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Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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Lights out for Bon Accord resident after attempted eviction

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:54am

Residents of Crompston Trace, off Silk Cotton Trace in Bon Accord, say life has been difficult since an attempt was made to evict them last Thursday. Nevertheless, they say are determined to remain on their property until the court says otherwise.

Last Thursday, attempts were made to evict residents who occupy Zone D, which falls within the lands earmarked for acquisition by the State for the $1.2 billion airport expansion project.

The National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd, managers of the mega project, has set aside $300 million for land-acquisition process. China Railway Construction is the main contractor.

In an interview with Newsday on Monday, Terrell Percy whose family had their belongings removed from their house and placed at the side of the road on Thursday, said his family has no backup plan if things do not go their way.

“Right now, we’re just waiting until the (August) 26th – after the (court) matter on that day, then we would know what is really going on.”

Percy said the weekend was a difficult one for his family.

“T&TEC did not hook up back the current, so we have to use a generator; wait until like three, four hours to let it rest before we put it back on – it real stressful. We also have a water problem.”

He claimed the pressure in the pipes has been lower than usual.

Another resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Newsday: “I prefer to wait until the 26th, until then I have nothing further to add.”

Spokesperson for the Provide Equitable Compensation for Everyone (PEECE) group, Rhonda Hackett said the residents have placed everything in the hands of their lawyers.

“They are still seeking to deliberate the matter via the court. It is in the hands of the court right now.”

Attorney Christlyn Moore, who is representing the residents, said she had no comment right now.

Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe has said that six people with structures within the “controversial Zone D” have negotiated and settled ex-gratia payments with the State at a total cost of $687,000.

Last Friday, the Judiciary made it clear that there has been no injunction or stay of proceedings granted by the court in relation to any of the families affected by the airport project.

“As a result of hearings before the court on August 8 and 9, 2022, an undertaking was given by the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries through the Attorney General of TT not to issue a warrant of possession pursuant to section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act against the occupiers and/or owners of plot number N61A, Bon Accord, Tobago, said to belong now or formerly to Joycelyn Mc Kenna, Horace Henry and others. That undertaking continues until August 26, 2022.”

At Zone A, resident Wolwyn Lovell said although he was not affected by Thursday’s action, the situation angered him.

“It is painful. Everybody down this side is sick of it right now.”

Lovell claimed he had settled with the State and was awaiting payment when allegations were made that his father had previously received payment for the same property.

Last August, Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe said Lovell’s father had received a section three notice to acquire his property on January 14, 1988 and submitted his claim for compensation on July 8, 1996.

She said Lovell's father gave him a piece of the same property in 1995.

"From August 4, 2006 his father began receiving payments/cheques for the said land," Cudjoe said.

She said Lovell's father wrote to the Commissioner of State Lands on April 16, 2008 saying that the land would be vacated within a month of receipt of the balance of payment.

Cudjoe said his father signed a receipt confirming full and final payment for the acquisition of the land on June 25, 2008, so the land should have been vacated by end of July 2008.

However, she said Lovell was now making a separate claim for a piece of the land that the State had already acquired.

“Is Shamfa mess up my thing," Lovell said, "I submitted and they gave me a receipt, I was just waiting on my cheque. I took them to court before. My hearing is scheduled for December. We cannot leave until we finish court and they pay us and so forth, but if that is the decision – we would leave."

He reiterated that he is unaware of any money paid for the property he resides on.

“I don’t know anything about that. My father never lived here – my sister lives at the back and I live at the front because the lands is divided into two. I am lot number one, and my sister is lot number two.”

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Acting CoP cancels leave for cops in 5 high-crime areas

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:54am

WITH four men murdered between Sunday night and Monday morning, acting Police Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob said he has restricted leave for police officers in five divisions and increased working hours to address the increasing murder toll.

On I95.5 FM Radio on Monday, Jacob said the plan is to increase patrols in the divisions to suppress murders and allow homicide detectives to effectively address the killings.

“It (the murder toll) is concerning to us, but we intend to respond. You have to be careful with your words, we are going to respond in a relentless way.”

Jacob said officers will also be doubling up on working hours with some moving from 24 hours on duty with 48 hours rest, to 24 hours on duty with 24 hours rest. He said it may be difficult on the officers, but it is necessary to respond to the increased crime rate in such a manner.

“We are now operating where we have a patrol initiative, where we are doing patrol grids and patrol beats that we are developing mainly in the urban areas. We can have a higher presence on the streets and reduce the opportunities. And by having high levels of guardianship, it will help in the suppression aspect.”

The four murdered are Akil St John, Ken Saunders, Dwayne Reid and a man yet to be identified.

St John, 42, was shot dead in front his Richardson Road, Laventille home at about 6.30 am on Monday. Police said someone called out to St John who was killed when he answered. He was not involved in criminal activities, relatives said. Police did not give a motive for his killing.

Hours earlier, Reid, 42, of San Fernando, the owner of a car rental business was shot dead at Mitchell Street in South Oropouche after collecting one of his vehicles. Police said, Reid was driving the hold Nissan Tiida at around 1.30 am when a man opened fire on him causing him to crash. No motive has been established.

Saunders, 40, was killed in a similar fashion. Police said Saunders, also known as “Redman,” was on his way home at Ravine Road, Petit Valley at about 10.40 pm on Sunday night when he was shot. He drove off and crashed into a parked Nissan Xtrail and was taken to the St James Health Facility. He was transferred to the Port of Spain General Hospital where he died at about 12.03 am on Monday. Police said his killing is being linked to a domestic dispute as he is not known to be involved in criminal activities.

The fourth killing happened at Longdenville Avenue, Longdenville, at about 11 pm on Sunday night. Police said the deceased was with a group of men playing cards when two sets of gunmen cornered them and opened fire. The men scampered for safety and the deceased fell. He was shot while on the ground. His killing was listed as gang related.

These murders took the toll to 358 for the year compared to 227 for the same period last year.

Jacob said he and his officers are “trying our best to reduce our numbers” but are hampered by the prevalence of high-powered weapons being used.

He said intelligence suggests that the guns are coming through the legal ports of entry.

Jacob said for this year so far 60 high-powered rifles were seized, and 61 were seized for all of 2021.

He said there are people in the US who have been arrested for sending guns to Trinidad and Tobago, dismissing the notion that the bulk of illegal guns come from Venezuela. He said he can confirm that 36 guns were sent to TT by people in Georgia, who were charged with sending it. Guns are also coming in from Miami, Jacob said.

