Trinidad e Tobago
LONDON: Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh was crowned as Miss World 2019 yesterday and said she wanted to use her title to work for “sustainable change” for women and their children. TT's Tya Jane La Shon Ramey won the Miss Caribbean title of the pagaent. Asked about the value of beauty contests in today’s world of MeToo# and the drive for equality and respect for women, the 23-year-old graduate of Florida State University said beauty for her was the least important aspect of her achievement. “I want to make a change that’s sustainable. So if we’re talking women... it needs to be something that will make sure that their children and their children’s children have a different value of life,” an overjoyed Singh told reporters after winning the title in London. Singh did not specify what kind of change she had in mind. [caption id="attachment_800816" align="alignnone" width="683"] Miss TT World Tya Jane Ramey after being crowned in San Fernando earlier this year. She won the Miss Caribbean title in the Miss World competition in London on Saturday. - FILE PHOTO[/caption] “It’s OK to celebrate things like beauty and attributes like strength and those things. But this is so much more,” she said as she hugged her proud parents, Jahrine and Bradshaw. Describing herself as a “changed woman” after the experience of taking part in the Miss World competition, Singh added: “There’s no way I could chalk it up to just being about beauty, because that’s the last on the list, honestly.” Singh, who sang a version of the late singer Whitney Houston’s “I have nothing” in the competition, received her crown from last year’s winner, Vanessa Ponce of Mexico. Jamaicans attending the event hailed Singh’s win as a triumph also for the country. “The fact that Miss World is won by a black person is very, very significant to us because it represents a lot in terms of our culture, in terms of how far the world has moved on,” said audience member Christine McDermott, who lives in London. On her Facebook page La Shon thanked local supporters with this message: "You gave me the courage to show the world the best of us and all the beautiful things our unique twin island can give the world."
La crisis en Venezuela ha obligado a los venezolanos a buscar oportunidades en otros países, incluido TT. Y, como todos los demás inmigrantes, han traído consigo sus tradiciones para que puedan sentirse como en casa. La chef Ivonne Gascón no es diferente. Gascón, que había vivido toda su vida en el país sudamericano, llegó a TT hace un año y seis meses con sus habilidades y recetas a cuestas. Y con la llegada de la temporada de navidad, Gascón habló con Newsday sobre las tradiciones de una comida navideña venezolana. Dijo que la hallaca, el pan de jamón, la ensalada de pollo y la pierna de cerdo combinan sus sabores para darle a Venezuela en la estación más hermosa del año, una comida que ahora comparte con TT. La hallaca es la gran protagonista de la mesa navideña y tiene su origen en la época de la colonia. Es un tamal de maíz con estofado de pollo, carne o cerdo, al que se agregan otros ingredientes (depende de la región donde se hace), se envuelve en hojas de plátano y luego se cocina. “Es probablemente el plato más elaborado de la cocina venezolana y solo se come durante los últimos dos meses de cada año, especialmente en diciembre. La familia se reúne y todos contribuyen a que salgan perfectos”, explica Gascón. Lo combinan con frutas como uvas, mandarinas, nueces, paneton y pastel negro. La hallaca es el elemento principal de este plato porque identifica y marca el sabor de la temporada y unifica todo el plato. Se sirve en Navidad de una familia a otra, como un gran gesto de afecto. Gascón lleva 25 años trabajando con comida criolla venezolana, especialmente en Navidad. “En Venezuela trabajé por pedidos. Tuve contactos con muchas empresas para la preparación de alimentos para las fiestas de fin de año de sus trabajadores. Llegué a TT con la idea de poder hacer lo mismo, y lo estoy haciendo. La comida navideña tradicional venezolana también está comenzando a llegar a los hogares de Trinidad y Tobago”, dijo. Espera que, como en Venezuela, la tradición de compartir esta comida especial se pueda adoptar en TT. [caption id="attachment_800809" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Leyendas: Un almuerzo tradicional venezolano de Navidad, que incluye hallaca, pan de jamón y pernil, elaborado por la chef Ivonne Gascón.
- AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] "En septiembre comenzamos a vender el plato de Navidad a pedido, por ahora solo los venezolanos lo piden, pero estoy seguro de que los locales también lo probarán". Prepara un combo: hallaca, pan de jamón, ensalada y pernil acompañado de un dulce de lechosa. También vende empanadas por pedido los sábados, con entrega. "Hacemos unos 35 platos los fines de semana". Dijo que hay organizaciones y chefs expertos que enseñan a los trinitenses cómo preparar estas comidas. El Centro Cultural Hispano de Arima, por ejemplo, ofrece un curso los miércoles y viernes a las 6:00 pm. Además, prepara almuerzos locales para un convento en Arouca. Dijo que aprendió a prepararlos con la ayuda de vecinos e internet. Gascón reconoce que la cocina venezolana y trinitense tiene muchas similitudes y es fácil obtener algunos de los ingredientes aquí. La harina de maíz, carne, verduras y aderezos, colorantes y polvos se pueden comprar en los supermercados. Pero no todos ellos. Señaló que la hoja de plátano en la que se cocina la hallaca y el hilo con el que están atados, es difícil de encontrar. "Las hojas se encargan a amigos que tienen siembras, nos venden las hojas, pero luego tenemos que prepararlas quemándolas y cortando a medida para poder montar la hallaca". Del mismo modo, con patas de cerdo. "En Venezuela preparamos toda la pierna. Pero no aquí. La venden en rodajas". Para obtener más información, siga a Gascón en Instagram @ivonne_itg. Hallacas [caption id="attachment_800811" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Postres tradicionales navideños venezolanos, que incluyen dulce de leche cuajado y dulce de papaya, hechos por la chef Ivonne Gascón. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Rendimiento: 35 porciones Ingredientes 1 kg de carne de cerdo sin grasa picada en trozos pequeños 2 kg de carne limpia y cortada en trozos pequeños 2 kg de pollo previamente cocido junto con ½ kg de tocino entero ½ kg de cebolla cortada en dados pequeños ½ kg de puerros cortados en rodajas finas ¼ kg de cebollín finamente rebanado ¾ kg de ajo pelado y triturado ½ taza de alcaparras o al gusto ½ taza de aceituna sin semillas ½ taza de pasas ½ pimiento rojo sin semillas ½ pimentón rojo sin semillas 2 tazas de vino tinto Aceite con onoto Sal y pimienta Masa de harina de maíz Hojas de plátano e hilo Direcciones Guiso (Estofado) En una olla grande o en un horno holandés, saltee el tocino hasta que se obtenga grasa. Agregue carne de cerdo y res junto con comino, pimentón, cúrcuma y pimienta de cayena. Sazone con sal y pimienta y luego cocine a fuego alto durante 5 minutos. Agregue cebollas, tomates, ajo, puerro, apio y pimiento. Cubra y deje hervir. Baje el fuego y continúe cocinando hasta que toda la carne esté tierna, aproximadamente 1 1/2 horas. Una vez que la carne esté tierna, agregue el jugo de limón y el azúcar. Revuelva y pruebe para ajustar la sazón. Ponga a un lado hasta que el guiso se haya enfriado por completo. Esto se puede hacer con anticipación y refrigerar. Masa (masa) A fuego lento, cocine el aceite con semillas de onoto en una cacerola pequeña. Cocine a fuego lento durante unos 5 minutos. Enfríe a temperatura ambiente, cuele y deseche las semillas. En un tazón grande (o procesador de alimentos) mezcle masa harina, sal, agua y aceite de achiote. Forme la masa en 24 bolas. Armar Engrase ligeramente el centro de un cuadrado de hoja de plátano. Coloque una bola de masa en el centro de cada cuadrado y aplaste la masa a un grosor de 1/8 de pulgada. Cubra cada hoja de plátano cubierta de masa con la mezcla de carne y cubra / adorne con una tira de pimienta, un anillo de cebolla, una rodaja de huevo duro, unas pasas y alcaparras y dos aceitunas. Dobla la hoja para encerrar por completo el relleno, haciendo bolsillos rectangulares. Las hallacas pueden medir aproximadamente 6 pulgadas x 3 pulgadas. Ate cada hallaca con hilo de cocina. Vapor en una olla grande, cubierta, durante 1 hora. Servir caliente. Las hallacas se pueden refrigerar (o congelar) y cocinar al vapor para recalentar antes de servir. Pan de jamón [caption id="attachment_800804" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Jamón de Chef Ivonne Gascón. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Rendimiento: 1 barra de pan, suficiente para 4 a 6 personas. Ingredientes 3/4 taza de leche tibia 4 cucharadas de mantequilla 2 cucharadas de azúcar 1 cucharadita de sal Paquete de 1/4 onza levadura activa seca 1/4 taza de agua tibia 3 1/2 tazas de harina para todo uso 1 huevo batido 2 cucharadas de mantequilla derretida 1/2 lb de jamón en rodajas finas 1/2 taza de pasas 1/2 taza de aceitunas rellenas de pimiento 2 yemas de huevo Direcciones Coloque el agua tibia en el recipiente de una batidora de pie. Espolvorea la levadura sobre el agua y deja reposar durante 5 minutos. Agregue 1 taza de la harina, la mantequilla y el huevo, y mezcle bien con el accesorio de gancho para masa. Agregue la mantequilla ablandada y otra taza de harina y mezcle bien. Agregue los ingredientes restantes y amase hasta que quede suave, agregando un poco de harina adicional si la masa es demasiado pegajosa. Cuando está bien amasado, la masa debe ser suave, brillante y lisa. Coloca la masa en un tazón engrasado. Cubra con una envoltura de plástico, colóquelo en un lugar cálido y deje crecer hasta que se duplique a granel, aproximadamente 30 minutos. Divide la masa por la mitad. En una superficie ligeramente enharinada, enrolle la mitad de la masa en un rectángulo grande de aproximadamente 10 x 12 pulgadas. Cepille la masa con 1 cucharada de mantequilla derretida. Coloque la mitad de las lonchas de jamón sobre la masa, dejando un borde de 1 pulgada alrededor. Espolvorea la mitad de las pasas y la mitad de las aceitunas sobre el jamón. Enrolle firmemente la masa a lo largo comenzando con el borde largo, sellando la última parte de la masa al rollo con un poco de agua. Coloque el rollo, con el lado de la costura hacia abajo, sobre una bandeja para hornear forrada con pergamino, y meta los extremos debajo ligeramente. Repita con la otra mitad de la masa. Mezcle la yema de huevo con una cucharadita de azúcar y unte la mezcla en los rollos con un pincel de repostería. Cubra ligeramente los rollos con una envoltura de plástico aceitada y déjelos crecer en un lugar cálido durante aproximadamente una hora. Hornee el pan a 350 F durante 30 a 40 minutos, hasta que estén doradas. Retirar del horno y dejar enfriar un poco antes de cortar. Pernil [caption id="attachment_800806" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Pernil hecho por el chef Ivonne Gascón. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Rendimiento: 10 porciones Ingredientes 1 paleta o lomo de cerdo de 6 kg con o sin hueso 2 cebollas blancas grandes 17 dientes de ajo 1/2 taza de aceite vegetal 2 cucharadas de salsa Worcester 1/4 taza de vinagre de vino 1 cucharada de orégano seco 1 cucharada de romero seco 2 o 3 ramitas de tomillo 2 hojas de laurel 2 tazas de jugo de naranja Sal y pimienta negra para sazonar Pocas ramitas de romero fresco Para la salsa 1/2 taza de vino Moscatel o Madeira 1/4 cucharadita de pimienta negra 1 cucharadita de salsa Worcester 1 cucharadita de harina opcional Direcciones En un procesador de alimentos, mezcle las cebollas, el ajo, la sal, la pimienta negra, las hojas de tomillo, el vinagre, el jugo de naranja y la salsa Worcester hasta obtener una pasta suave (lo importante es mezclar todos los ingredientes). Agregue la marinada a la carne de cerdo y masajee la carne. Tapar y dejar en la nevera hasta el día siguiente. Retire la carne de cerdo de la nevera una hora antes de asar, cubra con papel de aluminio y colóquela en un horno precalentado a 200 grados C / 400 F durante aproximadamente 40 minutos por kg. Una vez cocido, retire el papel de aluminio, aumente la temperatura a 220 grados C / 450 F y deje asar hasta que estén doradas, aproximadamente 10/15 por kg rociando de vez en cuando. Una vez que la carne de cerdo esté cocida y dorada, retírela del horno y envuélvala en papel de aluminio para que descanse durante al menos 20 minutos. Mientras tanto, coloque la bandeja para asar en la estufa y agregue el vino, la pimienta negra, 1 cucharadita de salsa Worcester y la harina si se usa. Mezcle todo con un batidor para disolver la harina. Dejar hervir durante aproximadamente 10 minutos. Pase la salsa a través de un tamiz o un colador fino para eliminar todos los trozos grandes y termine con una salsa suave. Retire la carne de cerdo del papel de aluminio, corte en rodajas finas y rocíe un poco de salsa encima. Servir inmediatamente. Notas de receta: Si desea una salsa más fina, más suave y más ligera, agregue agua al gusto, equilibrando el sabor con más o menos vino Moscatel. Para cocinar uniones más pequeñas, siempre divida la receta en medio o cuarto, en este caso una unión de 3 kg o 1.5 kg y modifique los ingredientes en consecuencia. Papaya dulce Rendimiento: 7 porciones Ingredientes 2 kilos de papaya verde 2 kilos de papelón (azúcar de caña sin refinar) 1/2 kilo de azúcar 1 cucharadita de bicarbonato de sodio 1 diente Pimienta jamaicana Agua Direcciones Pela la papaya y córtala en rodajas. Enjuague y coloque en un recipiente con 3 tazas de agua y agregue bicarbonato de sodio. Déjalo reposar toda la noche. Al día siguiente, ponga un colador y enjuague la papaya. Coloque papelón en un recipiente con ½ taza de agua durante la noche para ablandar. Agregue en una olla grande, 6 tazas de agua, papelón, la canela, el clavo y la pimienta de Jamaica y hierva. Luego agregue rodajas de papaya verde, azúcar blanca y una pizca de sal. Cocine a fuego lento hasta que la papaya esté tierna y el jarabe se reduzca. Retirar de la estufa y dejar enfriar. Colocar en un recipiente de vidrio o recipientes individuales y mantener en el refrigerador hasta que se sirva. Nota: En otros países, estos son los nombres de papelón: panela (Colombia), piloncillo (México), rapadura (Brasil), jaggery (India). Dulce de leche cortada [caption id="attachment_800805" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Fudge de leche cortada del chef Ivonne Gascón.
- AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Ingredientes Leche fresca 3/4 taza de azúcar 1 huevo a temperatura ambiente 2 1/2 tazas de leche entera a temperatura ambiente 1 rama de canela grande 1 cucharadita de cáscaras de lima ralladas 1 cucharadita de cáscaras de naranja ralladas 1/4 tazas de pasas o ciruelas pasas 1/4 taza de jugo de lima a temperatura ambiente Direcciones Para cuajar la leche rápidamente, agregue vinagre blanco o jugo de limón a la leche. Para 2 litros, usarás dos cucharadas. Por un galón, usará 3-4 cucharadas de vinagre blanco o jugo de limón. Déjalo reposar durante unos 10-15 minutos, sin revolverlo, y pronto verás que se divide. Agregue su leche cuajada, azúcar, cáscaras de lima y palitos de canela a un caldero o una olla ancha y profunda. Mezclar y cocinar a fuego medio bajo. Por cada litro de leche que use para su dulce de leche cortada, agregará aproximadamente una taza de azúcar blanca granulada. Recuerde, el azúcar es lo que hace que el caramelo sea dulce al final. Presta atención al nivel de líquido de la sartén a medida que avanza la cocción. A medida que comience la cocción, verá más cuajada. Después de aproximadamente una hora, su dulce de leche cortada debería estar formándose. Compara el nivel del líquido desde el principio. En este punto, ocasionalmente puede comenzar a revolver la olla, solo para evitar que el dulce se queme en el fondo. Continúe cocinando hasta que la mayor parte de su líquido se haya evaporado o hasta que la leche esté más dulce. Desea que su dulce de leche cortada sea como una consistencia de ragú o picadillo: un poco húmeda, pero no como una sopa. Transfiera el dulce de leche cuajado en un tazón grande. Puedes servirlo caliente o frío. Refrigere las sobras.
The crisis in Venezuela has forced Venezuelans to seek opportunities in other countries, including TT. And, like all other immigrants, they’ve brought their traditions with them so they can feel at home. Ivonne Gascón is no different. Gascón, who had lived her entire life in the South American country, came to TT a year and six months ago with her skills and recipes in tow. And with the arrival of the Yuletide season, Gascón spoke with Newsday about the traditions of a Venezuelan Christmas meal. She said the hallaca, ham bread, chicken salad and pork leg combine their flavours to give Venezuela the most beautiful season of the year – a meal she is now sharing with TT. The hallaca is the great protagonist of the Christmas table and has its origin at the time of the colony. It is a corn tamale with a chicken, meat or pork stew, to which other ingredients are added (it depends on the region where it is made), it is wrapped in plantain leaves and then cooked. “It is probably the most elaborate dish of Venezuelan cuisine and is only eaten during the last two months of each year, especially in December. The family gets together and everyone contributes to make them come out perfect,” explained Gascón. They combine it with fruits such as grapes, tangerines, nuts, paneton and black cake. The hallaca is the main element of this dish because it identifies and marks the flavour of the season and unifies the entire dish. It is served at Christmas from one family to the other, like a great gesture of affection. [caption id="attachment_800801" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Ivonne Gascón, centre, shares her Christmas lunch with Vicky Rojas, left, and India Matamoros. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Gascón has 25 years working with Venezuelan Creole food, especially around Christmas time. “In Venezuela I worked for orders. I had contacts with many companies for the preparation of food for their workers’ end-of-the-year parties. I came to TT with the idea of being able to do the same, and I am doing it. Traditional Venezuelan Christmas food is starting to reach Trinidadian homes too,” she said. She hopes that, like in Venezuela, the tradition of sharing this special meal can be adopted in TT. “In September we started selling the Christmas dish on request, for now only Venezuelans make orders, but I’m sure that the locals will try it too.” She prepares a combo: hallaca, ham bread, salad and pernil accompanied by a papaw candy. She also sells empanadas by orders on Saturdays, with delivery. “We are doing about 35 dishes on weekends.” She said there are organisations and expert chefs teaching Trinidadians how to prepare these meals. The Hispanic Cultural Centre in Arima, for example, offers a course on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 pm. Additionally, she prepares local lunches for a convent in Arouca. She said she learned to prepare these with the help of neighbours and the internet. Gascón recognises that Venezuelan and Trinidadian cuisine have many similarities and it is easy to get some of the ingredients here. Cornmeal, meat, vegetables and dressings, colouring and powders can be purchased at supermarkets. But not all of them. She said the plantain leaf in which the hallaca is cooked and the thread with which they are tied, is difficult to find. “The leaves are commissioned with friends who have sowings, they sell us the leaves, but we then have to prepare it by burning them and cutting to measures to be able to mount the hallaca.” Similarly, with pork legs. “In Venezuela we prepare the whole leg, the whole leg. But not here. They sell it in slices.” For more information follow Gascón on Instagram @ivonne_itg. Hallacas Yield: 35 portions Ingredients 1 kg fat-free pork chopped into small pieces 2 kg beef cleaned and cut into small pieces 2 kgs chicken previously cooked together with ½ kg whole bacon ½ kg of onion cut into small dice ½ kg leeks cut into thin casters ¼ kg finely sliced scallions ¾ kg garlic peeled and crushed ½ cup capers or to taste ½ cup seedless olive ½ cup raisins ½ red sweet pepper without seeds ½ seedless red paprika 2 cups of red wine Oil with annatto Salt and pepper Cornmeal dough Plantain leaves and thread Directions Guiso (Stew) In a large pot or dutch oven, saute bacon until fat is rendered. Add pork and beef along with cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper then cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Add onions, tomatoes, garlic, leek, celery, and bell pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and continue cooking until all meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Once meat is tender, add lemon juice and sugar. Stir and taste to adjust seasoning. Set aside until guiso has cooled completely. This may be done ahead and refrigerated. Masa (Dough) Over a low heat, cook oil with annatto seeds in small sauce pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Cool down to room temperature, strain and discard seeds. In a large bowl (or food processor) mix in masa harina, salt, water, and annatto oil. Form dough into 24 balls. To assemble Lightly oil the centre of a banana leaf square. Put a ball of masa in the centre of each square and flatten dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Top each masa-coated banana leaf with meat mixture and top/garnish with a strip of pepper, onion ring, a slice of hard boiled egg, a few raisins and capers, and two olives. Fold leaf to completely encase the filling, making rectangular pockets. Hallacas can be roughly 6 inches x 3 inches. Tie each hallaca with kitchen twine. Steam in large pot, covered, for 1 hour. Serve hot. Hallacas can be refrigerated (or frozen) and steamed to reheat before serving. Ham Bread [caption id="attachment_800798" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Ivonne Gascón's ham bread. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Yield: 1 loaf, enough for 4 to 6 people Ingredients 3/4 cup warm milk 4 tbsp butter 2 tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt 1/4-ounce package dry active yeast 1/4 cup lukewarm water 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 egg, beaten 2 tbsp melted butter 1/2 lb thinly sliced ham 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives 2 egg yolks Directions Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the flour, the butter, and egg, and mix well using the dough hook attachment. Add the softened butter and another cup of flour and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and knead until smooth, adding a bit of extra flour if the dough is too sticky. When well kneaded, the dough should be soft, shiny, and smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, set in a warm location, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into a large rectangle about 10 x 12 inches. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Place half of the ham slices over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Sprinkle half of the raisins and half of the olives around over the ham. Tightly roll up the dough lengthwise starting with the long edge, sealing the last part of the dough to the roll with some water. Place roll, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and tuck the ends under slightly. Repeat with the other half of dough. Mix the egg yolk with a teaspoon of sugar and brush the mixture onto the rolls with a pastry brush. Lightly cover the rolls with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. Bake bread at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, and let it cool slightly before slicing. Pernil [caption id="attachment_800799" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Pernil made by Ivonne Gascón. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Yield: 10 servings Ingredients 1 6-kg pork shoulder or loin with or without the bone 2 large white onions 17 garlic cloves 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 tbsp Worcester sauce 1/4 cup wine vinegar 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tbsp dried rosemary 2 or 3 thyme sprigs 2 bay leaves 2 cups of orange juice Salt and black pepper to season Few sprigs of fresh rosemary For the sauce: 1/2 cup Moscatel or Madeira wine 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 tsp Worcester sauce 1 tsp flour optional Directions In a food processor, blend the onions, garlic, salt, black pepper, thyme leaves, vinegar, orange juice and Worcester sauce until you get a smooth paste (the important thing is to have all the ingredients mixed together). Add the marinade to the pork and massage it into the meat. Cover and leave in the fridge until next day. Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before roasting, cover with aluminium foil and place it in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C/400 F for approx 40 minutes per kg. Once cooked, remove the aluminium foil, increase the temperature to 220 degree C/450 F and leave to roast until golden brown, approx 10/15 per kg basting every so often. Once the pork is cooked and golden brown, remove from the oven and wrap it in aluminium foil to rest for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime place the roasting tray on the stove and add the wine, black pepper, 1 tsp of Worcester sauce and the flour if using. Mix everything with a whisk to dissolve the flour. Leave to boil for approx 10 minutes. Pass the gravy through a sieve or fine colander to remove all large bits and finish with a smooth gravy. Remove the pork from the foil, carve in thin slices and drizzle some of the gravy on top. Serve immediately. Recipe Notes: If you like a thinner, softer and lighter gravy add water to taste, balancing the flavour with more or less Moscatel wine. For cooking smaller joints always divide the recipe in half or quarter, in this case a 3kg or 1.5kg joint and modify the ingredients accordingly. Pawpaw Sweet Yield: 7 servings Ingredients 2 kilos of green pawpaw 2 kilos of papelón (unrefined cane sugar) 1/2 kilo of sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1 clove Jamaican pepper Water Directions Peel the pawpaw and cut into slices. Rinse and place in a bowl with 3 cups of water and add baking soda. Let it rest overnight. The next day put in a colander and rinse the pawpaw. Place papelón a container with ½ cup of water overnight to soften. Add in a large pot, 6 cups of water, papelón, the cinnamon, cloves and Jamaican pepper and bring to a boil. Then add green pawpaw slices, white sugar and pinch of salt. Cook to low heat until de papaya is tender and the syrup is reduced. Remove from the stove and let it cool down. Place in a glass container or individual containers and keep in the refrigerator until being served. Recipe Note: In other countries these are the names of papelón: panela (Colombia), piloncillo (Mexico), rapadura (Brazil), jaggery (India). Curdled Milk Fudge [caption id="attachment_800800" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Ivonne Gascón's curdled milk fudge. - AYANNA KINSALE[/caption] Ingredients Fresh or curdled milk 3/4 cup of sugar 1 egg at room temperature 2 1/2 cups of whole milk at room temperature 1 large cinnamon stick 1 teaspoon of grated lime peels 1 teaspoon of grated orange peels 1/4 cups of raisins or prunes 1/4 cup of lime juice at room temperature Directions To curdle milk quickly, add white vinegar or lemon juice to the milk. For 2 litres, you’ll use two tablespoons. For a gallon, you will use 3-4 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, without stirring it and you’ll soon see it splits. Add your curdled milk, sugar, lime peels, and cinnamon sticks to a caldero or a wide deep pot. Mix it together and cook it over medium low heat. For every litre of milk you’re using for your dulce de leche cortada, you will add about a cup worth of white granulated sugar. Remember, the sugar is what makes the caramel candy at the end. Pay attention to the liquid level of the pan as the cooking progresses. As the cooking begins, you’ll see more curdling happening. After about an hour, your dulce de leche cortada should be forming. Compare the liquid level from the beginning. At this point you can occasionally begin to stir the pot, just to keep the dulce from burning at the bottom. Continue cooking until most of your liquid has evaporated or the milk is more fudge-like. You want your dulce de leche cortada to be like a ragu or picadillo consistency: a little wet, but not soup-like. Transfer the curdled milk candy into a large bowl. You can serve this hot or cold. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Nicole Joseph-Chin’s life reflects one ethos: that we can achieve anything that we set our minds and actions toward. As she puts it, “You can show up anywhere and be successful. If you can dream, you can create and you can bring things that don’t exist into fruition.” Her life is a testament to just that. Having advocated over the years in the domain of women’s health across five continents, her life’s work aligns closely to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and she is highly sought after globally for her insights and remarkable ability to champion public-private partnerships and create real social impact. The public may be familiar with her name as for the past two decades, Joseph-Chin has been the driving force behind her brand – Ms Brafit – a company started to help women in the Caribbean find the right fit with bras as a matter of health but also as a matter of confidence, comfort and dignity too. Lesser known, is how engaged this social entrepreneur is on a global scale. Since 2011, she has been involved with Vital Voices, a US-based, non-profit organisation that grew out of the US State Department’s Vital Voices Democracy Initiative, following the UN’s Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing. It is aimed at promoting the advancement of women as "vital voices" in the development of communities. She also keeps herself occupied in her capacity as a rapporteur, reporting on international, high-profile conferences and is engaged in several fellowships and organisations around the world which generally have one thing in common – using business for the betterment of people. [caption id="attachment_800789" align="alignnone" width="682"] Nicole Joseph-Chin, social entrepreneur and owner of Ms Brafit. Photo courtesy Softbox Studios -[/caption] “In my global communities, I connect with social entrepreneurs everyday who are willing and ready to understand the impact that we need to make towards better business and a better world. Social entrepreneurship really comes out of some kind of pain that the entrepreneur may have experienced; whether in some cases it may be water insecurity or, in my case, having to have custom-fit bras designed for me since I was nine years of age which lead me to create Ms Brafit. Since then I have been in discussion on related breast health challenges such as breast ironing in parts of Africa and general issues of breast health. "It shows how your business can be more than for-profit, but can also be part of the larger picture too,” she told WMN. In the last few years, Joseph-Chin has been selected for outstanding opportunities including the International Visitor Leadership Programme by the US Embassy, which opened new possibilities to the ways that social change could be created by women just like her. She was also invited to Santo Domingo to meet then US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton as part of a global gathering focused on pathways to prosperity for women in Latin America and the Caribbean. [caption id="attachment_800788" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Nicole Joseph-Chin has been awarded Vital Voices Fellowships in four major global initiatives that centre on women’s leadership. Photo courtesy Vital Voices Global Partnership -[/caption] “Sixteen like-minded women were invited to discuss developing entrepreneurial ecosystems for women in the region and out of that the Women Entrepreneurial Network for the Caribbean was born,” she recalled. “I found myself constantly being invited to partner or participate in various programmes including the Cherie Blair Foundation (former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s wife) where I facilitated the kick-off of the 2018 programme, conducting a masterclass titled How to Create Social Impact as an Entrepreneur, to over 400 women from around the world in that audience. It was, however, Vital Voices that really captured my imagination as I was becoming more deliberate about what I would be adding to the "pot of pelau" of things that I had on my agenda.” As a result of the diverse spectrum of programming and thought leadership that is the foundation of her global work, she has been awarded Vital Voices Fellowships in four major global initiatives that centre on women’s leadership. Her business model and personal ethos is in alignment with the five pillars of Vital Voices’ Global Partnerships. These include Bold Ideas, Pay it Forward, A Driving Force, Strong Roots in the Community and Connecting Across Lines that Divide. Joseph-Chin is also the designated TT flagbearer for the Vital Voices’ Global Mentoring Walk hosted annually in commemoration of International Women’s Day. [caption id="attachment_800787" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Social entrepreneur Nicole Joseph-Chin who was recently invited by a Florida-based university to discuss her insights on creating social impact in health. Photo courtesy Vital Voices Global Partnership -[/caption] Recently, she was invited by a Florida-based university to discuss her insights regarding creating social impact in health, where she addressed leading surgeons from around the world. She also invests her time mentoring like-minded businessmen and businesswomen in every corner of the world. “I’m an experienced classroom educator, but in my own journey and in search of empowering others I have found that life is the best experiential classroom. I do conduct workshops in small groups as well as connect with persons wanting to for example, transition careers or forge a new path for themselves,” Joseph-Chin explained. “It’s just my passion to be different where people see walls and barriers. I instead see (and help others see) opportunities. The businesses that I try to support are always ones that are impact-driven,” she added. “We have to find a way to build the appreciation of social entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and not just to simply see entrepreneurship as running a business for the sake of it. We have to work towards creating social mindsets and socially minded individuals too,” Joseph-Chin said. She is very comfortable with a multi-dimensional agenda that reflects her personality – but it can be demanding. “I never say I’m busy. I’m careful of the words I use, words have power and especially the words we tell ourselves. My faith is steeped in thinking there’s a bigger being than me and I’m not going to be bigger than myself without that being.” With multiple hats to wear, Joseph-Chin has some immensely useful guidelines that she lives by. [caption id="attachment_800786" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Nicole Joseph-Chin has been involved with Vital Voices, a US-based non-profit aimed at promoting the advancement of women as vital voices in community development. Photo courtesy Vital Voices Global Partnership -[/caption] “I get up very early – often starting my day by 3:30 am so I can be up to communicate with other women in Vital Voices and across other spheres in different time zones. But also so I can peacefully get my day underway. I’m very mindful of my relationships and the people around me – it’s important to keep your friendships and relationships strong as they keep you grounded. And I read a little each day, to also be motivated and inspired just as I am by the people around me." Instrumental to her success as well, is a nurturing spouse, strong networks, supportive mentors and ecosystems. As she puts it, “Keep working and investing in the process and don’t think of social entrepreneurship as a means to recognition. You have to have the guts and the grit to build strong ecosystems for change and impact in real ways. Above all, remember that "no" is an opportunity and "yes" is a responsibility. So know that there will be obstacles in your way as you seek to make the world a better space, but even from a small idea, everything is possible.”
