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‘Trinis’ takeover Bridgetown

Sports - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 00:07

Bridgetown was turned into a sea of red on Sunday night, as fans from T&T overtook the town, after their team the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) completed a four-wicket victory over the home team—the Barbados Tridents in their latest Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) encounter at Kensington Oval.

Over 1000 Trinis thronged the mecca of regional cricket to see TKR restrict the home team to 128/8 off their 20 overs.

They were then brought to their feet on many occasions by New Zealander Brendan McCullum who cracked 68 to lead the visitors home after a wobble at 60/4.

With the win, the TKR now leads the standings with eight points from six matches heading into their seventh round encounter against the St. Kitts/ Nevis Patriots on the weekend in St Kitts.

Celebrations by the T&T fans went early into Monday morning as they transferred their party into St Lawrence Gap where they sang and ran up and down the gap.

They were singing Dwayne Bravo’s tune ‘Champion’ and the Barbadians in the gap were very sporting indeed going up to the visitors and congratulating them on the victory.

They were saying that no way TKR would not repeat as champions of the CPL and that they ruled things in Barbados.

Meanwhile, after the victory skipper, Bravo said: “It is a great feeling, always a great feeling to win a cricket game. Two points are always good. Happy with the entire performance, to restrict a very good batting line up after they elect to bat.

“Good to have a good leftarm orthodox spinner in Khary Pierre, a good off-spinner in Sunil Narine and a good leg spinner in Fawad Ahmed. We base our team on allrounders and spinners.”

The Man of the match, McCullum said: “Batting wasn’t very comfortable on this wicket and a few demons from last year when I broke my arm here. It was a hard wicket to get singles, had to stay strong and hit down the ground.

“Their bowling line-up with their big tall fast bowlers was tough to adjust to on this pitch.

But with low totals, it’s all about partnerships. On a wicket like this I wanted to start of batting on the leg so that I had room outside off for the cut, and later on, I started jumping into the off side.”

Tridents skipper Jason Holder felt his batting left the bowlers with very little to defend.

He said: “We were 30-40 runs short. This pitch is a little difficult to start on, every pitch becomes easier when you spend time on it and we didn’t. It was a tough call dropping Martin Guptill because in four games we haven’t capitalised in the Powerplay, so we wanted to give someone else a chance.

“Time to go back to the drawing board. I think all stats will show you don’t win if you lose three wickets in the Powerplay.

We’ve got to stay calm. We still have five games.

“We can’t look too far ahead.

We have to focus on our three home games. No need to panic, there’s still a lot of cricket left.”

Scoreboard

TKR VS TRIDENTS TRIDENTS INNINGS
D Smith b Pierre.......................... 2
S Hope b Ahmed.......................42
S Springer run out...................... 0
S Smith st Ramdin b Pierre....... 0
N Pooran b Bravo......................34
J Holder c & b Bravo.................30
T Webster st Ramdin b Ahmed.1
R Reifer c Bravo b Ali Khan.....10
A Nurse not out........................... 3
W Riaz not out............................. 2
Extras........................................... 4
Total for 8 wkts...................128
Fall of wkts: 3, 3, 3, 73,
90, 92, 114, 114, 122.
Bowling: Ali Khan 4-0-22-1,
K Pierre 4-0-29-2, S Narine 4-0-
27-0, J Searles 1-0-14-0, D Bravo
3-0-23-2, F Ahmed 4-0-13-2.

TKR INNINGS
S Narine c Riaz b Irfan..............13
C Lynn c Holder b Irfan.............. 8
C Munroe b Nurse.....................14
B McCullum c & b Smith..........66
D Bravo c Smith b Reifer........... 2
D Ramdin c Reaz b Springer...20
DJ Bravo not out......................... 4
J Searles not out.......................... 0
Extras........................................... 3
Total for 6 wkts...................130
Fall of wkts: 18, 30, 37, 60, 126,
126. Bowling: M Irfan 4-0-24-2,
W Reaz 3-0-35-0, A Nurse 2-0-
17-1, J Holder 4-0-13-0, R Reifer
2-0-20-1, S Springer 1-0-17-1,
S Smith 0.3-0-4-1. Result: TKR
won by 4 wkts. Man of the
match: Brendan McCullum.

Categories: News

Beyond Independence

Columnists - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:57

Fifty-six years ago, Trinidad and Tobago moved from a position of powerlessness under British rule to one of empowerment, as our twin-island achieved independence. We were no longer dependent on a First World country to decide our fate. Since 1962, how much have we attained as we strive towards achieving economic, social and political stability? Are we proud of our accomplishments?

Britain and other countries such as Spain, France and Russia are First World countries who do not have an Independence Day. These countries have never been under any other nation’s rule, were not subjugated or stripped of their riches or had their peoples enslaved for economic gain. First World indeed! T&T continues to be titled with Third World status, presumably until we are deemed socially and economically ‘fit’ to join this merry band of thieves.

As I continue to muse on the word independence, I think of all of our bright young people who have migrated to richer climes in search of their pot of gold, seeking independence and preferring to contribute to and work in other global territories, rather than looking within their native country for meaning and purpose. Our political leaders, businesspeople and affluent citizens reinforce these myopic standards as they themselves emulate Eurocentric ideals of bigger houses, fancy cars, shopping in supermarkets overflowing with foreign goods, out of touch with the poverty and desperation that currently pervades some of our households.

3 Canal’s Everybody talking, nobody listening hints at those dedicated citizens who have toiled in the vineyards for decades, hoping to inform policy and telling their story to leaders who seem not to care or to hear—Dr David Bratt and his push for inclusivity for the disabled, David Abdulah for social justice issues, TTAP (Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists) for a trauma centre which may have helped those many persons who are still suffering from the psychological aftershocks of the recent earthquake, with symptoms of depressive episodes and bouts of crying and insomnia.

Every other person I meet seems to be traumatised by the events of last Tuesday. Where can they go for help?

Independence and its subtle variables of individualism and capitalist ideology of survival of the fittest has not been successful for the many in this country. The paradigm needs to be shifted. We need to move beyond independence to interdependence, that is, to a vision where people matter, where the ‘collective’ is more important than the negative self-focus of entitlement and accumulation of goods, this in the face of families living out of cars, or mothers living in outhouses with their babies.

