Trinidad e Tobago
THE BPTT Renegades Youth Steel Orchestra is going into Sunday's National Jr Panorama final with a boost of confidence, having topped the 21 and Under Category preliminaries which was held on Wednesday. The band will play last, in position 10, in Sunday's final at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. Playing Trouble in the Morning by Jevaughn “V’ghn” John, the band scored 268 points with Jamal "Mek Mek" Gibbs' arrangement of the song. Following closely was Shell Invaders Youth Steel Orchestra, which trailed by one point, scoring 267 points, also playing Trouble in the Morning arranged by Rashaun Williams. [caption id="attachment_806669" align="alignnone" width="1024"] MHTL Starlift Junior Steelband Orchestra - ROGER JACOB[/caption] Trinidad All Stars Youth Group also known as “Tasso youths” placed third with 265 points for its performance of Fog by Machel Montano, arranged by Kygel Benjamin. In an interview with Newsday on Wednesday, Renegades' youth band manager Leon Chandler said the youths are confident that they could go all the way, but are aware, because of the experience of the senior bands, that winning the preliminaries is just a first step. “It is a result of preparation,” Chandler said. “We started in November and that would have been represented in the performance.” [caption id="attachment_806672" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Desperados Youth Steel Orchestra - ROGER JACOB[/caption] He commended Gibbs for his work and said because he was a young arranger he was not afraid to step out of the box and get views of players on what is appealing to them. “What happens because of that, is it is not just a group of performers playing an arrangement but the youths really feel part of the process and they enjoy themselves,” Chandler said Invaders' manager Atiya O’Neil said arranger Rashaun Williams tried to express the feeling of “trouble” in the arrangement. “They tried to express a contrast in the music,” she said. [caption id="attachment_806670" align="alignnone" width="1024"] HADCO Phase II Pan Groove Youth band - ROGER JACOB[/caption] She said while the result was a positive one they are awaiting the notes from the judges to see how they can tighten their performance. “We still have to drill and work on the song,” she said. The bands will play in the following order at : UNDER 21 CATEGORY 1. Trinidad All Stars Youth Steel Orchestra 2. Kimberly’s Royal Youth Steel Orchestra 3. HADCO Phase II Youth Steel Orchestra 4. Supernova’s Youth Steel Orchestra 5. Pan Elders Youth Steel Orchestra 6. Shell Invaders Youth Steel Orchestra 7. MHTL Starlift Youth Steel Orchestra 8. Tropical Angel Harps 9. Desperadoes Youth Steel Orchestra 10. BPTT Renegades Youth Steel Orchestra
THERE is more money in store for the school bands participating in the National Schools Junior Panorama competition. The winner will receive $20,000, while second place gets $18,000 and $16,000 for third position, in the primary and secondary category only. The new prizes were revealed at the National Carnival Commission’s (NCC) VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, where the draw for positions for Sunday’s National Junior Pan finals took place on Thursday. The Education Ministry’s project co-ordinator of the Multi-Cultural Music Programme Unit (MMPU), Auburm Wiltshire announced the new prizes. Wiltshire said, “The prize money has increased by $2,000 in the two categories. We want to encourage the schools not to focus on only winning, but learn the about the art form and fair play. “Too many schools focus on winning but this year we want to encourage students in other activities. Last year we had some unfair play, we are looking for a certain amount of discipline. The competition is aimed at building character and citizens.” He said the MMPU would come down hard on unfair players who feel there are no rules to the competition. “If it was to ever happen again we are going to make some examples. They can see themselves being banned from the competition for some years, if bands allow people to play who are not students of the school. “We are also calling on those who use fireworks as theatrics in the competition to let us know so that we can communicate with the TT Fire Service to put the relevant precautions in pace.” Wiltshire said as a musician he did not see the need for theatrics because music is a standalone. However, he said it is all up to the bands. The competition begins at 9 am on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. The bands will play in the following order: PRIMARY SCHOOLS 1. Tacarigua Presbyterian Primary School 2. St Margaret’s Boys’ Anglican School, Belmont 3. San Fernando Boys RC Primary School 4. St Mary’s Government Primary School 5. 5th Company (St Gregory’s) Anglican Primary 6. Couva Anglican Primary School 7. Success RC Primary School, Laventille 8. Febeau Government Primary School 9. 5th Company Baptist Primary School 10. Guaico Presbyterian Primary School 11. Bethlehem Boys & Girls Combined RC Schools 12. Tranquillity Government Primary School SECONDARY 1. Holy Cross College 2. La Romaine Secondary School 3. Bishop Anstey and Trinity College East combined 4. Naparima Girls High and Naparima College combined 5. St Francois Girls College 6. Bon Air Secondary School 7. Waterloo Secondary School 8. Bishop Anstey High School 9. Providence Girls and Queen’s Royal College combined 10. St Augustine Secondary School
