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Soca star Terri Lyons shines in acting role

Pecan this is about the film Kevin Adams Produce

Story Created: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:00 PM ECT
Story Updated: Feb 7, 2013 at 8:21 AM ECT )

The lads of the Youth Training Centre (YTC) will be in for a Carnival treat as the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) screens two movies at the YTC in Arouca, on Saturday, as part of the Festival's Carnival Film Series (CFS).
Sponsored by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Co Ltd, the CFS is a showcase of Carnival-themed narrative and documentary films. Public screenings have been taking place across the country since January, but the YTC screening is a closed event.
The two films to be screened are by young local filmmakers.

The first, Pashan of the Froot, written and directed by Nadissa Haynes is a hilarious mock documentary about a singer who believes himself to be much more talented and popular than he actually is.
The second film, No Soca, No Life, written and directed by Kevin Adams, is an inspirational film about a young woman, Olivia, from a deprived background. Blessed with an amazing singing voice, Olivia is determined to overcome the obstacles before her and make it as a soca star.
Terri Lyons, who plays Olivia, won the award for best actress at the ttff/12 for her performance in the film.

Both Nadissa Haynes and Kevin Adams will be on hand at the screening to introduce their films and engage the young people in question-and-answer sessions afterwards.
This is the second time the ttff will host a screening at YTC, after a successful event there in 2012.
"The YTC screenings reinforce our commitment to using film as an instrument of social transformation," said Melvina Hazard, ttff's director of Community Development.
"Through these films and Q&A sessions, we hope to inspire the lads towards productive forms of creative expression. We also hope that sometime in the future we will be able to showcase a film made by the lads in our annual festival."
The YTC has as its main aim the rehabilitation and training of the lads committed to its custody, which would allow them to return to and function beneficially in the society from which, by due process of law, they have been temporarily set apart.
To this end the centre has an active and varied programme of activities, including academic study, arts, sports and technical-vocational training.
The ttff is held annually in September and October and is presented by Flow and given leading sponsorship by RBC Royal Bank and bpTT.
For more information visit www.ttfilmfestival.com.

General Discussion / De Mighty Kevin sings
« on: February 02, 2013, 06:08:27 AM »
De Mighty Kevin sings

 By Kevin Baldeosingh

Story Created: Jan 31, 2013 at 10:00 PM ECT
Story Updated: Feb 1, 2013 at 6:36 AM ECT )

Once again, it is time for my almost-annual calypso. But this year I have a problem. You see, my custom is to write a calypso which deals with a topic the real calypsonians won't sing, using actual rhymes, and as well as words they can't understand. From 2000 to 2010, this was easy, since the PNM was in power and only a couple of calypsonians were criticising the government or using words of more than two syllables.
Now, however, the People's Partnership is in office, so pretty much every calypsonian will be singing songs that badtalk the Government, although still with bad rhymes. That isn't my problem, though. My problem is that commentary calypso earns just a few thousands of dollars at best, whereas soca gets millions. And I would like to be a millionaire, if only so I could pay for full-page ads every week to badtalk herbalists, religious fundamentalists, and curry tofu.
So, this year, in order to distinguish myself from the real calypsonians and have a shot at getting real money, I am writing a soca tune which praises the People's Partnership administration. And, if anyone feels I've sold out, it's only because they are Machel Montano.

Paean for the PP

Lyrics by KB, © 2013

This year I come to praise the


Not to bury it;

I here to raise the PP

From its hairy pit.

CHORUS: So if you like PP

Open your mouth

If you love PP

Doh spit it out.

PP is the best

(Bend over, bend over)

PP pass de test

(Spend over, spend over)

If you want to get big wuk

You have to like PP

This eh no joke,

Just look at Reshmi.

If you want big house

Grow pumpkin and bhaji

Doh try selling souse,

Just sell the PP.

You will get big contract

If you take PP,

You could get your back scratch

If you scratch back de PP.

CHORUS: Everybody in de


Build house, buy ah car,

To raise up de PP

Require plenty Viagra.

Embrace the PP

If things hard

Put up de tepee

And get on bad bad bad!

Kamla lead the PP,

Men do what she say;

They all stand behind she

So they could get pay.

Kamla is de queen,

She have PP control,

She de best PM ever seen:

So say Sugar Aloes.

PP keep Kamla smiling,

She riding helicopter;

Governance by liming,

Who could ever top her?

CHORUS: So if you like PP

Open your mouth,

Drive with de PP

Like a maxi tout.

Wine on PP all day,

Juk it up, juk it up,

Get pay to dingolay

For no wuk it up, no wuk it up.

You could fight crime with PP,

Just declare ah Emergency.

Lock up black men only

Plus a 14-year-old granny.

Tim get pedagogy

Because he is ah PP,

Anil get Sport Ministry

By sharing de PP.

Now Jack in charge of security

To stop thievery,

Except in de Treasury,

Is PP crime policy.

CHORUS: So if you believe in


Spread de word to all

Preach like Pastor Cuffie

How Kamla stand tall.

Pray every day for PP

And you will get plenty,

If you want more PP

Just make your wallet empty.

Get in your section 34,

Volney have no PP,

Wine like a dirty whore,

And blame de DPP.

Anand like PP

So PP like he

As non-criminal AG

While Volney gone Crazy.

Get in your Section 34,

One fool fool everybody,

No such thing as worthy poor

Ish and Steve PP on we we.

CHORUS: So if you like PP

Open your mouth.

If you swallow PP

Doh spit it out.

Wave de PP

(Oil it, oil it)

Hold de PP

(In de toilet, toilet)

A nation that take PP

Will prosper and grow,

PP make everybody happy

From head to bottom to toe.

Larry tell we how or why

To allocate ah Budget,

Ten million was he bligh

To keep the country in deficit.

CHORUS: So if you like PP

Just shout it out.

If you love it deeply

Spout it out.

Woman like PP

(De PP stand strong)

Some men like PP

(PP can do no wrong).

If you good with PP,

You could get Integrity

To excuse Vidwatie,

With no legality.

You would get Equal Opportunity

To badtalk Hilton Sandy,

To analyse politically

With a PP PhD.

You could make up CV

For de coup enquiry,

All you need for degree

Is a friend with PP.

CHORUS: So if you like PP

Open your mouth,

If you swallow PP

Doh spit it out.

Eat ah food, eat ah food!

PP does feed you good.

Get on rude, get on rude!

PP give we good wood.


Govt bows to pressure; suspends HPV vaccines for girls in schools

Story Created: Jan 29, 2013 at 9:58 PM ECT
Story Updated: Jan 30, 2013 at 6:06 AM ECT )

The Ministry of Health has suspended its Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination programme for young girls at the primary and secondary schools following pressure from denominational school boards.
The programme has not been stopped entirely but has been shifted from schools to community health centres.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry said that as part of its educational campaign, meetings were held with the various stakeholders from since September 2012 before the commencement of the HPV vaccination programme in January this year. Some of the organisations invited could not attend the sensitisation meetings, the ministry said.
The organisations invited but which could not attend were the Hindu School Board, Catholic School Board, Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, it added.
With the approval of the Ministry of Education, the HPV vaccination programme was implemented using the Ministry of Health's school-based Expanded Programme of Immunisation at the nation's primary and secondary schools.
"However, because of the concerns of some denominational boards, a decision has been taken to suspend the administration of the HPV vaccination through the ministry's school-based immunisation programme," the statement said yesterday.
Arrangements will be put in place for the continuation of the HPV vaccination programme through the community health centres. Parents wishing to have their daughters receive the HPV vaccine for protection against cervical cancer can call or visit their nearest community health centre to make an appointment for the vaccine, the ministry said.
Any school wishing to make arrangements for the immunisation of their pupils against cervical cancer can contact the ministry's Expanded Programme of Immunisation Department at 627-9085 to make arrangements for the ministry's district health visitors to visit the school.
The Roman Catholic Church said on Monday it was opposed to the anti-cervical cancer vaccine in schools within its archdiocese and questioned the safety of the HPV vaccines being administered to pre-teen girls at several primary schools.
The Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM), supported by Archbishop Joseph Harris, said it "strongly recommends that parents of children attending Roman Catholic schools should desist from allowing their children to be vaccinated with Gardasil, pending further advice from CEBM".
"The CEBM has not been consulted regarding the Ministry of Health's voluntary programme of vaccination against the HPV virus, which began in schools last week," the release said.
The Roman Catholic Church said its board of management cited "serious dangers" from use of the vaccine (including death) which have been associated with the drug.
But the Ministry of Health maintained yesterday the HPV vaccine is safe and effective and that the vaccination programme is not mandatory but a voluntary programme.
Over 60 million HPV vaccines have been introduced in 40 countries, the ministry said

Other Sports / Taila pleads for $130,000
« on: January 27, 2013, 09:07:45 AM »

Taila pleads for $130,000

...former national volleyballer can’t pay for final semester at university


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rhonda Krystal Rambally

Taila de Souza hugs a pole bearing the T&T flag while on campus during International Week at the American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts, last year.

