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Topics - Jah Gol

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General Discussion / More of the same
« on: January 19, 2014, 08:02:01 AM »
Mods please merge.
Interview files have gone missing following the discovery of massive irregularities during an audit into recruitment at the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA).

The misrepresentation of academic qualifications relating to the hiring of the chief operations officer (COO) Wayne Oudit was among the findings.

According to the audit dated December 19, 2013 and conducted by internal auditor John Pouchet, management duped the board of directors (BOD) into believing that Oudit possessed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

In fact, the findings stated it was the second time management had misled the board by representing that Oudit was the holder of a MBA.

The first occasion was in 2011 when Oudit was hired as the general manager of finance at the ERHA.

In spite of the authority stating that recruitment was subject to the relevant background checks being conducted, Oudit’s false academic MBA qualification was submitted to the board via board paper reference number BOD/2011/338 for him to be hired.

This was contrary to Oudit’s curriculum vitae (CV) that lists him as partially completing the MBA in General Management from Henley Management College in the United Kingdom.

Oudit’s CV fails to list the year he enrolled to pursue the MBA in General Management.

And nowhere in Oudit’s CV he is listed as attaining the MBA.  However, for a second time another board paper reference number BOD/2013/192 was falsely prepared stating otherwise for Oudit to be given the nod to be hired as the authority’s COO.

Exactly who is responsible for padding the board papers with the false information is unknown.

But the saga does not end there though as perusal of the audit showed that from the inception, Oudit’s employment as the COO has been shrouded in controversy.

How Oudit ended up being hired as the authority’s COO—a position for which he never applied—has also raised red flags,  the audit revealed.

Oudit was hired as the authority’s COO on October 30, 2013 and assumed duties two days later on November 1. The audit said that Oudit was interviewed to fill the chief executive officer (CEO) vacancy and not that of the COO.

Oudit placed second in the interview, scoring 274 points. Attorney Ameena Ali, the authority’s CEO, placed first with 293 points and was offered the job.

The audit said although Ali did not meet the minimum requirement of 10 years’ experience in general management she was hired as CEO of the authority based on her 30 years work experience and her sound knowledge of core operations in the health sector.

The interview panel which comprised chairman Dr Stephen Bhagan, directors Nazimul Ali, Rampersad Parasram and Ryan Ramcharan along with deputy permanent secretary Asif Ali then opted to offer Oudit the COO’s job.

 “The post of COO was not advertised. The general manager of human resources (GMHR) indicated that the recently conducted interviews for CEO  were used to make a decision to the appointment of the COO,” the audit stated.

While it was noted that the HR Policies and Procedures Manual subsection, Filling  of Vacancies, states that the authority may promote an employee without first advertising the position based on the available evidence that he/she is the most suitable person to fill the vacancy, the audit said the criteria did not apply to Oudit.

The audit said: “The successful candidate did not meet the minimum requirement of a post graduate degree in hospital administration, health service admission or business administration. The candidate had the professional accounting qualification ACCA and his CV indicated that he had partially completed a MBA in General Management.

“The overall minimum requirements for this position, however, did state that any equivalent combination of qualifications, training and experience would be accepted. Internal audit saw no documentary evidence of the partial completion of the MBA in the employee’s personal file.”

It was also noted that there was no stipulation in Oudit’s contract that mandated to attain the relevant qualification by a specified date.

The contract for the COO, the audit said, was signed by Bhagan although all employees’ contracts except that of the CEO would normally be signed by the CEO.

The authority’s CEO assumed duties on November 1, 2013 just two days after the contract was signed hiring Oudit as the COO.

Meanwhile, in another matter it was also discovered that Oudit signed as CEO of the authority to hire Legal Officer Anita Rampaul.

A copy of the contract dated November 4, 2013 and obtained by the Sunday Express shows Oudit’s signature affixed to the document in the capacity of acting CEO.

Records show that Ali, the  authority’s CEO, was hired on November 1.

As to why Oudit signed as the acting CEO when at the time he held the post of the COO is unknown but the audit frowned upon the discrepancy and stated: “Although board approval is normally sought for all posts that are not pegged to the salary scale for public servants, especially for employees whose salary range starts at an amount higher than range 55 there was no board approval for this employee to be hired. This position would also have reported directly to the BOD and as such board approval should have been sought.  The GMHR indicated that she made enquiries through the board secretariat and was informed that board approval was not necessary for this post. Internal audit was informed by staff at the board secretariat that they had no recollection of this.”

Based on the unauthorised signatory the audit noted that Rampaul’s contract may be deemed not valid.

HR boss file missing

The audit also unearthed that the GMHR Tricia Leela did not meet the minimum requirements to be appointed to the senior position.

And attempts by Pouchet to get answers as to basis of Leela’s appointment to GMHR were unsuccessful as, like many other employees, her interview file has gone missing.

Leela was hired as manager of Employment and Employee  Services on January 3, 2012 and three months later on April 16 she was interviewed to act as the GMHR.

She was appointed GMHR effective May 1, 2012. Although Leela’s file could not be located the audit revealed the following information based on board papers and her personal file, according to the audit:

“The  successful candidate did not meet the minimum requirement for a first degree in social sciences and a Post Graduate Degree in Human Resource Management. The candidate has a MBA from Heriot-Watt, an associate degree in Management from ROYTEC and a certificate in HR management (one-year academic course) from Cipriani College of Labour and Corporative Studies. The successful candidate did not meet the minimum of ten years’ experience, five of which must be HR management.”

It was also noted that the manager of industrial relations, compensation and benefits administration who had been employed since June 1, 2010 was not interviewed for the post of GMHR.

Questions over

interview process

The audit also found that the interview process surrounding Leela’s employment as manager of employment and employer services was irregular.

According to the audit, two interviews were held for the position in 2011 on November 11 and 22.

Board paper reference number BOD/2011/349 dated November 29, 2011 said the reason for the second interview was a need for transparency.

The interview panel on November 11 comprised of the chairman, one director and the CEO at the time.

In the first interview the audit stated: “The chairman of the board ranked the second placed candidate (Leela) highest by one point. The candidate, (Nadia Ali), who placed first was ranked the highest by the director and the CEO. The candidate’s qualifications included a bachelor of science degree (BSc) in sociology with a minor in  HR management and a Master of Science Degree (MSc) in HR management and she was a member of the HR Management Association of T&T.  The candidate, however, was not offered employment.”

In an attempt to arrive at a consensus, a second interview was conducted and the interview panel was expanded to include another director and the director of HR at the Ministry of Health (MOH).

A decision was taken to invite only Leela and Ali to the second interview.

However, the audit stated: “All three panelists from the first interview scored the candidate (Ali) who placed higher in the first interview lower,  in the second interview while scoring her competition higher.  The second-placed candidate (Leela) from the first interview enhanced her standing relative to the candidate previously ranked first by 49 points from the same three panelists who conducted the interview. This reversal would have been more credible if the consensus among the panelists was unanimous.  However, the director of HR at the MOH scored the candidate (Ali) who ranked first in the previous interview highest.”

Spencer’s CV

Regarding the employment of the Manager of Purchasing and Logistics, Rennick Spencer,  the audit also discovered that he does not possess  a  MBA in General Management as listed on his CV. 

The audit stated:  “The successful candidate did not meet the minimum requirement of a first degree in either business management or equivalent and should be fully certified in chartered institute of purchasing.  The candidate’s CV listed a MBA in general management with all the courses. It was determined, however, that the MBA was not complete. The candidate’s CV was misleading.”

Spencer’s CV listed him as pursuing his MBA between 2010 and 2011.

And although there was a stipulation in Spencer’s contract that stated the MBA should be completed within one year, failing which his contract could be terminated, the audit found that  his contract was renewed for a further two years on August 7, 2013.

Spencer was one of the two candidates short-listed for the job.