Interdependence suggests pathways that foster social scripts where persons can depend on each other for their health and well-being, feeling safe as they interact with each other in their daily lives. These scripted patterns of engagement have to come from our leaders as they put more systems and more personnel in place to respond to the social and economic needs of the less fortunate, the elderly and the young, with minimal conflict and tension. Those who have served this country well—in all phases of life, especially in the arts—must be honoured without having to plead for monies or dying penniless on our streets. Feeling safe is a primary concern for many. If crime can’t solve, is a madman’s rant the only resolve?

Let us strive to make social harmony, feelings of respect and the well-being of our citizens, some of our goals beyond Independence. With boundless faith in our destiny, let us stand side by side with each other. May God bless our nation.

Dr Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor is a Clinical and Educational Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Categories: News

After 56 years where are we?

Columnists - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:54

With all the media emphasis on the Prime Minister’s last Cabinet reshuffle and the fallout from the distasteful “sari skit”, there were a couple of stories that managed to slip by with little notice. The first was the embarrassment incurred by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation when its president, David John-Williams, was publicly criticised by the US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires for the organisation’s failure to submit visa applications for the Girls’ Under-15 team. And the second was the decision by the Canadian city of Vaughan, a municipality located just north of Toronto, to cancel the permits for the August 4 Carnival Kingdom concert after the promoter didn’t adhere to local ordinances for an event that was held the night before.

While these are two totally different incidents, one even taking place in a foreign country, they do share something in common. They are examples of how the Trinbagonian penchant for ignoring rules and instructions isn’t tolerated by entities that take them very seriously.

It isn’t hard to imagine how similar scenarios would have played out here; after all… it happens all the time. Fetes, especially those associated with the Carnival season, go on with little concern to residents who live near or around the venue. The music is unreasonably loud, patrons park their cars wherever they please, and the revelry always goes past the shutdown time. Neither the police service nor the Environmental Management Authority can be called upon to take action. And the promoters, who probably live nowhere near the event, have the insensitive audacity to call this chaos and noise pollution “culture”. Then there’s the gruelling inefficiency of our government offices—everyone dreads having to face it. That’s when it pays to have “a link”… to know someone, or know someone who knows someone else, who can help you. Why go through the hassle of rushing to make an appointment and dealing with disgruntled employees when a contact on the inside can tend to you personally. That may mean greasing a palm or parting with a bottle of alcohol, but the result is avoiding the long lines and wait times and getting your business sorted out.

It’s ironic how Trinbagonians complain about corruption and inefficiency and yet won’t hesitate to take advantage of those same flaws when it benefits them. Who amongst us wants to be bothered by regulations and bureaucracy? Whether it’s getting approval for renovating your home, having to renew a driver’s permit, or using fireworks in a residential area. But the flip side to this mindset of banality is that it’s exercised at every level of our society; from public service offices, to state enterprises, all the way up to and including the government. Just look at any scandal or questionable act that has taken place in T&T over the last six months. It is apparent in each case that standard procedures weren’t followed.

As recent as two weeks ago (August 5), this paper published a story about overtime abuse in the police service. It included a list of irregularities that highlighted just how poorly the relevant paperwork had been filed; lacking official stamps, signatures and even legible names. Before that, in July, the CEO of the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme, Nigel Forgenie, was dismissed following an investigation into financial mismanagement. During his deposition before the Public Accounts Enterprises Committee, it was revealed that he authorised the purchase of a vehicle for personal use and even had his wife employed, both of which were clear violations of the standing rules.

And then, back in February, there was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s disclosure to the Parliament that the Government had spent $2 million on MP Maxie Cuffie’s medical expenses, including treatment that he was receiving abroad. This cost, according to the stipulations of the Salaries Review Commission, should not have been covered by the state.

Unfortunately, citizens have accepted that this is simply the way things are. And that’s a shame… because it’s a mentality that contradicts any hope that things can change. Instead of instituting new plans or programmes, our leaders could better spend resources on ensuring that existing procedures are followed and that there’s transparency, accountability and consequences to go along with it. Those of the indicators of a properly functioning country. And after 56 years of independence, can Trinidad and Tobago lay claim to any of them?

Ryan Hadeed

Categories: News

The Power of Play

Columnists - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:53

“They say children nowadays doh know how to behave? Well, I go prove dem wrong, stop that!” she said. “But is the parents…” I started, and stopped, as she agreed vigorously.

A smart, competent, common-sense mother. Good cook too! Her six-year-old stopped kicking the ball in the office and moved to her side.

Well, all he was trying to do was play and I had encouraged him, passing the ball to him in between weighing and examining his gorgeous breastfed baby brother.

Why?

Because play is one of the five critical things you can do to bring up children well. Breastfeed. Immunise. Read. Discipline. Play.

The least considered of these is play.

Check out the definition of play in the COED.

“Engage in games or other activities for enjoyment rather than for a serious or practical purpose.” Bad, bad definition!

Gives you the idea that play is something that is insignificant. However mysterious and stupid play may seem to the adult, it is power for children.

Play is given little priority in T&T. Playgrounds and squares are being closed or taken over by drug addicts. Property developers and the politicians build expensive little boxes with as much little green space as possible.

And schools are starting to reduce time devoted to breaks so they can cram more useless information into little minds and produce more non-thinking citizens to vote more race.

Some schools actually do not want children running around because either teachers are “too tired” to oversee recess or afraid that they will be blamed when the poor children fall and scrape their itty bitty knees. 

There’s a wonderful quote from an article on a Ted Talk on kindergartens (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=J5jwEyDaR-0) by a Japanese architect, Takaharu Tezuka, “children are supposed to be outside, so that is how we should treat them,” and “kids need small doses of danger…in this kind of situation they learn to help each other!”

Of course! Small doses of danger help them to become resistant to larger doses of danger, it’s another form of immunisation, of protection.

Small falls help to develop coordination and prevent larger falls. Unfortunately, as a good friend remarked on Saturday when one says play, too many parents think Toys ‘R’ Us. At least that’s gone now.

Or they think about those atrocious “educational games” advertised on the booby tube guaranteed to take your money and leave your children bored.

Or they believe that “play” means a scripted, organised, adult controlled series of activities. That is not play. Play is free. Play is unsupervised.

