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General Discussion / Ventour quits Integrity Commission
« on: May 22, 2015, 05:17:29 AM »
Allyuh real quiet on this one


Ventour Resigns

Emailgate probe terminated: Integrity commission deputy chairman flabbergasted

ntegrity Commission deputy chairman Justice Sebastian Ventour yesterday tendered his resignation saying he was "flabbergasted" with the Commission's decision to terminate its investigation into Emailgate.

Ventour invited the media to his St Joseph home yesterday after numerous requests for an interview. In the 19-minute interview he made it clear he was a man who stood on principle and could not stay with a Commission that misled the country.

The Integrity Commission, which has a history of being plagued with controversies, now faces potential collapse as prior to Ventour's resignation, another member, Dr Shelly-Anne Lalchan, tendered her resignation on Wednesday.

However, when the Express visited Lalchan's medical office at Endeavour Road, Chaguanas, yesterday, her relative said she was not prepared to speak at this time. He insisted that Lalchan's resignation had nothing to do with Emailgate and it was a personal family issue that led to her decision.

Ventour on the other hand had no qualms in speaking his mind and dared anyone to challenge his position.

The retired High Court judge said the Commission did not sufficiently investigate Emailgate, adding that the content of the e-mails must also be looked into.

He repeated that the letter sent to Israel Khan SC on May 19 was "incorrect" and he himself was surprised to learn about it as he saw it on television.

In a letter dated May 19, 2015, the Commission's registrar Martin Farrell wrote Israel Khan, SC, stating that pursuant to Section 34 (6) of the act, the commission was "satisfied that there was no or insufficient grounds for continuing the investigation" into Emailgate "and accordingly this investigation is hereby terminated".

Khan is the legal counsel for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and former attorney general Anand Ramlogan in the emailgate affair.

President Anthony Carmona appointed Justice Zainool Hosein in November last year to head the Commission with members Ventour, Lalchan, petroleum and environmental engineer Deonarine Jaggernauth and accountant Pete London.

Ventour disclosed the Commission held a meeting on Tuesday this week-the very day the letter was sent to Khan-and at that meeting he did not like the way the discussions were going and he left. He confirmed that Lalchan also left the meeting after him.

Despite two members walking out of the meeting, the chairman pressed on with the move to issue the letter to Khan.

According to Ventour, Emailgate is far from closed.

Efforts to contact Hosein yesterday proved futile as calls to his phone went unanswered.

The Office of the President is expected to make a statement today on this matter.

Following is the transcript of the interview conducted by reporters with Justice Ventour at his St Joseph home yesterday:

You confirm you have tendered your resignation?

Yes I have.

Is it related to Emailgate?

Yes it is

In what way?

Because I didn't like what was said to the public of Trinidad and Tobago, totally incorrect and I couldn't be part of that. I just have no choice but to resign. I took an oath of office when I got my instrument of appointment to discharge my functions without fear or favour, affection or ill will and that implied a sense of being honest and truthful and when the decision was taken to put into the public domain what was said in that letter, I knew it was incorrect, not true and therefore I indicated I was not going to be part of this.


Is there insufficient grounds to continue the investigation?
Whatever is said in that letter is incorrect.


Did you find out about it (the letter) through the media?
That's right.


Does that mean that all five people on the Commission did not sign off on that letter?
I don't know.


How did it happen? Was a meeting called? Explain the process that took place.
We had a meeting and we discuss things at a meeting, we agree to disagree on matters. At the end of the day I think the chairman is the one responsible for the decisions based on the discussions following a meeting by the members of the Integrity Commission.


Is your decision based on the fact that there is outstanding information that has been requested by the Integrity Commission that has not been furnished?
I am totally flabbergasted how anyone can say that we have brought the investigation to an end and we have seen it fit to inform those who, I don't want to call names at this stage, those who are involved to say that we can go no further.


Did you tender your resignation itself today in person?
Yes, in person.


Did you state your reason to the chairman?


What is your relationship with the chairman and how do you think the chairman handled the situation?
The chairman is pretty good, we agree to disagree as in every organisation.


Would you link him in particular to the outcome of this probe. Do you think his tenure is untenable now?
No, I have no comment on that.


Did the chairman force this upon members?
No I wouldn't say so at all.


Do you believe you are the only member of the Commission who found out about it that way? (through the media)


Is it possible this letter (to Khan) was dispatched without a quorum?
There are five members of the Commission. Three is a quorum.


Is it possible the letter was dispatched with fewer than three? Should a matter like this should have been dispatched without all five agreeing on it given the high profile nature of the matter?
We don't all have to agree to come to a decision, very often we come to a disagreement but once there's a majority....


Did you and Dr Shelly-Anne Lalchan leave that meeting when it was agreed or stated that this was going to be the statement?
I left before her. I didn't like how the discussion was progressing.


On your departure you knew what the result was but didn't know about the letter being dispatched? Did that take you completely by surprise?
It did.


What do you suggest be done now when the Prime Minister went to the Parliament yesterday and said she's vindicated by the Integrity Commission, the only last body to give a judgment on this right now is the police, do you think the Integrity Commission should re-open its investigation at this point in time?
Oh, that is not for me to say, a decision has been made, in my absence. I query the correctness of that statement and I am pretty sure I cannot be contradicted, I dare anyone to contradict me.


So this case should not be closed at this point in time?
In my view? NO.


That statement that was released was premature?
My words-incorrect.


No one is really is, as far as the Integrity Commission's statement says, no one is really cleared per say because in your view the investigation is incomplete?

That's not for me to say, I just disagree with the correctness of the statement. As a result of the statement, someone or individuals are cleared, so be it.


What would you have required for it to be complete?

If we had completed the investigation.


Which would have required what?
Several things. I took an oath of secrecy under the legislation, I am now allowed to talk about matters.


The Integrity Commission obtained through Google information which showed that emails addresses were fabricated such as anan@gmail.com and there was no way emails sent or received from that address, so in your view, having a bogus address is not enough to clear this matter? Are you looking at the content? What are you looking at that you are not satisfied with?

That is an interesting question because I think that if you are doing an investigation you should not look at form but substance, that's my view and the fact that Google had responded as to the form, I think one needs more than that.


When the meeting was called, was the chairman asked to consult with the Director of Public Prosecutions and did he refuse?

I can't answer that.


What should the people of Trinidad and Tobago do if there is no faith in the Integrity Commission, and what next?

I believe in honesty and truth and there are certain principles in life that we have to stand up firm for. When I took my oath the last thing I would have thought is that I would be part of any statement that would mislead the public of Trinidad and Tobago. I want no part of that. That in my view has been done, I am out.


Do you detect any political links within the Commission?

I can't answer that.

Do you believe anyone was pressured into releasing that statement,or taking a position?

I wasn't pressured, I cannot speak for the others.


Did you expect a conclusion in the Emailgate matter?

Absolutely not.


Given this strong position you have taken, do you think the Integrity Commission can continue?

That's for the President to decide.

Do you think the Integrity Commission is necessary and it's able to carry out its functions considering that this will lead to a collapse? Why do you think it has to collapse?

We are not indispensable, neither of us, Dr Lalchan or myself. And it may be that the President might see it fit to appoint two persons to replace us. The Commission goes on.

I think the Integrity Commission is an absolute necessity in a country that has respect for values, integrity etc.


Can you put on the table any reasons why an inaccurate conclusion would have been arrived at this juncture or before the investigation, in your view, came to an end?

- Let me ask a question that letter that came from the Integrity Commission, do you remember?

Reporter: that there are no or insufficient grounds to continue.

Ventour: That is incorrect...we have not yet in my view investigated the Emailgate, we have not.

At all or thoroughly or sufficiently well?

Sufficiently well. Yes, we have dealt with Google, Google has responded, what about the other matters...Several names were mentioned, what happened to the others. Is it because we only got two (names) that's the end of the investigation for Emailgate? Come on now.

You are stating publicly your position through the media, but at the end of the day the allegations made in Emailgate are very grave...do you think your resigning is enough, shouldn't you go a bit further and call for a re-opening of the case or the resignation of the chairman?

