Trinidad: Young father says he fought to save son after car exploded
Justin Francette at his Cito Lane, Tabaquite, home yesterday. (Trinidad Guardian) “I didn’t kill my son,” Justin Francette whispered yesterday as he recounted how he fought to free his dying son ...
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Convicts from Latin America coming to Trinidad posing as Venezuelans
From left, Chief Immigration Officer (Ag.) Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews and Immigration Officer IV- Enforcement Unit Gewan Harricoo, during JSC yesterday. (Trinidad Guardian) Nationals from Peru, Nicar...
Dog leads officers to man trying to make hash oil at Trinidad Lake State Park
TRINIDAD, Colo. - A dog led Colorado Parks and Wildlife rangers to a man who was trying to make hash oil at Trinidad Lake State Park Thursday, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Police said the ...
Trinidad & Tobago’s Animators to Tap into Billion-Dollar Industry
Minister of Trade and Industry Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon (centre, in black) at a press conference focused on participation by local animators in the 2019 Kidscreen Animation Summit in Miami. PORT OF S...
IN THE end, they just could not move the Kings from their throne!
Musical duo Neval Chatelal and Nishard Mayhroo successfully defended their crown on Saturday at the 2019 Chutney Soca Monarch finals, turning back a large and talented field of performers at Skinner Park in San Fernando.
The announcement of Chatelal and Mayhroo's victory was cheered on by the large crowd as they garnered 335 points for their song "Fyah of Change", beating Imran "GI" Beharry into second place. Beharry was accompanied on stage by Jamaica's dancehall sensation Beenie Man.
The 24th edition of the Chutney Soca Monarch had as its theme this year, "Fire and Ice" and for their winning performance, Chatelal and Mayhroo employed back up performers all with lighted batons.
The night clearly belonged to the defending champs who were backed by the Shiv Shakti Dance Company. “From we heart and soul Chutney Soca to the world,” the two sang.
Southex Promotions CEO George Singh yesterday declared that the finals were a resounding success and he lauded the police for keeping the peace and reported that there were no untoward incidence during the eight-hour long show.
"We want people to feel safe and to come out and enjoy this Carnival event in the San Fernando,” Singh said. This year's final saw 20 competitors who performed before the judges in a bid to win the crown from Chatelal and Mayhroo. But it was not to be.
[caption id="attachment_751300" align="alignnone" width="1024"] WINNING PERFORMANCE: Nishard Mayhroo, left, and Neval Chatelal during their winning performance on Saturday as they easily retained their Chutney Soca Monarch crowns at Skinner Park in San Fernando. PHOTOS BY VASHTI SINGH[/caption]
When the results were announced at 4 am yesterday, Chatelal and Mayrhoo were both jumping for joy. “We continue to bring great music, positives vibes and an overall great presentation for the people of this country,” Mayhroo said.
“After winning in 2018 we toured extensively and we want to use this platform this year to project powerful vibes,” he added. "The mission on the Chutney Soca Monarch stage is to do music that can unite us and push us forward in life,” Chatelal said.
"The entire world is looking on at us, everyone's eyes is on our culture. We have to make sure we have something positive to put out there, so that Chutney Soca music could be elevated,” Mayroo said. This was Mayhroo's sixth year in the finals and Chatelal's third final.
Placing a distant second with 321 points was GI who sang "Divorce" and with the help of Beenie Man, got the crowd pumped. But he could not sway the judges. Third place went to Vikash Sahadeo and KI with 221 points. Omardath Maharaj, a former champion, placed fifth with "Nobody Doh Care", while nine-times winner Samrak "Rikki Jai" Jaimungal placed sixth with the song, "Remedy."
Hemlatha Dindial and comedian Kenneth Supersad tied for seventh with "Hurricane" and "Saltfish", respectively. Kerron Tyron Williams (Wakkaman) sang "Obeah" for eighth position while Andy Singh rounded off the top ten placings with "She Had Ah Man."
This year, former Chutney Soca monarch Ravi "Ravi B" Bissambhar opted out of the competition although he and his band Karma performed on Saturday as guest artistes. “I am concentrating on developing my own brand of music through Karma,” Ravi B later told Newsday.
