You are here

News

Humphreys, Spicer emerge as new Solo t-tennis champs

Sports - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:03

Curtis Humphreys of WASA Table Tennis Club and PowerGen’s Catherine Spicer have been crowned the new champions of the Solo Senior National Table Tennis Championship men and women Open Singles competition at the National Racquet Centre, Orange Grove Road, Tacarigua on Wednesday night.

In the men’s decider, an all-WASA affair, Humphreys got the better of close friend Yuvraaj Dookram 11-4, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4.

When the tournament resumed earlier on the night with men’s quarterfinal matches, Humphreys defeated Arima Hawks’ five-time national champion, Reeza Burke 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-1 while Dookram won by default from Derron Douglas, who is currently in Dominica Republic representing T&T at the Junior Pan American Table Tennis Championship, along with Javier King and Luc O’Young.

Veterans champion, David Mahabir set the tone for the night when he ousted last year’s winner Aaron Wilson of Carenage Blasters 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 and Dayanand Maharaj humbled Arun Roopnarine 11-6, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 in the two other last-eight matches.

In the semifinals, Humphreys stopped Mahabir 7-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5.

Spicer lifted the women’s title by beating last year’s champion and two-time winner Brittany Joseph of WASA, 16-14, 11-7, 11-1, 11-13, 12-10.

Spicer reached the final with an 11-4, 11-8, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8 defeat of another WASA player, Chelsea Fong in her semifinal, while Joseph brushed aside Shreya Maharaj, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3.

Categories: News

‘Overpayment’ was returned to NGC

Sports - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:01

As the controversy rages on involving the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) and alleged financial impropriety in their dealings with the National Gas Company of T&T (NGC), now comes news that the cricket board repaid NGC an overpayment of $25,000 that was made to them.

According to a release sent out by the TTCB late yesterday: “The T&T Cricket Board would like to take this opportunity to clearly state that up to the time of writing, the TTCB has never received an official copy of the 2014/2016 Audit Report from the National Gas Company of T&T.

The first sight we had of this “report” was on June 29th 2018, when the attorneys representing Mr Daren Ganga sent same to us, as part of a larger submission.

“This document has since been publicly acknowledged as authentic by the President of the National Gas Company of T&T. From the cover page of this document, it can be seen that the final audit report is dated March 15, 2017. At an NGC/TTCB meeting, we requested a copy of the audit and were told that the report was an internal document and could not be made available to us.

They stated that they were not verbally advised of only pertinent items contained therein, that impacted on the TTCB. The release went on to state:

1. An overpayment of $25,000.00 made in error by NGC in one of the tranches during 2014. This overpayment was subsequently refunded to NGC by TTCB.

2. The reallocation of underutilized funds for the period 2014 to 2016. The TTCB informed NGC that these funds were reallocated to other line items under the ambit of the agreement. A report on the reallocated sums for the three years audited was done by an external accounting firm and submitted to NGC with evidence of same.

3. Further tightening of internal controls as required by the TTCB. This is ongoing, as with most other national sporting organisations, we continue to strive to improve with limited available resources.

The release ended by noting: “In keeping with our role as a responsible partner, the TTCB has acted on the three points raised by the National Gas Company, subsequent to our meeting.

“We wish to reiterate that we have since settled the overpayment issue and have also submitted to NGC, financial information to account for the sums re-allocated. In closing, may we remind the citizens of T&T that the TTCB is a highly accountable organisation with a proud reputation for honesty and integrity. We value these standards and have always done our utmost to uphold same.”

Categories: News

Ramsaran stands up against TTCB critics

Sports - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:59

Executive member of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Manohar Ramsaran says National League Club representative Kiswah Chaitoo must apologise to Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe for disrespecting her office.

Ramsaran, who himself is a former minister of sports, made the call after Chaitoo said that there is no need for the TTCB executive to meet with Cudjoe as the controversy rages on about a year-old National Gas Company (NGC) audit into sponsorship funds granted to the national cricket organisation.

The internal NGC report found that 24 per cent of funds given between 2014 and 2016 were re-allocated to other cricket development programmes which were not itemized in the Memorandum of Understanding between the parties.

On Thursday, Ramsaran, president of the Monroe Road Sports Club, said that in a rush to judge, Chaitoo had crossed the line in criticising the minister for wanting to meet with TTCB officials and get a first-hand grip on the issue.

He said Chaitoo, of the South Zonal Council, is a known adversary of the TTCB but should not have faulted Minister Cudjoe for her willingness to meet with the organisation to get all the information on the matter.

Ramsaran maintained that the procedural audit conducted by the NGC early last year found no wrongdoing or misappropriation of funds and that the pointing of fingers was another attempt by leading critics of the TTCB Daren Ganga and Dinanath Ramnarine, two former national players, to cast aspersions on the character and integrity of the top cricket administrators.

He said Chaitoo was culpable in aiding and abetting Ganga and fired Sports Company chairman Ramnarine in an attempt to force out a democratically elected national executive through innuendo and misinformation.

“I can state categorically and emphatically that the TTCB has nothing to hide because no member benefitted from the re-allocation of the sponsorship funds. Every cent went into cricket and not in anyone’s pocket,” said Ramsaran.

Ramsaran said that when the audit was completed last year, the TTCB made a formal request to acquire a copy but was politely denied by the NGC who informed the board that it was an internal exercise conducted to assist their sponsorship system going forward.

It was also disclosed that Ganga even tried to get a copy of the audit report from the NGC and was told the same. This was before he allegedly managed to get his hands on a leaked copy which then found its way into the possession of a daily newspaper.

The experienced cricket administrator said it was unfortunate that disgruntled members of the local cricket fraternity were willing to take extreme measures to acquire power and create a smokescreen to achieve their objectives while there is so much positive news about cricket at this time.

“The West Indies ‘A’ team is currently on their tour on England led by our own Jason Mohammed; the regional development team is playing with great success in the inaugural Canadian T20 League; and the

Test side is showing welcomed improvement in its recent home series against Sri Lanka and now playing against Bangladesh,” said Ramsaran.

He said T&T cricketers continue to play a leading role in the resurgence of West Indies and their performances can be directly traced back to the plans and programmes of the TTCB.

“I will never be part of a dishonest organisation as my life is an open book having been involved in the public domain for a long while. If I am aware that there is wrongdoing I will be the first to walk away,” said Ramsaran.