LEE-ANN Kirby said she gave up on earning a recall to the West Indies Women’s cricket team after being overlooked for 12 years, but the support of her mother kept her motivated. Kirby was selected for the 2020 International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup, starting next month. The tournament will be played in Australia from February 21 to March 8. Ten teams will compete in the tournament with five teams in each group. West Indies will play the opening match in Group B against Thailand in a group that also features England, South Africa, and Pakistan. Kirby, known mostly for her power hitting, played four One Day Internationals and two T20s way back in 2008. Kirby, 32, in an interview with Newsday, said, “It was a great feeling getting called up on the West Indies team, getting called back to the camp after performing in the Courts T20 (Grand Slam tournament)...it was just hard work from there. I made up my mind to work hard in the (two and a half weeks) camp and perform well in the practice games.” Kirby was not counting on a return to the team, but with support and strong performances, the selectors took notice. “Honestly, I had already give up mentally, but my mom kept motivating me and saying it was always her dream to see me on TV playing. As I said mentally it had me down, but I just kept performing locally and in the regional tournaments.” [caption id="attachment_806663" align="alignnone" width="857"] FLASHBACK...TT’s Lee-Ann Kirby during the West Indies Women’s team camp at the Malcolm Marshall Nets at the 3Ws Oval in Barbados on January 31, 2016. - CWI Media[/caption] The right-handed batter said other people also encouraged her to keep working. “Who worked with me was Kelvin Williams the national coach, I got support from some of my team-mates and family members also. It was just really for me to put in the hard work because they believed in me and they kept saying I deserved to be there.” Kirby does not want to be known just as a power hitter on the team but wants to keep the middle of the batting order steady. West Indies, who won the World Women’s T20 title in 2016 in India, has struggled for consistency recently but Kirby thinks the team can be competitive in Australia. “Honestly I think that with the group that we have we stand a good chance reaching to the finals again this year.” Kirby, who is glad to see the fast bowling pair of Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman fit again, also learnt a lot from fit again Deandra Dottin at the camp in Antigua. Kirby said, “Working along with Dottin for the past weeks (has been great), she always keep motivating me, batting wise giving me little tips and steps how to do certain things, seeing her back there on the team is a big motivation after coming back from this injury because she really put in the work and she is coming along pretty well.” Dottin, one of the most destructive batters in the women’s game, was sidelined for a year because of a shoulder injury.
PRESENTATION College, San Fernando defeated Presentation College, Chaguanas by five wickets when round one matches in the PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket League 50-over Premiership Division continued, on Thursday. Pres Chaguanas were limited to 189/8 in 50 overs, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Tarouba with Nickyle Jalim ending with figures of 3/20 and Shem Ascevero taking 2/36. Justin Manick showed form for Chaguanas cracking a top score of 56, national youth player Aaron Bankay chipped in with 27 and Amrit Dass made 21. In response, San Fernando made light work of the target getting to 190/5 in only 29.4 overs. Former TT youth captain Tariq Mohammed showed his quality with a knock of 92 and Ascevero demonstrated his all round ability with 31. Sanjay Jawahir ensured San Fernando got over the line with 24 not out. The final round one match in the premiership will be played on Friday with Naparima College entertaining Shiva Boys Hindu College at Naparima Ground in San Fernando, from 10 am. SUMMARISED SCORES Premiership Presentation College, Chaguanas 189/8 (50 overs) (Justin Manick 56, Aaron Bankay 27, Amrit Dass 21; Nickyle Jalim 3/20, Shem Ascevero 2/36) vs Presentation College, San Fernando 190/5 (29.4 overs) (Tariq Mohammed 92, S Ascevero 31, Sanjay Jawahir 24 not out, Tristan Gray 1/30) Presentation San Fernando won by five wickets South Championship Couva East Secondary 177 (Umdeo Persad 36, Rajesh Maharaj 27, Mathias Bruzal 25; Kallis Ali 6/33) vs Princes Town West 73 (Kyle Seepersad 26, Kevin Kanhai 4/16, R Maharaj 3/25) Couva won by 104 runs ASJA Boys College, Charlieville 243/5 (50 overs) (Rayad Williams 120 not out, Isaac Ramrattan 54, Nickoly Ramsook 2/52) vs St Stevens College 158 (36.4 overs) (Ajay Seecharan 30, Nickoly Ramsook 23) ASJA Boys won by 85 runs Carapichaima East Secondary 205 (Taradath Basdeo 56, Allan Basdeo 32; Hayden Joseph 5/25) vs Miracle Ministries High 93 (Rahul Bharat 31, Adonis Antoine 26; Christopher Ramjohn 5/34, Emelio Villafana 4/7) Carapichaima won by 112 runs North Championship El Dorado East Secondary 88 (Kavir Boodoosingh 20, Zach Phillip 19; Tyron Lee Gopaul 3/22, Nicholas Kanhai 2/14) vs Vishnu Boys 89/5 (Giovanni Gajadhar 39 not out, Nicholas Kanhai 28, Z Phillip 2/17) Vishnu won by five wickets
Four female Palo Seco Secondary School students were suspended after a fight on Tuesday evening.The fight reportedly took place on Tuesday evening and police had to be called. TTUTA second vice president Kyrla Robertson-Thomas lamented the lack of parental guidance at schools.In an interview yesterday, she said the principal temporarily suspended four of the girls involved in the brawl, which has since gone viral on social media platforms.The principal, she said, “spent most of yesterday, in conjunction with police officers, trying to treat with the issue.”She said the principal had said part of the problem was two of the parents of the girls were “bullies” and police at the school “had to separate even the parents, because the parents are supporting and endorsing the actions of their children.”Robertson-Thomas said the principal said things got so unruly on Wednesday that had the police not been present, “Things might have worsened.”She added, “So it speaks to parental involvement and the fact that we seem now to be a society that is letting our young people loose without giving them appropriate guidance and partnering with the stakeholders like the school, church or religious institutions to instil values and morals.” She said the principal had spoken to a social worker “to provide some sort of intervention, because...he is not getting the kind of support from home so that the girls will understand that what they are doing is wrong.”A Ministry of Education official said the four had been suspended for seven days.He said they will have to report to the School’s Services Division for intervention and counselling after they go back to school.
