Olympic dream……..

Horsford hoping for T&T throwing trio at Tokyo 2020

Tyriq Horsford

Tyriq Horsford has an Olympic dream. The 19-year-old wants to travel to Tokyo, Japan to represent Trinidad and Tobago in the 2020 Olympic Games men’s javelin competition, alongside fellow-throwers Keshorn Walcott and Shakeil Waithe.

Up until 2012, T&T’s Olympic track and field medal successes came exclusively on the track. Walcott, just 19 at the time, changed the script at the London Games with a surprise victory and followed up four years later with bronze. Now, a country with no tradition in the event has a realistic shot at fielding a full complement of throwers in the Tokyo 2020 men’s javelin.



HDC fires six after 15 days.

A woman who accused the ex-sport minister of harassment among assistants let go…

Carrie-Ann Moreau

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has fired six people in its procurement department 15 days after they were hired.

Terminated from their six-month contracts were Carrie-Ann Moreau, Afka Jemmott-Bharath, Abiola Cla­rence, Camille Le Gendre, Allan Gour and Lesa Sharma.

They had been employed on contract as procurement and contract assistants in the HDC’s Procurement and Contract Management Division.

Moreau made allegations of sexual harassment against former sports minister Darryl Smith.

She was the former minister’s personal secretary at the time.

She was paid $150,000 in 2017 to settle the matter outside the Industrial Court.

Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) Noel Garcia confirmed that Moreau resigned her job as an administrative assistant in the procurement department in February this year.

The Express understands the six were hired on March 11, and 15 days later, by letter da­ted March 26, were fired.

The services of an in­dependent procurement consultant will be sought.



Leave Tobago Carnival alone.

Band of the Year winner says bigger isn’t better

Masqueraders from Astra Winchester's mas band frolic in the street on Carnival Monday in Scarborough. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

A veteran Tobago bandleader has added her voice to the debate over the practicality of changing the date for Carnival to be celebrated on the island or staging a second Carnival later in the year. Candace Chang-Sandy, who won the 2019 overall Band of the Year title with her presentation Kaleidoscope- We Colourz, stressed Tobago Carnival is unique and should be left alone.

“Changing the dates of the national festival, it being referred to as a blocko, degrading some of the costumes produced – I am standing firm against those comments,” she told Newsday Tobago.

“Being involved in Carnival for the past 30-plus years – because I grew up in this – I don’t see these people anywhere around Carnival. Most of them spend their Carnival in Trinidad.

“Tobago Carnival is not Trinidad’s Carnival. We bring our own culture to our Carnival and people have to understand that. A bandleader’s presentation more than likely is something that they would have well thought through.That is their idea and their vision that they’re bringing life to, and we need to respect those things.”

She argued that the two-day festival in Trinidad and in Tobago must be measured differently.

“For us to have a Trinidad (style) Carnival here, it just does not make sense. We have to look at our culture, we have to look at our niche market, we have to look at what we really want to get from Carnival. It comes across as though if you have 10,000 persons in a band then good, that’s a successful band. I am saying that it cannot be. We must have a different measuring tape for success – it cannot be numbers.”

The Stoute Next Generation bandleader believes the quality of Tobago’s mas is quite good and could rival others.

“I am seeing a number of Tobago bands with good-quality costumes. Some of them could match up with Trinidad costumes. Maybe we can’t match up in size, but in terms of quality it’s there, and every year it’s getting better. We have a good quality product.

“How we market it is a different story. Who are the people we want to attract? I am an avid Carnival lover, but I would never play mas in Trinidad. We have to decide what we want our product to be and I don’t believe our product should solely be about the number of people you have in your band.” .

Saying there is still room for improvement in the mas fraternity in Tobago, Chang-Sandy said this could be realised with unity.

“I have been calling for bandleaders to unite. I made a couple Facebook posts sometime recently, hoping that bandleaders would unite, because only when we unite, we would have one strong front like pan and calypso. At this time, because we are divided, Festivals (Tobago Festivals Commission) runs mas in Tobago, which doesn’t happen with any other entity.”

This is not the first time the issue of Tobago having its own Carnival has come up for debate.

In March 2012, then Art and Multiculturalism Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters and THA Chief Secretary Orville London met for an hour on the issue. Peters, now the National Carnival Commission chairman, recently reiterated his past support for a separate Carnival in Tobago in October, saying it could surpass its Trinidad equivalent in terms of profitability. Peters said Tobago, given its status as the tourism hub of the country, already had strengths on which it can capitalise.



Girl, 11, home from hospital after crash…………

Devie Samaroo, 11, who suffered severe injuries in a car crash in Barrackpore last month has been discharged from the San Fernando General Hospital.

The form one student of the Barrackpore West Secondary School was reunited with her family on Friday after being warded for ten days.

She returned to the hospital today for a clinic appointment.

Samaroo suffered a fractured skull and injuries to her legs and is still unable to walk.

Her grandfather Ramcharitar Ramnarine, 61, said he cannot stop thanking God, the staff at the hospital and all everyone who prayed for his grandaughter.

