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Updated: 3 min 35 sec ago

Historian's health worsens

2 hours 56 min ago

Beloved historian and author Angelo Bissessarsingh has slipped into unconsciousness and doctors say he will lose his battle with pancreatic cancer soon.

The national hero who published four books despite his illness, took a turn for the worse over the weekend. His father Rudolph Bissessarsingh said, "Things are not looking good at this time. His condition changed overnight. He is on morphine and he has slipped into unconsciousness. The hospital said there is no hope. We are totally depressed over this."

As a devout Buddhist, Rudolph said it was his hope that Angelo will be reincarnated.

"His consciousness will live on. He will never die," Rudolph said.

He also said that Angelo's closest friends from CNC3 as well as his mentors and confidants Francesca Hawkins, Judy Raymond, Professor Brinsley Samaroo, Michelle Celestine and others, visited him at their Siparia home.

Saying the outpouring of love shown to his son was overwhelming, Rudolph added, "We are really grateful to all of you who have been a friend to Angelo and who helped him during his ordeal."

Over the past few weeks, Angelo had been confined to his bed as the cancer severely impacted on his mobility.

Speaking to this reporter last Thursday, Angelo said he was hoping to live until the middle of February to see his latest book Folklore and Mythology in T&T published.

He also revealed that he was in the process of compiling and publishing another book of short stories documenting life in the southern part of the island.

"I have the data and I have already found the imagery for that so we can start publishing it in February but living with the limitations as I do, it is very difficult but I am hoping to see it published," Angelo said at the time.

He described his illness as "restrictive" but despite his immobility, Angelo continued to dictate his weekly Guardian column as well as compile his research. Admitting that he suffered from bouts of depression, Angelo said, "I do get periods of depressiuon but as long as I have my books and my tablet, I am happy."

Angelo is the founder of the Virtual Museum of Trinidad and Tobago heritage resource and writes a column titled “Back in Time” for the Trinidad Guardian. He has published several books, including Walking with the Ancestors—The Historic Cemeteries of Trinidad, published in 2013; Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago, Virtual Glimpses into the Past; and Pancho’s Dilemma, all published in 2016, which have earned him many accolades.

Angelo was given the keys to San Fernando by former mayor Kazim Hosein (now Local Government minister) in 2016 and was awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) during last year’s Independence Day awards.

Petrotrin probes latest oil spills in La Brea

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:38

La Brea residents have expressed frustration over the frequency of oil  spills in the area.

The latest occurred on Saturday morning when pools of thick oil washed ashore at Coffee Beach in the second such incident for the month.

“I got sick in the major one in 2013. They cut piece of my skin from my head—my hair was dropping—for testing.

“Up to to now I never get back the results,”said Tenisha Modeste, 30, who is seven months pregnant.

 Another resident, Charmaine Montano, said residents were still sick from the 2013 spill.

She said one of her relatives, who suffered with asthma, had to be taken for medical treatment.

Montano wants the authorities to send an ambulance and a medical team every time there was an oil spill to ensure residents are not affected.

Another resident, who did not want to be identified, said: “It makes no  sense saying anything because every time this happens is just talk. The fishermen get compensated, but we who living in it get nothing.” 

Oil also washed up along the Point Sable, Station and Carat Shed beaches.

President of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association Alvin la Borde said the oil stuck to pirogues and dead chip chip littered the beach at Point Sable.  

“It affecting fishermen because they don’t want to catch and sell anything that is contaminated,” he said.

“Residents complaining because oil sticking up under their feet and on fishermen’s boats.”

La Borde said he did not know the origin of the oil. 

“We are not sure where the oil came from, but it is alleged that an oil spill was reported last week that came from  East Field Trinmar operations. The oil appeared to be weathered oil which means it was out there for sometime.”

State owned energy company Petrotrin has launched an investigation to identify the source of deposits of oil pellets seen along the shorelines of four beaches.

The company said in a media release over the weekend that the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and the Envronmental Management Authority (EMA) were notified about the incident.

La Borde confirmed that Petrotrin had sent a team to clean up the beaches.

Less sugar in school meals

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:37

A recommendation by the Ministry of Health to remove excess sugars from meals served in schools is due to go into effect before the end of this month.

While details on and how the changes will be introduced have not yet been revealed, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said he fully supports the measure.

He told the T&T Guardian: “We will support any measure to ensure there is a reduction in the sugar content in the food and drinks being offered to students. Government is in agreement with a lessening of the sugar intake by our students.”

The minister said the measure will be implemented in conjunction with the National Dietary Services Company (NDSC) which supplies free meals to 200,000 students in 455 primary and 125 secondary schools across the country.

Earlier this month, Garcia announced that Cabinet had accepted recommendation from the Health Ministry to reduce the sugar content in beverages served to students. He said the measure will positively impact health and life.

Pressed on whether the ministry will to restrict the sale of sugary drinks in school cafeterias, Garcia said discussions will have to be held with vendors. However, he said, many manufacturers had already started reducing the amount of sugar in their drinks.

President of the National Parents Teachers Association (NPTA) Zena Ramatali said she fully supports the measure and her group plans to lobby for a ban on the sale of soft drinks in schools. Ramatali said the NPTA is concerned about the health of the nation’s children as lifestyle diseases and obesity are on the rise.

The measure was first proposed in 2013 by then Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan who called for a ban on sugary drinks in schools after an article wasa published in a leading UK newspaper ranking T&T as the third fattest country in the world behind Kuwait and the United States.