That would be very improper of me to think along those lines, calling for the resignation of the chairman, I won't do that.


But you do not think that based on the premature conclusion that the investigation should not continue under that directorship?

Maybe it should, but that is not for me to decide, I have expressed my views and as a result of the views I have expressed, I decided to part ways with the Integrity Commission because I believe that is the right thing to do.


Are you concerned that if this investigation is not thoroughly investigated...what about other matters? Does that not bother you?

Anything that is wrong bothers me. If the conclusion that is wrong, then I will certainly be bothered.


What's next for you?

For me? Integrity has to mean something for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and if it doesn't it, then I am sorry. I stand by principle, let's just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, let's just do that.

I just want to stand up for what is right, was is truthful and what is honest.


Your understanding is that Dr Lalchan would have probably felt in the same way that you do?

I would like to think so.

She's indicated personal reasons. That's a matter for Dr Lalchan to deal with.

 The Integrity Commission as it stands now can be politically infiltrated?

What does that mean? Sounds like a coup, I don't know.


General Discussion / Ah bunch of facking RATSSS!!!
« on: June 01, 2014, 05:38:13 AM »

General Discussion / Women Battery Thread.
« on: March 30, 2014, 09:15:05 AM »
Police probing Chandresh for assault of ex-girlfriend


To be a Gov't minister in TNT, you must know how to BEAT !!! woman

Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma is under investigation by the police for the assault of his former girlfriend. Sacha Singh, the managing director of AMS Biotech Security Concept and AmSure T&T Ltd, who is in her late 20s, met with officers of the St Joseph Police Station on Friday at her Piarco business and gave a statement of Sharma’s alleged physical abuse during an altercation on March 12 at Grand Bazaar. Though a police investigation into such a matter can take as long as six months, the Sunday Guardian learnt that because of the high-profile nature of the matter it is being fast-tracked. ASP Joanne Archie, public information officer of the T&T Police Service, yesterday confirmed that an investigation was being conducted by the police against Sharma: “Statements were recorded and the investigation is in progress.”


Archie said “a charge or charges” may be laid after the investigation. Sharma’s investigation comes days after former minister of the people Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh was fired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Tuesday, following allegations of disorderly behaviour on board a Caribbean Airlines flight on March 16.



Questions about the child arose

Police were told that Singh met Sharma in the car park of Grand Bazaar, near Toppers around 7.45 pm on March 12. Sharma had agreed to meet Singh at the mall. In the back seat of Singh’s car was a 12-year-old girl and her mother, a schoolteacher. Sharma entered her Mercedes Benz car and sat in the front passenger seat, where questions about the child arose. The child eventually moved and Sharma spotted her. The child called out to Sharma who acknowledged her. Singh began to ask Sharma about maintaining the child. Sharma and the girl’s mother came out of the vehicle arguing. Shortly after, there was a scuffle between Sharma and the woman.During the melee, Sharma urged the woman to stop hitting a Brahmin boy. Singh came out of the car and held on to Sharma’s tie, but was slapped across the face.

Sharma, the police were told, pushed Singh who fell back and hit her head on her car and blacked out for several minutes. After gaining consciousness, Singh said they were checking her pulse. She said she was told that Sharma was putting water on face, forehead and head to revive her. Singh said Sharma kept saying she was fine and told her not to go to the hospital, but instead she should go home and take a shower. Singh called her doctor at St Augustine Private Hospital who told her he was not on duty. She went home and took painkillers. The following day, Singh was examined by Dr Pulchan at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex who diagnosed that she suffered from a mild concussion and haematoma (swelling of the brain). She then reported the incident to Sgt Ogiste at the St Joseph Police Station. Traumatised by the incident, Singh left the country on March 14 and returned on March 25, where the police took a report three days later. The matter is being investigated by Insp Naim Gyan, who refused to comment yesterday when contacted.


Singh: I am pressing charges
Contacted yesterday, Singh said she was pressing charges against Sharma, who she met at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in January 2013. Singh admitted that she shared a relationship with Sharma, stating that she has evidence to back up her claims. “I found out about the child last November by his (Sharma’s) wife. That’s when things started to go downhill with us because when I asked him repeatedly about the child, he kept denying (the child) was his.” She said Sharma had no right to push her down because she brought the little girl to see him. Stating that she had established her business before she met Sharma, Singh, a former Miss T&T contestant, said, “It is not that I am bitter, vindictive or want revenge against him...it’s about living up to your responsibilities and speaking the truth. It’s an innocent child we are speaking about.”

Singh said she could have left the matter, but realised that it could have been far more serious. “I could have died. This should serve as a message to all women that they can stand up and fight men who are abusive.”
She said she was determined to press charges against Sharma because if left unchecked, someone could get killed in the future as a result of his actions. Singh described the incident as an abuse of public office. “The thing is, if you grab a woman’s breast and you get removed and you knock down a woman...same thing.”


Ramesh Maharaj: PM ought to remove him
Yesterday, former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said on the basis of the PM’s action against Ramadharsingh, the same should apply for Sharma. “An assault is when you attempt to hit someone. If you hit, then it’s assault and battery, which is a criminal offence and would have to answer a charge in the Magistrate’s Court.” Maharaj said Sharma’s report was far worse. “It’s a form of domestic violence because he was friendly with her.” Maharaj said a minister does not have to be charged to be fired, but the charge aggravates the situation. A minister, Maharaj said, must be an exemplar. “The PM ought to remove him...There must be high standards in public life.” Maharaj said an investigation like this should take only a few days. “These matters are simple investigations. So this summary complaint must be filed within six months of the date of the incident.”


Sat maintains it’s a domestic affair
Secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha said Ramadharsingh’s issue was quite different from Sharma’s. “Ramadharsingh’s incident happened in an aircraft with other passengers who were endangered. This is a different thing—a domestic dispute...lots of people have. One is a domestic affair, and one is public manifestation of bad behaviour. It was a different situation because lots of politicians...they have domestic problems. So that is why I drew the line.” Maharaj maintained that the matter involving Sharma will take its course. Maharaj insists that he was not condoning domestic violence.


Seebaran–Suite: If it is true... it is to be deplored
Women’s activist, chairman of Advocates of Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (Aspire), attorney Lynette Seebaran–Suite said: “If it is true, then really, it is to be deplored because domestic violence is one of the most pervasive crimes society faces.” Seebaran-Suite said she has been trying to wrestle with the problem. “So if we have exemplars in society or people who are supposed to be exemplars committing that kind of violence, then they should face the full brunt of the law.” Seebaran-Suite said anyhow you look at it, “an assault is an assault.”


No response from Sharma, PM
Yesterday, a call made to Sharma’s phone was answered by someone who stated that the minister was attending a function. Another call at 6.30 pm was not responded to. Text messages sent to Sharma’s cell phone at 4.38 pm, 6.37 pm and 6.59 pm were not answered. Sharma also did not respond to questions e-mailed to him. Meanwhile, calls and texts to Persad-Bissessar’s phone went unanswered.