The post Nicole Joseph-Chin is a vital voice for social change appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
At first, he was reluctant to be lead singer of his school parang band, but the move turned out to be a smart one as Josiah Abraham, 11, won best lead singer in this year’s Junior Parang Competition. A standard five student at Vance River RC Primary School, La Brea, Abraham said when he first heard he would be the lead singer this year he was nervous. His first major competition was at the Sancouche Fourth Annual Pre and Primary Schools’ Parang Competition on November 9. His second was at the primary schools’ leg of the junior competition hosted by the National Parang Association of TT, on November 23, at St Augustine Secondary School. “I was scared but when I went there and I started singing, the crowd started cheering and I was like, ‘If I didn’t sing they won’t be cheering. ‘A joy just suddenly filled my heart and I just started to sing out. I didn’t keep it in, I just sang out.” He said he watched the lead singers of other bands and was sure he would not win. The band could not stay for the results but on their way home the parang group director, Clarine Stewart announced that the band won best lead singer and placed fourth. [caption id="attachment_800780" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Standard five student Josiah Abraham and his fellow parranderos of Vance River RC Primary School celebrate after he won the best singer prize at the Sancouche Fourth Annual Pre and Primary Schools’ Parang Competition on November 9. His also won the prize Junior Parang Competition for primary schools on November 23. PHOTOS COURTESY ETHLINE LEWIS -[/caption] “I was shocked. I was so shocked! Oh, and I also got it in Point Fortin at Sancouche.” Abraham said he started singing parang with the school three years ago and he enjoys singing about Jesus Christ and being on stage. The band also performs at parang limes, at church events, and will next perform at the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ Christmas Village at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. “It’s a good thing to bring joy to people and tell them about the birth of Jesus through song. If people don’t hear it they wouldn’t know about Jesus. I like to sing parang because I am spreading the message that Jesus is born. I don’t want them to forget Jesus because if everybody forgets Jesus, what will happen? So it’s a good thing to spread the word of Jesus through song.” Abraham said when he was in standard one, he would sing in class. His teachers heard him, “put him to sing on a microphone” and he joined the school choir which sometimes sings at church. He said Stewart heard him sing and asked him to join the parang group. He said he was shy and reluctant to sing with the band, but Stewart told him it would be okay because everyone would be singing together. He agreed but it was only when he started to sing on stage that the fear went away. “I was with my parang group and I felt joy. I had to sing. I have a nice voice. I could not let the group down.” Abraham listens to gospel music and thinks he might like to sing gospel one day. He also likes maths and Grammar and does well with craft. He said the parang group sang most of their songs in Spanish and teachers taught them how to pronounce the words and what some of the words meant so he would also like to learn more Spanish. He added that he was doing well in his classes and his teachers said he could pass for any school he wanted. He hopes to pass for Vessigny Secondary School.
WHEN Kamaluddin Mohammed died four years ago, his relationship with the political party he had helped create – the People’s National Movement (PNM) – had long been broken. But a gesture by the Prime Minister helped heal that fracture of 28 years. It was a visit that Dr Rowley paid to an ailing Mohammed, two weeks before the latter’s passing, that ended the distance that had developed when Mohammed was sidelined after the PNM’s massive defeat in the 1986 general election. “It was a genuine and touching moment,” Mohammed’s niece Nafeesa Mohammed told Sunday Newsday in an interview on the fourth anniversary of Mohammed’s death.“It was the first time any top official from the PNM had visited him in all those years. They spent about 20 minutes together. “The years of heartbreak he had after the change of the guards in 1986 – the ice was broken when Dr Rowley visited him.” But there is still lingering pain in Mohammedville, El Socorro, where three generations of the Mohammed clan have lived since the 1930s, according to Nafeesa, herself a former parliamentarian. That pain, she said, revolved around a February 2018 police raid on Muslim homes in El Socorro, including Mohammedville, over what the authorities called “a credible threat to disrupt Carnival activities.” No one was charged, and Nafeesa lamented, “After a year, no one has launched an investigation into what happened.” She said if Mohammed were alive he would have been heartbroken: “After that kind of intrusion, they found nothing. That raid last year would have saddened him deeply, after the years he spent building a community and a nation.” Nafessa herself was dismissed as legal adviser to the Prime Minister, three months after she got the post, after a Facebook statement alleging “a grave injustice and the cabal seems to be at it again.” She told Sunday Newsday her uncle “would be troubled by what is passing as governance these days.” The voice of Indo-culture “Kamal” or “Charch,” as he was fondly called by those close to him, made history in 1947, when he became TT's first ethnic Indian broadcaster. He was 20. Born on April 19, 1927, he was fifth in a family of 13 raised by Fazal Mohammed and Khajiman Kartoum, the children of Indian indentured labourers. He attended the Canadian Mission School in San Juan, then won a scholarship to Osmond High School. He got his break on radio by chance. It resulted from the opening ceremony of Radio Trinidad, when he assisted a Muslim representative by translating the offered Arabic and Urdu blessings into English. Mohammed, who was himself an imam at the mosque at Queen Street in Port of Spain, had been chosen as translator because he was versed in Islamic teachings and fluent in Arabic, Hindi, Farsi, and Urdu. His performance so impressed the radio station managers that they invited him to produce and present a show for the Indo-Trinidadian community. Mohammed accepted the challenge and created a radio talent show, Indian Talent on Parade. He used the show to help create an understanding and appreciation of the art, culture, and religions of the local Indian community. The neophyte broadcaster went so far as to hire taxis to take orchestras to the studio to perform live. His one-hour Sunday show gave birth to Indian programming on local radio. Mohammed's popularity in the Indian community eased his entry into politics. In 1953, at 26, he won a seat on the St George County Council, and rose to become its chairman. It came, Mohammed once claimed, after he made a suggestion to Dr Eric Williams, then a fledgling politician, at an event in San Fernando, to form a political party. “I had said that since we have so many (political) parties divided in Trinidad, and we are not yet powerful, just as we got together to produce a Caribbean callaloo of culture, we could do so with a political party,” he said in a documentary produced by the Parliament Channel. Mohammed said Williams was at first reluctant, but warmed to the idea and asked him to formulate a plan. He said Williams arranged to meet at his Indian restaurant in Port of Spain, and the talks widened at other subsequent meetings held at Williams’s home. It’s an account disputed by political historian Ferdie Ferreira, a founding member of the PNM, who told Sunday Newsday he has seen no record of any meetings about forming a party. “What I do know is that Williams was in demand to lecture, to feel out the politics. He did about 124; no inkling of forming a party. “His real ambition was to become chairman of the Caribbean Commission, but his contract was terminated on June 21, 1955. The first serious indication Williams intended to enter politics came on that very day. “Williams went to Woodford Square to speak on ‘My Relations with the Caribbean Commission’ and how he was treated. When he said, 'I was born here, I was educated at your expense, I am prepared to lay down (my) bucket here,' that was the first real signal. "He didn’t say any party. But we knew that moment was when he announced his intention to start a political career. So the PNM was originated on June 21, 1955.” Chambers chosen as PM Whatever the origin of the movement, Mohammed and others helped Williams found the PNM, which went on to win the 1956 general election and held power for an unbroken 30 years. The move changed the trajectory of young Mohammed's life. In 1956, he entered Parliament. One-time St Joseph MP, Mohammed became the youngest government minister in the British Commonwealth when he was appointed minister of agriculture, lands and fisheries. He went on to serve in a number of portfolios, including public utilities, West Indian affairs, external affairs, local government and health. In 1978, he was appointed World Health Organisation president. Mohammed's most noted achievements included his work in securing regional economic co-operation. He assisted in pioneering the movement from the Caribbean Free Trade Area Agreement (Carifta) to the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom), and the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME). After Williams's death in 1981, president Sir Ellis Clarke bypassed Mohammed and another contender, Errol Mahabir, to appoint George Chambers his successor. Mohammed had been considered one of Williams's right-hand men, so the choice of Chambers was interpreted in some quarters as a reflection of the PNM's sidelining of East Indians. Mohammed, Chambers, and Mahabir had been the three deputy political leaders of the PNM. Although Mohammed was the most senior and experienced of the three, Sir Ellis asked them to decide which one should succeed Williams. Chambers reportedly declared that he had no aspiration to the position. The story is that neither Mohammed nor Mahabir was willing to yield, so Sir Ellis ended up appointing the reluctant Chambers. Mohammed, however, denied there was any stand-off with Mahabir. Clarke on the other hand, said, “...The result was that there was a deadlock. I had to resort to the one who had eliminated himself to hold the fort.” In a 1995 interview with the TT Guardian, Mohammed was quoted as saying he had been passed over because of what he described as "political race." Nevertheless, despite controversy over his alleged treatment, Mohammed’s loyalty to the PNM never appeared to wane, and he continued serving the party. He was left out, however, when Patrick Manning brought in new blood after the party was thrashed at the 1986 polls by the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), and was later rejected as a candidate for chairmanship of the party. PNM disappoints Kamal After he retired, and following 30 years as a symbol of a multi-racial PNM, Mohammed stayed out of active politics until he was summoned to national service by prime minister Basdeo Panday, who appointed him Caricom ambassador during the UNC's tenure in 1991-1995. In supporting Panday in the 2000 general election, which Nafeesa contested for the PNM, the patriarch of one of San Juan’s largest Muslim families boasted that he still controlled the Muslim votes in the country. [caption id="attachment_800775" align="alignnone" width="452"] Kamaluddin Mohammed was the patriach of three generations who live in Mohammedville, El Socorro. -[/caption] In 2009, Mohammed was nominated by the National Council for Indian Culture (NCIC) for a national award. When the National Awards Committee did not grant it, NCIC president Deokinanan Sharma questioned the method of selection of recipients, which he felt did not appear to be transparent. Sharma said he was “very disappointed that a man who has done so much for this country has been rejected.” In 2010, Mohammed was honoured during the People’s Partnership administration, led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar, receiving the highest national award, the Order of TT. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of the West Indies. In 2012, he was conferred with the Order of the Caribbean Community. When Mohammed died on December 1, 2015, after ailing for two years, he was 88. He was the last surviving founding member of the PNM. At his funeral, Nafessa said he was a giant of a man who remained humble. Also paying respects was Panday, who recalled some of the disappointments Mohammed faced in his decades of political service to country and region. The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader heaped praises on Mohammed for his contributions to the country. Rowley said, “Mohammed's contribution to the development of TT is evident and our nation is grateful for his laudable contribution. His commitment to our nation has been outstanding and exemplary and we hope that it will continue to serve as an inspiration to others in this regard.” On this month’s anniversary of his passing, relatives read verses from the Quran with an imam. Nafeesa said, “Immediate family members made supplications for his soul to rest in peace, for him to be forgiven for any errors in his lifetime and be elevated to the highest of stations in heaven – janaat-ul-firdous.”