Former national volleyball player Taila de Souza is in need of funds for her final semester at the American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts. The 24-year-old is pursuing a doctor of physical therapy and has to pay approximately $130,000 by February 14 to complete a 12-week clinical internship.
She is hoping at least 20,000 readers of the T&T Guardian in print and online can donate the minimum amount of US$1 to her US$20,410 fees. De Souza played on the national volleyball team from 2002 until 2008. She possesses a BSc cum laude in interdepartmental science from the same college and upon completion of her final semester will fulfil her dream of becoming a physical therapist.
The physical therapy programme is an accelerated “3+3” programme where the student completes three years of undergraduate coursework as pre-requisites before moving on to complete three years of graduate level work. At the end of the first year of graduate level work, the BSc is conferred as a means of giving students credit for completing four years of work.
The past student of St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, said, “I have completed all required coursework with the exception of submitting a final draft of my research project to pass a one-credit scientific inquiry course and a 12-week clinical internship course worth ten credits.”
She contacted the T&T Guardian with the hope that good Samaritans, the Government or the corporate sector will make donations towards her fundraising project http://gogetfunding.com/project/taila-s-last-semester-of-college. De Souza earned a four-year athletic scholarship by playing volleyball and tennis at the NCAA Division II level.
The Cunupia resident began studies in the fall semester of 2008 and her last scholarship-funded semester was spring 2012. She said, “I recognised at the very beginning of my studies that I only had four years of scholarship funding so I worked very hard taking the maximum course load each semester such that I was able to complete undergraduate requirements in one less year, making the total time needed for me to complete my studies in five years instead of six.
“My college does not offer any financial aid for graduate school students who are not permanent residents or citizens of the United States, so to pay for my tuition expenses last semester my mother had to work extremely hard to procure a loan, and she is unable to get another one to pay for this semester.”
Fulfilling my dream
 De Souza is willing to give back to T&T. She chose her field so she could contribute to the development of the public health sector in T&T. “Becoming a physical therapist meant a lot to me. “Physical therapy is a lot more than just putting ultrasound on a sprained ankle or rehabilitating sports injuries. “It covers any area where people need to return to their prior level of function.”
De Souza’s thirst for success has a lot to do with her coming from a single-income household. Her father died when she was six and her mother worked to support Taila and her sister. She said, “Last year, when my NCAA eligibility ran out, my mother made the ultimate sacrifice and took out another mortgage on her home to come up with the funds for last semester, maxing out her loan capacity.
“She has recently become ill and requires an invasive surgery this month for diagnostic purposes. “What terrifies me the most is that if my mother does not recover well enough, her ability to continue working would be decreased and if I am unable to complete my studies and repay the loan then she could lose her home.”
For more info: taila.desouza@aic.edu or 908-456-6482
‘She has potential’ Minister writes to Sport and Culture Fund
Sunday Guardian provided Sport Minister Anil Roberts with copies of De Souza’s letter for funding, bill ledger and her unofficial transcript on Tuesday. Roberts did not give a promise but said he would look into her file. Contacted on Friday, Roberts said after reviewing her documents he wrote a letter of recommendation to the chairman of the Sport and Culture Fund.
He requested an urgent response, that hopefully should come this week. “She has shown initiative and already raised about four per cent of the funds through her funding project. “I believe she is someone with potential.” He thanked the Sunday Guardian for bringing the issue to his attention and praised De Souza for her efforts.
“I wish her all the best and hope more people will venture into this field because as we move forward we want our nationals to return home and serve in different capacities.”

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / PENGUIN
« on: January 27, 2013, 08:30:19 AM »
Did anyone heard Sedley Joseph the penguin is dead ,is there any truth to this story ?

General Discussion / Tobago love
« on: January 13, 2013, 09:58:14 AM »

Tobago love


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Maxie Cuffie

“I say let the 44,190 go independent if they wish or, for that matter, let them join a federal relationship with Grenada and let Morgan Job be president.  The result will make the African population of Trinidad a smaller minority by another two per cent. With the Tobago figure taken out of the 2000 census figures, the Indian majority will climb to 41.85 per cent while the African will slip to 35.04 per cent.
These census figures that are being suppressed have serious implications for the disbursement of funds for education, culture, regional development and other State realignments.” Devant Maharaj: South Asian Outlook, November 2004.
I find no more (or less) racist Devant Maharaj’s recommendation for ethnic cleansing the Afro-Trinidadian population, than Hilton Sandy’s crude, jingoistic appeal to Tobago voters that has generated so much political hysteria in the last weeks of an extremely bitter campaign for the THA elections.
Both men are unfit for public office, not just because their ethnic appeals if taken to their logical conclusions can do real harm, but because they espouse views that, in the long run are not conducive to the greater harmony needed to develop the Trinidad and Tobago in which we would all like to live. But until we get there we are likely to see and vote several of their avatars into office.
Maharaj's views, which also appeared under the byline of Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha leader Sat Maharaj in the Guardian of August 2004 (one can’t be sure whether it was ghost-writing or plagiarism) are well known and have been articulated over a long period in public life, while Sandy is a relatively unknown nationally but is a key figure in Tobago's politics where such jingoism is worn as a badge of honour.
Maharaj, despite such views, for which he has never apologised nor repudiated a single word, has been a rising star in the People’s Partnership administration where he was first appointed a state board chairman, then minister of Transport and more recently minister of Agriculture. Sandy, an appointed assemblyman is seeking election, having been previously appointed to the THA and been entrusted with the position of deputy chief secretary where he holds the pivotal portfolio of Infrastructure and Public Utilities.
Even if nomination day had not long since passed and withdrawing Sandy would not be tantamount to surrendering the district and the election to the TOP, the PNM would be hard pressed to withdraw Sandy for the same reason that Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been unable to jettison Maharaj whose words (and sometimes quite reprehensible) actions are so disturbing to a section of the country.
Both Sandy and Maharaj speak for large sections of the population, people for whom race matters. For those of us secure in our middle class values and education, the ethnicity of who held what post would not matter as long as they had the requisite qualifications and experience. But for the people who still constitute a majority and who make up large blocks of the voting base of our two major parties, race does matter and people like Maharaj and Sandy speak for and on their behalf.
Political parties, those at least which seek to hold power, understand this and are adept at appealing to one constituency and soothing their ethnic fears without alienating the other deracinated constituency which constitutes a quite vocal minority. Sandy’s true transgression is his failure to balance his message to the two.
Most analysis of the ethnic divide offer simplistic solutions (like forming a national party) to the challenge of reducing ethnic voting, or simply offer a description of the phenomenon based on historical sociological patterns rather than any prescriptions for its elimination. Assuming, of course, that that is even a worthwhile goal.
In a 1965 paper on The Development and Persistence of Ethnic Voting, Raymond E Wolfinger examined voting behaviour in the United States and argued that “one of the more remarkable tendencies in political behaviour is the persistence of partisan affiliations for generations after the reasons for their formations have become irrelevant to contemporary society.”
After examining the persistence of ethnic voters in the American electorate despite sociological changes over time, he saw that such tendencies are likely to last way into the future as anyone who followed the recent US presidential elections can attest.
Both our major parties, the PNM and the UNC, recognise the ethnic vote will be critical to winning any election. They are the base on which our two-party democratic system is built. If we are as high-minded as we are pretending to be, no one will need to call on Sandy to withdraw from the election and democracy would take its course with the voters repudiation of his views. Maharaj would not even have been selected as an elected candidate far less being a Cabinet minister.
And to show how hypocritical our politicians are, three years after the publication of that article Maharaj was selected as a candidate to contest the election, not by the ethnic-voting base of the UNC but by the high-minded intellectuals of the Congress of the People on whose behalf he contested the 2007 general election in Couva South. The online dictionary defines ‘Tobago love’ as ‘Disguising one’s feelings of attraction or love...” It is clear that when it comes to race talk, we have it bad.
Maxie Cuffie runs a media consultancy, Integrated Media Company Ltd, is an economics graduate of the UWI and holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School as a Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management.

Jokes / Lion Tamer
« on: January 11, 2013, 09:28:08 PM »
Lion Tamer

wo unemployed guys are talking. One says, "I'm going to become a lion tamer."

The other replies, "That's crazy, you don't know nothing about no lion taming."

"Yes I do!"

"Well, OK, answer me this. When one of those lions comes at you all roaring and biting, what you gonna do?"

"Well, then I take that big chair they all carry, and I stick it in his face until he backs down."

"Well, what if the lion takes that big paw, and hooks the chair with them big claws, and throws that chair out of the cage? What do you do then?"

"Well, then I takes that whip they all carry, and I whip him and whip him until he backs down."

"Well, what if that lion bites that whip with his big teeth, and bites it in two? What you gonna do then?"

"Well, then I take that gun they all carry, and I shoot him."

"Well, what if that gun doesn't work? What will you do then?"

"Well, then I pick up some of the shit that's on the bottom of the cage, and I throw it in his eyes, and I run out of
the cage."

"Well, what if there ain't no shit in the bottom of the cage? What you gonna do then?"

"Well, that's dumb. Cause if that lion comes at me, and he throws the chair out of the cage, and he bites the whip in two, and my gun don't work, there's going to be some shit in the cage . 