General Discussion / Is the "Goat Whisperer" a "Wife Beater"?
« on: September 09, 2013, 11:56:24 AM »
Legal letters fly in support of AG’s wife


Story Created: Sep 8, 2013 at 11:16 PM ECT

Legal letters are flying fast to prevent publication of any story on Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and his wife Nalini.
Like her husband, Nalini Ramlogan is now threatening to take the Express and reporter Anika Gumbs to court should “falsities” be published about her.
Attorney Jagdeo Singh, who is representing Mrs Ramlogan, wrote Express editor-in-chief Omatie Lyder last Saturday stating that he had been instructed by his client “to take all such action as may be necessary to protect her good name and to prevent her from being brought into odium and disrepute”.
Singh’s letter follows a similar one from senior counsel Pamela Elder on September 5 on behalf of the AG, threatening legal action against the Express should “falsities” be published about him.
These legal letters have been issued as Gumbs pursues the facts behind certain information given to her by sources.
Mrs Ramlogan, like her husband, is also alleging that Gumbs posed as a police officer twice, first at Palmiste, where the Ramlogans live, and then at the home of Mrs Ramlogan’s parents in Barrackpore, where Gumbs had gone in pursuit of the story last week.
Gumbs has again been reminded in the lawyer’s letter that impersonating a police officer could land her in jail along with a fine.
In response to Mrs Ramlogan’s allegations, Gumbs yesterday vehemently denied that she identified herself as a friend of the Ramlogan family when she approached Mrs Ramlogan for an interview last week.
In fact, Express records show that Gumbs was identified as a journalist by the Ramlogans’ domestic helper, Goomatie Ragbir, who had worked with Gumbs at the Guardian South Bureau and Gumbs identified herself as “Anika” to Mrs Ramlogan.
The Express can also prove that Mrs Ramlogan never asked Gumbs to leave the premises where she lives as alleged in Singh’s letter.
In fact, at the end of the interview, Gumbs told Mrs Ramlogan: “Okay, have a good day,” to which she replied: “You too.”
Further, Express records show that no interview was ever conducted with Mrs Ramlogan’s neighbour Abdel Mohammed, who, according to Singh’s letter, is alleging that Gumbs impersonated a police officer attached to San Fernando Police Station when she approached him.
Attorney Singh also wrote “that any publication by you of matters relating to these falsities (including the publication of pre-action letters) would result in legal proceedings being instituted against both your newspaper and Ms Gumbs-Sandiford. In the circumstances, I ask you to note that I have my client’s firm instructions to take all such action as may be necessary to protect her good name and to prevent her from being brought into odium and disrepute”.

General Discussion / Ultrasound machine vanishes from SFGH
« on: August 21, 2013, 08:48:29 AM »
Tell us something new


Ultrasound machine vanishes from SFGH

Wednesday, August 21 2013

An ultrasound machine valued half a million dollars was stolen from the San Fernando General Hospital recently.

Hospital sources say the machine was last used on August 8.

The following day when the staff went to use the machine it was discovered missing. A search was carried out but it was not found.

The ultrasound machine, according to hospital sources, is a portable type which was wheeled around and used by anaesthesiologists in the operating theatre at the South hospital.

A report of the theft was made yesterday to the San Fernando Police Station.

Senior Supt Cecil Santana of the Southern Division and Det Insp Williams visited the hospital and conducted investigations. Williams is continuing the probe.

General Discussion / Banner Brokers
« on: August 20, 2013, 12:03:19 PM »
Meh wife tell me that one of her friends invite her to a Banner Brokers party (in Trinidad).. anyone knows much about Banner Brokers?


Sounds like a Ponza scam to me...


$Billions in Contracts for UNC Financier


An international financial investigative agency has information that a Government financier has amassed over a billion dollars  in contracts over the three years that the People’s Partnership has been in power. This was revealed yesterday by forensic and fraud auditing specialist Stephon Grey.

Grey is the managing director at BDO Forensic Accounting, the world’s fifth largest network of auditing firms; a sub-contractor at Kroll UK Ltd, the world’s leading forensic and investigative group; and the director of education at the Caribbean Institute of Forensic Accounting. He is considered to be one of the leading forensic accounting consultants in the region.

Grey was at the time speaking at a forum titled A Proper Procurement Framework as a Tool for National Development, put on by Anointed Professionals Exhibiting Excellence (Apex) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. He spoke on the topic Conducting Effective Procurement Investigations and said that any procurement legislation being considered must treat first with the issue of political party financing.


Addressing the need to conduct due diligence and background checks when considering the awarding of contracts, Grey said this was a process well followed in developed countries, but “we don’t do it in Trinidad.”

 He said that this lack of due diligence had resulted in the largest contract awarded in the country over the last two years in a methanol deal, going to a non-existent company trading under the name Trinidad Development Company, and it was only when it was pointed out after the fact that such company was not registered in this country that the fact became known.

 “Who is behind the company and whether or not the contracts have gone to political party financiers is something that  international agencies pay attention to,” he said. Grey said he is amazed at the kind of information that foreign international agencies have about this country and other places in the Caribbean, information that was gathered through investigation.

He said while politicians may tell the public that the Corruption Perception Index is just perception, it is not so. He said “perception is just 20 per cent” and the “other 80 per cent is actually predication and preliminary investigations that are  conducted.”


“Many of our public officials who feel they are quite smart look up on the internet and see these havens and they want to send their money to Lichtenstein and to Antigua,” he said, adding there is really no way to hide those transactions since “all wire transfer intermediary banks are American banks.” “So these officials are not that smart. The American agencies have every single wire transfer, from who and where and whatsoever,” he said.


He said the foreign entities currently have a lot of information on contracts and monies given to one PP financier.  “One agency told us just last week that one certain political party financier has already received, in the three years from the current adminstration, over one billion in contracts.” He refused, however, to divulge the name of financier or the company or companies which had benefitted from the contracts.


Contacted yesterday about the Grey’s claim, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said, “I would be very sceptical to belive such information unless there is evidence to substantiate such a claim.”



When told the source of the information, Ramlogan said if the source were a government agency the information would be deemed more credible, since “they may possess the legal authority and power and consequentially the credibility to make such a  statement. It is far too easy to make accusations and allegations without any proof,” he said


To substantiate his claim, he said he recalled a Sunday Guardian story earlier this year which claimed a government minister  was under investigation by the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) for paying off a mortgage at the rate of $42,000 a day in cash at a local bank. He said both the bank and FIU subsequently denied the allegation, but did not prevent the story from making front page “We have to be very careful,” he said, suggesting an agenda may be at play.


“Private organisations with political agendas are a feature of our politics and this is the silly season,” Ramlogan said. “It is suspicious that anyone who claims to have such information will not report it or share it with the proper and relevant law enforcement agency. “If the evidence exists it should be shared with the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). If it is shared with me I will have no difficulty in treating with it or passing it.”


Also in his presentation, Grey, speaking about “external investigations,” said law enforcement officials must have relationships with external bodies who have information to share. He said nine times out of ten, persons amassing millions in contracts and bribes do not bank their money in Trinidad and Tobago. Foreign agencies, he said, can tell local law enforcement agencies “what are the wire transfers going out and who are the political or public officials who have accounts in offshore havens.”


“The United States can tell your Police Commissioner, one phone call, and give him a list of all public officials and where they bank. But it all comes back to the political will. If the political financiers are controlling the public officials, then they don’t want to make that phone call,” he said.


Asked whether or not the information about the contracts and money transactions revealed by the foreign agency would be known by either the Financial Investigative Bureau or the FIU, he said all it would take to find out is the “political will” and a phone call to the relevant foreign agency.

General Discussion / LIAT Thread.
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:17:12 AM »
'Hilarious' Airline Complaint Letter Catches Eye of CEO


 Most airline complaint letters are so filled with rage and tales of woe, it's hard to see any humor in the situation.

But that's not the case with a letter written to LIAT, a small airline serving 21 destinations in the Caribbean. The complaint waged in a letter to the airline is so funny that it prompted another airline's CEO to tweet it to his more than 3 million followers.

"How to write a complaint letter -- read this hilarious note from a frustrated airline passenger," tweeted Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

He even blogged about it.

Not all letters to airlines are to complain. Check out this letter to Delta's CEO after he gave up his seat for a mom late to pick her daughter up from a special-needs camp.

The LIAT letter appeared in the weekly British Virgin Islands newspaper, the BVI Beacon, earlier this year.

The letter was penned by Londoner Arthur Hicks and titled "An Open Letter to LIAT."

 Dear LIAT,

May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I've been hugged by most of the Caribbean already. I also found it unique that this was all done on "island time," because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I'm glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night -- and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.

So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are "The Caribbean Airline."

P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

Branson himself was once the recipient of what some think is the most epic airline complaint letter of all time. In that letter, the author likens his flight on Virgin to a "culinary journey of hell."

