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Tituba, a West Indian slave and the great Salem witch trials Page 20




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WEEK ENDING May 23, 2013

Guyana to put more emphasis on polygraph testing in law enforcement See story on page 10

Jamaica installs first visually impaired senate president

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- Morris on mission to raise academic achievement of country’s boys


Torontobased Guyanese doctor, former boxing champ awarded UWI honours

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Guyanese Dr. Budhendra Doobay

Email scandal rocks TT gov’t Page 2 Senator Floyd Morris (centre), is playfully ‘dragged’ to his new seat in the Upper House of Jamaica by government Senators, K.D. Knight (right) and Navel Clarke, following his appointment as president last Friday. (JIS photo)

- PP administration maintains ‘it’s fabrication’


NEWS | week ending May 23, 2013

Email scandal Jamaica embarks rocks TT gov’t on rigorous drive - PP administration maintains ‘it’s fabrication’ to tackle violence A in schools J thread of scandalous and potentially incriminating emails said to have been exchanged between top ranking government officials in the Kamla Pe rs a d - B is s e s s a r -led People’s Partnership government in Trinidad and Tobago was at the heart of a motion of no confidence brought against the government by opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley on Monday. The parliamentary debate saw a chain of issues arising from the proclamation of a legislative provision known as section 34, including a possible intention to cause physical harm to local journalist Denise Renne; the tapping of phone lines in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); bribes to the DPP; and an implicating of Chief Justice Ivor Archie being unveiled to members of the lower house by the opposition leader. Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has since denied the emails, saying it was nothing but a “total fabrication.” She said it was also very

surprising that Rowley had had the information for some six months and did not refer it to the police for investigation The prime minister admitted that one email address which Rowley gave, kamlapb1@gmail. com, was hers, but said she did not send any of the emails. She has since asked for a police probe to investigate “these very serious allegations and ascertain the authenticity of those emails and to take such action as is required according to the law”. And on Tuesday, the TT’s government Chief Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal sought to rubbish the emails, accusing Rowley and the PNM of dirty tricks and slammed the emails as “cut and paste” fabrications. “This email trail is a fabrication. It is a fabrication the way they cut and paste it,” Moonilal said. “You know my honourable friend opposite, he may know the fabricator. I challenge all fabricators to take off your hard hats, gloves and goggles and get down to work! Stop seeking to

Opposition leader in TT Dr Keith Rowley presents his motion of no confidence in the prime minister during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Monday

distract us from doing our work.” Moonilal said Rowley’s presentation on Monday represented the “all time low” of Parliament’s debates as there were glaring inconsistencies in the purported emails. He said Rowley’s actions were timed to appear on the Order Paper in the week when the PP government was celebrating its third anniversary, which is to be marked on Friday. TT’s Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has also said the thread of emails purportedly sent

by him were type-written and were never sent out via the internet because the addresses were invalid. The emails, Ramlogan declared, were bogus. “It is fabricated and concocted by someone with a very fanciful and overactive imagination,” he said. Addressing the media at his St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain office, and with the aid of his information technology staff, Ramlogan highlighted some 30 inconsistencies in the ten-page document of emails.

amaica’s Ministry of Education, in an effort to reduce violence in schools, says it will this summer introduce several initiatives, including a redefinition of the roles of guidance counsellors and deans of discipline. The extent of the problem was contained in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House of Representatives by Education Minister Ronald Thwaites last week showing that there were 1,288 reported incidents of violence in schools in the last academic year. They include 915 fights, 160 robberies and three murders. School Resource Officers (SROs) reportedly seized 1,288 weapons, including 431 knives and 486 pairs of scissors and arrested 201 students, cautioned 2,361 students and monitored 1,109. According to the report, illegal substances were seized on 164 occasions. The ministry also said that within the past two months, high school students have been at the centre of 12 violent crimes on compounds. “While these are serious, Cabinet should note that of the almost 700,000 students enrolled in Jamaican schools, only a fraction, including many teenaged girls, are involved in violent behaviour. It is noteworthy that in all the recent violent incidents, the students involved, and often the victims as well, had records of disruptive behaviour or violence,” the ministry said. It further noted that “neither curriculum nor permitted disciplinary measures sufficiently address the social and behavioural challenges of disturbed students”.

It said the issues at the heart of the behaviours include absent parents, lack of leadership and role models in schools, severe financial pressures and disinterest in studies of at least a quarter of the high school cohort. As such, the ministry said the redefinition of the roles of the guidance counsellors and deans of discipline will involve individual counselling, home contacts and anticipatory strategies. It will also be seeking to carry out “intense training of new teachers and retrain teachers already in the service in positive discipline come summer 2013”. In addition, parents will be included in a behaviour training and modelling course in summer as well. In the meantime, the Code of Regulations under the Education Act is to be redrafted by the end of this year to specifically permit physical restraint of dangerous students and to broaden the range of incentives and sanctions available to school authorities. The SROs are policemen or women who are assigned to troubled schools to curtail outbreaks of violence. They also act as mediators in instances of conflict between students. The Safe Schools Programme was officially launched in November 2004 as a joint effort of the ministries of national security, and education, youth and culture. It was implemented at the start of the 2004/2005 academic year and law enforcement officers were placed at 89 troubled institutions in the parishes of St James, St Ann, St Elizabeth, Kingston and St Andrew. (Jamaica Observer)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Toronto-based Guyanese doctor, former boxing champ awarded UWI honours By Ravendra Madholall


he University of the West Indies (UWI) bestowed its prestigious annual Luminary Award on two outstanding Caribbean personalities at the recent gala fundraising event in Toronto. Both recipients, Guyanese Dr. Budhendra Doobay and former world boxing champ Lennox Lewis, expressed gratitude for the honour. Dr. Doobay is currently employed with the Niagara Health System as a surgeon, while Lewis is famed as a professional boxer. Elizabeth BuchananHind, the Director of Advancement with the University, explained that the two awardees were recognised for their achievements and duly deserved it. “There [are] as many people of Caribbean descent living elsewhere as they are living in the Caribbean and their efforts must be recognised; we started this

Guyanese Dr. Budhendra Doobay

award a few years ago in New York to honour Caribbean Americans and then decided to do the same in Canada,” she related. Dr. Doobay, in an invited comment, said that he felt extremely proud and happy to be one of the recipients of the notable gesture. “I am delighted to be recognised by the

University of the West Indies; it is indeed a great feeling…given the fact that your work in various ways have been highlighted by such a reputable institution,” Dr Doobay indicated. The distinguished doctor was born in Guyana but moved across to North America in 1975. He has joined hands with many volun-

tary organisations over the years to raise funds for sick people and has also played an integral role in the Ontario Hindu community. “I just want to say thanks to the people for coming out to support me in this memorable event; it gives me more encouragement to do ‘good things’ and to help people that are in desperate situations; being a doctor also gives me greater inspiration to work harder,” Dr Doobay expressed. He added that “every year I am part of a group from the University of McMaster who go to Guyana to work in a dialysis clinic.” Meanwhile, Lewis, a former world champion fighter was also thankful for the recognition from the University of West Indies. His parents were born in Jamaica but Lewis has been a dual citizen of Canada and England. “It is indeed an honour to be recognised by UWI, which is a main-

stay in the Caribbean; I think education is huge for me and this event… is going to help young people who do not have the financial resources; (there are) many young minds out there who are going to shape the future and benefitting from a scholarship will help them achieve their goals,” Lewis noted. Having fought 44 professional fights with an incredible 41 victories, including 32 knock-

outs and a solitary draw, Lewis also won a gold medal for Canada in the super heavyweight division at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburg. The heavyweight boxer Lewis came to Canada at the age of 12 and immediately began his career as a boxer. He touched gloves with the iconic boxer Mike Tyson and also won the riveting contest with a knockout in 2002.

Lennox Lewis


Views | week ending May 23, 2013

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Post-independence era? T

he attainment of independence by the Anglophone Caribbean is now a matter of history for the majority of its citizens who were either not born in the 1960s or were too young to remember the event in their respective territories. Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica commemorated 50 years of independence last year and Barbados and Guyana have just three more years before they achieve that milestone. But as one looks around the Caribbean, it appears that most of the leaderships are still fixated in the past and agonising over events and personalities that by now should have been merely of historical interest. In Guyana, for instance, there is a very heated debate going on about the role of their first “independence” Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Significantly, the debate was precipitated when two Pan-African academics of Jamaican origin protested South Africa’s announcement that they were going to honour the Guyanese leader for that role. The debate revealed that the events of the independence era can still stir heated passions in Guyana. It leads to the question as to what relevance those events have with the challenges the region is now confronting in a world that is radically different from the one of that time. Take South Africa as a starting point. At the time of the independence struggle in the Caribbean, South Africa was under a system that had taken the colonial logic to its ultimate, inhuman conclusion. The white rulers who had assumed the imperial mantle, operationalised the colonial theory that colonial subjects were not only unfit to govern themselves because they needed “tutelage”, but they were ontologically unfit by their very nature. It was therefore not a coincidence that in every independence movement, from Asia to the Americas, the question of South Africa loomed very large. South Africa brought all the contradictions of colonialism to the fore in its most graphic form. But those contradictions have more or less morphed into very new forms that are being ignored as we remain fixated on the past. South Africa today is one of the members of BRICS, the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, that is actually poised to take over the lead from the old colonial “white” countries that we are still agonising over. Most of the vocabulary that we are deploying in our struggle to develop our countries in the Caribbean locks us into strategies and mindsets that are guaranteed to leave us underdeveloped. For instance, Jamaica’s present and Barbados’ and other Caribbean countries’ upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be of a qualitatively different nature from those that took place in the 1970s; not only because many of the nostrums handed down by that institution have been shown to be actually harmful (such as “no capital controls”) but some of the old colonial powers and their allies that control its purse strings are now being forced to deal with such conditionalities as “austerities”, which are making them question their efficacy. Then there is our reflexive insistence to look towards the old “masters” to help us and refusing to accept the new world order. Around the time of the independence struggle, there was the call for a New World Economic Order, which, under sustained attack by the colonial powers, quickly wilted. But today the possibility of the new order is being realised concretely with BRICS. Rather than flogging the dead horse of genuflecting to the whims from up north, we ought to be cementing ties with emerging powers that shared our colonial experience, such as China and India. It is a retrograde throwback to the “looking backwards” syndrome that there is so much hysteria over the Chinese-led development in the region and deep angst that the former colonials are not repeating their exploitation. A half-century of independence is enough time to grow up.