At the time, Khan had said that investigations had shown that sugary drinks are among the main causes of obesity in young people. He declared then that snacks and food loaded with sugar would be outlawed and also promised that operators of school cafeterias would have to sign agreements about what they sell which would have to be in accordance with the ministry’s formula to reduce sugar intake.

Studies done on the US on children and adults found that reducing sugary drink consumption can lead to better weight control among those who are initially overweight.

A 20-year study on 120,000 men and women found that people who increased their sugary drink consumption by one 12-ounce serving per day gained more weight over time—on average, an extra pound every four years—than people who did not change their intake. Other studies have found a significant link between sugary drink consumption and weight gain in children.

One study found that for each additional 12-ounce soft drink children consumed each day, the odds of becoming obese increased by 60 per cent during 1? years of follow-up.

The local initiative is along the lines of action taken in the US in 2013 when the US Agriculture Department introduced its Smart Snacks in Schools standards that include eliminating sugary drinks and candy from vending machines and a la carte menus and replacing them with healthier options. The rules expanded healthier guidelines beyond meals by setting fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits on almost everything sold during the school day, even outside of the cafeteria.

Gun attack on popular beautician

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:34

Well known hairstylist and cosmetology teacher Essenese Sambury was up to late yesterday in serious condition at the Eric WIlliams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, after she was shot outside her Trincity home yesterday afternoon.

Sambury, 55, whose clients include socialites and celebrities, was driving into the yard of her Palm Drive, Casselton Avenue, home at around 3.30 pm, when a car pulled up and a gunman shot at her twice before driving off.

According to reports, there was no attempt to rob Sambury, who was shot in the head.

Police are describing the incident as an attempted murder.

Clients and friends of the hairstylist took to social media yesterday to express their outrage and disbelief at the shooting.

Sambury is owner of the Caribbean School of Cosmetology.

An accomplished educator and platform stylist, she has more than three decades of experience in the beauty business and is well known in fashion and beauty circles across the Caribbean.

Police do not yet have a motive for the shooting but believe it might be linked to her cosmetology school.

Experts critical of local policing

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:30

Intelligence-led and problem-oriented policing are among approaches that will maximise effective allocation of law enforcement resources to reduce crime, says former head of the National Operations Centre (NOC) Garvin Heerah.

The nation’s security agencies have launched an all out anti-crime offensive. At a joint press conference last week, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon and acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, announced plans to boost crime prediction, deterrence, detection and prosecution.

However, Heerah is advocating an intelligence-led policing approach. He is calling for a national intelligence model to be adopted by all of T&T’s national security agencies.

“It was introduced and practiced during the tenure of the NOC, and agencies were mandated,” he said.

According to Heerach modernised responses must replace traditional crime fighting which simply focuses law enforcement resources on known hotspots.

He explained: “It aims to reduce crime proactively and sustainably by focusing on the most important problems identified by local communities, using careful analysis to define problems and inform multi-agency solutions.

“We are no longer dealing with an archaic criminal. The crimes, the criminals and the resources have changed, therefore law enforcement has to change its approaches to successfully detect, deter and respond to the new trends in crime.

“The start to this is reviewing the intelligence trade and adjusting considerably. It cannot be business as usual, or we will never bring this spiraling situation under control.”

Heerah is recommending that the T&T Police Service (TTPS) change from its current approach to crime control.

Former national security minister Gary Griffith, a security expert, is calling for the Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) Unit of the TTPS to be revamped. He said CSI officers needed to be properly trained and equipped for the job.

“The detection rate goes hand in hand with our systems and for CSI, it is pathetic,” he said.

“What they have now is not working. You need experts from the Forensic Department because these forensic pathologists have better knowledge of what needs to be done on crime scenes. These officers miss the simple things, so it is obvious that they cannot handle the meticulous details.”

Griffith said international expertise should be brought in to help to improve the CSI Unit.

He was critical of the anti-crime drive announced last week, saying it was nothing fantastic that all national security reserves had been called out, since that had been done for the past eight years, especially around Carnival and Christmas time.

Criminologist and criminal psychologist Renée Cummings said the TTPS was badly under-performing when it comes to catching killers.

Cummings, who also specialises in criminal profiling and behavioural evidence analysis, said the structural rigidity of the local police service had historically undermined change in the organisation, as well as “its ability to adapt quickly to the ever-changing dynamics of homicide and violent crime, and its ability to integrate critical thinking into police operations.”

She added: “Real time problem-solving is a major challenge for law enforcement and citizens are paying for it with our lives. Each homicide contains an important message about the state of our society, the legitimacy of our institutions, the moral quality of our citizens and the psychopathology of offenders. Criminal justice policy must be designed to address all areas.”

Cummings said that there was a deficit in knowledge among law enforcement personnel about the aetiology of homicide and possibilities of its prevention.

“The knowledge gap contributes to the high homicide and violent crime rate and the inability of law enforcement to solve homicides at a faster rate,” she said.

Creative thinking is needed for homicide reduction, Cummings said.

“Unfortunately, imagination is missing in the fight against crime because there is an over-reliance on old ideas and recycled military strategies that offer nothing new.”

T&T Chamber hails crime plan

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:24

Gabriel Faria, CEO of T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, says the Government’s crime plan is a step in the right direction. He said members of the chamber’s crime committee recently met to discuss the plan.

On Thursday, at a joint press conference, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams announced plans for extra army resources, doubling of manpower for the Homicide Division and Director of Public Prosecutions’ Office, as well as establishment of a DNA register.

Faria said the first thing to do in solving a problem is to recognise there is a problem.

