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Football / Trifactor Podcast: Kendall Jagdeosingh
« on: April 11, 2022, 06:39:04 AM »
Been extremely busy guys but recently we sat with Kendall Jagedosingh and had a chat about his career and experiences. We had to split it up a bit so here's part one in which he describes his origins and struggles and his pro career. It was a good sitting indeed.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/o6EOSzcjxGs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/o6EOSzcjxGs</a>

Football / Trifactor Podcast: Jerol Forbes
« on: November 25, 2021, 12:44:35 PM »
We at the Trifactor Podcast sat with Jerol Forbes and discuss his playing career and his involvement with football at present.

It was a good one.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/xsCw832_PjU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/xsCw832_PjU</a>

Football / Trifactor Podcast Thread
« on: February 11, 2021, 11:25:54 AM »
Fellow Forumites,

Some brethrin and I having a podcast series where we discuss Trinidad and Tobago football, and football in general.

We sat down with Marcus Bailey on Feb1st to discuss his experiences in the game and even the USA game and football in general.

Check it out. Suggestions and volunteer guests are welcome.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/HX16nwxrmLw&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/HX16nwxrmLw&amp;feature=youtu.be</a>

Football / Definition of Tactician/Tactical?
« on: January 27, 2021, 01:58:36 PM »
Had a big debate with a brethrin the other day.

What do you see as a tactician in terms of football?

I wondering if I should lay the framework of the argument to give context but I dont want to influence the answers.

So....what do you see as the hallmarks of a tactician? And who?

Football / T&T's Salandy appointed football Commissioner in USA
« on: January 05, 2021, 05:45:41 PM »
Didnt see this posted. If I missed it my apologies.

T&T's Salandy appointed football Commissioner in USA

T&T’s Salandy appointed as Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Region Commissioner in the USA.

This was announced by the Eastern Premier Soccer League.com last week.

The EPSL Commissioner is responsible for the expansion of the Conferences in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Region of the United States. Duties include recruitment of teams to build the conferences and divisions, recruitment of Conference Managers and Division Managers to run the established conferences.

Recruitment of corporate sponsors to support the growth of the league and expansion of teams.

Also, the job entails talking to the media on behalf of the league and continuing to share the vision of the EPSL as a Pro-Development platform created to give players the necessary exposure needed to get to the professional level of play.

The Commissioner is a salaried position for all the duties and responsibilities entailed in run the day to day operations of the league

A former professional soccer player for Chattanooga Express (USISL league) in 1993-1994, Salandy’s appointment as Commissioner will cover the following states: Maryland, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Among his immediate targets, Salandy said he plans to kick off the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MD, DC, VA) in March of 2021 with the other states to follow in the Fall of 2021.

The article states that Salandy, a former Queen’s Royal; College and St Augustine Senior Comprehensive, as well as Appalachian State University graduate is an extremely decorated soccer player with a tremendous playing, coaching, and soccer administration resume.

He is also the CEO of one of the most reputable sports management companies in the US, TSM International www.tidisports.com

Salandy speaking about his appointment said: “I am extremely humbled and honoured to be appointed as the Commissioner of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Region for the EPSL. The league has a foundation that provides a tremendous platform for players to be developed, exposed and advance to the highest level of soccer in the US.

He added, “I am extremely thankful to the EPSL leadership including Bill George, Bill Marth, and the rest of the EPSL Board for selecting me as their Commissioner.”

“I look forward to working with such committed and forward-thinking soccer minds to create a platform to help players develop and be exposed to playing soccer at the highest level that they are striving for.” EPSL President Bill George said, “the EPSL is thrilled to have someone of Andy’s experience join us to help grow the league. Andy shares our vision of providing an elite calibre league; designing programs allowing clubs to be financially sustainable, and helping clubs to both serve their communities and to provide exposure and opportunities for their players.

About the EPSL

League Objectives & Vision


    Non-Profit -  Unlike other national leagues, the EPSL is a non-profit 501(c) organization. The EPSL is not set up as a business to make money, rather to serve its Clubs and players.

    Strong Inclusive Governance - The EPSL will be governed by by-laws and an Executive Board comprised of elected officers, representatives from member feeder leagues, representation from USASA Region 1, and representation from member clubs.
    Groundbreaking Inter-League Promotion/Relegation - The EPSL fully supports promotion and relegation and puts this into practice with the first ever interleague promotion/relegation in the United States by partnering with two historic elite local soccer leagues that have produced numerous USASA National Champions, US Open Cups, and dramatic US Open Cup runs. All clubs should have anopportunity to advance and play at the highest level based on sporting merit.

Football / Failure to plan... means planning to fail.
« on: October 17, 2017, 04:54:01 PM »
Copied from a Facebook posting. It's LONG but it's food for thought.. and shows the importance of long term planning. The thing is... do we have anything resembling a long term plan?

After a great European Championship showing Iceland just qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Iceland's success is partially due to training and certifying more qualified coaches per capita than any other national coaching system. However, this can't be the only reason because other countries have a far bigger total number of UEFA/FIFA qualified coaches. There had to be more to the Icelandic soccer phenomenon than quickly meets the eye so I did some digging. Here’s how Iceland's soccer culture is different from that of other countries.

1. Iceland has upwards of 120 government funded small boarded outdoor soccer fields on the grounds of schools in communities around the country. These small ice-hockey style fields have become magnets for kids of all ages. They are artificial so the only thing that stops the kids playing is deep snow. Because they are boarded the ball stays in play and the walls provide kids with a rebound surface to shoot against. Having a wall to shoot against accelerates development considerably.

2. Prior to the financial crash that crippled Iceland’s banks, the Icelandic government funded domed indoor stadiums so its residents could play indoors even on the darkest, coldest winter days. Iceland now boasts 11 large domed indoor fields. This allows clubs to offer year-round, day-long access for teams of all ages. Visualize a plane hangar filled with crowds of kids and hundreds of soccer balls. Even the island of Heimey, population just over 4,000, has one. As a consequence Icelandic soccer has changed from a summer only to a year-round sport with no rain-outs or cancellations.

3. Icelandic kids have fewer competing options and soccer is the sport of choice for most Icelandic kids. In other cultures soccer isn’t as popular. Hockey reigns in Canada. Gaelic football is number one in Ireland. Aussie rules is king down under. India & Pakistan love Cricket. In Iceland soccer is by far the biggest and most popular sport.

4. Prior to the government’s investment in small boarded synthetic outdoor fields and large indoor fields soccer was played on poor full-size grass fields. Use a natural grass field every day for a week and it will start to get threadbare. Use it for a month and it will be ruined. When the government paid for 120 synthetic outdoor 5-a-side fields, 11 large indoor stadiums and heated synthetic outdoor fields in most communities, it provided everyone with the opportunity to double, triple and quadruple time spent training and playing.

5. Even though Iceland has the best indoor facility coverage per capita in the world indoor space and time is still very limited. The demand for practice time is so great that multiple different soccer teams usually share one large indoor field for practice. While this may appear to be a disadvantage it turns out it’s a positive. This is the essence of street soccer. Players who develop by playing small-sided games in tiny spaces become more skillful and competitive under penalty area type pressure than players who practice outdoors with more space and time. It probably wasn’t intentional but by default Iceland’s government may have helped accelerate child development by forcing multiple teams to practice simultaneously, each in a space smaller than an outdoor penalty area.

6. Mixed age groups. Many Icelandic communities don’t have enough players for dedicated single year age group teams and practices. Girls have to play with boys and different ages are thrown together to make games and practices work. While this could be negative it turns out this is good for development. Younger players with good potential play up. Players with weaker potential play down. Good girl players compete with boys. In the Icelandic system, the talented male or female player is more likely to be pushed up to a higher level of soccer. One that can help her/him transition to an even better level later.

7. The availability of indoor facilities and good coaches has caused parents to get their kids involved as early as 2 or 3. At the youngest levels, players are engaged in creative, fun training so they want to continue playing in their schools and neighborhoods.

8. Schools have made soccer a big part of their physical education curriculum. Every school in Iceland has a boarded all-weather 5-a-side pitch and a sports hall that can be used for their curriculum or pick-up games at recess.

9. Players and families at all levels intermingle with each other. From the professional players to the U3’s, everyone is involved at all levels of the local club. Clubs are like large families. Younger players watch the top teams play and some of the older players help coach or referee the younger players. This creates a connectivity throughout the entire club and helps breed a mindset towards soccer as a lifestyle, not just a hobby. There is community pride in soccer. So much so that communities are proud to have produced good players and especially proud when one of their own makes a national team. The close-knit nature of Icelandic players is an undeniable factor.

10. Good Icelandic players leave the nest early. In Iceland, you have to go abroad to play at the highest level. If you are potentially a professional you have to leave, you have to sacrifice. If you're 16, 17 or 18 with enough talent to make it you have to be willing to travel and live in a foreign country.

11. Icelandic players have unusually high levels of spirit, character, and passion. Icelanders are traditionally tough! When you peel away the layers Icelandic people have had to adapt to life as a battle. That spirit of struggle has endured. As a result, Icelanders have a deeper reserve of character to draw upon when the going gets rough. Passion goes hand in hand with struggle and character. People who play hard and dig deep embrace life with a passion that is rare. When a game is on the line they find a way to win. Heimir Hallgrimsson the National team coach says, “We're willing to work hard and go the extra mile and I think that's the strength of the individual here. We're used to bad weather. We're used to walking to school when it's windy and tough. So I think we're kind of used to a strong headwind in life, in general. We're willing to go the extra mile to get the result. I think that's our advantage."

It’s good to note that the smallest country to have previously reached the World Cup finals was Trinidad & Tobago in 2006 (1.3 million people), followed by Northern Ireland (1.85 million), Slovenia (2.08 million), Jamaica (2.89 million) and Wales (3.1 million).

Perhaps Brian Blickenstaff from Vice Sports puts it best. “This is a team from a rock in the North Atlantic occupying the same latitudes as central Alaska. It's a place so inhospitable and hard to reach that humans didn't settle it until 874. I mean, it's called Iceland for God's sake. There are no bad odds here. Here, bad odds are called life. Here, you live and thrive through careful planning and execution and hard, hard work—or you don't live at all.”

Sent from my SM-J710MN using Tapatalk

Football / Majoring in Minors/Going back to basics?
« on: June 02, 2016, 12:49:11 AM »
Came across this article on the Guardian's website.