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Mother of murdered man: I was expecting it years ago

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:54am

THE mother of Carlon Sooknanan, the man who was murdered in Valencia while having sex, said he failed to heed her warnings and she was expecting him to be murdered years ago. Speaking with reporters at the Forensic Science Centre, St James on Monday, Jenelle Dominique said her first-born child, who is originally from Sea Wall Trace, Guayaguayare, was “hardened.” “This young boy, he (was) just miserable. I am not the kind of mother who will put my head on a block and say he don’t know about this or that. He been in all kind of nonsense. “I accept it because I was expecting it. I was expecting it a long time, a couple years now. It kind of hard, but I will get over it.” Police reported that at about 10.20 pm on Saturday, 28-year-old Sooknanan was at Emon Lane, Valencia, with his 30-year-old girlfriend when three men shouted "Police! Police!" [caption id="attachment_969987" align="alignnone" width="720"] Carlon Sooknanan -[/caption] Sooknanan, police said, was on a mattress on the floor when his killers forced themselves inside and shot him before running off. His girlfriend, who was unharmed, ran to his relatives and called for help. Dominique said she lost another son, who was also involved in criminality – mainly the drug trade between Trinidad and Venezuela – four years ago and since then she spoke to Sooknanan to change his ways. In 2019 her 19-year-old son Anthony George was abducted at sea and has not been seen since. He and two others were snatched by Venezuelan pirates, only one man survived after he and another man jumped overboard and swam to safety. The survivor, Keyon Alexander, said he swam to an oil rig off the coast of Erin and got a ride on a passing fishing boat. “I used to tell him ‘I have no money to bury yuh. Somebody will bullet you down. Behave yuhself.’ I been telling him that for the longest while. He listen now though!” She described Sooknanan as a quiet child who was very sly. Dominique said her son had land in the area and was planning to construct a home there. The house in which he was killed was an abandoned house which once belonged to a friend. “My message to mothers is don’t let your children rule you. Make sure and talk to them, and if they don’t listen it have a place for them at the end of the day. Don’t lie for your children.” Her concern was Sooknanan’s lifestyle coming home to affect his remaining siblings. The mother of nine, five boys and four girls, said she did not want criminals shooting up her home looking for her son, and an innocent sibling gets killed. She said she advised him not to stay with them because of the life he lived.  

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

TT Under-19 cricketers struggle against Barbados

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:54am

THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Under-19 cricketers had another tough day at the office when matches in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Rising Stars Three-Day Under-19 tournament continued in St Vincent, on Monday. Batting first on day one of round two at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, TT were dismissed for a paltry 107 against Barbados. Kyle Ramdoo led the way for TT with 41 off 48 balls, an innings which included five fours and one six. Ricardo Chase chipped in with 20. Johann Layne was the star for Barbados snatching 4/14 in 11.4 overs. [caption id="attachment_969984" align="alignnone" width="616"] Kyle Ramdeo -[/caption] Dre Springer and Jayden Roberts were also among the wickets, with 2/9 and 2/23 respectively. Barbados closed on 93/2 in response and only trail TT by 14 runs. Achilles Browne struck 35 off 95 balls and Joshua Dorne is on 25 not out off 105 balls. In other matches, Leeward Islands are in strong position against Guyana at Park Hill. Guyana were skittled out for 73, before Leeward Islands ended day one on 119/4. At Cumberland, Jamaica scored 265 and, at stumps, Windward Islands were 69/2. All matches continue on Tuesday.  

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

TT needs better leaders

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:52am

THE EDITOR: Running a country is no easy task. It takes wisdom, commitment, patience, a pragmatic approach to issues, a genuine love for people and the personality that can easily but strongly negotiate with international partners.

Leading Trinidad and Tobago has not only been my lifelong dream, but it has also been my commitment to my creator. The price of staying the course, never compromising my values for personal gain, and remaining sincere in my endeavours have been costly. I am seen as anti-PNM, anti-UNC, anti-Indian and anti-African, when in fact all I have been is pro the people of TT.

I remain baffled by nonsense that passes for governance. Walkouts of Parliament have become an ongoing joke, empty promises are commonplace and the total disregard for the poor and struggling is pathetic. The road from Princes Town to Moruga is riddled with potholes and landslides. Rather than have the competent contractors like Coosals and Jusamco fix the roadway and repair the landslides, there continues to be the employment of small contractors who apparently lack the expertise and equipment to repair the roadway efficiently and effectively.

How difficult is it for the Government to take a position that cable and copper thieves would be expeditiously processed through the courts and the penalty would be mandatory imprisonment for a minimum of five years? This can be followed up by a mandatory directive to TSTT and similar utilities to remove all unwanted cables from the utility poles within six months. These companies can give special contracts to scrap iron operatives to safely remove the unwanted cables.

Once again there is the reluctance to issue government manufactured vehicle licence plates. There is absolutely no reason for TT to remain one of the few countries where anyone can make a licence plate and put it on one’s vehicle. That matter can be fixed in a matter of weeks.

Reaching out to gangs and youths and offering alternatives to crime through music, sports, agriculture, tourism initiatives, manufacturing, construction and park and beach security will have long-term benefits through secured employment, crime reduction and an enhanced tourism package.

Making payment for government services available online and transforming from paper to electronic processing for many government services can be easily done. Renewing one’s driver’s licence, passport application, scanning one’s passport and taking the information electronically rather than filling out forms at the airport and paying for national insurance and taxes can all be completed electronically. These simply require getting the software and operating systems from the many countries where secure electronic processing is commonplace.

It is untenable that there continues to be such a delay in accessing justice. That single issue has attracted international attention, yet nothing is being done to decrease the time one accesses justice.

The solutions to these and the many issues plaguing TT lie with our ability and conviction to put country first and elect better leaders.