General Discussion / ‘UNGRATEFUL’
« on: May 10, 2013, 04:31:17 AM »

Fuad blasts sextuplets’ parents on complaints:
By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

Story Created: May 9, 2013 at 9:26 PM ECT

Story Updated: May 9, 2013 at 11:36 PM ECT

The sextuplets’ parents are ungrateful and owe the Government, the Prime Minister and the taxpayers of this country a “thank you” for all that was done to ensure that mother and babies had the best care possible, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday.

The March 4 birth of the sextuplets to parents Petra Lee Foon, a teacher, and Kieron Cummings, a bank employee, was a first for Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. 

Extensive plans were put into place at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital to ensure a smooth Caesarian-section delivery of the babies, and close to $5 million was spent to purchase equipment for the babies’ aftercare at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Two of the babies—the youngest and eldest—have since died.

Cummings, according to a Guardian report, said he regretted not ta­king his wife abroad as he was dis­satisfied with the aftercare at Mt Hope.

An upset Khan, speaking to the Express yesterday after the post-Cabinet news conference at the St Clair office of the Prime Minister, took issue with Cummings’ statements.

I hope he doesn’t have a complaint about the house now that he has gotten from the Government. I wonder if he will say that the room is too small, or they need air-conditioning or they need another storey put on. Looking at their method of approach to what the health sector did for them and to know what is happening now, sometimes, people have to be grateful in life,” said Khan.

Last Friday, the parents were giv­en keys to a three-bedroom Housing Development Corporation (HDC) house in Edinburgh 500.

Cummings, following the birth of his babies, had said that top priority was having a home to raise his children as he lived with his parents in Arima and the mother lived with her parents in Central.

Cummings has said he plans to marry his babies’ mother following her recovery.

Khan said not only were millions spent to ensure the babies had first-class treatment, great sacrifices were also made as other babies had to be accommodated at the Port of Spain General Hospital and the San Fernando General Hospital when the sextuplets were at the NICU.

“I think, at the end of the day, when people get things easy, they don’t appreciate it,” said Khan.

Questioned on the aftercare of the babies at the NICU, which Cummings has taken issue with, Khan responded: “According to the head of the neonatal unit, Dr Carmanee Lutchman, she indicated to me that the aftercare was on international standards, based on all the things we put into place.”

“Now, at the end of the day, one has to ask: what is the motive? Why are they (parents) doing this?” said Khan.

“Time has come to actually tell the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and, hopefully, the Prime Minister thank you for the house when other people didn’t get it, and thank you for bending over backwards to assist us,” Khan added.

He questioned further how exactly was Cummings going to afford international care for his wife and babies if he had to apply for Government housing and depend on the HDC for a home.

Khan said the public health sector strives to deliver the best care possible for all patients and will continue, despite the negative comments from persons who are ungrateful.

He said further that the pregnancy was not a natural one as fertility drugs were used.

“One has to investigate the use of Clomid; Clomid brings out congenital birth malformations,” said Khan as he stressed that in these pregnancies where the babies are premature, there are numerous complications and, therefore, it was unjust to blame the health system for the two babies that died.

Khan said studies were done on the drug that needed to be looked at.

According to a report on website webmd.com, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labelled Clomid as a drug that should not be used in pregnancy because it raises the risk of major birth defects.

The report stated a study was done on Clomid which found that women who opted to use Clomid on their own, without medical supervision, had a 300 per cent higher risk of having a baby born with a birth defect compared with fertile couples.

Muslim TV station, IBN, destroyed by fire

TTnewsflash understands that Islamic Broadcasting Network (IBN) Channel 8 owned by Inshan Ishmael was completely destroyed by fire this morning.

Stay tuned for more details.

International Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch no more


TTnewsflash understands that William Munro, Chairman of the Caribbean Prestige Foundation for the Performing Arts has bowed out of the competition.

Munro in an exclusive interview with etceterabuzz claimed that he was “fed up” with the competition.

On March 12, TTnewsflash published an exclusive article stating that at the prize giving ceremony winning soca artistes were given blank cheques in envelopes.  The artistes were allegedly told that night that they would get their monies the following week.  However, up to today, the artistes have not received their cash winnings.

Munroe in the eceterabuzz article claimed that ministry officials has promised to pay the entertainers by next week.

General Discussion / Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigns
« on: March 13, 2013, 02:33:51 PM »
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigns amid state, federal probe of non-profit veterans group (she must be ralated to Renraw)


By Tia Mitchell and Mary Ellen Klas
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE -- Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll abruptly resigned amid law enforcement questions about a Florida Internet sweepstakes company at the center of a nationwide criminal investigation that has led authorities to arrest nearly 60 people in six states.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement interviewed Carroll Monday about her connections to the company, Allied Veterans of the World, a Florida-based non-profit that operates a chain of Internet cafes.

Carroll once owned a public relations firm that represented Allied Veterans, and she did work for the company at the same time she served in the Florida House. She resigned Tuesday. She has not been charged with any crime.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and law enforcement officials, speaking at a news conference in Orlando on Wedneday afternoon, said the multistate investigation — dubbed “Operation Reveal the Deal” — of the purported veterans’ charity led to arrest warrants for 57 people in Florida and five other states. Charges include racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and possession of slot machines. Earlier this week, top leaders of Allied Veterans and the head of Jacksonville’s police union were arrested on charges of racketeering and money laundering.

“It is shameful that Allied Veterans of the World allegedly attempted to use the guise of a charitable organization to help veterans in order to lend credibility to this $300 million illegal gambling scheme,” said Bondi in a statement. “The Office of Statewide Prosecution will be filing formal charges related to illegal gambling, racketeering and money laundering, and they will prosecute the participants in the scheme to the fullest extent of the law.”

Soca star’s husband held for sexual assault


The husband of a popular soca star was arrested early yesterday morning and is expected to be charged for grievous sexual assault. The man, who spent last night at the Chaguanas Police Station, was arrested around 3 am yesterday at a house at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas.Reports reveal that a woman who works with the entertainer was asleep at her home, when, around 2 am, she was awakened and found the man lying on the bed attempting to assault her.



The woman left the entertainer’s home and later filed a report at the Chaguanas station. Following inquiries, the man, who was believed to be intoxicated, was arrested at the entertainer’s home and taken to the station, where he was placed in a cell and left to sober up. Senior officials yesterday confirmed the man had been questioned, and that statements had also been recorded from the entertainer.


Calls to the entertainer’s cellphone went unanswered yesterday, while there were also no responses to text messages and voicemails were not returned.

Jokes / Trinis again
« on: October 10, 2012, 08:06:21 PM »
Gabriel came to the Lord and said, "Ah have to talk to you, yes."

It have some Trinis up here in Heaven who causing real problems.
Dey swinging on the Pearly Gates, my horn missing, BBQ sauce and curry all over dey robe;
cow-heel, chicken foot and pigtail bone all over the streets of Gold.
Some ah dem walkin around with one wing saying is ah style.
Dey late taking turn keeping de stairway to Heaven clean, it have ah setta watermelon seed all over the clouds and dem
Dey only playing ah setta soca an dub, some ah dem protesting saying dat they entitled to public holidays and carnival.
Some ah dem ent wearing dey halos, saying "it doh fit with dey hairstyles".

The Lord said, " I made them special, as I did you, my angel.
Heaven is home to all my children. If you really want to know about problems, let's call up the Devil".

The devil answered the phone, "Hello?
Yes,Lord ........wha de...... hole on a minute."
The devil returned to the phone and said, " Yeah Lord, wha yuh want?"

The Lord replied, "Tell me what kinds of problems you are having down there..."
The devil said, "Ooohh... hold on... hold on" and put the Lord on hold.
After 5 minutes he returned to the phone, and said "Eh heh... what it is yuh ask meh jus now?"
The Lord said, "What kinds of problems are you having down there?"

The devil said, "Buh eh eh....look, hole orn...."
This time the devil was gone for 15 minutes.

The devil returned and said, "Look I sorry eh, but I cyah talk to yuh right now nah.
Dem f**king Trinis and dem put out de fire again, and now dey installing air conditioning in meh place".

General Discussion / Race incident sees Republican convention expulsions
« on: August 30, 2012, 08:36:44 AM »
Race incident sees Republican convention expulsions


Two people were ejected from the Republican National Convention when they threw nuts at a black CNN camera woman and said "this is how we feed animals," the network said Wednesday.

"CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum" on Tuesday, the opening day of a gala at which former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will accept his party's nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in November's election.

"CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment."

Several witnesses observed the exchange, CNN reported, and convention security personnel immediately removed the two people from the forum.

The convention confirmed the incident in a statement late Tuesday.

"Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated," organizers said.

The incident is surely not what Republicans wanted 10 weeks out from the election. Romney has struggled to attract African American voters as well as Hispanics, and he is also on the wrong side of the gender gap, with polls consistently showing women voters preferring Obama to Romney.

Current TV journalist and talk radio host David Shuster first tweeted about the incident Tuesday night.

"GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American CNN camera woman + saying 'This is how we feed animals,'" Shuster posted on Twitter.

Football / unbelievable own goal assisted by the wind
« on: March 11, 2012, 03:04:11 PM »
unbelievable own goal assisted by the wind


Federal Judge Emails Racist Joke About Obama, Then Apologizes


by Korva Coleman

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull apparently did not know until recently that if you leave your name on questionable emails and then forward them to friends, they frequently get passed on to a wider audience and may come back to haunt you.

The chief judge for the District of Montana recently emailed a joke denigrating President Obama to several friends. They passed it to others, until it ended up in the hands of a reporter for the Great Falls Tribune, which published the email text.

The joke features an African-American boy named Barack who asks his mother why he is black and she is white, and her response indicates he's the product of a sexual encounter with a dog.

Judge Cebull forwarded the joke from his court email with the subject line, "A Mom's Memory", and included an intro saying he hoped the joke "touches your heart like it did mine".

Now Judge Cebull is apologizing to anyone who was offended, saying the email was "inappropriate" and "stupid"; but insisted to the Billings Gazette he was not personally a bigot. "There is no doubt (the email) is racist. It wasn't forwarded for that purpose. If anything, it was political".

Cebull says he's written other federal judges in Montana apologizing for his conduct and vows he won't ever again send an email from his office that's not business-related. He says while he isn't a supporter of President Obama, he has never shown prejudice to anyone in court.

Travis McAdam, head of the Montana Human Rights Network, says the email is "unbecoming" of a judge and more than political, noting the joke compares African Americans with animals, reports AFP.

Cebull was nominated to the federal court bench by President George W. Bush in 2001. He's been chief judge of the District of Montana since 2008, according to the Federal Judicial Center.

General Discussion / Trinidad Moruga Scorpion wins hottest pepper title
« on: February 16, 2012, 11:21:04 AM »

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion wins hottest pepper title

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — There are super-hot chile varieties. And then there's the sweat-inducing, tear-generating, mouth-on-fire Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.

With a name like that, it's not surprising that months of research by the experts at New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute have identified the variety as the new hottest pepper on the planet.

The golf ball-sized pepper scored the highest among a handful of chile breeds reputed to be among the hottest in the world. Its mean heat topped more than 1.2 million units on the Scoville heat scale, while fruits from some individual plants reached 2 million heat units.

"You take a bite. It doesn't seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. So it is quite nasty," Paul Bosland, a renowned pepper expert and director of the chile institute, said of the pepper's heat.

Researchers were pushed by hot sauce makers, seed producers and others in the spicy foods industry to establish the average heat levels for super-hot varieties in an effort to quash unscientific claims of which peppers are actually the hottest.

That's something that hadn't been done before, Bosland said.

"The question was, could the Chile Pepper Institute establish the benchmark for chile heat?" he said. "Chile heat is a complex thing, and the industry doesn't like to base it on just a single fruit that's a record holder. It's too variable." The academic institute is based at the university's agriculture school and is partially funded by federal grants, as well as some industry groups depending on the project.

The team planted about 125 plants of each variety — the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7-pot, the Chocolate 7-pot and the Bhut Jolokia, which was a previous record-holder identified by the institute and certified by Guinness World Records in 2007.

Randomly selected mature fruits from several plants within each variety were harvested, dried and ground to powder. The compounds that produce heat sensation — the capsaicinoids — were then extracted and examined.

During harvesting, senior research specialist Danise Coon said she and the two students who were picking the peppers went through about four pairs of latex gloves.

"The capsaicin kept penetrating the latex and soaking into the skin on our hands. That has never happened to me before," she said.

Chile peppers of the same variety can vary in heat depending on environmental conditions. More stress on a plant — hotter temperatures or less water, for example — will result in hotter fruit.

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion's new notoriety is already making waves in the industry and among those who love their hot, spicy foods.

"As with all the previous record holders, there will be a run on seeds and plants," said Jim Duffy, a grower in San Diego who supplied the university with seeds for four of the super-hot varieties. "Like Cabbage Patch dolls right before Christmas or Beanie Babies, it's like the hot item."

Not even Duffy or the researchers would dare to pop a whole Trinidad Moruga Scorpion in their mouths, but there are plenty of videos on social networking sites where heat-loving daredevils have tried.

The blood flow increases and the endorphins start flowing. Their faces turn red, the sweat starts rolling, their eyes and noses water and there's a fiery sensation that spreads across their tongues and down their throats.

"People actually get a crack-like rush," Duffy said. "I know the people who will eat the hottest stuff to get this rush, but they've got to go through the pain."

Pepper experts said there are a handful of people who are crazy enough to subject themselves to the pain, but the rest just want to try out these super-hot peppers on their friends or make killer hot sauce — and it doesn't take a whole pepper to do that.

More bang for the buck is how Bosland describes it. He said a family could buy two of the super-hot peppers to flavor their meals for an entire week.

The beauty of the peppers is they're not only the hottest in the world, but they're also some of the most flavorful peppers, Duffy said.

"You can make a barbeque sauce or a hot sauce at a mild to medium level using small amounts of these peppers and it will be so darn addictive that you won't want to put your spoon down," he said. "You'll want to eat and eat and eat."

General Discussion / Man, 99, Divorcing Wife Over 60-Year-Old Affair
« on: December 30, 2011, 12:57:10 AM »
Man, 99, Divorcing Wife Over 60-Year-Old Affair


This year  has been filled with its share of sudden and surprising divorces in the entertainment and political world, but this split may take the cake.

A 99-year-old Italian man filed for divorce from his 96-year-old wife of 77 years after he found letters from an affair she had 60 years ago.

The man, identified in court papers as Antonio C., discovered the letters exchanged between his wife and a former flame in an old chest of drawers days before Christmas, according to the Telegraph. He confronted his wife, Rosa C., who reportedly admitted to the affair, and tried to convince him to stick with their marriage.

But despite the nearly eight decades that they spent building a life together, a scorned Antonio C., moved ahead with the divorce. (Guess he never heard of "let bygones be bygones.") The letters were the latest woes in the couple's long marriage during which they had five kids, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild together, according to UPI.

Originally from Sardinia, Antonio C. reportedly met Rosa C. in the 1930s while he served as part of the Italian Carabinieri in her native Naples. The Italian press pointed to the couple's southern blood as the catalyst for the breakup, the Telegraph noted.

Once Antonio and Rosa C.'s divorce is finalized, they will become the oldest divorcees, according to the Telegraph, taking the title from fellow Brits Bertie and Jessie Wood, both aged 98, who called it quits in 2009 after 36 years of marriage.

General Discussion / THE GREAT $6Om CON
« on: November 11, 2011, 08:14:22 AM »


Man walks into bank and defrauds National Energy Corp
By Curtis Rampersad Publications Editor

Story Created: Nov 10, 2011 at 10:59 PM ECT

Story Updated: Nov 10, 2011 at 10:59 PM ECT

A conman defrauded the National Energy Corporation (NEC) of US$9.6 million (TT$61.7 million) in September by presenting false documents to the corporation's bankers which enabled money to be transferred to several bank accounts around the world.

The world's largest international police organisation, Interpol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New York, international private investigators and the local Fraud Squad have now launched a manhunt to capture the thief and his associates who were involved in the wire transfer fraud.