According to Leela, Spencer was hired after the candidate who placed first in the interview rejected the job offer. However, board approval was not sought for the appointment. 

Proper hiring procedures not followed

The audit also discovered that proper procedures were not followed relating to the hiring of  manager of cost and management accounting, and the acting appointments of the research officer and the quality coordinator.

In the case of the manager of Cost and Management Accounting, the audit stated that the successful candidate, Sushma Brahma Prashad, did not meet the minimum requirement of a full ACCA or CIMA certification. 

 While the board paper reference number BOD/2012/269 noted that Brahma Prashad was scheduled to write her final examination in June 2013 no documentary evidence was seen in her personal file confirming that she completed the course. With regards to the acting appointments. the audit noted that it was unclear whether the positions were advertised allowing other potential candidates to be interviewed. The audit noted that there was a breach of the HR policies and procedures relating to the two acting appointments.

In its conclusion the audit stated:  “The filing system in the HR department is not of an acceptable standard. Several files requested from the HR department could not be located, including the interview file for the current GMHR and the lists of applicants who applied for specific post before a short list was compiled for interviewing.”

It was further noted: “The authority has recruited several  senior employees who do not have the minimum requirements for the offices they hold. In many of the cases no condition has been included in these employees’ contracts that they actively attempt to achieve these requirements, and when there was such a stipulation it was not enforced.”

Bhagan: Other documents contain audit queries

Contacted yesterday, ERHA chairman Stephen Bhagan told the Sunday Express the audit was initiated by him.

Bhagan said: “Nearly every two years an audit is done. The audit has been sent to the Health Ministry for them to decide what action has to be taken. Whatever suggestions made by the auditor we would have to implement. The audit was done in a hurry. There were some things that the auditor asked for and the documents were not there. We had the answers in other papers.”

General Discussion / She wasn't drunk
« on: October 31, 2013, 09:46:24 AM »
PM KPB, at a People's Partnership campaign meeting in Bamboo Settlement #1 last night, identified the distribution of laptops to schoolchildren as one of the achievements of her government and one of the promises delivered.

She also reprimanded the PNM for a reported reference to duncey children.

The PM went on to say, "The only duncey head children we have are those who the PNM... Look, let me ent go there. Not tonight.

TV6 just posted this on facebook

She wasn't drunk; she wouldn't been able to edit herself.

Football / Winter World Cup
« on: July 17, 2013, 09:37:36 AM »
The Fifa president says the heat in the country would be unbearable and believes that holding the competition in winter would only disrupt one European season
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has insisted that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be held during the winter period for European nations.

The Middle Eastern nation were controversially awarded the tournament back in 2010, despite fears over the country's soaring temperatures.

And the Swiss official has insisted that the competition cannot be held during June and July.

"The World Cup in Qatar can only take place in the winter. And the executive committee is sure to follow me," he told Sky Sport Germany.

"In this heat, you cannot play in the summer. And we have to consider the players. I was just in the Middle East, in Jordan, Palestine and Israel.

"I have felt the heat in these countries and it's not as hot there as it is in Qatar. It's possible to air condition a stadium, but not an entire country.

"That's why we need to be brave in the Executive Committee to create awareness among the leagues that we need to change something."

Many people have voiced fears over the effect a winter World Cup could have on domestic football's scheduling, but Blatter insists that the change would only be temporary.

"Yes, but it's only a year, then they can go back to normal rhythm again," he added.

General Discussion / Sideshows
« on: June 20, 2013, 07:23:45 AM »
Emailgate investigation: DCP Richardson knocks parallel findings; no respect for police

By Renuka Singh
Story Created: Jun 19, 2013 at 10:45 PM ECT
Story Updated: Jun 19, 2013 at 11:42 PM ECT

Lead investigator in the “emailgate” case, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mervyn Richardson yesterday called for an end to what he described as the “sideshows” by various paid computer experts, making pronouncements on the same e-mails he is investigating.

While Richardson said the parallel, privately funded findings were not interfering with his own investi­gation, he said it was “convoluting” the system outside the courts and may be prejudicing the issue in the court of public opinion.

“For the sake of transparency and accountability, those who know better should stop making statements that seem to be seeking to undermine the investigation,” Ri­chardson said in a telephone interview.
Richardson said the investigations were moving at a “satisfactory pace” but could not reveal more because he said “it was sensitive” and “guarded”.
“It is not adding anything to the police investigation,” he said.
Richardson said he would not say whether Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s legal adviser, Israel Khan SC, was right to make public the finding of US computer expert Jon Berryhill, who claimed the e-mail addresses submitted by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley as part of his no-confidence motion in the PM were false.
“But if anyone has information that they believe could assist the investigations, the correct thing would be to give it to the police and we would deal with it,” Richardson said.
“It is not helping if people have all sort of things to say because it may cause more concern.”
He also called for everyone involved to respect the police investiga­ting the matter.
“I am a professional police officer and have been doing this job for 40 years. I wouldn’t want to start responding to all the things being said because I am staying away from the politics of it,” he said.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan was the first to produce a report on the alleged e-mails that implicated him, the Prime Minister and other high-ranking Government officials in purported criminal plots and the Section 34 fiasco.
By June 8, Ramlogan sent his statement to the investigators but included the findings of two information technology (IT) experts who had already determined the e-mails to be fake.
In that statement, which was made public by the media, both IT professionals noted discrepancies that led them to deem the documents false and tampered with.
On Monday, Khan held a media conference to ventilate the findings of his expert, Berryhill, who made the same determination.
Berryhill, speaking at that news conference, said he examined only the physical documents and not the content before making his pro­nounce­ments.
Richardson said at the end of the day, he was “after the truth”.
“I am asking people to give us the peace and space to continue with this matter.”
Richardson said he was working within a time frame but would not reveal when he expected to conclude investigations.
“It is deep-rooted, with several twists and turns; we can’t just have a speedy conclusion; it cannot be rushed. We have to investigate all areas, all angles,” he said.
He did say he has “initiated the process to engage the Central Authority” and with search engine Google.
“We have written to Google as part of the investigation,” he said, adding there has been no response to date.

General Discussion / CV trouble again
« on: June 13, 2013, 09:55:26 AM »
Opposition MP Colm Imbert is calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to “check the CV’s” of all board members in all State enterprises”.

Imbert did so in the Parliament last evening as he claimed one statutory authority board member is unqualified for the post and a senior executive of a State enterprise is related to its chairman.

This prompted Labour Minister Errol McLeod to ask Imbert when he discovered what he called the “fraud” and whether it was reported to the authorities.

During the debate on a motion to add $2.8 billion to the national budget, Imbert spoke of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, which he said is to receive an additional allocation of $27 million.

“The person named as deputy chairman is one Kurt Adjodha. This is the person that, by law, is chairman of the tenders committee or, by regulation. I have the curriculum vitae (CV) submitted by or on behalf of this gentleman, Kurt Ajodha when he was appointed to the board of the Airports Authority on the recommendation of a Cabinet Minister,” Imbert said.

Imbert claimed the CV he was referring to showed Ajodha earned a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of the West Indies (UWI), a Bachelor of Architecture from the New York Institute of Technology and a project management professional qualification from the Project Management Institute.

“Mr Speaker, I am told the University of the West Indies has no record of this fellow ever acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in engineering. This is the deputy chairman of the Airports Authority, chairman of the tenders committee. I am told that the New York Institute of Technology, School of Architecture has no record of this gentleman attending or acquiring a Bachelor of Architecture. Similarly with the project management professional, Mr Speaker,” Imbert said.

Imbert said he checked the list of engineers registered with the Board of Engineering in T&T “and there isn’t a single Ajodha on this list.
“If you go on the Internet and you look for that fella, the man is running a company called Pet City Ltd...a pet shop.”