STEVE ALVAREZ

via e-mail

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

SPESEAS seeking funds to raise turtle-conservation awareness

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:52am

ANDREW GIOANNETTI SPESEAS, a Trinidad and Tobago non-profit organisation promoting healthy marine ecosystems, is just about five per cent short of its target to fund a national awareness campaign for a programme to monitor sea turtles around the country. SpeSeas has been offered a grant of €6,000 from the Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas and Species of the Caribbean, which works under the Regional Co-ordination Unit for the UN Environment Programme in Kingston, Jamaica. The organisation said the grant will be used primarily to engage a marketing consultant to create a national awareness campaign to promote participation. It initially made a request for €10,000 and is seeking public financing to fund the difference. Thus far, just over US$4,300 has been pledged from a target of US$5,000. The deadline for pledges is August 18 at midnight. If the target is not achieved, none of the funds will be issued to SpeSeas. The fundraiser is being hosted on experiment.com, which is designed specifically for the funding of scientific research. The website parent organisation, the Experiment Foundation, has also backed the project with seed funding of US$2,500. SpeSeas’ co-directors marine scientist Ryan Mannette, ecologist and Newsday columnist Dr Anjani Ganase, marine biologist Dr Diva Amon, and several other marine and ecological experts have also made pledges. Michelle Cazabon-Mannette, a marine biologist and another of SpeSeas' directors, said, “Our local research and conservation efforts have largely focused on the nesting beaches, but sea turtles spend most of their time at sea, and we know very little about where sea turtles are found offshore, how many turtles are there, what they eat, how much they move and what threats are of concern.” She said these are key gaps that must be filled if the species are to be conserved effectively. TT is host to five species of sea turtles, all of which are under threat of extinction and are designated protected species under TT law. Effective conservation of sea turtles, Cazabon-Mannette added, requires understanding habitat use, identifying threats and monitoring population change. The programme for monitoring sea turtles centres on an international smartphone application titled Turt (Turtles Uniting Researchers and Tourists) which was launched about two years ago. Cazabon-Mannette said the intention is to promote the use of the app locally. On Turt, users can share photos of the turtle spotted, along with the location of the encounter, from which they can be identified using photo ID technology. Scuba divers will also be able to submit recreational dive logs via a Google form, which will allow the researchers to identify the dive sites where turtles are frequently encountered and monitor the rate of encounters over time. Additionally, spatial analysis of turtle hotspots will allow researchers to identify threats of concern at each location and document the effects and scale of threats such as fisheries interactions, pollution and vessel collision. The information gathered will be used to recommend targeted interventions to conserve these species. “Key to the success of this approach is generating enough participation from members of the public,” Cazabon-Mannette said. Support the project by clicking the link: https://experiment.com/projects/using-citizen-science-to-gather-data-to-inform-sea-turtle-conservation-in-trinidad-and-tobago?fbclid=IwAR1FNw5tnB3GPB2tlKYKST7tg5J5KtF-zEV1lX4XPu66QdKJuV02RBo8fo8

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

TTCF president Williams calls for more support for TT cyclists

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:52am

“REACH out to the federation, don’t just wait for us to reach out.” This is the request from president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) Rowena Williams, speaking about the lack of sponsorship for cycling in TT. TT cyclists have been excelling on the world stage, delivering quality performances at two recent events – the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Lima, Peru and at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. TT ended the Pan Am Championships on Sunday with seven medals – four gold, one silver and two bronze. It was this country’s best ever showing at a Pan Am Championships. Williams followed the call by TT cyclist Teniel Campbell for more assistance. On Sunday, Campbell wrote on Facebook, "Time for a SUSTAINABLE development program with SMART goals and INVESTMENT plans for Team TTO cyclist. She added, "Can't forget the NEED for cohesive staff members that the athletes can TRUST." TT cyclists have been in stellar form over the past weeks. At the Commonwealth Games, which ended on August 8, Nicholas Paul copped three medals. He won gold in the men's keirin event, silver in the men's sprint and bronze in the 1K time trial. The Prime Minister has recognised the performances of the cyclists. Dr Rowley praised Campbell on Sunday in a Facebook post, saying, "Gold for Teniel. Well Done! Cyclist Teniel Campbell won Gold in the Women's Point Race at the Pan American Elite Track Cycling Championships Lima, Peru." [caption id="attachment_969975" align="alignnone" width="500"] TTCF president Rowena Williams -[/caption] Williams said, “We see that corporate TT basically go after sponsoring cricket and football more than they would do with athletics or cycling or other sports.” She said cyclists require financial backing to compete at a high level. “It is a career for them,” she said. “The sport itself takes a lot to administer to get the cyclists where they are going just to qualify for events, it is very hard for cyclists…in terms of the rounds and the different events they have to go to. It takes a lot of money to really get cyclists to where they need to be and to be at that level.” Williams said a joint effort is required. “We really would like to impress on how we can collaborate and partner with each other to really continue to give the cyclists what they need to continue to perform at their best.” Williams said, with Paul competing on the world stage, his competitors will be “coming after him,” so he needs the support to keep training at a high level. Giving details of how expensive cycling can be, Williams said, “A bike is more than $30,000 to be at that level.” A cyclist’s gear also includes a helmet, shoes and a uniform which can cost close to $20,000. The TTCF has a partnership with Colombian clothing line Suarez Clothing for uniforms, but Williams said more funds are needed to get more quality uniforms. Williams also agreed with Campbell’s plea for a sustainable development programme. “She is correct. We have to make sure that we have a sustainable (programme).” Williams asked drivers to share the road with cyclists, as endurance riders, including Campbell, train on the road. She said the roads need to improve, as potholes will damage their bicycles. “It calls for collaboration from all the ministries, everybody and corporate (TT) to get on board and see how we could help our athletes. I am not speaking cycling alone, but everybody.” Williams congratulated all the cyclists who competed at the Elite Pan Am Cycling Championships. Pan Am medallists: Nicholas Paul – sprint gold, keirin gold, team sprint gold Teniel Campbell – points race gold, individual sprint silver, elimination race bronze Akil Campbell – scratch race silver Kwesi Browne – team sprint gold Zion Pulido – team sprint gold  