He said the fact that the homicide rate had escalated to 32 murders in just the first 19 days of the year was “entirely unacceptable.”

Commenting on Williams’ statement that he will not resign as acting Police Commissioner even with the spiralling homicide rate, Faria said: “I always believe when organisations fail the leader has to take the blame. In this environment I am sure there are forces at play that we need to deal with. In a private enterprise someone would have made the decision which is not necessarily to fire the police commissioner but to put in the infrastructure and the transparency to make sure that the matter is dealt with.”

He said he is looking forward to introduction of a DNA register but “based on historical performance, I am concerned.”

Faria said what citizens want the most is to live free from fear.

Counselling for students at Adventist school

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:18

Teachers and students at the Seventh-Day Adventist Primary School in San Fernando, where an intruder got into the girls’ washroom and made sexual advances to pupils, will be given counselling support.

This was confirmed by president of the school’s board of management, Pastor Leslie Moses, who said the matter is being dealt with by the board and Ministry of Education. He said security at the school has been increased, with additional officers assigned and improvements to the perimeter wall .

Moses thanked parents and staff for their calm and patience and the ministry for its support.

Classes resumed on Friday following an emergency meeting at the school on Thursday to discuss the incident.

A photograph of the alleged perpetrator has been circulating on social media and the police are being asked to arrest the man and take him off the streets.

Parents, who spoke to the T&T Guardian on condition of anonymity, said the suspect is very dangerous and it was not the first time he had entered the school compound.

“The cleaner said around 4 am some time last year when she entered the school gate, he was there standing against the wall. She told him to get out and he brushed past her and walked out. She went inside and closed the door behind her but when she looked up through the glass of the school door, he had re-entered,” said a parent, who claimed the man made obscene gestures to the cleaner.

In the latest incident, police were contacted but it took them 30 minutes to get to the school and by that time the intruder was long gone. Parents have agreed to contribute $50 each a month to pay for an additional security officer at the school. They are also appealing for financial assistance from the public to complete construction of their new school building at Duncan Village. The structure is 30 per cent complete. 

THA results expected early

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:14

Results from today’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections should start coming in to returning officers from around 7.30 pm.

This estimate was given yesterday by Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chief elections officer Ramesh Nanan, who is in Tobago.

“All systems are in place for today’s THA poll,” he said.

Polling takes place from 6 am to 6 pm at stations in the 12 THA seats. Some 50, 227 citizens are eligible to vote.

Special attention in today’s exercise is whether turnout will match 2013 when there was a record 60 per cent with 48, 980 votes cast.

Tobago experienced heavy rains early yesterday, hampering some final-day motorcades. This included the ruling People’s National Movement’s motorcades in east Tobago. Detours had to be taken by vehicles in some areas, which were to be revisited later in the day.

Rain is also forecast for today but there will be no extension of voting hours, EBC officials confirmed.

A total of 39 candidates from four parties are contesting today from the PNM, PSA President Watson Duke’s Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Christlyn Moore’s Tobago Forwards (TF) and former PNMite Eudine Job-Davis’ Movement for Transformation (MFT).

PNM’s Tobago fight is being led for the first time by Kelvin Charles who was elected in June 2016 to succeed outgoing Tobago PNM leader Orville London who held the position for 16 years.

The PDP, TF and MFT are seeking to dethrone, or at least make inroads into the PNM’s current 12 seat control of the THA.

The PNM, PDP and TF are contesting all 12 electoral seats but the MFT is contesting only in three seats—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah, Black Rock/Whim and Roxborough/Delaford.

Unlike the 2013 campaign when the then Peoples’ Partnership Government supported the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) in that poll, which the PNM won overwhelmingly, today’s contestants are all Tobagonian, since the PP-UNC has stayed out of the campaign.

Commenting on today’s exercise, PNM Tobago Council chairman Standford Callendar said: “We’re winning the election. I don’t want to pin it down to numbers but we will. We’re aiming for a turnout as large as 2013’s record number.

“I don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow, but we’re organising appropriately.”

Duke’s PDP recently projected winning a handful of seats. However, Duke didn’t answer calls yesterday.

TF’s Moore said: “We’re aiming for all 12 seats. We put in much work and it’s been uphill but Tobago’s appetite for change has made it easier.

“We’re looking for a new landscape. I’m confident the 12-nil situation is a thing of the past. Tobago won’t see that again.”

Job- Davis was unavailable for comment.

Top PNM campaign handlers from Trinidad are in Tobago for the election. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was in Tobago from last Thursday. He returned to Trinidad for last Friday’s special Parliamentary sitting to validate the order for the THA polls and has been back in Tobago since Saturday.

The Candidates

People’s National Movement

Political Leader Kelvin Charles—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden

Marslyn Jack—Scarborough/Calder Hall

Marissa Williams—Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside

Gary Melville—Roxborough/Delaford

Marisha Osmond—Plymouth/Golden Lane

Jomo Pitt—Lambeau/Signal Hill

Shomari Hector—Bethel/Mt Irvine

Ancil Dennis—Buccoo/Mt Pleasant

Joel Jack—Bacolet/Mt St George

Sheldon Cunningham—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah

Clarence Jacob—Canaan/Bon Accord

Hayden Spencer—Belle Garden/Goodwood


Tobago Forwards

Political Leader Christlyn Moore—Bethel Mt. Irvine

Steve Jack—Goodwood/Belle Garden

Kelton Thomas—Canaan/Bon Accord

Sparkle Taylor—Parlatuvier/L’anseFourmi/Charlotteville

Anthony Price—Roxborough/Delaford

Barry Nelson—Lambeau/Signal Hill

Beverley Ramsey- Moore—Black Rock/Whim/ Spring Garden

Cecil Phillips—Scarborough/Calder Hall

Maria Mac Farlane-Williams—Buccoo/Mt Pleasant

Niall George—Plymouth/Golden Lane

Orwin Dillon—Bacolet/Mt St George

Winston John—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah


Progressive Democratic Patriots

Political Leader Watson Duke—Roxborough/Delaford

Curtis Douglas—Plymouth/Golden Lane

Kerry Lynch—Scarborough/Calder Hall

Avanelle Baird—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden

Farley Augustine—Parlatuvier/L’anse Fourmi/Speyside

Dr. Faith B. Yisrael—Belle Garden/Goodwood

Nikkisha Martin—Bacolet/Mt. St. George

Wane Clarke—Lambeau/Signal Hil

Alicia Roberts-Patterson—Bethel/Mt. Irvine

Dr. Sean Nedd—Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant

Nyron Leung—Canaan/Bon Accord

Melanie Roberts—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah


Movement For Transformation

Political Leader Eudine Job-Davis—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah

Kussme Hercules—Roxborough/Delaford

Lasana Groome—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden

Siparia woman celebrates 108th birthday

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:07

One of the country’s oldest citizens, Josephine Jackman, celebrated her 108th birthday yesterday with a prayer service surrounded by loved ones at her Welcome Peters Street, Siparia home. Jackman’s daughter Pearl Jackman-Murren, 74, said her mother’s long life may be due to the fact that she never takes on stress and is a devout Shouter Baptist. 

“She is highly spiritual,” she said. 

Jackman’s birthday was actually on Saturday. She was was born in “Quinam in the bush” and her favourite meal is coo coo and fish. A mother of two who never married, she worked as a domestic helper to support her two daughters.

Up until Jackman-Murren moved back in with her mother in 2010, the centenarian lived on her own and did everything for herself.

“My mother was always a disciplinarian, a no nonsense person. She never spare the rod, sometimes she would save the rod for another day, but she was never an abusive parent,” Jackman-Murren said.

She said although her mother has slowed down a bit, she is in good health.

“She has sharp eyesight. She reads the papers with no glasses. She eats everything. She likes to get up and look at the sun. When she does not see it she is unhappy. She asks about the date and time.”

Among well wishers at Jackman’s home yesterday was Siparia Regional Corporation chairman Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh who presented her with a birthday cake, health hamper, plaque and flowers.

Jackman is s grandmother of 12, great grandmother of 28 and great great grandmother of four. 

MSJ: Take blame for election error

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:01

Someone must be held accountable for the error in the setting of dates for today’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election, Movement for Social Justice leader David Abdulah said yesterday.

“For the very first time in the history of THA elections, there was a major error in the setting of the dates for the nomination and election days,” he said in a statement.

“The issue of accountability arises—someone or some bodies made the error yet nobody has owned up for it.”

Abdulah noted that the two Houses of Parliament had to sit in emergency session to pass legislation to validate today’s election.

He said: “A respected attorney-at-law, Independent Senator Sophia Chote SC, is reported to have said in the Senate debate that even Parliament’s decision may be insufficient to stop a legal challenge to the THA election.

“If so, thousands of dollars, perhaps even millions, will be spent on legal fees, considerable judicial time will be allocated to hearing the challenge and much uncertainty will prevail over the legality of those elected to the Assembly. In such a scenario will anybody be held to account?”

The MSJ leader said several institutions were involved in the matter, including THA’s Chief Secretary, the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the Office of the President and the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Is it that the holders of high public office don’t have sound professional and technical support in the form of legal and administrative advice that would ensure that such a simple error—but one which has far reaching consequences—was not made?” he asked.

“There must be accountability by those who hold positions of responsibility . . . the apparently simple mistake in counting days is a symptom of a much deeper problem.”

Robbery ‘hero’ killed outside bar

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 21:59

Just days after Jerome “Pum” Calliste was credited for foiling a robbery at a Chinese restaurant and bar in San Fernando he was gunned down outside the establishment yesterday morning.

Police said Calliste, of Phase Two, Golconda, was in his car, a silver Nissan B 15, at the corner of Drayton and Coffee Streets, outside the Lai King Chinese Restaurant and Bar at around 10.15 am, when a gunman began firing shots at him. He was hit several times and stumbled out of the vehicle and into the bar where he collapsed. He was later pronounced dead at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Eyewitnesses claimed the victim had foiled a robbery at the bar last week when he allegedly fired several shots at the robbers. The suspects fled the scene in a white station wagon which ran off the road and crashed into a wall, but they escaped.

Police detained Calliste for questioning in connection with that incident but released him on Friday. They said he was well known to them. A few years ago, he was stabbed and shot in separate incidents.

This is the second murder at the restaurant and bar. In 2013, Trevlon Joseph, 51, was sitting at the bar when a gunman walked up to him, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  

In another matter, police are still searching for clues in the murder of PH driver Angus James, 46, of Marabella, who was found in his car at around 7.15 am on Saturday with a bullet wound to his head.  

Autopsies are expected to performed on both bodies at the Forensic Sciences Centre in St James today. Detectives from the San Fernando Homicide Bureau investgating the two murders.

Mother cries for missing teen

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 21:58

“Please come back home,” a weeping Lydia Hinds, mother of 16-year-old Nicole Lezama, said yesterday as she appealed for the safe return of the teen who has been missing since Saturday.

