what they do for the world. We are always falling short. But he had cut out our path clearly.

After the cake was cut, my father raised his glass saying, “Bertrand Russell, he believed borders based on race, religion, country, governments are all infantile. Thailand showed us that.”

My father was speaking of the international Tham Luang cave rescue effort that transfixed the world this month and brought us much needed benediction in this parched season where worldwide, inhumanity personified in the closed, racist, aggressive faces of leaders such as Theresa May, closing borders with Brexit while attempting to expel the Windrush generation of West Indians domiciled in the UK; of Trump who humiliates refugees without recognising his US’s role in creating them, and feeds the flames of bigotry and racism; of Kim Jong-un and other leaders who violate human rights.

It was as if the people of this world battered by inhumane leaders spontaneously demonstrated that we are made not of politics and barriers but of hearts. This example made us all want to be our best selves.

From the instant 12 boys aged 11-17, members of a Thai football team led by a 25-year-old coach were trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non, a cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai Province on June 23 by flooding from rain, forcing them deeper into the cave, the world sprung into action.

It was as if all of human courage gathered together in that subterranean world with 1,000 people taking part in the rescue operation.

Some 90 international divers, medics, engineers and military personnel worldwide, from Australia, the US, Europe, and Beijing joined 40 Thai divers in the perilous mission that involved diving in arduous conditions in fast-flowing waters, through four kilometres of jagged, dangerously narrow tunnels.

British divers, Richard Stanton and John Volanthen found the boys, and reassured them.

Saman Kunan, a 38-year-old former Thai SEAL, asphyxiated on July 5 while attempting to pass through a narrow passageway on his return to the cave entrance after delivering supplies of air to the interior.

Australian doctor anaesthetist and diving expert Dr Richard Harris abandoned his holiday, risked his own life, and dove into the cavern to look after the boys, monitoring their health, only emerging when all of them were out safely.

Hundreds more were outside the cave, nurses, farmers, parents caring for, cooking for the rescuers, the people who readily agreed to allow the some of the 35 million gallons of pumped out water to flood their village.

The young boys remained calm for 17 days in their damp cavern, nine without food, as their coach, 25-year-old Ekapol Chanthawong, apologised profusely and led them through guided meditation.

“In a hundred years from now, this event of heroism, sacrifice, patience, endurance, will show your grandchildren that humans are capable of being united in service,” my father said to my son, and raised his glass. No child anywhere could ask for a finer gift.

Categories: News

Haiti’s PM resigns over fuel price hike fallout

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:10

PORT-AU-PRINCE—Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned yesterday amid calls for him to step down over his handling of a failed plan to raise fuel prices that set off a wave of deadly protests.

Lafontant told Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies that he sent President Jovenel Moise his resignation letter and the president had accepted it. Moise has not yet commented publicly.

The prime minister’s abrupt resignation came ahead of a vote on a motion of censure against Lafontant, a first step toward asking that Moise name a new prime minister to form a Cabinet to handle the crisis. The prime minister is the second highest official in Haiti after the president.

Lafontant was to answer questions about the July 6-8 riots that followed the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 per cent as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses were looted during the unrest.

Instead, Lafontant used the opportunity to announce his resignation, while in various parts of Haiti small protests were held demanding the head of state step down.

As the session began, chamber president Gary Bodaeu wrote on his Twitter account that the legislature “is at a crossroads in history; it must assume its responsibilities.” He had earlier called the price hikes “untimely” and “inoperative.”

Lafontant suspended the fuel prices increases after protests erupted last week but the disturbances continued and calls for the prime minister to resign grew, including from the opposition and some business groups.

Lafontant, a 57-year-old doctor who took office in March 2017, had said the price hikes of 38 per cent to 51 per cent for gasoline, diesel and kerosene were needed for Haiti to balance its budget.

Government officials agreed to reduce subsidies for fuel in February as part of an assistance package with the IMF. The agreement also included increased spending on social services and infrastructure and improved tax collection in an effort to modernise the economy of one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. (AP)

Categories: News

Man shot dead while sleeping with wife

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:07

A 36-year-old man was shot dead while he slept at his Santa Cruz home on Friday night. Dead is La Canoa resident Atiba Mitchell.

According to reports, Mitchell was asleep next to his 32-year-old wife around 11.15 pm on Friday when she heard gunshots. The woman turned to Mitchell who told her he had been shot. She contacted the emergency services and Mitchell was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Mt Hope, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The woman was unharmed.