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

A West Indies T20 win at last

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:52am

AT LAST, a flickering light of hope! West Indies won the final game of the three-match T20 series against New Zealand at Sabina Park, Jamaica on Sunday. It was a convincing victory that helped WI to finally win a game. The good news is not only that, but the manner in which it was performed. Congrats to all the players and to stand-in captain Rovman Powell. They have certainly broken the ice after losing the last 12 of their last 13 white-ball home games. Although it is only one game at the end of a dead rubber, still, one can be positive and believe that there is enough cricket ability in the Caribbean to give us a starting point, a renewal of confidence, so to speak, knowing that WI cricketers still have the spirit to win. However, they must approach their jobs with the correct work ethic that would include hours of practice sessions. [caption id="attachment_969971" align="alignnone" width="1024"] West Indies’ captain Nicholas Pooran, left, and New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson joke after the toss prior to their first T20 International at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Wednesday. -[/caption] It was refreshing to see the quiet, confident and tactical manner used by the Windies batsmen, Brandon King, Shamarh Brooks and Powell, on the pathway to achieving their target. The bowlers, especially Akeal Hosein and the inexperienced Dominic Drakes, bowled exceedingly well to limit their opponents. It will be interesting to reflect on this performance when the three ODIs come off this week. The ODIs will be contested in Barbados. Although slightly contrasting in approach, they will surely send a signal as to where we stand! Of concern will most certainly be the team’s make-up. All these pathetic performances by the West Indies cricket T20 team, plus the absurd rationalisations of its captain, Nicholas Pooran, are sinking the confidence and burying the imagination of the West Indian public to such a low level that one wonders, not when, but if, WI cricket will ever be a force to be reckoned with again! [caption id="attachment_969969" align="alignnone" width="1024"] -[/caption] The WI supporters’ group is dwindling. The evidence can be seen by the number of fans who have turned out for their games. And it has nothing to do with the pandemic. It has to do with the lack of proper batting, bowling and captaincy that is being revealed. The way WI are playing is getting worse and worse. They are plunging downhill at a frightening rate and no one seems to have the answers to stop the rot, instal the lifesavers and pull them back up to the top. An excuse that could be used by CWI (Cricket West Indies) is the pandemic; however, the virus covered the earth without sparing any continent. Recently, Bangladesh whipped us in an ODI series, India beat us mercilessly in both ODI and T20 series, and New Zealand have slaughtered us in the first two T20s, taking the three-match series with them. And where does it all begin? With the players and how they are led. Leadership has to be of a high quality with a certain amount of knowledge and wisdom, plus the courage required to carry the team forward from a discouraging and low-confidence situation, to make them believe and think like winners. It’s tough; however, cricket intelligence has to be used. The way WI are playing, it’s difficult to accept that there’s a competent captain, enlightened cadre of coaches and courageous selectors. The players can be easily judged on the field of play by their efforts. Ultimately, their efficiency stems from their coaches; the selection of the captain and his players are in the judgement of the selectors. Interestingly, the skipper and coach, Phil Simmons, are two of the three selectors, and the third is Desmond Haynes, chairman. [caption id="attachment_969970" align="alignnone" width="1024"] West Indies’ Rovman Powell plays a shot against New Zealand during the second T20 International at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Friday. AP PHOTOS -[/caption] At no time does practising in the nets enter the captain’s vocabulary or, dare I say, his thoughts. This is different from practising on the pitches in the outfield. When practising in the open field, the batsmen try to hit sixes off almost every delivery. A waste of time! Pooran says: “We keep chatting about the same thing over and over in team meetings and whenever we come out on the cricket field we just seem to let ourselves down, and obviously that’s the frustrating part when trying to execute.” That’s your problem right there, skipper! Chatting about the same thing over and over, instead of practising the right technique over and over! Your team is spending too much time in the dressing room discussing plans and their execution, instead of getting out in the nets and practising for hours, the proper technique of positional play. Once in the correct batting position, defensive and attacking strokes become easier to execute, Sunday’s win is a start.  

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Failed bid to exchange $100 notes for my dad

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:51am

THE EDITOR: I refer to a letter published in the Newsday on August 10 by Linda Capildeo, entitled "Allow $100 notes exchange again." I endorse the sentiments expressed. I penned this letter to tell my own story. My father found $1,400 in a Belgroves Funeral Home envelope and asked me to get the notes exchanged after the date of exchange had passed as I worked in Port of Spain. I visited the Central Bank and security pointed me to a sign which read, "No exchange of $100 cotton notes effective April 30, 2019," and informed me to keep looking out for an "announcment." Not satisfied I send an e-mail to the Governor of the Central Bank and a response came from his secretary informing me that the exchange window was closed and directed me to an attached PDF. The PDF was an extract from the law governing the exchange. It indicated the period was closed from April 30, 2019. There was actually still a way to have the notes exchanged, according to the law, by virtue of one being incarcerated during the period of exchange. I have since spoken to others in whose possession $100 cotton notes still reside, in various amounts, namely $200, $1,000, $600 even $17,000 with no real prospect of ever being able to use them, however hard-earned or evil it came by. I still remember the headline in a newspaper, entitled "$500 million in old notes missing." It would be nice to be able to exchange this $1,400 cotton notes in my possession. I have since instead reimbursed my father from my own pocket minus the envelope it came in. FARAD ALI via e-nail

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

4% offer an insult to public servants

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:51am

THE EDITOR: Having seen via the media that the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) has now offered four per cent to public servants and as a former daily-rated employee and a member of the NUGFW, I say no to the four per cent.

This is an insult to the public servants who toil each day to serve the nation.

Public servants have to face high food prices, high gas prices, high cost of living and a pandemic. To come now and say to them in 2022 to take four per cent is a disgrace.

I say to my brother and sister public servants that it’s time to hit the streets and pound the pavement again and remind this government that you are the life force of the government workforce.

I remember in 2008 I marched around the Queen’s Park Savannah with the NUGFW and we demanded better wages and a better cost of living allowance. By standing together we were able to break the backs of the PNM government led by the late prime minister Patrick Manning.

The current PNM government led by Dr Rowley just gave itself $7.5 million to spend on Independence Day celebrations but we are going to celebrate potholes, unemployment and poor governance.

All public servants must boycott all of these celebrations as the Government has given them no reason to celebrate and has instead treated public servants as second class citizens. Let’s all stand as one movement and let the Government know the workers are the people who shape this nation.

BRIAN BAIG

via e-mail

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Getting airbridge arithmetic right

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:51am

THE EDITOR: Last Wednesday while speaking on Tobago Channel Five’s Rise and Shine programme, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary called for an honest discussion with Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) about what it takes to have an efficient inter-island airplane service and to work out the arithmetic of the airbridge airfare.

A recent media story about the airbridge service and airfare provoked highly charged debates on social media platforms and talk shows. Several commentators questioned the validity of the $40,800 loss which the writer claimed CAL incurs on every return airbridge flight using the ATR 72-600 aircraft. Some even claimed the loss figure quoted was grossly inflated.

The loss figure was calculated by using data provided to a joint select committee of Parliament in January 2017, in which a senior CAL official stated that the economic fare would be about $600 or $700. This figure was extrapolated to $1,000 considering today’s operating costs due to inflation and the price of aviation fuel.

However, an August 4 CAL statement said, among other things, that the domestic operation has a high operating cost of US$17,306 per flight hour, a figure that is most likely based on an airbridge route cost analysis. This figure has thrown a new dimension into the air bridge arithmetic.

Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation [(No. 2) Operations] Regulations, Section 2, Interpretation states that “flight time means the total time from the moment an aeroplane first moves under its own power for the purpose of taking off until the moment it finally comes to rest at the end of the flight.”

Using conservative estimates, a return flight to Tobago on an ATR 72-600 has a flight time of approximately 52 minutes, consisting of 40 minutes airborne time and 12 minutes taxiing time. Using the cost per flight hour provided by CAL in its most recent statement, the prorated operating cost of a return airbridge flight works out to be US$14,998, or $100,490 based on an exchange rate of TT$6.70 to a US dollar.

The $400 revenue derived from the airfare and the subsidy per passengers on a return airbridge flight operated by CAL’s 68-seater ATR 72-600 at a 100 per cent load factor amounts to $27,200. Therefore, the operating loss on a full return airbridge flight is $73,290 or $1,078 per return passenger seat.

After incurring large accumulated losses in its operations and in order to stay airborne, CAL would request a cash bailout from the Treasury. CAL must support such requests by furnishing the Ministry of Finance with its updated balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement for all its operations.

CAL meticulously records data on the operations of all its routes including the airbridge, showing in the main by route, the number of flights operated by aircraft type, the number of passengers carried, operating expenses and revenues, etc.

In June 2021, CAL announced a loss of, according to its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2021, $172.7 million (US$25.7m) and a 75 per cent decline in revenue, compared to the same period in 2020. The losses follow a similar downturn in 2020, which saw an operating loss of $738 million (US$109.2m), compared to operating profits for 2018 and 2019.

Also, at a virtual news conference on June 15, 2021, the Minister of Finance and Corporation Sole stated that the Government cannot bail out Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to the tune of $700 million in 2021 “unless the airline gets itself ready and makes itself as efficient as possible for resumption of flights.”

The minister further stated that whatever system is put in place to allow the resumption of flights, CAL will be required to make a presentation to the wider public and let everybody know what the restructured airline would look like because the Government cannot spend another $700 million of taxpayers’ money on CAL.

The minister’s statement was quite apt as CAL is a state enterprise, which for most of its existence incurred huge financial losses and is buoyed by taxpayers’ dollars to the tune of hundreds of millions. Accordingly, CAL has a serious obligation to account to the taxpayers on its operations, with the exception of sensitive marketing strategies.

Therefore, in fairness to the stakeholders and to get the airbridge arithmetic right, CAL should disclose the amounts of the cash bailouts that are utilised to offset the losses on the airbridge operations so that the true airbridge subsidy can be determined.

RAMESH LUTCHMEDIAL

retired director general

Civil Aviation

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Arima businessman: Government depleting businesses with taxes, corruption

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:51am

Head of the Arima Business Association Joel Ramnath has said taxes paid by the business community affect the cost of products, which has resulted in many small businesses folding, even amid growth for some businesses.

In an interview with Newsday last Tuesday, Ramnath said the business community, which drives the economy, is experiencing an uphill battle.

"Government agencies don't make profit, so they don't contribute to economic growth, while businesses that do are being taxed as if being taxed to lift a country out of poverty."

Ramnath said businesses are currently paying 25 per cent in value-added tax (VAT).

"Every item imported requires payment of customs duty and VAT, (and) when it goes on the shelf, the customer also has to pay 12.5 per cent VAT on the already-taxed product. So basically, people's supermarket bills could be half the cost if we did not have to pay the government 50-55 per cent in taxes.

"Imagine, the government charges duty, and VAT on a tax.

"Most people don't know they are paying 50 per cent tax on goods, they think the supermarkets are making all the money. So there is duty tax, VAT, insurance tax and freight charges, after which the retailer has to mark up and add another tax."

Ramnath said most people end up having 30 per cent, on average, for use at their discretion after paying taxes.

"Every dollar you think you make, after paying all the taxes, you take home 30 per cent of what you think you are making.

"And the government has no idea how to stimulate the economy and the business community does, but the government is drying up businesses by taxing them aggressively."

He said he believes half the problem with the struggling economy has to do with politicians, and the other half the people.

"Politicians should be paid based on performance at the end of the year, like most people, and the people should educate themselves so they can make informed decisions when voting. Maybe then the government would see to the interest of the people and the country."

Ramnath who is the owner of Gran Couva Eco Lodge, said the government does not only fail to help boost the tourism sector, but rather contributes to challenges faced by stakeholders.

"The Minister of Tourism is my neighbour and he has shown no interest in how businesses like the lodge may attract eco-tourists. Even the roads – I had to repair the roads after his contractors caused damage to the roads. The government has no idea what tourism is, and they seem too embarrassed to ask for help."

Ramnath said he is concerned as various sectors are being depleted.

"We no longer have oil money and we have no other sectors that can help our economy grow.

"We can't have people who lack vision leading us. We work hard, and the government taxes us. Until we take our head out of the sand and hold them accountable, the country won't move forward."

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Walcott, Ahye in TT’s NACAC Championship team

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:50am

TWO-TIME Olympic medallist Keshorn Walcott has been named in a 14-member national team to compete at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships, scheduled for August 19-21, in Bahamas. The National Association for Athletics Administration said the team will leave TT on Wednesday. Walcott, 29, is coming off a fourth-place finish in the men's javelin final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. England, earlier this month. Also on the national team is TT's top women's sprinter, Michelle-Lee Ahye who will be eyeing gold in the women's 100m. Ahye will also lead TT's 4x100-metre relay team into action. Sprinters Kyle Greaux, Eric Harrison and Jerod Elcock, fresh off a 4x100m Commonwealth silver medal alongside Kion Benjamin, will be going for relay glory again. Benjamin's absence on the NACAC team provides opportunity for either Akanni Hislop or Omari Lewis. [caption id="attachment_969959" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Michelle-Lee Ahye -[/caption] Asa Guevara, a member of the victorious 4x400m relay team at the Commonwealth Games, will vie for gold in the one-lap race. TT NACAC team: Michelle Lee Ahye (100m, 4x100m), Khalifa St Fort (100m, 4x100m), Mauricia Prieto (200m, 4x100m), Reyare Thomas (200m, 4x100m), Shaniqua Bascombe (4x100m), Lalenii Grant (discus), Jerod Elcock (100m, 4x100m), Eric Harrison (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Kyle Greaux (200m, 4x100m), Akanni Hislop (4x100m), Omari Lewis (4x100m), Keshorn Walcott (javelin), Winama Stewart (shot put), Asa Guevara (400m). Officials: Durly Lucas (manager), Ian Carter (coach), Keston Bledman (coach), Ismael Mastrapa (coach), Shurland Bonas (massage therapist), Anthony Walcott (massage therapist).  