Hinds fears something bad has happened because her daughter always returns calls and never leaves home without her permission. 

Lezama, a Form Three student of San Fernando East Secondary, left her home at Picton Street, Diamond Village, at around 10.30 am on Saturday to go to the library in San Fernando.  When she did not return home by 4 pm, Hinds became worried and began calling her daughter’s cell phone.

“I was about to leave to go to work. I called her phone and  it was switched off. She never do that before, she would have it on silent. Even if her phone not working, or she have no money on it, she would find somebody and use their phone to call me,” she said.

Hinds said her daughter, who has a twin brother and three other siblings, had  no problems at home and had no reason to run away.

“I just want to tell her to come back home. We are missing her. Please come back home if she’s out there,” she said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the missing teen is asked to contact the San Fernando Police Station or the nearest police station.

Anybody but the PNM

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:45

Tomorrow, her political party—the Movement for Transformation (MFT) will contest three seats in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election.

In our wrap-up featuring the political leaders, Eudine Job-Davis said if elected, her role is to inspire the Tobagonians to become productive citizens in every aspect of development.

What are three of the main challenges facing Tobago/Tobagonians?

Leadership. There is a ‘crisis of confidence’ in the political leadership. From discussions with our people, a major part of the problem derives from unfulfilled promises and thwarted expectations, that chasm between what is promised and what is actually done. The all-encompassing cry is ‘anybody but the PNM!’ Problematic leadership in Tobago has resulted in severe underachievement of developmental goals, and despite the authority vested in the Tobago House of Assembly by Act 40 of 1996, the blame game continued to be played.

Accountability and transparency. The Tobago House of Assembly has been plagued with allegations of corruption. With allocations of more than $30 billion dollars over the past 16 years, the expected development in the various sectors of Tobago’s economy has not been commensurate with the allocations received and expended.

Apathetic electorate. The result of the leadership crisis and the lack of accountability and transparency is an electorate that has resigned itself to, ‘who can we trust; who should we vote for?’ The greatest challenge for the MFT is to shake Tobagonians out of their state of political inertia and to convince the electorate that with the MFT it will not be business as usual, to convince them that they have a say in determining their destiny, and in order to transform their space and change their circumstances, we collectively need to change the way we think.

What will you do to develop Tobago and improve its contribution to national GDP?

If elected to the THA and eventually to the position of Chief Secretary, my role is to inspire the people of Tobago to become productive citizens in every aspect of our development, and lead by example to achieve our goals. The revenue from our productive sectors will improve Tobago’s GDP, and will therefore be utilised to deliver the social services that are necessary for the people of Tobago.

In addition to the revenue to be derived from exploiting our hydrocarbon and energy sources, highlights of the growth sectors are:

Mining and quarrying. The Studley Park Quarry is one of several assets bestowed on the people of Tobago. Productivity has been stymied by a lack of effective and efficient management and this will be resolved. Export of the material will be an agenda priority.

Tourism. Job creation and the generation of foreign exchange will be the principal goals. Our natural and historical assets will be monetised and Tobagonians will be incentivised and encouraged to become owners and employers in a range of hard and soft infrastructural and other services needed to support the sector.

Health. Scarborough Hospital will be reconfigured to become a teaching hospital, with emphasis on research and wellness. A strategic alliance will be established with a credible and creditable institution to provide management services and training to provide a world-class facility. A Tobago International Wellness Centre is proposed for the L’Anse Fourmi/Bloody Bay.

Education. A community college will be constructed to create a smooth transition from high school through to the University of Tobago. Emphasis will be placed on honing the creative and innovative capacity of our people to become entrepreneurs. Since, among our myriad strengths, our exchange rate is favourable, we intend to attract students to from, inter alia, the Caribbean as well as Latin America and North America.

What is top of the agenda for Eudine Job-Davis, if elected?

My agenda will be the people’s agenda. Since the MFT is contesting three seats, there are two possibilities: being elected to the Opposition or being elected and partnering with other elected members to govern.

Opposition. My objective is to provide strong and effective representation for our people. This means that we will be easily accessible to assist our employers (the people of Tobago) in every way possible—from providing information to inspiring them to achieve full potential. Further, the issues affecting any and all electoral districts in Tobago would be thoroughly ventilated, while providing probable solutions to those who are elected to govern.

Partnering to govern. I am prepared to work with other elected members in the interest of the people of Tobago. My primary concern is Tobago’s development, and being the only political leader in this THA election with years of political experience from working in Tobago, Trinidad and the Commonwealth, and given my exponential experience in the public service, I will be able to assist any administration to effectively and efficiently manage Tobago’s resources to the benefit of our island and its residents.

PH driver found with bullet to head

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:44

The mother of PH driver Angus “Ghost” James who was found with a bullet to his head in his car this morning, says she is relying on God for justice.

Given the low murder detection rate in the country, Marjorie James-Gomez, 64, was not confident the police would catch her son’s killer.

“My God will give me my answer. He will take revenge on whosoever (killed James),” said

James-Gomez at her Bayshore West, Marabella, home shortly after the police broke the sad news to her.

It was around 7.15 am when police received information and went to

Holder Trace, Parforce Road, Gasparillo, where they found James’ body in his blue Nissan B-15 car. He had a bullet wound to the back of his head. Police are still trying to determine a motive for his killing.

The mother recalled that she last saw the elder of her two sons before he left home 8 pm on Friday. He did not tell her where he was going, but she believed he was going to ply his car for hire.