He said he had the utmost confidence in the Suruj Ragoonath, up to recently the chief executive officer of the TTCB; Baldath Mahabir, head of the TTCB Marketing Committee; and board treasurer Sukesh Maniam who were directly responsiExecutive member of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Manohar Ramsaran says National League Club representative Kiswah Chaitoo must apologise to Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe for disrespecting her office.

Ramsaran, who himself is a former minister of sports, made the call after Chaitoo said that there is no need for the TTCB executive to meet with Cudjoe as the controversy rages on about a year-old National Gas Company (NGC) audit into sponsorship funds granted to the national cricket organisation.

The internal NGC report found that 24 per cent of funds given between 2014 and 2016 were re-allocated to other cricket development programmes which were not itemized in the Memorandum of Understanding between the parties.

On Thursday, Ramsaran, president of the Monroe Road Sports Club, said that in a rush to judge, Chaitoo had crossed the line in criticising the minister for wanting to meet with TTCB officials and get a first-hand grip on the issue.

He said Chaitoo, of the South Zonal Council, is a known adversary of the TTCB but should not have faulted Minister Cudjoe for her willingness to meet with the organisation to get all the information on the matter.

Ramsaran maintained that the procedural audit conducted by the NGC early last year found no wrongdoing or misappropriation of funds and that the pointing of fingers was another attempt by leading critics of the TTCB Daren Ganga and Dinanath Ramnarine, two former national players, to cast aspersions on the character and integrity of the top cricket administrators.

He said Chaitoo was culpable in aiding and abetting Ganga and fired Sports Company chairman Ramnarine in an attempt to force out a democratically elected national executive through innuendo and misinformation.

“I can state categorically and emphatically that the TTCB has nothing to hide because no member benefitted from the re-allocation of the sponsorship funds. Every cent went into cricket and not in anyone’s pocket,” said Ramsaran.

Ramsaran said that when the audit was completed last year, the TTCB made a formal request to acquire a copy but was politely denied by the NGC who informed the board that it was an internal exercise conducted to assist their sponsorship system going forward.

It was also disclosed that Ganga even tried to get a copy of the audit report from the NGC and was told the same. This was before he allegedly managed to get his hands on a leaked copy which then found its way into the possession of a daily newspaper.

The experienced cricket administrator said it was unfortunate that disgruntled members of the local cricket fraternity were willing to take extreme measures to acquire power and create a smokescreen to achieve their objectives while there is so much positive news about cricket at this time.

“The West Indies ‘A’ team is currently on their tour on England led by our own Jason Mohammed; the regional development team is playing with great success in the inaugural Canadian T20 League; and the Test side is showing welcomed improvement in its recent home series against Sri Lanka and now playing against Bangladesh,” said Ramsaran.

He said T&T cricketers continue to play a leading role in the resurgence of West Indies and their performances can be directly traced back to the plans and programmes of the TTCB.

“I will never be part of a dishonest organisation as my life is an open book having been involved in the public domain for a long while. If I am aware that there is wrongdoing I will be the first to walk away,” said Ramsaran.

He said he had the utmost confidence in the Suruj Ragoonath, up to recently the chief executive officer of the TTCB; Baldath Mahabir, head of the TTCB Marketing Committee; and board treasurer Sukesh Maniam who were directly responsi

Categories: News

BRATHWAITE LASHES 110

Sports - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:56

Kraigg Brathwaite’s second consecutive century helped West Indies establish early dominance on the opening day’s play in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday.

West Indies went to stumps comfortably-placed at 295 for 4, having accumulated runs at 4.85 per over in the post-tea session: a significant jump from 2.25 and 2.83 in the first two sessions respectively.

Brathwaite added 109 for the fourth wicket with Shimron Hetmyer, which came on the back of a 79-run third-wicket stand with Shai Hope, and 50 runs for the second wicket with Kieran Powell. Hetmyer, who had added 48 for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Roston Chase, remained unbeaten on 84 off 98 balls— his second Test fifty.

Brathwaite collected the bulk of his runs on the on-side, with the singles and twos behind the square region a common occurrence. Six of his nine fours also came on the on-side as Bangladesh did well to restrict him from driving freely.

But given his boundless patience, Brathwaite still looked at ease. He also ran hard between the wickets, picking up three threes.

Having benefited from Bangladesh’s failure to take a review when he was rapped on the pad on 98, Brathwaite went on to pass Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo as he faced 250-plus deliveries in an innings for the sixth time in his career.

He fell late in the day, trying to hit Mehidy for a second successive boundary through midwicket, only to find Taijul swiftly moving at short midwicket to complete the catch. By then, however, he had neutralised Bangladesh’s early thrust as they unleashed their spinners in the morning.

Despite the pace and bounce on offer, Shakib went in with three spinners—as opposed to West Indies, who dropped their only specialist spinner—and used them immediately to good effect. Opening the bowling himself, Shakib and Mehidy created plenty of chances in the first hour, taking advantage of the big turn available outside the line of the stumps. They kept the close-in fielders busy with half-chances, and Devon Smith’s inside-edge, off Mehidy’s slightly leg-sidish delivery, resulted in a simple catch to Mominul Haque at short leg.

No. 3 Kieran Powell tried to break the shackles, but when Mehidy noticed his inclination to hang back to full deliveries, the offspinner’s patience paid off when he was trapped leg-before to a similar delivery for 29. But Brathwaite’s single-mindedness in defence slowly offset Bangladesh’s early advantage. He reached his fifty in the second session, taking 149 balls to get there. He added 79 runs for the third wicket with Shai Hope, who struck two fours in his 29 off 79 balls. Hope then inside-edged Taijul Islam on to his pads, the ball lobbing up towards silly point for wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan to complete a diving catch.

In Brathwaite’s presence, West Indies picked up pace in the final session. He took Taijul Islam for three fours before blasting Kamrul Islam Rabbi past point. Three overs after Brathwaite reached his century, Hetmyer sliced one past the slips for four to raise his fifty.

The shift in gears summed up West Indies’ progress from being severely tested against spin at the start of the day, to batting quite freely by the end of it. (CRICINFO)

SCOREBOARD

West Indies vs Bangladesh
1st day, 2nd Test
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
K Brathwaite c Islam b Hasan 110
D Smith c Haque b Hasan 2
K Powell lbw b Hasan 29
S Hope c wkp Hasan b Islam 29
S Hetmyer not out 84
R Chase not out 16
Extras (b18, lb7) 25
TOTAL (4 wkts, 92 overs) 295
To bat: +S Dowrich, J Holder, K Paul, M Cummins, S Gabriel.
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-59, 3-138, 4-247.
Bowling: Abu Jayed 10-4-22-0, Shakib al Hasan 18-3-51-0, Mehidy Hasan 27-9-90-3, Taijul Islam 21-3-65-1, Mahmudullah 8-1-20-0.
BANGLADESH – Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Kamrul Islam.
UMPIRES: Richard Illingworth, Sundaram Ravi; TV – Richard Kettleborough.