Synopsis basically is the fact that the financial disparity that exists between groups means that the US is missing out on significant talent because of the fact that talent that exists in low income areas are not getting an opportunity to be seen.
He sees well-to-do families spending thousands of dollars a year on soccer clubs that propel their children to the sport’s highest levels, while thousands of gifted athletes in mostly African American and Latino neighborhoods get left behind. He worries about this inequity. Soccer is the world’s great democratic game, whose best stars have come from the world’s slums, ghettos and favelas. And yet in the US the path to the top is often determined by how many zeroes a parent can write in their checkbook.

Now...while its interesting to know....really and truly that isnt consequential for ME. And I speaking as a Trinbagonian who recognizes the fact that we have talent and can do better. But as I read the article, I realized, what about our situation locally? We speak to the need to have formal coaching systems in place "at the grassroots level" is the catch phrase usually employed....but then...how? Especially when you think of this:
One of the biggest complaints about the pay-to-play system is that the over-coaching in suburban programs strips kids of the creativity that comes from playing on the streets. Borge loves his recruiting trips to the underground leagues where kids are free from restrictions. Too often, when a skilled and imaginative player leaves their neighborhood team to join a bigger team in a wealthier community, their gifts are considered a hindrance. The clever dancing with the ball that makes them unique earns them the label of not being a team player. A message is delivered: conform or leave.

Back in the day, street football gave a talent base that provided things  that are lacking now: creativity and community involvement. It declined for various reasons. Right now we would be cussing if a player with potential etc runs to play a minor league or goes to sweat in the Savannah and gets injured. Now, most parents, see the best chance that their child would have should be getting into a training school at an early age. In fact...there are secondary schools for intercol (arguably the best supported league in the country) that your playing for particular training schools is a sure way for you to be selected to represent your school.

BUT.......isnt and shouldnt the education obtained from street football be able to develop a better (or at least more creative) player? Wenger mentioned it when he just signed Alexis Sanchez (see here or for more direct quotes here )

Now I thinking culturally. I'll use Holly B as an example. Holly B was somebody that even I at my "young" age appreciated, because he brought back memories of an era and was active in an era were culturally we were showing great promise. Local content was high. Scouting for Talent and other shows launched many artistes. Sadly we probably didnt achieve all that we could have, and now things are not as it should be...the community spirit is broken. We think of 12 and under and other shows and opportunities that gave a platform for talent to be portrayed. A strong community gave rise to development and exposure of talent.

Is it possible to marry the two? How can we revamp our system to have a mutualistic relationship between the grassroots, the minor leagues, the Pro League and ensure that the product at the national level is better? Look...this year the Eddie Hart League is celebrating 50 years. Wonderful right? But....can this be replicated, expanded and optimized, so that we could maximize our talent pool?

I really dunno if its the fact that I reading and typing this at 230am....if this is coherent...if forumites would follow the angle I considering...or if anything constructive could or would come from it.

But I asking. How can we create conditions where we can have the best player possible? And I eh talking about vague generic statements. Success is the achievement of purpose. Can we highlight our goal as "This" and therefore to achieve "This" we need to do "x" "y" and "z" so that we can get more of "This"?

Do we have a formalized plan? Is it revisited? Or is it like we think we could just have a fete....throw some alcohol and some music and some loose waist gyal in the mix and we would have a successful event....when year after year we making the same mistakes. When many promoters have realized that a successful event requires lots of planning (and paradoxically enough this may be contributing to the "elitism" of our culture and stratification of carnival...which is a whole other debate)

Discuss. I really interested in hearing viewpoints.

General Discussion / 74 blank cheques missing from Tourism Ministry
« on: May 16, 2015, 10:16:26 PM »

...12 more totalling $.8m disappear
Reshma Ragoonath
Sunday, May 17, 2015

Larry Howai
Some 74 blank cheques have “disappeared” from the Ministry of Tourism along with 12 other cheques totalling $844,492.15.

This was among a number of startling revelations contained in the Auditor General Majeed Ali’s 2014 Report into the Public Accounts of T&T.

The 201-page report, which was laid in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, listed numerous instances where ministries and state enterprises disregarded the financial regulations and regulatory instructions set out for proper accounting procedures for all state bodies.

In Chapter 2-Expenditure: Accounts of Accounting Officers, under the subsection Frauds and Losses (Ministry of Tourism), the Auditor General reported that “twelve cheques for amounts totalling $844,492.15, as well as, 74 blank cheques were discovered missing by the Ministry.” This matter is under investigation, the report stated.

Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams was also contacted for comment on the matter. However, calls and text messages to his cell phone went unanswered.

Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed, when contacted by Sunday Guardian about the missing cheques, referred all queries to the ministry’s accounting officer Permanent Secretary Donna Ferraz.

On Friday, Ferraz’s secretary said all questions should be emailed to corporate communications manager Sherma Mitchell. Mitchell contacted the Sunday Guardian yesterday and said Ferraz would issue a response to questions about the missing cheques and the investigation into their disappearance.

She said the statement would have been emailed by 6 pm. However, she later requested more time as she said she was awaiting an update from the police. By 6.50 pm she said the minister and PS had to review the statement and authorise its release.

Eventually at 7.44 pm, in a one-line statement, Mitchell said, “Kindly note that the Ministry of Tourism will respond to your queries regarding statements made in the Auditor General Report 2014 on Monday, May 18 at 4 pm.”

$97m in overpayments

Meanwhile, between 2011 and 2014 overpayments totalling nearly $97 million were made by various ministries.

From 2011 to 2014, some 20,773 cases of overpayments were discovered amounting to $96,918,275.08. He said roughly 47 per cent of overpayments have been recovered over these years. Ali also said in 2014 alone they detected 3,975 cases of overpayments each in excess of $100,000. This totalled $23,941,549.68. Some $12,902,236.36 has since been recovered.

“Ministries and Departments should ensure that systems to prevent and detect overpayments are working effectively,” he said.

He stressed that the need for “the causes of overpayments to be ascertained and for controls to be strengthened with a view to minimising the incidence of overpayments.” He acknowledged an attempt made by the Ministry of Public Administration to find solutions to the problem in 2011-2012 with the setting up of a committee to address the issue.

Numerous accounting breaches

The Auditor General, in his report, had contended that there were numerous instances where documents requested for audit purposes were not produced.

“This represents a serious breach both of the Auditor General’s constitutional and legal right of access to all documents relating to the Public Accounts and of financial and accountability requirement,” the report stated.

Financial Instruction 43 states, “All vouchers, paid cheques and other relevant documents shall on request for Audit examination be made available to the Auditor General or his nominee.”

He listed 13 state enterprises that failed to submit audited financial statements, among them the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) which has not submitted audited financial statements from December 31, 2008 to 2014. Lake Asphalt, Caribbean Airlines and eTeck. Cepep Company and Namdevco are also among the state enterprises that have failed to submit their financial records.

Ali noted that fire-proof safes or vaults were not used for storage of payment vouchers at various locations, a longstanding issue that needed to be addressed.

“Proper maintenance of inventory records and tagging of items in accordance with Financial Regulations (Stores) are crucial elements of this function. Weaknesses in inventory control are raised each year by the Auditor General through management letters and in the Auditor General’s Report on the Public Accounts. However, breaches continue to be noted at a number of Ministries/Departments,” he wrote.

Those in breach of the provisions, he said, were the Judiciary, Parliament, the T&T Police Service (TTPS), and most ministries.

FIU to review report

Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit Susan Francois, when contacted by Sunday Guardian, said she had not seen the report, but that she and her legal team would review it.

When told about the concerns raised by Ali and the financial regulation breaches mentioned in the findings of the report, Francois said she would look into Ali’s concerns.

“I will have to go and get it (the report). Now that you are telling me about it, I will certainly look at it. I have my legal people here. I will ask them to review it once we get it and by next week we should be in a better position to make a statement, if we wish to make a statement,” Francois said.

In the report, Ali said the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, as of September 30, 2014, had a balance of US$5.529 billion. The Contingencies Fund stands at $100 million, Ali said. However, for 2014 no advances were made to the fund.

No contracts produced to account for millions spent

One of the key areas of concern Ali highlighted in his report was failure by ministries and state entities to produce contracts for review.

A total of 45 signed contracts with payments amounting to $76,474,101.86 were made by nine ministries, including the Office of the Prime Minister and TTPS, but they were not presented for review to ensure compliance with contract terms.

The Tourism Ministry, meanwhile, had the highest number of contracts (ten) totalling $5,816,741.13 which were not produced for review.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education had three contracts valued $36,384,625.19 which were not produced for review.

Ali also pointed out the attorney general’s failure to respond to his memorandum, dated January 23, 2015, in which he requested that certain information “required to assess the value of actual and contingent liabilities relating to the Public Accounts for the year ended September, 30, 2014,” be furnished by February 23.

He requested documents on legal matters and claims handled on behalf of the State during the year ending September 30, 2014; pending litigation involving the State up to September 30, 2014; and judgements obtained during the year.

He also requested information on other obligations that could become actual liabilities of the State upon fulfilment of specified conditions; actual or, where applicable, the estimated financial implications (government liabilities or amounts receivable) of each of the above matters (including costs involved) together with the possibility of reimbursement.

“A response has not been received,” he said.

Ali suggested that consideration be given to updating local financial directives to conform to current best practice. He pointed out that the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) issues International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) “which are considered to be best practice guides and are being adopted by governments world-wide in an effort to increase transparency and accountability and so facilitate better governance.”

Payments for unoccupied buildings

Since December 2011 to April 2014 the State has paid some $464,000 for the rental of a building and car park spaces for the Tobago office of the Green Fund Executing Unit which has remained unoccupied.

The rental was paid at $16,000 per month since December 2011. This was just one of several instances where state resources were being used to pay for unoccupied buildings.

Howai: The PS must ensure compliance

Finance Minister Larry Howai has distanced his ministry from the stinging comments and financial breaches highlighted in the report.

Howai, in an emailed response to questions posed by the Sunday Guardian about the findings of the report, said over the past two years his ministry had put systems in place to strengthen and improve the compliance at ministries.

However, he said, “We wish to note an unfortunate tendency to dump the responsibility for breaches identified by the Auditor General on the Ministry of Finance and the Economy and, by extension, its Minister and Permanent Secretary.”

Howai said as the accounting officers of their ministries, “it is the responsibility of the Permanent Secretary to ensure the compliance of their ministries with all accounting rules and regulations.”

He said the Finance Ministry would continue its efforts “notwithstanding the limitations placed on us by the Public Service Regulations, to hold senior public officers throughout all Ministries accountable.”