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Cudjoe: Our voices in Cabinet have helped Tobago

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:48am

Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe has defended her representation as well as that of Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy, after criticism from THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine. At Emancipation Day celebrations, Augustine said the Prime Minister and the Tobago MPs should be pushing for longer opening hours at the ANR Robinson International Airport so that Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) could increase its flights to the island. The THA, hoteliers and other stakeholders have long been clamouring for CAL to increase the number of domestic flights, particularly during peak travel periods, such as Easter, the July-August vacation and the upcoming October Carnival. Addressing the issue on the Tobago Updates morning show on Monday, Cudjoe took umbrage at Augustine's statement and argued that the island has benefited from their influence in the PNM-led government. Cudjoe is the Miister of Sport and Community Development and Webster-Roy is a Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister. Cudjoe said: “It is because of our representation and our voices at the Cabinet that Tobago has seen this development that it has seen over the past seven years.” On the issue of CAL and the airbridge, Cudjoe said it’s a matter of resources. “Of course we would like a flight to go back and forth every 30 minutes, but the government is already subsidising CAL to the tune of $800 million per year, and the interisland airbridge at $100 million per year. "CAL has been in the red for as long as we know. In addition to that, CAL, like other airline companies, (is) coming out of this whole covid19 situation.” She said currently the government continues to subsidise seats on the airbridge, as “every time you sit down in a seat, you pay your $300 return, the government is paying an additional $400 on that ticket – every single time.” She said in the last two weeks of July, CAL had moved at least 6,000 people back and forth on the airbridge. Cudjoe said financial resources will affect interisland transportation, noting that the country already benefits from free education and healthcare as well as subsidised electricity and fuel. Saying there are currently seven ATRs available to TT, three to four of which are being used between the islands, CAL, she said, is not a national airline, but more of a regional airline. “Yes, we lease some of the jets. People would say, 'Well, put on a jet.' "We don’t own the jets, we lease the jets, and then it's not good for the jets to fly that short distance – we know that damages the jets and we have to pay extra monies and so on to the people we’re leasing the jet from. "So yes, of course we would like to have hundreds of ATRs going back and forth, but based on our financial situation, it’s not possible at this point in time, alongside all the other expenses.” She added: “We continue to make the investment in the domestic airbridge, utilise the two ferries and improve our airport. Make that investment so that we can attract more airlines. "You can’t not want the airport and development and want more flights and more tourism development at the same time. It is a sacrifice that we have to make right now, and we as government, we continue to invest in Tobago’s development.”

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

1962 and 2022 – two significant anniversaries

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:48am

CLYDE WEATHERHEAD

TRINIDAD and Tobago is completing six decades of its independence experience.

This is the anniversary of transition from crown colony of a European power to an independent small-island state seeking to advance its nation-building project.

Marking 60 years “affords the opportunity to look back on and evaluate six decades of its journey towards the aspirations that filled the hearts of its citizens that night when the Union Jack was lowered for the last time and a sovereign people took up the challenge of charting their own course.”

This is also the 60th anniversary of a non-governmental, non-partisan organisation called Pegasus which was founded in the very year of independence with the goal of infusing the “inner spirit” in our independence.

The year 1962 marked the beginning of two very different approaches to the defining of the nation-building project as well as its implementation.

One, exemplified by the method of government-decided Five-Year Development Plans spanning either side of independence (1958-62, 1964-68 and 1969-73).

The first and third plans were authored by the solo effort of the head of government. While the second did include a process of consultation, “the overall direction of policy remained with the prime minister.”

After the abandonment of this five-year planning approach, in the much later Vision 2020 plan there was widespread involvement in the initial analysis and planning phases, but implementation remained the province of the prime minister and his Cabinet.

The other approach, exemplified in the work over five years, was that of Pegasus and the development of its Project Independence – a people’s blueprint for the nation-building project.

The Pegasus method was of citizen initiative and participation at all points of the planning, implementation and evaluation processes.

In 1962, Pegasus was created and built by Geddes Granger (later Makandal Daaga) with the assistance of Barbara Blenman (secretary at Queen’s Hall), Winslow Johnson and Donald Mark.

As told by Roy Mitchell who played a leading role in the organisation, “One day after a meeting Granger told me, we all going in different directions. There is a wealth of views and perspectives, etc then nothing. It is time we lift our own thinking beyond this. We are not following up with works. Let us form an organisation doing things to benefit the whole society...

“Granger came up with the name.”

Mitchell describes Pegasus as “an attempt to give direction to nation-building” and “an inspiration, a movement, a spirit from which great things would have been expected for Trinidad and Tobago.”

The vision was that just as the Greeks drew courage, inspiration and strength from the winged horse, Trinidadians/Tobagonians would also be inspired and emboldened by this broad-based organisation bearing its name.

At the same time, another force, claiming the right to rule and occupying positions of power vacated by the colonial operators of crown colony governance, was pursuing its own version of the future of independence as “responsible” government.

The contest between these two opposing tendencies persisted throughout the entire life of Pegasus.

This contest between these different approaches, described by some as top-down vs bottom-up, continues today as we seek to advance our nation-building project in the conditions of the 21st century and beyond this 60th anniversary.

In the difficult circumstances of all manner of challenge to our nation-building project, the words of Pegasus in the introduction of Project Independence remind us of truths and values that are vital if we are to meet the present challenges and guarantee our very future:

“…there must be a deeper understanding by the entire population of the present state of the nation, and a greater interest in its possible future course. No less essential is the inculcation of a sense of urgency, of duty, of service and of sacrifice.

“The welfare of all must never be sacrificed on the altar of individualism and sectionalism. But this is bound to continue as a national problem if the absence of national purpose in the life of the nation is not immediately corrected.

“National purpose must precede and influence sectional interests and this alone will lead to resolute endeavour on the part of all individuals and groups to work for the general welfare, development and happiness of the whole nation of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Perhaps a new citizens initiative, the Pegasus of this time, is once again needed to infuse the “inner spirit” in our independence which the patriots envisioned in the efforts of Pegasus begun in 1962.

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A study in excellence

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:48am

IN ALMOST six decades, the St Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI) has never had a female principal. That is, until now.