“I was waiting on this day for so long to take my grandbaby home. I could not sleep for the past days. I kept seeing the image of her on the ground and blood on her school uniform,” he said.

“I prayed for this. My only wish was to have my grandbaby home. There was not a night that went by when I did not pray. God has answered my prayers. I am so thankful. I am just really happy,”

He said Samaroo continues to make progress but is still weakand unable to talk for long, he said.

In a brief interview today, Samaroo told Newsday she was happy to be home with her family.

The accident left Samaroo in critical condition. Her aunt Lindy Singh. the driver of the car, is still in hospital in a serious but stable condition with injuries to her head and right leg.

Samaroo was knocked unconscious when the car crashed into a dump truck on the Rochard Douglas Road in Barrackpore while she was on her way to school with her aunt. Police said Singh was driving a Ford Laser hatchback near Ramlal Trace, and tried to overtake a dump truck but crashed head-on into another dump truck driving in the opposite direction. The truck driver escaped without any injuries.


Gypsy: Tobago will profit from own Carnival

Pioneers of Calder Hall blue devils in J'Ouvert revellery on Carnival Tuesday. The group celebrates on Tuesday and not on Carnival Monday. FILE PHOTO

National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters holds firm to his belief that a Tobago Carnival must be established as a permanent feature of the island’s cultural identity.

Peters said a Tobago Carnival, in October, could surpass its Trinidad equivalent in terms of profitability.

“I have been saying that since in the 1990s. Since in the days of Richard Afong (masman) we have been trying to have a separate Carnival in Tobago,” he said.

“The economics of Carnival will tell you that if you have a Carnival in Tobago – a separate, well-planned Carnival, well-orchestrated, with all the elements of a real Carnival and promoted all over the world – Tobago Carnival has the potential to be more financially viable and profitable than Trinidad Carnival.”

Peters said Tobago, given its status as the tourism hub of the country, already had strengths on which it can capitalise.

“And the way that Carnival goes, it is a whole cycle. Carnival starts in Trinidad and ends in Miami at the moment.

“If, at the end of October, when all over the world starts to get cold – North America is cold, Europe is cold and people looking for a place to go and you have a stand alone Carnival where you can advertise Tobago Carnival, people will want a place to go.”

Peters went on: “If held in October that would be the last Carnival in the circuit and that would make Tobago something.”

His stance comes amid growing concerns among some Tobago stakeholders over what they consider to be the festival’s declining appeal on the island.

On Friday, Kelvon Morris, spokesman for the advocacy group Citizens In Support of Tobago Development, said the issue of Tobago having its own Carnival must be revisited urgently. The group is planning to host what it calls a stakeholders’ conversation this week.

As Peters sees it, Tobago Carnival, in its existing state, “is losing out big in having its Carnival together with Trinidad Carnival.

“Because even people from Tobago come to Trinidad for Carnival. But if Tobago has their own stand alone Carnival, what you will have is reverse local tourism because you now have people from Trinidad going to Tobago Carnival.

“And quite apart from that, because of the internal local tourism we have, you will have people from all over not just coming to Tobago on Carnival days but for all of the pre-Carnival activities. The world would come to Tobago and it will make it an even better tourism destination than it is right now.”

Asked if, as NCC chairman, he intends to at least open a forum for serious debate on the issue, Peters said: “Although I have been saying this for years, I am a voice in the wilderness because Tobago is a territorial place and if something is not coming from Tobago, it may not be something that they would want. But, if they don’t want it, that is their business.”

He added: “Just now, you will see one of those other Caribbean islands with a Carnival again somewhere and we will stay down here and say, like the Shadow (late Dr Winston Bailey) song, “Ah coulda do this and shoulda do that.”’

Peters is convinced Tobago could make money with its own Carnival.


Tobago visitors up 90% thanks to Canada flight.

Crown Point, Tobago.

Photo: Marshelle Haseley

In a release an hour ago, the Tobago Tourism Agency reported a 90 per cent increase in international arrivals over the past few months, thanks to the weekly Sunwing Airlines flight, resulting in a 5.2 per cent growth in international arrivals to Tobago between December 2018 and January 2019.

However, Chris James, president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, said visitor arrivals in 2019 have not improved.

This morning there has been a slight increase for the first two months of 2019, mainly because of the Sunwing flight from Toronto, Canada.

The association also reported a continuous decline in domestic arrivals.


Griffith: Police up to the job.

Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith shows a display of the Carnival route at the police press briefing yesterday held at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith yesterday said the police service is capable of its mandate, saying if there were a repeat of the 1990 coup, it would be dealt within seven minutes.

“If there is anything in resemblance of 1990 that took seven days to be dealt with, (under) this Commissioner of Police and this TTPS, it will not take seven days next time around: it will take seven minutes,” he declared.

“People made claims that we are militarising the police service, but we have found 70 police services across the world who use camouflage uniforms. People who have probably never travelled beyond Tobago would not know what happens worldwide.”

Speaking at the police weekly briefing at the Police Administration building, Sackville Street, Port of Spain, Griffith said the police service is not just about policing on the streets but at times elite units are mandated to be involved in very volatile situations.