The minister added that his ministry would also continue “to require that they (Permanent Secretaries) take their responsibilities seriously and address the breaches noted by the Auditor General in his annual reports and to reduce and eventually eliminate such breaches in the future.”

Howai explained that the over the past two years his ministry had sent out guidelines regarding how specific types of transactions should be dealt with.

“We have reminded Permanent Secretaries of the importance of their roles as the Chief Accounting Officers with responsibility for ensuring compliance with all accounting requirements. We have approved all training requests. We have held meetings with the Permanent Secretaries to discuss compliance and have insisted that everything is done to respond to the Auditor General when these audits commence,” he stressed.

The minister did not comment on the 74 blank cheques and the 12 other cheques totalling $844,492.15 that “disappeared” from the Tourism Ministry.

However, he said before taking the matter further regarding the documents which were not presented for audit, “we would want the ministries to make an attempt to locate the documents.”

Howai suggested that in many instances “it is simply that resources need to be assigned by the various ministries to locate the documents.”

He added that the Finance Ministry had mandated the Permanent Secretaries to locate those documents “as a matter of urgency.”

General Discussion / MILLION DOLLAR MEN
« on: March 17, 2015, 01:57:38 PM »
Now I eh sure if I should put this in a new thread...in the corruption thread...or in the Anand Ramlogan thread. Allyuh decide yes.


2010-2014: AG’s Ministry spends $353m in legal fees

The Ministry of the Attorney General paid some $353.7 million to attorneys and other consultants between June 2010 and October 2014.

Out of this amount, Charles Russell was paid approximately $19.1 million for legal advice arising out of the cancellation of the OPV (offshore patrol vessel) contract in 2010.

And Alan Newman QC was paid $2.4 million for advice relating to the repeal of the controversial Section 34 clause.

This forms part of the information provided in a written response last Friday to a question on the Order Paper of the House of Representatives on the payment of legal and other technical/professional services made to persons and entities by the Ministry of the Attorney General for the period June 2010 to October 31, 2014.

The question was filed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

According to the information provided by the Attorney General, some $353,734,622.38 was paid, with the largest payment being made to British law firm Charles Russell, which received $63,181,472.

The second highest fees were paid to accounting firm Ernst and Young—$26,415,744 and Alix Partners, a foreign-based global business advisory firm, which received $20,090,020.

Jamaican attorney Vincent Nelson (who replaced Fyard Hosein as the lead counsel for the Ministry of Finance in the CLICO Enquiry) received $20,400,544, while British QC Alan Newman was paid $14,474,613.54 and Barbados-based Guyana-born attorney Fenton Ramsahoye received $9,969,080.

*Among the local legal fraternity, the highest sum was paid to Gerald Ramdeen, who has figured in the “Prisongate” affair as well as in the current controversy involving the location of judiciary files in his office. He received $15,541,423.

*Second in line was Israel Khan SC, who benefitted from legal briefs under the tenure of former attorney general John Jeremie, but who now serves as the Prime Minister’s lead attorney in the emailgate matter. He was paid $11,660,800.

*Third in line is Avory Sinanan SC, who received $10,406,925.

*Law Association president Seenath Jairam SC, who received $9,850,210, is next in line.

* Coming closely behind were Kelvin Ramkissoon, who was paid $9,723,399, and the late Dana Seetahal, who received $9,294,500 during the same period.

*Russell Martineau SC, who received $8,834,875, and Pamela Elder SC, who was paid $7,831,500, are next major beneficiaries.

*Completing the top ten list are Larry Lalla, who was paid $6,974,825, and Jagdeo Singh, who received $5,772,166.

Falling just outside that list is Wayne Sturge, the 11th-ranked attorney in terms of earnings from state briefs. Sturge received $3.1 million.

The top ten attorneys who benefitted from State briefs earned among themselves $95.5 million.

Interestingly, among the ten top earners are four attorneys who are not yet members of the Inner Bar i.e. not yet senior counsel, whose combined earnings amounted to $37.2 million, while the six senior counsel received $58.2 million.

Senior counsel who fall outside of the top ten included Fyard Hosein, Gilbert Peterson, Martin Daly, Deborah Peake and Douglas Mendes.

Of the $1.8 million paid to Douglas Mendes, all payments were made in 2010, with one payment of $172,000 in 2012.

By contrast, the majority of payments, amounting to $9,8 million, to Jairam, who was elected Law Association president on June 30, 2012, were made in 2013.

On the other end of the scale, some of the smallest sums were paid to attorneys such as Fitzgerald Hinds, who was paid $11,000; David West $50,000; and Zainool Hosein $25,000.

The lowest sum on the list was $7,000 paid to Freedom Law Chambers, the chambers which was headed by former AG Anand Ramlogan prior to his assumption of political office.

And Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran was paid $1,064,260 for undertaking a “forensic/management audit into the sale of BWIA London Heathrow Slots to British Airways”.

Rambarran received two payments—the first was $195,000 on 13/9/2011 and the final payment of $868,620 on 4/7/2012.

He was appointed Central Bank Governor two weeks later, on July 17, 2012.

These figures do not include sums paid by the State Enterprise sector for legal work.

AFA, a firm owned by Guyana lawyer Ackbar Ali, received $6,097,348 for investigations into State Enterprises.

The information provided also showed that there were outstanding payments, including $1,150,000 to Pamela Elder and $1,750,000 to Tiger Capital Lite, both sums being for request for mutual legal assistance by the USA.

Elder is also owed $276,000 for the extradition of Amarnath Jagmohan.

n Some of the

payments include:

Avory Sinanan—$10,406,925

Alix Partners—$20,090.020.78

Alan Newman—$14,474,613.54

Charles Russell —$63,181,472.71

Christlyn Moore —$1,064,666.66

Daniel Solomon


Donna Allison


Dana Seetahal—$9,294,500

Douglas Mendes—$1,844,600

Deborah Peake—$1,943,500

Elaine Green—$2,179,010

Ernst & Young—$26,415,744

Fyard Hosein—$1,552,500

Fenton Ramsahoye —$9,969,080

Gilbert Peterson—$2,798.000

Gerald Ramdeen—$15,541,423

Fitzgerald Hinds—$11,000

Israel Khan—$11,660,800

Jagdeo Singh—$5,772,166

James Lewis—$2,457,619

Jwala Rambarran—$1,064,260

Kelvin Ramkissoon —$9,723,399

Larry Lalla—$6,974,825

Lesley Ann Lucky Samaroo —$1,274,605

Martin George & Co—$1,902,508

Martin Daly—$2,514,423

Mustapha Ibrahim—$1,000,000

Mark Seepersad—$758,666

Om Lalla—$741,750

Pamela Elder—$7,831,500

Russell Martineau—$8,834,875

Shastri Roberts—$1,613,851

Seenath Jairam—$9,850,210

Timothy Cassel—$857,008 Vincent Nelson—$20,400,544

Zainool Hosein—$25,000

Wayne Sturge—$3,140,499

General Discussion / MILLIONS OVERPAID
« on: June 06, 2013, 10:48:14 PM »
Animal Farm it is. Four legs good...two legs better!


The Auditor General’s report on Trinidad and Tobago’s public accounts for Government’s financial year 2012 (October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) has revealed that Government ministries paid millions of dollars in overpayments to contract employees.

There was a lack of documentation to verify million-dollar expenditures at certain Government ministries.

There was also failure in many instances to respond to requests for more expenditure information despite ballooning budgets, the Auditor General’s report showed.

Dated April 29, 2013, the report was signed by Auditor General Sharman Ottley and was submitted to Speaker of the House Wade Mark that day.

Ottley noted that the examination of records and documents showed that in many instances there was non-compliance with financial instructions, financial regulations and other financial directives while reports on appropriation accounts were not received from 13 accounting officers by the Auditor’s General Office up to January 31, 2013.

And up to April 15 this year, ahead of the report’s submission to Parliament, there were no responses from 19 permanent secretaries or heads of departments.

The Auditor General took issue with:

1.  The lack of inventory controls at the various ministries.

2.  Signed lease agreements were not produced for several properties for which rental payments were made—three locations at the Ministry of National Security for a total monthly rental of $1.2 million; one location from the Ministry of the Attorney General for a monthly rental of $486,774.60; five locations for the Ministry of Food Production for a total monthly rental of $606,473.74; and two locations for the Ministry of Tobago Development at a total monthly rental of $92,000 a month.

3.  Signed contracts were not provided for a number of contracts paid.

Eight contracts at the Ministry of National Security amounting to $5.9 million were not seen; 17 contracts at the Ministry of Education amounting to $4 million were not seen; four contracts at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure valued at $6.8 million were not seen; as well as five contracts at the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service which amounted to $2.3 million.

“Replies were received from 26 permanent secretaries/heads of departments indicating that amounts totaling $224.4 million were paid to 2,239 persons employed in contract positions during the financial year ended 30th September, 2012. The audit highlighted that duly-executed contracts were not produced for several of these officers and as such the various terms of engagement could not be verified,” the report noted.

 4.  Overpayments. In the 2011 appropriation accounts, 5,280 cases of overpayment totaling $20,370,970.62 were reported, of which $8,472,896.04 was recovered. In 2012, 4,531 cases of overpayment totaling $21,465,110.05 were reported of which $8,008,976.50 was recovered.

5.  Outstanding commitments—Several ministries made expensive commitments for goods and services but have not paid (up to time to audit). Among them are the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs.

6.  Cases of theft and reported losses—For the financial year 2012, there were 45 cases of theft and losses of State property totaling $682,966.88.

This figure comprised 24 cases under $5,000 totalling $58,463 and 26 cases totaling $641,142.

There were five cases in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, 18 cases in the Ministry of Education, seven cases in the Tobago House of Assembly and six cases in the Ministry of Food Production.

7.  Errors/omissions from appropriation accounts—the Auditor General noted that in several ministries as well as the Office of the President, the Parliament and the Office of the Prime Minister, there were typographical errors as well as omissions in certain appropriation accounts submitted for audit.

In seven ministries, there were increases in expenditure by more than 50 per cent from 2011 to 2012.

1. In the Ministry of Sport, expenditure moved from $28.786 million in 2011 to $395.884 million in 2012—a variance of $367.098 million or a 1,275 per cent increase.  :o

2.  In the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, expenditure moved from $514,999 million in 2011 to $2.4 billion—a variance of $1.9 billion or 378 per cent.   :o

3.  In the Ministry of Transport, expenditure moved from $218.585 million in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2012—a variance of $843 million or 386 per cent.

4.  In the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, expenditure moved from $62.8 million to $208.6 million—a variance of $145.7 million or 232 per cent.