Play allows children to be themselves, to use their imaginations, to be inventive, to learn how to cooperate, to develop muscles and coordination and immunity from illnesses.

Above all, it gives children space to be themselves among their peers without being pulled and prodded and measured by adults with our hang-ups and biases and strange beliefs in spirits in the sky and green smoothies for weight loss.

When grown-ups interfere with play, they turn children into walking problems: out of control, aggressive, bullies or targets of bullies.

Despite all those crazy organised activities, they are fatter and lazier, still spending too much time indoors sitting in front of a screen massacring each other in computer games.

But what do you expect them to do with all their energy? Study for their never-ending exams like the 2019 SEA takers have done this August?

The problem of children not being allowed or encouraged to play is so serious that one country has actually legalised the child’s right to play. In 2010, Wales legislated that every Welsh local authority “must secure sufficient play opportunities in its area for children.”

Two weeks ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics did something similar. The academy officially recommended that doctors begin writing prescriptions for play.

Imagine, I may soon have to prescribe play for children. In a tiny tropical island in the Caribbean! What a screwed up world you all have made for children.

Categories: News

150,000 shares of GraceKennedy changed hands

Business - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:49

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

Trading activity on the first tier market registered a volume of 274,181 shares crossing the floor of the exchange valued at $3,206,272.67.

GraceKennedy Ltd was the volume leader with 150,000 shares changing hands for a value of $422,060, followed by Guardian Holdings Ltd with a volume of 65,993 shares being traded for $1,121,154.79.

T&T NGL Ltd contributed 38,368 shares with a value of $1,151,123.56, while First Citizens Bank Ltd added 13,062 shares valued at $455,994.42.

Guardian Holdings Ltd enjoyed the day’s sole price increase, climbing $0.39 to end the day at $16.99.

Conversely, Grace Kennedy Ltd registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.10 to close at $2.81.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the mutual fund market, posting a volume of 5,000 shares valued at $100,000. 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 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 0.15 points (0.01%) to close at 1,245.27.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 1.71 points (0.10%) to close at 1,714.81.

• The Cross Listed Index declined by 0.28 points (0.27%) to close at 104.37.

Categories: News

Poultry producers welcome new regional standards

Business - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:48

The enforcement of Caricom regional standards for poultry products will have a major impact on local chicken consumers, says Desmond Ali, Executive Director, Caribbean Poultry Association.

The major benefit being that consumers will not be exposed to expired chicken products and this would prevent a possible public health hazard.

“The whole idea of the standard is to protect the consumer and ensure that the consumer gets an excellent product,” he said.

Ali said 90 per cent of local products are sold within 10 days of final production.

“We are now saying that all poultry must be sold within 180 days of the date of slaughter. The standard will ensure that consumers get a quality product,” he told Guardian Media by phone yesterday.

Ali spoke ahead of Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon’s announcement today on the Cabinet-approved enforcement of the Caricom Regional Standard for Poultry and Poultry Products in T&T.

He said that there is one standard but outlined the new requirements.

The label of the product must carry a date of slaughter, the expiry date cannot be more than 180 days after the date of slaughter, the product if it has been stored and frozen cannot be sold as a fresh product and the product that is on sale must be in the same package that was sent from the processing plant.

Contacted for comment, Robin Phillips, President of the Poultry Association of T&T, said that consumers will benefit from the move.

“We are satisfied that it was approved at the level of the Cabinet and we look forward to its full implementation in the shortest period of time, effectively becoming law in T&T. It is really laws that are there for the consumers as it puts things like the expiry date on the product. We label all the products that we produce,” he told the Guardian Media by phone yesterday.

He also said that the Association has always advocated for the consumer to be aware of the age of the chicken being consumed and where it was produced.

“We know with the implementation of the standards that consumers will be far more educated in terms of that information. It will also facilitate us exporting to the wider Caribbean.”

According to statement from the Ministry of Trade yesterday: “The standards (for poultry) were developed under the authority of the Caricom Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and was the result of consultation with stakeholders throughout Caricom Member States, including T&T. The implementation of the standards can also positively impact the growth of the domestic and regional poultry industry through the acceptance of the common and harmonised grading regime as well as increased intra-regional trade.”

Minister of Agriculture, Clarence Rambharat had previously said that local businesses which sell healthy and fresh products have for too long had to compete with foreign chicken that is older than six months old.

He said that new legal requirements would prevent this from happening again.

Phillips had also previously said the local industry will be decimated if it is not protected from a ramped-up campaign by the USA Poultry and Egg Council to send millions of tonnes of chicken, turkey and duck, and billions of eggs into the Caricom market.

Categories: News

All set for President’s first Independence parade

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:39

Citizens are expected to turn out in their numbers for President Paul-Mae Weekes’ first military parade in commemoration of the country’s 56th anniversary of Independence at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah on Friday.

The parade will also be the first for Stuart Young, as Minister of National Security, and Gary Griffith, as Commissioner of Police.

Yesterday, corporate communications manager of the National Security Marcia Hope, warrant officer Class Two of the T&T Defence Force Kevin Allain and corporate communications manager of the Communications Ministry Charlene Stuart met with the media to discuss coverage of the hour-long parade which will be Weekes’ first since her inauguration in March.

Hope made it clear that the use of drones by the public and media was strictly prohibited, while they have put all systems in place should the country experience another earthquake or aftershock during the parade which begins at 8 am.

Among those listed to attend are Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, his wife Sharon, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, members of the diplomatic corps, Government ministers, Opposition members.

At this event, the public will see Griffith, wearing his khaki-coloured police uniform, for the first time.

Hope said they expect a large public turnout for the celebrations seeing this will be Weekes’ first parade as the country’s sixth and first female President.

Monique Sprott, flight lieutenant and public affairs officer for the T&T Defence Force, in a telephone interview with Guardian Media, said a national Independence Day panel committee will meet today to finalise plans for the event.

“By tomorrow all our plans for the parade will be firmed up and finalised,” Sprott said. Detachments of the Defence Force have been rehearsing their drills at the savannah since last week.

She said Young is expected to arrive in the savannah at 7.50 am followed by Archie, Rowley and then Weekes who will receive a presidential salute from parade commander Col Darnley Wyke.