About US$4.6 million of the illegally wired money has already been recovered by State bank First Citizens from foreign financial institutions while almost all of the remaining US$5 million in overseas bank accounts has been frozen, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said yesterday.

Four NEC officials have been sent on administrative leave with full pay while investigations into the wire transfer fraud continue, a representative of the company confirmed to the Express yesterday.

Ramnarine said he was informed that employees at First Citizens were also suspended. First Citizens is the NEC's corporate bank.

The NEC is located at Brechin Castle, Pt Lisas. It was incorporated in 1979 to work to monetise the country's natural gas resources and assisted in construction of the port and marine infrastructure at the Pt Lisas Industrial Estate.

The conman posed as a courier of the NEC and walked into a branch of First Citizens around September 23, just before the Republic Day public holiday, sources close to the investigation said.

He presented four wire transfer documents bearing signatures of NEC officials to facilitate the transfer of funds to overseas bank accounts in Boston, Antigua and Dubai, sources said.

A source described the fraud as a coordinated effort which involved several people pretending to represent different companies in at least three countries.

The conman also had what appeared to be legitimate e-mail confirmations to facilitate the wire transfers, the source said.

Speaking yesterday at the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Ramnarine said the companies and individuals involved in the wire transfer fraud had no previous connections to the NEC.

He confirmed that First Citizens chief executive officer Larry Howai had recused himself from all decisions related to the investigation because he is also the chairman of the NEC.

Ramnarine said the NEC became aware of the incident on September 26 when officials discovered US$9.6 million missing from its US dollar account.

The NEC contacted First Citizens and notified the Ministry of Energy and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan who has been advising on the matter.

First Citizens then blocked the transfer of funds and alerted Interpol, the FBI and the Fraud Squad and hired international private investigators to assist with "identifying and bringing the culprits to justice", a statement from the Ministry of Energy said earlier yesterday.

In a statement to the Express yesterday, the NEC said the investigations were sensitive in nature but it had confidence in the teams investigating the matter.

The company said it was satisfied with the progress made to date and would spare no effort in "ensuring that the public monies are recovered in the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago".

Ramnarine said the fraudulent wire transfer would not affect the performance of the NEC or the National Gas Company. The NEC is a subsidiary of the NGC.


International publishers see threat in T&T Govt plan to muzzle media

THE Inter-American Press Association has listed Trinidad and Tobago on a list of countries attempting to manipulate the media in the region.

IAPA, a grouping of North American, Latin American and Caribbean publishers, issued a report after its biennial meeting in Lima Peru last week and named Trinidad and Tobago among the countries headed by Venezuela where freedom of the press is under threat.

The TnT Mirror has complained by letter dated July 25, 2011 to Foreign Affairs and Communication Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan and copied to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, of an advertising boycott imposed by the Government and implemented across State agencies, which seeks to punish the TnT Mirror Group following several investigative stories published by the Mirror newspapers.

The letter advised Rambachan and Persad-Bissessar that the boycott was a violation of the Declaration of Chapultepec signed by T&T in September 2003 and also contravened the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press and the right to equality of treatment.

Rambachan in response to the complaint did not deny that Government had instituted a boycott but simply informed Mirror publisher Maxie Cuffie that “the contents of your letter are duly noted.”

The issue was taken up by IAPA at its meeting last week in Peru and the organisation has issued a statement expressing concern at the developments in Trinidad and Tobago and the region.

“Use of official advertising to reward or punish news media and government takeovers of media continue in several parts of the Americas to be powerful weapons used to hinder the free flow of information,” IAPA said on winding up its 67th General Assembly held last week in Lima, Peru.

“In Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela and some countries in the Caribbean, such as Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, the authorities seek to manipulate information and opinions disseminated by the press by using placement of official advertising to reward or punish,” IAPA said.

The IAPA further said that governments have constructed a parallel network of state-owned and government-supporting media that mount campaigns to discredit the independent press.

Two weeks ago the Express reported that University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus students were being recruited and paid with offers of free BlackBerry smart phones to comment positively on the Government on newspaper and other popular blogs and to counteract any negative criticisms from readers.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has also floated the idea of passing laws to monitor the use of Facebook and other social networking sites, while only last week Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Minister Fazal Karim suggested that there may be a need to license journalists to improve the quality of reporting in the country. He has since backtracked on the statement, saying the recommendation was meant to cover media technicians and not journalists.

Three weeks ago, the Government Information Services Limited (GISL) also imposed new restrictions on access to photos of Government events, mainly published by the Mirror, to restrict usage. News organisations are now required to e-mail GISL with a request for the photos which are to be used and await a response when GISL will e-mail copies of the photos if it approves usage.

The Government already controls two television stations in GISL Channel 4 and CNMG’s Channel 6, but both, like the Government’s three radio stations, have seen a significant drop in audience since the PP administration’s attempt to manipulate media content with actions like the firing of talk show host Fazeer Mohammed. This has forced the Government to attempt to manipulate the more popular media.

IAPA has expressed concern at the trend, which is said to be growing in Latin America.

“In Ecuador the government has become the owner of a large number of news media outlets. The same is occurring in Argentina, Venezuela and Nicaragua, where the numbers of government-run news media are expanding without limit. In the latter country in addition to several radio stations, Web sites and five television channels there are plans to set up a second UHF television channel, TV 47.

“The government in Venezuela has purchased or set up news media while keeping more than 30 radio stations and privately-owned television channels shut down.”

The People’s Partnership and Guyana’s People’s Progressive Party both share the same communications adviser, Guyanese national Ernie Ross. The Guyanese Government recently attempted to shut a popular privately owned television station, CNS TV 6, for eight months but was forced to back down under regional pressure. Ross, whose firm advises the Government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, last week took full-page advertisements in the local media defending Guyana’s decision to shut down the station.

Football / Fifa suspends Bin Hammam and Warner after ethics hearing
« on: May 29, 2011, 10:44:57 AM »
Fifa suspends Bin Hammam and Warner after ethics hearing


Fifa has provisionally suspended executive committee members Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner after a meeting of its ethics committee on Sunday.

Football governing's body will now open a full investigation into allegations that financial incentives were offered to members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester have also been suspended.

However, no action will be taken against Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Although the ethics committee found that the four have a case to answer, Fifa insist that they are innocent until proven guilty.

Bin Hammam, who was the only candidate due to oppose Blatter in the forthcoming election, until he withdrew in the early hours of Sunday morning, and vice-president Warner were forced to answer charges of bribery over allegations from executive committee member Chuck Blazer in Zurich on Sunday.

It was alleged that they offered bribes at a meeting of the CFU on 10 and 11 May.

A file of evidence claimed bundles of cash of up to $40,000 (£24,200) were handed over to members of the CFU at the meeting in Trinidad.

In turn, Bin Hammam effectively claimed Blatter was aware of some wrongdoing but did not report it, in itself a breach of Fifa's ethics code.

Fifa also confirmed that the presidential election will go ahead as planned on Wednesday.

Schwarzenegger reveals he had child with staffer


LOS ANGELES – Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has acknowledged that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff, a revelation that apparently prompted wife Maria Shriver to leave the couple's home before they announced their separation last week.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver jointly announced May 9 that they were splitting up after 25 years of marriage. Yet, Shriver moved out of the family's Brentwood mansion earlier in the year after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the child is his, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger told the Times in a statement that also was sent to The Associated Press early Tuesday. "I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.

"I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time," the statement concluded. "While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not."

Schwarzenegger's representatives did not comment further. A spokesman for the former first lady told the Times she had no comment.

The Times did not publish the former staffer's name nor that of her child but said the woman worked for the family for 20 years and retired in January.

In an interview Monday before Schwarzenegger issued his statement, the former staffer said another man — her husband at the time — was the child's father. When the Times later informed the woman of the governor's statement, she declined to comment further.

The child was born before Schwarzenegger began his seven-year stint in public office.

Shriver stood by her husband during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign after the Los Angeles Times reported accusations that he had a history of groping women. Schwarzenegger later said he "behaved badly sometimes."