‘Girl Guides’ wave the Trinidad and Tobago national flag as they take part in celebrations to mark the anniversary of the founding of St Joseph as the nation’s first capital at George Earle Park, St Joseph, on Sunday. (TT Guardian photo)

Economic development possible when there is no growth - PM Stuart I

t is possible to have economic development when no growth is taking place, said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last Wednesday as he delivered the feature address at the Barbados launch of the UNDP's Human Development Report 2013 The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Stuart said economic development was possible because structural changes were taking place that had the effect of making life better for a larger number of people. "Capacities are being created and flexibilities are being put in place to respond to the diverse needs and aspirations of as large a number of people as possible," he underscored. According to Stuart, the history of the Caribbean, including Barbados, is evidence that growth "is not necessarily an end of itself". He noted that the island was once described as the jewel in the British crown because of its capacity to produce sugar for export, and while there was much economic growth, there was no evidence of schools, hospitals, or a safety net to protect the elderly. "There was evidence sometimes of child labour; [and] there was crude disrespect for women... Yet, Barbados was growing... That was the Caribbean story. We were growing, but the benefits of that growth were not being shared with the most vulner-

able elements in the society. So growth, while important for any country, has its limitations if it is not... modified to serve the ends of the most vulnerable and needy elements in the society...," the prime minister contended. He stressed, however, that strategies in this region were "quietly and steadily modified" to take account of the existence of people who were in need of a voice in the community, but also the benefits that flowed from the economic activity which was taking place in the society. "During that period, there was a decline in growth, but that decline in growth did not necessarily mean that the society was worse off, because changes were taking place that would now benefit a larger number of people, and that would put the society on a road to be a more inclusive society and make the economy serve a larger number of actors," he said. Stuart reminded his audience that the scope for development "is never shut off" and stressed that people in this region must not allow themselves to be imbued with a sense of inadequacy. "We are the equals of people anywhere, [and] we have the same capacities. Our countries may not be identically endowed, but we have endowments which we can exploit; we have capacities of which we can take advantage and of which we have been taking advantage. We have

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

things which we can teach other people in other parts of the world," he stated. Therefore, he suggested, that those countries in the south, as well as those in the north, needed each other. However, he noted that those in the south must continue to evaluate their strengths and see how they could change the world by challenging those orthodoxies that were now discredited because of the crisis the world is currently going through. Stuart urged those in the south not to see problems, but opportunities to strengthen the countries in that group. He added that the south should exert influence on the countries in the north in an effort to make the world a better place. Barbados is ranked 38 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Report of 2013. (BGIS)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Roraima Airways honours outstanding Guyanese pilot L

ocal air carrier, Roraima Airways last week honoured former pilot Miles Williams, who also served in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) at a special ceremony held at Duke Lodge, Kingston. In brief remarks at the ceremony which coincided with Williams’ birthday, Roraima Airways Managing Director Gerry Gouveia said many times people live their lives, and do extraordinary things and then they fade away. He said life’s challenges and family obligations consume and direct what “we do and where we go”. He described Williams, a former Special Forces officer, who was also a military pilot, as a Guyanese hero. Williams is the son of Toni and Dennis Williams, the famous anthropologist, artist and historian. Williams, Gouveia said, joined the GDF as a second lieutenant and served as a paratrooper and Special Forces officer before being transferred to the Air Corps where he was

Williams’ bravery and skills as a navigator in the jungle. “He is a leader of men. During his years of service with Roraima, he served as our chief pilot and did many night medivacs, saving many lives. He is a first class

Roraima Airways Managing Director Gerry Gouveia presents the award to Miles Williams

trained as a pilot. “He served under me in the Air Corps and flew with me as my co-pilot on many missions to save lives, rescue people and resupply our forces in the far flung reaches of our hinterland.” Gouveia said in the early years when they flew together, there were no navigational aids to guide the airmen. “We used pilotage and dead reckoning and the good old skills of recognising and remembering the shapes of the mountains and the rivers as well as the colour

of particular leaves on trees as we descend low to find the destinations we were looking for.” According to Gouveia, what always struck him about Williams was his willingness to learn, but more particularly, he was always willing to volunteer “to accompany me on dangerous missions as we ventured out into the jungle at night to save people’s lives. Miles is a patriot and a dedicated humanitarian. He is a lover of nature and is always at home in the jungle”. Gouveia spoke of

and skilful pilot, whose involvement in search and rescue operations is well known among his peers.” Gouveia added: “He was always ready, always willing, always brave, he is a natural pilot who used his skill to

fly his planes into some of the most challenging and dangerous areas, landing on some of the shortest runways to bring food to the hungry, medical drugs to the needy, and medical evacuation to the critically injured.”


News | week ending May 23, 2013

Irfaan Ali, Dr Ashni Singh most popular gov’t ministers in Guyana – NACTA poll - majority opposes budget cuts, award to Burnham


n opinion survey conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) in early May found a majority of voters is opposed to the budget cuts passed by the combined opposition. The poll also found that a majority of voters do not approve of a snap election to address the parliamentary impasse of the opposition majority stymieing government-initiated bills. The findings show that another election may not produce a significantly different outcome from the current makeup of the Parliament. The poll also found

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh

that Housing Minister Irfaan Ali is rated as the best performing minister, closely followed by Education Minister Priya Manickchand,

Carl Greenidge

Housing Minister Irfaan Ali

Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, Environment Minister Robert Persaud and Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy. For the best debater in the recently concluded budget debate, Dr Ashni Singh leads on the government side with Carl Greenidge taking the honours on the opposition side. A majority of voters are also not supportive of the South African government granting an award to the late President Forbes Burnham. These and other findings were obtained in the poll that queried voters’ views on a number of current issues.

The poll randomly interviewed 600 voters to yield a demographically representative sample (44 per cent, Indians; 30 per cent, Africans; 16 per cent, Mixed; nine per cent; Amerindians; and other races one per cent) of the population. The poll was conducted by interviewers with many years of experience in survey interviewing and was coordinated by Vishnu Bisram, a pollster, newspaper columnist, and an educator in New York. The results of the poll were analysed at a 95 per cent significance level and a statistical sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points was found. Sampling results based on sub- groups (such as Indians or Africans) have a larger sampling error of about five per cent. Asked if they approve of the opposition cuts to the proposed government budget, 61 per cent said no, 30 per cent said yes and the others did not offer a response.


Surprisingly, a significant percentage of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) supporters (21 per cent combined) are disappointed with the combined opposition over the budget cuts, saying it will affect the economy, but most remain supportive of both opposition parties. Respondents expressed concern that their electricity rates would go up and some are worried that the cuts could result in loss of state jobs. Asked if they think the government should call a snap election to ad-

dress its minority status in Parliament, a whopping 62 per cent said no, including half of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) supporters and significant numbers of AFC and APNU followers, many of whom say another election may not yield a different outcome. People want the parties to work together for the national development of the country, instead of engaging in continuous bickering. Some 26 per cent feel the government should return to the poll, with 12 per cent offering no response. Asked who they feel is the best minister, Irfaan Ali leads in Berbice and

Essequibo while Priya Manickchand leads in Demerara. Overall Irfaan (17 per cent) is slightly ahead over Priya (15 per cent), followed by Nandlall (12 per cent), Robert Persaud (11 per cent), Ashni (10 per cent) and Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy (six per cent). Asked who they think was the best budget debater, Dr Singh (26 per cent) led on the government side, while respondents believe that former People’s National Congress (PNC) Finance Minister Carl Greenidge (25 per cent) was the best opposition budget debater. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)



week ending May 23, 2013 |


Jamaica installs first visually impaired senate president - Morris on mission to raise academic achievement of country’s boys


istory was created in the Senate of Jamaica last Friday when government Senator Floyd Morris was elected as the first visually impaired president of the Chamber. He replaces Rev. Stanley Redwood, who officially resigned on May 10, after serving for 16 months. In accepting the presidency, Senator Morris promised to execute his responsibilities with justice and fairness, further noting that he will do his utmost to preserve the dignity of the Upper House. He cited the development of the education system, fostering the growth agenda, and facilitating improved conditions for disabled persons, as among his priority areas. The newly-appointed president also gave a commitment to do all he can to raise the academic achievement of the country’s boys. “…When I go to the different universities, they are being dominated by our females and I say to myself, ‘where will the husbands for these females come from?’” Morris said. “I really want to join

the efforts of the prime minister and the governor-general to make sure that we restore a level of decency among our males and to ensure that our young boys take education seriously,” he stated. He also urged his fellow Senators to “make a tremendous effort” to advance the process for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to become Jamaica’s final appellate court. “I look forward to having discussions with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure that this takes place because... justice is tied closely to economic growth and development,” he stated. In her congratulatory remarks, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, described Morris as a “hard worker and decent human being”. “You are a shining example to the disabled community, not only in Jamaica, but across the globe,” she stated. “I look forward to your leadership of this Senate and I know that we will see fair play and even-handedness,” she added.