5.  In the Ministry of Justice, expenditure moved from $126.5 million in 2011 to $408 million in 2012—a variance of $281 million or 222 per cent.

6.  In the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, expenditure moved from $46 million in 2011 to $137.5 million in 2012—a variance of $90.9 million or 194 per cent.

7.  In the Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs, expenditure moved from $1 billion to $1.9 billion—a variation of $924 million or 90 per cent.

And certain ministries or institutions that receive State funding fell under the title “Individual Areas of Concern”.

Among them are:

Office of the Prime Minister: In the appropriation account, there was an allowance for 195 persons on contract which totaled $9.7 million in expenditure.

 However, when the Auditor General sought further clarification, it was indicated that “only 55 people were engaged on contract in respect of which expenditure totaling $689,131 was incurred”.

Ministry of Transport: “Errors, omissions and inconsistent presentation of information among the various sections of the appropriation account were noted to be prevalent. The underlying records were also not maintained properly in all instances. These errors/inconsistencies have affected the accuracy of the financial statement to some extent.”

The report noted that $55 million in cheques were not presented to the Auditor General, as well as $108.8 million from the Treasury Card. 

There were also inconsistencies in the information and sums paid to contract employees. According to the appropriation contract, employment cost $2.4 million but in response to questions by the Auditor General, the sum paid for contracted employees was valued at $19.3 million.

Ministry of Sport: A total of $31.7 million in cheques was not disclosed in the appropriation account as required by the Comptroller of Accounts.

The Auditor General noted that there were weaknesses in the verification procedures for certain payments.

 Some instances were:

• Two payments totaling $11 million were made. However, the statement provided with that payment totaled $5.6 million--a difference of $5.3 million

• A payment of $2,579,920.94 was seen to be supported by an expenditure statement of $2,449,950.94 (a shortfall of $129,970.00).

• Payments totaling $180,737 were made under the Non-profit Institutions note as the ministry’s contribution to funeral arrangements for one individual.

• Four equal amounts totaling $1,996,400 were seen to be paid in one cheque to a company for the “Taking Sports to Rural Areas” project for four regions.

 This total exceeded the permanent secretary’s authorised limit of $1 million according to the Central Tenders Board Regulation.

Separate tender documents, recommendations, requests for approval and payment vouchers with similar dates and information were seen for each of the amounts. According to the vouchers seen, the payments related to ten grounds in each region—a total of 40 grounds. However, in response to the query from the Auditor General, only 17 grounds were identified and there is no evidence that work was carried out satisfactorily.

Ministry of Works and Infrastructure: From the sample of 52 contracts, nine contract files for contracts totaling $5.9 million were not presented for audit.

 From a sample of 19 payment vouchers for the supply of asphalt, destination information was omitted from nine vouchers and delivery location information differed between delivery notes and cartage receipts in ten instances.

Trinidad and Tobago Police Service: Audit surveys carried out during May 2012 at 12 police stations revealed that records necessary for control over counterfoils, inventory, firearms and vehicles were not properly maintained.


Defence Force: The Contract Register for the Defence Force was not provided for audit. As a result, information presented on four contracts totaling $31.3 million was not verified. 

Ministry of the Attorney General: In response to questions from the Auditor General, the AG’s office stated that 167 people were engaged on contract for a total expenditure of $23.8 million, while the appropriation account for contract employment for the Attorney General was $23,354,772.

Ministry of Food Production: Cabinet approval for the rental of four properties with payments totaling $1.9 million was not produced. As a result, it was not determined whether there was proper authority for the rental of these properties and if the relevant terms and conditions were followed.

The Auditor General’s report noted that recommendations have been made to various ministries for tighter controls.


 The full report can be accessed on Auditor General’s website at



General Discussion / Wrecked for $6.5m
« on: June 04, 2013, 05:39:44 PM »

A water tender bought for close to $2 million for boosting the fleet at the Arima Fire Station ended up costing almost three times that amount after it was involved in an accident last November 17 along the North Coast. Retrieving the firetruck incurred a bill of $6.5 million. Several attempts by T&T Guardian to seek answers as to why such a hefty sum was paid to Sammy’s Multilift Services Ltd to remove and tow the fire truck met with resistance. The water tender, TBY 9251, was responding to a report in the Blanchisseuse area when it skidded and ran off the road, plunging 300 feet down a precipice.



At the time of the accident, which occurred near the Asa Wright Nature Centre, the firefighters escaped serious injury. Sammy’s Multilift Services, a subsidiary of Junior Sammy Contractors, of Sum Sum Hill, Claxton Bay, was contracted to retrieve the truck. President of Sammy’s Multilift Ramdath Ramsubir confirmed to the T&T Guardian his company had been hired but refused to disclose specifics of the cost of the job except to say: “I know it was justified. It was around $6 million. I do not understand why this has to be an article in the first place.
“The point is we specialise in our field. A price was based on our expertise and equipment. “I know what we would normally cost clients for jobs like that. I am justified in what we did. When people ask we will justify. I gave you a ballpark figure but you continue to ask more and more questions.”


Told the T&T Guardian was seeking a breakdown of the price because questions were raised about the sum paid, Ramsubir replied: “If I do not give you a breakdown, what happens? That is confidential information.” Asked his reason for refusing to disclose the information, Ramsubir said: “That is putting our business out there. I am concerned about our company information out there.” Asked what type of equipment was used, Ramsubir said: “We had to use three different cranes and then equipment to transport it after it was taken out. “It required a lot of equipment and manpower. It took us four days. We used modular trailers and we had other mobile equipment that was used to minimise traffic. We had about 25 people on site who literally camped out there.”



Ramsubir then asked the T&T Guardian to call back at 1 pm, saying: “I cannot recall the individual prices. I will get the documents. I still will not give you the exact details. I will only give you general information.” Attempts to call back Ramsubir for more information were unsuccessful. At the time of the accident, Jack Warner held the portfolio of Minister of National Security and the chief fire officer was Carl Williams. Warner has since resigned from the Government following FIFA corruption allegations and Williams is on pre-retirement leave. Warner did not respond to text messages yesterday. Contacted yesterday, permanent secretary Jennifer Boucaud-Blake, who is in the United Kingdom, told the T&T Guardian she had absolutely no part in authorising the payment.     


In a telephone interview, Boucaud-Blake said: “I cannot approve anything more than $1 million. “I did not approve anything concerning that fire truck. It would have had to be at the level of the Cabinet and that was between the then minister and Cabinet. It did not pass across my desk at all. I did not sign off on anything. “I cannot approve any expenditure over $1 million. It cannot be approved by a permanent secretary. I will not be so crazy to approve expenditure over $1 million. “I vaguely remember the incident, the minister and the chief fire officer was involved.”



In response to e-mailed requests for information on the cost of the job, the director of the ministry’s corporate communications unit, Marcia Hope, wrote: “The removal of the fire truck was above the permanent secretary’s $1 million limit and was forwarded to Cabinet and got its approval.” Hope later telephoned the T&T Guardian and added that on the basis of the competence and technical assessment of the chief fire officer at the time, the job was recommended to Cabinet for approval. Contacted yesterday, Williams referred the T&T Guardian to acting chief fire officer Nayar Rampersad, saying: “Why have you called me at this time, when I am on pre-retirement leave?”Told that it was because he was the chief fire officer when the accident took place, Williams said: “From a moral standpoint I do not think it will be right. “I think you should speak to the present CFO because I like to give people their due respect.” Confirming the accident yesterday, Rampersad said investigations were ongoing and he was in the process of submitting a report to line minister Emmanuel George and the permanent secretary. Rampersad said the chief fire officer had a limit of only $100,000. “It is out of my remit to approve expenditure of that cost. I am conducting investigations,” Rampersad said.

General Discussion / Makeover for DPP Office
« on: May 24, 2013, 09:59:43 AM »

Well it might be important if yuh following another thread...but not directly related to it.

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

Story Created: May 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM ECT

Story Updated: May 24, 2013 at 7:11 AM ECT

Just days after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard was mentioned in an alleged Section 34 e-mail conspiracy, Cabinet has announced a multi-million-dollar revamp of the DPP’s Office.

 The controversial e-mail exchanges were revealed in Parliament by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley in which it was inferred that the DPP was to be asked to become a judge by the government which he has denied.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan announced yesterday that $31,647,396 will be spent to increase staff from 30 to 237 at the DPP’s office while another $16,391,400 will be expended on infrastructural costs to accommodate the staff increase.

The Judiciary will also benefit from funding with an approved $13.543 million to improve its system.

 Ramlogan was speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair as he disclosed these figures and the upcoming upgrades.

He said in order to implement the Bill to abolish preliminary enquiries, logistical and capacity issues in the justice system must be addressed and two stakeholders were consulted—the Office of the DPP and the Judiciary.

A new organisational structure for the DPP’s Office, he said, was approved and will be formalised to include an additional 100 legal offices and 107 civil offices in terms of support staff.

Ramlogan said the one post of DPP will remain but direct deputy DPPs will be increased from two to three and assistant DPPs from three to six.

These posts are to take effect from June 1, 2013 and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) has the responsibility to fill the positions.

Ramlogan said the DPP’s Office is critical in the crime fight and this change was an historic one as nothing has ever been done since 1976 to improve it.

He said over the past ten years Governments have been grappling with curbing increasing crime while the DPP’s Office continued to suffer a lack of resources.

At present, Ramlogan said the DPP’s Office handled just about five per cent of all preliminary enquiries, adding that the department was “stretched to the limit” with 29 confirmed positions for attorneys, including the DPP post.

He said some 30 contract officers were hired over the years but was still not sufficient to alleviate the burden.

With respect to the Judiciary, Ramlogan said the funds would be used to meet additional necessary works in the area of accommodation, information, communication technology, court transcription services and also a secured courier service.

He said case load statistics showed that on average, 15,000 matters were previously heard by the magistrates’ courts and they will now be heard by masters of the High Court at the sufficiency hearing to decide which matters can go forward when they are ready.

In October last year, Ramlogan said to prepare and maintain the time limits and the schedule set out in the Act for the sufficiency hearing and to ensure matters go quickly to trial,  Cabinet had approved an increase in  staff.

These include four judges, nine Masters of the High Court, five new assistant registrars and deputy marshals, 17 judicial support officers, 12 case management officers and ten bailiffs, 17 judicial secretaries, 17 judicial research assistants and 17 court orderlies.

Infrastructure upgrades were also approved to house new staff.