Imbert then spoke of what he called “a situation in Nipdec.”

“The general manager of Nipdec departed from that organisation some months ago. There’s a new general manager. Who’s the general manager? I am told it’s the niece of the chairman. I am told it’s somebody who used to work in a pharmacy.”

In response to the allegation Imbert raised about Ajodha, McLeod said: “I’d like to know, certainly all of us ought to want to know, when was this fraud, if I might say so, discovered and whether we are interested in helping the process all of us. I would have brought that information to relevant authorities, except if you got it today.”

Saying there certainly is a great measure of incompleteness “in our processes” , McLeod added: “I’m sure as we go along we are going to come to scrutinising these situations more closely.”

General Discussion / Diplomatic downfall
« on: April 04, 2013, 06:45:15 AM »
‘A silent shame’ Uncle Sam shut the door

Originally printed at

By Anna Ramdass
April 2, 2013
It is a silent shame the United States government has not yet responded to queries by the Government on a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe linked to National Security Minister Jack Warner.

This was stated yesterday by Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds in his contribution on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill, 2013 at the Senate sitting at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

In piloting the bill for debate in the Senate, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had said if another country were to attempt to take over Trinidad and Tobago, assis- tance from “Uncle Sam” would be sought. Speaking just after Ramlogan, Hinds pointed out that Uncle Sam had not yet responded to this Government after two days.

“They called Uncle Sam over the last 48 hours, he shut the door on them either because he don’t trust them or because the Government is so suspect. So don’t call Uncle Sam, he will not answer you, Attorney General. He doesn’t trust you. What a shame! Uncle Sam doesn’t trust you. I will leave the rest for another place, Madam Vice President. Outside this House,” said Hinds.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in a release at the weekend, admitted there was no response yet from the US regarding the FBI probe.

She indicated she had requested Ramlogan and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran pursue the matter through diplomatic channels.

Ramlogan has written to US Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking information on the issue.

General Discussion / The Ethnic Flaw
« on: March 29, 2013, 07:57:57 AM »
<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win"></a>

<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win"></a>

I've been watching videos and reading about Thomas Sowell a lot lately. I think these vids may be of some value given the trend in recent discussions on the forum.

General Discussion / $100 Million Cocaine Bust in Central
« on: March 27, 2013, 11:55:20 AM »
Originally printed at

By Susan Mohammed Express South Bureau
March 27, 2013
COCAINE with an estimated street value of $100 million was seized by police officers in Chaguanas last night.

The drug was packaged and ready for shipment, the Express was told. Police raided a house in Endeavour at around 10 p.m and found twelve packages contained in large buckets.

The drug bust came after three days of surveillance by police officers of the Chaguanas Robbery Squad and Criminal Investigation Department.

Police moved on the house after a tip-off that the drug was to be shipped last night. No arrests were made.

The Police Service also issued a news bulletin this morning to report on the seizure of 40 pounds of marijuana.

At around 4:30pm yesterday, a party of officers from the Arouca CID and Task Force under the supervision of Senior Supt David Abraham including Sgt Charles, Sgt Pitt, Cpl Williams and PC Modeste went to an abandoned house at 2nd Hill Kandahar Five Rivers Arouca where they found and seized approximately 40lbs of marijuana with a street value of approximately $150,000.

Three men were arrested.

Football / Help Jah Gol finish his MBA
« on: March 16, 2013, 07:39:15 PM »
Ladies and Gents I need your help please. I would greatly appreciate your cooperation by completing this survey.It will assist in completing my Final Project at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. Thanks in advance for helping The Football Republic

General Discussion / Help Jah Gol finish his MBA
« on: March 16, 2013, 07:32:49 PM »
Ladies and Gents I need your help please. I would greatly appreciate your cooperation by completing this survey.It will assist in completing my Final Project at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. Thanks in advance for helping The Football Republic

General Discussion / Hindu Law Of Karma
« on: February 28, 2013, 02:26:16 PM »
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Sat Maharaj

Satgura Sivaya Subraminijaswami has written extensively on Hinduism and many of the religious thoughts and ideas that trouble and confuse the western mind. He and his Hawain swamis use their Havain Hindu retreat to research and publish for the initiated Hindu mind. They have written about the Hindu belief in karma—the law of cause and effect. Some people call it the Boomerang Principle. 
“Karma is the universal principle of cause and effect. Our actions, both good and bad, come back to us in the future, helping us to learn from life’s lessons and become better people. Karma is one of the natural laws of the mind, just as gravity is a law of matter. Just as God created gravity to bring order to the physical world, He created karma as a divine system of justice that is self-governing and infinitely fair. It automatically creates the appropriate future experience in response to the current action.
Karma simply means “action” or “cause and effect.” When something happens to us that is apparently unfortunate or unjust, it is not God punishing us. It is the result of our own past actions. The Vedas, Hinduism’s revealed scripture, tell us if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil. Thus we create our own destiny through thought and action. And the divine law is: whatever karma we are experiencing in our life is just what we need at the moment, and nothing can happen but that we have the strength to meet it.
Even harsh karma, when faced in wisdom, can be the greatest catalyst for spiritual growth. Understanding the way karma works, we seek to live a good and virtuous life through right thought, right speech and right action. This is called dharma. Karma is basically energy. I throw energy out through thoughts, words and deeds, and it comes back to me, in time, through other people. Karma is our best teacher, for we must always face the consequences for actions and thus improve and refine our behaviour, or suffer if we do not.
We Hindus look at time as a circle, as things cycle around again. Professor Einstein came to the same conclusion. He saw time as a curve, and space as well. This would eventually make a circle. Karma is a very just law which, like gravity, treats everyone the same. Because we Hindus understand karma, we do not hate or resent people who do us harm.
We understand they are giving back the effects of the causes we set in motion at an earlier time. The law of karma puts man at the centre of responsibility for everything he does and everything that is done to him. Karma is a word we hear quite often on television. “This is my karma,” or “It must have been something I did in a past life to bring such good karma to me.” We hear karma simply defined as “What goes around, comes around.”
In some schools of Hinduism, karma is looked upon as something bad, perhaps because we are most aware of this law when we are facing difficult karma, and not so aware of it when life is going smoothly. Even some Hindus equate karma with sin, and this is what evangelical Christians preach that it means “fate,” a pre-ordained destiny over which one has no control, which is also not true. The process of action and reaction on all levels, physical, mental and spiritual, is karma.
Here is an example: I say kind words to you and you feel peaceful and happy. I say harsh words to you, and you become ruffled and upset. The kindness and the harshness will return to me, through others at a later time. This is karma. An architect thinks creative, productive thoughts while drawing plans for a new building. But were he to think destructive, unproductive thoughts, he would soon not be able to accomplish any kind of positive task even if he desired to do so.
This is karma, a natural law of the mind. We must also be very careful about our thoughts, because thoughts create, and thoughts make karmas good, bad and mixed.”

General Discussion / 3 Trinis charged in roti scam
« on: February 27, 2013, 06:25:26 AM »
Larceny and conspiracy charges: Chan Jamoona

Three Trinidadians—two executives of a Queens, New York, USA, non-profit organisation; and a roti shop owner—were yesterday arrested and charged with robbing the city by grossly inflating the number of lunches served to seniors.

The persons: Chan Jamoona, 66, founder of the United Hindu Cultural Centre of USA North American Inc (UHCC), and her daughter, Veda Jamoona, 26, the executive director of the organisation, were charged along with Steven Rajkumar, 57, owner of Sonny's Roti Shop, following a probe by New York's Department of Investigation, officials said.

They were charged with grand larceny and conspiracy for stealing US$50,000 from the city's Department for the Aging by repeatedly billing the agency for phony meals, officials said.

A release from the office of the Attorney General Eric T Schneiderman yesterday announced the arrest of the three, who are accused of stealing more than US$50,000 from a lunch programme for senior citizens run by UHCC.