A Longdenville man is expected to appear before a Chaguanas magistrate today, charged with the murder of Kurt Edwards on January 18.Kosi Jeremiah, 40, of Lamont Street, Longdenville, Chaguanas, was charged following advice from Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Honore-Paul on January 22.A police media statement yesterday said Edwards, 28, of Longdenville, was found dead with stab wounds on January 18 at Lamont Street, near the Longdenville Hindu Temple. Edwards was reportedly involved in a heated altercation with another man when he was fatally wounded. Longdenville Police Post officers later arested Jeremiah, Investigations were supervised by acting Insps Darryl Corrie and Allister Jones, both of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations (HBI), Region 3. Jeremiah was charged by WPC Prince on January 22.A Marabella man is also expected to appear before a Chaguanas magistrate today charged with the 2018 murder of Akeil Clarke.Cowen Williams, 32, of Gandhi Street, Marabella, was charged on January 22.According to reports, Clarke, 29, of Theresa Street, Marabella, was found dead on June 21,2018, with gunshot wounds.Williams was arrested on January 16, 2020 in Cunupia by officers of the Central Division.Investigations were supervised by Corrie, Jones and Sgt Ramjag. PC Ramnarine charged Williams on January 23.
After thanking Republic Bank for its sponsorship of the Junior Parade of the Bands for the better part of a decade, National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters expressed pleasure that local bank First Citizens (FC) has now stepped up to take over.
He was speaking at the media launch of the parade at the NCC VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Thursday.
Peters wants to give the event a new label – Children’s Saturday. He said, for decades the parade has enjoyed a safe place within TT’s Carnival as one of the most anticipated and attended events, and the NCC is working with the bank to keep it that way.
“The FC Junior Parade of the Bands is a gift to the nation that we are proud to have, and proud to give. We look forward to working with FC as we light up the streets of PoS and Carnival City with the smiles of thousands of junior masqueraders.”
Noting that Carnival is exactly one month away, Peters acknowledged there was a bit of work left to be done but all stakeholders are working towards its success.
The bank’s deputy CEO of operations and administration, Prof Sterling Frost, said: “The home of the greatest show on earth is also the home of FC and, as a truly home-grown entity, we are committed to the enrichment and the development of our local culture. This strong sense of responsibility to preserve what belongs to us has driven our decision to partner with the NCC, through the TT Carnival Bands Association, as the title sponsor for the FC Junior Parade of Bands for the very first time.”
He said the junior parade, which started in 1974, has evolved into an integral aspect of TT’s Carnival and, though other types of mas are important, children’s mas, with its potential to influence the sustainability of Carnival, is what makes it so critical.
NCC CEO, Colin Lucas said the parade route is the same as last year, and the NCC will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the Ministry of National Security and the police, to ensure that the event is a safe and enjoyable one.
He also spoke of an initiative, started last year, when children from distant schools and children’s homes were taken to Port of Spain to see the parade. Lucas said it is the intention of the NCC to include more schools this year.
Schools supervisor and chairman of the Junior Parade of the Bands, Carl Thomas, said the Ministry of Education wants to get the parade back to a time when 80 per cent of the bands were actual school bands. Such bands, he said, have dwindled over the years.
This led to the ministry, four years ago, to embark on a Carnival in Education initiative.
Thomas said since then several projects including, teachers’ seminars and workshops, have been done in PoS and Tobago, and more will be done in the six other educational districts of Trinidad.
“We also intend to have field trips for schools to go to certain targeted mas bands where teachers and students can interact with persons who are involved in developing the mas.”