The Chief of the Defence Staff captain Hayden Pritchard will accompany Weekes, who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, for the inspection of the parade.

This would be followed by a march past of armed and unarmed forces comprising members of the T&T Police Service, T&T Defence Force, Cadet Force, the St John’s Ambulance Brigade and Traffic Wardens.

During the parade, members of the public will also witness the fly and drive-bys, Sprott said.

The flyby display will be done by the T&T Air Guard.

After the march past, Sprott said Weekes will be honoured with a 21-gun salute, with the parade traversing along some streets in Port-of-Spain that will end at the Police Barracks on Long Circular Road.

At 10 am, Sprott said Weekes will make a toast to the nation at the National Academy of the Performing Arts.

 

Categories: News

Security guard’s body recovered at Moruga

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:36

Coast Guard officers have recovered the body of Keshion Jonathan Rampersad, who drowned on the eve of his birthday while swimming at the mouth of the L’Anse Mitan River in Moruga on Sunday.

Rampersad’s father John and his brothers Tristion, 18, and Aashish spent most of yesterday morning searching the shoreline with the hope that his body willbe found.

From dawn, Coast Guard divers began searching themouth of the river to see whether Rampersad was  stuck in the mud but it was around midday, that his body finally surfaced a short distance from where he disappeared.

Police said Rampersad would have celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday.

Investigators said around 5.30 pm, he was swimming with three friends at the mouth of the river when they got into difficulties.

Two of them managed to get out but Rampersad disappeared under the water.

During an interview yesterday, Rampersad’s aunt, Mary Vialva, said the drowning was unexpected and devastating.

Describing her nephew as a kind and helpful man, Vialvasaid one of Rampersad’s friends got into an accident recently and Rampersad took on the responsibility to carry him for therapy. On Saturday, Rampersad told his family that he was spending the night at his friend’s home in Barrackpore.

She said on Sunday, his youngest sister Amelia Rampersad, who lives elsewhere with their mother Mindy Rampersad, visited Rampersad’s home at Bunsee Trace so she could tie a rakhi in commemoration of the Hindu festival of raksha bandhan which celebrates the bonds between a brother and a sister.

“She waited for him and she kept asking when he would come home but late in the evening, his friend’s father came and said they looking for him in the river because they think he drowned,” Vialva said.

Rampersad worked parttime as a security officer with Travtech Security Services.

An autopsy will be done on his body today at the Forensic Science Centre.

Moruga police are continuing investigations.

Categories: News

Rio Claro residents unhappy with rehab work

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:33

Rehabilitation and corrective work on earthquake-damaged homes has started in the ravaged Mora Heights development in Rio Claro, but some residents are complaining of substandard work. Others are also complaining that unoccupied homes with fallen steps are being given priority over cracked houses occupied by families.

When Guardian Media visited the community yesterday, several contractors were seen repairing staircases and cracked posts.

Reeta Mohammed said she and her husband Michael Degrilla have been sleeping inside their vehicle since the earthquake last Tuesday. Their children are staying with Mohammed’s family at another location in Rio Claro.

Mohammed said when the contractor started repairing the stairs, he allegedly started using steel which could not hold the weight of the stairs. It was only after the family complained to the HDC that the proper standard of steel was prepared for use by the contractor, she noted.

“It is a week since the earthquake and my stairs and home are still unfinished. It is frustrating. We don’t want relocation because we are afraid they will forget to fix our house,” Mohammed said.

Another resident, Kion Scipio, said they were hoping the repairs could be done before the start of the new school term.

Looking frustrated as they sat under the unfinished home, Scipio said, “It is hard for us. We want the repairs to be completed soon.”

Another resident whose home was cracked up after the earthquake said the HDC was focussing mostly on repairing fallen staircases.

“Some of us have big cracks in the house and HDC telling us to wait. They will see about that after. How they expect us to feel when we see the contractors fixing houses which are unoccupied. We want the HDC to prioritise better,” the resident said.

Resident Bhimdath Ramdath said the HDC should have supervisors on hand to monitor the contractors.

“We want to make sure that the houses get a proper fix. We are thankful that the HDC is doing the work and we know they are moving as quickly as they can, but we need the supervisors to check out the project because we do not want shoddy work,” Ramdath said.

Parasram Singh, one of the contractors on site, said several small contractors were hired by the HDC to complete the job.

“Every contractor got two houses to build but not all of us are doing the same kind of work,” he said, pointing to another construction project.

He said the construction will be completed within three to four days but it will take another 14 days for the cement to “cure.”

Brian Barrow, from Johnson Construction, said the HDC sent out project specifications for the job and after consultation, they changed the quality and size of the steel from Mohammed’s house. But a spokesperson from HDC said all the projects are being evaluated by their engineering team. Efforts to contact HDC managing director Brent Lyons were unsuccessful yesterday as calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.

Categories: News

PoSGH tries to work with limited space

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:28

The Port-of-Spain General Hospital (POSGH) has begun readmitting patients but to its North Block following the full evacuation of the Central Block after last Tuesday’s 6.9 earthquake.

This was yesterday confirmed by North-West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) CEO Wendy Ali.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian Ali, however, stated that bed space is very limited at the institution.

“Patients who come to the Accident and Emergency, we are stabilising who we can and the patients who really need to be admitted will be admitted to the North Block,” Ali said.

“However, with the limited bed space, some patients will be transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and they will be transported from PoSGH to there, along with their medical records, blood samples, investigative files, etcetera.”

Ali said so far the interim process had been smooth but said she was relieved with last evening’s re-commencement of patient admittance.

Last Thursday, Ali said they were looking for 250 beds for the relocation of the patients who were warded in the Central Block when the massive quake struck last week. Yesterday, however, she explained that number decreased to 122 as some of the other patients were subsequently discharged.

“So, fortunately, we were able to accommodate the relocation of those patients to the North Block and did not have to look to other RHAs.”

With regards to the Central Block’s pending restorative works, Ali said they are still awaiting the structural report from the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (UDeCoTT) before they proceed. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has already announced that the Government is moving forward with a new 500-bed facility to replace the Central Block.

Categories: News

Woman charged with sexual abuse of boy, 13

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:24

A 28-year-old woman from east Trinidad has been released on $40,000 bail after appearing in court charged with having sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Molly “Doodoos” Houllier-Mahabir was granted bail by Magistrate Brambhananan Dubay after appearing in the Arima Magistrate’s Court charged with two counts of sexual penetration with a minor, last Friday.