Leader of Government Business and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, A.J. Nicholson, for his part, expressed confidence that “goodness and mercy will follow this Senate” under the new president’s leadership. Leader of Opposition Business, Senator Arthur Williams, said Senator Morris has performed creditably throughout his career as a legislator. “Your manner, your style, your sense of decorum and decency will ensure that you will preside in a manner that ensures fairness to all,” he remarked. Senator Morris also created history in 1998, when he became the first visually impaired person to be appointed to the Upper House. He also served as State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security from 2003 to 2007. He returned to the Senate in 2011. Jamaica is the second Caribbean country to appoint a visually impaired person as president of the Upper House, following the appointment of Senator Kerry-Ann Ifill in Barbados. (JIS)

Agency advises Caribbean to reduce EC dollar or adopt US currency


n international investment-rating agency has suggested that Caribbean territories should devalue the Eastern Caribbean currency or adopt the US dollar in an effort to address what it deems to be a “debt crisis” in the region. In a recently published report, Moody’s Investor Services said currency devaluation and the dissolution of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), while unlikely, could enhance the region’s competitiveness. “We do not see policymakers voluntarily choosing these options because they would sacrifice price stability (Caribbean countries rely heavily on food and fuel imports) and risk political upheaval,” the report read. “Only a balance of payments crisis (similar to what happened in 1989 in Trinidad, when it abandoned its currency peg and subsequently defaulted on its sov-

Moody’s Investor Services said currency devaluation and the dissolution of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union is unlikely but could enhance Caribbean competitiveness

ereign debt) could force policymakers to choose these options.” Admitting that currency devaluation is unlikely to happen, the New York-based agency said “severe domestic adjustments” through deficit reduction and structural reforms intended to stimulate growth, are the only options that remain. In its weekly Credit Outlook report, dated May 20, Moody’s presented a negative outlook on the future of re-

gional debt, noting that Caribbean countries remain “unable and unwilling” to service arrears. It said that budgets in the region are largely inflexible, because of high and rising interest costs and government expenditure on wages and social benefit programmes. Moody’s added that debt restructuring, while an attractive tool, has done little to address the threat of insolvency posed by unmanageable debt burdens.

Air traffic in and out of Guyana to increase


ith effect from May 27, for a period of one-month, Caribbean Airlines will fly an additional flight that is expected to add 900 seats to the country’s airlift capacity, acting Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Irfaan Ali disclosed last Friday, while speaking to Guyanese media. Additionally, as the ministry continues to look at having more airlines ply the Guyana route, from June 27 to the end of September, there will be an increase in daily flights. “You will have daily flights to the US… in addition to that, once the traffic remains high, the daily flights will continue past September into the Christmas season,” Minister Ali stated. The Tourism Ministry has been marketing Guyana as a viable tourism destination through its arm, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), and it is expected that tourist arrivals will increase. “Government is indeed putting a lot of emphasis on tourism now… we have also seen a tremendous increase in traffic to our website,” added the minister. Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir highlighted that with CAL, there will be

Acting Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Irfaan Ali and Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir

two weekly flights to Toronto, and steps are also being taken towards contracting routes in every continent. Since Delta Airlines pulled out from the Guyana market, government has been making desperate moves to attract other airlines. Only last week, it was reported that government had made initial approaches to reputable Asian, North American and neighbouring South American airlines in the ongoing effort to broaden the range of commercial air services operating the Guyana route. The Government Information Agency (GINA) said that among them is JetBlue Airways Corporation, an American low-cost airline headquartered in Long Island, New

York, which according to President Donald Ramotar, is awaiting the completion of the airport runway extension. Despite the recent budget cuts to the airport expansion project, the government is optimistic that the development plans for the air transport sector will allow for expansion of traditional trade ties with North America and Europe, while simultaneously broadening the relationship with major economies such as Brazil, India, Russia and China. T r i n i d a d ’ s Caribbean Airlines was recently granted flag carrier status, allowing it to conduct direct flights between Georgetown and New York, Georgetown and Toronto.


News | week ending May 23, 2013

Judge to review death penalty cases in Antigua


high court judge is revisting the death sentence handed down to seven men based on the landmark Privy Council ruling of more than nine years. All of the men, Atley Alexander, Michael Mason, Fitzroy Jarvis, Michael Lorriston Cornwall, Mellanson Harris, Marvin Joseph and Steadroy “Brer Fox” McDougal have been on death row for more than 12 years. The Privy Council’s landmark decision in the case of Jamaicans Pratt and Morgan versus the attorney general of Jamaica, 1994, stated that the mandatory sentence of death following a murder conviction is unconstitutional. The law lords also took the view that where persons have been on

death row for more than five years, such circumstances could constitute inhumane or degrading punishment and as such is unconstitutional. The Pratt and Morgan decision was followed by other cases from the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The condemned men were informed of the state’s decision last Friday when Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong told the court that the state has now taken the necessary steps to have the men resentenced. Joseph and Harris were convicted in January 1996 for killing four British and American tourists on a yacht. A third man, Donaldson Samuels was also convicted of manslaughter for the crime

The law lords also took the view that where persons have been on death row for more than five years, such circumstances could constitute inhumane or degrading punishment and as such is unconstitutional

and was jailed for 15 years. The quartet was shot point blank on board the 65ft racing ketch Computa Center Challenger, which was moored in a secluded bay off Barbuda. The men had death warrants read to them and were scheduled to be executed on January 27

and 28, 2000. The Mercy Committee of Antigua and Barbuda denied their appeals to have their death sentences commuted. However, relatives of the British victims appealed, in the media, for the men’s lives to be spared. Mason was sentenced to death in 1996 for the

ceive compensation owed, without undue delay, for the public performance of their musical works.” The US also expressed concern that section 82 of the Copyright Act of 1988 creates a compulsory licensing scheme allowing for the interception and retransmission of United States cable programming by local cable operators without the consent of, and without adequately compensating, United States rights holders. While the USTR commended Jamaica for the steps taken to enforce Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Jamaica remains on the 2013 Watch List. “Jamaica also continued its efforts to educate the public about IPR protection and enforcement, and launched a voluntary copyright registration system. However, the United States remains seriously concerned about the need to

enact the draft Patents and Designs Act.” The report added that Jamaica’s largest cable operator has not yet compensated performing rights organisations for the public performances of music and urged Jamaica to resolve that problem. In placing Trinidad and Tobago on the Watch list, the US also expressed concern that a local cable operator has refused to negotiate with the Copyright Music Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) - the local performing rights organisation, for compensation for public performance of music, including for music written by American composers. “Particularly troubling in this case is the fact that a court in 2011 found that the local cable operator was required to obtain a public performance licence and nearly two years later, judicial

murder of Canadian tourist Wendy Newbigging. He had appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the final court of appeal for Antigua and Barbuda. McDougal was sentenced to death after being convicted for the murder of Louise Torrens, 24, and Mitchell Melins, 22, on Christmas Day, 1998. McDougal was involved in a violent relationship with Torrens, a Scottish native, for several months. He reportedly could not accept their relationship was over and in a fit of rage bludgeoned her and Melins-her boyfriend, to death with a hammer then set fire to the house. Cornwall and Jarvis were sentenced for murdering Patricia Farrell and Linda Scotland re-

spectively. Farrell was allegedly strangled on March 12, 1994, while Scotland was stabbed to death on June 17, 1998. Alexander murdered his pregnant ex-girlfriend Jacqueline Simon and her two childrenAmber James, 13 years and 10-year-old Sophia Jones. They perished in a fire he had set. The condemned men will be taken before a High Court judge on June 21 for the court to determine their fate. All the death row inmates were present in court to hear the DPP’s announcement. The DPP also said that the convicts who are without legal representation, will have a state appointed adjudicator to look into their interests. (Excerpt from Antigua Observer)

Barbados, Jamaica, TT warned about copyright infringement T he Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), has placed Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago on a watch list of countries that have failed to make the adequate copyright payments for U.S. musical compositions aired in the broadcast media. The USTR also decided to retain Jamaica although the country has taken steps to enforce regulations related to copyright payments. In its annual report released last Wednesday, the USTR called on foreign governments to ensure that adequate copyright payments are made when US musical compositions are performed in TV and radio broadcasts, over cable systems and in other kinds of public performances. As it relates to Barbados, the USTR says it is concerned that local TV and radio broadcast-

ers’ refuse to pay for public performances of music. “United States rights holders complain that both private and government-owned broadcasters in Barbados either fail to obtain licenses from the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers Inc. (COSCAP) or fail to pay for all of the applicable rights, even if they are licensed by COSCAP.” The report went on to state that although the Barbados Copyright Tribunal was finally convened in 2012, it has not yet acted to determine the amount due to COSCAP pursuant to a 2007 judgment of the Barbados Supreme Court that found copyright infringement violations. “The United States urges the government of Barbados to take all administrative action necessary to ensure that United States composers and songwriters re-

The USTR called on foreign governments to ensure that adequate copyright payments are made when US musical compositions are performed in TV and radio broadcasts, over cable systems and in other kinds of public performances

authorities have not completed the appeal hearing nor assessed royalties owed to COTT,” the report said. “The United States is also concerned by on-going delays in the resolution of the long-standing litigation over the collection of unpaid performance royalties from the same cable operator. The United States urges the government of Trinidad and Tobago to take all necessary actions to en-

sure that cable operators in Trinidad and Tobago operate in compliance with the provisions of their cable license agreements related to IPR and that, more generally, IPR is protected in its territory." The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in welcoming the report, praised the USTR for the stance taken in the Caribbean. (Excerpt from Jamaica Gleaner)

St Kitts-Nevis government 'illegitimate', says opposition


rime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas revealed at a recent press conference his government’s intentions to pursue boundary changes in St Kitts and Nevis before the next elections. Leader of the main opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), Shawn Richards, responded by declaring the prime minister and his government “illegitimate”. “Prime Minister

Leader of the main opposition People’s Action Movement in St Kitts and Nevis Shawn Richards

Douglas is currently leading a minority government and his leadership and his government does not have the support of the majority of the elected members of parliament or the country. Prime Minister Douglas’s leadership as prime minister and his government is therefore illegitimate and cannot and should not be allowed to pursue any boundary changes at this time,” said

Richards. “The only aim of Douglas with boundary changes at this point is to provide him with one last opportunity to try to prolong his reign as the self-proclaimed maximum leader of this country. But he does not have the legitimacy, moral or otherwise to be pursuing things like boundary changes from his current position as leader of a minority illegitimate government,”