In his first public comments since the couple announced their breakup, Schwarzenegger said last week that he and Shriver "both love each other very much."

"We are very fortunate that we have four extraordinary children and we're taking one day at a time," he said at a Los Angeles event marking Israeli independence. Their children range in age from 13 to 21.

Since his term as California governor ended in early January, Schwarzenegger, 63, has hopscotched around the world, his wife nowhere in sight. While the "Terminator" star appeared confident about the future since exiting politics, cutting movie deals and fashioning himself as a global spokesman for green energy, Shriver, known for her confidence, seemed unsettled.

Shriver, 55, maintained her own identity when her husband entered politics, though she gave up her job at NBC. Their union was often tested in Sacramento, where the former action star contended with a rough seven years of legislative gridlock, a budget crisis and lingering questions about his fidelity.

General Discussion / Mary Quite Contrary
« on: May 08, 2011, 04:44:59 AM »

Mary Quite Contrary

Minister's family firm awarded Govt contract, but King says all was above board

By Camini Marajh Head Investigative Desk

Questions have been raised as to whether Planning, Economic and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs Minister Mary King breached the law when she failed to disclose her pecuniary and family interest in a software engineering company, Ixanos Ltd, which won a Government website development contract from her ministry last November.

Minister King, an economist and a former independent senator, is the corporate secretary on record and a joint shareholder with husband Dr St Clair King of Ixanos, which is Greek for excellence.

Sunday Express investigations into the award of the near $100,000 website development contract found the minister failed to disclose her interest in the family-owned business, was present at the opening of the bids and was involved in the selection process of the four-member evaluation team which picked Ixanos.

Denying all breaches on Thursday, however, Minister King, in a telephone interview with the Sunday Express, insisted the Government website development contract awarded to her family company was open and transparent and did not "at all" represent a conflict of interest. She said she had no involvement with the tender process, nor did she know the family-owned business was bidding for work in her ministry until the actual opening of the bids on October 1 last year.

Did she declare her interest then? "No."

Did she inform the permanent secretary or anyone else her immediate family (husband, St Clair, and son, Stephen) was associated with the company? "No, and you know why I didn't, I thought the very fact that I am saying that —that they could be biased for or against. So I did nothing."

Asked whether she did not think it necessary to disclose her interest at that point of discovery to avoid the pitfalls of a conflict of interest, Minister King said: "No. I did not think it was necessary. I could have biased them one way or the other. So I thought the safest thing to do is to do nothing. In fact, I washed my hands off it."

But her stand back from the process came after she took part in a group discussion with the ministry's in-house contract experts and other department heads on the selection of the bid-evaluation team, which comprised Deosaran Bisnath, IT manager; Ephraim Serrette of the National Transformation Unit; Andrea Julien, a senior legal officer; and Annitra Boodoo, the minister's personal secretary and a political appointee.

On Thursday, Minister King sought to shake off suggestions her presence at the opening of the tenders and her involvement in the selection process of the bid-evaluation team or having her people involved in the transaction was a direct conflict of interest. "Not at all, not at all," was the constant refrain. She said the four-member bid-evaluation team was appointed through a collaborative process.

"Having come out of the UDeCott (Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago) experience and having that under this ministry—this was our first bid, and we sat and we went through the process with everybody. All the people that could ever be involved in contracts, the heads, the permanent secretaries, everybody. We went through the process and then they did their analysis. All of that was done outside of my realm. We did it collaboratively," she said. Did she recommend her personal secretary, Annitra Boodoo? "Because she was an engineer, of course," said King.

Was there concern Boodoo's selection to the evaluation team could present a conflict of interest? "Not really," according to the minister. "She is my personal assistant. She is working with me under a post that is called a secretary, but because of her skills as an engineer in innovation, she was also asked to sit on the team."

She made clear: "This is the Government. We are doing what is in the best interest for the Government and for the people. Who is the best person to put? She (Boodoo) is just one of four or five people on the team." Asked to explain the fact she is on the company registry record as Ixanos corporate secretary at the last annual return filing on July 20, 2009, she said: "Yeah, I believe that should be changed."

Pressed on what appears to be a clear and direct conflict of interest and breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act, Minister King said: "Yeah, well, I don't attend their (Ixanos) meetings. They probably haven't sent in their annual return for the last year. As soon as they get their lawyer to go back and do their registration for 2010, that should be changed."

Section 24 (1) of the Integrity in Public Life Act, under the heading Code of Conduct, states: "A person to whom this part applies shall ensure that he performs his functions and administers the public resources for which he is responsible in an effective and efficient manner and shall (c) arrange his private interests, whether pecuniary or otherwise, in such a manner as to maintain public confidence and trust in his integrity."

Section 24 (2 b) makes clear a public official: "Shall not engage in any transaction, acquire any position or have any commercial or other interest that is incompatible with his office, function and duty or the discharge thereof."

The conflict of interest clause, Section 29 (1) states: "For the purposes of this Act, a conflict of interest is deemed to arise if a person in public life or any person exercising a public function were to make or participate in the making of a decision in the execution of his office, and at the time knows or ought reasonably to have known that in the making of the decision, there is an opportunity, either directly or indirectly, to further his private interests or that of a member of his family or any other person."

Section 29 (2) of the Integrity Act goes further to say: "Where there is a possible or perceived conflict of interest, a person to whom this part applies, shall disclose his interest in accordance with prescribed procedures and disqualify himself from any decision-making process." Former permanent secretary Joseph Howard, who retired in February this year, said he was not aware of the minister's family interest when he signed the November 3 contract with Ixanos. The other state signatory to the November agreement is the Ministry's IT manager, Deosaran Bisnath.

Howard told the Sunday Express he only learnt of the minister's connection to Ixanos earlier this year, by which time it was too late to do anything about it. He said had he known Ixanos was a family-owned business of the Kings, he would not have signed the contract. And the selection of a political appointee to the evaluation team? The retired senior public servant said he did not see that as an issue.

Bisnath was not immediately available for comment. Julien declined to take the call, and Boodoo's only response was: "I have no comment right now for you." Sources with knowledge of the situation, however, said there were early flags pointing to a family connection with the line minister. The bid document, responding to the September 25, 2010 request for proposals, was signed by Stephen King, business development manager of Ixanos and the minister's son.

The company also had as its registered address: Cor Smart and Francis Streets, St Augustine, the same as the minister's private consulting firm, Mary King and Associates. Ixanos also had the same phone number as the minister's St Augustine's office.

The software company was told by official correspondence it had won the contract on November 2, 2010. However, an undated letter addressed to the legal department of the Planning Ministry and signed by Dr St Clair King, chairman of Ixanos and husband of the minister, advised of a recent board resolution which authorised Keron Gopaul to sign contracts on behalf of the company.

In the three-line advisory to the Ministry of Planning, Dr King noted: "Therefore, he (Gopaul) is authorised to sign the website development contract with your ministry." The contract was signed on November 3, 2010.

Documents obtained by the Sunday Express show Ixanos was not the lowest priced bidder and was just one mark ahead of its closest rival, Sightfactory Ltd, which bid $94,000. In a score sheet which failed to give a breakdown of marks awarded by the criteria of price, development, training and hosting, Sightfactory was ranked second, with an average score of 79.5. Ixanos edged in the winning bid with an overall average of 80.75.

Members of the bid-evaluation team gave varying marks to the 17 bidders, which included GISL, the state-owned and run Government Information Services Ltd, which scored 71.25 points, and E-volve New Media system Ltd, the third-ranked company. One company, Digita Business Ltd, was given a zero by Boodoo but scored far better with Julien, who awarded 84 marks, and Serrette, 90 marks. Bisnath gave Digita a score of 45. He gave Ixanos the highest score at 89 marks and Sightfactory, 64.

The majority interest in Ixanos is held by Caelum Holdings Ltd, also at the corner of Francis and Smart Streets in St Augustine, and Neal and Massy ICT Group Ltd. A search of the company registry shows Caelum with a shareholding of just over 1.1 million ordinary shares. Neal and Massy has just over half a million in preference shares. A search of Caelum records lists a joint controlling interest of 1,023,000 ordinary shares by St Clair and Mary King. There are seven other stakeholders in the company, all engineers.