As part of the conditions of her bail, which her husband stood as surety for, Houllier-Mahabir was ordered to refrain from communicating with the victim, who is now 15.

The offences allegedly occurred at her home between August 2016 and last year.

Under the Children’s Act, sexual penetration is defined as either inserting any body part or object into a child’s bodily orifice or the insertion of a child’s body into a person’s bodily orifice. The offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Detectives of the Child Protection Unit began investigating the mother of two after video clips were posted on social media.

The woman was arrested and charged last week.

In a press release issued last week, the Children’s Authority noted that society may have a skewed view over such cases involving female adults having sex with underage boys.

“The authority is calling on the public to recognise that sexual abuse of boys is also perpetrated by women and must be reported. Although society often accepts boys having sexual experiences with older women, this must be condemned as it is child abuse,” the release said.

The authority also noted that while it receives frequent reports of physical abuse and neglect of boys, sexual abuse against them is under-reported.

The authority advised parents to speak to their children over the issue.

“Parents and guardians are encouraged to let boys know that they can be sexually groomed by a male or female adult, who will befriend them by building a close relationship in order to gain their trust, with the intention of later engaging in sexual activity,” the release said.

The authority also said that it would provide counselling for the teenager and his family.

The investigation was supervised by Supt Sharon Cooper and ASP Claire Guy-Alleyne of Northern Division’s Child Protection Unit. WPC Marsha John laid the charges.

Categories: News

UWI student crowned Ms La Reine Rive 2018

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:20

University of the West Indies (UWI) student Anjali Ramlalsingh was crowned 2018 Miss La Reine Rive at the Sundar Popo Hall of Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando, on Sunday.

Ramlalsingh, 18, is a first-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at St Augustine campus.

Ramlalsingh, who lives at St Helena Village, Piarco, and represented the community of Nariva/Mayaro, not only took the top prize of $37,500 but also won two category titles as well.

Even, as her supporters rooted for her through the show, Ramlalsingh maintained composure and cascaded across the stage in a Michael Salikram-influenced gown. The flesh colour gown was adorned with beads, sequins and dried cocoa beans and pods that paid tribute to the cocoa plantations which were part of the history of the community she represented.

The runners-up were Chanda Marie La Touche (St George West), Aneka Audain (St George West), Kerry-Ann Sealy and Shenesse Richardson.

The show, titled Le Granz Affaire, was the climax of a two-part event. Earlier this month the 15 delegates took part in the self-expression and talent segments.

Delivering the feature address at the event, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the level of talent exhibited was on par with that displayed in the foreign-based version of America’s Got Talent.

“The Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy competition is our long-standing version of Trinidad and Tobago’s got talent. Imagine America’s Got talent started only in 2006, we have had Best Village for over 60 years,” Gadsby-Dolly told the gathering

“Over the past three years, a concerted effort had been made to mainstream the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition. We created and streamed the Folk Arts Festival live, opening it up to new audiences. We must diversify our offering as our audience and culture evolve. If we don’t, Best Village will fast become irrelevant. In order to grow it, we must step up, adapt or become extinct.”

The night also showcased the talents of the Swastika East Indian devotional dance group, Green Pioneers Spiritual Song, Khalanayak Academy of Dance, Sabor Del Caribe parang group and the Malick Folk Performing Company.

Winners

Best Makeup: Anjali Ramlalsingh (Nariva/Mayaro)
Best Hair Style: Aneka Audain (St George West)
Best Talent: Aneka Audain (St George West)
Best Self Expression: Chanda La Touche (St George West)
Best Gown: Anjali Ramlalsingh (Nariva/Mayaro)

INNIS FRANCIS

Categories: News

My life will never be the same

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:08

An inconsolable Salasha Ali says her life will never be the same in the wake of Friday’s accident in which industrial equipment fell off a truck and almost crushed her to death. While she thanked God for saving her life yesterday, Ali, 30, said she fears the injuries she sustained will never heal 100 per cent.

Strong enough to speak despite being in excruciating pains in her bed at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Ali cried: “I thank God for life but my whole life just gone in front of my eyes. I will never be the same again. How will I take care of my two children, they need me…my husband needs me. Will I ever live my life normal again?”

Ali sustained a broken right arm and is expected to undergo reconstructive surgery on it next Tuesday.

“I was told that my bones cannot mend back on its own due to the extent of damages. My arm was shattered.”

Her pelvic bone is also severely damaged causing numbness in the legs and she received injuries to her head and spine.

Ali was unable to move any part of her body on the right side yesterday and broke down in tears as she recalled the moments just before the industrial welding plant flew off a three-tonne truck and landed on her along Chin Chin Road in Cunupia. Ali’s 12-year-old daughter Saleena also sustained minor injuries during the incident

Ali yesterday said she believes she had died on the scene for a moment and shared her “outer body experience.”

“I had now pack out the table and as I bend down to see about the ochroes I had in a box and I hear something and when I look up this huge thing hit me. I didn’t know anything after that, except that my soul came out and I saw my two children bawling and crying for me,” Ali said.

“I remember seeing a big white flash and just like that, I felt my body jolted and like my soul snap back into my body. I remembered opening my eyes but not being able to see clearly in front of me. I was not myself…ever since I am in so much pain…too much to bear.”

Ali said this week she was supposed to buy things for the children ahead of the reopening of school next week.

“I am a poor person and my family is very poor but I work very hard and more hard to see my children off to school and getting their education. I have no money. My daughter, although she got an injury to the eye, she is crying out for pain all over her body every night. I can only watch them through the window here (referring to the ward), I cannot even hug my children.”

Ali said she the owner of the construction company whose truck was involved in the accident had visited her and offered grocery items.

“I don’t want that…what could that do for me right now? My life destroyed. I need to be properly well compensated. The driver should be held responsible and should be in jail. The driver never even come to see me…nothing,” Ali lamented.

Ali’s husband, Michael Sookwah, yesterday met with his attorney to seek legal advice.

“We want justice. My wife crying too much and I can’t sit and do nothing.”The T&T Guardian understands that the truck driver, who is said to be in his early 20s, was only recently employed with the company.