The 14 counts included in a felony indictment accuse the two former UHCC executive directors of stealing over US$50,000 from programmes for New York seniors by receiving kickbacks from the owner of the roti shop, a release said.

The three are charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree and grand larceny in the second degree. Chan Jamoona faces an additional eight counts of falsifying business records in the first degree and four counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. Veda Jamoona faces an additional count of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. Rajkumar faces an additional three counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

If convicted, the maximum sentence for grand larceny in the second degree, the top count, is five to 15 years' imprisonment.

They were arraigned on Monday in New York State Supreme Court in Queens County, as investigators executed a search warrant at UHCC for documents and computers that are evidence of the scheme.

"By stealing from the senior centre lunch programme, the defendants put personal greed ahead of the basic needs of New York seniors," Attorney General Schneiderman said in the release.

"When it comes to services vital for our seniors, we cannot accept fraud as a cost of doing business. My office will prosecute fraud in critical New York programmes to the fullest extent of the law," he added.

According to Department of Investigation commissioner Rose Gill Hearn, "Through fake invoices and phantom clients, these defendants systematically chiselled the city's taxpayers and shortchanged the seniors they were supposed to serve, according to the indictment. Their charged phony billing scheme was undone by meticulous fiscal analysis and old-fashioned surveillance. The Department of Investigation was pleased to work with the New York State Attorney General's Office to hold these fraudsters accountable."

The indictment, unsealed on Monday, accused the three of perpetrating a long-running scheme in which the senior centre operator inflated bills submitted to New York City's Department for the Aging (DFTA). To carry out the scheme, the indictment alleges the defendants directed UHCC workers to falsify invoices from the senior centre's caterer, Sonny's Roti Shop in Queens, and provide fake signatures on sign-in sheets.

The indictment also outlines a kick-back arrangement in which Rajkumar received payments for the inflated invoices and then kicked a portion of those payments back to Chan Jamoona.

Between 2007 and 2010, the defendants misrepresented the number of seniors served and overbilled the DFTA-administered senior centre lunch programme by at least US$50,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jihee G Suh, under the supervision of Public Integrity Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Chief William E Schaeffer and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The joint investigation between the Attorney General's Office and DOI began after referrals from DFTA and the New York State Office for the Aging. —Stabroek News

General Discussion / The Prime Minister Knew of the 'Flying Squad'
« on: February 22, 2013, 02:12:32 PM »
This deserves a thread of its own for a lil while :

Media Release
22, February 2013
It is with the greatest sense of disappointment that I listened to the voice of Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, professing to the nation that she had no prior knowledge of the reintroduction the 'Flying Squad' until now and that her government will not provide support for any such unit. She is heard on the newscasts today stating that she never had discussion on the matter.
However, in a Newsday article on Wednesday June 27, 2012 titled "PM: Flying Squad up to Jack" (,162395.html) Mrs Persad-Bissessar, on being questioned by the media at the Hilton Trinidad on 26 June, 2012 on the issue of the reintroduction of a unit fashioned after the Flying Squad,  was reported as saying "It is a proposal he has put out" The article reports that Mrs Persad-Bissessar was leaving it up to National Security Minister Mr. Jack Warner to move forward with the proposal.
The Prime Minister's professed indignation at learning that the squad is alleged to be operationalised by the Ministry of National Security is yet another attempt to distance and isolate herself from the frequent unacceptable actions of her government. Rather than provide the population with clear and unambiguous honest responses, what we have been witnessing is each responsible officer demanding some sort of report from his or her subordinate. The population deserves answers in this particular instance about what has been done and will not accept bramble and bluster about what was not signed and who did not know.
The Prime Minister is responsible for the government and must take responsibility for the people she appoints and defend particularly when their actions have been found to be inimical to the public interest and are the source of public disquiet and concern.
Dr. Keith Rowley
Leader of the Opposition
Charles St.
Port Of Spain

General Discussion / Nizam beats Max
« on: February 07, 2013, 11:12:28 AM »
Days before President George Maxwell Richards demits office, a decision he made during his ten-year tenure has been overturned in the San Fernando High Court. Yesterday, Civil Court judge Judith Jones declared Richards’ 2011 decision to revoke the appointment of chairman of the Police Service Commission, Nizam Mohammed, was “null, void and of no effect.”
However, while Jones’ decision rescinds Richards’ revocation of Mohammed’s appointment, Mohammed, a senior attorney and former Speaker, will not be able to reassume his position at the commission since Prof Ramesh Deosaran now sits as chairman. But Mohammed does not want to return either.
“I cannot work with at least three of the present commissioners, whose treachery cannot be easily forgotten,” Mohammed said yesterday as he spoke with reporters following Jones’ ruling. Mohammed did not seek damages since he said it was not about money. “My main concern was to clear my name. I was fired for incompetence and irresponsibility when all I was trying to do was to be honest,” Mohammed said.
He admitted  the damage  had already been done to his reputation because of his dismissal. “In a brutal society as ours it is not easy to repair such damage,” he added. In April 2011, Mohammed was fired after he raised the issue of an ethnic imbalance in the Police Service and pledged, as chairman, to address the matter with the help of Parliament.
Ten days after his contentious statements, Richards removed him as commission chairman. Yesterday, Jones, presiding in the San Fernando Civil Court, ruled in favour of Mohammed, who was represented by attorneys Fyard Hosein, SC, and Ravi Mungalsingh.
Attorney Gerald Ramdeen appeared on behalf of the Attorney General
Jones upheld the argument that Mohammed was not given a fair opportunity to “meet and treat with the allegations made against him and the conclusions drawn from these allegations.” The judge, in her 27-page ruling, said the circumstances under which Richards’ decision was reached, “when examined objectively, do not demonstrate fair play in action.” She described the situation as “unfortunate.”

The judge said it was not for her to determine whether the President was right or wrong but to find whether Mohammed was afforded a proper opportunity to answer the case made out against him, adding she did not think so. “I am satisfied that (Mohammed’s) constitutional protection to the right to procedural fairness has been infringed,” she ruled.
Jones said Richards’s decision contravened Mohammed’s right to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of justice and his rights and obligations as guaranteed to him by section 5(2)(e) of the Constitution. Before being removed, Mohammed was summoned to a meeting with Richards. Jones said Mohammed went to that meeting expecting that the issue of the nature and the basis of his statements about the ethnic composition of the higher ranks of the T&T Police Service would be broached.
He did not go to the meeting, she said, expecting that the question of his dismissal was being considered, and was given no notice of the President’s intention to dismiss him. Jones said unlike in the Gladys Gafoor case, no opportunity was given to Mohammed to prepare a written response, or at any time, other than in the meeting, to respond to either allegations or conclusions the President seemed willing to draw from the allegations.
“The fact that the question of his removal was in the public domain cannot be a substitute for the requirement that he be given some notice that the President was himself considering his removal,” she said. Costs were awarded to Mohammed’s legal team. However, the attorneys will return to court on March 14 to make submissions on the amount of costs to be awarded.
Mohammed called for a public apology from Richards for what he said was damage to his good name “The lesson is, no matter how high the public office you hold, you must adhere to the principles of fairness,” Mohammed said.

General Discussion / For Real ?
« on: February 07, 2013, 10:40:56 AM »

Businessman Ish Galbaransingh, left, and Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan get into the party mood at Fete to the Max at Pier 1 Chaguaramas on Sunday.
Photo Andre Alexander

Mods please don't merge yet.

General Discussion / Super Industrial Services (SIS) Thread.
« on: January 27, 2013, 07:15:49 AM »
Originally printed at

By Asha Javeed
January 26, 2013
A top financier of the People's Partnership administration has been awarded a $232.5 million contract by the National Insurance Property Development Company Ltd (Nipdec).