A Canadian construction worker who admitted to trafficking 1.16 kilogrammes of cocaine in 2012, because of a pre-existing medical condition, has had his sentence varied. Although his sentence was varied to remove a $20,000 fine imposed on him, Justices of Appeal Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Mark Mohammed said such offences must meet harsh consequences. Christopher Awni Shair was arrested on November 20, 2012, while at the Piarco International Airport. He was in TT for one week on vacation and, because of his disease, he wanted to “make money.” Several packets containing cocaine were found hidden in his suitcase. He pleaded guilty and was fined and sentenced to four years’ hard labour by a magistrate. He appealed his sentence on the basis that the magistrate did not apply the methodology handed down by the appellate court for sentencing, and started with a too high starting point of ten years, which is the maximum sentence. Shair’s attorney Wayne Sturge argued that the magistrate failed to take into account his client’s guilty plea and previous good character. In their ruling, Mohammed agreed that the magistrate did not follow the sentencing methodology which allowed the appellate court to look at the sentencing afresh. He said it served no practical purpose to impose a fine since Shair was also sentenced to jail time. He also said the maximum sentence of ten years should be for the worst of the worst cases and, while trafficking of cocaine was serious and prevalent, this case did not fall into that category. Shair’s sentence was reduced to three and a half years after the relevant discounts were made, which is to run from the date he was sentenced on November 24, 2016. Although the judges varied the sentence, they said a message must be sent. Mohammed said TT has earned a reputation as a major transshipment point for drug trafficking. Cocaine trafficking, he said, destroyed the fabric of society. In Shair’s case, both judges said his pre-existing medical condition did not justify his actions. “It was all the more reason not to get involved in this. This is no way to make money. We cannot give weight to that excuse,” Soo Hon said. Senior state attorney Mauricia Joseph appeared for the State.
El Ministro de Agricultura, Clarence Rambharat, dijo que el ministerio está monitoreando el mortal coronavirus, ya que inicialmente había sido transferido de animales a humanos. El ministro de Salud, Terrence Deyalsingh, informó previamente a Newsday que los pasajeros que aterrizan en el aeropuerto de Piarco están siendo escaneados en el momento en que bajan de su avión para evitar la propagación de un brote viral desde China que, el martes, se detectó en un paciente en el estado de Washington, EE. UU. . Al menos seis personas han muerto y 300 infectadas en Asia con el virus inicialmente identificado en China en grupos de personas que padecen neumonía. Si bien el coronavirus parece haberse originado en carne / animales en un mercado en la ciudad de Wuhan, China, a Deyalsingh le preocupaba que ahora parece transmitirse de humano a humano. Rambharat, hablando en una entrevista telefónica el miércoles sobre el tráfico de animales, comentó que el ministerio también estaba en alerta ya que el coronavirus era una enfermedad zoonótica rara (transferida de animal a humano). "No hay signos del virus aquí. Pero no sabemos cómo pasaron de los animales a los humanos en China. Es algo de lo que debemos estar alertas en el contexto del virus en particular y su posible propagación". Indicó que el Ministerio de Salud había implementado medidas para los humanos y debido a que la situación aún estaba en las primeras etapas, no estaba en condiciones de decir la magnitud del riesgo. Agregó que se tomaron las medidas habituales para tratar con animales traficados y también hay muchos informes de miembros del público, así como el trabajo de veterinarios y guardianes de caza en el ministerio y los servicios de protección. Rambharat manifestó que el ministerio siempre está en alerta debido a todos los riesgos de enfermedades, particularmente de América del Sur. "Somos conscientes y nuestros veterinarios conocen la información (sobre el coronavirus) que puede pasar de animales a humanos. La situación está siendo monitoreada". (Traducido por GREVIC ALVARADO) FOTOLEYENDA: Clarence Rambharat, Ministro de Agricultura
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Although drivers can be suspended for one to two years if they exceed the permitted number of demerit points on their permits, some have welcomed the new traffic enforcement system.
The system will go into effect from March 2 to deal with traffic offences and violations.
Every driver starts with zero demerit points.
In an interview with Newsday on Thursday, a taxi driver who gave his name only as Darryl said the new system would not only encourage drivers to do what is required by law but also change their errant driving habits.
“The risk of losing your licence, especially when my job entails driving as a taxi driver and a delivery driver, is not worth it.
“I think with the new system, drivers would be more vigilant, and it would also help with decreasing road carnage.
“Although I am glad the Ministry of Works has done this to deal with errant drivers, I think some people may fall victims to the rule of law by taking a chance by breaking the law.”
Adion Harris, a courier at Memory Bank Computers, said he welcomed the points system.
“In this way, drivers on the road would pay more attention, even if it (obliged) them to drive slower or even to leave home earlier, to ensure they do not break the law.
“This year started off with a road fatality, and once the system comes in effect, I think people would see the importance of having the new system.
Another taxi driver, who plies the Diego Martin Route and did not want to be named said it was a great move by the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Asked if he thinks the new system might affect the number of trips he can make in a day, or lead to an increase in fares, he said, “No. I don’t think the system would make any taxi driver ask for an increase in their fares. It is simple: comply with the law and you won’t have nothing to worry about.
“I think the transformation was long overdue.
“This would also allow us to have faster transactions at licensing office. This new system would also deal with the corruption there.”
He said once people get accustomed to the new system, he believes it will have a positive effect on how drivers use the roads and highways.
Newly licensed driver who has had a permit for a year or less: Seven or more demerit points: Suspended for a year.