We today hail Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine on her assumption of the post this month. She follows in the footsteps of Prof Brian Copeland (2016-2022), Prof Clement Sankat (2008-2016), Dr Bhoe Tewarie (2001-2007), Prof Compton Bourne (1996-2001), George Maxwell Richards (1985-1996) and Prof Lloyd Braithwaite, among others.

Though Dr Antoine is the first woman in the post, this is not for want of there being no suitable candidate for the job in the past.

The UWI’s history is studded with examples of female excellence. Consider the careers of historian Prof Bridget Brereton (who in 1996 became the first woman to win the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Research, Teaching and Administration), or former deputy principal Dr Rhoda Reddock, or gender theorist Prof Patricia Mohammed.

Like those who have gone before her, Prof Antoine brings to the role a vast array of skills and expertise. She previously served as the university’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Graduate Studies and Research and was also the first sitting dean of the Faculty of Law at the St Augustine campus.

There, she was instrumental in reshaping the curriculum and established the International Human Rights Clinic, an innovative fusion of academia with activism which has borne fruit through its ground-breaking advocacy on a range of causes such as the rights of migrants/refugees, indigenous peoples, LGBTI individuals, children and the incarcerated.

Also influential has been her work as chairman of Caricom’s Regional Marijuana Commission, a body that paved the way for meaningful legal reform in several states.

Already, Prof Antoine has expressed a desire to continue to position the university as being central to a range of contemporaneous issues. She would like to place emphasis on the uniqueness of the St Augustine campus and see that campus takes on more of a leadership position in the region when it comes to areas such as agriculture.

“I stand for community engagement, I stand for human rights,” the new principal said in a recent interview. “I feel very optimistic.”

Such optimism will be crucial to her task in the years to come. A downbeat economic outlook has placed tremendous pressure on institutions like The UWI which have relied on government funding.

It has also challenged the relevance of tertiary education at a moment when fewer and fewer people can afford to attend classes. A rapidly changing work environment has also upended career trajectories and education models.

Still, in her exciting new role, Prof Antoine has an opportunity to make The UWI more relevant than it has ever been.

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Colleagues remember Suzanne Mills as beautiful, brilliant, gifted

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 7:48am

SUZANNE Mills was a beautiful, intelligent, brilliant and gifted writer, in the view of people who knew her. She was fair-minded, compassionate and cared deeply for those who worked with and for her. But Mills, 59, was a troubled soul, bedevilled with bipolar illness, which she wrote about openly in her newspaper column in her last years. It may have been that illness that led to her death. Mills’s body was found at her home at Aquamarine Drive, Diamond Vale home, on Sunday night, six days after anyone had last seen her. A former editor in chief at the Newsday (2002-2009), Mills spent over 21 years in different positions at the paper, where her late mother Therese Mills was the founding editor in chief. Friends and colleagues responded with shock to the news of her solitary death. Her body was found after neighbours called the police. Newsday’s board of directors said its members were deeply saddened by the news of her untimely passing. They said the Mills family was intimately connected with Newsday and always would be. Daily editor Ken Chee Hing was one of those at Newsday who worked with Mills when she was daily editor and later editor in chief. He remembered her as “a vibrant journalist, a great writer and also an editor who demanded only the best from her reporters. As an editor, she supported her reporters and was willing to impart advice and suggestions. “Suzanne was committed to two things – her mother and her job.” For all her seriousness, Chee Hing recalled the humorous side of Mills. “I remember Suzanne Mills the person, who loved a good joke or old talk. Her laughter was loud as was her voice. She let you know what was on her mind whether you wanted to know it or not.” He referred to her many personal issues, which worsened with the passing of her mother, but being fiercely private and an independent woman, he said, she bore her challenges alone. “May she rest in peace. My condolences to her family and friends,” Chee Hing said. Another former colleague, Sunday editor Camille Moreno, said, “Suzanne was fiercely committed to a free press, defending Newsday against its critics. Her political reporting stands out, especially her commentaries where she spared no punches against both sides. I’m grateful I got to work with her and her mother.” Head of Newsday’s San Fernando office Lincoln Holder was also torn by Mills’s tragic end. “I knew she had her troubles, but to go down that road alone, that’s hard. “She was a good boss. She was fair. Like her mother, she was big on education and always encouraged the younger employees to study. “She brought a freshness to the Newsday and often butted heads with the older staff because of her novel style. We followed her vision, which was really to bring that youthfulness to the paper.” Holder, a photographer, recalled before she rose to manage the newsroom, Mills was a political reporter, whom he often accompanied to Parliament. He said she always guided him and gave him tips in terms of what photographic images to capture. “She impacted my career a lot. She was very knowledgeable. Like her mother, she was always there for us: we could speak to her about anything. She was compassionate, she was jovial, always kept the place lively. “I am sorry to hear of her tragic passing. Condolences to her family.” Though from a competing media house, political reporter Richard Lord thanked Mills for her service to journalism. He said she raised the bar on political reporting so high, it motivated him to become a better writer. “With Suzanne from the Newsday on one side, (and) Ria Taitt from the Express on the other, I, as the Guardian reporter, was inspired to write a thorough a story as they did. “May her soul rest in eternal peace.” Suzanne Sheppard, a former editor at Newsday, said she was shocked and heartbroken by the circumstances of Mills’s passing. “I have known Suzanne for many years and it is sad that she died alone.” Sheppard said her relationship with Mills dated back to the time when Mills’s mother was editor in chief of the Guardian and Mills dreamed of following in her footsteps. “I remember when she left to study abroad. She lived in Spain for some time. She was bilingual and worked for some multinational companies. Her mother and I often spoke about her. We later worked together at the management level of the newsroom at Newsday. She was a very intelligent young woman. “I just want to extend my condolences to her family and colleagues.” Another former colleague, Irene Medina, also lauded Mills’s brilliance. “We worked well together. I found her to be very energetic and tremendously bright. She was a very good journalist, a great writer, a brave writer, very creative and innovative. “I remember one election time when she created a whole ‘election campaign’ in the office and had people voting and wearing campaign T-shirts. I did not participate, but I admired how her mind and her brain worked. She always found a way to do things a little bit outside the box.” Recalling her health issues, Medina said, “I knew she had her challenges, but I did not expect the news that I heard today.” The Media Association (MATT) said it joined the journalism community in mourning the loss of Mills, daughter of “the legendary Therese Mills.” It noted that as a “well regarded political reporter and commentator, she took up the job of Newsday editor, but had a relatively short career there, buffeted by mental health issues. “Ms Mills wrote a column for several months in 2019-2020 for the Trinidad Express and openly discussed her experiences with bipolar disorder,” it recalled, commenting that her death was “a powerful reminder of the toll that journalism can take on its practitioners and the importance of self-care and supportive conversations” in doing their jobs. MATT said it was “committed to increasing opportunities to address these issues facing journalists” and sent its condolences to Mills’s family.