Felicity farmers sue over failure to open new market
THE Felicity Farmers Association filed a lawsuit against the National Agricultural Marketing Development Company (Namdevco), seeking to have the High Court compel it to open the Central Farmers’ Wholesale Market facilities in Woodford Lodge, Chaguanas.
The association's vice president Dhanraj Balkaran, filed the action last Tuesday on behalf of the association, in which he outlined his quest to obtain certain information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
He said that on November 28, 2018, he wrote Namdevco asking just why temporary accommodation earmarked for the Felicity farmers pending formal opening of the market in Woodford Lodge, were being utilised by vendors from far off districts.
Filed by attorney Richard Jaggassar, Balkaran said in the lawsuit that the market was commissioned and construction completed between 2010 and 2015. It was built to house between 75 to 100 vendors but only to accommodate farmers living in Felicity while they await the market's formal opening.
Balkaran said that tents were provided by Namdevco to house the farmers while the market was being built, including a car park and concrete tables. But farmers from far off districts moved in and displaced the Felicity farmers, he said in his lawsuit.
Balkaran is seeking an order of the High court, compelling Namdevco to open the facilities. Jaggassar will argue the lawsuit when it comes up for hearing before Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams sometime this month in the San Fernando High Court.
DIRECTOR of the Southern Medical Clinic Dr Rupert Indar and attorney Romney Thomas, who is also chairman of WASA, have filed a claim for defamation against attorney Cherry Ann Rajkumar, who alleges she was given an overdose of cancer radiation therapy at the clinic.
In their claim, filed in the San Fernando High Court last Wednesday, by attorneys Faarees Hosein and Melissa Sinanan, Dr Indar and Thomas called on Rajkumar to cease and desist from making certain posts on Facebook, in which she spoke of her case and called for a boycott of the clinic. Indar and Southern Medical also asked for a retraction.
They said since the preaction protocol letter was sent to her, Rajkumar intensified the publications and took to picketing Indar, Southern Medical and Thomas’ premises, “and shows no intention of stopping,” the claim said.
Rajkumar was also accused of erecting signs opposite the clinic, along with Indar’s photograph. Meanwhile, Thomas claims to never have interacted with her or withheld information from her, as was alleged.
The claim said on February 12, Rajkumar wrote to Thomas asking for computer data relating to radiation levels, and without giving him an opportunity to respond, she picketed his law firm and also posted a sign with his photograph on it.
Thomas said he is not a shareholder or part owner of Southern Medical and Rajkumar's actions have caused partners of the firm Hobsons, where he is a partner, to question him.
Thomas said the picketing of the firm has caused extreme professional and personal embarrassment to him as an attorney and also as chairman of WASA.
In their claim, which comes up for hearing today, Indar, Thomas and the clinic are asking the court to restrain Rajkumar from continuing to “maliciously publish defamatory posts on Facebook and placard with the intention of bringing the claimants into odium and disrepute.”
THE responses given by Energy Minister Franklin Khan to questions from Opposition Senator Wade Mark during Tuesday's sitting of the Senate are deeply troubling. Speaking on behalf of Minister of Planning, Camille Robinson-Regis, Khan reported that planning permission for the development of Greenvale Park was refused on May 31, 2000.
The lands are designated for agricultural use, they are on the flood plain of the Caroni River and most relevantly, the draft East-West Corridor Land Use Strategy Plan identified the site as vulnerable to river corrosion, a warning that it is geologically prone to flooding.
The planned development at Greenvale Park was again refused permission for development on June 26, 2009 and from Khan's response, permission to build wasn't so much granted as it was acceded to after the fact because as the Energy Minister explained, "development of the site was substantially completed” by November 2011.
At that point, drainage proposals for phases one through three of the development were considered and accepted in principle by the Town and Country Planning Division.
By June 2014, when the HDC submitted revised plans for the subdivision of the land at Greenvale, the Planning Division reviewed and apparently found the final plans to be acceptable, not least because the development of the site was almost complete.
Is the public to read into that statement the disturbing inference that the Housing Development Corporation, after being denied planning permission on June 26, 2009, simply went ahead and proceeded to develop the site, identified as protected agricultural lands?
Did the Town and Country Planning Division simply kowtow to the situation by accepting, after the site development was "well advanced,” drainage proposals by the HDC?