Ramlogan said there will be changes to the Port of Spain Supreme Court, St George West Magistrates’ Court, Tunapuna Magistrates’ Court, San Fernando Magistrates’ Court, Tobago Supreme Court and the San Fernando Industrial Court.

The rest of the money is for outfitting requirements. He added that there was a backlog of notes that require transcribing in order for appeals to be heard with some 10,000 pages of notes for 700 cases that needed to be transcribed.

Cabinet, he said, agreed to hire qualified part-time court transcriptionists, who have already been identified and offered short term contracts.


Breakdown of costs for

Judiciary expenditure:

• Court room and office space—$7.7 million.

• ICT—$3.97 million.

• Court transcriptionsists—$700,000.

• Secure courier service—$1.8 million

(2 years).

General Discussion / I starting to notice a "trend..."
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:53:12 PM »
Old news eh. Buh when I read bout the comissioner for the coup.....it came back to mind...


Newly appointed Disaster Management Co-ordinator for Chaguanas Stephan Kishore has been keeping a secret. At 26, he has a criminal record. In 2006, Kishore served 60 days in prison in the United States and was put on probation for three years for illegally possessing a fake federal agent’s identification card. He had to return to his home in Central Trinidad in 2009 after being unable to obtain a green card because of his criminal record.


After trying his hand at an assortment of jobs before landing the post at the Chaguanas Regional Corporation last year, Kishore confessed to the Sunday Guardian on Thursday that he had opted to remain tight-lipped about his past in order to get a job. “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Kishore said, as he contemplated his next move following the publication of this article.


“If you were in my position, what would you have done?” he asked, throwing his hands up in the air. Kishore was offered the three-year contract in October. After the mass destruction caused by severe weather last year, co-ordinators were assigned to different areas to deal with affected residents. Kishore was the only new disaster co-ordinator to be appointed, replacing Jagdeo Balroop. He receives a salary of $9,500. 


A blast from the past
But his decision to stay quiet is not sitting well with some of his colleagues, who view it as an attempt to “outsmart” officials. “He should have been upfront and put his cards on the table. If he was to get the job he would have been hired, but now it is not looking right at all,” one of them said.


While acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes, another staff member said: “His actions have come back to haunt him like a blast from the past. He should have been straightforward and said what he did.” At the time of the incident Kishore was a student at York College in New York.


According to a report in the Queens Courier, Kishore was pulled over on the Van Wyck Expressway by Port Authority police for changing lanes without signalling. His minivan had been modified to look like a police van and had a large police decal on the rear door.


There were red and blue strobe lights on the front dashboard, as well as two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) parking placards. Kishore handed over a black wallet which contained a DHS Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) identification card and an ICE shield.


When asked if he was a police officer, Kishore replied: “Yes, I am on duty.” However, when police looked more closely, they spotted on the back of the shield the words: “Copshop.com, Collectible Badge, Not for Official Use.”


Kishore was arrested and police searched his home in the Bronx where they found a cache of weapons including two stun guns, two pellet guns and two starter pistols, a laminating machine, blank ID cards and several pieces of forged law-enforcement paraphernalia. He was charged with criminal impersonation, forgery and criminal possession of a weapon, a forged instrument and forged devices.


Asked if he felt if he believed that he would have been able to get away from the police officers, Kishore said: “I tried something but knew I had been caught.”


Don’t ask, don’t tell
So why didn’t Kishore disclose his background details when being interviewed? He told the Sunday Guardian he felt because the incident happened six years ago, he should be given a chance to start over. However, he said, if the application form had required him to list details of his background, he would have confessed.


On further reflection, Kishore admitted he should have revealed all. He said he was prepared for the severe consequences he might now face. “At this point, I will deal with whatever has to come my way. For me, the worst is over.” In fact, he says he’s relieved that his secret is out.


“Honestly, I am feeling a weight off my shoulders. I knew it would have come out sooner or later, but I did not know how to do it. “Young people do silly things. I was under no obligation to reveal it, so I said nothing.”


Why did he do it?
Kishore did not say when but revealed that he had been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He did not say if it was before or after he was charged. One thing was certain, he was fixated on the police.



“I always wanted to be a police officer. Now I have blown my chances of that ever happening. I collected everything police officers are supposed to use and have. I just used to collect anything that policemen will use. I got in over my head and I paid the price. It was a weird fixation,” he said. The offence also caused him to lose his longtime girlfriend.


“We were supposed to get married, but after I got arrested, her family wanted her to have nothing to do with me. “I came back home and I am trying to put the pieces back together. “Since I came home I worked with the T&T Red Cross and as a first-aid and disaster lecturer. This is my first solid job.”



While Kishore did not reveal what his exact qualifications were he insisted that he was qualified for the job based on his work experience. Telephone calls to Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan for comment on this matter were unsuccessful.



More Info

According to Medicinenet.com OCD is an anxiety disorder characterisied by irresistible thoughts or images (obsessions) and/or rigid behaviours that may be driven by obsessions. The most effective treatment for OCD is often cognitive-behavioural therapy. Antidepressants are sometimes used in conjunction with therapy, although medication alone is rarely effective in relieving the symptoms of OCD.

General Discussion / New SSA appointment raises eyebrows
« on: December 30, 2012, 08:36:47 PM »
This country’s new lead national security agency, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is expected to be in operational mode sometime next year.


The unit, which has been touted by Government as being an elite intelligence gathering agency, lacks legislative framework and is still unable to function. Plans are afoot to merge the now defunct Security Intelligence Agency (SIA), which has no legal framework; and the Strategic Services Agency (SSA), which is currently undergoing structural change, with other intelligence networks to form the NIA.


Despite promises that the NIA will become functional soon, several of the sensitive managerial positions have already been filled. The SSA is currently being led by Bisnath Maharaj, who assumed the post in April this year, taking over from Col Albert Griffith. Griffith’s one-year contract was not renewed. Maharaj, a police officer, was seconded to the SSA.


Sources say the appointment of acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Surajdeen Persad to the post of Director of Security Intelligence with the SSA was approved by Cabinet recently. Persad is currently on 22 months vacation leave from the T&T Police Service and was last assigned to Community Relations. Prior to this, he served as the second in command at Special Branch.


Sources say Carlton Dennie has been elevated to the position of Director of Intercept. Dennie previously held the position of Assistant Deputy Director of Intelligence. Cabinet has also approved that NIA will be headed by a Director General with two deputy directors offering assistance, sources confirmed. The positions of Director of Criminal Intelligence, Director Corporate Services and Director Communication and Internet are yet to be filled.


CoP confirms Persad is on vacation
However, it is the appointment of Persad which is raising eyebrows. Many are questioning who gave Persad permission to be employed at the SSA while on vacation from the police service and what criteria were used to interview people for the post. Contacted for a comment, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams confirmed that Persad was on vacation.


“Obviously if he is on vacation, he will be getting paid,” Williams said. Asked about Persad’s status at the SSA while still being employed with the T&T Police Service Williams said: “The SSA is an intelligence unit and I try not to speak on them. You will have to contact them. I try not to interfere with matters involving the SSA.”


Questioned whether he (Williams) gave authorisation for Persad to take up the position at SSA, Williams said he chose not to comment on the issue. Efforts to contact Persad were unsuccessful as calls to his cell phone went unanswered.
In January 2011, the SIA was headed by Reshmi Ramnarine but her appointment was short-lived following her resignation from the top post.



Ramnarine, 31, was touted to have in her possession a Bsc in Information Technology from the University of the West Indies, and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and several government ministers said part of the reason she was appointed as SIA director was due to her qualifications. It was later learnt that such qualifications were falsified.


Police Association: If Persad’s appointment is true, it’s wrong
Secretary of the T&T Police and Social Welfare Association Sgt Michael Seales said: “If the information is true” and Persad is now employed at SSA, then this is wrong. “If that is true, then it is wrong and the acting commissioner of police needs to address this immediately.”


Seales described Persad as being a decorated officer in intelligence gathering and even if permission was given to Persad to function at SSA while still being employed at the T&T police service, such permission did not make it right. He said the association has always complained about such situations and in the past, officers have found themselves “on the wrong end of the disciplinary process when they did this.”


Also commenting on Persad’s position at SSA, was president of the association Sgt Anand Ramesar. Ramesar in a brief telephone interview said it was not unusual for officers to take up contract postings while retaining their office as police officers. “However, such situations fall under the purview of the police who has the authority to grant permission as is provided for in the Police Service Act and Regulations,” he said.


Ramesar said it would be unusual and a breach of the regulation, “should the officer proceed to pick up employment without the permission of the Commissioner of Police, especially where the employee for the second employment is also the Government. He said in recent times the association has seen different regulations in the organisation not being complied with and various issues not being addressed.


Ramesar said the association had voiced complaints about “selective enforcement of the police service regulation and that some officers are now getting away with misconduct, while other are dealt with for smaller offenses.” He said acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams must address the issues with haste “so members can be assured that our confidence in him and his leadership is intact.”

General Discussion / Death threat investigation at a 'critical stage'
« on: October 28, 2012, 11:34:20 PM »

The investigation into a death threat against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has reached a "critical stage", Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson has said.

Richardson would not discuss the issue in detail, but assured that the threat against Rowley earlier this month was being actively investigated.

National Security Minister Jack Warner made the disclosure of a death threat against Rowley at a community meeting in Trou Macaque, Laventille on October 2.

Richardson refused to say whether any security personnel had been assigned to the Opposition Leader.

"It is not something I want to discuss," he said.

Head of Special Branch, Assistant CoP Ann Marie Alleyne, could not be reached for comment last week, and Senior Superintendent Gary Gould would not say whether the political leader of the People's National Movement, (PNM) was assigned security.

The Sunday Express was reliably informed that the State had assigned no security to the Opposition Leader and he was forced to put his own safety measures in place.

It was also learned that six months after he was appointed Opposition Leader in June 2010, a security detail that was assigned to him was quietly removed without any explanation given.

Despite a query to the then National Security Minister John Sandy, Rowley's security was never re-installed, even now as police investigate a threat on his life, the Sunday Express learned.

Deputy Commissioner Richardson also said he had no knowledge of any police investigation into the Opposition Leader, contrary to a statement made by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in the House of Representatives, on September 12, during a debate on the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Bill when the controversial Section 34 was repealed.

The AG told the House that the "Landate matter was still the subject of a police criminal investigation", even though Rowley was cleared by the Integrity Commission on a "technicality".

"I am not aware of any investigation into Dr Rowley," Richardson said, admitting however, that "I wouldn't know everything."

Meanwhile the investigation into the death threats against Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard is still on the police front burner but acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has refused to discuss the matter publicly.