James would often work late hours and stay out, so she did not think anything was wrong when he did not return home. “Is years he working that, he say he accustom,” she said. She often asked him to work earlier hours and stay home at nights.

Describing James as a quiet person, his mother said he sometimes “gets hasty in between”. She could not say if he had any disagreement with anyone.

He had no children or wife.

Describing the crime situation as very bad, the mother said the police could not stop crime. “Is people with criminal intentions who could stop crime. It don’t matter how much you pray, crime will never stop. Is people who have intentions to do crime that could stop it. They have to think about their family, their mother, sister, brother, how it will hurt them if something happen to them.”

Detectives of the San Fernando Homicide Bureau are investigating.

Duke’s eyes on crime, healthcare, job security

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:40

Tomorrow is decision day for the people of Tobago as they move to elect a new Chief Secretary for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

One of the contenders for the position is political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) and controversial union president of the Public Services Association, Watson Duke.

He is contesting the Roxborough/Delaford seat. In the September 7, 2015, general election, Duke contested the Tobago East seat as an independent candidate and lost.

Among the items topping his agenda if he is victorious this time around are crime and healthcare for the people of Tobago.

The Sunday Guardian interviewed Duke on Wednesday on his plans for the island. This is what he had to say:

What will you do to develop Tobago and improve its contribution to national GDP?

It is believed the Tobago’s total contribution to the national GDP has never been properly tabulated. This has fuelled the perception of an insignificant contribution. Our definition of Trinidad is similar to Trinidad’s definition of Tobago; that is, all the land space plus six nautical miles out to sea. We believe that all revenue received from economic activity within our territorial waters but outside the six-mile radius has to be equally attributed to both islands. Also, we believe that all revenue collected from economic activity of the Tobago diaspora in Trinidad must also be assigned equally to both islands. This notwithstanding, we have identified the following three areas and developed specific targets, which when achieved will spur development and increase economic output in the various sectors of the Tobago economy. These areas are:

• our human capital;

• physical environment and;

• economic environment.

What are the three main challenges facing Tobago/Tobagonians?

From our island-wide consultation with the people leading up to this election, different groups identified the following issues as requiring immediate action to improve:

• Crime—It has spiralled out of control with low levels of detection and prosecution, thus causing Tobagonians to live in fear.

• Healthcare—Many Tobagonians have died while awaiting the ambulance to go to the only hospital and others have died while waiting to be airlifted to Trinidad. This needs to stop and Tobago must have an all-inclusive healthcare system that allows all citizens to have their health issues be treated fully within Tobago.

• The cost of living—This was and is linked to our current inability to import directly, non-existent manufacturing sector, and our lack of food security. The construction of a commercial port, developing incentivised manufacturing zones, and the bringing 600 acres of agricultural lands at Hope into cultivation are but three projects identified to reduce this index within the first four years of a PDP government.

• Transparent and people-focused governance—Our governance model will be based on our mantra “child by child, family by family and village by village.”

Under this model, every village will be assigned a specific budgetary allocation for the development and maintenance projects to be identified and executed at the community level.

• Autonomy—Our vision for Tobago is that, in the shortest time possible, it will be one of the states in a two-state federal Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in which administrative responsibilities will be distributed among the State of Tobago, the State of Trinidad, and the Federal Government, with each State having its own cabinet/executive and legislature, as well as jurisdiction over all of the same kinds of matters, and with the Federal Government having jurisdiction over different select matters, including foreign affairs and the judiciary. In this regard, Tobago will be self-supporting and will be the best-developed and best-run island in the Caribbean in accordance with every index of efficiency.

What is at the top of the agenda for Watson Duke, if elected?

Crime, healthcare, job security for my people and total responsibility and control of all areas enumerated under the 5th Schedule of the Tobago House of Assembly 40 of 1996.

Copeland: $500M UWI South Campus first intake in August

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:28

Situated on a 142-acre site near the Picton Presbyterian Primary School and minutes away from the Debe High School is a jumble of concrete and metal structures, rotundas, spiral staircases covered in bright blue tarpaulin and glass reflecting the midday sunlight.

Amid the jumble is a sign—white with two shades of blue, identifying the Faculty of Law.

About 400 metres, down a roadway, near a slanted metal bar, on a wall, is another sign. This one indicating the University of the West Indies (UWI) South Campus.

On August 2, 2012, the contract to commence construction of the South Campus in Penal-Debe was signed at the Office of the Campus Principal.

It was expected that the first intake of students would begin in January 2016.

Today, the campus has a new date for its first intake—August 2017.

In a brief interview with the Sunday Guardian on Wednesday, Prof Brian Copeland, UWI’s newest chancellor, said the a decision had been made on Tuesday, and UWI was hoping to begin populating the school by August.

“We will move to the campus, get it started and whatever needs to be completed, we will deal with it as time goes by,” Copeland said.

He said the university will also be completed within its initial budget of approximately $500 million.

The campus was supposed to be ready for the academic year 2014/2016 even though $509.3 million was approved by Cabinet in September 2013. In September 2013, Cabinet approved $509.3 million for the project with an expected completion date of October 2015. Pages 42 and 43 of the 2017 Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) tabled by the government in the 2017 budget states that “an allocation of $43 million was provided in fiscal 2016 of which $9.6 million was utilised for construction, consultant, and project management fees. The building works is approximately 70 per cent completed, while outfitting of all buildings, external fixtures and external works is 46 per cent completed.”

However, work had slowed down by contractors China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Co-operation Corporation.

Copeland had said there were problems with the contractor, which he did not wish to disclose.