Football / Brazil's World Cup winners get bonus 50 years late
« on: January 09, 2013, 08:15:06 PM »
Brazil's World Cup winners get bonus 50 years late

Story Created: Jan 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM ECT
Story Updated: Jan 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM ECT )


Brazil's World Cup winning players from 1958, 1962 and 1970 have been awarded a bonus and a pension from the government in a controversial move that has split public opinion.
Brazil's sports ministry said the 54 players or their survivors will be given a one-off bonus of 100,000 reais ($49,100) and will also qualify for a monthly stipend of 3,916 reais.
The country's social security minister called the payments "an act of justice" that recognised the role Brazil's World Cup winners played in the country's development.
Some Brazilians believe those players put the country on the world map and also established Brazil as a football power.
The 1970 team in particular, thanks to the arrival of colour television and the brilliance of players such as Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Tostao, captured the world's attention and is still considered one of the greatest teams of all time.
"I think that the Brazilian people recognise the debt we owe to these athletes," Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said.
"It is worth stressing that football back then did not offer the salaries and sponsorship deals they do today. The athletes were almost like artisans and the country cannot conceive that these people who lifted the name of the country are going through tough times," Rebelo added.
Many players said the money would transform their lives. With the exception of Pele, very few live comfortably as their careers did not earn them the kind of riches enjoyed by today's big names.
"About 85 per cent of the players live middle- to lower-class existences," said Marcelo Neves, the son of twice World Cup winner Gilmar and now president of an association of former players.
"This money could be the difference between life and death. Felix (the goalkeeper in the 1970 team), who died last year, couldn't get the medical attention he deserved because he didn't have a very good health plan and the hospital he went to wasn't the best. If he had had money, he might be alive today."
Neves stressed that some of the older players do not get a regular pension because football was not a recognised profession in the 1960s and they were not able to make social security payments.
"It wasn't because they didn't want to," he said. "Most of them are over 65 years of age, so this money will ensure the rest of their lives can be lived out in dignified circumstances."
However, not everyone agrees the veterans deserve a special pension half a century after their heroics, much less a fat bonus.
"This is a tremendous slap in the face to all those Brazilians who have worked their whole lives and don't get that amount of money," said Atila Nunes, a radio host who has criticised the award.
Nunes said if anyone should be assisting the old players it should be the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), and not ordinary tax payers.
Others have asked why only winners get the pension when other players who trained and played just as hard did not. And why only football? What about champions in other sports?
One player has already rejected the money, saying even back in the 1950s and 60s football players earned higher salaries than most workers.
"At the time we were well rewarded for the title," said Tostao, a striker in the 1970 team and now a respected columnist for the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
"World Cup winners who are going through difficulties should be helped by the government, through Social Security, just like any other citizen, and by the existing government entities that help ex-athletes," he added. "The CBF and clubs also have an obligation to help ex-players who need assistance."

General Discussion / Can a man be in love with two women?
« on: December 18, 2012, 08:44:07 PM »
Can a man be in love with two women?

 By Advice from ALLAN

Story Created: Dec 7, 2012 at 10:03 PM ECT
Story Updated: Dec 7, 2012 at 10:03 PM ECT )

If we were to rephrase the question by removing the words 'in love' then the answer is definitely yes and at that point we can also replace 'two' with higher numbers like, three, four, five etc… and the answer would still be yes. Most people should know that being with a person and being in love with them is not the same. People are in relationships for different reasons. Good sex, good companionship, convenience, money, and friends with benefits are some reasons people might give for being in a relationship with someone else. Clearly, it is not always about love.
When we think of love, being in love with someone or someone being in love with us it becomes an issue of depth; quality, and quantity of time spent with that person is important. Concern, caring, appreciation, kindness, support, trust, and honesty are all factors with significant meanings to both individuals who are in love. If we were to view love in the context of the above statements then it is rather difficult to imagine a man truly being in love with two women at the same time. Is he able to spend good quality and enough time with both? Saying I love you to someone should only be uttered when we feel it and we mean it and we can show it via our actions.
If a man is in love with two women the honesty and trust aspects of love do not go away, therefore, if he says I love you to one woman, he should also let her know that even as he professes his love for her, he is equally in love with another woman. I have heard the argument that a man can be in love with two women because all his needs and wants are satisfied by both i.e. what is lacking in one is found in the other. If everyone took that approach then we would all have two or more lovers, since the argument implies one should not compromise but rather selfishly get your needs and wants satisfied. I guess it will not be considered selfish if the other woman knew and approved.
Can a man feel strongly for or about two women? Sure, I believe a man can; however, 'penis love' and love from the heart are two different types of love. Are men who profess to be in love with two women confused? If a man claims to be in love with two women, he can and should analyze his reasons for being with them. I am almost certain he would realise he prefers one over the other. I am also not sure, hypothetically speaking, if he is willing to die for both given an option to choose.
In the end, it really depends on the man and his feelings. If a man believes he is in love with two women, he should be honest and share his feelings with both women (not at the same time). They should know about each other, so that they can each decide if they want to be with a man who is also in love with another woman. If a man tells you he is in love with you and another woman, what would you do?

Jokes / Leroy Making Sentences /Ebonics Home Work
« on: December 12, 2012, 09:30:23 PM »
Ebonics Homework
Leroy is 18 and in the 8th grade. Homework is hard for him.

One day, Leroy got an easy homework assignment. All he had to do was put each of the following vocabulary words in a sentence. Here's what he wrote. (Ebonic style)

1. HOTEL - I gave my girlfriend da crabs and the HOTEL everybody.

2. RECTUM - I had two Cadillacs, but my ol' lady RECTUM both.

3. DISAPPOINTMENT - My parole officer tol me if I miss DISAPPOINTMENT they gonna send me back to the big house.

4. FORECLOSE - If I pay alimony this month, I'll have no money FORECLOSE.

5. CATACOMB - Don King was at the fight the other night, Man, somebody give that CATACOMB.

6. PENIS - I went to da doctor and he handed me a cup and said PENIS.

7. ISRAEL - Alonso tried to sell me a Rolex, I said Man, that looks fake. He said, No, ISRAEL.

8. UNDERMINE - There is a fine lookin' hoe livin' in the apartment UNDERMINE.

9. TRIPOLI - I was gonna buy my old lady a bra but I couldn't find no TRIPOLI.

10. STAIN - My mother-in-law axed if I was STAIN for dinner again.

11. SELDOM - My cousin gave me two tickets to the Knicks game, so I SELDOM.

12. ODYSSEY - I told my bro, you ODYSSEY the tits on this hoe.

13. HORDE - My sister got into trouble because she HORDE around in school.

14. INCOME - I just got in bed wit dis hoe and INCOME my wife.

15. HONOR - At the rape trial, the judge axed my buddy, who be HONOR first?

16. FORTIFY - I axed da hoe how much? And she say FORTIFY.

17. DICTATE - Hey girl! How my DICTATE? 


Mike Tyson: 'Brad Pitt had sex with my wife'
Last Updated: 8:30 AM, December 4, 2012
Posted: 10:35 AM, December 3, 2012

Brad Pitt was apparently involved in another love triangle long before Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

Mike Tyson claims that he caught Pitt having sex with his ex-wife, Robin Givens, while they were in the middle of their divorce in the late eighties.

Tyson, who was shortly married to Givens from 1988 to 1989, said he and the actress were still sleeping with each other during their separation.

"I was getting a divorce, but... every day, before I would go to my lawyer's office to say 'she's a pig and stealing,' I would go to her house to have sex with her," Tyson said on the Yahoo! Sports show “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.”

"This particular day, someone beat me to the punch. And I guess Brad got there earlier than I did."

How did the heavyweight boxer react?

"I was mad as hell...You should have saw his face when he saw me," Tyson said.

Pitt was not yet a star – he had only guest spots on shows like “21 Jump Street” and “Growing Pains.” Pitt met Givens on an episode of her sitcom “Head of the Class” in 1988.

Tyson also told Conan O’Brien in April about his bizarre love triangle with the handsome actor. He recalled to the talk show host that he went over to Givens’ place for a fling but found no one home. Shortly after, Givens drove up with “the handsome Brad Pitt.”

“I was just emotionally comatose,” he remembered. “I went from a hard stallion to a wet noodle.”

General Discussion / Dumas: Be vigilant with electoral list (EBC)
« on: December 02, 2012, 10:09:45 AM »
Dumas: Be vigilantwith electoral list

 By Irene Medina Associate Editor

Story Created: Dec 1, 2012 at 10:57 PM ECT
Story Updated: Dec 2, 2012 at 6:07 AM ECT )

A number of Tobago guesthouses have come under scrutiny by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) as it embarks on a field exercise to verify the names and addresses of people registered to vote in the January 21, 2013, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election.
Irene Medina Associate Editor