Categories: News

Choices well made

Columnists - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:40

The Sangre Grande graduates of the CHOICES Adolescent Mothers Programme invited me to their 25th Anniversary Reunion on June 23 at the CHOICE Centre, Slinger Francisco Boulevard, Phase 4, La Horquetta.

Many years ago, Ms Florence Campbell-Gonzales, a former centre manager, introduced me to CHOICES and I was honoured to be in the company of the former trainees, because of their triumph over the challenges that are associated with teenage mothers.

The evening turned out to be quite an inspiration because of the way each of the young women offered moving testimonies about their life experiences and how they were tutored by their mentors.

I mention their mentors because I have to give them credit for their unheralded work.

Among the mentors present were members of the Child Welfare League (CWL), the NGO which launched and administered CHOICES.

I saw Ms Marjorie Baptiste, director, Ms Merle Gay, president of the CWL, Mrs Joanna Friday-Bartholomew, one of the early founders of CHOICES, Ms Gloria Merritt, programme coordinator, Ms Cheryl Guy, Food Prep tutor/technician, as well as Ms Florence Campbell-Gonzales.

Mrs Joanna Friday-Bartholomew explained that the Bernard van Leer Foundation, which was also involved with funding SERVOL and its Early Childhood Development Programme, approached the Child Welfare League in order to facilitate a programme for the children of adolescent mothers.

The foundation, headquartered in the Netherlands, was started in 1949 and has been involved in “developing and sharing knowledge about what works in early childhood development”.

The first CHOICES centre was launched at Sangre Grande in June 1994. La Horquetta, Laventille and Woodbrook came later. The young mothers received training in academic studies, child care and family life education, computer skills, garment construction, food preparation, catering, art and craft and home decoration.

The teenagers’ children were accommodated at the nurseries in each centre.

At the reunion, each of the mothers, now in their early thirties, credited CHOICES for training them to be competent parents as well as guiding them to lucrative jobs and even to owning their own businesses.

I heard great success stories from each of the graduates, in turn, particularly as they mentioned the growth and development of their children.

I took special note of Ms Keishel Joseph, who gave the Vote of Thanks and whose story was a reprise of her speech given in April at the 100th Anniversary of the Child Welfare League, on behalf of all CHOICES graduates.

Ms Joseph said her story began 20 years ago when she was just 16.

She told the gathering: “I was introduced to CHOICES at the early part of my pregnancy by Ms Baptiste. She was at the health centre at that time and they told her about me and she came and picked me up and took me to CHOICES.

Only to discover that there were other teens even younger than myself, so all the embarrassment and awkward feelings left, because in my mind here was my chance to make things right for myself and my baby.”

She added, “CHOICES offered us young ladies a second choice, a second home, an educational institution where we felt comfortable interacting without discrimination. Though many passed through the programme and got caught up pregnant again because of life challenges.

“At CHOICES we were introduced to spirituality, physical education, intellectual, cultural, emotional and social called Spices of Life not forgetting financial.

“In addition, we were exposed to various types of skill courses that we were able to earn an extra income … In some instances, some of us were able to write School Leaving and CXC exams.

“We had additional sessions about personal development, proper care for our babies and drama where we did short skits on how to handle some of our real-life situations.”

In a country which has lamented the large amount of teenage mothers CHOICES and its successful graduates need to be applauded.

Aiyegoro Ome

Categories: News

NGL ends day higher at $29.75

Business - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:33

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which two advanced, one declined and eight traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 213,347 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,976,938.90.

NCB Financial Group Limited was the volume leader with 110,000 shares changing hands for a value of $588,506, followed by Massy Holdings Limited with a volume of 24,475 shares being traded for $1,150,325.

Unilever Caribbean Limited contributed 20,000 shares with a value of $535,000, while National Enterprises Limited added 20,000 shares valued at $191,000.

T&T NGL Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.04 to end the day at $29.75. Conversely, Guardian Holdings Limited suffered the day’s sole decline, falling $0.10 to end the day at $16.50.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 1,237 shares valued at $25,395.61.

It remained at $20.53.

In yesterday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index declined by 0.17 points (0.01 per cent) to close at 1,220.12.
• The All T&T Index declined by 0.34 points (0.02 per cent) to close at 1,719.26.
• The Cross Listed Index remained at 96.79.

Categories: News

Imbert: Great interest in NIF 20 year bonds

Business - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:30

There is particular interest in the 20 year bond offered through the National Investment Fund Holding Company Limited (NIFHCL). The tax-free bonds, which are priced from $1000 and will be available until August 8, were launched yesterday.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who spoke about the bonds in an interview on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, suggested that all citizens get involved and described the bonds as a great investment.

He said extensive market research was conducted which showed unusual demand for the 20 year bonds, especially since insurance companies plan for the long term. The 20 year bonds would be perfect for insurance companies, Imbert said.

“In order to make sure this exercise is a success, what we have done over the last week or so is meet with potential large investors. I’ve met with my team and the expert advisors with the insurance companies, banks, pensions funds, credit union league and some energy companies, just to get a sense where they are going with this.

“I was quite surprised to learn of the deep interest in the 20 year bond,” Imbert said.

Under the new Insurance Act, the 20 year bond can be included in particular insurance companies and their portfolios.

“We got approval from the Central Bank on Monday that these bonds will qualify for the statutory fund of insurance companies,” the minister said, adding that approval was also given by the T&T Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC).

On why bonds were chosen, Imbert explained that Government and its consultancy services reviewed the technical underpinnings of issuance of units or shares by a fund or by a company and their capacity to raise the appropriate amount of funds. He said the bonds are backed by assets which are primarily listed companies and the interest rates are one per cent above Government borrowing rates.

The fixed income asset-backed corporate bond “will be a unique instrument being marketed on Trinidad and Tobago’s capital market,” he said.

Imbert said the interest on the bonds will be tax free for the purpose of corporation tax.