Efforts to reach the company’s owner yesterday were unsuccessful as he did not return calls. Officers of the Cunupia Police Station are continuing investigations.

Categories: News

Govt must detail Venezuela gas deal—Carolyn

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:04

Congress of the People (COP) leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan is calling on the Government to reveal details of the Terms of Agreement (TOA) on the Dragon gas contract signed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.

Seepersad-Bachan said yesterday that while the Government may not be able to publicly state the agreed price for gas produced from the Dragon field, it ought to provide details on the pricing formula and other emerging issues related to the project.

The first gas from the Dragon field is expected to get to this country by late 2020 or early 2021, according to Energy Minister Franklin Khan. The agreement is for 150 million cubic feet of gas per day in the first phase, which will be used for the LNG and the petrochemical sectors.

In a release yesterday, Seepersad- Bachan said, “In the case of LNG, the price at the well-head is determined based on the netback pricing formula and in the case of the petrochemical sector, NGC’s resale prices are linked to international commodity prices. If the same approach is not applied to the pricing of the Dragon gas the NGC is at risk of its sale price being lower than its cost price, thus incurring huge losses.”

It has been reported that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) was created and an agreement signed in March 2017 by Shell, NGC and PDVSA for the construction of a 30km gas pipeline, pumping stations, metering systems and installation of safety and control systems at a total cost of US$100 million.

Seepersad-Bachan said the Government needs to give the country the details.

“What is the percentage holding of NGC in this SPV, as this will dictate capital investment required for this project? Additionally, at what point does fiscalisation occur? Is it the intention for NGC to take ownership from the well-head and pay a fee for the transportation of gas via this infrastructure?”

She accused Khan of “erroneously” likening the project to the Loran Manatee cross-border field in which Trinidad and Tobago owns 2.7 tcf, which was unitised by signed agreement in August 2010 to facilitate a joint operator.

But she said, “On the contrary, the Dragon gas field is located across the border and therefore this project involves the sale of Venezuelan gas.”

Seepersad-Bachan also wants to know, given the current state of affairs in Venezuela, whether the Government had taken into consideration the geopolitical risks which significantly impact on the viability and reliability of this project.

“What assurances are there that future governments will honour this agreement to supply gas at the agreed pricing?” she asked.

In such an event, she said the NGC and by extension, the citizens of this country will bear the full cost of lost revenue for ALNG and downstream petrochemical companies.

In addition, she said,“The literature is replete with examples of expropriation of assets in the Venezuelan energy sector. This places the US100 million dollar investment at risk should such an event occur.”

As a result, she said the Government and the NGC must openly indicate to the citizenry how they intend to mitigate these risks.

“Answers to these questions will clearly indicate whether this is a theoretical dream or an implementable reality,” she said.

Categories: News

Petrotrin an historical challenge

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:00

The country is, today, bracing for a decision on the restructuring of the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (Petrotrin).

The decision has been preceded by allegations that the company has the potential to bankrupt the country and clear indications that the restructuring of Petrotrin will be a painful exercise.

How did we get here? Who is to blame and what are the lessons to be learnt?

Petrotrin was incorporated in 1993 to consolidate the interests of the Trinidad and Tobago Oil Company Limited (Trintoc) and the Trinidad and Tobago Petroleum Company Limited (Trintopec).

These companies were, in fact, an amalgamation of predecessor companies including Trinidad Leaseholds Limited, BP, Shell, Texaco and others. In the case of both Trintoc and Trintopec and later Trinmar assets, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago spent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to protect jobs and to control “the commanding heights of the economy.”

The core mandate of protecting jobs has remained with the company, regardless of which political party has been in power. By bringing all three assets together then, the Government unwittingly helped consolidate the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union’s power in the State-owned energy sector and made it even more difficult to institute changes.

The amalgamation of the companies was done without a full understanding of how the two cultures were to be integrated, basic issues like the classification of workers and salaries were not properly thought through, with some positions requiring individuals to operate in the same job with different titles. This never helped and the crucial issues of esprit de corps and organisational commitment would have been difficult to achieve.

Petrotrin as a company has three key areas, Exploration and Production (both on-land and offshore in its Trinmar assets), Refining and the Marketing and its Administrative areas that will include things like its hospital.

To appreciate the company’s challenge, it must be looked at from these perspectives.

In terms of Exploration and Production, Petrotrin is in control of significant assets and its on-land fields are stripper fields in which the individual wells produce few barrels of oil per day. This is because most of the fields were discovered over 100 years ago and cannot produce significant oil without the use of various secondary recovery methods.

In terms of its offshore assets in Trinmar, the last discovery, the Soldado Field, was made in 1914. Therefore, you have a company that is in the business of producing fewer and fewer barrels of oil per day but with the same level of staffing and fixed costs. This is a recipe for significant increase in the average lifting cost since this is determined by volume divided by fixed and variable cost.

The lack of money to explore for new oil has left the company in a chicken and egg situation, where it is sitting on potentially lucrative assets but with no money or technology to go after it. This leads to make-up news about major fields being discovered by Petrotrin, as happened in 2012 when then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced a major discovery of the Jubilee field which was supposed to lead to significant increase in production.

On the Refining and Marketing side, Petrotrin was faced with an ageing refinery that had long passed its best days when it was the fifth largest refinery in the world and key to the World War II effort. Changes in the stipulation of fuels, like the removal of lead, the challenges to its traditional markets due to the PetroCaribe deal and colossal waste of money in cost overruns due to the refinery upgrades have crippled the company.

There was no doubt that the board of the late Malcolm Jones had to reconfigure the refinery if it was to stay in business, but Petrotrin did so on borrowed money that was not used efficiently with massive cost overruns. The project management skills of the company left a lot to be desired and the projects were all years behind schedule, hundreds of millions over budget and significantly increased the company’s gearing ratio.

It is this debt and the inability to pay back the money from creditors, coupled with the near junk rating that is driving this restructuring. The Government is faced with Petrotrin’s liability impacting its own credit rating and its ability to borrow.

On the administrative side, Petrotrin continues to carry much higher costs than other similar companies and its pension and health benefits carry major costs with it supporting workers and their families, even after they retire, in private clinics and its own hospital.