It is not the first contract the Krishna Lalla-owned company, Super Industrial Services (SIS), has received from the People's Partnership Government.

But it is the most lucrative to date.

On November 27 last year, Nipdec's company secretary wrote to SIS manager Einool Hosein, informing the company that Nipdec had agreed to award the $232,501,329.22 contract to SIS and its Barbados-based precasting partner, Preconco, for the design-build-construction of the Motor Vehicle Authority (MVA) in Frederick Settlement, Caroni.

SIS, the contractor linked to the completion of construction of the homes of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and former minority leader of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Ashworth Jack, was the contractor behind the $45 million Siparia Market and the $70 million Couva/Preysal Interchange. SIS is to also benefit from Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) contracts awarded by Nipdec on behalf of the Ministry of Works.

SIS's construction firm, Casa Contractors Ltd, was responsible for extension works at the Philippine residence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last March.

The firm also worked on Jack's home in Hillsborough, Mt St George, Tobago.

Lalla, the Sunday Express previously reported, had invested in the Tobago Organisation of the People's (TOP) failed campaign bid to claim control of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) by footing some of the TOP's bills for its electioneering process.

But informed sources told the Sunday Express that SIS's proposal for the MVA bore a significant error.

The Sunday Express learned SIS did not commit to a ten per cent contingency fee in its total cost for the project, which was $232.5 million. That ten per cent, which works out to be $27 million, would have taken the final cost to $259 million, which would have made it the most expensive proposal.

At $232.5 million, SIS's price was higher than other contractors such as Beijing Liujian at $160 million, Moosai Construction that was priced at $193 million, Adams Construction at $207 million and Yorke Structures Ltd at $208 million, but lower than Kee Chanona at $246 million.

The Sunday Express understands Nipdec raised the issue of the contingency fee with SIS but allowed the company to remain in the process and eventually won the contract.

When the tender was first issued in May 2012, it noted that contractors would be evaluated in seven categories—apart from the general background and financial capability of the firm, its performance history, work experience in design-build services, available manpower, present workload and eligibility based on submission of required statutory certificates.

"Prospective proponents should be capable of undertaking design-build of an office building or similar projects to a value of over 80 million dollars per year," the notice read.

The MVA is set to be constructed on five acres of land—20,000 square feet for the building and 4,000 square feet for a warehouse—and the tender also included the cost of furniture and equipment.

Shortly after the proposals were closed on July 12, 2012, Nipdec floated a $339 million, 13-year bond at an annual rate of 5.15 per cent on August 22, 2012 to finance the project.

In its terms of issue, which was published in the daily newspapers, Nipdec stated: "The proceeds of this issue will provide for the implementation of Phase II of the Motor Vehicle Authority of Trinidad and Tobago project," the terms of the bond stated.

"The principal monies and interest represented by the bonds will be charged upon and are payable out of the Consolidated Fund and are secured on the revenues and assets of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago," the terms stated.

Nipdec chairman Hamlyn Jailal, who was reappointed last week, confirmed the award to SIS in a telephone interview yesterday.

Questioned on the issue of the contingency fee, he declined to give answers but agreed to give the Sunday Express an interview this week to put matters in the public domain.

Jailal, who was campaign manager for Tunapuna MP Winston Dookeran in the May 24, 2010, general election, was first appointed deputy chairman and succeeded Ronald Ramcharan as chairman after he departed the organisation.

Nipdec is a limited liability company owned by the National Insurance Board (NIB).

Questioned on what would happen to the excess $100 million since a contract was awarded for the sum of $232.5 million, Jailal said it would be used to fund access centres around Trinidad and Tobago.

The MVA was first proposed by the former People's National Movement (PNM) administration in a heads of agreement with the government of Nova Scotia in Canada.

At that time, the MVA was priced at $45 million.

The Canadian government had recommended a partnership with the Government and the Barrington Consulting Group (BCG).

Minister of Transport Chandresh Sharma, whose ministry outsourced the procurement exercise to Nipdec, told the Sunday Express yesterday he did not know who the contract was awarded to.

"Nipdec is independent of the ministry. We just need to get the job done," he told the Sunday Express in a telephone interview from Toronto, Canada.

The Sunday Express understands the Couva-based SIS is also in the running for two other major contracts.

Last Wednesday, a recommendation was made to award the first tranche of buses for the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) to SIS by Nipdec's Tenders Committee for $35 million, the Sunday Express was informed.

According to the Draft Estimates of Development Programme for the financial year 2013, the money allocated for the buses is $20 million. In 2012, $40 million was budgeted for the buses. The Sunday Express learned that the final figure for the 100 buses, which will be done in tranches, is $100 million.

Jailal said the evaluation is still ongoing, and a recommendation does not guarantee that a contract has been awarded.

"The buses have attracted a fair amount of attention. But I am proud to say that I have been chairman of a board which has rejected proposals made by the tenders committee. Who is recommended may not be accepted by the board," he told the Sunday Express.

The Nipdec board includes Ravi Ramoutar, Navindra Ramnanan, Melissa Bart-Smith, Dwight Stoute and Krishmanie Misir.

SIS owner Lalla did not respond to calls to his cellphone yesterday.

A number of attempts to reach company officials by phone last week were also unsuccessful.

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / SUPA SUPA SUPA
« on: January 04, 2013, 09:58:29 AM »
I'm giving this a thread of its own

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General Discussion / Observer Editorial
« on: December 11, 2012, 06:54:06 PM »
The more important issue is abuse of substance
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

MS Verna St Rose Greaves, Trinidad and Tobago's former minister of gender, youth, and child development, raised many eyebrows in the region recently with her allegation that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar "has an issue which must be addressed frontally".

That, unfortunately, has been widely interpreted to mean substance abuse, the substance being alcohol. The upshot is that it has become common talk among Trinidadians and has been posted on YouTube undoubtedly by politically motivated detractors.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has categorically denied the allegation, stating publicly that she has "no such problem" and would have "nothing further to say with respect to that".
Her attorney general, Anand Ramlogan, has come to her defence, suggesting that there is a case to answer. Whether any such action will materialise is yet to be seen. However, this type of rumour is the stuff of great calypsos in a country famous for making fun of politicians.

It is, though, an unfortunate distraction from the serious centripetal forces tearing the increasingly fragile political coalition which constitutes the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The real problem in the energy-rich republic is not substance abuse, but the abuse of substance. By that we mean the abuse of the substance of government business because of the ethnic stocking of public offices and the widespread perception of corruption.

This year, on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, Trinidad and Tobago was ranked 80 out of 176 countries, down from 71 in 2011. In fact, Trinidad and Tobago scored 39 on a scale of 100, on par with Jamaica and behind the rest of the Caribbean islands.

One of the egregious aspects of corruption is what is known as "ethnic stocking" — the appointment to public office, including overseas posts, on the basis of ethnicity to ensure ethnic monopoly of political power.

Notwithstanding Minister Jack Warner, the current Government of Trinidad and Tobago has systematically practised ethnic stocking; rewarding individuals with positions even though they not qualified, either by professional training or by pertinent transferable work experience.

The instances of local appointments are too numerous to discuss, but the embarrassment associated with overseas appointees poses reputational damage. Ms Therese Baptiste-Cornelis was fired as ambassador to the United Nations, Geneva after some inappropriate remarks. There was even a case of a diplomat assigned to the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in London being charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine.

Many people in Trinidad and Tobago do not want to tackle ethnic stocking because persons who raise the issue are accused of being racist in a society guilty of self-delusion about racial harmony.

There needs to be a parliamentary review of appointees to local and overseas posts to ensure that they possess the necessary qualifications and years of pertinent experience, and to establish a transparent selection process free of ethnic bias.