“In the first place, individuals don’t pay tax on interest on bonds. This is for two reasons—we are giving back and also to make the issue attractive. We had quite a battle over the assets of Clico,” he said.

The bonds, which can be purchased for $1,000 or in multiples of $1,000, are tradeable on the T&T Stock Exchange. They will be offered in three tranches with high interest—five years (4.5 per cent), 12 years (5.7 per cent) and 20 years (6.6 per cent )

They are supported by some of the strongest companies, with a collective market value of approximately $7.9 billion, including shares of Republic Financial Holdings Limited, One Caribbean Media Limited, West Indian Tobacco Company Limited, Angostura Holdings Limited, and Trinidad Generation Unlimited.

NIFHCL was formed recently as a vehicle to monetise assets transferred to Government from CL Financial (CLF) and its subsidiaries. This is in order for Government to recover funds owed from its $23 billion bailout of Clico after the insurance giant’s 2009 collapse.

The Government expects to raise $4 billion through NIFHCL’s portfolio which is worth $8 billion and is targeting big companies as well as individuals for the bonds.

Categories: News

Plipdeco gets ‘good’ ratings from CariCRIS

Business - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:28

The Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Limited (Plipdeco) has maintained its ratings of CariA+ on the regional scale and ttA+ on the national scale, in its latest ratings by Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS)

The regional ratings agency said this includes a “single notch up for the likelihood of support, if needed, from its majority shareholder, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”

CariCRIS said in a release: “The ratings indicate that the level of creditworthiness of this obliger, adjudged in relation to other obligers in the Caribbean is good.

The agency also maintained a negative outlook on the ratings based on expectation that prevailing economic and foreign exchange challenges in T&T will continue to persist and could negatively impact trade activity and by extension containerised cargo traffic over the next 12 - 15 months.

It cited Plipdeco’s strong market position in industrial real estate management and port operations in T&T and the company’s reliable earnings stream attributed to stable and high credit quality tenant base at the industrial estate.

“The ratings further reflect the company’s good financial performance supported by good capitalization and healthy debt protection metrics despite falling revenue for a second consecutive year. These rating strengths are tempered by the company’s high exposure to the fortunes of the contracting oil and gas industry at the industrial estate,” CariCRIS said.

Categories: News

Anand’s opens new branch in Pointe-a-Pierre

Business - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:28

Anand Low Price Group of Companies is committed to improving their services, said Chelsea Ramnarine Singh, daughter of owner Anand Ramnarine Singh, during a simple ceremony on Wednesday to mark the opening of the latest branch in the supermarket chain at Tropical Plaza, Pointe-a-Pierre.

She said the goal is not to compete with other supermarkets but to provide affordable prices and excellent service to customers.

“While conducting market research to determine whether or not it was feasible to open a Low Price branch in Marabella, we recognized that persons were getting the items they needed, but not the shopping experience they wanted,” Singh said.

The objective, she added, is to make the customer’s experience enjoyable and easier.

“When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t have to spend a long period of time searching for a park. When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t be disgusted by the unclean appearance of the store. When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t have to pay unfair prices that leaves your wallet empty when your trolley barely has anything in it. When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t be deprived of a shopping bag,” she said.

Promising to consistently upgrade their offerings, Singh said there will be even more improvements with the opening of their sixth branch.

She paid tribute to her father, the CEO and founder of the supermarket chain, for his hard work and devotion. Her brother, Nicholas Ramnarine Singh, thanked their team, suppliers, financiers and loyal customers for support over the years.

Categories: News

CoP avoids jail for contempt

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:11

Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams yesterday avoided a possible jail term in contempt of court proceedings brought against him by a suspended officer.

Williams appeared before Justice David Harris in the San Fernando High Court to explain why he should not be held in contempt for failing to obey Harris’ order last July to promote Cpl Billy Ramsundar to the rank of sergeant.

In that matter, the State conceded that an administrative error resulted in Ramsundar not being awarded his correct promotion score. The state, therefore, entered into a consent order in which it agreed to publish a revised Order of Merit List and adjust Ramsundar’s placement higher in accordance with his correct score. Harris also ruled that Ramsundar was treated unfairly and ordered Williams to promote him with retroactive effect.

Following the CoP’s failure to comply with the order, Ramsundar filed an application for contempt of court. At a previous hearing of the contempt matter on June 14, the judge ordered that Williams appear before him to explain why he failed to obey his order.

Dressed in his police uniform yesterday, Williams, together with Inspector Lucien Ferguson from the police legal department, appeared in court. Through his attorneys Brenston Francois and Ryanka Ragbir, Williams explained that Ramsundar was subsequently placed on suspension as a result of a criminal charge. The attorneys also submitted that following that ruling, another court granted an injunction blocking promotions within the police service.

Harris, however, noted that his order had pre-dated Ramsundar’s charge and the injunction and it must be obeyed.

Ramsundar’s attorney, Anand Ramlogan SC, submitted that the court must protect the integrity of the administration of justice and ensure compliance with the order. He said Ramsundar is innocent until proven guilty and urged the court to ensure he was promoted with retroactive effect. Following discussions between the parties, Williams agreed to promote Ramsundar by Monday with retroactive effect and pay him all his arrears of salary and other entitlements. The CoP also agreed to pay Ramsundar’s legal costs.

Speaking afterwards, Williams said around the same time the order was made to promote Ramsundar another court granted an injunction blocking promotions.

“We just had to comply with whatever the court says, if one court says this and next court so that my job is just to comply,” he said.

Ramsundar, however, said it was more than just a personal victory, as there were many officers who are being unfairly denied promotions and suffering. He said he hoped this matter would serve as a wake-up call to other officers, adding officers become demoralised when their career advancement is frustrated. Ramsundar is before the Siparia Magistrates Court charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and malicious damage of a Canon camera following an alleged attack on T&T Guardian photographer Kristian De Silva outside A&V Oil and Gas Drilling on September 15 at Nazim Avenue, San Francique, Penal.

Categories: News

Cops demotivated after public criticism—Williams

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:06

Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams says officers of the Port-of- Spain Division are “demotivated” following public criticism of them and he is defending the officers in the face of growing criticism that they locked down the Beetham to look for a phone stolen from Adrian Colm Imbert, the son of Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

He said the officers were “investigating the crime of a robbery and not searching for a phone.”

Williams told the T&T Guardian yesterday that officers in the Port- of- Spain Division had been “working truly hard to deal with crime in the capital and they have been successful.

People claimed because the victim was Imbert’s son the police put a special effort in the case. But Williams denied this.