Richards added. He concluded, “Douglas simply does not have the right or should he be allowed to change any boundaries from the position in which he is in and the country needs to make it pellucidly clear to Dr Douglas that under no circumstance will we accept any boundary changes before the next election, as this would be a clear trampling of our democracy and, as I

said in Sandy Point, the people of this country must defend their democracy. Defend it… for the sake of our children and grandchildren.” Douglas leads a minority government, in which only 5 of the 11 elected members of parliament support his leadership of the country. A motion of no confidence was filed in December, but is yet to be debated. (Excerpt from Caribbean News)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Underpopulation at several schools troubles Jamaica’s education minister


ust over 79,000 unused spaces are available in Jamaica’s public schools, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites revealed Monday. Thwaites provided the data during an early morning meeting with journalists at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston and suggested that the figures justify a serious examination of geographical zoning of schools. According to the data, 1,334 free student spaces are available in 14 infant schools; 44,935 spaces exist in 412 primary schools; 11,626 spaces in 70 all-age schools; 13,982 in 69 primary and junior high schools; 6,007 in 29 secondary high schools; 973 in four technical high schools; and 283 in two agricultural high schools. The minister also argued that based on the data — compiled from the annual schools census in October 2012 — there needs to be a serious discussion on the mechanism to be used to fill these underpopulated schools. Monday night, Jamaica Teachers' Association President Clayton Hall said that while he could not verify the data, he was aware that there are schools with excess spaces, but that, he insisted, resulted from the education ministry's policy of not placing students in the seven to nine departments of all-age and junior high schools. "I am not sure if it

would be feasible or even desirable to move students into these areas," Hall stated. "Most of these areas, are rural areas where the population shifts have rendered these schools almost obsolete." He said that while the spaces do exist, there are significant challenges in some areas. "For example, between Manchester and St Catherine we are in desperate need for school spaces, especially at the secondary level." To make his point, Hall highlighted Spanish Town, where he said seven high schools — Jose Marti, Innswood, Eltham, St Jago, Jonathan Grant, Spanish Town, and St Catherine — are all within close proximity. "All these schools are running over 2,000 [students]," he said, adding that four of them — Spanish Town, Jonathan Grant, Innswood, and Eltham — operate a twoshift system. In relation to the issue of zoning, Hall said that there are no challenges at the primary level. "What happens is, not all schools are created equal, and when you have inherent deficiencies in the physical structure of the school, the offerings of the school, the programmes the school is able to run, you are going to find out that it is going to be difficult to zone it, because you are not providing equality of opportunity," he said. (Jamaica Observer)

New guidance, counselling group launched in Guyana A

s Guyana continues to face challenges in addressing many social issues, a new guidance and counselling services group dubbed ‘Social Life Issues’ was launched on Tuesday. The organisation is the brainchild of its coordinator and wellknown counsellor, John Greaves, who worked for several years with the Salvation Army’s Drug Rehabilitation Programme. Greaves told media operatives on Tuesday that the organisation hopes to address a range of issues that plagues society to bring about changes in family life and to create a better society for all. “We intend to move into various social ills as an organisation. In fact, our objectives state that we would like to bring assistance to those in need of such a service, as it relates to the many social ills that can result in dilemma or disaster for the family and the individual and, by extension, society,” Greaves explained. He also disclosed that the organisation has introduced its Drug Prevention Education Programme in two private schools – Josel Educational Institute and Mercy Wings Vocational School – and plans to have 12 more schools on board by September. The coordinator added that while there are several other organisations that provide similar services, Social Life Issues is a more practical-based

St Kitts-Nevis looks to boost manufacturing output


t Kitts and Nevis continues to lead the OECS and Barbados in manufacturing exports to the United States and the local government is taking a number of steps to maintain this edge. At a recent press conference, Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas indicated that the Cabinet recently considered “three important submissions pertaining to manufacturing”. One firm identified was Electrofab (St Kitts) Ltd, which has been encountering difficulties based on a large debt burden. “Cabinet has made a number of recommendations that should ensure its continuity as a

manufacturing plant in St Kitts and Nevis,” the prime minister stated. “We also have looked at the company [Harowe Servo] in Sandy Point,

St Kitts and Nevis is aiming to boost manufacturing exports by 60 percent over the next few years

providing yet another [round of] concessionary support for its continued activity as a manufacturing entity over the next

ten years.” Douglas also revealed that technicians from St Kitts and Nevis and Brazil are busy carving out the details of the partial scope agreement that will allow local manufacturing exports to enter the South American country with duty concessions. “We expect them to have completed the process by the end of June,” he disclosed. These measures are in line with government’s aim to boost manufacturing exports by 60 percent over the next few years. “Manufacturing in St Kitts and Nevis’ economy is important to us,” Douglas declared. (Caribbean News)

From left to right: Social Life Issues executives Will Campbell, Joan Alleyne, John Greaves, Fay Greaves and Beverly Rogers

group and has what it takes to bring meaningful changes to families and individuals. Greaves said he is confident about this, given that a competent team has been put together to oversee the affairs of the organisation. These persons include: experienced counsellors and psychologists such as Fay Greaves, Will Campbell, Joan Alleyne, and Beverly Rogers. The coordinator said, “We have a vision which is founded in the fact that given my own experience where I served as a senior counsellor for many years and the others in the team and the amount of clientele which I have

come into contact with, brought about that vision to create an organisation to help address social ills.” Greaves noted that financial support is necessary if they are to achieve the objectives of bringing needed change to the Guyanese society. So far, the organisation has received some support from Digicel, DaSilva House of Optics and Lucky Dollar Food Shop among others. Digicel is currently sponsoring the two schools. In addition, the group is looking forward to hosting annual workshops for businesses and other interested groups

and organisations that are willing to participate. Focus will also be placed on helping young single parents to focus on family planning and family development, among other critical issues to help in social development. Social Life Issues has a week of activities planned to introduce the services it offers. The group will open its office at 193 Charlotte and Wellington streets, Georgetown, while a special cocktail ceremony will be held at Water Chris Hotel on Saturday. A roundtable discussion is also planned for later this week. (Guyana Times)


News | week ending May 23, 2013

Guyana to put more emphasis on polygraph testing in law enforcement T

he use of polygraph testing as a basis for integrity testing, particularly in law enforcement is going to be accentuated, and it is anticipated that in Guyana’s security sector reform, much greater emphasis would be placed on such a measure, head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon told the media last Friday. This is in concert with what is happening in larger countries in Caricom, and the intention is to collaboratively work with them, along with the support of the international community towards putting polygraph testing as an integral element in integrity testing, he stated. “I know it is not exactly where we would want it to be, people fall asleep and equipment disappear and markers (fuel) disappear, but it is a work in progress, and the integrity testing through polygraphy will assist the management and the policy makers in determining, targeting the weak areas in the field-marking exercise that will continue to be unveiled,” Dr Luncheon emphasised. He was at the time responding to a question asked by the media regarding government’s position on the dismissal of staff from the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) who had failed polygraph

Medical Officer of Health Dr Orrita Zachariah said there are persons bent on purposely spreading HIV in Antigua and Barbuda

The GEA said that 21 of its employees failed the polygraph test in Guyana

tests, and in light of the fact that the opposition has called for an investigation into the matter. “This is a historical practice… that does not mean of course that the policy cannot be subjected as seems to be now by the opposition to demand for a review, but to the extent that it has been a policy, to the extent that it has been implemented, to the extent that it is no secret that I have sat here and made reports about polygraph testing… I am dubious about the opposition’s request for this matter to be investigated,” Dr Luncheon said. He explained that while he does not have a position, technically speaking, in recognising that a policy on polygraph has been elaborated over the last four to five years, and on the basis of the implementa-

tion of that policy, functionaries/officials in a number of agencies subject themselves, voluntarily, to polygraph testing and have indeed been abiding with the interventions made on the basis of the results of those tests. “In our instance here in law enforcement, and in additional areas, the fuel marking continue to be a very important feature in the protection of revenue, as you are aware, the revenue from importation of fuel contribute significantly to revenue collection by the GRA and there is no doubt that significant leakages have been indeed avoided by the presence of fuel marking and the activities of that component of GEA.” When asked what has been preventing the government from having the GRA undergo simi-

lar tests, Dr Luncheon replied: “I do not know if there is something that has been preventing the GRA, I remember at a meeting, where the commissioner general was one of the very first who offered to undergo polygraphic testing… I am not certain why it is that you will feel that there is something preventing the administration when the inception activity took place, the cohort was a lot smaller as it is today, and I would say this in conjunction with our regional colleagues, and in conjunction with our international colleagues.” The GEA said that 21 of its employees failed the polygraph test which was used as part of the drive to ensure system reliability, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

Jamaica Public Service investing US$5 million in IT to improve service


he Jamaica Public Service says it will be investing more than US$5 million this year in critical information technology infrastructure as part of efforts to improve the quality of service it provides. "JPS remains committed to making the necessary investments to improve service to customers," the company's IT director, Keith Smith explained. "It's important to have a strong IT infrastructure to enable the company to operate as a modern, efficient utility. Many of the systems we've been operating with are outdated and operating below par. The new IT systems will allow JPS to better meet our strategic objective of delivering excellent service to our customers," he said. The main systems to be put in place are an

Antiguan medical doctor wants jail time for wilful spread of HIV

Ian Wray (right), director of account management at Ventyx, signs the partnership agreement for new customer service IT systems, while Gary Barrow (left), the Jamaica Public Service Company’s senior vice president of customer operations and support services, and Keith Smith, the company’s director — IT, look on. (Jamaica Observer photo)