Singer Raymond Edwards is not letting his second brush with cancer keep him down. In fact, he is using his recovery period to learn new things and has come to realise that he’s “good with his hands.” On October 19, Edwards had surgery to remove a tumour between his transverse and descending colon. He said the eight-hour operation revealed he had stage three cancer which had spread to one of 16 lymph nodes. “The doctor said they got all the cancer. However, after I have finished healing I must see an oncologist. Based on what he or she says, we will know if I have to do chemotherapy,” he explained. He said he is extremely grateful the doctors were able to get the cancer, relieved that he survived the surgery and thankful to be on the road to recovery. But he described his recovery as a roller coaster due to continuous waves of energy and fatigue, which resulted in unusual sleeping and waking hours. [caption id="attachment_800772" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Nigel Floyd, centre, Raymond Edwards, and Eddie Cumberbatch of QED on stage at their concert Down Memory Lane 3: Soundtracks of the Screen at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. Edwards, who is recovery from cancer surgery, promises he will be back with the group in 2020. FILE PHOTO -[/caption] “There are times where I feel like I can conquer the world, and other times where I barely want to get out of bed because I'm so tired...I’m looking forward to where I can sleep through the night and work through the day.” Owing to his health issues this year, for the first time in a long time, he does not have many performances scheduled and so will be home for the Christmas season. “So I've been trying to help my wife put away the house, and I discovered that I like working with my hands. So I’m doing a little gardening, dismantling some pallets for a project around the house, painting, and whatever I’m asked to do. It’s been a fun two months, and educational as well.” One of the cancelled performances was the annual One Night in December concert with QED, comprising Edwards, Nigel Floyd and Edward Cumberbatch. He said they usually worked around each other’s schedules, so they accommodated his recovery and decided to skip the concert this year. But he stressed that the concert would be “back with a bang” in December 2020, and he would be back on stage in February. He encouraged other artists to showcase their talents and patrons to fill the audience. “When an artiste can successfully put on a show, an entire ecosystem of sound, light, makeup, tech, caterers, transporters, and venue staff also get paid. So go out and support your local talent and everyone it takes to make their show a success.” Previously Edwards mentioned that he was worried about the cost of the operation and care. He said his friends and relatives are helping him and he intends to “work vigorously post-surgery” to repay them. Because of fatigue he has not been able to work a full day, so he has been doing voice overs whenever they become available. Fortunately for a grateful Edwards, his relatives are helping him offset costs by planning several fundraisers. “My friends have been very generous with their time and their resources. So far, we’ve had a burger-Q. It was successfully sold out in four hours, and now they’ve launched Savour One For Ray, in collaboration with Svaada restaurant.” People can buy $50 meal vouchers, valid until January 12, for Svaada, an Indian restaurant at One Woodbrook Place. The vouchers can be used for a meal valued at $50 or to offset the cost of a meal at the restaurant. [caption id="attachment_800770" align="alignnone" width="819"] Flier for a fundraiser for Raymond Edwards at SVAADA in Port of Spain on January 12. -[/caption] “This is a great idea as a stocking-stuffer or gift for a colleague during this holiday time. If you’re too busy to cook with all the hustle and bustle and you want to just pick up a quick meal, pull out your voucher! So it’s a win-win for you, Svaada, and me.” He said one more food-based fundraiser was being negotiated as well as a Valentine-themed concert at Central Bank. “People have been really kind and generous so far, and hopefully I’ll be able to make a dent in that medical bill...But once there’s life there’s hope, and I am thankful to be alive.” Edwards will be helping with ticket distribution for Svaada vouchers, so he encouraged interested people to WhatsApp or message him at 678-1276 with their name, telephone contact, and number of vouchers wanted.
THE top seeds sent a strong warning on day one of the RBC Junior Tennis Tournament 2019, at Trinidad Country Club in Maraval, on Saturday. Round robin matches were played with the players competing to advance to the knock-out phase. In the boys 10 and Under division one singles, first seeded Brian Harricharan got past Zelig Williams 6-1 and second seeded Nirav Dougdeen also made a winning start with a 6-4 win over Gabriel Denoon. In the girls 14 and Under division one singles, top-ranked Jaeda-Lee Daniel-Joseph defeated Sydney Doyle 4-0, 4-0. Second-seeded Christiana Hills was made to work for her victory with a 2-4, 4-0, 10-6 comeback win over Abigail Chin Lee. [caption id="attachment_800761" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Shaina Smith returns the ball to her sister Ayasha (not in photo) during the RBC Junior Tennis Tournament at Country Club, Maraval on Saturday.Shaina won 2-4,4-1,4-2. - Ayanna Kinsale[/caption] In the boys 14 and Under division one singles, Kale Dalla Costa outlasted Zechariah Permell 4-1, 4-2 and first seeded Jaylon Chapman was a 3-5, 5-4, 10-5 winner over Luca Denoon. Brianna Harricharan and Eva Pasea were on top of their game in the girls 12 and Under division one singles. First seeded Brianna got the better of Shiloh Walker 5-3, 4-2 and second seeded Pasea whipped Naomi Ali 4-0, 4-0. In other girls 14 and Under division one singles matches, Shaina Smith got past her sister Ayasha 2-4, 4-1, 4-2. Their sister Makayla was on the losing end falling 4-2, 4-0 to Ayana Gabriela Cameron. The tournament continues at 9 am, on Sunday.
AN ugly crash involving national cyclist Kwesi Browne and Russian Denis Dmitriev, in the Men’s Keirin 1-6 final, saw the former finish fifth overall when action continued along the Anna Meares Velodrome track in Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday.
Having previously escaped a major crash on his way to victory in the opening round of competition, Browne then advanced to the final by placing third in the second round. Against a world class field of cyclists such as Dmitriev, Jack Carlin (Great Britain), Tomas Babek (Czech Republic), Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) and Kevin Quintero (Colombia) in the title race, the national representative showed grit.
However, in Browne’s attempt to sprint past the leading riders, Dmitriev rode within his path, clipping Browne’s front wheel and sending both riders to the track and out of the medal chase. The pair finished fifth overall.
According to reports coming out of the TT camp, Browne is recovering well without and serious injury. After the race, the Keirin specialist assured he was in good spirits by posting to social media, “Only the strong survive out here...hit the deck hard in the final tonight!!!” Prior to Browne’s World Cup performances over the past three weeks, he was forced to spend some time off the bike after sustaining serious injuries from another harrowing crash at the Pan American Elite track Cycling Championships in Bolivia, during early September.
The 25-year-old’s performance though, still earned him 350 International Cycling Union (UCI) points which would significantly aid his Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification campaign. Altogether, over the past three UCI World Cup legs in China, New Zealand and Australia, Browne has attained 750 more UCI points.
Meanwhile, Men’s Flying 200m world record holder Nicholas Paul was scheduled to begin his Men’s Sprint qualifying at approximately 8pm, on Saturday night. Paul lined up in heat 31 of 32 and will be aiming to give his best effort to conclude his 2019 season on a high note and add more points towards his Olympic qualification.