Experienced driver: Ten-14 demerit points accumulated within three years: Suspended for six months.
Experienced driver: 14-19 demerit points: Suspended for a year. More than 20 demerits: Suspended for two years.
Driver caught switching lanes without indication or discretion: Six demerit points.
Following too close to the vehicle in front – careless driving: Six demerit points.
Failure to provide a specimen of breath or blood: 14 demerit points.
Driver who is caught under the influence: Nine demerit points.
Failure to comply with a traffic sign or notice: $1,000 fine and three demerit points.
Exceeding speed limit by 31km/hr or more: $3,000 fine and six demerit points.
Driving while disqualified from holding/obtaining a driver’s permit: 14 demerit points.
The Ministry of Works and Transport website says where there is no fixed-penalty fine stipulated, this is an offence or violation that is not subject to the fixed penalty traffic ticketing system. In that case, demerit points will be recorded only upon conviction by a court.
JAMAICAN-born, British Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson is yet been sentenced for his role in an alleged conspiracy with former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen. The sentencing hearing has been adjourned to Friday afternoon. The matter is in connection with a series of financial transactions and alleged rewards involving legal fees paid to him for representation in state briefs. The briefs were obtained while Ramlogan was attorney general.
The terms of his plea deal with the State are being kept private and Thursday’s hearing was held in-camera. Only prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police were allowed to remain in the court. The media, defence attorneys and law students were asked to leave after DPP Roger Gaspard,SC, reminded the judge of a previous order granted in June which gave the judge the discretion to hold what would normally be an open-court hearing, in private.
In addressing the judge, Gaspard reminded the judge of his previous order to have the matter held in-camera as well as an application to have the records of the case sealed.
He said in keeping with the order, the proceedings were sealed, and told Holdip, “I see no extant reason to depart from the previous orders.”
“I urge the court to reiterate our core business would be proceeding behind a statutory veil which authorises the court to proceed in-camera,” Gaspard said.
He also said the defence had no objection to the continuation of the orders.
In addressing those in the public gallery, Holdip said ordinarily such matters of sentencing would be held in public, but he agreed with Gaspard’s submissions, and ordered the court to be vacated. After an hour of discussions, all the media were told the matter was adjourned to Friday.
Nelson arrived in TT on Tuesday, and is under heavy police guard.
Earlier, when the matter was first called at 1.08 pm, neither Nelson nor his attorneys were present. Gaspard explained that he was reliably informed that the prisoner was on his way to court, along with his legal team. He assured that “the prisoner is within the jurisdiction,” and pointed out that on the last occasion the matter was set for 1.30 pm. At 1.48 pm, Nelson was brought to the First Criminal Court at the Hall of Justice through the corridor used by police to bring prisoners’ to the courtroom and he sat in the prisoners’ docks.
Nelson’s sentencing comes some six months after he pleaded guilty which was accepted by Holdip on June 6, 2019. The judge also accepted the plea agreement deal struck between Nelson and the State and in accordance with section 26 of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act.
Nelson, who was indicted on three counts of conspiring to commit money laundering, misbehaviour in public office and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption.
He is represented by British QC Tom Allen and local attorney Roger Kawalsingh. Also appearing for the State is Edward Jenkins, QC, and senior prosecutor Mauricia Joseph.
THE PLANNING Ministry has said the historic Red House has returned to its glory.
“The Red House is a vitally significant example of TT’s tangible cultural heritage. It has been a stage for many dramatic events in the history of this nation. It is the site upon which this democratic nation was born and where that democracy overcame an unprecedented challenge. Therefore, this monument is inextricably connected to the collective consciousness of Trinidad and Tobago and must be protected for the enjoyment of future generations,” said National Trust chairman Margaret Mc Dowall.
The ministry, in a release on Thursday, said the Red House is a listed heritage site and on Friday “it will finally be reopened with pomp and ceremony as the House of Parliament and the birth of our nation’s democracy as Ms Mc Dowall states.”
The ministry said “virtually every century” since building began in 1844, the Red House has been struck by some now-historic event.
“However, after extensive renovation managed by the Urban Development Corporation of TT, it is now ready to own the valuable title and designation as a Grade 1 listed heritage site on the Heritage Asset Registry of the National Trust of TT Council.”
The ministry explained that registered as a listed heritage asset under designation Grade 1, is defined as a “property in which there should be no change, nor alteration to its shape or form, nor in or upon any material object, plant or other thing that may deform or deface the property.” This prevents future redesigns or alterations to be conducted on the building.
The ministry said the Government, in alignment with TT’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030’s Theme II: Delivering Good Governance and Service Excellence, and in relation to Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, has made a commitment to secure the nation’s heritage assets for future generations.
The ministry explained that in its bid to protect those heritage assets that are fundamental to communities and cities, some of the legislations and policies developed include: the National Protected Area Policy (2011); the National Spatial Development Strategy; the Town and Country Planning Act, which allows for the preservation of historical, architectural or archaeological structures of interest to be placed in development plans; and he National Trust, which has as its focus the improvement of communities through the safeguarding of the built and natural heritage and a mission to lead the efforts for the preservation of TT’s built and natural heritage.