Outage Management System (OMS) and a Customer Information System (CIS) Service Suite. JPS recently signed a contract with Ventyx -a world-leading supplier

of Industrial Enterprise Software — for the provision of the CIS and OMS infrastructure and software. The company said customers will start feeling

the benefits of the new technology infrastructure over the next few months, as the aim is to have all the new systems in place before year-end. (Jamaica Observer)


prominent doctor in Antigua and Barbuda believes the nation should consider doling out jail terms to HIV positive persons who “wantonly” spread the virus that causes AIDS. “What I do believe in is making some sort of adjustment to our legal system, as there have been in some countries, where they recognise that when people wantonly spread the virus they can be incarcerated,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Orrita Zachariah said recently. Although the doctor said this does not mean every person infected with the virus would be motivated to “maliciously” spread the disease, she said persons bent on purposely spreading HIV “do exist” on the island. “There are people who know, and we know that they know (of their positive status), because we have counselled them and they have a modus operandi that suggests this is their mission for the rest of their remaining time on earth, to make sure they spread this virus,” Dr Zachariah stressed. She added, “They ensure that they practice a lifestyle in keeping with spreading the disease… They can infect more persons than someone who has accepted their fate and is willing to move on.” Criminal transmission of HIV laws exist in some countries including, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. There are also three countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which have implemented laws that lead to jail terms for those convicted. Antiguan attorney, Monique FrancisGordon, believes Antigua and Barbuda should follow in their footsteps, saying, “absolutely, laws

are definitely necessary.” Francis-Gordon noted currently there is a law on the books that could be “stretched” to prosecute person’s accused of purposefully spreading HIV — Section 22 of the Offenses Against the Person Act. She said the Act speaks to prosecuting persons who inflict “grievous bodily harm on a person with or without a weapon”. However, she said the current laws have a maximum penalty of five years, which she deems as inadequate. “While five years imprisonment is not a slap on the wrist, in comparison to the harm that you inflicted, it does not seem to be enough,” she said. The attorney said laws, specifically geared towards HIV and other communicable disease, should be included in new, far-reaching legislation. Francis Gordon said this would not be a difficult undertaking. “Our laws, as they stand, are inadequate to deal with the severity of the harm that has been inflicted on the person. I think that many quarters would welcome this advancement,” FrancisGordon said. The attorney noted that currently, residents could, in fact, claim damages in the courts, in a civil proceeding, but the award would only be monetary. One issue she conceded might stall the process is the expense that testing and evidence gathering would present for the nation. “It is going to cost, it is by no means cheap. Sometimes it is a necessary process nonetheless,” the attorney said. Although Dr Zachariah is leading the call for such laws, she warned that sexually active people must practice safe sex, to protect themselves against HIV infection. (Excerpt from Antigua Observer)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Guyana, Suriname to meet over backtrack route A

technical team from Guyana and Suriname is expected to continue talks shortly concerning the monitoring and regularisation of the Nikerie backtracking route. Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett said the matter has been under discussion since the last meeting between the two sides in August last year. She noted that a decision has been taken that both Guyana and Suriname must be integrally involved in any attempt at addressing the way forward. “Those discussions are on the agenda for the next encounter…when we do this, we would do it together and another meeting should be held shortly,” the foreign minister disclosed. Rodrigues-Birkett said both countries have an obligation to ensure that people from Guyana and Suriname can move as freely as possible. However, she maintained that the route must be speedily regulated and subsequent dis-

cussions will be undertaken towards this end. During a previous comment, RodriguesBirkett said the issue has already been discussed on both sides and advanced talks will definitely continue on the regulations that are to be put in place. Her Surinamese counterpart, Winston Lackin said that backtracking is one of the many realities that face both countries and must be dealt with swiftly. “It is part of the realities of both economies and Suriname is trying to regulate the movement of people and goods on both sides of the river.” Lackin said there continues to be security concerns that are still being ironed out, and as such, a decision has been made to have the technical people meet to discuss matters pertaining to this as soon as possible. The two foreign ministers met last August to review the progress made, following the meeting between the presidents of both countries in February 2012

Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

and to discuss related issues on the bilateral agenda. Sometime ago, Guyana and Suriname agreed to work to tighten security and regularise the backtrack route used by many persons to travel between the two countries. It takes about 20 minutes in small wooden boats to travel the ‘backtrack’ route from Skeldon in Guyana to Suriname, compared to more than one hour on the scheduled ferry service then by road. Though Guyana does not recognise Skeldon as a legal port of entry and exit, Guyanese

customs officers are often there to inspect goods and levy duties and taxes. The illegal entry point is sometimes used by criminals to traffic guns, drugs and people as well as smuggle consumer goods to evade taxes. Meanwhile, leader of A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) David Granger recently tabled a motion in the National Assembly to have the president appoint a commission of inquiry (COI) to investigate the incidence of trafficking in persons (TIP) in Guyana. However, sources within APNU said that, while they are in full support of actions being taken against TIP, much more needs to be done to address the problem more holistically, whether it is within Guyana’s borders or beyond. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has been criticised over the years for not doing enough to prosecute such persons. Successive reports out of the U.S. State

‘Rumours hurt my career’ - TT’s retired army colonel


etired army colonel Hugh Vidal believes rumours that he was linked to Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr and his plan to overthrow the democratically elected government in 1990, may have stymied his chance of promotion to the highest military rank of Chief of Defence Staff in Trinidad and Tobago. These rumours were unfounded, Vidal told the commission of inquiry into the July 27, 1990, attempted coup. Vidal was served with a Salmon letter by the commission and returned Monday to respond to adverse comments against him made by other witnesses. The inquiry entered its 15th session Monday at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port-of-Spain. Vidal admitted having met with Bakr, prior to the July 27, 1990 insurrection, but said the meeting was known to his commanding officer, Major General Ralph Brown, Chief of Defence Staff Joseph Theodore and National Security Minister Selwyn Richardson. He said permission for him to meet with Bakr came from the three and only then did he meet with the Jamaat leader. Following the meeting, Vidal said he provided Brown with an oral report, who would have then informed Theodore and Richardson of the event. “All superiors, including the minister, were aware of the meeting,” Vidal said. He also responded to claims by former head of Special Branch Dalton Harvey, who in a closed-door session, said Vidal attended a meeting with a man identified only as Naim Khan. Vidal insisted he did not attend any such meeting and did not even know of Khan. As for the allegation, Vidal said he only found it out when he was served with the Salmon letter. According to Vidal, at the time of the alleged meet-

ing, he was in Tobago where he had troops stationed. At the time, Vidal was commanding officer of Camp Ogden. He said the information would have been shared in the intelligence community and such allegations were unfounded and had a negative effect on his career in the army. “It must have seemed to have had a negative effect on my career,” he said. He said while no formal inquiry was held by the Regiment, he was questioned by Major Brown, who accepted his answers. Vidal agreed that in small societies, the rumour mill has the potential to generate lies, although no link was found between him and Bakr’s plot to oust the then NAR government. Nonetheless, Vidal said he felt aggrieved by the rumours. He said he recently spoke with Brown who also claimed not knowing who Khan was. Two years after the attempted coup, Vidal was sent to Washington as Defence Attache to TT’s Embassy in the United States, where he spent just under five years. He had no choice but to accept the posting and when asked by commission chairman Sir David Simmons if he viewed it as a downgrade, Vidal said, “it kept me off the scene for five years.” Simmons: “Did you think getting ‘off the scene’ and being sent to Washington may have affected your chances of becoming Chief of Defence Staff?” Vidal: “Yes.” According to the retired colonel, promotions in the army from the rank of Major upward were steeped in politics and moving up the rank was dependent on the minister of national security, who made such decisions, which were agreed to by the prime minister. Vidal was led into evidence by his attorney Anthony Moore. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

Department have pointed to cases of human trafficking and called on the government to go after TIP masterminds. The owner and publisher of a local newspaper, who was identified in a U.S. embassy cable as being a leading player in the backtracking ring in Guyana, has been named as one such mastermind. Years after, the explosive WikiLeaks cable from the U. S. embassy in Georgetown linked the newspaper owner to backtracking and other illegal activities in Guyana. Authentic information released by

Wikileaks in the U.S. had described him as a man with a ‘sketchy’ past. “He translated a shoe trading business (and rumoured involvement with alien smuggling) into a muckraking independent newspaper,” the Wikileaks cable stated, adding that he has a finger firmly on the pulse of Guyana’s underworld, which serves his media enterprise well. Also, his U.S. visa was previously revoked. Yet, local law enforcement has been unable to crack the backtrack ring in which the suspect could be involved. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)


News | week ending May 23, 2013

Essequibo rice farmers draw Major credit rating agency warns of down more than Gy$800 million more Caribbean debt restructurings from Guyana/Venezuela deal A


ore than Gy$800 million has been paid out to approximately 1800 rice farmers from the Essequibo Coast in Guyana, as part of advance payments for paddy supplied to Venezuela. This was disclosed by Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA) General Secretary Dharamkumar Seeraj on Monday. Seeraj said, “The Guyana Rice Development Board and the GRPA approved the list of farmers to be given advance payments from government’s contract with Venezuela for the shipment of paddy.” Meanwhile, he said, a technical team from the Agriculture Ministry and the GRPA visited Essequibo over the weekend to have a firsthand look on procedures used for the grading of paddy and other issues that are facing the rice industry in that region. The technical team was deployed in the region in light of the dissatisfaction expressed by Essequibo farmers over the production and

Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary George Jarvis

sale of paddy. They had called on the ministry to reassess the grading systems for paddy, since the millers were not implementing the rules and regulations of the current grading system. The farmers also expressed their concern with the quality of paddy being produced and warned the ministry that they will continue to protest if their issues were not addressed. The team, while there, engaged farmers to gain their feedback on the procedures. After in-depth discussions, a report was compiled and recommenda-

tions made are being reviewed with the aim of including farmers’ suggestions in the Rice Factories Act governing the procedures to be utilised in paddy grading. The GRPA general secretary noted that many of the regulations and guidelines that are outlined in the act are not being followed by the factories. The meeting, which was held with both rice farmers and millers, saw them reaching a consensus on a number of steps that they believe will bring about a turnaround in the industry. Last week, Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary George Jarvis said that his ministry is dedicated to addressing the numerous issues affecting rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast and the country at large. “Even if we have procedures that they themselves are very much against, we can sit down and work it out, see how we can come to a process that is fair both to the millers and more so to the farmers,” he assured.