Copeland did not say whether the original contractor would continue the project, adding that the university would release a full statement in the coming weeks.

He said the Law faculty would be the first to move as the South campus was built with law as the flagship.

“I can tell you that people will move in August so that we will start a programme in September.

“The logistics still has to be done, time tabling, planning around students mobility and other planning.”

Copeland said the law faculty was currently cramped in St Augustine.

Other faculties are also expected to migrate to the Debe campus over time.

Building only 80

per cent complete

Last October, Copeland said the university was 80 per cent complete.

A visit from the Sunday Guardian showed that not much had improved and no workers were visible on site during the Wednesday visit.

The campus structure, even incomplete and surrounded by scaffolding and construction material, looks impressive.

The campus buildings include a moot court, administration building and law faculty buildings as well as a library, which is in an advanced stage of completion.

A student union services building, dormitories with 100 rooms and recreational facilities are also almost complete and car parks have been paved.

Former UWI chancellor Clement Sankat said the campus will have a cricket field, football facilities and a swimming pool.

In an interview last year, former Tertiary Education minister Fazal Karim said while the building was 80 per cent complete, outfitting of all buildings, external fixtures and external works were 50 per cent completed.

The South campus was first announced by the People’s Partnership coalition to be completed on lands previously owned by Caroni (1975) Ltd.

Speaking to the Guardian on Friday, Karim said a 2008 study conducted by the Business Development Office at the UWI St Augustine Campus on “Addressing Student Needs for University Education in South Trinidad concluded that a second Campus located in the country’s southern region would extend the University’s reach and would respond to the needs of key south-based industrial and business sectors while at the same time serving to reduce the congestion of the St Augustine Campus .

The UWI St Augustine campus enrolled 7,566 students in the 2000/2001 academic year and by 2010/2011 the figure climbed to 16,742—a 121 per cent increase.

Stop putting party before country

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:17

At 25 years old, Nikoli Edwards has achieved a lot. Last week Wednesday, Edwards was appointed a temporary independent senator and by Tuesday night he was among 23 senators who voted for amendments to The Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill 2016 aimed at ending child marriages in this country. Edwards’ appointment to the Upper House was a natural progression in his advocacy for the youth as he was once a member of the guild of the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine campus and is currently a vice chairman of the Commonwealth Youth Council. This week, the Sunday Guardian sits down with Edwards for a Q&A.

Q: You were appointed as an independent senator earlier this month and created history by being the youngest person to ever sit in the Upper House. How does that feel?

A : It is a feeling that really is indescribable. What gives me the credence for that is the fact that I am representing people and I am feeling good that I can take my representation to that level. And based on the responses of these people they too now feel as though they have a voice, especially the youth of T&T. So to know that more than anything I am providing that voice that is what gives me the feeling of exuberance.

You were able to vote on a very crucial piece of legislation this week when the The Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill was debated in the Senate, being an advocate for youth, how did that impact you?

I definitely had to take a moment of quiet and understand the magnitude of what I was embarking upon and to know that I have moved from being a grassroots advocate to actually influencing legislation that is a feeling of empowerment, so I did not take it for granted whatsoever and I understood the awesome responsibility that was placed on my shoulders and I respected the process. I have a new appreciation for the process but it really allowed me to understand how hard work can actually pay off by assuming a position where you can do more than simply advocate on the ground.

In the vote for the amendment to The Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill, the Government and the majority of the independent senators voted for the amendment while the Opposition and one of the independent senators decided to abstain—what was your thought when the five senators decided to abstain?

For me that was a very disappointing moment because I had the expectation that once you are placed in such an important position it is either you are for or you are against. To know that you have occupied a position in that chamber and simply abstained it is sending a clear message to individuals, those especially who look up to you, that you are not able to effectively and efficiently carry out your function, so it was a feeling of disappointment considering as well the importance of this piece of legislation and the fact that this was a history-making moment and some people decided to be on the wrong side of history.

What are your thoughts on party politics in this country? Do you think we need to get a level of maturity where politicians put party allegiance aside and work towards the best interest of the country?

Yes, if party politics was not at play we would have been so much further as a country than we are right now. But because people tend to look at party before country that is what is carrying this country to hell in a hand basket. So if individuals understand their responsibility and understand who they are there to serve and represent before any allegiance to party politics, if that is understood, then I do think T&T would be on the path to progress.

We have seen your ascension from a member of the executive of the guild at UWI, St Augustine, to being a vice chairman at the Commonwealth Youth Council to now being appointed a temporary senator, how has that been and what do you hope to be the final step in your progression?

The process has definitely been testament to the fact that hard work pays off and I want young people across T&T to understand that more than anything. That I did not get these positions by chance but because I was dedicated to the process and to the work involved. From this point, I would want to continue to advocate on the ground. I would use my position as often as it is afforded to me in the Senate to add to the debate on legislation that would improve the lives of citizens, and I do hope one day that I become prime minister of this country because that is an aspiration of mine. It is not a cliche for me to want to be the prime minister one day but rather it is something that I am willing to roll up my sleeves, get down and dirty and work toward. So that is the eventual step.

One of the major things that happened in your life in recent time was the passing of your father, Hassan Atwell, following the 2015 jail break. One of the issues you raised then was the posting of dead bodies on social media because a photo of your father’s body was posted online. What are your thoughts on that issue?