The acting top cop took the media to task for “peddling incorrect information.” He said reports made it appear that officers “acted in an irresponsible manner, nobody valuing that in the Port-of-Spain Division officers have been tripling up their efforts so that the embarrassment of the past where they had low detection rates should be nowhere in the future.”

Williams said the officers “were not being given credit for the success but they are being criticised for taking action because a minister son has been robbed.”

Declaring that people in Trinidad “have become so insensitive,” Williams said he had advised his officers who were “demotivated in the face of the criticism,” that they needed to keep doing the work “you are doing in Port-of-Spain.”

Because of their efforts, he said, the detection rate had gone from “17 per cent last year to 36 per cent this year and if they continue working hard they may reach 40 per cent in Port-of-Spain, for me that is fantastic and the country needs to recognise that and appreciate it.”

Williams said he knew nothing about high ranking unit leaders being involved in the recovery of the phone “because there is no direct involvement of the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioners on dealing with what was a robbery in the Port-of-Spain Division.”

According to Williams, “in Port-of-Spain you have a divisional commander who is a Senior Superintendent, if he gets support from the IATF who has a Senior Superintendent and then we have within the Port-of-Spain area the CID who has a Senior Superintendent, all of these officers have a mandate to team up to deal with crime in Port-of-Spain, so they have been doing that.

They have been coordinating and collaborating.”

It was that collaboration, he said, which had led to the “progress in 2018 so that Port-of- Spain could be much different.”

Williams said the unit leaders have a “responsibility to ensure that if they have a lead to follow they do so.”

He said the search was not for a “phone, but the crime that was committed was a robbery it was not about going to look for a phone, that was nothing unusual or special.”

He recalled that only recently a vehicle was stolen from the Port and within an hour “it was recovered in Port-of-Spain.”

He said it was the commissioner’s “testimony to the work the officers are doing that they are really doing excellent work and now they feel demotivated,” Williams said.

Categories: News

YTEPP fires CEO

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:03

The Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP) Board has fired chief executive officer Nigel Forgenie following comments he made at a recent parliamentary committee meeting, Communication Minister Stuart Young said yesterday.

Speaking at the post- Cabinet media briefing, Young noted evidence was given at the Parliament’s Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC) meeting earlier this month where the CEO was accused of certain behaviour and allegations of dishonesty and untruths told had also arisen.

At the PAEC meeting, PAEC members said things are “rotten” at YETPP and there’s need for a forensic audit into the institution.

The focus of that meeting — as at others — had been Forgenie who admitted his wife was employed with YETPP as a dance tutor using her maiden name. The admission came after three denials by Forgenie that any of his relatives were employed at YTEPP — and after a warning from committee chairman Wade Mark that he was under oath.

Proceedings also revealed that Forgenie took a unilateral decision not to brand the company vehicle assigned to him with the YTEPP logo contrary to state policy. PAEC members also expressed concern over the use/issues regarding a company vehicle involving Forgenie.

Yesterday, Young said YTEPP’s Board met with Forgenie and also reviewed his responses and he was given an opportunity to be heard and to defend his performance.

Young said the Board said yesterday it no longer had confidence in Forgenie and terminated his employment, effective immediately.

Young also said a Cabinet-appointed team recently met with Australian vessel manufacturers Incat and Austal and the team now has options and proposals to take to Cabinet next week on two new fast ferries—a 100 metre long one and a 94 metre ferry.

Both would be designed specifically for T&T’s waters and would be state-of the art, he said.

Categories: News

55 inmates use case fast-track project

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:00

Fifty-five men on remand for murder, rape and armed robbery yesterday indicated their willingness to plead guilty to their crimes.

The men, who agreed to participate in a pilot project aimed at reducing backlogs in the criminal justice system, indicated their intention during a special hearing before Justice Gillian Lucky in the Port-of-Spain High Court.

While addressing the participants, Lucky repeatedly said the project sought to improve accused persons’ access to justice.

“This is just to give you the status you need to access the justice you want and require,”Lucky told the men.

The initiative began several months ago as the T&T Prison Service distributed flyers to the remand inmates across the country who were awaiting trial in the High Court. The project applies to inmates who are not allowed bail for their offences, who were denied bail or have been unable to access it.

The project sought inmates who were willing to plead guilty to their alleged crimes or who desired Maximum Sentence Indications (MSIs). Through MSIs, judges indicate the maximum sentence an accused person would receive if they elect to plead guilty to a crime and avoid a trial. Accused who plead guilty are afforded an automatic one-third discount on their sentences.

During yesterday’s hearing, Lucky sought to manage the cases of an initial group of 55 men who agreed to participate. Lucky dealt with each case individually and requested that each man explain the reason for their participation.

“I am guilty and I want to know the balance of the sentence I have to serve,” one man, who is awaiting trial for having sex with a minor, said.

His response was mirrored by his fellow inmates when given their turn.

Lucky then enquired if each man had an attorney. Those who were without one were immediately registered with the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority by an official present in court. She then enquired as to the status of the filing of the indictments against them by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The filing of indictments in the High Court is a major cause of delay in the criminal justice system, as the procedure is required to have the case listed for trial before a judge and jury. The inefficiency usually stems from delays in the transferring of evidence from accused persons’ preliminary inquiries to the DPP’s Office, which is required to file the indictments.

Lucky yesterday requested the status of the process in each case and asked prosecutors from the DPP’s Office to expedite the filing of the indictments where possible. She said once the men are assigned attorneys and the indictments filed, the cases will be transferred to other criminal judges who would accept guilty pleas and sentence the accused men or perform MSIs.

Lucky advised each person they were free to change their position at any point in time before sentencing.

“Nobody is under pressure or is forced to participate. If you wish to change your mind at any point in time you are free to do so,” Lucky said.

Lucky also praised the Prison Service and the Court and Process Branch of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) for supporting and facilitating the project.

Lucky adjourned the cases to October 11, when a next status hearing will be held.

During the hearing, defence attorney Rekha Ramjit, who is representing some of the men, agreed to represent some of those without attorneys.

While Ramjit described the initiative as an “excellent approach”, she noted that more effort was needed to educate inmates as she was contacted by some murder accused who were ineligible to participate.

Ramjit noted that only inmates who were being prosecuted for felony murder are allowed, as the mandatory death penalty for murder is waived in such cases where death results in the commission of a lesser criminal offence.

The T&T Guardian understands that another batch of remand inmates are expected to participate next Tuesday.