major international credit rating agency is warning of more Caribbean sovereign debt restructurings ahead of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) annual meetings in St Lucia this week. The Wall Street-based Moody’s Investor Service said on Monday that it expects sovereign credit quality to “continue deteriorating in the region”. “We see the defaults of Belize (Caa2 stable), Jamaica (Caa3 stable) and Grenada (unrated) over the past year as being part of a broader debt crisis in the Caribbean,” it said in a report. “Moreover, we expect the risk of sovereign default in the region to persist as countries continue facing a combination of solvency and liquidity pressures and are increasingly unable, and unwilling, to service debt.” Moody’s said the Caribbean’s debt overhang is a “legacy of debt accumulation that started in the 1990s, as governments accelerated borrowing, often from external commercial sources, to finance public-sector investment. “At its core, the Caribbean’s debt crisis is the result of a combination of poor fiscal discipline and unproductive investment that failed to significantly raise potential growth rates,” it said, resulting in “low and declining long-term growth”. Moody’s warned that

an increasing number of Caribbean countries are likely to renege on their debts, stating that they are running out of options in addressing limp economic growth and dismal state finances. “At the moment, we see a high probability that Belize and Jamaica will relapse into default,” Moody’s said, adding that said some countries, such as Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, are more economically stable than others. It said Jamaica has a debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of more 100 per cent, and the Cayman Islands and Bermuda have ratios of 23 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively. Referring to International Monetary Fund (IMF) data, Moody’s said most small Caribbean states have debts-to-GDP ratios of more than 70 per cent and a current account deficit of 23 per cent. The rating agency said the “policy toolkit for reducing debt in the Caribbean is limited”, adding that many countries cannot devalue their currency because exchange rates are usually fixed or managed. In light of big budget deficits, Moody’s said many Caribbean countries are unable to stimulate growth through spending and investments. “The lack of options has left debt restructur-

ing as an attractive tool to reduce public sector debt,” said Edward AlHussainy, the report’s author and a Moody’s senior analyst. “As new restructurings unfold, we expect governments to be more aggressive in seeking principal haircuts to achieve lower debt loads,” he added. The report noted that

Moody’s Investor Service said on Monday that it expects sovereign credit quality to “continue deteriorating in the region”.

the region has also been adversely affected by extreme weather that has often resulted in humanitarian and economic woes, stating that the adverse conditions range from small storms and floods that cause some damage, to hurricanes that ravage some of the territories. The Washingtonbased IMF said that since the early 1960s, the Caribbean has experienced losses equivalent to almost 1 percent of GDP on average in weather damages annually. (CMC)

PP gov’t on solid grounds - PM Kamla says ahead of anniversary celebrations


ith two more years before the next general election, Prime Minister Kamla PersadBissessar said her government is doing all within its power to ensure that the People’s National Movement (PNM) remains in opposition. Speaking to supporters at a meeting held at her private residence in Phillippines, near San Fernando, PersadBissessar was confident that her People’s Partnership (PP) coalition would serve a consecutive term in office. The meeting, which saw several government ministers, members of parliament, councillors and community activists, was held to celebrate PP’s third year in power, as well as to plan and mobilise supporters for the anniversary on Friday at Mid-Centre Mall, Chaguanas. Media personnel

were not allowed into the meeting, but the prime minister later explained that a major topic discussed was for the coalition to remain united and work together as a unit. Responding to critics, among them former ambassador Reginald Dumas, who gave the PP government a failing grade in terms of its performance, the prime minister said: “It is clear that we have more than a pass grade in terms of achievements, completed projects as well as projects on the way. Mr Dumas is entitled to his own opinion and I have a different opinion. Many persons have a different opinion from him.” Providing an update on the local government elections scheduled for on or before October, the prime minister noted that the party had already received over 200 nominations. Screening, she added, would be-

gin shortly. On the controversial Chaguanas West seat which was held by former National Security Minister Jack Warner, she confirmed that the PP had received four nominations. “Mr Warner remains a member of the UNC. As any other member, he is entitled to file a nomination. The party then has a process which it goes through for the screening and selection of the candidate for that seat,” Persad-Bissessar told reporters. Acknowledging the PP still faces challenges, she added the party was not fazed. Instead they are very strong. “I can be solid as a rock. We will continue standing on solid ground, as we move forward with our agenda and improve the quality of life for citizens of TT... I hear people criticising me. But I am over that a long time ago,” she said. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Dr Dabydeen defends management of Caribbean Press G

uyanese writer and poet Dr David Dabydeen has defended his management of the Caribbean Press, while labelling some Guyanese writers as lazy and declaring that doggerel or ‘puppyrel’ would not be published at the facility. Dabydeen, who is also Guyana’s ambassador to China, made the comments in a letter in response to local writer Ruel Johnson, who has been challenging him on a number of issues regarding the functioning of the press. Dabydeen also flayed Johnson personally, calling him lazy and mentioning that he had gone as far as purchasing a laptop computer and securing a UNESCO job for the young writer. He asserted that the press will not publish lazy and incompetent work. “Unfortunately, Guyana at present only has a small handful of consistent writers of quality (I am thinking of creative writers like Rupert Roopnaraine and Paloma Mohammed). Hence, in the 25 years of the Guyana Prize, only one resident Guyanese has ever won the Fiction Prize, and only two the First Book of Fiction. One resident Guyanese won the First Book of Poetry prize.

He referred to Johnson’s comments about the press’ closeness to Freedom House, but noted that it will be publishing the parliamentary speeches of all of Guyana’s presidents. He also debunked claims by Johnson that the press has not published Martin Carter. “And why has Mr Johnson not submitted anything to the press for consideration, though I have asked him many times? Is it because, deep down, he knows he has not written anything of quality for many years? Has any other Caribbean or Guyanese press published his work? Although I found his dismissal of Wilson Harris to be arrogant and silly…,” Dabydeen wrote.

Poor writers

He said most of the submissions that went to him are not writing, but typing.” “It was a real struggle getting sufficient poetry for the forthcoming Anthology of Contemporary Guyanese Poetry (resident Guyanese), and in the end the press had to go on the basis of promise rather than achievement. Fortunately, two, perhaps three, of the poets were good, so their work will carry the anthology.”

US Embassy unaware of any murder conspiracy in TT


he United States Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago Tuesday said it was not aware of any murder conspiracy involving a reporter who may have had contacts there, as it maintained that diplomatic relations with the twin island republic remain strong. “We are aware of the statements by Dr Rowley in Parliament (Monday). We don’t have any comment to make,” the embassy’s public affairs officer, Alexander McLaren said Tuesday. Asked if the Embassy was aware of any alleged murder conspiracy involving a reporter with sources at the Embassy, McLaren said, “No”. On diplomatic relations between both countries, McLaren said, “The United States has a strong relationship with the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and we are looking forward to the visit of Vice President Biden next week.” In Parliament on Monday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley read out purported emails by government officials apparently discussing ways to get rid

of a female reporter, and querying what sources she may have had at the US Embassy. And one day after Rowley piloted his motion of no-confidence in the People’s Partnership administration by reading into the parliamentary record, the series of emails purportedly from senior government ministers about the Section 34 issue, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar Tuesday described the motion as an “act of desperation” involving the use of a “cut and paste job” by the opposition party. Speaking to reporters following a Land Settlement Agency’s Land for the Landless residential lots draw at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, San Fernando, PersadBissessar once again described Rowley’s allegations as a “fabrication”. “I think all that was missing was the hard hat and the gloves because it was a fabrication of the highest order, and it is clearly designed to bring the government into disrepute,” PersadBissessar said. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

Guyana’s Ambassador to China, Dr David Dabydeen

He said instead of making an effort to learn how to write (for example, by reading, re-reading and re-reading distinguished writers like Mittelholzer, Martin Carter, Sir Wilson Harris, and so many others), most of the Guyanese would-be or self-styled writers he has encountered have read little. He said to make books available free of cost to the people of Guyana, especially the young, the press has reprinted the work of Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris, Denis Williams,

Jan Carew, and others. He said of the 60 titles published or about to be published so far, an increasing number is by winners of the Guyana Prize (Elly Niland, Maggie Harris, Mark McWatt, Ian McDonald, Cyril Dabydeen, David Dabydeen, Fred D’Aguiar) or by writers like Sasenaraine Persaud who have been shortlisted on every occasion for the Guyana Prize. “They are in the ‘Classics’ series because they are modern classics (eg, Penguin and other presses have modern classics). The quality of the Caribbean Press speaks for itself: dozens of international scholars published, and some of the best creative writers produced by Guyana. “That I have longstanding friendships with almost all the living writers (two of whom, happily, are family and Guyana prizewinners) has helped to get

their permission to re-publish their works. Almost all the writers waive royalties and agree for 400 copies of their books to be given freely to Guyana’s libraries, an act of charity and a concern for the young readers in Guyana. Some have even put their work on the press’s website for free downloading: So, again, Ruel Johnson is being devi-

ous in accusations of bias.” Dabydeen also spoke about the furore created by Johnson over the press publication of a book written by the daughter of Culture Minister, Dr Frank Anthony. He said Ashley Anthony showed such promise as well as true quality and he hopes other children, reading it, will be inspired to write. (Guyana Times)


News | week ending May 23 , 2013

CAL’s ex-chairman supports Howai’s decision to fire board F

ormer chairman of Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) Rabindra Moonan assures that “all is well” at CAL since he left the national carrier in a good position and the country will see a turnaround soon in its operations. Moonan said he agreed with Finance Minister Larry Howai’s decision to disband the CAL board especially after a forensic audit unearthed “irregularities” in two departments at the national carrier. Speaking with reporters following a mobilisation meeting at Prime Minister Kamla PersadBissessar’s private Phillipine residence, the former CAL chairman said, “I am very happy with the state that I left the board and I told them that I would have been happy to serve on a

Former chairman of Caribbean Airlines Ltd Rabindra Moonan (TT Guardian photo)

board that had been given a platform as I had left.” Last Friday, Howai announced the dismissal of the CAL board, which was headed by Moonan and consisted of vice-chairman Mohan

Jaikaran, Gizelle Russell, Venosh Sagewan-Maraj and Avedanand Persad. Jamaican businessman Denis Lalor was the sole member retained on the board. Director of the Strategic Management Office of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy, Philip Marshall, was named chairman of the new interim board. He said the board was called into a meeting on Thursday when Howai made the decision to fire the board. “I agreed with his decision to disband the board because for whatever reason the board started to attract too much attention and it impacted on the operations of the company. We needed to drop the temperature a little bit,” Moonan said. The attention attracted, he said,