Police have no motive for the shooting as yet.

Also on Friday around 9 pm, Levi Moses, 30, was on Perkins Street, Arouca, when gunmen opened fire on him. Moses, of Smith Street, tried to run away through a track but collapsed. He was taken to the Arima Health Facility and eventually transferred to the EWMSC, but succumbed to his injuries.

In a separate incident earlier in the day, a third man, who had three aliases, was shot by police. The man is currently warded in a stable condition at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.

According to reports, the victim is known as Kadeem Pierre, Kadeem Regis and Kadeem Flaveny. He was shot by police responding to a shooting near Building Six, Waterhole Road Cocorite. Police said they were responding to an incident when they saw Pierre and a group of armed men running along the roadway. Officers said the men opened fire on them and they responded, hitting Pierre in his arms and legs. Officers said he dropped his gun and his accomplices escaped with it.

Cocorite residents, however, claimed Pierre was shot by police as he was running away from a group of gunmen. The residents claimed Pierre was unarmed.

Investigations are continuing.

Categories: News

Baby Sian needs help

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:06

The mother of four-year-old Sian Flemming is appealing to the public to come out and support a worthy cause—the Incredible Myron B’s upcoming King Humor-us concert to raise funds for her daughter’s medical expenses.

Hertia Foncette says baby Sian cannot breathe or swallow without the assistance of machines but was denied funding by the Children’s Life Fund because her case was deemed non-life-threatening.

Sian was born with Choanal Atresia, a congenital disorder where the back of the nasal passage (choana) is blocked by abnormal bony or soft tissue.

Speaking to the Sunday Guardian on Friday, Foncette said: “Trinidad doesn’t have the facilities, that’s why we’re going to Colombia. It pains me to see her home every day. My father actually left his job to take her care of her, because we have to work to sustain her.

“She has tracheostomy and gastrostomy tubes in her and we can’t even get actual tubes here. We have to go abroad to purchase them and bring them back. I’m not going to Miami just to buy that. My appeal really for having these fundraisers is to get an opportunity to give Sian at least six months in that facility where she will be monitored.”

She said her father was not a professional or medical caregiver and her mother, unfortunately, suffered a stroke four years ago and could not move around much, so he now had to care for both of them.

Foncette said most of the earnings she and her husband acquired went towards basic necessities for their daughter.

She said it was disheartening to be spending money visiting different local therapists only to be told they didn’t deal with children with tracheostomy tubes and didn’t want the responsibility if anything went wrong.

Foncette said at least she would feel a sense of relief when she got to Cardio Infantil Hospital in Colombia because they had a full staff, professional equipment and the paediatric doctors knew what to do. She is seeking to raise at least $150,000 for the exercise.

Myron “Myron B” Bruce, the reigning National Extempo Monarch, has assembled an all-star cast of comedians and humorous calypso acts for the comedy, calypso and extempo fundraiser carded for July 21 and 22 at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook.

Veteran comedians Errol Fabien, Damion Melville and Louis Antoine, former extempo monarchs Black Sage (Philip Murray) and Lingo (Joseph Vautor La Placeliere) and calypsonians Kid Kalalloo (Julien Hunte) and Dirty Curty (Curtis Conyette) are among the performers scheduled to appear.

Tickets for the event cost $200 and are available at Crosby’s Music Centre, St James and Simon’s Musical Supplies, Port-of-Spain.

Tickets can also be reserved by sending a Whatsapp message to 717-7103 or 482-6067 and online at

Categories: News

PM’s stand bad for T&T activists

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:04

The conversation surrounding the decriminalisation and possible legalisation of marijuana has been taking place around the globe. But what does this mean for Trinidad and Tobago? The Sunday Guardian continues to look at the issue in part three on the topic today.

While the majority of Caricom member states held national consultations in their respective countries to give citizens a chance to have their voices heard on the issue of possible reform of laws dealing with marijuana, Trinidad and Tobago’s Government denied a request to have such a consultation here. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statement on the issue last week also seemed to signal there is no way forward on it here.

This according to the report by the regional body established to look at the possible reform of legal regimes regulating marijuana in Caricom countries.

In March 2014 at the 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting of Caricom Heads of Government in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Regional Commission on Marijuana was established to interrogate the issue of possible reform to the legal regimes regulating marijuana in Caricom countries.