Faced with this, governments have refused to act, part of their inaction has had to do with the strength of the union that has always threatened and on some occasions shut down the company if threatened. This has led to a continuous increase in salaries that are unsustainable.

But a big part of the challenge is that from the People’s National Movement to the United National Congress, both major parties have seen Petrotrin as an opportunity for political largesse, supporters are regularly placed in positions in the company and the management is changed whenever there is a change in government and often when there is even a change in the board.

This has led to a situation where it’s about survival for the upper management and a loss of talent, as those who have the capacity often take opportunities where innovation and stability reside.

There is no doubt that today has an omen of a watershed moment, but with the strength of the OWTU at risk and so much to lose on personal and political levels, the issue is whether there will be common ground or if there will be an attempt to mash up de place.

Categories: News

D-Day for Petrotrin

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 22:57

By the end of today the country will be clearer on the future of the state oil company Petrotrin.

Today is D-Day for Petrotrin as the company meets separately with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) which represents the majority of workers, the National Petroleum Staff Association and the Estate Police Association on the plan for the future of the state company.

Yesterday, company officials and Energy Minister Franklyn Khan remained mum on what the restructuring will entail, but union officials expressed concern that workers will be sent home. On Sunday, Energy Minister Franklyn Khan under whose portfolio Petrotrin falls, told the media that today’s discussions are “significant,” because “for the first time we will lay bare what our plans are.”

Yesterday Khan declined further comment on the planned restructuring but he ruled out disposal of the assets saying: “Petrotrin does not belong to the PNM Cabinet, it belongs to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and for the time being we operate in trust for the people.

We will not flippantly dispose of the assets of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Khan said.

The plan to be revealed by the company follows months of discussions and international expert analysis which examined what Khan described as “the quagmire that is Petrotrin,” including its finances, performance, debt and its benchmarking which Khan described as being at the “bottom of the fourth quartile.”

Khan said the plan which had been “formulated and accepted on the future of Petrotrin,” will be articulated to the unions today. It is only after those meetings that the national community will be informed of what had been decided upon.

He did not want to prejudge what will happen after the Company meets the OWTU but contingency plans are being put in place in the event of any action by the workers led by the OWTU.

Khan said “this country is ruled by law and order. Any action deemed illegal will obviously have to be dealt with.”

In a situation like this he said “contingency plans will have to be put in place,” but he declined to say what those are, “let us wait and see I don’t want to prejudge what will happen, let’s wait and see,” Khan said.

Khan reiterated his call for “maturity, pragmatism and nationalism,” saying this is about the “national interest.

Last evening officials of the OWTU met in final preparation ahead of the meeting with the company scheduled for ten thirty this morning.

The Union has mobilised workers for a meeting scheduled for three o’clock this afternoon immediately following the meeting when officials say they will also speak to the media on what was revealed to them.

Petrotrin Chairman Wilfred Espinet was unavailable for comment ahead of the talks and company officials reached by the Guardian said details of the plan will only be revealed after the company met with the unions.

Petrotrin has a combined workforce of more than 5,000 employees, the majority of whom are in the core operating areas, but the company provides indirect employment for thousands more.

Its salaries and wages bill according to Khan is “in excess of fifty per cent of its operating cost.”

The company is the source of all gasoline, diesel and jet fuel consumed by the country and is the pillar of the economy in South Trinidad.

However the company has a debt of TT$13B, owes the Government TT$3.5B in outstanding taxes and royalty, and has a bullet payment valued at US$850M due in November next year.

Yesterday the Energy Chamber posted a chart on its Facebook page indicating that between January and June this year Petrotrin imported over 15 million barrels of crude oil for the refinery.

40% of the crude oil imports came from Russia, 29% from Colombia, 22% from Gabon, 8% from Canada and 1% from Barbados.

Khan told the media on Sunday that apart from the cost to import the crude, “what compounds the matter is for every barrel of crude refined the company loses between US two dollars and fifty cents and three dollars per barrel, so you importing oil to lose money,” Khan said. Because of the amount being spent to import crude and the loss incurred on the crude, Khan said it had made the refinery “unprofitable.”
 

Categories: News

Fear of Malaria outbreak in Cedros

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 17:29

Faced with the hospitalization of a Venezuelan national who is being treated for malaria at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, Cedros residents are now calling on the government to do immediate screening, spraying, and testing in the southwestern peninsula to prevent any Malaria outbreak.

The victim, identified at Manuel Brunto, is receiving treatment at Ward 11, after blood tests confirmed he was suffering from Malaria. 

Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito.

Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host's liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells. 

Sixteen cases have already been reported for the year by the Health Ministry and residents of Cedros and Icacos are now calling on the Ministry of Health to begin immediate spraying of their communities. 

In an interview, councilor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said Venezuelans were continuing to enter T&T legally and illegally in droves.

"We want to know how many more Venezuelans are coming into the country with Malaria. 

Both the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Health must do urgent work to prevent any outbreak of malaria. Cedros is the first place that is going to be affected. Venezuelans are migrating to Icacos and other areas. We need protection," Teelucksingh said.

He also said he had called Red Cross International with the hope that they too can offer assistance. Teelucksingh said house to house monitoring must be done in areas where there is a surplus of Venezuelan migrants.

"We need testing kits and other testing devices to detect and quarantine infected people who are diagnosed. We also need a mobile unit doing house checks to see where they are and have testing and medication for treatment of both local and foreign visitors. They need to equip the port with necessary scanners and blood testing equipment," Teelucksingh said.

He added that immediate spraying of mosquitoes was required in Boodram Trace, Lower and Upper Icacos, Point Coco, Lalla Trace, Bilwah Trace, Ramdhanie Trace and Grand Chemin Extension. Saying mosquitoes were breeding undeterred, Teelucksingh said the Ministry must take precautions to safeguard the lives of residents.

At Lower Icacos, Dilisa Garib said residents were very worried about the potential outbreak of malaria.

"There is a lot of bush and abandoned buildings in Icacos and Cedros. The grass is not being cut. Icacos is below sea level so when rain falls it takes a long time to drain out. Mosquitoes breed in these waters. There are also illegal animals being brought into the peninsula. They too are bringing in sickness," Garib said.

She also added that apart from the mosquito problem, there was still a severe water crisis in the region.