The post Browne crashes to a credible fifth in Men’s Keirin appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
Human mobility has increased in Latin America and the Caribbean and if countries hope to maintain their projection to eliminate the spread of the HIV/Aids by 2030, it would be a good public health practice to give migrants treatment. UNAids regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean Dr César Nunez said governments should welcome migrants, because they bring more good than bad. He said in many cases people in mobile populations are ill-treated and even subjected to sexual trafficking, and there should be policies addressing the need to protect them which should include the availability of HIV treatment, because it would not only benefit the migrants but protect the host country from transmission. Part of the 2016 HIV declaration to eliminate the spread of the virus by 2030 is a commitment to fast-track the response. The 90-90-90 target indicated that by 2020, 90 per cent of those infected should know their status; 90 per cent of that number should be put on antiretroviral drugs; and 90 per cent of those should have their viral loads suppressed to an undetectable level. If the virus cannot be detected, it cannot be transmitted. Nunez, who was in TT for the Second Regional Seminar for Parliaments of the Caribbean on December 5, explained that every two years UNAids invites governments to share data in a workshop to take stock of what has been done so far. The next workshop for estimates will take place in 2021, although it is expected that countries supply 2019 data by March 31, 2020. He said governments have the tools for an effective prevention and treatment plan, as well as to address stigmatisation and discrimination. He believes TT is on track to being close to meeting its goals, given the 2016 and 2017 numbers. However, he hopes TT will increase its efforts, and suggests increasing the number of testing sites and the availability of drugs. In the Caribbean region, he said, there are 340,000 people living with HIV. In 2018 there were 16,000 new infections, a 41 per cent drop from 2000. There were also 6,700 deaths, a 67 per cent reduction from 2000. He added that 77 per cent of those diagnosed are on treatment and 74 per cent of those being treated were virally suppressed. He added that in nearly all Caribbean countries, viral suppression among men is lower than among women, so it is necessary to improve services to men. “If treatment is given correctly, without interruptions, we would also add a protection effect to people who may engage in sexual relationships with somebody who is receiving treatment.” He feels the progress towards the 2020 target has come to a plateau, because there are still new cases despite the number of people on treatment. He said UNAids needs Caribbean countries to reach out to those living with HIV, including those who do not know they are infected. [caption id="attachment_800757" align="alignnone" width="1024"] -[/caption] One challenge is late diagnosis. Five out of 12 countries reporting data showed half of newly diagnosed cases present with advanced HIV. “So people are not coming to be tested because they have been informed, or because they attended a particular session. People come when they feel ill, if at all. And when they come, more than 50 per cent of the cases already have advanced signs of the disease.” Therefore, he said, more aggressive strategies are needed and suggested several. The first is self-testing, which he compared to a home pregnancy test that is both specific and sensitive enough to be accurate. He said the test is already being used in Brazil and he hopes other countries will follow. In the past, Nunez said, people believed finding out they had tested positive was too difficult to face without some sort of support. But with the effective treatment available, most people recognise that HIV is not a death sentence. In this way, after a positive result, people can get a more sophisticated analysis and start treatment immediately. “Treatment would not only be good for them, but from a public health point of view, it will be good for the country, because it will be able to prevent new infections from this particular person, since they will become undetectable or virally suppressed.” Another strategy, he said, is for every woman who goes for antenatal care during her first trimester to be tested for HIV. In this way she herself can receive treatment as well as prevent her baby from being born with the virus. “I believe the Caribbean has done a very good job at the elimination of mother-to-child transmission. Cuba was the first country in the world to have eliminated paediatric HIV. They were certified by WHO, UNICEF and UNAids and every two years they need to recertify, because if they lower their guard, HIV can resurge.” Since Cuba, six more territories in the Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and St Kitts and Nevis – have been certified. And although they have to maintain the certification, he believes they will do so and that more Caribbean countries will gain certification. He said it is also public health good practice to do index testing. This means if someone tests positive, every member of the household should be invited to be tested as well. “It doesn’t matter the age or the gender, every member of that household should be tested. We have found when you do that, we identify more members of the household already living with HIV.” Nunez explained, “All of the measures are meant to corner HIV and stop it, because if we keep on getting new infections, it will be costly. Even if you buy the least expensive treatment, 16,000 times $100 per year is a lot of money...The fiscal space available to make sure that TT is the leader on those promises (of the 2030 agenda) is limited.” Nunez said treatment used to be several pills which cost US$10,000 per person per year. Now a person can take one pill a day which costs about US$80 per person per year. Therefore, to ensure the sustainability of the programmes and contribute to the progress of countries, it is necessary to reduce treatment costs through prevention. He also recognises the role of communities, including women, indigenous, and sexual diversity groups. He said their leadership and advocacy ensures the response remains relevant and grounded, and that people remain at the centre of the response, rather than other issues. At a time when reduced funding threatens treatment programmes, he said, communities ensure HIV remains on the political agenda, that human rights are addressed, and that decision-makers are held accountable for their HIV response.
Having fled their home country owing to the socio-economic crisis, about 20 Venezuelans migrants including two babies sought refuge by a neighbour in Penal after floodwaters inundated their apartments. The unrelated newborns, both one-month-old, spent Friday night on the kitchen floor of the upstairs apartment of another Venezuelan family. Newborn Ronialys Rodriguez slept peacefully in the arms of her father Jose Rodriguez, 34, at Puzzle Island as he pondered the future of his family. His wife Roxsys Rincones, 37, said while she experienced the effects of a country in a political turmoil, they never experienced such a natural disaster. Speaking in Spanish, Rincones said: “While the water was rising, cockroaches were running out from all directions in the house. Everything from our clothes to mattresses, to food, are wet. The toilets were flooded so faeces are all over in the water.” Touching the baby’s face, she repeated the word “plagas” meaning insects which bit her face. Her other child Roinel Rodriguez, 10, stood nearby. Rincones said since Wednesday the flood left them stranded in the area. Fearing for their safety as the water rose to waist-length, the family went by the neighbour. On the brink of tears, she said: “We need food, baby supplies, clothes, anything. We are hungry. We have nowhere else to go.” [caption id="attachment_800744" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Marciela Navarro holds her one-year-old Samuel Velásquez alongside her son Christhofer Pineda, six, in an apartment where she gave shelter to two families during flooding at Puzzle Island, Penal. Photos by Vashti Singh - Vashti Singh[/caption] Rafael Valderey, 57, and his wife Damaris Vargas, 45, took their one-month-old granddaughter Nahomi Valderey and slept by the same neighbour. They also slept on the kitchen floor. Vargas said the family put their fridge on a truck tyre and the floodwater rose above it. The ordeal was too much for her to recall. She said, “Thank God we got help from the Catholic Church.” The neighbour is Marciela Navarro, 30, a mother who is taking care of her two sick children. She was not directly affected by the flood but is pleading for help to buy medicine. Holding her one-year-old son Samuel Velesquez, the worried mother said he has the flu. “My other son, Christhofer, is six-years-old and he has asthma. I have no medication and no money. I don’t know what to do. Rent is due and my husband is not getting regular work. Please help.” Mother of two Gennesis Romero, 31, wept as she cleaned up her apartment. She lives with husband Ali Marcano, 23, and their one-year-old son Aliangel Marcano, in Penal. Her mother takes care of her other son, nine, in Venezuela. Romero said: “I send food and they are looking forward to it. They are expecting something, and I cannot send anything. We pay a monthly electricity bill of $200 plus rent. We have no money and lost everything.” [caption id="attachment_800746" align="alignnone" width="683"] Rafael Valderey holds his granddaughter, one-month-old Nahomi Valderey at Puzzle Island, Penal. - Vashti Singh[/caption] Romero is unemployed but worked as an administrative clerk in Venezuela. Since Wednesday, when heavy rain began, the Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (PMMR) of the St Dominic’s RC Parish in Penal have been distributing relief items to the affected migrants. PMMR’s member Cristina John said it became critical on Thursday when she and other members used a dinghy to drop off food and water. John said, “We could not reach them directly as the water was too high. It was a critical situation. At 7 pm, I was in distributing food. The Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) lent us the dinghy and we thanked them for that. We also thank all the parishioners who help.” Parish priest Fr Robert Christo and deacon Daniel George co-ordinated the drive. The ministry, John said, seeks to alleviate problems Venezuelan migrants face in TT. The water receded some inches and on Saturday she returned to check on the migrants. Sunday Newsday learnt that owing to the number of people affected, many did not receive food from the corporation. At Suchit Trace in Penal, local Saara Baboolal, 33, said floodwater destroyed her home. She lives with her common-law husband Kevin Roopchan, a labourer, and their two children. “We lost everything. In trucks passing, the floodwaters came crashing against the (wooden) house. What did not float away, they were mashed up. We spent Friday night by a sister, but she does not have much for herself. I have nowhere to go.” A short distance away, pensioner Dhanraj Rampersad, 82, said he spent two nights in a car with his daughter and her husband as water flooded their home. Rampersad said, “We experience floods in the past but nothing like this. I am tired of bailing water from my room. No one helps us.” PDRC’s chairman Dr Allen Sammy told Sunday Newsday that up to 5.40 pm, on Saturday, the corporation had not received any help from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM). Sammy said, “We have not received one mattress, or one food hamper or a bottle of water from the ODPM. “ He said the corporation has been distributing food items to all flood victims. “My people went to Puzzle Island up to an hour ago. We are helping everybody.” The National Security Ministry via a media release on Saturday denied Sammy’s allegations that the ODPM has not been assisting residents and said the agency has distributed food and relief supplies. It said the Rural Development and Local Government Ministry on Thursday contacted the ODPM for assistance in co-ordinating the evacuation in the area. The ODPM in its role as the national disaster co-ordinating agency immediately contacted the TT Defence Force which expeditiously dispatched teams to the corporation. “These teams joined with the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) of the corporation, the Fire Service, and Police Service and together, they tirelessly evacuated families from water-logged homes to safer ground,” the release said. It added that Defence Force personnel were also deployed into the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation areas to conduct similar operations. People from several parts of south Trinidad spent Saturday cleaning up in the aftermath of the flood. Owing to erosion, the bailey bridge between No 2 Scale and Carat Hill in Barrackpore was temporarily closed to all vehicular traffic until further notice. The Rural Development and Local Government Ministry advised citizens to utilise alternative routes. Repair works are expected to start from Monday by officials of the Works and Transport Ministry with the assistance of the PDRC and the Princes Town Regional Corporation. The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) also advised that the Local Government Ministry and the ODPM are two of the key first-responders in any natural disaster. Relief items such as bags, tarps and mattresses, are usually distributed through the ODPM and the DMUs in the municipal corporations, based on immediate needs assessments conducted, the ministry said. Its role, following clearance from the first responders, is to provide financial support to disaster victims via grant funding, food support and psychosocial support, including counselling services as required. For further information on disaster relief funding and food support, people can call the ministry’s toll-free hotline at 800 – 1MSD. People in need of psychosocial support, including counselling services, can contact the National Family Services Division at 623-2608 ext 6701-6707.
Yet another religious organisation is calling on Government to adjust its time frame for the recall of the old $100 bills for the new polymer notes.
Acting secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Vijay Maharaj, son of the late Satnarayan Maharaj, has threatened to take the State to court over the demonetisation of the $100 note in favour of new polymer notes.