While he would not confirm information that the investigators were paying particular attention to guesthouses following irregularities related to voters' addresses, Nanan said the exercise was in progress and he had not yet received the "data from that exercise".
The Sunday Express has learnt there are instances where potential voters have given the addresses of certain guesthouses in the Canaan/ Bon Accord and Castara areas as permanent addresses by people registered to vote in the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election.
This is one example why the Tobago Council of the incumbent People's National Movement-led THA had taken charge of voter irregularity to the EBC two weeks ago.
The spectre of possible irregularity of the list was first made by education officer of the Tobago Council and former PNM government minister Rennie Dumas, resulting in a meeting with the EBC chairman Dr Norbert Masson and a team on November 20.
On January 21, over 46,000 people will cast their votes to determine which of the three contending parties—the PNM, the Minority Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and newcomer Platform for Truth, led by former THA chief secretary Hochoy Charles—will lead the Assembly for the next four years.
Speaking with the Sunday Express in Tobago last Tuesday, Dumas said his team took a "small sample" of their findings of a voters' verification exercise, conducted by some 500 "field workers", to the EBC.
In the Tobago East area, for which he has responsibility, Dumas pointed out that their investigations revealed startling numbers of people whose names were missing from the list.
For instance, in the Bacolet/Mount St George district, some 25 per cent or 882 names were missing from an electoral list of 3,474.
The various search categories showed 40 people were dead, 61 had migrated, 425 had moved and 96 names were unable to be verified.
In the Belle Garden/ Goodwood district, 850 names were missing from a list of 3,930 names.
Thirty-six people had died, 71 had migrated, 249 had moved and no one could verify 79 names on the list.
In the Parlatuvier/ L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside district—from a voters' list totalling 3,515—545 were missing, while 38 had died, 104 had migrated, there were two name changes, 272 had moved and 87 names could not be verified.
The same, Dumas said, occurred in the Providence/Mason Hall/ Moriah district currently held by TOP leader Ashworth Jack, who has been nominated unopposed for the January election.
Jack comes up against PNM candidate Sheldon Cunningham and could face another contender from Charles's party.
In that district, 56.8 per cent or 2,288 names were found to be missing from the list of 4,028 voters. Dumas also shared with the EBC that some 28 people had died, 82 had migrated, 277 had moved and 41 names could not be verified.
As it relates to the Roxborough/Delaford area, 694 or 19.2 per cent of the 3,608 registered names could not be found. Thirty-eight had died, 125 had migrated, 19 underwent name changes, 393 moved and 96 names could not be verified.
Dumas said verification of the voters' list was the "first responsibility of a political party in any election", and was not intended to cast aspersions on the EBC.
"We checked and found about 40 per cent of the list, the people were found right where they were supposed to be, but in some instances, neighbours said 'we don't know that person' and so that person was labelled as 'unable to verify'; then we have those who moved to some other place in Tobago or had migrated.
"A critical example is Parlatuvier, where certain addresses were given and people were not found to be living there," he said, adding that in rural districts where everybody knew practically everybody, certain names were not being recognised. "You begin to wonder what's happening and you say, let's check again. It is on the basis of this that we reported to the EBC."
Dumas said the PNM was "being careful not to cause alarm", adding, "It is important to know we are making no accusations, all we saying is, that list is important to the electoral process... let us invite the EBC, other political parties and the citizenry, and anybody who wants the information we have to come and check it."
Dumas said, "Some people are trying to imply that we are setting up an argument for negating the polls, or stopping the polls. But far from it. All we are saying is that we have two interests—being able to identify the people, and to win their votes. We must examine the list."
This was imperative because "we certainly do not want people who do not legitimately live in the constituency to vote in the constituency to determine the electoral fortunes of the country".
Even though Tobago is an open society, Dumas said Tobagonians knew each other's faces, or names or nicknames, especially in the rural districts.
But he warned, "The day of the naive is gone, and we have to be vigilant about the electoral list."
"We met with Dr Masson and he and his team listened, offered perspective and points of view, but of course, they accepted that they have a responsibility to follow the legislation, ensure that the list is clean. They recognised that what we had to say had some cogency," he said.
Dumas said the EBC expressed concerns that nothing should be done to impugn the list, the process and their reputation, but he said, "Our exercise is, in a sense, keeping the processes, whole."
Stating his expectations clearly, he said, "I want an EBC officer to knock on the door of every name given and ask 'are you there?'"
Dumas's definition of voter-padding refers to people voting at a polling station they would not normally vote in.
He said: "Elections were traditionally won based on the votes in the home constituency, but a view seems to have emerged that in some constituencies, a candidate may have excess votes that he can spare to another constituency."
In other words, "The feeling is that you can move voters to an area where your candidate is weaker, so as to make up the gap between your candidate and your opponent, and this seems to be a developing trend," he added.
This jealous guarding of the voters list, Dumas said, was important to ensure that Tobagonians were the ones exercising jurisdiction and leadership over the island.
The election message of "Protecting the heritage of Tobago", Dumas explained, had nothing to do with race, even though it might make some people uncomfortable.
Denying any hidden message of race, Dumas said, "It cannot be right for one set of people in Trinidad to talk about their heritage, their land,

their culture; and Tobagonians are not allowed or supported in the concept that we have a heritage to own, develop and protect." He said it was crucial for Tobagonians to understand their responsibility to protect their heritage at this juncture in their political history. Admitting that because of its low income earnings per capita, the island was susceptible to attracting wealthier institutions and the Trinidad market, Dumas said it was important for Tobagonians to understand that behind the borders of their Tobagonianness, "is the concept of self, of governance and statehood, which includes their land and culture and aspirations as a people". This, he warned, is the heritage which they must protect. He urged Tobagonians to make some decisions about "yourself, your people and land; that's what we are asking... hold it, hold it, develop it, protect it". Dismissing criticisms that the PNM was using race and the spectre of Indians from Trinidad coming to buy up their land in Tobago, Dumas said he was not going to be drawn into race issues. He reminded, however, that it was Ashworth Jack who had formed the TOP to protect Tobago and was against joining forces with anybody in Trinidad. "It was Jack who said Tobago people needed their own. Now he has made a total about-face... he is the vehicle who now wants Tobago to open up its mental, spiritual, physical and political space, regardless of the consequence to Tobago's heritage." • Irene Medina visited Tobago last week as part of the Sunday Express's coverage in the weeks leading up to the THA elections in January.


Jokes / Poor guy
« on: December 01, 2012, 05:18:44 PM »

Poor guy
A man escapes from prison where he has been for 15 years. He breaks into a house to look for money and guns and finds a young couple in bed.

He orders the guy out of bed and ties him to a chair, while tying the girl to the bed he gets on top of her, kisses her neck, then gets up and goes into the bathroom. While he's in there, the husband tells his wife:

"Listen, this guy's an escaped convict, look at his clothes! He probably spent lots of time in jail and hasn't seen a woman in years. I saw how he kissed your neck." If he wants sex, don't resist, don't complain, do whatever he tells you. Satisfy him no matter how much he nauseates you. This guy is probably very dangerous. If he gets angry, he'll kill us. Be strong, honey. I love you."

To which his wife responds: "He wasn't kissing my neck. He wwas whispering in my ear. He told me he was gay, thought you were cute, and asked me if we had any vaseline. I told him it was in the bathroom. Be strong honey. I love you too!!" 

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / WHAT DOES 'GANGNAM STYLE' MEAN
« on: November 27, 2012, 12:54:59 PM »
But what do the lyrics of the song mean, and what's the story behind Psy's trademark dance move?

 If you're just hearing about the Gangnam craze for the first time, here's a quick cheat sheet to get you up to speed.

LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS Host Kevin Hart (L) does Psy’s signature “horse-riding dance” with the South Korean rapper during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.


 Gangnam is a wealthy neighborhood in the South Korean city of Seoul where young people go to party. In the song, Psy describes the kind of guy he is and the kind of girl he wants, painting caricatures of the ostentatious culture of people who hang out in Gangnam.

 As The Atlantic pointed out in an in-depth article last month, behind the flashy costumes and killer dance moves in Psy's video, there's a subtle commentary on class in South Korea.


 It roughly means something like 'Your man has Gangnam Style.' 'Oppa,' which literally means 'older brother,' is an affectionate term girls use to address older guy friends or a boyfriend. It can also be used as a first-person pronoun, as PSY does here — in this case, he's telling a woman that he has Gangnam style.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage Getting on that high horse. Korean rapper Psy shows his signature move, which he calls the “horse-riding dance.”


 "It's a horse-riding dance," PSY explained in an interview with NY1 anchor Michelle Park. "So there is an invisible horse, and you're on it." (In the video, Psy first does the dance in the middle of a posh-looking stable.)

 The singer manages to turn an activity typically associated with the wealthy into a hilarious, arm-flapping dance move.


 It's pronounced like 'sigh,' short for 'psycho.'


 He signed with Schoolboy Records, the label of Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Brown, so we may soon be seeing more of him stateside.


Jokes / Chinese detective, Chen Lee,
« on: November 26, 2012, 06:41:13 PM »
A man suspected his wife was seeing another man, so he hired the famous Chinese detective, Chen Lee, to watch and report any activities while he was gone. A few days later, he received this report:





New York, New York - In an historic pairing the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Sonatas Steel Orchestra performed together at the World Financial Center Winter Garden in downtown Manhattan as part of Soundcheck Live! presented by Arts Brookfield. On this notable occasion new music works for the distinguished Sonatas Steel Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic chamber ensemble joint performance were premiered.

The packed concert audience was treated to the world premiere performance of “Flows Beneath” - a piece written specifically for the collaborative performance of the steel orchestra and chamber ensemble by Christopher Cerrone. Cerrone was commissioned along with Kendall Williams to create original musical compositions for the event. For the piece, Cerrone sought the advice of his friend and noted composer and accomplished steelpan instrumentalist, percussion musician Andy Akiho. Akiho advised Cerrone that the family of steelpan instruments was like any other instrument. “Steelpan is like any other instrument... it can do a wide expressive range and many other things.”

Audience for Sonatas Steel Orchestra Brooklyn Philharmonic
 at World Financial Center Winter Garden

The composer had already been enchanted with the sound of the steelpan from a previous encounter with the instrument at the home of Akiho.  Now Cerrone’s quest was to create a piece that took advantage of its unique sound combined with the traditional instruments, resulting in a new voice in that blend. Cerrone says he was having some difficulty coming up with a title for the composition and turned to noted American poet Carolyn Forché - who upon hearing the piece thought that overall it came across like a frozen lake, with the steelpan sounds conjuring up images of the body of water not yet frozen that flows beneath the lake. The steelpans simulated that river that “Flows Beneath,” hence the title.

Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble & Sonatas Steel Orchestravideo performance

In what had to be viewed as truly a “Tale of Two Cities” becoming one without collision - the music event was brought to the stage to produce a signature moment around cultures, fortunes, music and Brooklyn.  The mature, very time-conscious, professional Brooklyn Phil paired with the very talented, young, genius level, unseen, affable and adaptable Sonatas from Crown Heights - was much, much more significant than a mere ‘odd couple’ moment at the Winter Garden.

 Composer Christopher Cerrone (l) with Brooklyn Philharmonic artistic director and conductor Alan Pierson (r)

Ironically, and probably unwittingly and unknown to Mr. Cerrone (and then again maybe not), he produced and captured much more reality than he could have ever imagined in his piece. The sometimes arduous life of a Brooklyn steel orchestra is very different than that of their Brooklyn Philharmonic counterpart - yet the goals and aspirations are the same. They, the steel orchestras are massive (100 players), beautiful, proud, culturally inspired, community-based - and completely unsupported by New York government while operating in the shadows and sometime bowels of the Big Apple, in an increasingly changing and  hostile environment that is always threatening their very existence. Indeed they are the ones that ‘flow beneath.’