Another resident Abhiman Ackool said the authorities must do regular spraying in the entire peninsula.

"Whenever they do spraying, which is very rare, they spray during the day. This makes no sense because the mosquitoes come out later in the evening," Ackool said. He called on Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to take interest in the communities in case there is an outbreak of malaria such as what is currently occurring in Venezuela.

In a Reuters article in April, the World Health Organisation reported that malaria was spreading rapidly in crisis-hit Venezuela, with more than an estimated 406,000 cases in 2017, up roughly 69 percent from a year before, the largest increase worldwide.

The WHO said Venezuelan migrants fleeing the economic and social crisis were carrying the mosquito-borne disease into Brazil and other parts of Latin America. It urged authorities to provide free screening and treatment regardless of their legal status to avoid further spread. 

Contacted yesterday Deyalsingh referred questions to Chief Medical Officer Dr Rohan Parasram who said most of the 16 malaria cases were Venezuelan nationals and citizens who visited Venezuela and returned to T&T.

He said the port authority had standard procedures regarding malaria and anyone exhibiting symptoms are tested. He said it was difficult to do house to house testing as deployments of resources had to be done in an effective manner. Parasram said once a person tests positive, teams are sent into the community to do screening on relatives and neighbours.

"The fact that we haven't had a large influx of cases means this system is working.  The threat is not as large as they are making it out to be," Parasram said. 

He added that the suggestions raised by the residents will be considered by the Ministry.

Categories: News

Coast Guard recover body of drowned man

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 15:55

Coast Guard officers have finally recovered the body of Kesion Jonathan Rampersad, who drowned on the eve of his birthday while swimming at the mouth of the Lanse Mitan River in Moruga on Sunday.

Rampersad's father John and his brothers Tristion, 18, and Aashish spent most of yesterday morning searching the shoreline with the hope that his body will be found.

From dawn, Coast Guard divers began combing the mouth of the river hoping to see whether he was stuck in the mud but it was around midday, that the corpse finally came up a short distance from where he disappeared.

Police said Rampersad would have celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday. Investigators said around 5:30 pm, he was swimming with three friends at the mouth of the river when they got into difficulties.

Two of them managed to get out but Rampersad disappeared under the water.

During an interview Monday, Rampersad's aunt Mary Vialva said the drowning was unexpected and devastating. 

Describing her nephew as a kind and helpful man, Vialva said one of Rampersad's friends got into an accident recently and Rampersad took on the responsibility to carry him for therapy.

On Saturday, Rampersad told his family that he was spending the night at his friend's home in Barrackpore. 

She said on Sunday, his youngest sister Amelia Rampersad, who lives elsewhere with their mother Mindy Rampersad, visited Rampersad's home at Bunsee Trace so she could tie a rakhi in commemoration of the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan which celebrates the bonds between a brother and a sister. 

"She waited for him and she kept asking when he would come home but late in the evening, his friend's father came and said they looking for him in the river because they think he drowned," Vialva said.

Rampersad worked part-time as a security officer with Travtech Security Services.

An autopsy will be done on his body today at the Forensic Science Centre. Moruga police are continuing investigations.

Categories: News

Coast Guard searching for man's body

News - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 12:10

Coast Guard divers are still searching for the body of Kesion Rampersad who is believed to have drowned at Moruga on Sunday. 

Rampersad, 21, of Penal Rock Road, was swimming at the mouth of the Lanse Mitan River around 5.30 pm when he and three other people got into difficulty. 

Two of the people were pulled from the river but Rampersad disappeared into the water. 

Villagers and fishermen are assisting in the search efforts. 

More as this story develops.

Categories: News

Hinds among T&T match officials active in CONCACAF

Sports - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 00:31

Match officials from T&T including referees, assistant referees and assessors have been consistently involved in various competitions and events staged in the CONCACAF region in recent weeks. Cecile Hinds, Crystal Sobers, Joseph Bernard, Nicolai Nyron and Kareem McMayo were all on international assignments recently.

Back in July, Women’s referee Hinds was appointed to the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship at IMG Academy Florida, USA, and officiated at one of the semifinals and also served as the fourth official at the third place qualifying match.

Men’s Assistant referee Bertrand was also appointed to serve at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia. His performances earned him an appointment for the Final between Colombia and Venezuela. Women’s Referee Sobers was also appointed to the CAC Games and went as far as the semifinals where she carried the whistle for Mexico’s 3-1 win over Venezuela.

 was also the Assistant Referee at the recent CONCACAF League of Sixteen matches between Panama’s Arabe Unido and Portmore United in Kingston.

T&T officials, referee Nicolai Nyron and Assistant Kareem McMayo received appointments for the Caribbean Football Union Under-14 boys Challenge Series leg in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, three veteran officials of the game Michael Ragoonath, Neil Brizan and Jaggernath Goolcharan have been invited to participate in the CONCACAF Assessors Seminar from September 21-23 in Costa Rica. The focus of this seminar will be on the following activities: Assessing: All participants will be required to complete an assessment prior to arrival and Theoretical sessions in the classroom. Forty-seven assessors from throughout the Confederation will partake under the guidance of instructors Peter Pendergast, John Nielsen and Esse Baharmast.

Also, assistant referee Ainsley Rochard has been invited by the US Soccer Association to officiate at the September 7th International Friendly between Guatemala and Ecuador at Toyota Park Bridgeville, USA.

Commenting on the work being done by referees such as herself, Hinds noted, “I think it’s a sign of progress being made by officials from Trinidad and Tobago who are receiving appointments and being offered the opportunity to officiate at the various levels in CONCACAF.

Getting the chance to serve at the highest level is tremendous and will only serve to improve the standard of officiating in Trinidad and Tobago. With regards to my selection at the CONCACAF U-17 Women as an elite referee, it was an overwhelming and awesome experience,” she told TTFA Media.

She added, “Before I left Trinidad I had to prepare by attending practical and theory sessions at the Ato Boldon Stadium. The Championship itself was very time-consuming. We had one-hour training sessions every morning except for game days. We also had pre-match and debriefings on game days.”

The T&T Football Association Referees Department which is headed by Wayne Caesar continues to monitor and offer support towards the progress of local Referees in collaboration with the T&T Football Referees Association of which Joseph Taylor is the preside

Categories: News

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