“really had little or no merit, things like upgrades of tickets and so on.” Moonan lamented that the firing of the board came at a time when operations at the embattled national carrier were starting to turn around. “We had put out a transformation plan and the first four months of the year the plan started to take effect. This year we had projected an initial loss of US$12 million coming down from US$69 million last year,” he said. Moonan said from figures available to the former board at their last meeting on May 15, “the projection was that we would have lost only TT$800,000 and that was not taking into consideration the changes that we had made to the cargo

department. We had suffered some losses there.” He suggested that the airline would have broken even in 2013, since they reduced credit card fraud in the last month by 57 per cent “because of the new control systems that we had put in place”. Moonan responded to a Trinidad Express story in which former CAL vice-chairman Mohan Jaikaran claimed he was victimised. He said in the last couple of months, a forensic audit was launched into certain op-

erations in the cargo department and the credit card department. He said it was discovered that for three years there were no controls in the departments and revenue could not be accounted for. “Obviously because of what was taking place, we had to take decisive action. It would have caused certain management people to be either suspended, or in fact dismissed, and it created a level of disquiet among management,” he said. (TT Guardian)

Bunting offers sweeteners to Jamaican Guyana to host national competitiveness forum in July cops in exchange for wage freeze


uyana is looking to host a national competitiveness forum in early July. President Donald Ramotar will be convening this national forum which seeks to realise and make persons more aware of the overarching goals of the National Competitiveness Strategy (NCS) for better employment, exports and investment for Guyana. This was announced at the seventh meeting of the National Competitiveness Strategy Steering Committee discussions, Guyana’s highest private-public advisory council, last Friday. Several topical issues related to trade, barriers to economic prosperity, the advancement of several commercial projects and other local business issues topped the agenda of executives and other stakeholders when they met last Friday. According to acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali, the committee has been looking at continuous improvement methods which speak to the competitiveness of businesses in Guyana, while focusing on bolstering a stronger economy. The minister also spoke about implementing institutional mechanisms that are geared towards enhancing that sector. He said the com-

mittee is looking at considering efforts to bring together the business community and different sectors with the aim of providing access to opportunities for small businesses. The meeting also addressed the business climate, a secure investment climate, a regulatory framework in terms of doing business

fully the projects outlined, which is to improve hinterland airstrips and the CJIA project and we stand committed on these projects,” the minister stated. He said these projects without doubt, through expansion, give Guyana the ability to compete. The committee views those projects as important when it comes to

A committee has been looking at continuous improvement methods which speak to the competitiveness of businesses in Guyana

and expanding the economy through a cohesive and integrated approach. Other issues of national importance discussed were specific to the aviation sector, its challenges and opportunities. He noted that government has injected a lot of resources into the sector through budgetary allocations. “The meeting concluded that first of all to improve our competitiveness, we should support

competitiveness. The minister also spoke about implementing institutional mechanisms that are geared towards enhancing that sector. He said the committee is looking at considering efforts to bring together the business community and different sectors together with the aim of providing access to opportunities for small businesses. This is one step in strengthening and creating a viable business sector. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)


amaica’s Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, pressing cops to accept a wage freeze, promised he would advocate for several benefits for the lawmen and their families. Speaking at the 70th Jamaica Police Federation Conference at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann last Thursday, Bunting said he would seek to change the policy which defined cops who were killed in the line of duty. At present, only officers who are killed while in the physical workspace are considered to be on duty. But the minister said he would seek to ensure that the dependents of all police officers killed received the full benefit of Ja$10 million, once the officers were not killed while committing any criminal activity. The minister's statement came after Federation Chairman Sergeant Raymond Wilson called for the classification system to be changed, saying that the police in carrying out their duties would make enemies "who may attack while the officers are not in the physical work space and so an officer should be classified as on duty at all times". The minister also revealed that Ja$20 million had been injected

Jamaica’s National Security Minister Peter Bunting

into the Legal Defence Fund to help finance the cost of legal action taken against cops in the line of duty. The government had also increased the number of scholarships available to the children of officers. Additionally, the officers' scholarship fund had also been increased, as well as funeral grants for officers killed on duty. Moreover, Bunting said, policies to allow police officers to have much easier access to private firearms were also forthcoming. Over 1,000 Jamaica Constabulary Force members have been approved for licensed firearms since May 2012, he revealed. "If you are fit to carry a service firearm, you must be fit to carry your personal firearm,"

Bunting declared. He disclosed that police officers should soon start receiving compensation for work done on public holidays. In the meantime, Sergeant Wilson has also called on the government to review laws which prevent officers under internal investigations to continue duties, if they are not a threat to national security. Wilson said some officers had had to sit out of their jobs for over three years without any charges brought against them. Whle saying that cops are "innocent until proven guilty", the Federation chairman also declared that "the police force is no safe haven for members who engage in corruption". (Jamaica Observer)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Guyana gov’t going hi-tech with corruption fight T

he Home Affairs Ministry of Guyana last Friday launched the website, which will give citizens a chance to document cases of them being required to bribe public officials. The website will encourage the accountability of government officials, political leaders and every Guyanese citizen serving in private or public organisations. According to information technology specialist attached to the ministry, Floyd Levi, this is an initiative which will provide the public with clear and comprehensive corruption analysis, along with statistical details of corporate or political corruption in the country. “The idea comes out of India and European countries, which have taken up the initiative as well. Users should also know that they can also state instances when they did not pay a bribe,” said Levi. “On, Guyanese citizens can freely report any type

Information specialist Floyd Levi and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee at the launch of the website, along with police top brass

of bribe stories, unfolded scams, or fraud cases in Guyana. The users can comment and publish corruption stories of Guyanese politicians and corrupt officials in the public sectors,” he continued. Levi also noted that the entire process is done anonymously. He stated that this initiative gives Guyanese citizens a more hands- on approach to fighting crime and corruption within the public services. It complements

the online crime reporting system, the BBM and text messaging system and the hotline through which citizens can report crimes which the police subsequently act upon. Levi emphasised that the entire process allows for the users to provide a title for their case, and state the time, location, and the institution the bribe taker is attached to. This will allow the ministry and the relevant authorities to act as required.

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee said: “The ipaidabribe. gy is another means for citizens to assist in the fight against corruption and for the citizens to get information to us and the ones who do not have access to the Internet always have the other ways of reporting a crime.” He noted that corruption is universal, as it is present in developed and developing countries, in the public and private sec-

tor, and in nonprofit or charitable organisations. Corruption threatens people and their governments, he said. During the launch, it was also revealed that the Home Affairs Ministry is seeking to implement a crime mapping application within the next two months. According to the system development officer attached to the Home Affairs Ministry, Nkasi Nedd, the mapping system is a twofold initiative, which allows citizens to go online and give information on a crime such as date and location. “After users input the information, the police will then verify the reported crime and subsequently follow up on it… also this mapping system will allow us to predict where criminal activities are likely to occur and thus, for this we will turn to the theory of criminology and analysis will be done for short-term monthly and weekly mapping…,” said Nedd. She noted that the crime mapping will take

into consideration the long-term socioeconomic structure of communities to determine which community will more likely experience criminal activities, thus the task force and resources will be focused on those areas. Rohee noted that modern thinking allows for innovation in fighting crime and corruption in order for a country to move forward. It was also stated at the launch that updates on both the initiatives will be done as close to real time as possible. The home affairs minister accentuated that the ministry believes that crime, especially those involving the use of fire arms, is still relatively high. He said while it is acknowledged that the force is continuing to address these criminal activities more effectively, the force must also provide citizens with better security; therefore, more dedicated efforts are being made to reduce robberies and other crimes in the country. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

RSS makes major dent in illegal drug trafficking in Caribbean A senior official of the Barbadosbased Regional Security System (RSS) says despite several challenges, the security group continues to make a significant contribution to the fight against illegal drug trafficking in the Caribbean. “From 2001 to April 2013, the maritime sector has netted in excess of 90 000 pounds of cannabis, 15 400 kilograms of cocaine and seized approximately US$2.52 million,” said the RSS Deputy Executive Director, Major Horace Kirton. He added that, “in addition to these seizures, as a joint effort, Coast Guards and Marine Units have also assisted in the seizure of 131 vessels, 11 vehicles and the arrest of 618 persons. “These statistics only reflect operations that involved the RSS Air Wing. Of course, there are other maritime operations which were successful and add to the statistics identified here,” he said as he outlined over 2 700 counter drug missions conducted in conjunction with the RSS Air Wing.

trol vessels are better suited to intercept at this range,” he added. Kirton said that with “a mere 11 per cent” of their operational vessels built with capacity to perform effectively in the Exclusive Economic

RSS Deputy Executive Director, Major Horace Kirton (Barbados Advocate file photo)

Major Kirton told the closing ceremony of the RSS Basic Seamanship Course that there were significant obstacles being revealed as the RSS carried out its operations against illicit narco-trafficking activity. “Trends in illicit narco-trafficking activity in the RSS domain have revealed deficiencies with having an unbalanced complement of vessels. “Take for example, the coopering vessels carrying the illicit materials which now prefer to cooper at least 40 miles from shore. Offshore pa-

Zones, it was critical for the maritime sector to take centre stage in the RSS’ work plan. The RSS was established in 1982 out of need for a collective response to security threats in the re-

gion. It includes Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados. Its express function is to ensure the stability and well being of the Eastern Caribbean re-

gion through mutual cooperation, in order to achieve social and economic development and to maintain the principles of democracy, liberty of the individual and rule of law. (Antigua Observer)


News | week ending May 23, 2013

Duprey blames world recession for CLICO collapse


ormer chairman of the financially troubled CL Financial Group, Lawrence Duprey, has blamed the world recession and not mismanagement for the collapse of the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO), the flagship company of the group. The financial prob-