In July, the DPP was informed of threats against him.

To date, no one has been arrested but reports indicate that the threats emanated from behind the walls of one of the State's prisons.

The Sunday Express also learned, that one of the key suspects in the matter is an ex-convict, who was recently arrested on gun charges by the police.

Since then, the DPP has beefed up his security detail.


Trinidad and Tobago is at risk of being blacklisted by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) if by 2014 it continues to fail to prosecute anyone under anti-money laundering or combating the financing of terrorism (AML-CFT) laws. So said attorney and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist David West at a seminar at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Speaking at the event organised by the Anointed Professionals Exhibiting Excellence (APEX), West said, “Come 2014, somebody is going to have to be charged.”


He explained that “in 2010 there were $263 million worth of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs); in 2011, there were $569 million worth of SARs; that’s $832 million worth of SARs and there have been no prosecutions.” However, the situation is even more alarming for the first half of 2012 where already, $500.47 million of SARs have been reported.


Keith King, CEO and chairman of Firstline Securities who also spoke, later compounded West’s figures saying SARs and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) totalled 303 in 2011, up from 111 in 2010. King said SARs and STRs totalled $304.1 million in dollar terms in 2011, up from $85.7 million in 2010.


“This represents a 172 per cent increase in the amount of SARs/STRs and a 254.84-per cent increase in dollar terms (or) value of the reports,” King told the audience which included financial advisers, representatives of financial institutions and attorneys.


‘T&T not ready for 4th round evaluation’
On one of his powerpoint slides, King showed attendees that at the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), “121 suspicious activity transactions/activity reports were received and disseminated between January and June 2012. Total value of the SARs/STRs for the first half of 2012 is $500.47 million.”


He said that “only half of the year has gone by and we have already surpassed 2011,” and later added that very few cases have led to prosecutions or convictions. He cited the only two to the best of his knowledge to be the Piarco airport corruption case and the Vicky Boodram case.



Speaking after Financial adviser Roger Hernandez of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), who was tight-lipped about the results of the 3rd Round of Mutual Evaluation Reports, West said that independently of the results from the 3rd Round, “Trinidad and Tobago is not ready for the 4th Round of Mutual Evaluation Reports.”


The evaluation report provides a summary of the AML-CFT measures in place in Trinidad and Tobago, and influences whether the country stays on the grey list, moves to the white list or falls to the black list. There are 12 pieces of legislation dealing with AML-CFT and the country has witnessed “amendment after amendment,” West said. “How do we expect people to catch up and know what to follow?” he asked rhetorically.


He said it was his view that T&T needs more suitably qualified people to draft the laws because the current draftspeople “are limited in what they know” and lack the specialised training necessary.


Get into a conversation about race in this country, especially one that compares the policies of the PNM and the UNC (or any other Indo-led party), and the conversation will invariably go to the most memorable comment Eric Williams ever made about some members of the Indian community here when he called them the “recalcitrant and hostile minority”. It is a phrase that has haunted both Williams and the PNM since its utterance in 1958, but few Trinbagonians know the context and background of the speech and its content.

The phrase has become a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card for members of the Indian community hell-bent on an ethnocentric agenda. And it is often made out to be the first racist comment ever made by Trinbagonian… ever! As a result of Williams’ use of the phrase, national history is often re-invented with Williams described as the father of racism, the PNM is depicted as racist and oppressive – in fact, the only racist and oppressive party – and as having an oppressive “African” agenda that everyone must be afraid of. As a result of Williams’ folly, the party has spent almost all of its political life either avoiding discussion of the issue, or giving in to the demands of religious and cultural leaders who claim to be promoting Indian interests. In an effort to not appear racist and to underscore its all-inclusivity as a government and a party the PNM has opted to instead give in to silly demands and pander to the demands of some, rather than address Williams’ statement and come to terms with its legacy.

By 1958, Trinidad and Tobago was well underway to negotiating for a federated government. Williams was one of the chief negotiators of the process, it was his desire to have Trinidad and Tobago be the regional seat of power. But the DLP here, a party that was a coalition of interest groups that represented Hindus, Roman Catholics, the business class and members of the white elite, had aligned itself with political parties from both Jamaica and Guyana that were opposing the move towards a federation. At a public meeting, Williams, freshly returned from the Bandung Conference in India, revealed to the crowd that during the campaign for federal elections a letter had been circulated. According to Williams, the letter accused him of both “favouring his own kind in the Cabinet” and practising ethnic tokenism by selecting “a few Indians merely to mislead other Indians into supporting his movement in order to have a majority”. The closing paragraph of the letter stated: “If, my dear brother, you have realised these occurrences, and the shaky position in which our Indian people are placed, woe unto our Indian nation in the next ten years.”

Unsurprisingly, Williams saw this campaign, attributed to the DLP, as undermining his ambitions for the country. Williams lashed out at the use of the term “Indian nation” because as far as he was concerned, the Indian nation was continental India. He felt that the DLP was conveniently using the phrase as an ethnic rallying point, and that ethnic politics had no place in the West Indies, least of all Trinidad. He described the group circulating this letter as a “recalcitrant and hostile minority masquerading as the Indian nation, and prostituting the name of India for its selfish, reactionary political ends”. I quote the entire sentence because few people ever do, and in its entirety it makes a very strong statement about what Williams thought was the political agenda of the DLP then.

Prime Miniter Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Indo-centric writers and cultural activists, more interested in promoting the warped agenda of a group than a healthy national agenda of respect and co-operation, have taken advantage of the PNM’s reluctance to address Williams’ comments. Long before the formation of the PNM, our local politics had the taint of racism attached to it. And ethno-specific voting has become a feature of our electoral system. Another feature of our politics here is giving in to the cries of oppression by groups that claim to be in the minority. Land and ethnic-specific holidays for everyone! But while members of the People’s Partnership keep using the ghost of Williams and Manning to provoke feelings of guilt among blacks, and to rally the clans to keep separate and vote tribe instead of issues, their ethnic-flavoured political policies that they insisted was new politics are taking the country nowhere fast.

Williams’ statement was extremely unfortunate, because it was an angry generalisation that painted an entire group with one brush stroke. It is a statement that the current leadership of the PNM must address if they really expect to move forward and be the all-embracing party that Williams claims he started. More than 50 years later, Williams’ statement begs certain questions about politics, race and nationalism here. Has any group here prostituted its ethnic identity to rally political support? Is ethnic identity more important than national identity to groups here? When a Prime Minister takes a trip at the taxpayers’ expense to search for roots does it promote national pride or ethnic identity? In 1958, Williams felt that exploiting race as the base of political power was the greatest danger facing the country, and given the current state of our politics, he was not mistaken.

General Discussion / Minister 'rings up charges' ...on three cellphones
« on: August 14, 2012, 01:24:30 PM »

For nearly a year, taxpayers footed the bill for not one but three cellphones for ex-transport minister Devant Maharaj, in contravention of the Government's own one-cellphone rule.

Insiders report further that one of the two Government-issued cellphones to Maharaj—708-0217—was in the possession of his girlfriend and chief executive officer of Radio Jaagriti, Kristal Ramroopsingh, up until his reassignment to the Ministry of Food Production in late June of this year

Maharaj has vehemently denied the charge, insisting he was the holder of the two "708" numbers provided by the Ministry of Transport as well as his own personal "683" mobile, which is paid for by the State. Persons with knowledge of the situation, however, report that Ramroopsingh not only had use of the 708-0217 Government-issued cellphone, but gave the number out to people as her personal contact detail.

Several Radio Jaagriti staff, including the station's head of news, Lokesh Maharaj, identified the 708-0217 mobile as one of two numbers they have for the station's CEO. Telephone logs obtained by the Sunday Express for the "708" cellphone in question show a significant number of calls placed to Ramroopsingh's mother's cellphone, her family home in Fyzabad, Radio Jaagriti's Tunapuna office at the corner of Pasea Main Road and to Minister Maharaj's personal and other "708" Government-issued cellphones.

Ramroopsingh did not answer her phone and failed to respond to several voice mail messages left on her cellphone up to late yesterday.

Last Thursday, Minister Maharaj said he gave up the two "708" Ministry of Transport-issued cellphones when he took up official duty as the new Minister of Food Production at the end of June this year. He denied he ever gave the BlackBerry Torch 708-0217 cellphone to his girlfriend for her personal use and insisted the phone was always with him up until his reassignment of ministerial portfolios at the end of June.

Asked to explain the volume of phone calls placed to his girlfriend's mother's cellphone and family home, Minister Maharaj said: "Yeah... well, I call her mother from time to time."

And the radio station of which she is the CEO? According to Maharaj, he has a "very close relationship" to the station's founder and general secretary of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Sat Maharaj, who he said, is based there.

Asked about the calls made from the 708-0217 number during the weekly Thursday Cabinet meetings when ministers are prohibited from using their cellphones, he answered this way: "Yeah... well, we do have breaks in between."

And the calls placed to himself on his other two cellphones? According to the Minister, that was when he gave the phone to his adviser to check for messages. Asked if he was in the habit of having long chats with his personal adviser, Maharaj said: "Yeah, we have intense conversations."

His responses were vague, however, about the roaming charges billed to the 708-0217 number while he was on a private trip to Miami last December and again, on official State business to India in January of this year.

Maharaj could shed no light on who exactly authorised local telephone provider Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) to put the 708-0217 number on roaming while he was on a private trip abroad with all three of his cellphones, or why the limit on the controversial cellphone was increased from $5,000 to $15,000 a month. Insiders report the limit was extended to $15,000 in part because of late payments to TSTT. He confirmed girlfriend Ramroopsingh did travel with him to Miami nearing the end of December last year, but had no answer for why he placed nine calls to himself from the controversial Government-issued phone to his personal and official cellphones while in Miami.

Cellphone billing records for January 3 to February 2, 2012, for the controversial 708-0217 number reveal total charges of $5,164.86. Of this, roaming charges account for $1,307.71, data roaming charges of $2,702.56 and total call usage of $1,443.30.

During the six-day period December 27, 2011, to January 1, 2012, 15 calls were made to Ramroopsingh's mother's cellphone and three to the family home in Fyzabad. Calls were also made to Radio Jaagriti.

Billing statements, dated February 3 this year from TSTT to the Ministry of Transport show total roaming charges of $5,241.88. The controversial number racked up roaming charges while in India of over $5,000, with roaming data charges alone accounting for $2,408.09. And, as with the Miami trip, phone calls were made to Ramroopsingh's mother's cell, family home in Fyzabad and to the Minister's two other cellphones. The Minister's girlfriend also went to India.