Read more:

General Discussion / Not exactly sure where to put this
« on: November 23, 2012, 10:10:16 PM »
This is where we reach

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General Discussion / CHARGED FOR pm DEATH THREAT
« on: October 16, 2012, 08:37:53 AM »

Originally printed at
By Rickie Ramdass
October 15, 2012

A Port of Spain porter spent last night in prison following his appearance in the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court yesterday charged with threatening the life of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Nicolai Marfan, 23, was granted bail in the sum of $75,000 but was taken to the Port of Spain prison on Frederick Street as he was unable to have the bail bond secured before the closure of the court yesterday.

He is accused of making a phone call to officers of the E-999 Rapid Response Unit last Wednesday stating he was going to kill Persad-Bissessar.

The matter was initially scheduled to be called in the Third Court before Magistrate Cheron Raphael but was later transferred to be heard before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Eighth Court.

A lone relative of the accused was on the precincts of the court during the morning period, but was not present when the matter came up for hearing before Ayers-Caesar.

Marfan, a porter at Piarco International Airport, pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before the Chief Magistrate yesterday.

Asked if he had an lawyer prior to his pleading not guilty, Marfan, who lives at Charford Court on Charlotte Street, told the magistrate he had spoken with an attorney on Sunday but could not recall his name.

"I have a lawyer, but I have no idea where he is and I can't remember his name," Marfan said.

The police prosecutor in the matter told the court that the prosecution was not objecting to bail, but asked that the seriousness of the alleged offence be taken into consideration.

As a condition of his bail bond, Marfan is also required to report to the Besson Street Police Station every Monday and Thursday.

He was arrested at his workplace on Friday during a sting operation by members of the Port of Spain Criminal Investigations Department (CID) led by ASP Ajith Persad and Cpl Anthony Williams.

Persad laid the charge on Sunday evening after he was given the all-clear to do so by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard SC.

The matter will continue on November 8.

General Discussion / Prakash backs Howai's decision to fire lawyers
« on: October 15, 2012, 06:51:06 AM »
Prakash backs Howai's decision to fire lawyers

Originally printed at
By Camille Bethel
October 14, 2012

Political Leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Prakash Ramadhar sees no issue with the Minister of Finance Larry Howai's decision to fire lawyers who were representing the Ministry in the CLICO Commission of Enquiry and replacing them with new ones.

Under current Finance Minister Larry Howai, the team of lawyers headed by Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein and Michael Quamina, who had been hired under former finance minister Winston Dookeran's watch, were axed and replaced by Seenath Jairam SC, president of the Law Association, leading Jagdeo Singh and Congress of the People chairman Joseph Toney last week.

Ramadhar yesterday told the media during an interview at the COP office at Caroni Savannah Road, Charlieville: "The People's Partnership is about fairness and you cannot have a select few in any field whether legal or otherwise getting all of the work, all of the time. I can tell you I have been a lawyer for 25-plus years and I have never received a brief from any State agency or from government. I am very happy with that but in terms of the wider fairness, we do not want it to be that a select group getting all of the work and I think we should be looking at it in that positive light."

Ramadhar added that he would like to believe that this was an attempt to allow the best talents of the country to get opportunities that they have never had and said he is sure that the fired lawyers would understand that there is a need to share the spread of government work.

Responding to questions by the media Toney said he received a junior brief to represent the Ministry of Finance at the Commission of Enquiry.

"I want to make the point I am representing the Ministry of Finance. I am not representing the present Ministry of Finance I shall be representing the Ministry of Finance which was in office at the time in office of the Clico/HCU fiascoes so it is not to say that I will be representing the government of the day

By Richard Charan
Story Created: Sep 12, 2012 at 4:08 PM ECT
Story Updated: Sep 12, 2012 at 5:06 PM ECT
The Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC)
has called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to give
a full account of why a contentious provision of the Administration
of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act was proclaimed in the midst
of the nation's 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations.

The JCC also views as a matter of serious concern President George Maxwell Richards decision to assent to the clauses "at that particular moment of national celebration".

The JCC's statement, signed by its president Afra Raymond, also called for a repeal of the Act so that the defendants in the Piarco Airport terminal project cases can be prosecuted.
The House of Representatives convened in emergency session today for the purpose of repealing the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act.

The follow is a full text of the statement of the JCC's statement.

- The JCC is completely opposed to the recently-proclaimed provisions of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011 which have the effect of creating a loophole to allow the high-profile persons accused in the Piarco Airport scandal to escape trial.

The Bernard Commission was an expensive and critical Enquiry into the Piarco Airport scandal which revealed evidence of massive corruption, bid-rigging, bribe-paying, back-fitting and other practices which amounted to a series of criminal assaults on our nation's Treasury. The JCC played a leading role in calling for and submitting evidence to the Bernard Commission which exposed abuse of power and corrupt practices in some of the highest offices in our country. There have been high-level convictions and imprisonments arising directly from the Bernard Commission, yet there has been no action on effectively prosecuting the accused parties in our own Courts.

The effect of the new laws which were proclaimed would have been to create a legal means for those accused persons to escape a trial and oblige the Court to have made a verdict of not guilty. The JCC deplores such an intended result in this matter as being contrary to good order and seemingly intended to promote the notion that white-collar crime pays.

The JCC is calling for immediate corrective action by the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, including repealing the recently-proclaimed sections of this Act, to ensure that the trials of the Piarco Airport scandal accused can proceed as promised on several occasions to the public.

Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

Even after the necessary immediate corrective action, the JCC is calling on the Prime Minister to make a formal, full statement to the Parliament to give an accounting for the manner in which this most important matter has been handled, including why it was thought advisable to have those particular clauses of this new law proclaimed at the particular moment of celebrating our country's 50th anniversary of Independence.

Given the specific assurances given to the Parliament as to the pre-conditions to the government's intended proclamation of this new law, the role of the President in assenting to these particular clauses at that particular moment of national celebration and maximum distraction is a matter for serious concern.

Publish the Bernard Report now

The JCC is repeating its call for the immediate publication of the full Report of the Bernard Commission into the Piarco Airport scandal.

Implement the Uff Report recommendations now

The JCC is calling on this administration to implement the Uff Report recommendations now as promised in the 2010 election campaign. The JCC completely rejects the position of the Minister of Justice that the Joint Select Committee on Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property is handling that implementation process. Only one of the 91 recommendations of the Uff Report has any relation to the work of that Joint Select Committee, so those need to be implemented now.

If this administration is serious about attacking the wave of white-collar crime which is drowning our country, the Uff Report recommendations will be implemented now.

Public Procurement reform now

The JCC is renewing its call for the immediate implementation of a new Public Procurement system to eliminate the waste and theft of Public Money. This administration campaigned on a promise to implement the new Public Procurement system within one year of the May 2010 election, so we are way overdue for those new laws.

The JCC and its colleagues in the Private Sector/Civil Society group have submitted a complete DRAFT BILL to the Joint Select Committee, so that needs to become law now.

If this administration is serious about attacking the wave of white-collar crime which is drowning our country, the DRAFT BILL on Public Procurement and disposal of Public Property as prepared by the Private Sector/Civil Society group will be immediately tabled in Parliament for debate and enactment

In this, our nation's 50th year of independence, our Parliament re-convened during its vacation to approve Financial laws on the request of a foreign government.

The JCC is calling for Parliament to be reconvened for the immediate correction of this gross error in proclaiming this new law.

The JCC is also calling on this administration to make the passing of new Public Procurement laws an urgent priority.

Football / Official Footballers who have case thread
« on: August 14, 2012, 12:04:06 PM »
Ribery, Benzema face trial over underage escort

French international footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema are to face trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute, judicial sources said on Tuesday.

The footballers are among eight people that investigating magistrate Andre Dando has sent for trial as well as the Zaman Cafe on Paris' Champs Elysees where the meetings with Zahia Dehar took place.