It said it was in keeping with those, policies, “under the stewardship of the Office of the Prime Minister,” that the Government phad renovated five historic buildings in and around Port of Spain: the Red House, Castle Killarney (Stollmeyer’s Castle), Mille Fleurs, President’s House and Whitehall. It said four have been completed and are in full use, and Mille Fleurs is almost complete.
Both Houses of Parliament were relocated to Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain in2011 to allow for restoration work on the Red House. The cost of the work by Udecott was approximately $441 million.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith was left fuming and disappointed with the response of a non-profit organisation to a reported incident of domestic violence.
According to reports, a woman who said she had been beaten by her husband at their Port of Spain home on Wednesday, called a domestic violence hotline. She later reported that the hotline operator told her they were too busy to take her call and she should call back. The woman then contacted Griffith and told him what had happened.
Newsday spoke to Commissioner Griffith, who confirmed the woman had contacted him, and said he in turn called the hotline and spoke to an operator. “It was brought to my attention and I was very concerned, because if these things happened on the police’s watch, the police would be blamed.”
He said the operator he spoke to confirmed the response the woman had been given. “We can’t afford to drop the ball on this, especially in a case where someone is being beaten or threatened. I was put on to the co-ordinator, who then has the audacity to tell me that I ‘needed to understand how it works.’
“It was very unfortunate and we don’t need agencies that drop the ball like that. Timing is critical. Every single victim must be taken seriously. If we drop the ball on one, we fail. This is not what we want.” Griffith said while he understood that people make mistakes, a more compassionate and professional response was needed from hotline operators. Newsday understands when the woman called back the hotline on Thursday, the operator told her in a sarcastic tone to call a police station or contact Griffith.
Newsday contacted the hotline on Thursday just after 4.30 pm. An operator said the co-ordinator was not available. The reporter was also told to call back on Friday. The hotline is not run by the police service but is contracted under a government institution.
On Tuesday, Griffith launched the police’s Gender-Based Violence Unit to investigate and deal with issues relating to domestic violence.
At the launch, he vowed a renewed effort in tackling issues of violence against women and girls and apologised to victims who have experienced ridicule from the police when reporting crimes against them.
AFTER months of protesting health and safety issues lifeguards at Maracas and Tyrico beaches have been provided with temporary accommodation. The Tourism Ministry in a release said it has procured and installed, through the Urban Development Corporation of TT, a 40-foot container to temporarily accommodate lifeguards at Maracas and Tyrico beaches until works are complete. The container, which was outfitted with office, washroom and storage facilities will house the lifeguards while remedial works are being undertaken to upgrade the main quarters at the Maracas Beach Facility. The Ministry of Tourism continues to have discussions with the lifeguards with a view of having them revert to operating normal hours, as they have been working for reduced hours over the past few weeks. Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said the refurbishment works, when completed in a few weeks, will enhance the overall stakeholder and visitor experience for all at the beaches. He also urged beachgoers to exercise caution and heed all advisories to ensure safety remains a priority while at the beaches, the release added. [caption id="attachment_806640" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The inside of a 40-ft container to be used to temporarily accommodate lifeguards at Maracas and Tyrico beaches. The facility was installed by UDeCOTT on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism. -[/caption] Lifeguards spokesperson Augustus Sylvester has informed the media that lifeguards are only on duty from 10 am to 12 noon because of unsafe accommodations. He said that since June last year lifeguards at Maracas Bay have had to deal with water problems and raw sewage leaking into the building. Last June Raj Soonylal, 29 from Penal, drowned in Maracas while lifeguards were on strike. On January 4 Ryan Mc Guire, 17, drowned at Tyrico Bay after saving two youths who experienced difficulties in the water. Mc Guire was on an excursion with other members of the Oropune Police Youth Club and other young people. Following Mc Guire's drowning Sylvester urged his relatives to sue the National Security Ministry for negligence and expressed hope that then longstanding health and safety issues of lifeguards would be addressed. Attempts to contact Sylvester on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Scotiabank has recommitted its role to the UWI Annual Toronto Benefit Gala, which has helped award scholarships to 500 students, by donating CAD $75,000 a year for the next five years. The total would amount to CAD $375,000. The sponsorship would also include 15 Scotiabank Scholarships per year. In a meeting with scholarship recipients, UWI executives and Brendan King, senior vice president, International Banking, the gala benefit scholarship recipients thanked Scotiabank and the gala for helping them with their schooling. King shared advice with the students and highlighted the bank’s commitment to youth and education. “At Scotiabank, we believe in the importance of investing in the youth of our communities to help them reach their infinite potential. We know that how we support young people today can help them for tomorrow, and that’s why we want to help them thrive,” King said. The Scotiabank scholarships will be available to Caricom nationals pursuing a full time undergraduate program. Eligible students must be entering at least level two of the bachelors degree programme in the faculty of Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Humanities and Education and Social Sciences.