How Minister Maharaj came to have three cellphones for almost a year is also a bit of a mystery.

Maharaj said the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) took over his personal cellphone bills when he was given the Transport brief in July 2011. The billing from the OPM was transferred to the Ministry of Transport at the same time he was provided with two Government-issued cellphones.

Maharaj made clear he did not ask for the phones and merely assumed it was part of a ministerial benefit when he got it in July 2011.

A top public official, speaking on background only, said the rules provide for a cellphone to a Government minister and a telephone allowance of $500 for a private land line. According to the official, there is provision for a full refund for calls certified as official business which exceed the $500 a month limit for land lines.

Maharaj seemed unaware of the one-cellphone rule and said he had no idea how he got so lucky.

He also seemed unaware of the roaming charges racked up by his 708-0217 mobile. He expressed surprise, saying if the Sunday Express information was correct, his Permanent Secretary would have brought it to his attention. Maharaj said, to the best of his knowledge, he never exceeded $500 a month on the controversial cellphone. Billing statements obtained by this newspaper, however, show otherwise.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport at the time of the three-cellphone affair Myrna Thompson, by her own admission, had no knowledge of the controversial cellphone. Thompson said she only had knowledge of the Minister's personal "683" phone and the official "708" number which he gave out to Government colleagues and other people.

The accounting officer for the Ministry of Transport, who transferred over to Food Production, was vague as to whether the Minister was entitled to more than one cellphone or who authorised a second official cellphone for his use or who approved payments for his multiple phones, including the controversial 708-0217 number.

She expressed shock that billings for the controversial cellphone, which she said she had no knowledge of, had racked up charges in excess of $30,000 in the year that Minister Maharaj had it. This is in addition to charges incurred by the Minister's two other cellphones.

Thompson was unable to explain how Maharaj came by the controversial third cellphone and admitted, on closer questioning, that "yes, I should have been aware of it".

Maharaj, for his part, insists that since the matter was never raised with him by the substantive Permanent Secretary, the Sunday Express information was not authentic.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport Verna Johnson refused to take our calls for an account of the Minister's several cellphones. She was deputy PS at the time of the incident.

General Discussion / Allegations of improper conduct:
« on: July 22, 2012, 12:31:53 PM »

The entire board of directors of the State-owned Community Improvement Services Ltd (CISL), including chairman Dr Rai Ragbir, and former line minister Chandresh Sharma had direct knowledge of allegations of improper conduct made against the government-backed chief executive officer, Ramchand Rampersad.

Continuing Sunday Express investigations into governance issues at the State-subsidised special purpose company suggest that chairman Ragbir, a medical doctor by profession, and the former local government minister made no effort to act on information they received that Rampersad had acted improperly.

From all accounts, chairman Ragbir fought against the efforts of some of his directors, two of whom have since resigned, to make Rampersad accountable for alleged wrongdoing.

He failed to respond to urgent e-mail calls from directors on his board for an emergency board meeting and was hostile to questions put to him by this newspaper on July 12.

E-mail correspondence obtained by the Sunday Express show Dr Ragbir being briefed on a list of concerns, chief among them, a $2,500 a-month life insurance claim for which Rampersad was not entitled and his decision to push through the purchase of a company vehicle which exceeded the price limit of the issued- guidelines of the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

Director Asha Sooknanan, in e-mail correspondence, dated June 14 and sent under cover of strict confidentiality to eight members of the CISL board, including the chairman, provided directors with a brief of a special meeting of the heads of the various sub-committees of the board held earlier that day.

Among the issues flagged at the June 14 meeting was the salary overpayment of the CEO, the acquisition of a vehicle in excess of the stipulated MOF limit and questionable tendering practices.

Another director, attorney Anuradha Ramdath, who resigned with immediate effect on June 25, in a June 15 e-mail to the board, including chairman Ragbir, urged that a detailed investigation into all of the allegations of wrongdoing be conducted.

Deputy chairman and director Malcolm Reid, who also resigned on June 25 with immediate effect, in response to fellow director Edison Hoolasie, in a June 21 e-mail, copied to the board, expressed his deep discomfort and frustration that nothing was being done to deal with the very serious governance issues raised.

He said the board would be guilty of complicity if it failed to act on the allegations of wrongdoing involving the company's CEO.

Sooknanan, in a June 20 e-mail sent to minister Sharma and to the CISL board, including chairman Ragbir, provided detailed documentation related to some of the governance issues under scrutiny.

Sharma, who is said to have played a pivotal role in catapulting the former CISL director into the executive suite in an acting CEO position in the first instance, yesterday, refused comment on his failure to investigate the allegations of wrongdoing.

"I am no longer the minister," he said, making clear he was not prepared to answer anything related to his former portfolio as local government minister.

"I am the ex-minister," he said, accusing this reporter of changing the rules of engagement.

Told that we were merely trying to get some answers about something that happened on his watch as the local government minister, Sharma, who was reassigned to the Transport Ministry on June 22, said: "That might work for you but it doesn't operate so in government."

He suggested instead that this newspaper continue its conversation with new Local Government Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan.

"Anything prior to my appointment as Minister of Transport I will not respond," he told the Sunday Express.

Rambachan, who last week promised to look into the governance issues at CISL, admitted there were breaches related to the acquisition of a Toyota Fortuner, the insurance benefit of $2,500 a month and Rampersad's private job to short-list prospective candidates for the CEO's position at State-owned National Flour Mills (NFM).

Rampersad's private company, Perfect World Human Resources and Management Services, which was incorporated in January this year, was contracted to draw up a short list of candidates for the top executive job at NFM in an apparent conflict of interest with his other public job as chairman of the state funded and managed corporation, Government Human Resources Co Ltd (GHRS).

The company was set up to service the HR needs of the state sector.

As reported in last Sunday's Express, Rampersad refused to say how much his private company was paid for the NFM job.

A tough talking Minister Rambachan, who made clear he was not going to tolerate wrongdoing on his watch said: "Obviously there are issues of governance at CISL. If something is wrong, it must be declared wrong."

Dr Rambachan said he was awaiting a report from chairman Ragbir and would be meeting with the board of directors next week.

He also spoke about his plan to have an orientation conference for state boards which fall under his ministerial portfolio on the role and fiduciary responsibilities of directors.

He denied that his coalition government condoned wrongdoing and countered that it was a wrong perception held by some.

Asked to square his assertion with the Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) incident in which a leased luxury vehicle was provided for the non-executive chairman Rabindra Moonan, Dr Rambachan, in a short telephone interview with the Sunday Express, said if MOF or official State Enterprises regulations were breached, "then it is wrong".

Asked if it was wrong for the CAL chairman to breach the State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual which is clear that a non-executive chairman is not entitled to a company vehicle, Rambachan answered this way: "If according to the rules, it is wrong, then it is wrong. We must say it is wrong and let the chips fall where they may." He declined further comment.

The former line minister for CAL, now Food Production Minister, Devant Maharaj, who defended the leased luxury ride for Moonan countered that the State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual (SEMM) was not the law.

"What rule?" he enquired, making clear that the SEMM was not legislation but general guidelines intended "to guide" State companies.

And those guidelines, according to Maharaj's interpretation, are not set in concrete and may vary from State enterprise to State enterprise. In short, different State companies were subject to a different interpretation of official rules.

He said Moonan did not have the Toyota Prado for more than eight days and reports suggesting otherwise were wrong.

He insists that the Prado lease was a "non-issue" and pointed to other unidentified boards which provided the disputed benefit to non-executive chairmen.

"There are other boards that I know about which we inherited that has a vehicle for the chairman," he said, refusing to call names.

Insisting that the operative word was "guidelines", Maharaj said: "It is supposed to guide you. It is not a law."

He said Moonan was appointed at short notice and needed to be mobile.

Asked if chairman Moonan did not have a car before he was appointed to CAL's board, Maharaj sidestepped the question, saying the lease had to be taken in the context of the transition of a new chair to the board.

Yuh think it would work?


Getafe CF, in a campaign to increase the number of season ticket holders, have launched a viral video in which it encourages fans of Getafe to become sperm donors so they can breed new Getafe season ticket holders.

The bizarre video, which is obviously done tongue-in-cheek, features a sperm donor collecting a plastic container at a clinic, and then watching a film called Zombies Calientes de Getafe (translated in English as “Getafe’s Hot Zombies.”)

The club, which resides in Getafe — on the outskirts of Madrid, has approximately 9,000 season ticket holders but has to compete against rival clubs Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid who have 85,000 and 42,000 season ticket holders respectively. One way to stand out from the crowd is to hope that a viral video like this will spread and attract supporters.

Whether they stay up is another matter entirely.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/4hcjjRgvnDo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/4hcjjRgvnDo</a>

Football / German Fans making a Point
« on: March 28, 2012, 09:26:13 AM »

When a team goes through a goal drought, most fans have a simple answer: a few abusive chants from the terraces, followed by a moan in the pub after the game.

But fans of German regional side FC Magdeburg decided to take a more constructive and creative approach - one that has now made them globally famous.

Reasoning that their men had gone without a goal for five matches simply from having forgotten where the goal was, they decided to take giant dayglo arrows to the match to point their heroes in the right direction.

General Discussion / Government downsizing FOIA
« on: February 17, 2012, 01:11:16 AM »
QUESTIONS are being asked about Government’s commitment to the Freedom of Information Act as moves continue to quietly downsize the Freedom of Information Division which now falls under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Communications.

Questioned on the matter at Thursday’s Post-Cabinet Media Conference, Foreign Affairs and Communications Minister Suruj Rambachan would only state that the Unit was still in operation and that he would make another statement at a later date.

The Division acts as a secretariat for co-ordination among ministries and to provide training and information to Government agencies and the public. It has a Cabinet approved structure for five persons but it is now down to just one employee, a business operations assistant, as the Ministry failed to renew the contracts of Rishi Maharaj the last Senior Freedom of Information Officer and head of the Unit and Andrea Julien who was a Freedom of Information Officer attached to the Ministry.

“It is strange how this government which got into power by using the FOIA to access information is now trying to stop the process by restricting access to information,” said one official familiar with the operations of the Ministry.

Public officials say the downsizing of the Unit is deliberate as the Ministry is intent on restricting access to information. A check of the website by the TnT Mirror on Friday shows the Unit still advertised as falling under the Office of the Prime Minister in Nicholas Towers, Port of Spain and Maharaj and Julien are still advertised as holding their positions although the only person employed there is a relatively junior Business Operations Assistant, Joanne Balgobin.