The voice and primary function of the steel orchestra is that of storytelling through music, and in this regard Chris Cerrone’s composition is very creditable. The life of steel orchestras can quickly vacillate from calm, joy and ecstasy to utter frustration, tension and agony - while the surrounding neighbors are completely oblivious to their fate.

 Sonatas Steel Orchestra with Brooklyn Philharmonic, artistic director Alan Pierson conducting

Odd couple/odd moment, indeed, as the orchestras received thunderous applause from a world and people that normally never meet but, as the poet aptly suggested, flows beneath and in the background under a frozen tundra. Even at this performance, while surely not intentional, if you were not told that the steel orchestra was on stage, visually you would not have known of their presence. And as the Sonatas Steel Orchestra left the stage, host John Schaefer of WNYC radio and producer of Soundcheck Live! mentioned that Sonatas was the ten-time New York Panorama champion - and again the audience gave thunderous, warm applause.

And there again is that reoccurring theme and reality of “Flows Beneath.” Of course the audience is unaware that the prestigious New York Panorama title, while musically significant and globally respected, is financially bogus and bankrupt because of the event producers, and leaves the participants at a huge financial loss every year. Moreover as the group exited the World Financial Center Winter Garden stage, Sonatas Steel Orchestra—a 40 year-plus institution of musical, community and civic excellence which had been a critical part of the cultural fabric of New York—was heading home, like all New York steel orchestras, to a life of uncertainty. Threatened with removal from their practice spaces every year or worse, a complete shutdown by NYPD (New York Police Department) as they rehearse for Panorama competitions. One would not imagine that this same organization with these same young people - is responsible for the creation of some of the most important New York Panorama music and performances  of all time; and moreover, some of the most influential and culturally significant pieces written in our time that are reflective of the people of Brooklyn.  Unfortunately the umbrella of uncertainty over this magnificent musical organization and other Brooklyn steel orchestras alike is a reality.

Sonatas Steel Orchestra

Much kudos must be given to Alan Pierson, artistic director and conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic for having the foresight and courage to step outside of his norm to see, acknowledge and embrace the genius, intellect and talent of the young people of Sonatas. And probably more importantly, is Pierson’s clear understanding that ‘different’ does not mean ‘wrong’ or ‘can’t’ or ‘not good’ - just different.

The iconic Sonatas continues to chart a series of new firsts for steel orchestras from Brooklyn and in North America. It was only few months ago that Sonatas performed with NYU Steel at the 2012 PAS KoSA NYU Weekend of Percussion.

In the coming together for the Arts Brookfield Winter Garden Performance, what was truly impressive about the young Sonatas, is that although they were seemingly out of their normal comfort zone, environment and ways of doing things, these young people were un-phased. Moreover, it was indeed an exchange of concepts, approaches and worlds.

 Sonatas Steel Orchestra after performance with Brooklyn Philharmonic

Now wouldn’t it be something if the Brooklyn Philharmonic, with Soundcheck Live!, came out and performed at Sonatas’ band launching next year as a continued celebration of the diversity of the music crested in New York?

Leave a comment in the WST forum

‘Brooklyn Philharmonic and Sonatas Steel Orchestra’ - in Pictures

General Discussion / Depression
« on: November 20, 2012, 05:03:27 PM »

When i heard about this I said to my self this lady is sick ,little did i know she really was .
Hoping she will get help or she might kill herself the first chance she get .

General Discussion / T&T to benefit from Colombia
« on: November 19, 2012, 08:13:37 AM »

T&T to benefit from Colombia


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Richard Ramoutar

Deemed to be an important ally of the United States, Colombia is seeking to forge, establish, promote and enhance its security and foreign relations endeavours in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago, one of the leading Caricom nations is highly viewed as a sound, stable and developing nation with whom the government of Colombia can expand its bilateral relations.
Viewed within this context, it should be noted that T&T has much to gain and learn, both from the perspectives of national security and foreign affairs. In a Guardian report of April 19, 2012, Colombian Ambassador Alfredo Riascos outlined several significant areas which can be mutually beneficial to T&T.
Such areas include national security, policing, border security and defence co-operation, trade and investments, potential direct flights to Bogota, medical tourism, agricultural exchanges and sporting, cultural and language education opportunities. But the question remains, how far have we progressed?
T&T can stand to gain much from its diplomatic relations with Colombia. Perhaps, the time may come when the Government of T&T may consider the establishment of an embassy in Bogota. Much credit must be given to both governments for the establishment of the Colombian embassy in Port-of-Spain.
Can Colombia effectively and meaningfully aid Trinidad and Tobago and does our government possess the political will to seriously complement our national security endeavours against the forces and scourge of transnational organised crimes, are questions that remain to be unanswered. At this juncture it may be prudent to begin with the issue of security co-operation.
Police co-operation
 As far back as March 2006, an agreement was signed between the former minister of National Security, Martin Joseph and Camilo Oscar Bernal, Colombia’s Minister of National Defence. This agreement was to foster and promote police co-operation between these two countries in numerous areas.
It is my understanding that the Colombian government is prepared and willing to train T&T’s law enforcement and defence forces with specialised skills in Colombia. It would be a rewarding and advantageous opportunity for our officers to be trained in Colombia, as well as understanding the culture and language, and gaining valuable intelligence into the modus operandi of transnational organised crimes.
Colombia’s experience
 This is a nation that has had a history of political upheavals, violence, guerrilla uprising, (FARC) terrorism and the very epicenter of the once “narco-democracy” of Colombia, but has with the passage of time been able to manage, control and return the country to a politically stable and progressive nation.
Apart from these issues, a very careful investigation and analysis of Colombia would reveal a warm, hospitable people, with a desire to expand their investment and trading ties to the Caribbean.
Interestingly, the Government of Colombia, via their Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defence and the Colombian National Police, designed an international co-operation strategy for integral security that seeks to increase the effectiveness of the struggle against transnational organised crime.
Colombia is no stranger to the illegal drugs problem, organised transnational crime and terrorism, the illegal weapons traffic, ammunition and explosives, the use and manufacture of anti-personnel mines. All of these issues are challenges to security, governance, democracy, development and public health.
The consequences today are different than ever before. Colombia’s national security strategy is designed to help us in these areas with the tools of co-operation, training, technical and legal assistance, for by strengthening the institutional capacities of our law enforcement systems, T&T can effectively contribute to hemispheric security.
For a very long time in this country, the public could not ascertain as to how and when illegal drugs, guns and human trafficking and illegal migrants enter the country. Colombian police and other intelligence bodies can effectively feed local law enforcement and intelligence agencies with this level of information.
One would suppose that the Government is very serious about transnational organised crimes and the true meaning of what constitutes the true meaning and intent of national security. Colombia is well poised to assist us in the use of technical air intelligence, port and airport control, dismantling of organisations, with asset-laundering and assert forfeiture, and the issue of new technologies.
The Colombian navy can also assist with training of the law of the sea with regards to illicit drug trafficking in the region.
There is a reason why it is called illicit drug trafficking. However and in whatever form it is transported, it is deemed internationally unlawful. Recently, Brigadier Maharaj pointed out that he had no evidence that submarines are transporting drugs to Trinidad and Tobago. While that is the Brigadier’s information, that does not erase the fact that it has not occurred before nor that it will  not occur again.
However, reliable international security intelligence and that of the US, Britain and from the Colombian governments do reveal that sophisticated submarines designed in South America are transporting illegal drugs to their markets in different disguises. In this vein, as a national security spokesman, it is very critical for Brigadier Maharaj to do his intelligence homework well, and keep abreast of current intelligence occurrences.
In the face of public interest, this country is yet to understand clearly how illegal drugs guns and drugs enter and who facilitates and protects for the blessings of the almighty dollar.

Remember this name COTECMAR we will be hearing much more of it soon.


What you need to take out of your wallet or purse now and what should never leave it

Is your wallet stuffed with receipts and rarely-used cards? It could cost you dear.
Felicity Hannah – Thu, Nov 15, 2012 17:30 GMT.. .

Being mugged or even just mislaying your bag can be extremely distressing, not to mention costly. However, if you’ve left your purse stuffed with personal data, it can also cost you far more than your lunch money.

I recently read an article about the things you should never keep in your wallet and realised I’ve been carrying about plenty of unnecessary items.

Admittedly I’m not as bad as the one person in 10 who writes down their card PIN, according to a 2010 Which? survey. However, a quick root through my purse shows I have been leaving myself open to thieves who want to steal more than my emergency tenner…

An unused credit card

Since I left the security of a full-time job for the uncertainty of life as a freelancer, I have been very careful not to use my credit card.

I have only kept it open for use in dire emergencies, like the boiler exploding. I don’t use it for casual shopping and I certainly don’t need to carry it around with me.

So carrying it with me is an unnecessary risk. If my purse was pinched, I’d need to remember to cancel the card and I’d be at greater risk of fraud.

Not only that, it’s a real temptation sitting in my purse, especially when Christmas shopping. It’s safer hidden away at home, that way I can still use it when needed and if I was to mislay my purse I’ve got a working source of money I can fall back on until my cards are replaced.

Receipts. Thousands of ‘em

I tend to stuff receipts into the back of my purse and only ever empty it out when the zip is threatening to give up.

But receipts can include card details, giving a thief a chance at identity theft even if I’ve left my card at home.

