Trinidad e Tobago
The mother of Larie Simon, the businessman who was shot dead by police in Palo Seco on Thursday night, is claiming the family was contacted by one of the officers involved, who is begging for their forgiveness. Simon, 30, was shot and killed by police who went to his businessplace as part of an enquiry into stolen goods. The police report said Simon charged at the officers with a cutlass, prompting them to shoot him. Speaking with Newsday at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Monday, Simon's mother, Lana Joseph, questioned the circumstances surrounding her son's death and insists he would not have attacked the police. She also said an officer involved in the shooting contacted her mother, Simon's grandmother, and asked for the family's forgiveness. In March, Simon's older brother Darie Simon was one of two people shot dead at a fruit stall in Maracas, St Joseph. His mother said she was still trying to forgive the killers of her elder son and could not bring herself to forgive the killers of her other son. The officer, she said, "has to really ask God for forgiveness. "I'm trying to forgive the first set of people who killed my son. I'm not saying I'm a saint, so I will try my best to forgive everyone. "But I need justice. Forgiveness and justice are two different things." Joseph said her son moved to Palo Seco earlier this year and started a business selling electronics, mattresses and furniture. She said he had been moving back and forth between the family's St Joseph home and his businessplace for a few months, and had not been in trouble with the police. Joseph said when she was only told he had been involved in a police shooting and not that he was killed. "They called me and said, 'Police shot Larie,' so I rush down to the Siparia health facility, where they told me he was alive – just to see him in a body bag. "That almost killed me. I don't know how I didn't drop down there." Newsday also spoke to Joseph's older sister Cherie Simon. "This is the worst year I've ever experienced. I'm still trying to come to terms with Darie's murder and now this came and happens. It's like you don't even feel like waking up on a morning anymore." Simon's autopsy report said he died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Speaking with Newsday Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he would not engage in a "he say, she say" over allegations of misconduct. "It would be foolhardy of me to give a statement based on a third party. Let us deal with facts and evidence. He added, "If they have evidence or information of the police doing something that is irregular and out of the authority of the police service, they should submit the report to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) or the Commissioner of Police, but they run to the camera (media), make wild accusations, but when it's time to thoroughly investigate, nothing is done." Griffith also said while he did not know what was discussed during the conversation between the police officer and the relative, an expression of condolences is not the same as an expression of guilt.
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DAVID FURLONGE has been appointed coach of the TT Red Force. He replaced Mervyn Dillon, who served as Red Force coach since January 2019, ironically with Furlonge as the team manager.
Furlonge received the nod, on Monday, ahead of 17 other local and international applicants. The interview process for the recruitment of a new Red Force coach got underway earlier in November after covid19 delayed the process in mid-March.
Furlonge was elected to serve by the TT Cricket Board’s (TTCB) five-member interview committee. Earlier this year, the cricket board appointed this committee with a mandate to source the most suitable candidate to lead the Red Force.
This committee was headed by former TTCB executive member Dr Allen Sammy and included West Indies women's team manager Ann Browne-John, Amar Samaroo, Anthony Creed and Kumar Rampat.
With the recent announcement by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to resume regional cricket in early 2021, Furlonge is expected to hit the ground running within the coming days.
At the top of Furlonge’s agenda would be the Regional Super50 competition and Four-Day Tournament. Both are expected to take place between February and May 2021.
Police found 350 grammes of marijuana during an anti-crime exercise in Scarborough on Sunday. During the exercise, officers went to a vacant lot at Hart Lane, Scarborough where they found a plant-like substance resembling marijuana. No one was arrested. The exercise, which also included the Crown Point area, was co-ordinated by ASP Joseph and supervised by Insp David and Cpl Thomas. It also included officers of the Crown Point Police Station. Investigations are ongoing.