The commission, chaired by Dean of the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Law Faculty, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, submitted its report to the Caricom heads in Jamaica last Friday.

The 132-page report was titled “Waiting to exhale. Safeguarding our future through responsible socio-legal policy on marijuana.”

In the scope of its work, the commission was authorised and mandated to “engage in an extensive consultation process with members of the community and other key stakeholders at the national level to elicit the population’s view about current usage and re-classification.”

“To fulfil its mandate, the commission employed mixed methods to gather data. Primary data were obtained from the national consultations, comprising national public meetings and focus group discussions to obtain in-depth information. National consultations were convened in member states working in collaboration with the various Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Secondary data was obtained from several sources,” the report stated.

“The commission made itself available to every Member State of Caricom and accommodated all requests with respect to scheduling, so as to ensure that Caribbean peoples had the opportunity to voice their opinions on this issue of deep social significance to the region. Consequently, national consultations were conducted in nine countries: St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, Belize and the Bahamas.”

Currently Caricom has 15 full members.

And while natural disaster and general elections prevented Dominica and Grenada respectively from holding consultations and St Lucia did not respond to the request for a consultation, Trinidad and Tobago simply said a national consultation on the issue could not be accommodated. Because Jamaica has already amended its marijuana laws, the commission said a consultation was not prioritised there.

“The consultations were structured in two parts, comprising focus group discussions of targeted stakeholders, in addition to public town hall meetings. The national public meetings allowed for attendees to articulate their concerns on the issue of decriminalisation of marijuana.

While national surveys would have provided information general to the population, given the time and budgetary constraints for conducting national surveys, public town hall meetings allowed for open discussion and clarification of issues where such necessity arose,” the report stated.

Addressing the post-Cabinet press briefing last Thursday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the issue of decriminalising marijuana was not a priority for his administration.

Rowley said for the Government the jury is still out on the science of the issue and his administration would be guided as it evolves.

“But at the moment we’re not running any advocacy for decriminalising marijuana or incorporating it into the economic space because we have some other priorities and we’re also not convinced of the benefits that some people are asking us to grasp,” Rowley said.

While the Government did not allow for national consultations here, the commission did receive a petition from Caribbean Collective for Justice (CCJ) head Nazma Muller with 9,500 signatures from Trinidad and Tobago calling for marijuana to be legalised.

“The majority of Caribbean peoples believe that the cannabis/marijuana laws are ineffective, discriminatory, deeply unjust, unfit for purpose, violate rights and lack legitimacy. They also believe that prohibition is preventing the region from taking advantage of the economic opportunities in the cannabis industry and medical research and prohibiting access to medicine that can heal them more effectively and cheaply than traditional pharmaceuticals,” the committee report stated.

“The groundswell of support and enthusiasm for change is a significant indicator to Caricom governments on the question of law reform. Notwithstanding, the commission believes that it is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to invoke change. It therefore interrogated and analysed the most up to date scientific, medical, legal and social data to substantiate these views. It found that the evidence clearly supports this public opinion and demonstrates that the existing prohibitionist regime induces more harm than any possible adverse consequences of cannabis/ marijuana itself.”

The report added: “It seems that Caribbean peoples have their hand on the pulse. Indeed, in many respects the ‘horse has already bolted,’ since Caribbean nationals are already accessing marijuana as “medical refugees” from the several countries, including allies that have already decriminalised, or legalised the plant. The now relatively few voices against change to the law, premise their arguments, not on immorality, or wrongdoing, but chiefly on concern about perceived adverse impacts on mental health, the youth, increased use and the supposed incapacity of institutional resources.

“These are legitimate concerns which the commission carefully assessed. Some of these fears have been assuaged through the modern scientific research that was harnessed. Others remain, but the commission is satisfied that they can be appropriately addressed through a responsible framework for law reform as is advocated in this report.”

The commission said it believes the end goal for Caricom “should be the dismantling of prohibition in its totality, to be replaced by a strictly regulated framework akin to that for alcohol and tobacco, which are harmful substances that are not criminalised.”

However, it acknowledged law reform can take many forms and should conform to national realities.

“This is particularly because the commission is of the view that law reform should not adopt a laissez-faire, liberalised approach, but proceed within a responsible, controlled regime that will depend on focused and adequate institutional resources to achieve the desirable objectives,” the report stated.