Having been on the receiving end on the negativity that is associated with seeing a loved one’s body strewn across social media that definitely awoke within me the need to advocate for people to not share these images because of the traumatic effect that there is. I know for one that my youngest brother would have been affected by seeing our father’s body on social media and so I issued a call to media outlets not to show these images. And it is something that I practice in my everyday life. I would never share the dead body of an individual on social media because it is in poor taste and also the effects that it has. There is no need, we are not a society that needs to see images of bodies to understand that somebody has passed away. Gone are the days of that. Let us be mature as a society and carry news and information in a respectful way.

What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting the youth in T&T?

I would go to the Global Youth Development Index that was launched last October and T&T ranks within the top ten for the worst performing countries when it comes to employment and opportunities for young people. So I would say that employment and opportunities for young people is the most pressing issue, and when it comes to opportunities not only for self-development but also opportunities to partake in nation development.

So unfortunately my appointment to the Senate is a rare one and I do think that more young people should be given such opportunities because young people will inherit this country, the institutions and the systems of governance, and if we begin to prepare young people for that position and undertaking from now we would be in good stead.

Political analyst: Two horses in THA election race—PDP, PNM

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:09

It’s likely that the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) led by political leader Watson Duke will win some seats in tomorrow’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election.

This is according to political analyst Dr Winford James, a Tobagonian, who yesterday said that Duke and the PDP seemed to be on a momentum.

Speaking to the Sunday Guardian yesterday, James said, “It is possible that the PDP will win a few seats. They themselves claim that they might surprise in a few seats come Monday.”

The PNM had a landslide victory at the 2013 polls with 19,919 votes. The Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), even though it gained 11,927 votes, suffered defeat.

James said his comments were based on issues on the island since there were no polls conducted in the lead up to the election. He said polls were the most reliable basis for prediction.

“I am saying there are two horses in the race now—the PDP and the PNM.”

James said no seat was safe in the THA election if there were two parties.

Since 2013, when the electorate “destroyed” the TOP because of its fear of the United National Congress (UNC) running Tobago and ultimately controlling the island’s marine wealth, he said the population gave the PNM all 12 seats.

“I don’t know that it’s going to be like that this time. The water has flowed below the bridge. The UNC is no longer in power, the economy is not functioning as happily as it used to because of the drastic falling of energy prices and of course, there has always been an anti-PNM constituency in Tobago.”

He said there was talk of disaffection for the PNM and that was related to the length of time the PNM was in control of the THA, the amount of money that they had to manage and very little evidence of the spending of that money for the development of Tobago.

50,227 to vote in THA election tomorrow

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:08

After three weeks of intense campaigning, 50,227 Tobagonians are expected to vote tomorrow for 39 candidates, in 12 electoral districts for a new Tobago House of Assembly (THA) executive to govern their affairs for the next four years.

The election brings the curtain down on what has been described as an intense, and, at times, acrimonious campaign on the island.

The race has pitted Tobagonian against Tobagonian, as voters threw their support behind their favourite party in the four-way race.

The island would see a complete changing of the guards, as a new chief secretary would take office. Former chief secretary, Orville London has exited electoral politics and gave his final farewell during the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) youth rally at Garden Side carpark in Scarborough, yesterday.

The four contenders are the incumbent PNM, led by Kelvin Charles, main opponent the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) led by Watson Duke, the Tobago Forwards led by Christlyn Moore, and the Movement for Transformation, led by Eudine Job- Davis.

Last Friday, two out of the four political parties—the PNM and the PDP took over the streets of Scarborough in their respective marches as they showed support for their political parties.

In 2013, the PNM won the THA elections 12-0; 46,601 people were eligible to vote, but only 32,657 or 70.08 per cent people exercised their franchise to vote in that election, according to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC). An increased voter turnout is anticipated tomorrow.

The winning team is expected to be announced during the early hours of Tuesday morning by the EBC when the ballots are counted from all the polling divisions spread throughout the island.

Pensioner stabbed to death by female relative

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:03

A 27-year-old woman who has been described by neighbours as having a history of mental illness stabbed a pensioner of Oropune Gardens, Piarco, to death yesterday.

According to neighbours, 73-year-old Stephen ‘Peow’ Marshall of Fifth Avenue Extension, was stabbed on the left side of his neck by a female relative who entered his bedroom.

Residents heard screams emanating from the pensioner’s apartment at around 11.30 am.

Upon investigating, they found Marshall’s five grandchildren in the apartment unharmed. Marshall, however, was bleeding from a wound to his neck.

The woman was also seen covered in blood and holding a knife.

At the time of the incident, Marshall’s wife, Indra Dial, was at the nearby shop and on hearing the children’s screams rushed over only to see her husband bleeding.

The couple’s elder sister, who had just returned home, jumped out of her car when she heard the commotion coming from her father’s home. When she went inside she saw the woman standing over her father and she tried to get the knife away from her.

The police were notified and an ambulance arrived around noon, however Marshall succumbed to his injuries.

A resident said Marshall’s life may have been saved if someone had used their car to transport him to hospital but they did not want blood from the wounded man in their vehicle.

The woman was detained by police.

Residents said the woman was “mentally unstable” and there were past episodes when she was good and other times when she “went off.”

One resident said: “You can’t control a mentally unstable person. There’s no time to tell when they would ‘trip off.’ I have been around mentally unstable people, at the end of the day she was family and they have to help her.”

The resident said, however, the incident was not something people were expecting.

A friend of the family said the woman was prescribed medication for her condition but was not taking it at the time because she went through evaluation, “caught back” herself, was back to normal and was working.

Another resident said the woman did not hold down a job for long because of her condition. A resident said Marshall was a quiet person and enjoyed rearing picoplats, a hobby he shared with other bird fanciers in the neighbourhood.