Some of the defendants will be prosecuted for "aggravated pimping", according to judicial papers.

Paris prosecutors had in 2011 requested that the case against the two French football stars be dropped on the grounds that they did not know that Dehar was aged under 18.

Dehar, now 20, told police she was paid for sex with Ribery in 2009 and Benzema in 2008 when she was aged 16. She claimed that both players were not aware that she was under age.

The affair broke during 2010 and tarnished the image of the France football team just weeks ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

Ribery, 29, plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and 24-year-old Benzema with Primera Liga giants Real Madrid.

Both face a possible three years in prison or a 45,000 euro fine.

Ribery and Benzema have been named in France coach Didier Deschamps' squad for the friendly game against Uruguay in the northern city of Le Havre on Wednesday.

But Deschamps refused to comment on the situation, calling it "a delicate subject".

"I won't be commenting on it as it has a private dimension. It's in the court's hands. It will not change my demands about players' behaviour on and off the pitch with respect to the French team," he told reporters.

"I am concentrating on the essentials so tomorrow (Wednesday) we see a France team that wants to go forward and wants to win."

General Discussion / PM booed at band launch
« on: August 03, 2012, 06:58:51 AM »

By Nigel Telesford

Story Created: Aug 2, 2012 at 11:01 PM ECT

Story Updated: Aug 2, 2012 at 11:01 PM ECT

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was loudly booed by patrons after her arrival was announced at the launch of mas band YUMA's 2013 presentation, Imagine, on Wednesday night.

Venue was Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain.

Against proper protocols, the MC at the time announced the arrival of President George Maxwell Richards, followed by the Prime Minister and then visiting Nigerian Head of State, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, when all Heads of State are supposed to be announced before Heads of Government.

However, while Richards and Jonathan received cheers, Persad-Bissessar was booed by a large section of the crowd. All three dignitaries and their entourages left the venue soon after.

It was just after 11 p.m. and the audience of hundreds had grown restless while waiting for the costumes to be presented. Throughout the evening, DJs Sean Christian, 5Star Akil and Studio Guys Movement kept the gathering entertained with a hype mix of popular music while advertising the arrival of "some very special guests".

Scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to midnight, by the time the costume presentation began following the arrival of the "special guests", it was received as an anticlimactic interruption of the festivities.

Expressions of elation quickly changed to confusion and then astonishment, as the audience reacted negatively to the 13 sections of the band.

The negative comments blasted throughout the social networks as the costumes were unveiled. Similar to the backlash experienced by Island People following its 2012 launch of HEROES, the YUMA presentation created an instant buzz of negative reactions online.

YUMA's 2013 presentation, Imagine, is designed by Crystal Aming, Stacy Barrow, Derron Dune, Jannelle Layne, Rawle Permanand, Christine Saddler and Stacy David.

General Discussion / Spalk and the COP
« on: July 08, 2012, 10:21:47 PM »
No disciplinary action against Anil, says Ramadhar
Originally printed at

July 8, 2012
The Congress of the People (COP) has no intention of taking disciplinary action against Minister of Sport and COP member Anil Roberts, for his continued criticism of the party's leadership, Political Leader Prakash Ramadhar said yesterday.

Roberts criticised Ramadhar following the demolition of the Highway Re-Route Movement camp in Debe two weeks ago, saying that the party was being run in an "eccentric" manner and that he (Roberts) may reconsider where he belonged.

Asked whether Roberts' continued digs at him would lead to disciplinary action Ramadhar said: "That member's utterances is subject of national attention and therefore he is defining himself by his actions. The party's position is we have to be disciplined, we have to be conscious of the example we set for children and how we strengthen the respect for leaders and politicians in the society, and let the society ask the questions as to who really deserves to be in political space. So we allow persons to show their true colours at this point in time."

He said although Roberts comments has potential to "temporarily hurt" the party this can only happen if the real vision of the party is not understood.

"We believe in free speech, we believe in democracy and your right to succeed or your right to prove yourself a failure. The COP is here to stay and there are many who will come and go. Sometimes we wish they would go quicker, but we allow that process to take its course," he said.

The party's vice chairman Vernon De Lima said they have not seen Roberts at COP meetings for the past two years.

"When you look for him you can't find him and he's been invited to every meeting we have had."

The COP National Council decided at it's meeting yesterday that elections for their national executive will be held on October 28, Ramadhar said.

—Camille Bethel

General Discussion / Amery Browne: Release Cheryl from St Ann's
« on: April 05, 2012, 06:40:22 AM »
Amery Browne: Release Cheryl from St Ann's
Originally printed at

By Anna Ramdass
April 4, 2012
The forced hospitalisation of a Government employee to a mental asylum was a shameful travesty that occurred in this country, says Opposition MP Dr Amery Browne.

Browne yesterday called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan to take immediate action to release Cheryl Miller from St Ann's hospital.

"I call upon the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister to immediately reverse this travesty, Mr Speaker I call upon the Minister of Health as well to make them investigate who made that call to the North West Regional Health Authority...who made that call to procure the mental health officers to resolve a simple office dispute and a citizen standing up for her rights in such a brutal and dictatorial manner," said Browne.

Miller, an employee of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, was forcibly taken from the Ministry's office two weeks ago by mental health workers and taken to St Ann's hospital after a dispute with a senior Ministry official. She is still a patient there.

Browne criticised what he called the breach of Miller's rights at the Senate sitting yesterday in his contribution to the Regional Health Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2011.

He disclosed that on Tuesday he met with Miller's family, work colleagues and former workmates who were all unhappy over the situation.

The Government, he said, was silent on this issue and speaking to everything else under sun while pretending to care about human rights and health care of the nation's citizens.

Minister of Gender Youth and Child Development, Verna St Rose-Greaves, on Tuesday said she was sorry for what happened to Miller but added that the action was taken out of concern for Miller's safety and those around her in the workplace.

Browne took issue with this saying, "The evidence presented to the public suggests that no violence or threat of violence to the self or anyone else was involved, this was simply a lady standing up for her rights...isn't that what the Parliament is all about? Defending the rights of the defenselessly?"

"Mr Speaker I am ashamed that a violation of human rights occurred right here in Tower D on the Waterfront of Trinidad and Tobago and it's a disgrace that two caring Ministries — the Ministry of Health and the new Ministry of Gender Child and Youth Development — had to find themselves at the core of this particular travesty," he said.

He said persons who were involved in taking the decision to send Miller to St Ann's hospital are now "withdrawing and pretending that they were not involved".

According to Miller's colleagues, said Browne, the Minister was seen interacting and speaking to her (Miller) before she was dragged off to the mental asylum.

House Speaker Wade Mark interjected and cautioned Browne to not bring the conduct of a Minister into question.

"It is clear that senior officials from the Ministry of Gender Child and Youth Development were very much involved in the decision to abuse the rights of this citizen and invoke the Mental Health Act in a manner in which in should never be implemented in a democratic society," Browne continued.

He noted that people who stood up for their rights were forcibly taken to mental hospitals back in the 1940s in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

This approach, he said, must never be taken in this country.

"Any citizen can get to work on a normal morning and be concerned that the Government can call the mental health team to haul them away to a psychiatric hospital, this was not someone ranting and raving on the streets," said Browne.

Mark again intervened advising Browne that he cannot base his entire contribution on the Mental Health Act and he needs to make a connection to the Bill which deals with procurement.

Browne said the connection was clear- someone from the Ministry sought to procure the services of a mental institution to forcibly hospitalise Miller in abuse of the Mental Health Act. See Page 12 Opinion

General Discussion / $M LIFT FOR PM
« on: March 25, 2012, 07:58:51 AM »
Originally printed at

By Asha Javeed
March 25, 2012
An elevator has been installed at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's to give Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar easier access to her accommodations at her official residence.