Categories: News

PCA boss urges cops on patrol to obey rule of law

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 22:57

Police Complaints Authority (PCA) head David West is warning police officers to obey the rule of law.

His advice comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement by National Security Minister Edmund Dillon that police officers will be more visible to members of the public in all public recreational spaces throughout T&T during the July-August vacation period.

However, noting that there were increasing reports of errant behaviour from police before the PCA yesterday, West said whilst they had no jurisdiction over the T&T Defence Force (TTDF), whose members are to be deployed jointly with the police, he “expects the T&T Police Service and the TTDF to obey the rule of law, especially the rights of citizens of T&T.”

West said from January 1 to present the PCA had received 200 complaints against police officers as compared to 144 for the same period last year. He also said the PCA is actively engaged in carrying out independent investigations into 18 police killings from the beginning of 2018 up to July 4.

“The PCA is of the view that this can be attributed to several factors, namely the increase in the PCA’s drive in public education of the citizens of T&T through our community outreach programmes and the “Did you know” series updated weekly on our Facebook page,” West said.

“Additionally, the PCA’s App has proven itself to be an effective medium for citizens to easily make complaints to the PCA.”

One of the recent cases being investigated is an incident in Never Dirty, Morvant, where masked police were recorded getting out of two police vehicles and firing shots in the community. In the video, a masked officer points a gun at a young man who was part of a group of men passing by the police vehicle and began hurling obscenities at him. Other officers were also heard using obscene language. At least three gunshots were fired as the officers then shoved the men forward and urged them to “go up the road.”

Categories: News

On the back burner

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 22:47

The Rowley administration has priorities and decriminalising marijuana isn’t one of them.

So said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media conference. He made the comment regarding the issue after it featured for yet another time at recent Caricom Summit discussions.

Rowley said a presentation on the matter was made at last week’s Summit, including on marijuana as an economic entity, those who argued the herb was a harmless substance and also on ganja as a medical breakthrough.

For Government, however, Rowley said 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.

Speaking at length on what’s among priority attention, the crime crisis, Rowley said his constituency was hit recently by a “very heinous act of cold-blooded slaughter” which added to the trauma families are feeling from “this crime wave affecting T&T for the longest while.”

“The crime level is affecting us in very many ways, not just safety and security, but also in watering down our position for economic growth and T&T’s potential to sell ourself as a place where investment can be done and we’re losing in our communities, the sense of brotherly love,” he said.

Saying that pursuit of safety and security was Government’s number one priority, he added, “It’s difficult for the public to accept that, I know because our results haven’t been good. But we won’t abdicate that responsibility and we will not settle for second place. We’ll continue to direct resources where needed and exhort those on the payroll whose job it is to ensure it, that there are significant improvements in this area.”

He said he expected somewhere in the not too distant future to be able to appoint a police commissioner “to inject into the police service that much needed fillip for doing things considerably different and Government isn’t averse to making those changes.”

Rowley admitted the crime problem also has a downside for Government.

He said, “Government is responsible for the state of the economy, the environment, the level of criminal conduct ... I’m not shying away from the fact Government has a responsibility. I know we’re not doing sufficiently enough in our fight against crime, ...but if we do things differently...we can get on top of this problem.”

However, he said a state of emergency wasn’t being considered “at this time” since Government didn’t see it as an effective way of changing what’s happening and this could also have negative effects on the economy, creating environment for growth of criminals.

Rowley said those who lead the police service have a duty to do business to impress upon the public that trust can be restored, and for those who knew of “bad cops” in the system, information on this was the key. He supported a reporter’s suggestion for more robust policing and “stop and search” exercises on all roads without notice and greater frequency. He felt this would assure the public state agencies are working.

“Screening on the roads should be an ongoing approach,” he said.

Categories: News

3 Sea Lots men freed of murder

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 22:44

Three men from Sea Lots were yesterday acquitted of murdering a man during a robbery in Cocorite in 2010.

After spending eight years on remand, Sherwin Alexander, 32, Richard “Bulls” Thomas, 36, and 23-year-old Sean Villafana walked out the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain as free men after a jury found them not guilty of murdering 24-year-old Amiel George on January 18, 2010. They were also acquitted of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

Their friends—Reinaldo Marcano, 36, Raymond Birot, 45, Kurt Serrette, 36, Terrence “Trix” David, 36, Keston Morris, 29, Gerard Hepburn, 26, Keon “Taliban” Lawrence, 26, Joel “Snake Roberts, 27, and 26-year-old Devon Victor—were also charged with the crime, but were freed by High Court judge Devan Rampersad in April.

Rampersad upheld a no case submission as he ruled that there was insufficient evidence linking the nine men to the crime.

However, the trio was not as lucky as Rampersad pointed out that the victim’s blood was found on their clothing when they were arrested shortly after the incident.

As the trial, which began over a year ago, continued before Rampersad, the trio’s legal team raised discrepancies with the State’s evidence against them.

While under cross-examination from defence attorney Mario Merritt, the State’s forensic experts admitted that the blood stains did not corroborate allegations that the three men surrounded George and chopped him. Merritt contended that the stains would be larger and would be in distinct patterns if the State’s case was indeed true.

DNA experts also admitted that the blood on the cutlass that was allegedly found in the maxi-taxi in which the men were travelling, could have been easily transferred to the trio’s clothing through mishandling by police officers and crime scene investigators.

They also admitted that the victim’s DNA (skin particles) were found on the handle of the cutlass.

It took a 12-member jury before Rampersad almost the entire four hour period allotted to them to return with unanimous not guilty verdicts for the men.

The trio’s relatives and friends, many of whom attended all the hearings of the case, were heard celebrating in the courtroom as the verdicts were being delivered by the jury foreman.

“Thank you Jesus,” several of them exclaimed as embraced each other after being ushered out of the court by police officers.

“We always know they were innocent but that is the law,” one female relative said.

Alexander, Thomas and Villafana briefly greeted them before entering a Range Rover SUV that was waiting outside.

The men were also represented by Wayne Sturge, Alexia Romero, Karunaa Bisramsingh and Shanice Edwards. Tricia Hudlin-Cooper prosecuted.

ABOUT THE CASE

The group of men were on trial for murdering 24-year-old Amiel George on January 18, 2010.

George was standing near his home at Harding Place, Cocorite, when he was attacked by a group of men, who robbed him of a gold chain before chopping him several times. While no one witnessed the attack, residents claimed to have seen the men fleeing the scene in a maxi taxi.