Not only that, it increases my chances of losing receipts that I need, such as expenses I may need to prove to the taxman.

I’ve consigned my massive ball of receipts to the shredder and decided to get tougher in the future, including filing away important receipts immediately.

A password

I had forgotten I carried this, but tucked into the back of my purse was a scrap of paper with a password written on it.

Now, it wasn’t a current password, but it was a phrase that my current password is based on. I don’t even remember writing it down or why I made a note of it.

While thieves couldn’t have used this to access my email accounts, it would have been a good starting point. It also could have left me open to phishing attacks had they phoned and been able to quote a password I have used in the past.

My address

I don’t carry my address with me anymore, but I have done so in the past. A few years ago, I wrote my address in a work notebook with a polite ‘Please return to’. However, I then lost my bag, containing that notebook along with my keys and wallet.

I had to think about changing the locks on my door, at a cost of over £100. Fortunately, my bag showed up – but it illustrates the dangers of this ‘sensible’ precaution.

Mountains of junk

My purse also contained some astonishingly dated stuff. An old student union card that expired in 2005. A maternity exemption card that ended last year. A prepaid card that I’d used on my honeymoon two years ago, which shows my maiden name.

Not only is this stuff taking up space in my purse, it also gives an identity thief more information about me. And the more information they have, the more convincing they could be when trying to trick me out of more confidential data.

Knowledge is power, and I’ve been at risk of giving away a vast amount of information.

And what to add…

Having cleared some space in my purse, I’ve been thinking about what I should include.

It’s sensible to carry two different cards if you have them, in case one stops working and you need access to money. But more than that is probably unnecessary unless you have a very specific cards for different functions – for example a Santander 123 card to pay for petrol, a Tesco ClubCard credit card for supermarket shopping etc.

But there’s no reason not to have every loyalty card you can in there. The likes of Boots cards, Nectar cards, ClubCards (of the non-credit card variety) don’t carry any sensitive information, and mean you’ll be able to get a little back when you shop at the relevant shops.

As mentioned, it’s not a great idea to leave a note of your address, just in case your wallet gets snatched or lost along with your keys. But I’ve decided to leave a phone number so my purse is easily returned if it’s ever lost rather than nicked. I’ll just need to be extra wary of callers quoting my card details to me if my purse was stolen.

Business cards aren’t a bad idea either, they’re a quick way to pass on contact details to someone (possibly future client, employee or boss) and contain contact information that isn’t sensitive.

Do you keep anything you shouldn’t in your wallet? Have you ever written down a PIN and kept it with your card? Share


Google blanks Govt request to remove YouTube videos


Friday, November 16, 2012

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

A request from the T&T Government for the removal of ten videos currently posted on YouTube has been declined. The videos are parodies which feature Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
Nine of the videos feature Persad-Bissessar dancing with a bottle in hand, while Ramlogan is featured in an interview which took place last year with Head of News at TV6 Dominic Kalipersad. In the heated interview with Kalipersad on the topic of the state of emergency, the veteran newsman admonished the AG at one point thus: “Please don’t be rude.” So far, the videos have generated more than 300,000 hits.
According to the search engine Google’s Transparency Report, from January 2012-June 2012, T&T was among 19 countries requesting that videos be removed for alleged defamation. Among the other countries which requested that content be removed were the United States, China, India, Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The report states: “We received a request from legal representatives of a member of the executive branch to remove ten YouTube videos for alleged defamation. We did not remove content in response to this request.”
Google said it also receives regular requests from copyright owners and reporting organisations which represent them, asking for material to be removed. “Like other technology and communications companies, Google regularly receives requests from government agencies and courts around the world to remove content from our services,” Google said.
Noting that governments had asked Google to remove content for many different reasons, the search engine, which bought YouTube six years ago, said some content removals were requested because of allegations of defamation, “while others are due to allegations that the content violates local laws prohibiting hate speech or pornography. “Laws surrounding these issues vary by country, and the requests reflect the legal context of a given jurisdiction.”
Google said there were numerous reasons why the requested content might not be removed. “Some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the government wanted us to remove (for example, no URL is listed in the request), and others involve allegations of defamation through informal letters from government agencies, rather than court orders.”
Google noted that occasionally, it had in the past received falsified court orders for content to be pulled from its site. However, once such requests have proven to be false (this is determined after rigorous checks), the request will not be complied with.” Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed could not be reached for comment yesterday.

General Discussion / T& T Parliment Channel
« on: October 26, 2012, 04:07:46 PM »

General Discussion / More than $3b in suspicious deals but none arrested
« on: October 23, 2012, 05:22:55 PM »

More than $3b in suspicious deals but none arrested


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Zahra Gordo

Assistant Commissioner of Police Glen Hackett, from left, chats with former Financial Investigations Unit head David West, Senator Helen Drayton and attorney Margaret Rose following the White Collar Crime Forum at the Caribbean Public Procurement Conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, on Friday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALEZ

Although more than $1.3 billion in suspicious transactions have been reported by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in the past three years, no one has been charged with white collar crime. Former FIU head David West made this statement during his presentation at the White Collar Crime Forum which was part of the third Caribbean Public Procurement Conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, on Friday.
West said the FIU reported $263 million of suspicious transactions in 2010 and $569 million in 2011. For the first half of 2012, he said, $500 million of suspicious transactions have already been reported. According to West, in the 2010-2011 FIU report of more than 400 suspicious transactions, 313 were still being analysed while 60 had ongoing investigations.
Among the many obstacles to prosecuting white collar crime locally was the decision that FIU be an administrative organisation rather than a law enforcement body, said West. He added that the FIU needed to be politically independent saying it was regrettable that the organisation was dependent on Government approval for spending and other internal decisions. 
In addition to the need for civil assets forfeiture and whistle-blower legislation, West said a lack of public prosecutors and the low salaries paid to them were also challenges to prosecuting white collar crime. West also pointed out that T&T meets the compliance requirements of the inter-governmental body, Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The FATF released findings of a plenary meeting on Friday. According to FATF, T&T is no longer subject to the monitoring process but implementation of legislation is lacking.
West was accompanied on the panel by Stephon Grey, president of the Caribbean Institute of Forensic Accounting, Ravi Rajcoomar, Gilbert Peterson SC, Assistant Commissioner of Police Glen Hackett and Renee Cummings. Karl Hudson Phillip, QC and DPP Roger Gaspard were scheduled to attend but did not

General Discussion / NEWS FLASH
« on: September 27, 2012, 05:54:28 PM »
I was listening to i95FM yesterday, the announcer said a high ranking T&T lawyer who is in the PP government is accused of fondling a British student , i do not know if she is a law student .

From what the announcer said the woman went to a function @ Garacarra park Point a Pierre with the lawyer, while there after a couple drinks the lawyer began fondling her ,she left the park ,left the country, return to her home land and reported it to the bar association in London the association is at present making enquiries .

Stay tuned the mark will buss just now .I know we have some good investigators here who will find this story in the English gazette .     

General Discussion / Armstrong, 1st to walk on moon, has heart surgery
« on: August 08, 2012, 06:15:06 PM »
Armstrong, 1st to walk on moon, has heart surgery
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Wed Aug 08, 07:54 PM
Click To Enlarge 
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, file photo provided by NASA, Apollo 11 Astronaut Neil Armstrong speaks at a celebration...More
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was recovering Wednesday from heart surgery, days after his 82nd birthday.

It wasn't clear where the surgery occurred or where Armstrong was recuperating. A NASA spokesman who talked to Armstrong's wife, Carol, said only that the former astronaut was recovering Wednesday. His birthday was Sunday.

A Facebook statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden wished Armstrong a quick recovery from cardiac bypass surgery.

"Neil's pioneering spirit will surely serve him well in this challenging time and the entire NASA Family is holding the Armstrong family in our thoughts and prayers," the statement said.

Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and he radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." He spent nearly three hours walking on the moon with fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.

A message Wednesday on Aldrin's Twitter account also wished Armstrong well.

Armstrong and his wife married in 1999 and made their home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill, but he has largely stayed out of public view in recent years.

He spoke at Ohio State University during a February event honoring fellow astronaut John Glenn and the 50th anniversary of Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. In May, Armstrong joined Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida to support the opening of The National Flight Academy, which aims to teach math and science to kids through an aviation-oriented camp.

Some people still dont believe this happen ,where were you when Neil Armstrong walk on the moon can you remember ? I could remember living Princess Town, i cut the picture out and frame it, i wonder if it is still on the wall where i hang it ? just remember some of you waas not thought about yet ,or was jus going up the channel to land in the moon.   

General Discussion / Immigrants prove big business for prison companies
« on: August 02, 2012, 04:27:49 PM »
Immigrants prove big business for prison companies
MIAMI, Thu Aug 02, 06:07 PM
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FILE - A Feb. 9, 2007 file photo provided by the Department of Homeland Security shows family detainees walking down the...More
Locking up illegal immigrants has grown profoundly lucrative for the private prisons industry, a reliable pot of revenue that helped keep some of the biggest companies in business.

And while nearly half of the 400,000 immigrants held annually are housed in private facilities, the federal government - which spends $2 billion a year on keeping those people in custody - says it isn't necessarily cheaper to outsource the work, a central argument used for privatization in the first place.

The Associated Press, seeking to tally the scope of the private facilities, add up their cost and the amounts the companies spend on lobbying and campaign donations, reviewed more than 10 years' worth of federal and state records. It found a complex, mutually beneficial and evidently legal relationship between those who make corrections and immigration policy and a few prison companies. Some of those companies were struggling to survive before toughened immigrant detention laws took effect.

A decade ago, just 10 percent of the beds in the nation's civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight. Now, about half the beds are part of a sprawling, private system, largely controlled by just three companies: Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp.