In October 2018, massive flooding damaged most of the 550 housing units at Greenvale Park, a development apparently built in defiance of the advice of Town and Country Planning.
It was one of the most destructive and dangerous flooding incidents in recent TT history, and it now appears to have been the result of a series of deliberate and defiant decisions. Had this been a private development, would there have been quite so much leniency demonstrated at each blustery step of this development?
The timelines offered by Khan are worrisome and suggest that people's homes and lives were endangered and remain under threat of geologically natural flooding because of governance imperatives that seem to have pushed for construction in the face of denials based on ecological concerns, agricultural priority and the laws which governed those lands.
A full, independent investigation into the compromises and lapses that led to the Greenvale Development is long overdue.
A MAN considered as one of TT's most wanted and classified as a "top priority offender" who was wanted for several multiple murders in Northern Division is today in police custody thanks to the efforts of a hand-picked group of officers.
The man who goes by several aliases including "Grandison" was cornered by police while hiding in an apartment in D’abadie yesterday. The special task force included officers of the Northern Division Criminal Investigations Department, the Northern Division Task Force and the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit.
The man who was wanted in relation to several murders going as far back as 2016, was held with a Glock pistol loaded with 40 rounds of 9-mm calibre ammunition stored in an extended magazine clip.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mc Donald Jacob yesterday told Newsday that the man is the main suspect in a series of drive-by shootings in John Lane, Reid Lane and Boys Lane in D’Abadie.
In November 2016, six people were killed in two shootings. The first three, Frank Joseph, Kevin Plaza and Ricardo Singh, were shot dead while liming on John Lane. According to reports, a white Nissan Tiida with no license plates turned on to the street and shots were fired.
Reports indicated that a relative of the victims and a bystander who was hanging clothes out to dry were also shot in that incident. Less than two weeks after the shooting, three more people, Leon Sobers, Shivon Sobers and Joel Alexander, were also shot dead.
According to reports a gunman rode up on a bicycle and fired on the trio, while they were working at the Sobers’ family home on Reid Lane. Two more people were wounded and hospitalised in that shooting. Police believe the suspect held yesterday may be involved in at least one of these shootings as well as others which occurred in the area over the past three years.
ACP Jacob praised the effort of the officers in arresting the suspect, noting that selecting specific officers from several units is one of several new strategies formulated to catch priority criminals. He said the arrest was the culmination of months of surveillance and intelligence gathering, which led to the raid on the apartment yesterday.
“I am truly grateful for all the hard work this task force put in to catch Joseph,” Jacob said. “This was the result of months of hard work and sleepless nights. I also want to thank the superintendent for supporting the team as they worked to catch this criminal. Now we have to build on the case we already have to ensure that this criminal is brought to justice for his crimes.” The suspect will be placed on several ID parades this week, following which, a number of charges expected to be laid against him.
A 60-year-old Wallerfield man has been added to the number of people killed in accidents for the year after he was knocked down on Friday afternoon.
According to police reports, Clement James, of Farm 26, Village Wallerfield was crossing the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, near Jacob Hill, when he was struck by a blue Toyota Crown headed west. Police said the accident took place around 12.30 pm. James died on the scene while the driver was interviewed and released.
James is one of five men killed between Friday and this morning. The other four were died in an accident in Longdenville, near Chaguanas, at about 4.30 am today.
Among those who died are fireman Kerwin Duncan and 28-year-old DJ Dwayne Dick. The four friends were returning to their homes from a party in Caparo when the driver lost control and crashed into a utility pole at Enterprise Street.
At the launch of road safety campaign in Chagauramas today, head of Arrive Alive Sharon Inglefield offered condolences to the bereaved families. She highlighted that the deaths of the five men have taken the road fatality toll to 20, compared to eight for the same period last year.
“This was tragic, a young fire officer, 26, hit a concrete pole and the car disintegrated. I want to appeal to, particularly young men who are the ones dying in these collisions, let us take our speed down and designate a sober driver, or call a taxi particularly at this time of the year. We want no more deaths on the roads, we are losing too many of our good young men. These were educated people, so where is the common sense?” Inglefield said.
HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says with the termination of the contract for the National Oncology Centre at Mt Hope, equipment was being relocated to other facilities with the National Radiotherapy Centre, St James taking up the bulk of the work.
He was responding to a question in the House on Friday.
He said the contractor, Bouygues Batiment TT Construction Company, terminated the contract effective February 22, 2018.
“Currently the Ministry of Health is engaged in the final negotiation of claim settlement.”
He said given the termination of the contract, the ministry has developed a re-prioritised list of equipment to replace the proposed MRI and PET/CT, both investigative pieces of equipment originally intended for the National Oncology Centre, and to allocate them to the diagnostic imaging units in hospitals within the RHAs.
“This re-purposed initiative will serve to replace existing equipment which is nearing the end-of-life cycle at the various hospitals. Additionally, this would provide significant benefits to the respective catchment populations in meeting a critical need for additional and modern diagnostic imaging technology, while still achieving the original mandate of the initiative to address the burden of cancer in TT through effective screening and early diagnostic of disease.”
Deyalsingh then provided a list of equipment which has been installed and which was to be installed at the National Radiotherapy Centre in St James and at facilities in the other RHAs.
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal asked why the contract was terminated but Deyalsingh replied it was before the “powers that be” for arbitration and he would not like anything he said to influence the arbitration.
Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh asked if what was supposed to be a National Oncology Centre was no longer going to be there.
Deyalsingh responded: “The St James facility will now be providing the bulk of services.”
He added: “That centre, for want of a better term, will be a ‘mini-oncology centre.’”
ENERGY Minister Franklin Khan said ministry officials should be meeting with fishermen concerned about the recent cessation of the supply of regular fuel in a matter of weeks.
He was responding to a question in the House on Friday.
He said the Energy Ministry has written to the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Land, Agriculture and Fisheries requesting a meeting, with representatives of the division, to discuss the logistical changes the fishermen may have to adopt to access fuel following the cessation of the supply of regular fuel.
“After which the Government intends to meet with the fishermen to discuss the outcome and chart the way forward as to addressing the grave situation that they face.”
Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe said at a recent meeting with fishermen, at the Otaheite fishing facility, a question was raised whether Government would consider providing a subsidy. Khan said that was a matter for the Agriculture Minister.
“But on the Ministry of Energy side we have made it quite clear that it will be impossible to supply the market with regular at least in the short term until the refinery becomes operational, hopefully later this year, or next year. And we will work out, if the Ministry of Agriculture is so inclined, we will work out the logistics of whether a subsidy could be paid or not.”
Bodoe asked what was the time frame for the fishermen to get a definitive answer and Khan responded it would be weeks.
Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh asked if there was any contemplation of the use of electric engines and Khan said it was never considered, but he can inquire into whether the technology is available and how useful it is.
Last December, in the Senate, Khan said with the cessation of refining operations at Pointe-a-Pierre the small volume of regular gasoline was extremely difficult to source on the international market and not feasible to import.
The investigation into the seizure of 23 rounds of police ammunition in Arouca is still ongoing, National Security Minister Stuart Young said on Friday. He was responding to a question in the House.
Young said the matter was currently being investigated by the Professional Standards Bureau.
"And as such they've asked that no further particulars be provided at this time," he said.
Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe said following the incident the Commissioner of Police announced that an audit of ammunition over the last 20 years would be undertaken, and asked Young for an update. Young replied that the audit was ongoing and the commissioner has put resources in place to carry it out.
"As you would expect the TTPS has quite a lot of arms and ammunition so it is currently being (undertaken)."
Bodoe asked Young if he could give the public assurance of steps that had been taken in the interim to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring. Young said the right person to give that assurance would be the commissioner.
"But what I can say, that after this incident at a meeting with the heads of security it was raised. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. So really, it is for the armouries to carry out proper audits to make sure that everyone who gets ammunition comes back in, accounts for it, et cetera. And we've made a renewed call for the officers in the Police Service to make sure they take very seriously."
On January 6, officers of the Northern Division Task Force were on patrol along Arima Old Road, Arouca when they stopped a silver Almera with two men in their late 20s. Police searched the car and seized a Glock pistol and an extended magazine with 23 rounds of 9 mm ammunition. When the officers took a closer look at the ammunition they noticed TTPS markings.