A maxi taxi fitting the description was eventually intercepted along Wrightson Road in Port-of-Spain, with the 12 accused inside. The blood-stained cutlass, which was allegedly used in the attack, was recovered inside.

Throughout their preliminary inquiry, the men referred to police officers as the “Dirty Dozen”, repeatedly professed their innocence and frequently protested by banging against the walls of prison transport trucks while being conveyed to and from court.

Categories: News

5 charged with conspiring to kill mini mart owner

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 22:41

Five Guaico, Tamana men appeared in court charged with conspiracy to murder mini mart owner John Samaroo.

They appeared before Senior Magistrate Gillian Scotland in the Sangre Grande Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Ferdinand Mora, aka ‘Fredi’’, 32; Bonifacio Mora, aka ‘Chin’ 46; Javon Mora, aka Mickey, 25; Justin Durity 22; and Nickie Paradaisee, 35, were charged by Cpl Daryl Seecharan of Arouca Homicide Bureau Region 2.

A sixth man, charged with Samaroo’s murder, did not appear in court yesterday.

Samaroo, the owner of J&J Mini Mart in Guaico, went to empty garbage in a barrel on the outside of his business place when he was accosted by masked men on June 21.

The magistrate advised Ferdinand Mora to apply to a judge in chambers for bail while Bonifacio and Javon were each granted $300,000 bail to be approved by Clerk of Peace. Durity and Paradaisee were each placed on $350,00 bail, also to be approved by Clerk of Peace.

The accused men were reportedly arrested at their respective homes in Guaico, Tamana and later charged after investigating officers received instructions from the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Joan Honore-Paul.

RALPH BANWARIE
 

Categories: News

Constituents pray for MP

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 22:39

Sea Lots community leader Cedric “Burkie” Burke and contractor Kenroy Dopwell yesterday prayed for the speedy recovery of their Port-of-Spain South MP, describing her as a mother to their community.

Both men said they were saddened by McDonald’s deteriorating health and would continue to ask God to deliver her from her sickness.

“On behalf of the community I would like to extend a speedy recovery to our MP. I hope she gets over whatever is her illness. We are still unclear what she is suffering from. All we have been asking God is to return her to good health,” Burke said.

This is the second time McDonald has been hospitalised in weeks.

In June, McDonald fell ill during a Cabinet meeting and was discharged after being treated for low blood pressure.

Yesterday, Burke said when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced on Tuesday that McDonald was “seriously ill” he became gravely concerned.

But on Wednesday Burke said his fears worsened when the Communications Ministry stated that the PM was awaiting confirmation on the full nature of McDonald’s illness. Only hours before, a press release from Mc Donald’s constituency office assistant Sharon Felix had stated McDonald had been discharged from the St Clair Medical Centre, where she had been admitted since Saturday for an existing medical condition. The statements from the constituency office and ministry led to conflicting reports.

As a result of McDonald’s illness, Rowley yesterday announced that Allyson West has been appointed to act as Public Administration Minister.

“It’s worrying to the whole community because everybody knows she is well loved and supported in here. Marlene has done a lot for us. We are all saddened by the news because the last time we saw her she was in good health,” Burke said.

Burke said he would not visit McDonald at the hospital but would send her flowers. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her,” Burke said.

Dopwell, a contractor and Burke’s neighbour, meanwhile said the situation that has befallen McDonald was unfortunate.

“The best we can do is send her text messages and pray for her. We tried calling her on her cellphone but got no response. This is not like Marlene. She would normally answer.”

In July 2017, Rowley fired McDonald hours after she took the oath as Public Utilities Minister when Burke and Dopwell turned up at her swearing-in ceremony at President’s House. Burke was held during the 2011 state of emergency and charged with being a gang leader. The charges were eventually dropped.

“It’s something worrying. She’s a mother to us…a mother to the community. We are lost for words. We were not expecting to hear such disturbing news.”

Last Sunday, Dopwell said constituents prayed for McDonald’s health to improve during a service at the community’s Open Bible Church.

“We have been praying for her constantly.”

He said in the 11 years McDonald has been representing the community much was achieved.

In a discussion with constituents yesterday, Dopwell said they made jokes about the Public Administration Ministry being jinxed.

“First Maxie Cuffie fell ill and he still outside seeking medical attention. And look, weeks after Marlene was appointed to the ministry she fall sick too. We were asking if the ministry blight or something,” Dopwell said.

Calls to Felix’s cellphones went straight to voice mail.

Categories: News

PM hopes for full recovery

News - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 22:35

Public Administration Minister Marlene McDonald has been diagnosed with renal/kidney failure.

The Port-of-Spain South MP has been hospitalised since Saturday. A statement from the Ministry of Communications indicated McDonald was being treated for an “existing medical condition.”

It’s the second time she has been taken to hospital in the last month. While it was initially thought she was battling pneumonia, a concerned source close to McDonald disclosed the true nature of her illness, saying she is in renal failure and now requires dialysis two to three days a week.

Guardian Media Ltd also understands that McDonald’s prognosis is complicated by her diabetic condition and she will need time to rest and recover.

Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys lose the ability to filter waste from your blood sufficiently and is accompanied by a number of risks, including anaemia, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection, fluid overload among others.

Calls to McDonald’s phone went directly to voicemail.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley appointed Senator Allyson West as McDonald’s temporary replacement at the Public Administration Ministry. He said this was done “given the nature of her hospitalisation and her ability to function in the assignment she is carrying.”

At the post-Cabinet news conference, Rowley did not divulge details about her health but he wished McDonald a “speedy recovery and a complete one.”

He also responded to conflicting information put out yesterday by the Port-of-Spain South constituency office, suggesting that McDonald had been discharged from the hospital. It contradicted a statement from the Communications Ministry which stated McDonald was still hospitalised.

“We cannot speak for any other than the Government’s communication that it made to the population,” Rowley said.

“The statements made by the Government would be based on information the Government has, which may be different from the information other people have.”

McDonald still remains at the St Clair Medical Hospital under medical care.

It now means two ministers from the Public Administration Ministry are facing serious challenges with their health and are now on sick leave.

Minister in that ministry Maxie Cuffie has been away from duty since last year after suffering a stroke. It is expected he will return to the country from the United States at the end of July.

What is kidney/renal failure

Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. When your kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough for you to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant. In most cases, kidney failure is caused by other health problems that have done permanent damage (harm) to your kidneys little by little, over time.