“The commission is unanimous in its view that the current classification for cannabis/marijuana as a ‘dangerous drug’ with ‘no value’ or narcotic should be changed to a classification of cannabis as a ‘controlled substance.’”

Categories: News

OWTU rumbles over Petrotrin again

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 22:59

The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is accusing Petrotrin board of breaching their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) from April to oversee the restructuring of the company over an 18-month period.

During a protest outside Petrotrin’s Point Fortin building yesterday morning, OWTU branch president at Trinmar, Ernesto Kesar, called on the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet to stop protecting the “deep pockets” and prosecute those who stole monies from Petrotrin.

He recalled that Petrotrin executives and OWTU president general Ancel Roget signed an MOA on April 3 to restructure the company. Kesar said they had agreed to meet on a monthly basis.

“Since this MOA has been signed we have not met with Espinet or any members of the board or management team to effectively implement the tenets of this memorandum. If that is not deception and disingenuous behaviour I don’t know what is. You gave a commitment Mr Espinet, you gave a commitment Mr Riley (advisor to Petrotrin Board)...,” he complained.

In the MOA, the union proposed that Petrotrin is divided into four entities, Land: North and East (LNE), Trinmar Offshore Operations, Exploration and Production and the Augustus Long Hospital. They also agreed to establish a working committee comprising representatives of both parties to “address, resolve and agree on the four organisational structures, work processes and skills/competencies and manpower requirements which will make the company internationally competitive, thus ensuring its survival, sustainability and profitability.

“We are calling on you all today to get back to the table and sit with the recognised majority union and help us reorganise and fix Petrotrin in the interest of all of Trinidad and Tobago,” Kesar said.

Based on an annual report, he said it has been estimated that Petrotrin would have contributed $16 billion to the economy between 2011 to 2017.

“When top-class politicians go on the media every day and they say to the public that Petrotrin owes the Government for so much of years money I am saying that is not true,” he added.

Kesar also claimed three senior officials were allowed to “bump up” their salaries before they retired and were now getting pensions equivalent to the salary they would have had previously when a pension is supposed to be two-thirds of your salary.

“So these fellas are enjoying pensions of the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister, these are the kind of pensions. That in itself is bad but they did not remit their contributions to the pension plan so you took monies and you did not remit it and I am saying, Dr Rowley, Wilfred Espinet, Minister of Energy present and past you all owe the public the duty to ensure that these things are brought to justice,” he added.

Categories: News

Young, Devant in social media row

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 22:58

Communications Minister Stuart Young has accused former government minister in the People’s Partnership Devant Maharaj of being associated with a fake profile being used to peddle misinformation against him (Young) on social media.

Maharaj is now considering legal action against Young as a result of this accusation.

The situation began after a Facebook profile under the name “Curtis Lawerence” stated that Young was bleeding the taxpayers of this country by drawing “four ministerial salaries”.

Apart from being Communications Minister, Young, the Member of Parliament for Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West, also holds the portfolios of Minister in the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister

On Friday, Young took issue with the post by “Curtis Lawerence”.

“This fake profile of Curtis Lawerence is associated with Devant Maharaj. The cowardice of hiding behind a fake profile of Curtis Lawrence and being exposed has resulted in further ‘fake news’ and lies being promoted by the opposition as seen here,” Young stated on his Facebook page.

“I receive ONE salary as a Government Minister even though I hold three Ministerial portfolios.

Once a MP is a Minister he/she does not receive any MP salary and accordingly, I ONLY receive one salary and that is a Minister’s salary,” he wrote.

“This latest attack by Devant Maharaj and his fake profile (Curtis Lawerence) is yet another example of the UNC dishonest type of politics.”

Maharaj said he referred Young’s post to his attorneys “for their review and consideration to ascertain if any appropriate legal action can be taken.”

“I find it amazing that a Cabinet Minister, who is called the Minister of Everything, has the time to spend trolling on Facebook and to make such spurious comments. It is also informative that an attorney, without checking the evidence to verify the truth, has made such allegations,” Maharaj stated.

Maharaj categorically denied Young’s claims and challenged the minister to prove his allegation as a fact. He also urged Young to spend his time focusing on other issues in the public domain.

Categories: News

UNC, PNM supporters share street

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 22:52

Although there was evidence of racial and political unity in Belmont East yesterday after the opposing candidates in tomorrow’s by-election shook hands gracefully as their motorcades sailed past each other without incident, they both agreed change was needed in order for the community and its residents to progress.

