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A Tobago Recycling Resources Initiative employee stacks recycled plastic bottles at their warehouse.

Be Male Examples Now (BMen) founder and coordinator Michael Stewart says an often overlooked emotional abuse in male/female relationships is gaslighting.

He commented on the issue during the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development’s male-related talk show programme carried live on its Facebook page.

Other panel members included TTPS Inspector Sharon Williams and Women of Substance president and founder Onika Mars.

Stewart explained that gaslighting is a form of brainwashing and manipulation that takes place often.

“Gaslighting is when the person you are in a relationship with makes you double-check your sanity,” he said.

Giving an example, he said the abuser attempts to make the victim question whether they are remembering events correctly or imagining things.

“The abuser begins to tell you the same thing repeatedly so that you feel you are beginning to lose it (your mind). The victim feels they must have done something to cause the abuser to think a particular way on an issue,” Stewart said.

He noted that although some people leave the abused relationship, they sometimes still question their sanity.

Host Jaiye Melville asked how someone can profess to love someone and still abuse them.

“Love is subjective. The person who says they love defines what that love means to them. In the case of men, men tend to put love with a definition of possession,” Stewart said.

He said men could love and take care of their families and physical possessions and feel that what they love should provide comfort. He said when spouses disagree with their husbands, it sometimes causes the man to seek to control the wife through abuse.

Stewart said some men think that if they love and care for someone, they should perform in a specific manner.

All the panellists agreed abusive and abused people must seek professional help.

Tobagonians embrace recycling

In just six months, the Tobago Recycling Resources Initiative has collected over 750 kilograms or 758 bags of material, including plastic bottles, metal cans, tetra packs, glass bottles, newspaper and cardboard.

The recyclable material was collected from drains, watercourses and some homeowners through a collaboration with the Unemployment Relief Programme in Tobago.

Senior Programme Coordinator Abigail Daniel says the objective is to make Tobago a zero per cent waste to landfill island by 2025.

“URP was engaged to provide labour to support the plant, a team of 25 persons were trained to assist with sorting and delivery of raw material, the URP staff was further engaged to conduct the Waste Characterisation Survey and to also waste from the households,” she said.

The URP also constructed a number of recycled waste collection boxes that have been stationed at various locations throughout the island. Daniel said she is elated that many Tobagonians had embraced the idea of environmental sustainability.

“We began with the women’s programme in the East, primarily because of their connections within the community and we have been very successful because they have not only mobilised persons to buy into the idea of collecting recyclable waste but also sorting, now we have now engaged residents in Whim.”

Daniel said since the introduction of the recycling plant, many Tobagonians have changed traditional habits and are now sorting waste according to the material type. She said arrangements can be made for curbside pick-up or waste can be dropped off at the various collection boxes at major grocery locations or delivered to the Tobago Recycling Plant at Shaw Park.

Dennis to discuss Moriah Police Station’s future

Residents on the north-western end of Tobago are once again demanding answers on the future of the Moriah Police Station.

In January of this year, residents raised an alarm after the majority of officers assigned to the station were re-assigned to other districts and word spread of intentions to close the station. Residents were uneasy, as there are 25 small businesses in the district and crime was a growing concern.

At that time, Guardian Media contacted Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, who said the station was not being closed by was to be “refurbished, like all other stations.”

A source within the TTPS said that refurbishment works were completed in March but the station still operates on a skeletal staff of three officers, one of whom is a senior officer, during the day and two officers at night. And all reports made to the station are forwarded to other districts for action.

Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis addressed the issue during the post-Executive Council media briefing on Wednesday. He said when the issue arose in January, he was assured by then Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Commissioner Griffith “that the police station will not be closed.”

“When the concern was raised today, I contacted Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and we are to discuss this issue later. As a matter of fact, I suspect that he may want to talk to persons on his end and we will discuss that issue later on today (Wednesday).”

There are currently six police stations in Tobago but the Moriah station is the only one in the north-western area covering the seven-eight miles between Moriah and Parlattuvier.

Caregivers told to monitor teens for suicide signs

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on and following a recently reported teen suicide in Tobago West, the Division of Health, Wellness, and Family Development is asking caregivers to be become more aware of the signs of suicide in teenagers.

Noting that the World Health Organization lists suicide as the fourth leading cause of death among teenagers, the division has explained the signs in an educational video to help caregivers.

Signs include withdrawal from social activities with friends and family, decrease in grades, substance use and abuse, rebellious acts and drastic mood swings, the video details.

A suicidal teenager may also start saying they hate their lives and want to end it, sometimes jokingly.

The division said if teenagers’ sleeping patterns and appetites change, or their hygiene becomes poor, they may be having suicidal thoughts.

The authority said if teenagers attempt suicide or exhibit any of the other signs of suicide, caregivers can seek help by calling Tobago’s 211 hotline or the hospital at 660-4744 ext 3000.