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

6-month ban on exports: No scrap iron selling

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 12:47am

THE government has imposed a six-month ban on the export of old and scrap iron to deal with the theft and vandalism of state and private assets. Under the Customs Act, the ban on all scrap metal exportation came into effect on August 12, after Cabinet met last Thursday and agreed to accept the recommendation of a prohibition order brought by the Attorney General. It was only announced on Monday afternoon at a joint news conference held by Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds and Attorney General Reginald Armour. Perpetrators will be liable to a $15,000 fine under the 1904 Metal and Marine Stores Act or a $1000 fine and/or imprisonment of 12 months under the Trade Ordinance. In the next three months, Armour will review the industry and draft a regulatory framework so that by November he could approach Cabinet again with the proposed legislation aimed at monitoring and reducing the illegal trade in scrap iron and metal. He will also look at regional and international scrap-iron exportation legislation and make recommendations to amend existing regulations. “It’s a very reluctant decision the Cabinet has come to. We have attempted to keep it within proportion, that is to say, six months, to February 23, and to allow for an even shorter period of three months if the AG is able to persuade the Cabinet.” Once Cabinet is satisfied and persuaded by his proposals, the ban will be lifted. If not, the restrictions will remain in effect for the following three months to give the government more time to draft practical legislation. This move comes two weeks after Hinds signalled the government’s intention to introduce restrictions on the industry. Soon afterwards, the Finance and General Purposes sub-committee of the Cabinet met and finalised plans to bring the ban into effect. Last week the sub-committee reported to the Cabinet that the situation needed “urgent short-term action so enable the government to bring the crisis under control,” Armour added. Recently police recovered over $1 million in iron I-beams and steel poles belonging to the Ministry of Works which were found at a scrap-iron yard in central Trinidad. TSTT and WASA have been severely hit by vandals, who have carted off millions of dollars' worth of cable. In July, thieves struck TSTT’s underground fibre optic and copper installation in San Fernando, interrupting service to tens of thousands of customers. On August 4, vandals attacked WASA’s California Booster Station, carting off electrical cables. The estimated cost of the damage is $400,000 and the timeframe for repairs was said to be between three-four weeks. On July 31, TSTT underground cables were stolen. causing a disruption of services throughout the country. Before this, on June 26, approximately $115,000 in copper and batteries went missing at the National Gas Company’s Hamilton Trace, Moruga, station. In early August, copper thieves escaped with 60 feet of copper cable and two three-way standby antennas worth $300,000 from a radio station. A reward of $100,000 was offered for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Armour said while he understands the ripple effects of this move on scrap-iron dealers, the trade has been turned into an illegal business and the government must regain control. Until the ban is lifted, he said. a subcommittee will work closely with Minister of Trade Paula Gopee-Scoon, Hinds and Energy Minister Stuart Young to review and grant licences to permit the handling of certain types of materials that fall under the ban. Only manufacturers who “export old material as a by-product of manufacturing goods or a surplus material not required for manufacturing them and old metal and scrap iron defined in that order” will be granted such a permit. “Our intention is to keep the legitimate industry alive. but under constant review under this six-month period, so there would be no loopholes through which any illicit undertaking would continue.” President of the Scrap Iron Dealers Association Allan Ferguson told Newsday he is in talks with his attorneys and will speak publicly on the matter on Tuesday. He described the situation as “putting your children in a room without something to eat and telling them, ‘I’ll come back for you in six months.’” Armour said the next six months will be used to review the old legislation and update the register system of scrap dealers and buyers.The target is to have a regular inspection and monitoring regime. “This register will, under the new legislation, be available on our website so that everybody will know who is dealing in this trade. It will also give enhanced powers to the police to enter premises of offences suspected of being committed and also to inspect containers in which scrap metal is stowed before exportation.” All this will be done with the consultation of all stakeholders. According to the Central Statistical Office, scrap-metal exports escalated from $69 million in 2009 to $216 million in 2018 and have continued to grow. But in the past two years, the number of perpetrators arrested for illegal trade and theft of scrap iron has doubled. Police data revealed in 2020 there were 58 reports of scrap-iron theft and they arrested 30 people. In 2021, police responded to 87 reports and 52 people were brought before the court. Between January and August this year, a total of 162 reports were made and police arrested 136 people.

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Categorie: Trinidad e Tobago

Oil cleanup keeps Caroni Bird Sanctuary alive

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 12:16am

The clean-up of an oil spill in the parking lot of the Caroni Bird Sanctuary appears to have been successful and stopped contamination of the area. On Monday, the sanctuary, off the Uriah Butler Highway, appeared quiet and normal. Workers from the Forestry Division, the Institute of Marine Affairs and other agencies that had been collecting oil residues since Friday were no longer in the area. No remains of the oily substance that worried visitors and workers at the sanctuary were visible on Monday. However, the three containment booms put up Thursday were still over outlet number nine, hooked in place by mangrove roots. Environmental Management Authority incident commander Steve Lalbeharry said in an interview on Friday that the barriers prevented most of the oily substance from spreading to other areas of the sanctuary. He said the residue will dissipate naturally without the need for chemicals, and that the river was still teeming with life, as fish were seen jumping in the channels. On Monday, although no oil residue was visible, its smell lingered at the site. Visitors told Newsday they hope the oil will not cause any environmental damage to the sanctuary.

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Man gunned down in South Oropouche trying to get back car

Mar, 16/08/2022 - 12:14am

A car rental owner was shot and killed early on Monday in South Oropouche where he went to pick up one of his cars from a customer. Dwayne Reid, 42, of San Fernando, died on the spot at Mitchell Street in South Oropouche at around 1.30 am. A police report said Reid and a 29-year-old friend from South Oropouche had gone to collect a gold Nissan Tiida car. On reaching Mitchell Street, Reid got out and walked down a road. Moments later, he returned, driving the gold car. In the dark, a male voice shouted, "Where yuh going with that car?" Several gunshots were fired, and the friend drove off and called the police. The police found the Tiida crashed on the roadside with Reid's body in the driver's seat slumped across the front passenger seat. No one has been arrested. Homicide Bureau Region II and South Western Division police are investigating.

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