Imbert: Tobago airport project ‘well under way’.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert in the House. FILE PHOTO

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert says the ANR Robinson International Airport terminal project is “well under way.”

He was responding to a question in the House on Friday on whether the proposed construction of a new terminal building at the airport will progress in light of the collapse of the Sandals Resort project in Tobago.

Imbert said the construction of a new terminal and associated works at the airport in Tobago was never contingent on the Sandals project.

“This PNM Government clearly stated in its 2015 manifesto that the construction of a new world-class international airport in Tobago would be one of its priority projects. This has also been presented in our 2030 vision for the national development strategy for TT and was approved in this honourable House and in the other place since 2017.”

He said with the increase in the number of international flights and passengers it became evident the existing terminal, constructed in 1953 which was last upgraded in the 1980s and then modified in 2016, had been outgrown by the international traffic and did not meet all necessary international aviation standards.

“As a responsible and futuristic government we are going to build the new modern state-of-the-art terminal with a capacity of three million passengers in its first phase of development.”

He said the current terminal will be upgraded to existing service level and expand cargo operations. Imbert reported the request for proposals for the building contractor, the main contractor, will close in the first week of March. He also reported the land acquisition consultants and cadastral surveyors were already hard at work and financing was being sourced from the Andean Development Bank CAF as an optional source of funding.


PM: TT too focused on the negatives

BUSINESS OPENING: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley looks at a window yesterday made by Domus Windows and Doors Ltd. PHOTO BY LINCOLN HOLDER

While admitting that TT has a crime problem, the Prime Minister has said the country has several positives which make it an attractive destination for investment, including the availability of utilities and an educated work force.

Speaking at the opening of Domus Windows and Doors Ltd, Factory Road, Chaguanas yesterday, Dr Rowley once again addressed concern about a devaluation of the TT dollar, saying this is not the way to build a country.

He said the population seemed very good at focusing on the negatives plaguing the country instead of the positives, saying nationals often decry the country as the “worst place to do business.”

“We are a people who are very good at focusing on the negative. Yes, we do have a crime problem, but many of our world competitors have crime problems too.

“But what you have said to us today that is warming our hearts is, you have chosen TT as the best place to make your investment.”

He said Domus, which has invested over $55 million in its new factory and showroom, had chosen TT as “certain basic services” were unavailable at its previous location.

He also responded to a statement by Arthur Lok Jack, who had earlier said government should not be involved in business, and cited the sale of gasoline products and flour. Lok Jack said government should invite the private sector to invest in TT, saying the sector is “sitting on a lot of cash but opportunities are not around.

“Opportunities to utilise the private-sector expertise and money can come forward if the government decides at some stage of the game to privatise some of the state-owned corporations they have, and I say this: I don’t know why government is involved in flour. I don’t know why they do corn oil, why they like to sell me gas in a gas station. But by and large I know how that came about in the past.

“But all I am trying to say is that today that has to be changed around. We need to broaden the spectrum and we need the private sector to be much more involved at this level.”

However, Rowley said government still has a role to play in developing the economy, as the private sector has not evolved sufficiently to carry its share of the financial burden.

“If you evolve to a state where the private sector is now strong enough to carry some of the weight that the taxpayers are carrying inefficiently, then the private sector should be encouraged, but this is not to say that privatisation is a policy that says government has no place in business. The government has a place in business, and much of the business in TT is driven by government involvement.”

He also applauded Domus’s business model, saying it had chosen TT as a home base where it would produce “world-class products for the world.”

He said these types of business which operate at both the local and international levels were examples to emulate, rather than those who were clamouring for a devaluation of the dollar as a method for rebuilding the economy.

“Those who have gone abroad and are successful are good examples to those who think that the success of this country is a devaluation. They have stashed away US dollars and they harass the government to devalue the currency. That is not the way to build a country.”

Lok Jack said TT possessed a vibrant yet undervalued industrial sector and a world-class infrastructural network.

He said the goal of Domus goal, of which is a shareholder, is to become a net forex earner, as the company has targeted the entire Latin American market.


Man to be charged with killing Mariana Moonisar.

Mariana Moonisar

DEPUTY Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Honore-Paul has given police instructions to charge a 24-year-old labourer from California with the murder of Mariana Moonisar.

The suspect, who lives at Ninth Street in Dow Village, is expected to face a Couva magistrate this afternoon.

Moonisar, 28, worked as an administrative clerk at the Parliament.

Last year, on August 3, two gunmen shot at the Nissan Tiida she was driving home from work at about 5.30 pm. Moonisar was shot in the head on Esperanza Road in Couva, close to her family’s home at George Street.

Her father, Roopchan Moonisar, 56, was in the front seat and was shot in the left cheek. He had emergency surgery at the San Fernando General Hospital, where doctors removed a bullet.

The suspect is also to be charged with wounding Roopchan with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm, as well as gun and ammunition-related charges.

A few days ago, legal officer PC Kyrn Lewis of the Homicide Bureau Region III submitted a file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and today Honore-Paul gave the instructions.

Police from Homicide Bureau Region III and Central Division are continuing investigations.