Their goals to improve the area also closely mirrored each other’s as they pledged to repair roads, clean clogged waterways, introduce a reliable water supply and implement a consistent schedule for garbage collection.

Surrounded by a small crowd of no less than 50 people, which included Opposition Senator Whip Wade Mark, United National Congress (UNC) candidate Lianna Babb-Gonzales said she was sensing victory.

Minutes before taking her post at the head of the UNC motorcade as it moved along Belmont Circular Road in a final push ahead of tomorrow by-election, Babb-Gonzales said, “This is the exciting part of it, as we have put in all the hard work, met the residents flesh-to-flesh and we are ready to go. We know victory is right at the door.”

Hesitant about making promises, Babb-Gonzales said she could only issue an assurance to “try my best to efficiently make things right in the essence of improving the infrastructural matters that have been highlighted by the residents.”

She added, “I am committed to helping persons get jobs and helping them in various aspects of sports, and also to have a place for the kids to engage in sports and do activities to further themselves in the future.”

Babb-Gonzales is hoping to secure more votes than the UNC candidate who contested the 2016 Local Government election.

Former Belmont East councillor, People’s National Movement (PNM) Darryl Rajpaul, won the seat back then after capturing 724 votes out of the 3,237 persons registered.

At the time, the UNC was only able to secure 49 votes. The seat was left vacant following Rajpaul’s passing last November.

As the supporters of each candidate (PNM and UNC held simultaneous motorcades in the constituency) mingled with each other at Piggott’s Corner yesterday, creating a sea of red and yellow, they engaged in the spirit of piccong and revelry as they waved party flags and held aloft pictures of each candidate as they danced in the streets.

Asked how she intended to tackle crime in the area, Babb-Gonzales, who lives along Belmont Circular Road and is a community favourite who operates a boxing gym and a kindergarten, said people had unfairly labelled Belmont as a gang and drug-infested area.

Saying the crime issue was affecting the entire country, she admitted constituents were fed-up of waiting on the authorities to effect positive change.

“Even though things have happened in the past, the people are loving and good and are willing to move forward with the assistance of the Government,” she said.

She admitted she was reluctant to serve initially after being told repeatedly that Belmont East was a PNM stronghold, but laughed as she said, “When God is steering the wheel and me just doing what I am accustomed to doing, having a school and people entrusting their children to me, I believe that is why they can entrust themselves to me as a community.”

Babb-Gonzales will round off her campaign with an interfaith service today.

Categories: News

Young ready for challenge

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 22:51

People’s National Movement’s Belmont East candidate Nicole Young did not get the massive sea of red she was expecting for her motorcade yesterday, but that did not stop her from seizing the opportunity to speak with and greet residents who turned out to support their potential “would be” councillor.

The motorcade marked the end of Young’s campaigning in her hometown as she gets ready for tomorrow’s Local Government by-election, where she will hope to triumph over the United National Congress’ Lianna Babb-Gonzales and the PEP’s Felicia Holder.

Taking a break during her campaigning, Young told the Sunday Guardian outside the infrastructure issues in the community, the human element was what was needed. Asked about her most memorable experience throughout the campaigning, Young said it was meeting a woman for the first time who embraced her genuinely and told her she loved her.

“I visited her house during our walkabouts and she doesn’t know me, nor did I know her, but she read my profile and when she met me she embraced me and said, ‘Oh gosh, come darling, you don’t know how much I love you and I am proud of you.’

“That just stood out for me, that human element in particular. We know it’s about infrastructure and these different things but at the end of the day it is also about that human connection.”

She described her experience as very exciting as the people of Belmont East positively received her.

“It has been extra motivational for me. I have been speaking with some of the councillors from the Port-of-Spain Corporation and already they tell me it is going to be hard work. But I think I am up to the task because I signed up for this and I am excited to start.”

Young said she plans to do some innovative things in Belmont East, including implementing a collaborative monthly meeting with the various councillors representing south, north and west Belmont.

“I think it would be good for people to meet their councillors so we can all share and exchange ideas as we won’t have all the answers. We want that sort of interconnectivity to share ideas. I really want to champion for it,” Young said, adding the people of Belmont East are very intelligent so she knows great ideas will come from them.