A week after he was pulled from the wreck of a crash which would eventually claim the lives of a doctor and another man, a 19-year-old La Romaine man appeared on Thursday in court charged with kidnapping and murdering the two men. Antonio Francois appeared before senior magistrate Jo-Anne Conner where several charges were read to him arising out of the deaths of Dr Rudradeva Sharma and Akeem Marine, 17. Police who were part of the investigations later told Newsday that Francois was charged under the Murder Felony Rule, under the Criminal Law Act. Section (2) of the Act states that when someone embarks upon committing an arrestable offence which involves violence such as robbery or kidnapping, and someone is killed in the course of that action, he or all other people engaged in the act are liable to be convicted of murder, even if there was no intent to kill. The first charge read out by magistrate Connor to Francois was that on Wednesday January 15, along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, in the area of the Macaulay overpass near Claxton Bay, he murdered Dr Rudradeva Sharma who was the nephew of former UNC MP Chandresh Sharma. A second charge read to him stated that on the same day and at the same location, he also murdered Marine. Francois was also charged with kidnapping Dr Sharma and Dr Prem Naidoo from Independence Avenue in San Fernando. The magistrate then read out another charge that Francois used violence to rob Dr Sharma of a cell phone valued $2,500 and his Honda CRV, valued $120,000. Francois was charged with robbing Dr Naidoo of an iPhone valued US$175. All charges were laid indictably by detective WPC Bassarath. As the charge of murder in a non-bailable offence, the issue of bail did not arise. Attorney Indira Binda, who represented Francois, told the court that her client was injured but she will write to prison regarding the injury. The magistrate asked if Francois has been medically examined and the attorney said, yes. The magistrate said a medical certificate will be submitted to the prison authorities. Prosecutor Sgt Gadoo told the court that tracing was not done and Francois' criminal record must also be checked. The attorney said her client has one previous conviction for marijuana but he was reprimanded and discharged. Dr Naidoo, 37, and Dr Sharma, 38, were abducted on January 15 by three men at Rushworth Street in San Fernando. While the abductors were making their escape in Sharma's CRV, it crashed in Macaulay, killing Sharma on the spot. Dr Naidoo and the three suspects were taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where one of the suspects later died while Dr Naidoo was discharged. One suspect is still hospitalised. Dr Sharma’s funeral was held on Sunday at the family home. The case was adjourned to February 20.
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If you were wondering why there was an issue getting buses on Tuesday, it was because there was a disruption in service on that day.
The disruption, according to PTSC branch president, Ryan Ramnath, was connected to a two-day protest which included PTSC and MTS workers.
The workers took one day on Monday to rest and reflect and another on Tuesday to gather and march from their Transport and Industrial Workers Union headquarters on Eastern Main Road, Laventille, to Central Bank where they intended to hand-deliver a letter to Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert.
Newsday was told the letter was given to a secretary who assured that she would personally hand the letter to the minister.
Ramnath told Newsday both PTSC and MTS workers faced several issues, but their main problem was that negotiations for salaries have stalled.
“Both are saying they don’t have directives to discuss any cost items,” Ramnath said.
He said the letter called on the Finance Minister to intervene so the companies and the employees could come to an “amicable understanding” where they can discuss 2015 to 2017 negotiations.
“Both companies are working on 2014 salaries,” Ramnath said.
He added MTS workers alleged that salary deductions, meant to go to various credit unions and banks for loans, were not being handed over. Because of that they cannot apply to the banks for loans.
Newsday understands that MTS workers depend on these loans to subsidise their salaries.
For the PTSC, Ramnath said workers complained of not having proper buses to deliver their service to the public, and the slow pace of negotiations for non-cost items.
He said last year they had conversations about non-cost items last year, and in November, management wrote to them and said they would meet and negotiate on the non-cost items, but up to press time they had not received a date.
“It is true that PTSC purchased new buses over the years but they were allocated to PoS and Tobago," Ramnath said, commenting on the conditions of their buses.
"We from South and Sangre Grande are saying there are people who use the service in these remote areas and we would like buses allocated. Twenty-five buses cannot fix the problem."
In a Newsday report last year, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan said the PTSC needs 450 serviceable buses to properly service TT.
THERE will be no easy route to the finals for reigning Tobago soca champion Nigel Ellis, who will begin the defence of his crown tonight at the Junction Pub, Buccoo Junction. The semi-finals of NTSM –The Event, rebranded from the New Tobago Soca Monarch, begin at 8pm. Among the many changes for this year's competition is the champion being stripped of an automatic spot in the final.
Ellis and 20 other artistes, including veteran calypsonian Michael Baker, will be vying for a place in the grand finals.
As an added incentive, the event’s chairman, Avery Seaton, said two of the top semi-finalists from today’s event will perform at the semi-final round of the Caribbean Prestige Foundation’s Play Whe International Soca Monarch on February 2.
Now in its sixth year, Seaton said the event is annually held to help develop the art form in Tobago and to provide a space for Tobago’s soca artistes.
The competition is hosted by Men of Exile and is not connected to the Caribbean Prestige Foundation’s ISM.