Minister King, a former chairman of the local chapter of Transparency International insists there has been no conflict of interest or breach of the law with any aspect of the web contract awarded to her family business. She said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had heard about it "and we gave her the whole process, all the documentation, and she is very satisfied".

Who specially provided the documents to the Prime Minister? "I give her. I collected all the records, all the documentation from the ministry, so she got all the details of the contract."

And the Prime Minister was satisfied? "Of course, because the process was very clearly independent. The Prime Minister accepted my documentation and that was the end of it."

Minister King said: "Once the process started, there was no, no, no involvement, and I would go through that process with anybody who has never done proper contracts before. I would explain and take anybody through that process."

She also made clear Regulation 16 (1) of the Central Tenders Board Act did not apply to her.

The section talks about "a public officer or the spouse or any child of such person shall not enter into any contract for the supply of articles to, or the undertaking of any works or services for the Government."

King's response to 16 (1) of the Central Tenders Board Act: "Well, I didn't provide any services."

Told her husband did, the minister said: "It isn't my husband. My husband is only the chairman of the company. That (rule) doesn't relate to companies. You can't discriminate against a registered company in the country.

What the minister has failed to acknowledge in her very technical interpretation of the CTB Act, however, is she and her husband own the controlling interest in Ixanos.

Good job again Ms Marajh, keep it up

General Discussion / VMCOTT workers worried after layoffs
« on: March 02, 2011, 01:04:46 PM »

VMCOTT workers worried after layoffs
Wednesday 2nd March, 2011


Reports of retrenchment at the Vehicle Maintenance Company of Trinidad and Tobago - VMCOTT - a State Enterprise have left workers upset.


Reports say 25 employees were given dismissal letters yesterday. The affected workers are from both the Port-of-Spain and San Fernando facilities and the remaining workers are worried about their job security.


The dismissed workers have been given 45-days notice and told not to report to work unless called to do so.


The termination notices were signed by VMCOTT Chief Executive, Joel Brown. The letters tell the workers that the company is losing the contract to provide maintenance to the Public Transport Service Corporation - PTSC - and would therefore be unable to keep its current workforce.


Those laid off include mechanics and store personnel

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Minister apologises to THA
« on: March 01, 2011, 04:36:48 PM »
Minister apologises to THA
Tuesday 1st March, 2011


Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston Gypsy Peters, has apologized to the Tobago House of Assembly for statements he made on the hosting of Carnival in Tobago.


The THA and its Chief Secretary Orville London have been strongly critical of Minister Peter's statement last month regarding the staging of Carnival in October but the Minister said his announcement was misunderstood and he was simply seeking the best interest of the island.


"I did not mean to disrespect him or the THA in any way. We needed to go forward with something, I decided to do that. I spoke about it and I have since expressed how I feel about it. So we move on from there."


The Minister made the statement following discussions with Mr. London. He said the initiative is aimed at boosting Tobago's struggling economy and its revenue.

Serious crime on decline, says national security minister

Minister of National Security, Brigadier John Sandy says there has been a decline in serious crime committed last year when compared to the previous year – 2009.


In a statement to parliament he said that from 2009 to 2010 the number of serious crimes reported fell by just over 9 percent.


He adds that for the period June to December 2010, under the People’s Partnership administration, crime fell by 10%. And during that time Minister Sandy says police seized 265 firearms.


He said neither Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar nor the government are pleased about the commission of crime although the figures are lower. But he says it's a positive sign as the ministry along with the police service work to fight crime

General Discussion / 104 SporTT employees sent home
« on: January 09, 2011, 05:09:47 AM »
104 SporTT employees sent homeBy Renuka Singh


Story Created: Jan 8, 2011 at 10:47 PM ECT

Over 100 employees of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago were summarily suspended on Friday as an audit of the "messy" financial documents discovered a $90 million discrepancy and a further $700 million "squandered" between the years 2004 and 2010, Sports Minister Anil Roberts confirmed yesterday.

And while several employees blamed anti-PNM sentiment for the dismissals, both Roberts and SporTT chairman Rhett Chee Ping yesterday denied all allegations of "political cleansing".

Roberts said the clean-up effort became necessary after the findings of a $90 million discrepancy and a further $700 million "squandered" between 2004 and 2010.

Roberts said while the $700 million amounted to budget allocations over a six-year period, auditors are yet to find the missing $90 million.

"We have $90 million disappeared somewhere," Roberts said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Roberts said the suspension and subsequent rehiring of several employees between this weekend and Monday were expected to plug the relentless financial haemorrhage within the organisation.

He said when he took office in June 2010, the auditors were called in to review the organisation and found that SporTT has not been audited since 2004. He said the process was now long and tiresome as auditors have to organise six years worth of paperwork.

"What was supposed to be a two to three-week job, now taking them over five months and it still going on," he said.

Despite the lack of audited financials, Roberts said the organisation still received over $100 million in annual budget allocations. Describing the organisation as a "bastion of wastage", he said the lack of audit documents made it impossible for the company to access the line of credit set up by the Government to pay contractors.

"The board is unable to draw on the funds because without updated financials the bank cannot give them access to the money. So the contractors who worked day and night to get the stadia ready cannot get paid yet," he said.

Chee Ping met with some 104 staff members at the Hasely Crawford Stadium at 2.45 p.m. on Friday and told them to go home and wait for notification on their job status.Though several workers baulked at the way the suspensions were meted out, Chee Ping defended his method.

"There really is no nice way to retrench people, but is not political. I don't play politics," Chee Ping said in a telephone interview yesterday.

He said after a meeting with the Central Audit Committee, he was informed that the organisation was "too top-heavy and bloated" and needed to be trimmed.

One employee, speaking with the Sunday Express under the condition of anonymity, said by 9.20 a.m. yesterday, he received a letter informing him of his redundancy.

"The letter states that I would be paid one month's salary in lieu of one month's notice and it said I would get my month's salary in seven days time and any outstanding money for overtime and vacation in 14 days time," he said.

"At the meeting we were told that the company was going to be restructured and with restructuring comes a loss of jobs and apparently we just have to deal with it," he said.

He said though the staff had questions, they were told that management would have to speak with "the Minister" before they could get answers.

"We asked about company issues like gratuity and overtime and they have to ask the Minister about that? Something not right with the way this was handled," he said.

"Some of us are wondering if it is a political clean-up, since senior staff are being fired but they keeping the junior staff," he said.

He said it was unfair and demoralising to be treated in such a manner. He said employees were being asked to wait through a tense weekend to learn whether they had a job or not.

Roberts did not comment on the way the situation was handled, but said while he had "absolutely nothing to do with the process", he commended the board's actions.

"I find the board take long to act. They were supposed to be doing this since June," he said.

Under the former sport minister Gary Hunt, SporTT was plagued with allegations of bad spending, including the infamous $2 million flag at the Stadium in Port of Spain, the over-budget and yet unfinished Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba and millions spent to ready stadia for the Caribbean Games.

Canadian Judge Bans Man From Having A Girlfriend For Three Years


In an unusual ruling, a judge in Canada has ordered a man to not to form "a romantic relationship of an intimate nature with a female person." The verdict came as part of the punishment to Steven Cranley, 24, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to abusing his former lover.

According to court documents, Cranley began quarreling with his girlfriend after getting upset with her over their recent breakup. When his girlfriend tried to call police, he attacked her, cut telephone wires and when a roommate tried to intervene he threatened to slit their throats.

When police arrived at the scene, Cranley picked up a butcher knife, stabbed himself in the chest and punctured his aorta, The Peterborough Examiner reports.

According to his doctors, Cranley suffers from dependent personality disorder and gets aggravated when faces rejection. They suggested that he would pose a high risk to re-offend if he engaged in another intimate relationship.

Citing the doctors' advice, Judge Rhys Morgan ordered Cranley to not make any intimate relation with a female for three years until he gets psychiatric counseling.

The judge also ordered a three-year probation term, which goes along with the condition of staying away from women

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