The elevator, intended for the Housing Development Corporation's (HDC) Victoria Keys apartments at Diego Martin, was installed at the PM's official residence a few weeks ago.

There is already one elevator, closer to the media room where the government hosts press conferences, at the massive multi-purpose facility at La Fantasie, St Ann's.

The elevator, acquired from RBP Lifts, is estimated to cost about $1 million.

It was installed a few weeks ago, under instructions from the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT), which manages the Diplomatic Centre.

UDeCOTT is chaired by Jearlean John, who is also the chief executive of the HDC.

The contractor of Victoria Keys said yesterday he was contracted to work under HDC and would not disclose any information.

He directed the Sunday Express to the project manager for that HDC project, Indar Outar.

A top UDeCOTT official said yesterday the HDC had the lift in storage to be installed in December at its housing complex.

"The lift was sitting there and HDC had no plans to install it until the end of the year," the Sunday Express was told.

The official dismissed concern about if an asset from the HDC could be used by another State company.

"The lift was in storage. The vendor was approached to use the lift for another project," was the explanation given. UDeCOTT will foot the bill for the elevator and another one will be ordered for the HDC project.

Questioned on what area of the Diplomatic Centre the lift was located, the official declined to say citing "security reasons".

"It's there. It's State property," the Sunday Express was told.

The rationale for the lift, the Sunday Express was told, followed the Prime Minster's health challenges and that of her husband Dr Gregory Bissessar who underwent heart surgery last year.

The new lift opens to a corridor leading to Persad-Bissessar's bedroom, the Sunday Express was told.

The Sunday Express learnt that accommodation for an elevator (a lift shaft) to the residential area of the Diplomatic Centre was part of the building when it was handed over to former prime minister Patrick Manning but it was not installed.

"The high capacity lift was designed to carry almost 15 passengers up some six storeys so it is considerably over-designed for her living area," an informed source explained.

During her election bid in 2010, Persad-Bissessar had said she would not occupy the PM's residence.

After she became Prime Minister, she had told reporters she offered the facility to President George Maxwell Richards after the roof of the President's house collapsed.

Richards declined the offer and Persad-Bissessar moved into the residence in June 2010.

In the intervening period between her successful election bid and moving into the residence, Persad-Bissessar had stayed with family friends, the Gopauls in Tunapuna which resulted in an investigation by the Integrity Commission.

She said the residence and Diplomatic Centre would be open to the people as is the custom in the United States with the White House.

While in Opposition, the former administration and Manning were heavily criticised for the residence and it was described as Manning's "emperor's palace".

In July 2010, former press secretary Garvin Nicholas had facilitated a press tour of the Centre which showcased the $3 million drapes, a hair salon, a fitness centre, a swimming pool and a chapel.

The Diplomatic Centre cost over $150 million and was constructed by Shanghai Construction Company in less than a year.

Football / Deivid
« on: February 23, 2012, 07:27:28 AM »
<a href=";feature=player_embedded" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">;feature=player_embedded</a>

Football / Soca Warriors seize TTFF assets
« on: February 08, 2012, 08:31:32 AM »
Reporting from the TTFF Office

The bailiffs have arrived

Weary and Brownsugar are AWOL from d wok

Fort the record Brownsugar is at the phamarcy and Weary is at the Credit Union. That's their story and they're sticking to it.

General Discussion / A plot to embarrass PM
« on: February 05, 2012, 10:20:19 PM »
Originally printed at

By Anna Ramdass
February 5, 2012
THERE is a plot against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to embarrass her and undermine the good work that she has been doing in her constituency and nationally as a whole.

This was the view expressed yesterday by several Government Ministers and Members of Parliament (MP) who told the Express that people are being 'imported' from various areas to stage protests and malign MPs.

Justice Minister Herbert Volney who is the St Joseph MP said he, too, is a victim of this plot.

"What is happening is people are being imported from all areas, different constituencies, to make it look as though we are not performing," said Volney.

"Ever since we came into Government there has been no honeymoon period and this Government has been continuously attacked from all fronts,'' said Volney.

"The leader of the Opposition walked in Maitagual, a part of my constituency that has traditionally supported the Opposition and he walked with people from all over the area except with the people of Maitagual," Volney alleged.

"It is happening all over the country; in the constituency of Collin Partap I have seen that happen; it has happened in my constituency, it is orchestrated by those against the Government who have their grouses,' Volney added.

He said the People's Partnership inherited a country that was neglected by the former PNM administration and Government was doing the best it can to deliver to the people although they are saddled with heavy debts left by the PNM.

"What they are doing is trying to embarrass the Prime Minister. I saw a spokesman from the group that was protesting wearing a trade union uniform and there is a battle with the trade union over the five per cent wage gap," said Volney.

He said there are many positive initiatives in the pipeline, especially for Siparia—which will see the construction of a large judicial complex.

Local Government Minister and Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma said persons from Moruga and Arouca were identified as being part of the protest in the Siparia constituency.

"The honourable Prime Minister remains one of the most popular members of is simple for one to check, a number of persons who were protesting were not from her constituency, there were people there from Moruga and Arouca," said Sharma.

He said it would be "foolish" for any MP to expect that he or she has 100 per cent support from every constituent and there would be those who would be upset that services are not being delivered as fast as they would like.

Sharma said people are free to protest as he pointed out that protests were also held against former prime ministers Patrick Manning, ANR Robinson, Basdeo Panday and George Chambers.

However, Sharma said in the case of Persad-Bissessar it does not add up. "If it is orchestrated, it is a dangerous thing to do," he said.

Minister of Housing and the Environment and MP for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal, said the protests and sense of dissatisfaction emanating from the PM's constituency were questionable.

"I found it curious that the protest would be in the Prime Minister's constituency where there has been an enormous amount of infrastructure work. The Siparia constituency has a full staff and they regularly, at least with me, aggressively represent the constituents," said Moonilal.

"The other curious development is that those persons who were contented to protest every morning did not form a delegation and visit the constituency office and have discussions with the relevant staff," added Moonilal.

In his constituency, Moonilal said, he has a team in place who are empowered to meet with constituents who feel aggrieved.

"It's strange that the group of people are just happy making noises and putting on costumes. It may be part of the season,'' said Moonilal as he stressed that mechanisms are in place to hear any person who has a problem.

Minister in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development and Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial has been defending the Prime Minister on blogs where the matter was discussed.

Contacted yesterday, Ramdial said, "I think the facts that we have been getting so far is that there are some operatives out there working against the Government; from the evidence we want to suspect that some of these protests are being staged and therefore it is being done to undermine the MP's good work."

She said given the strain on the economy, MPs do not get all that they request, but, they are working to deliver to the people.

Trade Minister and Chaguanas East MP Stephen Cadiz said that it was unfortunate that people are unreasonable.

He said he cannot ascertain whether there was a plot to embarrass the Prime Minister; however, he said that if people are aggrieved, then they should not burn tyres on the roads but go to the offices and formally make a complaint.

"Maybe that particular protest was not totally legitimate, but I would think that people would understand that the Prime Minister is the Prime Minister, she does not have the time that other members of Parliament have, she is responsible for looking after the entire nation," said Cadiz.

Senator Danny Maharaj, who has been assisting the staff at the Siparia constituency, said while one understands that some people will be frustrated, it was untrue to state that the Prime Minister has lost touch with the people of the constituency.

He said Persad-Bissessar is a very busy person but she ensured that systems are put in place so that the grievances of the people are noted and attended to.

"There has been a lot of work in the constituency in terms of roads, play parks, generally people are satisfied," he said.

Maharaj said there are many expectations from the people but so too throughout the country which he said was neglected by the PNM.

"The Prime Minister is visible in her constituency, she is totally in tune and intimate with the operations of her constituency office, she keeps in touch via e-mails, calls and comes down here to deliver on projects," said Maharaj.

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