Seaton said, “The Men of Exile looked at the calibre of artiste in TT, especially Tobago and the need for their own space.
“We also host workshops to help develop the artistes along the way.”
He added that Men of Exile is also focused on helping young people.
“We don’t just do soca monarch, we do other developmental projects. Men of Exile is based in Tobago and the founder is the late (former government minister and Tobago East MP) Rennie Dumas.”
The names of the semi-finalists were released on Wednesday on the NTSM-The Event’s Facebook page.
Seaton called on corporate Tobago to support the event.
“I would like to see corporate Tobago, the business people of Tobago, come out a little more and support. This is Tobago owned. This entity is to build tourism in Tobago.
“We already have attraction from the UK side of the world that is interested in coming in the soca monarch in Tobago. We have attraction form Dominica and other countries...they want to come into Tobago.
“The name changed from the New Tobago Soca Monarch to NTSM-The Event. The event is to bring the experience to the island and in bringing the experience to the island, you can now showcase the island in a proper light to the rest of the world. It is a tourism product that we are building,” he said.
The date of the finals and the prize structure for the event will be revealed soon, Seaton said.
NTSM-The Event semi-finalists:
Nicola Kalladeen & Sydney Friday
Defeated People's National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council leadership candidate Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus is encouraging members to vote in Sunday's runoff between incumbent political leader Kelvin Charles and TT Ambassador to Costa Rica Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
"I want to encourage persons that often times we tend to just focus on the initial election and persons don't come out for the runoff in the numbers that they should," she said during a news a conference on Tuesday at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands.
"And I am saying the overwhelming numbers we saw on Sunday, yes, it showed the health of the party. And I do hope that persons would have the same amount of persistence and strength to come out again in your overwhelming numbers on Sunday, (January) 26, to show your support for the level of democracy we now have within the PNM in Tobago.
Tsoiafatt-Angus, who got the least number of votes, 904, among the four leadership candidates in last Sunday's internal election, said she would support whomever the electorate decides to choose as the new leader.
The news conference, chaired by PNM general secretary Foster Cummings, featured addresses by all four leadership candidates as well as newly re-elected chairman, Stanford Callender.
Tsoiafatt-Angus, who quit her position as Tobago House of Assembly presiding officer in November to contest the internal election, said she is keeping her options open.
"That is the thing about an empty plate, you can put anything on to it that you want," she told reporters.
Tsoiafatt-Angus also is not ruling out the possibility of contesting the party's 2023 internal election.
"The good thing with a plate of food is that you don't plan for what you are going to eat a week ahead in advance. So, we will take it day by day."
Tsoiafatt-Angus congratulated the 47 candidates who competed for positions on the executive.
"I always say, once you are willing to enter a race you are a winner. I want to say congratulations for the courage it took for them to actually offer themselves for service and I certainly hope that we can utilise all of those talents throughout."
In his remarks, Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance and the Economy Joel Jack said the one man, one vote system, which was used for the first time in this election, democratised the process.
"It is really for those who see themselves fit to lead to step forward, and I have stepped forward with persons who are members of the organisation. They have responded and for the approximately 1,100 persons who gave us their support as well as those who pledged their continued commitment, I want to say a hearty thank you," said Jack.
Incumbent People's National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council political leader Kelvin Charles has described as "historic," a joint news conference, Tuesday, with the four leadership candidates who competed in Sunday's internal election. He said the news conference, held at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands, is evidence the party has already started to heal after its gruelling election campaign. "Today represents, in my estimation, an historic day. This did not happen in 2016, that you had the key candidates for political office appearing at a joint press conference. So, this is historic and what it says very forcefully is that the process of reconciliation has already begun," he told reporters. Charles said at the end of the day the intention is to ensure internal party solidarity "because the real enemy is not the members of the PNM who competed in this election. "The real enemy has to do with all those persons who are opposed to the PNM and whose track record indicates that country before party is not their prime motive and intention. "And for those of us in the PNM, the greatest party not only in TT and the Caribbean but possibly the world, we are about governance, fair governance, equitable governance – governance in respect of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago." Charles said whether the PNM is in government or opposition, the party has been able to stand the test of time because of its core principles. "So, our presence here today bears eloquent testament to the fact that we are committed to ensuring that the party comes together after all the competition and the party says to the whole of Trinidad and Tobago: we are here, we are ready to continue the process of governance." The leadership candidates met on Monday with the Prime Minister at his official residence in Blenheim. Charles said the fact that four people were competing to lead the PNM is evidence of the talent that exists in the party. "The fact that we all competed is a clear indication that talent exists in the party and that we understand and recognise the democratic process in the sense that anyone who feels that he or she is capable of running for any office in the party, is free to do so, without acrimony." Calling for a clean campaign for the runoff, Charles urged members to not submit to the temptation to do or say anything that undermines the credibility of the party. He added the reconciliation that has begun must not be compromised. "I urge all of us, as we go into the next round and all the members notwithstanding your preferred support, let's do so with the required dignity and decorum that in fact, makes this party the great party that it is."