Now, TT Council of Evangelical Churches public relations officer Rev Winston Mansingh stated while the change to the polymer notes is a “great initiative”, he described the timing as ‘horrible” and “unrealistic.”
In an open letter to religious, corporate and other national leaders, he said they must “raise your voices and demand an extension of the time to exchange the $100 notes.”
“Our nation seems to be at a tipping point with high crime, economic uncertainty and challenges, failed governance systems, failed and apparent corrupt political personalities and now with policies which are not properly thought out and or implemented.”
“The present matter of changing of the $100 notes needs to be treated with and an extension given and announced immediately by government.”
“Again let me say it is a great initiative but horrible timing and unrealistic time frame.”
Mansingh said the “hopeful outcomes of reduced money laundering, removal of counterfeit notes, exposing of some criminal elements and others would all be welcome if attained.”
“However the impact on the elderly has been a nightmare. They have been exposed to the inconvenience of extremely long lines at banks, having to travel or hire cars to bring them out, asking their children to take days off to bring them to banks and not to mention braving both the hot sun and then heavy rain.”
He said financial institutions should be more caring in treating with customers, especially the elderly who are “already afraid of the process and of the outcome.”
He also noted there would be a negative impact on businesses, especially small retailers, who had a bad economic year and be anticipating the Christmas season to attract additional sales.
He said religious bodies would also to feel the impact of this decision as the Christmas season is a time of giving where donations are collected and brought in to treat with community and social outreach initiatives to the less fortunate and vulnerable.
“Also given the deadline date and the fact that almost all churches have services and collect an offering on Old Year's night the receiving old $100 notes becomes a reality and changing same would be a challenge if the present policy is not amended or extended.”
He said the ministers of finance and national security and the Central Bank governor have an opportunity to put the plight of the vulnerable on the front-burner and to make a decision that demonstrates “care, consideration, humanity and sensitivity."
“I have all confidence that the people and country would be placed before personal and party agenda and or vendettas.”
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Existing laws on cannabis had ruined the lives of thousands of citizens who were no threat to anyone, Independent Senator Anthony Vieira said on Friday.
Vieira supported the bill to decriminalise cannabis, the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2019, in the Senate, and said he did not see the bill as opening up TT to becoming a “nation of potheads”.
“We have criminalised thousands of young men and young women who are no threat to society and who ordinarily would have stayed on the right side of the law."
Vieira said bill will right a historical and social wrong.
“Innocent, law-abiding citizens were caught up in investigation, being prosecuted, getting convicted, and punished as criminals,” he lamented.
“In my law practice I’ve seen so many good men running afoul of the law for doing something that caused no threat to society.
“More often than not men who were shy or of an artistic disposition, whose lives were bighted because of a personal recreational choice frowned on the establishment. Real lives are affected.”
He said the bill was long overdue.
“When you have a criminal conviction, that is it, you know.” He lamented the ruin of people’s lives, jobs and education for “just a little spliff.”
Vieira said cannabis was less harmful than alcohol and was once sold openly at parlours in TT. “The guys who smoked tended to be of easy-going disposition.”
Relating the herb's use to worship Lord Shiva, he said the Hindu deity’s eyes were often depicted as bloodshot and in heavy contemplation.
Saying he would not say if cannabis is haram or halal, Vieira said it was used by Sufis during Islam’s golden age.
For the sick and suffering, only cannabis gives relied, he said. Saying the THC in cannabis can help in weight loss, he quipped, “You don’t see fat Rastas, you know.”
Vieira did not see cannabis as a gateway drug.
He said the bill will allow people to avoid the criminal underworld in buying cannabis, and allows them to access it for personal, medical or religious use. He punned that it was "high time” to decriminalise cannabis. He hailed the bill for curbing dangerous designer drugs afflicting TT’s youth, adding, “This is not a case of anyone going soft on crime.”
An estimated $749 million in "dirty money" got laundered as "clean currency" in the months leading up to Government and the Central Bank's changeover of $100 bills to the difficult-to-duplicate polymer notes. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) reports that 429 transactions, amounting to $749,024,557, is the highest recorded number of money laundering cases in the last three years, and occurred between July and September. In an emailed response to questions from Sunday Newsday, acting head of FIU, Nigel Stoddard said there was an increase in money laundering activities in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2018. Last year, there were 237 reports and 247 in 2017. The second highest figure was 300 reports in the last quarter of 2018; the figure was 179 in 2017. [caption id="attachment_800729" align="alignnone" width="795"] More than $749 million were reported in money laundering transactions with paper notes between July to September, reports the Financial Intelligence Unit reports. - SUREASH CHOLAI[/caption] For October to December, to date, there have been 216 reports. In the first quarter, January to March, there were 110 transactions, a decrease from 2018’s 275, and 175 in 2017. Between April to June, there were 264 reports, 288 in the same months last year, and 276 in 2017. "With respect to suspicious transaction reports and suspicious activity reports being reported to the FIU, the quarter April-June for the last three years has shown the highest submissions. The spike in reports filed with the FIU for the quarter July-September 2019 is due to the introduction of FIUConnect, a secure electronic e-filing system," Stoddard said in his reply. Between 2010 to 2018, there were more than $12 billion ($12,099,538,322) completed money laundering transactions. The FIU calculated there were $14,619,651,019 in "attempted transactions" from 2013. The highest ever record of attempted transactions was an estimated $13 billion in 2017 and more than $8 billion in completed money laundering transactions that year. Earlier this month, National Security Minister Stuart Young said the polymer $100 bill which will replace the paper notes, will help fight money laundering and other illicit activities. He added that the plan to change was on a need to know basis and was ongoing for several months. On Thursday, Young said one person, who claimed to be a barber, showed up at a bank with $1 million to exchange the old notes for the polymer ones. He added that since the new notes were made available several unusual transactions were flagged. He stressed there are law enforcement officers who are part of the process and are stationed where they need to be based on security intelligence. Two commercial banks have released $270 million collectively since the release of the polymer bills on Tuesday. The Central Bank began transferring polymer notes to banks on Monday. TT already has $50 polymer bills and there are plans to demonetise the $1, $5, $10 and $20 within the next year. During the debate to amend the Miscellaneous Provisions (Proceeds of Crime and Central Bank) Bill 2019, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the demonetising of the old $100 bills for the polymer notes will increase this country’s credibility in the eyes of international financial organisations. “This is actually a big win for T with FATF (Financial Action Task Force) and Global Forum because it strikes at the heart of the underground economy – at tax evaders, at drug traffickers, at money lenders – who are the primary concerns of the Financial Action Task Force, the EU, and the Global Forum. So this is a big win, if it works, and we expect it to because we planned it very well.” Asked if the FIU was consulted throughout the process leading up to the December 5 announcement to switch to the polymer notes by the end of the year, Stoddard said: “The FIU would have been consulted at the appropriate time in this process.” He said the introduction of the new notes would help money laundering and financial crime investigations. “The FIU sees this transition period for the exchange of the paper $100 notes to the polymer as greatly assisting it in identifying suspected money laundering and other criminal conduct. Persons and businesses now have to bring the old notes into the financial system and give an account for the source.” He added that the polymer notes will also assist the police in detecting counterfeit bills as they are more difficult to forge. [caption id="attachment_800730" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Inspector Wayne Mystar, acting Supt Wendel Lucas and acting direcor of the Financial Intelligence Unit Nigel Stoddard during a media briefing at Police Administration Building on December 11. - Jeff Mayers[/caption] Stoddard said his unit is well equipped to identify money laundering trends and attempts at it, however, the continued training of staff in financial intelligence analysis to identify new and emerging trends is “imperative”. Such trends, he said, include the use of virtual assets to launder money or finance terrorism. He called for the introduction of a cash threshold reporting system and making it an offence to structure deposits below that threshold in an attempt to avoid detection. Information on the status of investigations, and any arrests, was not available.
THE Senate on Friday night passed the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2019 to decriminalise the use of cannabis, on the heels of the House of Representatives having passed it last Wednesday. Due to Senate amendments, the bill will go back to the House, which itself had sent the Cannabis Control Bill 2019 which regulates the cannabis industry to a joint select committee. The results of the division was 27 for, zero against, and one abstention by Independent Senator Dr Maria Dillon-Remy. In committee stage, Opposition Senator Wade Mark had proposed a few amendments, such as asking the bill to define a public place. Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the bill's definition was in line with precedents in Caricom nations, other countries and TT’s law on cigarette smoking. The AG said “public place” will including the premises of a dwelling place, which can include a dwelling boat, container, tent or carat house. Independent Senator Anthony Vieira asked about temples, bars, and private members clubs. The AG said the clubs and bars are public places. However, the bill lets some registered temples distribute cannabis. Opposition Senator Khadijah Ameen asked if a private house right next to school must comply with a restriction on cannabis use. The AG replied yes. He justified a fine of up to $250,000 or a reprimand for exceeding the personal allowance by saying no-one needs so much cannabis beyond the stipulated amount. Al-Rawi had brought his own amendments. Answering a question, the AG said TT does not have the manpower to police every cannabis plant likely to be grown domestically. Taharqa Obika asked if all people in a house could each have four plants. The AG replied yes. Asked where the cannabis would come from, he replied the Ministry of Agriculture and pharmacists. “It comes from where it comes from. UWI students have been arrested for having cannabis farms in their homes. People know how to do it.” Ameen said the bill creates a market for something illegal. In a last plug for decriminalisation, the AG said, “Ninety per cent of gang activity in TT is marijuana-related.” In the chair, Nigel de Freitas urged all to deal with what was in front of them.