And the growth is far from over, despite the sheer drop in illegal immigration in recent years.

CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention.

GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.

At the same time, the three businesses have spent at least $45 million combined on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level in the last decade, the AP found.

This seismic shift toward a privatized system happened quietly. While Congress' unsuccessful efforts to overhaul immigration laws drew headlines and sparked massive demonstrations, lawmakers' negotiations to boost detention dollars received far less attention.

CCA and GEO, who manage most private detention centers, insist they aren't trying to influence immigration policy to make more money, and their lobbying and campaign donations have been legal.

"As a matter of long-standing corporate policy, CCA does not lobby on issues that would determine the basis for an individual's detention or incarceration," CCA spokesman Steve Owen said in an email to the AP. The company has a website dedicated to debunking such allegations.

GEO, which was part of The Wackenhut Corp. security firm until 2003, and Management and Training declined repeated interview requests.

Advocates for immigrants are skeptical the lobbying is not meant to influence policy.

"That's a lot of money to listen quietly," said Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, who has helped lead a campaign to encourage large banks and mutual funds to divest from the prison companies.

The detention centers are located in cities and remote areas alike, from a Denver suburb to an industrial area flanking Newark's airport, often in low-slung buildings surrounded by chain-link fences and razor wire. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents detain men, women and children suspected of violating civil immigration laws at these facilities. Most of those held at the 250 sites nationwide are illegal immigrants awaiting deportation, but some green card holders, asylum seekers and others are also there.

The total average nightly cost to taxpayers to detain an illegal immigrant, including health care and guards' salaries, is about $166, ICE confirmed only after the AP calculated that figure and presented it to the agency.

That's up from $80 in 2004. ICE said the $80 didn't include all of the same costs but declined to provide details.

Pedro Guzman is among those who have passed through the private detention centers. He was brought to the U.S. by his Guatemalan mother at age 8. He was working and living here legally under temporary protected status but was detained after missing an appearance for an asylum application. Officials ordered him deported.

Although he was married to a U.S. citizen, ICE considered him a flight risk and locked him up in 2009: first at a private detention facility run by CCA in Gainesville, Ga., and eventually at CCA's Stewart Detention Center, south of Atlanta. Guzman spent 19 months in Stewart until he was finally granted legal permanent residency.

"It's a millionaire's business, and they are living off profits from each one of the people who go through there every single night," said Guzman, now a cable installer in Durham, N.C. "It's our money that we earn as taxpayers every day that goes to finance this."

The federal government stepped up detentions of illegal immigrants in the 1990s, as the number of people crossing the border soared. In 1996, Congress passed a law requiring many more illegal immigrants be locked up. But it wasn't until 2005 - as the corrections companies' lobbying efforts reached their zenith - that ICE got a major boost. Between 2005 and 2007, the agency's budget jumped from $3.5 billion to $4.7 billion, adding more than $5 million for custody operations.

Dora Schriro, who in 2009 reviewed the nation's detention system at the request of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, said nearly every aspect had been outsourced.

"ICE was always relying on others for responsibilities that are fundamentally those of the government," said Schriro, now the New York City Correction Commissioner. "If you don't have the competency to know what is a fair price to ask and negotiate the most favorable rates for the best service, then the likelihood that you are going to overspend is greater."

Private companies argue they can save Americans money by running the centers more cheaply.

Pablo Paez, a spokesman for Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO, said in an email his company supports public-private partnerships which "have been demonstrated to achieve significant cost savings for the taxpayers." He declined to answer specific questions.

But ICE Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations Gary Mead said the government has never studied whether privatizing immigrant detention saves money.

"They are not our most expensive, they are not our cheapest" facilities, he said. "At some point cost cannot be the only factor."

One fundamental difference between private detention facilities and their publicly-run counterparts is transparency. The private ones don't have to follow the same public records and access requirements.

President Barack Obama has asked for less detention money this year and encouraged the agency to look at alternatives to locking people up. He also ordered DHS to stop deporting young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally, which could reduce the number behind bars. Congress, however, can approve more detention spending than DHS requests.

Beyond civil detention centers, private companies are also making more money locking up non-citizens who commit federal crimes.

To deter illegal border crossers, federal prosecutors are increasingly charging immigrants with felonies for repeatedly entering the country without papers. That has led thousands of people convicted of illegal re-entry, as well as more serious federal offenses, to serve time in private prisons built just for them.

A decade ago, more than 3,300 criminal immigrants were sent to private prisons under two 10-year contracts the Federal Bureau of Prisons signed with CCA worth $760 million. Now, the agency is paying the private companies $5.1 billion to hold more than 23,000 criminal immigrants through 13 contracts of varying lengths.

CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention.

GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.

"Another factor driving growth ... for the private sector is in the area of immigration and illegal immigration specifically," Chief Financial Officer Brian Evans told investors in GEO's 2011 3rd quarter earnings call.

CCA warned in its 2011 annual earnings report that federal policy changes in "illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them."

Utah-based Management and Training is not publicly held, so it does not post earnings.

At just the federal level, these companies, their political action committees and their employees have spent more than $32 million on lobbying and on campaign contributions since 2000 - with the national political parties getting the largest campaign contributions.

An AP review of Federal Election Commission data found the prison companies and their employees gave to key congressional leaders who control how much money goes to run the nation's detention centers and who influence how many contracts go to the private sector.

James Thurber, head of American University's Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies, said amid the heated national debate over immigration, the companies have been savvy not to donate heavily to those sponsoring legislation, which could spark backlash, or to lobby directly for tougher laws.

"It's too controversial," he said. "But support for privatization doesn't get as political. And it can be done discretely."

There are more discrete and more powerful ways to influence policy, Thurber said.

"Follow the money," he said. "If the money is being increased significantly for illegal immigration, then that is a shift in policy ... a significant shift."

The top beneficiaries of the campaign contributions include:

- The Republican Party. Its national and congressional committees received around $450,000. Democrats received less than half that.

- Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain. He received $71,000, mostly during his failed presidential bid against Obama, well after he dropped support for a bill that would have given illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and reduced detentions.

- House Speaker John Boehner received $63,000.

_Kentucky U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers received about $59,000. Rogers chaired the first subcommittee on Homeland Security and heads the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He often criticizes ICE for not filling more detention beds.

- Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. He received $58,500. The lawmaker from Tennessee, where CCA is headquartered, led the Senate at the height of the nation's immigrant detention build up from 2003 to 2007.

More than campaign contributions, though, the private prison companies spent most of their money each year on lobbying in Washington, peaking in 2005 when they spent $5 million.

In just 2011, CCA paid the Washington firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld $280,000 in part to "monitor immigration reform," federal reports show.

They also lobbied heavily against a bill that would force them to comply with the same open records requirements governing public facilities.

Owen, the CCA spokesman, said the company ramped up lobbying to acquaint new lawmakers with the industry.

"In recent years, federal elections have been very volatile, resulting in a lot of new faces in Washington," he said. "The result of that volatility means a lot of people at the federal level who may not be familiar with the work we do."

The prison companies' influence at the state level mirrors that in Washington, although the money is even harder to track since many states, such as Arizona and Illinois, where the companies have won lucrative detention contracts, don't require corporations to disclose what they pay lobbyists.

The AP reviewed campaign contribution data from the three companies' political action committees and their employees over the last decade, compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. From 2003 to the first half of 2012, state candidates and political parties in the 50 states received more than $5.32 million.

In the 10 states where the companies' committees and employees contributed the most, the AP found they also spent at least $8 million more lobbying local officials in the last five years alone. It is impossible to know how much of this lobbying money was aimed only at immigrant-related contracts. But that money generally went to states along the border, such as Florida and Texas, which have high numbers of immigrants, as well as states such as Georgia and Louisiana, where large numbers of immigrants also are detained.

ICE has begun providing more oversight as part of the Obama administration's pledge to overhaul the nation's system for jailing immigration offenders. It recently scrapped plans for CCA to build a 1,500-bed immigrant detention center in a high-end Miami suburb following months of local protests, and is also looking for a new home for a detention facility once slated for the suburbs of Chicago, after local officials voted in June to block the project from going forward.

But it remains committed to adding more private beds. Plans are on track to build or expand private immigration jails in Newark, N.J., and along a lonely stretch of California's Mojave Desert.


Burke reported from San Francisco.

General Discussion / Raul Castro: Cuba willing to sit down with US
« on: July 26, 2012, 03:39:11 PM »
Raul Castro: Cuba willing to sit down with US
HAVANA, Thu Jul 26, 05:09 PM
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A veteran of the Revolution wears his military medals and holds a Cuban flag at an event celebrating Revolution Day in Guantanamo...More
Cuban President Raul Castro said Thursday that his government is willing to mend fences with bitter Cold War foe the United States and sit down to discuss anything, as long as it is a conversation between equals.

At the end of a Revolution Day ceremony marking the 59th anniversary of a failed uprising against a military barracks, Castro grabbed the microphone for apparently impromptu remarks. He echoed previous statements that no topic is off-limits, including U.S. concerns about democracy, freedom of the press and human rights on the island, as long as it is a conversation between equals.

"Any day they want, the table is set. This has already been said through diplomatic channels," Castro said. "If they want to talk, we will talk."

Washington would have to be prepared to hear Cuba's own complaints about the treatment of those issues in the United States and its European allies, he added.

"We are nobody's colony, nobody's puppet," Castro said.

Washington and Havana have not had diplomatic relations for five decades, and the 50-year-old U.S. embargo outlaws nearly all trade and travel to the island.