“I really do feel confident. As I said I have been on the ground and the feedback is very motivating and people have welcomed me into the PNM family so I feel confident.”

Resident Ingrid Slinger told the Sunday Guardian there was need for positive things for the youths in the area. She said jobs and recreational sporting centres were missing from the community. She said more sporting centres will contribute to constructive behaviour among the youths, as too many of them have idle time on their hands.

Slinger said she believes that a young positive person like Young will make a huge difference in Belmont. She said Young’s predecessor, the late Darryl Rajpaul, did not impress her, as he did not fulfil many promises he made. However, she said she thinks Young has the drive, youth and passion to do a better job.

Another resident from Belle Eau Road, Akil Patterson, didn’t share the same view on Rajpaul. He said Rajpaul did a lot for the community and felt Young would have huge shoes to fill, although he believed she had already stepped up to the plate and will do well as a new female councillor.

Asked what was the pressing issue that needed to be addressed, he said there was a need for proper waste disposal as there was a serious dumping and garbage collection problem.

Categories: News

Ministry probes case

News - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 22:48

A mother of one, an attorney by profession, is seeking to take action against a private medical clinic in South Trinidad for performing a CT head scan in a manner that has caused ongoing severe internal injury in her head, brain and face.

The Sunday Guardian has been told that as a result of severe continuous symptoms since the scan, the patient, who has asked not to be identified at this point, is questioning whether she was improperly exposed to radiation or whether the CT machine at the medical clinic was faulty.

In a letter dated July 7, 2018, to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, the patient requested “an unbiased, properly conducted investigation and the taking of steps in the interest of health and safety pursuant to the Private Hospitals Act Chapter 29:03.” The Sunday Guardian was told that on June 11, 2018, the patient said she felt “completely well” and had no complaint up until the time immediately following the CT scan. The woman, who suffered from occasional headaches on the left side of the head over a two-month period prior to the CT scan, went for the scan on the advice made of her primary care physician, who was seeking to get answers to her initial complaint.

Contacted by the Sunday Guardian, the woman shared her experience.

“The back of my head, inside the head/brain, felt extremely painful, together with a burning sensation from the top to the base. The sides of my head and forehead all had the same kind of feeling. My throat felt swollen, raw and painful. My nose felt strange…dead and numb…breathing for me became difficult.”

In her letter to Deyalsingh, the woman said two hours after doing the scan she felt ill and began experiencing numbness in the face and upper lip, her two eyes became very dry with a rough feeling when she blinked and her eyes became blood-shot red.

The woman, in her letter, also told Deyalsingh how she noticed “violent involuntarily jerks” occurring in certain parts of her body, including her limbs. “That same night I fell asleep and woke up in the middle of the night and when I opened my eyes and they felt parched. When I looked in the mirror I saw they both were bloodshot. I tried not to panic and drank several glasses of water but still, I felt dry inside and no saliva in my mouth,” the woman said.

“I tried to go back to sleep at about 2 am but each time I closed my eyes I kept seeing a brightness… then the jerking started and intensified, frightening me out of my wits,” she added.

The attorney said later that morning she got up and attempted to get ready for work but found that she was extremely weak and in pain.

“I was forced to lay face flat on the couch of the living room motionless… my body jerking.”

The woman told the Sunday Guardian she contacted her doctor, who contacted a female official at the private hospital.

“It was a question as to whether I was improperly exposed to radiation or whether the CT machine was faulty and this my spouse and I discussed with my doctor, who would have relayed the gravity of what I was experiencing with the private hospital official,” she said.

With her symptoms continuing with intensity, the woman proceeded to speak to the technician and the manager of the CT unit at the private hospital but was only told that “the dosage administered was ‘automatic’ and that the technician does not have any input….there was no elaboration.”

In a bid to seek further medical help, the woman travelled to the United States where she saw a neurologist there who also suggested that an inquiry must be made into the “condition, lifespan and servicing of the machine and skill of technician that did the CT scan.”

“I was told by the neurologist that the brain tissues, meninges, could be damaged,” the patient said.

“I need as much help, maybe expert help and required treatment.

It’s almost as if I have reached that point of desperation and I am pleading with the Minister of Health for help and an intervention. I am also asking for the minister to launch an investigation and act accordingly. I have not been able to carry out my duties mand responsibility as an attorney and as a mother to my son, who needs me.”

An email sent to the founder of the clinic and another official querying the incident and requesting an update and/or pending actions went unanswered.