General Discussion / Devant: Govt seeks investors for $b light transit
« on: January 29, 2012, 08:15:15 AM »

GOVERNMENT is seeking an investment of possibly $1 billion to construct and operate a light transit system from Port of Spain to Arima, which will not be funded from the Treasury but from investors, Transport Minister Devant Maharaj has said.

"Government's only obligation to the enterprise is that of a facilitator," he said.

Maharaj was speaking to the Sunday Express yesterday in a telephone interview and responding to a definite matter of urgent public importance raised by Diego Martin North-East MP Colm Imbert, during the sitting of the Lower House on Friday, held at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

Imbert had expressed concerns about a print advertisement on Thursday, in which the Transport Ministry invited expressions of interest for the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of a light transit system from Port of Spain to Arima to be constructed approximately 4.2 metres above the Bus Route.

He noted the deadline is February 23, only four weeks to submit expressions of interest for this "complex project", with offices closed for the two days of Carnival.

He said one month was too short a time for this process, and it may be in breach of the Central Tenders Board ordinance as Government ministries are only permitted by law to initiate procurement of goods and services to a maximum value of $1 million while this project will likely cost billions of dollars.

Yesterday, Maharaj said Imbert was "fundamentally wrong", and he was "accustomed to PNM (People's National Movement) squandermania and assumes that all others follow the same level of reckless spending that is the watermark of the PNM".

He said the expression of interest was for the first phase for securing the particular project and will be followed up by detailed requests for proposals that will carry the entire process, "well beyond two months".

He added it was "regrettable" Imbert appeared to make misleading statements about a breach of the Central Tenders Board Act, explaining that in this project, Government was not putting out expenditure for goods, machinery, equipment or other items, but the operator was solely responsible for all these things.

"The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is not purchasing any article of work or any service," Maharaj stressed.

He said Government was awaiting the various expressions of interest, but there was no obligation to enterprise, such as a guarantee to a foreign investor coming into this country, and they were not tendering for anything but acting as a facilitator.

"Imbert's reckless, uninformed statement is fundamentally flawed in the interpretation of the nature, extent and purport of the Central Tenders Board Act," he added.

Maharaj said the project followed the P3 model (public, private, partnership) which was popular in India and pointed out if the venture fails, it is the commercial entity that fails, and Government or taxpayers' money are not at risk. He further explained that the entity would recoup their investment by the fees it would charge for people to use the system though the fee structure is subject to review by the Government to prevent exploitation.

He compared the project to the Rapid Rail project by the previous administration, noting a US$75 million pre-feasibility study was currently "in some boxes in the Ministry of Works".

General Discussion / Animal Farm: Obsessions with flights, fancy
« on: January 23, 2012, 06:50:54 PM »


Fresh back from his passage to India, Minister Vasant Bharath has seen it fit to insult the collective intelligence of the population in statements and actions which are fast becoming symptomatic of this People’s Partnership Government, which of itself is becoming the living embodiment of George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm. The obsession with flights of fancy which Mr Manning had with his private wishes for private jets, are mirrored in helicopter flights like a taxi service, to get you here, there and everywhere. It is mirrored also in the outlandish idea of building an airport in Central and, of course, from the bag of goodies on the return from India, we are now looking at flights to India for Caribbean Airlines.


Now really, we cannot even get it right for flying between Trinidad and Tobago and our big announcement is that we are going to be trying to fly from Trinidad to India? Who comes up with this type of clap-trap to try to peddle such rubbish to the public? Where is the market for this? Where is the feasibility study for this and if it were such a good and profitable idea, why aren’t airlines from India ponying up to take planeloads of tourists back and forth across the oceans between the two countries? These ideas are as ill-fated as Snowball’s windmill on Animal farm.


The excesses and madness of Manniningism were the Achilles heel and the ultimate downfall of the PNM. The present Government, just like in Animal Farm, is beginning more and more to resemble the very ones they disposed and got the rid of and their constant excuse seems to be—well PNM did it too. Hello...this is why we got rid of them! The Animal Farm analogy continues with the hard-working Jack, who after all his time, money and effort expended, has been treated just like Boxer and the only thing left is for someone to suggest that they now boil him down to make glue, or send him off to the Knacker’s. In his bust-up with King George, in the circling of his wagon by the religious and ethnic fundamentalists in the party, and now the quest to make him impure by auditing PURE, all serve to remind Uncle Jack that—All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.


So it should be no surprise to see Napoleon and others walking around on two legs now, because while the sheep were previously bleating, “Four Legs Good/Two Legs bad” after the Revolution of May 24, 2010, suddenly it is, “Two Legs good/Four legs Bad,” and the sycophants and the “booty smoochers” who make up the ranks of the sheep, have now changed their tune accordingly—“Two Legs good/Four legs Bad.” Why not throw in a luxury 4x4 in the process as Vasant has done, and say to the masses, that it is not expensive, it is not really a luxury car. “Comrades!” he cried. “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples."


Prior to election day, the population bought in big time for old Major’s speech and the dream of a better world and a better tomorrow—We will rise. “Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings (wearing Balisier ties)? Only get rid of man (Manning), and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. Not one man, woman or child will be left behind. The Beasts of England and Beasts of Ireland were believers, they yearned for a new day under the Rising Sun, but they are getting scorched in the heat, burnt in the process. And Squealer is frisking around, skipping from side to side, telling them they are relaxing in the shade and that what they think is heat is a nice cool temperature and that everything’s fine in the House of the Rising Sun.


“Comrades,” he said, “I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself (All these foreign trips are really hard work). Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! (Nor the helicopter flights, nor living at La Fantasie, nor the Bollywood joyride) On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility (Which must be taken with as many trips out of the country as possible). No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal (And we have Sat, Devant and Suruj here to prove that). He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves (As you did when you once believed us). But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions comrades, (As we fear you may make at the next general election), and then where should we be?

Football / Candidate for Goal of the Year
« on: December 19, 2011, 06:21:02 PM »
It deserve a win at least for the own goals category!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/wXb8RjGLcZk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/wXb8RjGLcZk</a>

General Discussion / Great News! Panday to form team to contest UNC polls
« on: December 14, 2011, 10:14:59 AM »
Long time now we suffering for a lack of kicks!


Former Prime Minister and Leader of the United National Congress, Mr. Basdeo Panday, has vowed to take back the party he helped to form in 1989.


Basdeo Panday


At a News Conference on Tuesday, Mr. Panday said the rank and file of the party has expressed displeasure in the direction of the party. He said under the theme "Generation Next," he will lead a team to contest the 2012 UNC internal elections.


He said: "We shall put up a full slate of candidates in the next internal party elections which are due in a few months time. I emphasise, I want no office, I shall serve in an advisory capacity only."

The UNC evolved from Club 88 in 1989 after Mr. Panday and six members of Parliament broke away from the NAR. The UNC then became known as a grassroots party that attracted a large East Indian following. Mr. Panday said the present-day UNC knows nothing of the people's struggles to build the party over the past 22 years.


"The rank and file who have been speaking to me claim that the good name of the UNC. The party which they formed from Club 88 in the cold rain and thunder, mud and slush in Aranguez in 1989, is now being given a bad name and bad reputation by the PP Government."


The former Prime Minister, who has been out of active politics since the People's Partnership came into Government in 2010, also accused the UNC Members of Parliament of losing touch with their constituents.


He said over the next few weeks, his faction of the UNC will launch their campaign with public and cottage meetings, the use of social media websites, and interviews. He said they will also set up a website at: www.takebacktheunc.com


Football / Philosophers Three Sided Football match
« on: December 05, 2011, 09:41:05 AM »
I play some games similar to this with some youths from my church as a training excercise.

Wha you think?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/PXPbKBo-KuM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/PXPbKBo-KuM</a>

Football / Brilliant Benfica Tactical Move
« on: December 05, 2011, 09:39:05 AM »
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Link Here

Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks Trinidad and Tobago in position 91 out of 183 countries, with a score of 3.2 out of 10. In 2010 Trinidad and Tobago was ranked in position 73 out of 178 countries, with a score of 3.6. The country ranked first in 2011 with the highest score is New Zealand with a score of 9.5 and the lowest ranked country is Somalia with a score of 1.0.

The CPI is a measure of perceptions of public sector corruption. It is a survey of surveys undertaken by international institutions ranking various countries based on the perceptions held by senior resident business leaders and non- resident analysts. It should be noted that the CPI is a perceptions test and does not aim to capture the reality of corruption on the ground. However, it is known that perceptions play a role in shaping and representing what may be in reality. The CPI uses a simple form of indexing to arrive at a score ranging between 0, perceived to be the most corrupt, and 10, perceived to be the least corrupt. The surveys used to prepare the 2011 ranking covered the period from December 2009 to September 2011. In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, five reports from four institutions were used.

The 2011 CPI results suggest that there is a widely held perception that the issue of corruption in Trinidad and Tobago has not as yet been comprehensively addressed by the authorities. Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) notes that two major campaign promises from the 2010 General Elections, that could have reversed this perception, are still to be addressed: the implementation of the recommendations of the Uff Enquiry into the Construction Sector and the enacting of new public sector procurement legislation. Several events in the past year have also created the opportunity to raise questions about the current Administration’s avowed commitment to transparency and accountability. These include Minister Jack Warner’s continued presence in the Administration and many allegations about improper procurement and poor governance practices at some State agencies. While the Administration has insisted on selectively observing the rules of natural justice in these matters it is possible that, by allowing some incumbents to remain in office while lengthy and still unresolved investigations take place, its reputation has been harmed by association. There are other and more appropriate ways of dealing with these matters under current circumstances while adhering to the principles of natural justice.

Overhanging all of this are the disclosures arising from the Colman Commission of Enquiry into CL Financial/CLICO and HCU that involve serious allegations that impropriety in corporate governance has resulted in financial distress for thousands of people and a negative impact on the public coffers that has contributed to a reversal of the fortunes of the country in a very short time.

In this scenario, the message is clear, transparency and accountability are fundamental in dealing with corruption and the Administration’s anti-corruption initiatives do not appear to have been sufficient to reverse the widely held perception they inherited that corruption was out of hand. More needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly if we are to avoid a complete collapse of confidence in our state institutions.

TTTI is concerned that the perception of corruption in Trinidad and Tobago has grown worse. We believe that it is the responsibility of our political leadership to take the steps that can reverse that trend in the short and long run.

And if yuh check de table..notice the trend since we started being on this index. Interestingly there was only a 3 year period where our score didnt decline.

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« on: April 25, 2011, 04:05:55 PM »

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