When your kidneys are damaged, they may not work as well as they should. If the damage to your kidneys continues to get worse and your kidneys are less and less able to do their job, you have chronic kidney disease. Kidney failure is the last (most severe) stage of chronic kidney disease. This is why kidney failure is also called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD for short.

Diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD. High blood pressure is the second most common cause of ESRD.

Having one of the health problems that can lead to kidney failure does not mean that you will definitely have kidney failure. Living a healthy lifestyle and working with your doctor to control these health problems can help your kidneys work for as long as possible.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) usually gets worse slowly, and symptoms may not appear until your kidneys are badly damaged. In the late stages of CKD, as you are nearing kidney failure (ESRD), you may notice symptoms that are caused by waste and extra fluid building up in your body.

If you have ESRD, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. There is no cure for ESRD, but many people live long lives while having dialysis or after having a kidney transplant. (Source - http://www.kidneyfund.org/ )

Categories: News

Investing and the World Cup

Business Guardian - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 14:47

There have been many attempts to link World Cup football to various activities in a country.

From our local experience we know that taking time to watch World Cup matches has an effect on national productivity.

This, of course, is more pronounced in countries that are actually playing in the World Cup and the further into the World Cup a country goes the greater the distraction.

Other linkages have been made between the results of World Cup matches and incidences of domestic violence, alcohol consumption and attendance at work the day after a game. One of the more curious linkages has been the outcome of World Cup matches against the next day stock market returns.

The argument here is that the collective mood and emotions of investors have an impact on their trading pattern that then impact stock market returns. So, a team that wins a World Cup match will have stock market participants that are more upbeat and that mood will be reflected in their trading patterns.

One of the things to appreciate in these discussions is that it is very difficult to distinguish between a correlation and causation.

This is because the World Cup is a so infrequent and a team’s performance in each tournament is unique so it is very difficult to generate enough statistical data. Some of the linkages may be caused by the World Cup but others are simply correlated and could be chalked off as coincidence.

The World Cup match last week between Brazil and Belgium would surely have captured the imagination of local sports fans.

One interesting statistic is that Belgium had up to this point nine different goal scorers at the 2018 World Cup, excluding own goals. Only Italy and France in 2006 and 1982 respectively have ever had more in a single tournament, with the record being ten.

On the other side, prior to the quarter-final match up, Brazil’s Neymar had recorded 48 touches in the opposition penalty area which was, at the time, 16 more than any other player at the World Cup.

These two statistics can start a debate on whether Belgium won because they played more as a team and Brazil lost because of their reliance on Neymar. Recognise again that these linkages are correlated to the result but it takes a more in depth analysis to determine the cause of Brazil’s defeat and Belgium’s victory.

Portfolio construction

We can, however, take some lessons from the World Cup and some of its matches in terms of how we craft an investment portfolio.

Some World Cup teams rely on a couple of super stars, or one big star for their overall success.

In the example of Brazil, at least statistically, there was an overreliance on Neymar to get the ball into the opposition penalty area.

When a star player is on top of his game, the other players in the team seem to look good as well even if many of the players involved might be below average.

If you juxtapose this analogy into a stock portfolio you may find a portfolio with a big winner like, say, Apple and a number of other companies that are really below average but when they all come together the portfolio has still done reasonably well.

A portfolio constructed in this manner is likely to have a bit more randomness to its performance and return as it is heavily skewed based on the “star’s” performance of lack thereof.

There are other options to portfolio construction and it is useful to return to the football analogy to make the contrast. A bunch of average or seemingly below average players on a team can win matches.

We have seen this with the performance of a number of so called “under dog” teams at this World Cup. This occurs for one simple reason—football is first and foremost a team game.

So the super star player may really be a super star but the rest of his team has to string together a few passes before the ball can get to him and when it does he sometimes needs to pass to someone else for a goal to be scored.

One likely outcome of having the super star player is that most of the play is directed to or through that player. This makes it easier for the opposing team to anticipate what is likely to happen and so they can plan for these eventualities and manage the situation to their ultimate advantage.

The team of average players has an entirely different strategy.

They need to seek ways to link together that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

This is also a fundamental theory of portfolio management. It is the reason why it is considered better to own a portfolio of stocks as opposed to placing your entire investment into one stock. You don’t bet on the performance of the “star” stock but you build a portfolio of stocks that in combination can produce a result that is less variable and more consistent.

Appreciating this dynamic is important in a world where we often chase after the big winner. A frequent question is “what is a good stock to own” as opposed to “how can I put together a stable team of stocks”.

A stable team is less exciting and in some cases may be outright boring but when it comes to your financial security it’s the result more than the excitement that matters.

Role of luck Compartmentalising is important in terms of knowing what you want to accomplish.

For a World Cup you can relish the allure of a star player and support a team on that basis. However when it comes to your money it is better to build a good team (portfolio) of average players what can produce reasonable and consistent results over time. For many Germany may be the team that best defines this portfolio objective.

Yet Germany also flopped at this World Cup.

Germany’s reality brings me to the final World Cup/investing lesson.

There is always an element of luck. Based on shots on goal you would have expected Germany to score far more goals than they actually did, that they didn’t show the importance of getting the correct mix in your portfolio. Growth stocks and dividend stocks are to a stock portfolio what attack and defence is to football. You need to have both working properly together in order to get the result that you are seeking.

Then at the end of it all do not underestimate the role that luck plays in success.

Last weekend’s quarter finals saw the winning team score two goals each. None of those winning teams had more than three shots on target. Overall the four winners scored eight goals from just ten shots. This is an amazingly high conversion rate. The four losers scored three goals from twenty one shots (Brazil was one from nine).

You would expect that in a knock out round the team that is behind would leave more room for the opposition to get better chances. Adjusting for when the scores were level, the four winners had three goals plus an own goal from four shots on target and twenty nine in total. The losers had one goal form four shots on target out of a total of 14 shots on goal.

The lesson is simple. Fortune favours the brave and there is always an element of luck in success.

For the investor that means that you position yourself so that you can remain invested through the up and down market cycles. If you are brave through the market cycle and try to maintain a balanced portfolio throughout then with a bit of luck you will achieve your objectives. Unlike a World Cup the investor’s game doesn’t end unless you decide to end it, so time is on your side.

Ian Narine can be contacted at
[email protected]

Categories: News

Pages

Subscribe to Sky 99.5 FM aggregator - News