When contacted for a comment on the case, Deyalsingh said: “No comment, as it is an active investigation.”


In November 2011, the then Cabinet approved a national radiation protection policy. This policy came three months after it was revealed that 223 cancer patients at the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Centre were overexposed to radiation for a prolonged period.

The policy calls for the establishment of a Radiation Regulatory Authority clearly sets out codes of practice, and also stipulates management requirements for safe practices in the public and private sectors.

On June 29, 2018, the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Centre (BLCTC) and its owner Medcorp Limited were found negligent in the death of businessman Ricardo “Smokey” McKenzie.

Delivering a 35-page judgment in the Port-of-Spain High Court, Justice Mira Dean-Armorer ruled that McKenzie’s death was caused by a radiation overdose during his treatment at the centre in 2009. She noted that while McKenzie’s doctors suggested that he had five years to live when he was first diagnosed, he only survived for 18 months because of the centre’s negligent treatment.

In her judgment, Dean-Armorer noted that BLCTC admitted that its linear accelerator was miscalibrated during the period of McKenzie’s treatment. She also pointed out that while testifying at the trial, its former clinical director Dr Peter Bovell admitted the centre did not have a senior physicist to operate the machine and it relied on a junior employee who was not certified to do so.

Approximately 200 patients were affected by the miscalibration, with the centre settling claims with most except McKenzie’s and a handful of others, who were awaiting Dean- Armorer’s decision to continue their lawsuits. (See page A6)

Categories: News

T&T golfers finish 4th in Jamaica

Sports - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:19

A good effort by T&T, led by Chris Richards Junior, saw this country place fourth in the recently concluded Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships (CAJGC) in Jamaica.

The tournament was played on the spectacular Caymanas Golf & Country Club where the national team finished behind winner Puerto Rico, host Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. In fifth was the Bahamas, Barbados sixth, Cayman Islands were seventh with Turks & Caicos eighth and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) in ninth.

Richards starred for T&T, losing out to Jamaican Rocco Lopez by one stroke in the 11-13 age-group, the game coming down to the final hole of the 54 holes played. With Richards shooting two under par 34 on the back nine to put pressure on Lopez. Zico Correia finished tied fifth.

Dravid Bhim finished ninth in the 14-15 age group. In the 18 and under age-group Captain Ryan Peters finished ninth. In the girls Under-18, Serena Mackenzie and Karina Matabadal finished tied sixth.

Yoji Lee, who finished tied third in the 14-15 age group, was the best of the local girls. In the girls 11-13, Caylyn Hosein, 10th, and Chloe Ajodha, 11th, struggled with the difficulty of the course but gave it a game effort.

The T&T Golf Association (TTGA) sent out its gratitude to Guardian General, RBC, the Ministry of Tourism and Caribbean Airlines for their waiver of fees on the golf equipment.

The Jamaicans hospitality was superb and together with the Caribbean Golf Association, this was a very well run tournament. The 2019 CAJGC will be played in the Bahamas.

Categories: News

Douglas, O’Young advance to last-32

Sports - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:17

The local duo of Derron Douglas and Luc O’Young emerged from their round-robin groups to qualify to today’s Junior Boys Singles last-32 at the 2018 Pan American Junior Table Tennis Championship yesterday.

Playing in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Douglas went under to Canada’s Terrence Yeung 4-11, 6-11, 8-11 in his four-player Group Ten opener.

However, the T&T ace rebounded with wins against Aruban Jean-Claude Hoek 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9 and Brazilian, Sergio Bignardi, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9 to end with a 2-1 pool record and the second spot to earn qualification.

O’Young has also defeated in his Group Four opener by Chile’s Andres Martinez 3-11, 9-11, 8-11 but outplayed Dominican Republic’s Noel Almonte 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 in his other match for a 1-1 record and second in his three-player series.

Martinez defeats Almonte 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8 in the other match.

However, T&T’s other participant, Javier King did not manage to get out of his Group Eighth four-player pool after defeats at the hands of Uruguay’s Pablo Palou (6-11, 5-11, 7-11); Dominican Republic’s Omar Andujar (5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11), and Canada’s Alexander Bu, (1-11, 5-11, 4-11).

Today, Douglas and O’Young will also compete in the Boys Doubles versus Puerto Rico’s Angel Noranjo and Jabdiel Torres in the round-of-16 today.

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