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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has described Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s call for an “urgent and immediate investigation” into a possible breach of Integrity in Public Life Act by high ranking government member as “dangerously hypocritical and self-serving” by a former head of government. In a statement on Friday, Persad-Bissessar said she wrote to the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions and chairman of the Integrity Commission, stating there are “strong grounds for suspecting that several criminal offences may have been committed as well as the possible breach of several provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act and the Code of Conduct.” She said the recent disclosure of the report of a committee on a sexual harassment allegation against former minister Darryl Smith has raised an “undeniable prima facie case for the possibility of the commission of several very serious criminal offences, including conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice, misbehaviour in public office, and a breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act Chapter 22:01 by several persons” including the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, and the then permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs. However, in a release from his office, Rowley said the Opposition Leader “must know that the stymying of the publication and use of the investigative report is directly as a result of legal caution provided by authorities outside of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Attorney General.”“In fact, it was the Prime Minister who initially passed the report to the permanent secretary, without restriction, for any Public Service action which may be deemed necessary. [caption id="attachment_800723" align="alignnone" width="740"] Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley - ROGER JACOB[/caption] "It is in furtherance of this process that independent legal caution advised against advancing the report. This being the undisputed fact it is therefore dangerously hypocritical and self-serving for the Opposition Leader to join the ill-informed in talking about conspiracies to cover-up facts.” He pointed out that Persad-Bissessar possessed “first-hand experience” as a prime minister who, “against proper advice, irresponsibly released a faulty report, in the Anil Roberts criminal Life Sport scandal and by so doing derailed the investigation and resulted in a successful court challenge by Mr Roberts.” He said her action had resulted in huge costs to taxpayers following legal action by Roberts. “It is against this background that I reject any notion of cover-up and I condemn the naked hypocrisy associated with this current accusation. However, I stand ready to fully cooperate with any investigating entity in the full knowledge that the public will benefit from the facts as separate from any speculation, conjecture or malice from any quarter.”
The mad rush to get the $100 polymer bill seems to have eased considerably on the first weekend after it was introduced, as there were smaller crowds at banks branches which opened on Saturday to facilitate the changeover to the new note.At the Princes Town branches of First Citizens, Republic Bank and Scotiabank, there were no visible lines of people waiting to enter. However, there was scarcely breathing room at Republic's ATMs as people waited patiently to withdraw the new notes. Republic, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and First Citizens have calibrated their ATMs to dispense the polymer bills. Scotiabank has said it may take a few weeks to change their systems. And with the banks near each other, there was a noticeable police presence, both foot and in mobile patrols, along the main thoroughfare in Princes Town. However, one customer, who was not allowed to change all of her money, described the process as tedious saying she had gone to the bank on Friday and had left in frustration after waiting for almost four hours. Meanwhile at least two banks have increased their point of sale limit with Republic increasing from $7,500 to $10,000 while First Citizens increased from $5,000 to $10,000. An unexpected boost for businesses may also have occurred as the people going to the malls on Saturday reported increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic.A woman at Gulf City Mall, La Romaine said she had to wait on the eighth floor before getting a park to go inside She said people seemed intent spending their old $100 notes before the December 31 deadline.
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Despite the relatively high number of deaths due to influenza in TT during this flu season, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has stressed that there is no epidemic. However, due to that number, 32 as of December 6, Deyalsingh has expressed concerns that the flu virus has mutated and is now stronger than medical scientists expected. He said the number of confirmed influenza deaths for this flu season, October 2019 to May 2020, includes two people from Tobago. He added that there were seven confirmed deaths in 2018 and none in 2017 and 2016. Unfortunately no records of deaths were kept before 2016. In a Sunday Newsday interview, Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram went into detail about the influenza threat. According to Parasram, at the start of the influenza season in October there were three confirmed deaths. “There was a quick rise in confirmed deaths after that. That’s when we triggered our epidemiology unit to actually look at all the cases individually. So they looked at it in terms of geographic spread, the normal patterns, whether it’s related to risk factors, which we found.” He said the deaths were related to diabetes, obesity, chronic disease of the lungs and, to some extent, adults over 60. The unit did not find many fatal cases in other high risk groups such as children aged six months to five years and pregnant women. Deyalsingh explained the reasons some of these people were at higher risk. He noted that diabetes impaired the immune system which makes it difficult to fight the virus. With hypertension, the body is less able to handle stress. The virus could cause inflammation adding stress to internal organs, and vomiting and diarrhoea make it difficult to keep medication in their systems. Smoking impairs natural lung defence mechanisms which makes the infection worse. And obesity can cause delayed or weakened antiviral responses to influenza as well as poor recovery from the virus. [caption id="attachment_800719" align="alignnone" width="771"] Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh in Parliament recently. - ROGER JACOB[/caption] He added that most deaths were people of East Indian descent from central and south Trinidad. “This is not based on science but we know for a fact that most East Indians live in Central and South. We know for a fact that the incidents of diabetes are highest amongst East Indians. Where do most Indians with diabetes live? Central and South. What the data is showing is that most of the deaths are among the East Indian population living in central and south, and the majority of them were shown to be unvaccinated.” He stressed that vaccination did not protect people from pneumonia as influenza was not the only cause of the illness. He said he recently had pneumonia and could have died but the test results showed he did not have influenza as he was vaccinated against it. Parasram agreed saying when people die of pneumonia, others automatically assume they died of the flu. However, the ministry has to wait two to three weeks after a death occurs for test results from labs to confirm influenza because pneumonia has many causes. Parasram confirmed that the influenza deaths were related to H1N1, the swine flu. The trivalent vaccines available in TT are effective against the two of 16 subtypes of influenza A – H1N1 and H3N2 – and one subtype of B that is seen in TT. However, he said viruses tends to mutate. “Once we put pressure on a virus, it’s an organism, it will try to change to survive. That’s why we have a new flu vaccine every year because it is supposed to cater to changes in the season. So we are looking to see if this particular virus this year, which we suspect because of the larger number of hospital cases and deaths, if it has strengthened in some way.”
ATTORNEY GENERAL Faris Al-Rawi on Saturday denied that there are any conflict of interests between his wife’s niece forming a company in February to deal in marijuana as the Government moves to the commercialisation of the cannabis plant. Al-Rawi confirmed to Sunday Newsday that the West Indian Cannabis Co Ltd is owned by Jenna Nahous, the niece of his wife Mona Nahous-Al-Rawi, and Christopher Moses. The company was incorporated on February 8 and three days later had two shareholders each purchasing 1,000 shares – AV Capital Ltd and GV Holdings Ltd. In a Facebook post on Saturday, Moses confirmed he and his wife formed the company but stressed it is an apparel company. At 5 pm Saturday, part of the post read: “Our team believes a global cannabis apparel brand is prime to emerge from the Caribbean region and in preparation of this movement, we have been in the process of building an apparel brand and a news forum to centralise all of the medical marijuana industry related news and press throughout the region. While we are still in the pre-execution stage of this venture; in light of today's social media blast our group feels it be imperative to state the facts to dispel any rumours or assumptions made by certain persons. In pursuit of building an apparel line named WICK (West Indian Cannabis Co) I knew I would need a partner with the experience and know – how required to make this a successful venture.” Moses said he aligned the company with his family’s GV Holdings which has been in the textile and garment industry for over 40 years, he said. “I categorically state that I have no business dealings with Faris Al-Rawi, whatsoever. I do not, nor did I discuss my business with him as I have no financial relationship with him. I do not possess any inside information pertaining to the cannabis industry as it comes to the fore in T&T and region wide. Our business in apparel certainly could not – to any right minded person – feature in the deplorable allegations being made.” Al-Rawi said the accusation of some conflict of interest was just “UNC mischief”. He added that he has no control over his niece-in-law’s company. He added that there are other companies that have already been registered, from as far back as 2015, that are waiting for the Cannabis Control Bill to become law so that they can get in early on the industry. These companies include Caribbean Cannabis Law Reform Coalition, registered in April 2015, by Natalee Stephenson. In June 2016, Rondell Daniel registered Cannabis and You. One month later, Marcus Ramkissoon registered Caribbean Cannabis Institute. Al-Rawi added: “I knew nothing of this company. I have no financial relationship with this young lady. I don’t have any interest in this company no dealings at all. I have no conflict of interest in terms of law or fact.” He added that everyone is anxious about it the decriminalisation and commercialisation of marijuana and he “can't stop people from doing what they have to do.” Al-Rawi said he has no interest in the company and neither he nor his immediate family are interested in the cannabis business industry. “This is just nonsense.” Moses added: “The whole world, and certainly the Caribbean, which market we serve in apparel, are way ahead of the current developments being discussed in TT. Any attempts to discredit my name, this venture, or my partners involved is unwarranted, misleading and can only be described as scandalous, untruthful, and undoubtedly politically motivated attempt to provoke a reaction. We invite anyone who is an advocate for the decriminalisation and proliferation of medical marijuana literature and information to join us at the launch of our West Indian Cannabis Co Ltd clothing apparel line, on Friday at THC (The Hideout Clothing Co), third floor of Long Circular Mall." The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill which deals with the decriminalisation of small amounts of marijuana was passed both in the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, the Senate did not debate the Cannabis Control Bill (to regulate the business of cannabis) as the House sent this to a joint select committee. The committee will report to Parliament in February.
Christmas cheer filled the Stalagnite recreation grounds, Southern Main Road, Cunupia, last Saturday, as Ramps Logistics Ltd hosted their fourth annual children's Christmas treat to show their appreciation for the community that has supported them over the years. The company sought to give back to the children of staff, and those in need hosting charitable organisations such as the Ryu Dan Empowerment Centre, St Mary's Children Home, Living Water Community and others, promising children an evening of fun and excitement. [caption id="attachment_800706" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Erika Zapata, left, rides a pony at the Ramps Logistics' Christmas treat. - Shane Superville[/caption] Speaking with Sunday Newsday, Ramps Logistics' operations director Rudy Rampersad said as its Trinidad office celebrated its fourth treat, their Guyanese counterparts were celebrating their second. "A big part of what we do is giving back to our communities wherever we go. We want to develop the community, empower them and grow with them. A really big push came from our staff, they were the ones who really manage this and make it a reality every single year. "This is our little way of giving back and try to bring about some real change. If we can bring some cheer to some children's faces then that's a job well done for us." Business development manager Dale Lutchman said the local event was a resounding success as the company hosted 1,158 people and distributed over 850 gifts to children. [caption id="attachment_800707" align="alignnone" width="640"] Spiderman poses with one of his biggest fans six-year-old Ramon Bicano. - Shane Superville[/caption] The company's long-time business partners also joined in the festivities by offering gifts and services with Wafiq Transport and Malabar Farms donating over 2,700 burgers and hot dogs. Toyota also contributed with it's construction of Santa's Village for the party. With live performances from dance troupes, bouncy castles and pony rides, both adults and children were entertained.