Later Thursday, Mike Hammer, assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. State Department, said that before there can be meaningful engagement, Cuba must institute democratic reforms, improve human rights and release Alan Gross, a Maryland native serving 15 years for bringing satellite and other communications equipment into Cuba illegally while on a USAID-funded democracy-building program.

"Our message is very clear to the Castro government: They need to begin to allow for the political freedom of expression that the Cuban people demand, and we are prepared to discuss with them how this can be furthered," Hammer said. "They are the ones ultimately responsible for taking those actions, and today we have not seen them."

Hammer highlighted the brief detention this week of dozens of dissidents outside the funeral of prominent Oswaldo Paya, who died in a car crash last weekend, saying "the authoritarian tendencies are very evident on each and every day in Cuba."

Days after Paya's death, Raul Castro had harsh words for the island's opposition, accusing them of plotting to topple the government.

"Some small factions are doing nothing less than trying to lay the groundwork and hoping that one day what happened in Libya will happen here, what they're trying to make happen in Syria," Castro said.

Castro also reminisced about the 1959 Revolution, promised that Cuba will complete a trans-island expressway halted years ago for lack of funds, empathized with islanders' complaints about meager salaries and said once again that his five-year plan to overhaul Cuba's socialist economy will not be done hastily.

The July 26 national holiday was often used to make major announcements when Castro's older brother Fidel was president, but there were none on Thursday.

The main celebration kicked off at sunrise with music and speeches at a plaza in the eastern province of Guantanamo, home to the U.S. naval base of the same name.

The American presence in Guantanamo is a sore point for Havana, which demands the base be shut down and accuses the U.S. of torturing terror suspects held in the military prison.

"We will continue to fight such a flagrant violation. ... Never, under any circumstance, will we stop trying to recover that piece of ground," first Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura said in the keynote address.

Musicians sang the song "Guantanamera," and a young girl read a speech paying homage to the revolution and resistance to "Yankee" imperialism.

"We will be like `Che,'" she said, repeating the mantra taught to schoolchildren across the island. Argentine-born guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara is held up as a model of personal conduct in Cuba.

General Discussion / Decline of black dominance
« on: July 25, 2012, 10:55:08 AM »

Decline of black dominance


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tony Fraser

From a high point of academic achievement, social advance and early attempts to become active participants in an emerging local economy, Afro-Trinis have been seriously outdistanced in all of the above and more during the last 30 years of the 50-year period of political independence.
Early in this series of reflective articles, it was noted that after slavery ended the freed African began gathering an education, developing economic self-sufficiency and decidedly had the first hold on political power through the Afro-based PNM.
 The big point this week is the assertion that Blacks/Afro-Trinis (Tobagonians have to be dealt with separately) have had serious reversals in almost all categories of human endeavour; culture, defined in part as the performing and visuals arts, being the notable exception and that focus will also be given in future columns.
The build-up towards “Black Power” in the late 1960s was a recognition that the holy grail of economic independence and ad-vancement, social progress as a group and internal self-belief as reflected in cultural pride did not follow the acquisition of political power. The movement also charged the PNM and Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams, the all-knowing historian, for not deliberately advancing the cause of Blacks.
“We were marching for equality, Black unity, Black dignity…” is a line from Bro Valentino, one of the poets of the 1970 Black Power revolution, articulating the raison d’etre of the movement. The literature of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) of the period and the platform speakers made the case in the immediate post-independence period, about not only the condition of Blacks and Indians, but noted too the continuing dominance of the colonial institutions and those who held power.
The reality of today is that Afro-Trinis are no longer dominant in the professions, law, medicine, engineering; they make up the lower levels of the education system, the period of distinguished scholarship having been severely curtailed. The hard evidence to substantiate the latter observations can be found in the annual scholarship results at every level of the education system. At the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine campus, the low ratio of Blacks can be easily observed.
The lag in education is a critical factor, as it is success in education which has been one of the major springboards to economic and social advancement for all of the various segments of the population. Whereas there was steady and significant advance of the freed Africans in the post-slavery period and into the first 75 years of the 20th century in agriculture, as traders, small business owners and operators, skilled artisans, emerging business entrepreneurs, that start was not converted into ownership and management of manufacturing plants and big business operations in commerce and trade.
The dominance which Blacks once enjoyed in the civil service is gradually being eroded as other population groups begin to see the possibilities of profitable and distinguished careers in the public service. The fact of having lost total dominance of political power over the last 25 years has also had an impact here; but we will deal fully with causes in subsequent columns.
If the rubric of observation is broadened to include people communities, the urban squalors of Shanty Town—now Beetham Estate—John John, Sea Lots, the behind-the-bridge Plannings, Plannings in Mon Repos, Embacadere and the slums that have emerged from the abandoned train line in Marabella-San Fernando may have undergone some marginal physical change but have declined from being poverty-ridden areas with more than a few ambitious families to what the police have dubbed “crime hot spots.”
It has reached the point where service providers, including electricity and telephone workers, have stated their reluctance to their employers about going there unless accompanied by heavy security. But there remains tens of thousands of working-class Black people who are diligently advancing their lives, having productive families with their offspring incrementally moving forward.
So too are the Black middle classes (upper and lower) continuing to progress in educational achievement, as qualified professionals; generations having migrated for advanced education and returned home with professional skills and experience. They have purchased homes in middle- and upper-class residential areas.
Few, however, have been breaking into big business operations. It’s significant that I mention, though, one Afro-Trini, Raymond Walcott, who is amongst the big traders on High Street, San Fernando. He started as a vendor on the streets and at 43 years old he now owns two buildings. Walcott told me he feels lonely on the street.

General Discussion / Between bullet and ballot
« on: July 20, 2012, 03:50:12 PM »
Between bullet and ballot

 By Sheila Rampersad

Story Created: Jul 19, 2012 at 10:58 PM ECT
Story Updated: Jul 19, 2012 at 10:58 PM ECT )

On the night of May 24, 2010, having observed the full election campaign and the events of that fateful and historic Election Day, I knew this country had changed. The multiple aspects of that change were not easy to identify intellectually but I know that, like me, many people felt it.
The election outcome was evidence of a major shift; many people who block-voted along traditional lines made a politically genetic change in supporting the concept of a people's partnership, an Indian woman Prime Minister in a United National Congress (UNC)-dominated coalition, and a philosophy of people-driven politics and participatory style of governance. At the May 23, 2010, People's Partnership rally in Aranjuez, a yellow canvas was painted with all the right images—crusaders against corruption in high office, a ministry of the people responding to enraged calls for basic services, diverse peoples holding hands walking towards a prosperous future, a just and fair environment that begins closing the gap between have and have-nots, ill people lying on a surplus of hospital beds being treated with dignity, etc.
A short two years later, the preceding paragraph is likely to elicit rueful laughter. Some people believed, some wanted to, others never would have believed. But we would be less than honest if we don't acknowledge that the majority of us hoped, believed, prayed, that we were about to turn a corner away from neglect and arrogance and towards more responsive and progressive governance of this small place.
Two years ago, our tiny, complex society had already absorbed a surfeit of violence, with a corresponding deficit of humanity and compassion. I have been anxious, like everyone else, about the overwhelming personal insecurity experienced by the population, but I have been equally anxious about what the overkill the country has been experiencing means for the national character. No society, I said on election night, can absorb this amount of violence and remain unaffected. None of us is untouched, directly or indirectly.

But as we gaze, often without hope, at the corrosion of our character, we cannot avoid seeing how we have encouraged and defended violence. We have always defended, for example, violent discipline of children; burning children's hands, dipping their fingers in boiling water to deter "bad behaviour" is not a new nor is it the only vicious parenting strategy, and we know it, as we know that abuse of women and the elderly has been normative.
Our own behaviours create and simultaneously reinforce our sadistic national environment: we drive violently, our vocabulary is violent, we argue with aggression, suppress opposing views brutally. And now, to address the violence we have created and reinforced, we call for more violence: hang them, castrate them, police right to kill them. In this environment, why wouldn't we bulldoze endangered turtle hatchlings and defend that savagery as collateral damage, complain that all people talking about is "turtle, turtle, turtle" while fishermen's nets are being destroyed by adult turtles, and describe the killings as "unfortunate"? Isn't this the same response by National Security Minister Jack Warner to the human deaths of those he considers "not innocent"?
Our national problem-solving paradigm is money and force.

So we have a disillusioned, violent and desensitised society, fertile ground for destabilisation. Many of us feel a deep uneasiness that we express as "something has to give", a portent of something dangerous about to happen, spontaneously and violently. There is a sense that the country is in a pressure cooker, the lid of which will inevitably blow.
In May 2010, I was among those who slapped their own backs in congratulations that we managed to engineer historic change without violence, notwithstanding the pockets of intense bitterness experienced by some on the opposing side.

Now, despite the overwhelming disillusion felt by voters and non-voters, this is one uplifting fact that we must acknowledge in service of ourselves: we did not degenerate into violent political conflict, we chose ballot over bullet at a time when bullets outnumber ballots, and we engineered change. Never mind the change thus far has been, in the prescient words of former prime minister Basdeo Panday, exchange rather than change (some would say worse than exchange); we thought it was change and we orchestrated it peacefully and decisively.
This is empowering, and the current Government, as well as those aspiring to government, should take note that having done it once, we can do it again. The question is, how long will the population be content to wait five years for change, and how long before we become so dreadfully dejected with political ineptitude and exploitation that we completely dismiss the potential of the ballot, opting instead for the tattoo of gunfire?
This society has changed. The country that is being governed now is not the country of two years ago. We are now more politically aware, more disillusioned, more violent, and considerably less patient. How we navigate this time will determine whether we evolve or devolve.

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