Tobago tourism stakeholders are being advised not to decrease their rates to attract more business, as the island’s tourism sector continues to feel the full brunt of the covid19 pandemic. International borders have been closed since March 22 and the cruise ship season was suspended on March 12. Since then, Tobago's tourism industry has been struggling to stay afloat with just visitors from Trinidad to generate income. In a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd on Friday morning, panellist and chairman of the Mt Irvine Bay Hotel Jacqueline Yorke-Wescott advised hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and inn owners not to give discounts. Instead, she said they should look at the option of enhancing the value of the product. She was responding to a question posed by one of the viewers on the live stream. The panel discussion, themed, The New Normal: Adapting and Thriving in the Current Reality, focused on ways the Tobago tourism industry can remain afloat as the world battles with covid19. The question was about reducing rates as a way to boost activity. In response, Yorke-Wescott said, “I would say try and keep your rates as normal as possible. And by that I mean, don't go for drastic cuts right now, because there's going to come a time in 2021 where you would want to raise your rates and you won't be able to, because you got them so low that there's no way you're ever going to get the returns that you have now. [caption id="attachment_860424" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The I Love Tobago sign at the Scarborough Esplanade. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE -[/caption] "Also, realistically, our operational expenses now are higher, because you've got to put a lot more care into the product that you sell. And there's a lot more involved in terms of training, in terms of PPE, in terms of precautions. “And rather than looking to cut prices what you should be looking at is, what can I add in terms of value or maintain the same rates, but what can I add to the package that I'm offering that gives value to the consumer? "I mean, people want to stay somewhere that's safe. So how can I demonstrate to the consumer that this is actually going to be safe? Am I going to be having a lot of signage around the place on my stuff...(being) certified? "Keep the rates the same, but try to add more value.” Currently, the number of flights to Tobago is reduced, and restrictions on bars and alcohol sales for in-house dining continue to affect restaurants on the island. Until the restrictions are lifted, she encouraged stakeholders to adapt to the new way of doing business. “However, we can't go back to the way we did things in 2019, because people now want a different type of travel experience,” she added. “There will always be a market for cheap and cheerful all-inclusive sun, sea and sand holidays, but increasingly we will see people demanding more personal space. "And what is interesting, they're now willing to pay for it. Cost is still the main deciding factor when it comes to the choice of quality experience, but safety is now the second-highest consideration, followed by convenience.” While business activity remains slow and empty rooms are frustrating stakeholders, Yorke-Wescott urged them to see the importance of taking advantage of the downtime. She said businesses should review insurance coverage and negotiate lower premiums. “One of the gifts that the pandemic has given us is time-enforced closure, lockdown, gave us time to learn about the pandemic, train staff and plan for the future. So we now face critical issues: how can we serve food safely in restaurants? How can rooms be serviced to covid19-acceptable standards in a timely manner without incurring excessive operational expenses? How can tours be conducted safely within covid19 prevention guidelines? How many employees do I really need? “Luckily we don't have to figure everything out ourselves, because there are a lot of free online resources for the industry, and I stress the word ‘free.’” Within the past three months, Tobago hotels, guesthouses, and inns have been introducing new rates and specials to attract guests from the domestic market. Many have said they plan to close permanently, since even with assistance from the government, they continue to struggle to cover bills and pay staff members. She encouraged all stakeholders to look at ways to use what is available to generate extra income until the business can get to a level of normality. “There’s no magic bullet that's going to go, 'Pandemic, go away,' and make everything hunky-dory again. "Do we need government assistance. Yes. "Can we survive in the long term? Maybe. "But invest in your people, restructure your business. In a nutshell, pivot.”
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrated and chatted with three winners of the Commonwealth Points of Light award, including TT turtle conservationist Len Peters, on Sunday. The award, launched in 2018, is given to one volunteer from across the Commonwealth each week "in recognition of their outstanding initiatives in local communities and beyond." Peters received the first-ever award in February 2018. In addition to a conservationist, he is chairman of the Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association, which protects 20,000 turtle nests annually. His work appeared on BBC’s Blue Planet 2 with British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. The other recipients who were celebrated included Nikoletta Polydorou, a music teacher from Cyprus, and Ruy Santos from Mozambique. According to a Royal Communications release, the queen said, “Thank you all for taking part in this programme. I’m delighted to have heard your stories and I think it’s wonderful work that you’re all doing, and volunteering so much. Thank you very much.” She spoke to all the awardees, who were also allowed to discuss the impact of their initiatives in their local communities. Peters said, “Here you have a young boy from a turtle-eating family wanting to make a difference. [caption id="attachment_860418" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Britains Queen Elizabeth II speaks with three recipients of the Commonwealth Points of Light award. Photo provided by Buckingham Palace.[/caption] "At night, we would walk the beach back and forth protecting the turtle to try to convince people that it was the right thing to do. What we didn’t know (was) that 30 years later that effort would see TT being recognised as one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback sea turtles in the world.” Polydorou's initiative, Sistema Cyprus, focuses on "transforming the lives of children and young people from challenged communities by providing free music education and instruments." It has its own children’s orchestra and choir and collaborates with three Cypriot universities to provide academic scholarship opportunities. The release said 45 children performed "a piece of music in celebration of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s recent 73rd wedding anniversary," including a never-before-heard piece – Modus Cyprius – due to be premièred to the public next week. Santos founded his initiative, Makobo, in 2009, which the release described as "a collaborative working space to promote nutrition, education and youth employment," of which the Queen had her first virtual tour. The release said, "The space includes a soup kitchen, which during the pandemic fed 6,000 people daily, including lunch boxes to support local school children. In response to covid19, the organisation also began working with 15 local dressmakers, producing over 6,000 masks for underprivileged communities, hospitals and charity workers."
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A 16-year-old boy and his friend are being treated for gunshot wounds after a shooting in Arima on Sunday night. Police said the boy and his 22-year-old friend were standing on Fifth Street, Peytonville, at around 7 pm when they heard gunshots. People living nearby also heard the gunfire and saw the man bleeding from his head and the teen was bleeding from his stomach. Relatives took them to the Arima Hospital, where the man was listed in critical condition. The boy was treated and listed in a serious but stable condition. Investigators from the Arima CID found spent shells at the scene. Police are continuing enquiries.