Former chairman of the CL Financial Group Lawrence Duprey (TT Guardian file photo)

lems of CLICO and the collapse of the British American Insurance Company (BAICO) have not only affected clients in Trinidad and Tobago, but in many Caribbean countries where policy holders have reported losses estimated at millions of dollars. The Trinidad and Tobago government said it has pumped more than TT$25 billion in bailing out the company since it collapsed in 2009 and last year, the Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard said the police had started a “full criminal investigation” into the conduct of individuals and corporate entities involved in the collapse of CLICO and related companies. But Duprey, who resides in the United States, in an exclusive interview with the Trinidad Guardian newspaper, blamed the world recession and not mismanagement for the situation. “It’s the downturn and the bubble that burst that hurt the company. It’s not mismanagement, or what I do or what anybody else did. When you measure the numbers, you could see that could not happen. When you measure the numbers, you could see that mismanagement couldn’t cause CL Financial to come down, it had to be the economy.” The newspaper said that Duprey, who failed to appear before a Commission of Inquiry set up by the authorities in TT to examine the situation that led to the

collapse of CLICO, refused to comment or entertain questions on the Commission because of the ongoing criminal probe and civil matters before the courts. But he said when CLICO was established, its aim was to assist poor people and improve development among youths in sport and culture. “It was to build an economy that can provide an exceptionable standard of living for our people. We didn’t want to be rich, we just wanted to be comfortable,” he said, noting that Trinidad and Tobago has a small population and “in a small state, you have to determine your own future. In a small state, you have to build on savings.” “We were the caretaker of the people’s savings. That's why it is ridiculous to say that I’m going to do something wrong because I know I am a caretaker of plenty people’s savings. Mentally, I helped them save. I also helped them to be better people through their savings.” He defended the policies of the Port-of-Spainbased regional insurance giant and dismissed reports that he spent lavishly on himself. Duprey, during his interview with the newspaper, which is also being aired on the television station of the Guardian Media Group, has also angered Attorney General Anand Ramlogan while responding to earlier remarks by the government minister who described the businessman as a “wanted” person. Duprey has also denied a May 3 letter by Ramlogan’s lawyer, Donna Prowell, to his attorney indicating that there were rumours that Duprey had visited Trinidad and Tobago on a yacht with friends. Ramlogan said that “it is a pity that Mr Duprey did not see it fit to return and assist in the necessary efforts caused by the CLICO fiasco. This, after all, is the country in which he amassed his fortune and created the wealth that financed his billiondollar empire.” The attorney general said the collapse of CLICO “left in its wake a trail of despair, depression, destruction and financial ruin. Words cannot express the frustration and anguish experienced by citizens who lost their retirement savings and were forced to live on the limited charity of friends and relatives”. (Excerpt from TT Guardian)

Guyana gov’t outraged at delay in passage of antimoney laundering bill T

he Guyana government has intensified its criticisms against the opposition for causing delays in the passage of the AntiMoney Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill. Government’s chief spokesman Dr Roger Luncheon told media operatives in a post-Cabinet press briefing last Friday, that the amendments to the bill are necessary if Guyana is to continue to profit from international trade and other arrangements with different financial institutions. Dr Luncheon also dismissed the opposition’s argument that the government should be blamed for the delay in amending the bill. He stated too that it would seem that the opposition is not aware of the obligations, despite them having participated in a workshop that was held just last month with the support from international partners, to shape the passing of the amendments to the bill. “I’m not going to be dismissive of these two bills whose assent were withheld but to imagine that the importance of complying with our international obligations, the perils that were made known and are known to the parliamentary opposition and all stakeholders. This is why Cabinet’s contention (exists) that this is an extremely reprehensible step by the political opposition,” Dr Luncheon stated. Dr Luncheon also pointed to the position that both opposition par-

Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon

ties have taken on the matter. He said that the move by the Alliance For Change (AFC) to hold government to ransom is absurd. The A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) in particular has stated that the party is unaware of the sanctions Guyana could face if it fails to meet the May 27 deadline for the passing of the amended bill. This contention, Dr Luncheon declared, is a lie. “This notion about blocking all government legislation is unbelievable. I think Cabinet is right… this is nothing more than a back door way to general elections. What other interpretation is the opposition is serious. It’s nothing more than a back door,” he added.

The administration last month tabled the bill in the National Assembly and on May 7 called for the amendments to be passed by May 20 in order to be in compliance with a recommendation from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) or face sanctions. Notwithstanding the deadline, the opposition sent the bill to a special select committee, claiming that it does not want the legislation to be rushed through the House and set the next sitting for May 22. Government has said the bill needs to be enacted by May 27 when the regulatory body will meet in Nicaragua. He further stated that the bill deals with the development in anti- mon-

ey laundering practices. This is merely since the original bill was enacted and the development during the evaluation, unveiled areas of weaknesses that Guyana had to correct. Further, the multilateral evaluation and the identification of the specific intervention have already been made. Meanwhile, the APNU last Thursday claimed that government is dragging its feet on making amendments to the bill, which, the party said, were long overdue. APNU Member of Parliament Joseph Harmon said the opposition will not be rushed into making the amendments, claiming that it wants a quality bill. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

Jamaica concerned about inactive private sector representation at CARICOM


he Jamaican government is expressing concern about the inactivity of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), and the vacuum it has created in the representation of the private sector at the regional level. Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Arnaldo Brown, raised the issue in his Sectoral Debate presentation last Wednesday, noting

that the process of resolving regional issues, including those arising from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), require representation at the regional level. “It is desirable that the private sector actively participates in these processes… However, the process recognises regional institutions as opposed to national or industrial ones. Regrettably, the Caribbean Association

of Industry and Commerce no longer functions and an alternative vehicle has to be found in this regard,” Brown told the House of Representatives. The concern was first raised by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator A J Nicholson, who told the Senate recently that “at the regional level, there does not appear to be a regional association which represents the private sector”. “It is important that

the private sector within CARICOM seeks to resuscitate this body, or to create a new body, which is able to represent the interest of the business sector in CARICOM, not just within the region, but within CARIFORUM and at the international level,” Senator Nicholson told the Senate. He said that the proper defence of Jamaica’s interest in CARICOM rests, largely, on the input from the private sector. (Jamaica Observer)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Jamaican gov’t looking at violence insurance for teachers


he Ministry of Education of Jamaica is considering implementing an insurance package to compensate teachers who are attacked and injured by unruly students while on the job. The revelation was made by Jamaica’s Education Minister Ronald Thwaites during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston last Thursday. “The teacher in that situation would have the normal recourse against his or her employer if there was any negligence or want of care. The question of having specific insurance coverage for teachers is worthy of consideration. There will be a cost connected with it but in my view, in the same way we provide some measure of insurance for our students, we should also extend to the teachers," Thwaites said. Presently, teachers who get injured by violent students re-

fer their grouses and seek compensation from the attorney general, who will rule whether or not the teacher should be compensated. However, a teacher who spoke to Jamaica media said that such claims often take years for a ruling to be handed down and the cumbersome nature of acquiring compensation from the government had turned off teachers from even claiming for compensation. "That usually takes years and then you have to take into account that you are asking one arm of government to compel another arm of government to fork out money to an individual. Most times the red tape will be used to frustrate anyone who is even lucky enough to get a positive ruling, right now, as it stands, the system offers no real recourse," one female high school teacher said. Construction teacher at the BB Coke High School

Jamaica’s Education Minister Ronald Thwaites

in Junction, St Elizabeth, Garfield Dennis, is a living testimony of an educator who was injured by a student without being adequately compensated. Three years ago, Dennis was stabbed in the back by a disorderly male student af-

Guyana’s forensic lab to be completed next month


An artist’s impression of the forensic laboratory now under construction in Guyana (GINA photo)

ome Affairs M i n i s t e r Clement Rohee said last Friday that the forensic laboratory now under construction in Guyana is expected to be completed by June 17, while noting that the equipment for the lab has already arrived in the country. Speaking at the launching of the ‘’ initiative, Minister Rohee noted that the laboratory could not meet its May deadline; however, it will be completed in June. He noted that thus far there are at least 31 applications received for positions but only 21 positions, are available, and as such, an interview panel was set up to select the best possible candidates. “The interview panel was set up because the competition is high because we have received 31 applications and only have 21 positions available…,” the minister said.

He revealed that the interview process will commence next week. Rohee also warned thieves to think twice about crimes they want to commit because the police force will soon be equipped with the tools to follow and find them wherever the trail leads. He again urged police to make more use of the images derived from the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras that have been installed around the city, to identify suspects who have committed robberies within the view of these cameras. On December 14, 2012, a US$ 1.688 million contract was signed by the Home Affairs Ministry and Western Scientific Company for the supply of scientific equipment for the stateof-the-art police forensic laboratory. This initiative, according to the ministry, is an indication of government’s willingness and commitment to

equip the Guyana Police Force (GPF) with the necessary tools to fight crime and catch those who prey on others. The project falls under the CSP that was initiated between the government and the IDB. The programme has three components: institutional modernisation of the Home Affairs Ministry, Community Action Component (CAC) and modernisation of the GPF, which includes the strengthening of forensic capability. The contract to build the forensic laboratory was award to Courtney Benn Construction Company. The installation of CCTV cameras around the city; the integrated crime information system that links police stations to information; and the establishment of the national intelligence agency, form components of the overall strategy to enhance police capability and curb criminal activities. (Guyana Times)

ter he tried to reprimand the student who had been impertinent. Dennis' lungs almost collapsed due to the injury, and he suffered from internal bleeding. He was hospitalised for a week. Dennis has complained that despite numerous letters that he wrote to the Ministry of Education, he has never received a cent in compensation despite not being able to work for more than 40 days. Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) head Clayton Hall confirmed then that teachers had no recourse if they are injured while trying to restrain warring students and said that there was no physical restraint course inserted in curriculums at teachers’ colleges. He also pointed out that teachers who attempt to restrain students by using necessary force, sometimes have the long arm of the law come

at them. Thwaites has since moved to correct that problem by seeking the assistance of the Ministry of National Security to train deans of discipline to eventually become district constables with the power of arrest. "A request has been made to the Ministry of National Security for the conferment of training and then authority of deans of disciplines to become special district constables to better exercise their power within the school premises and with limited powers beyond it. The deans of discipline at present, some of them, feel that they are constrained whenever a fight or some other incident of disorder from restraining the person involved," he said. The state had no plans to make that form of training mandatory Thwaites stated. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer)

Caribbean will dominate global saving and investment says World Bank


new World Bank report predicts that in less than a generation, the Caribbean will be among developing countries dominating global saving and investment. The World Bank’s Global Development Horizons (GDH) report says that by 2030, half the global stock of capital, totalling US$158 trillion (in 2010 dollars), will reside in the developing world, compared to less than onethird today, with countries in East Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean accounting for the largest shares. The report explores patterns of investment,

saving and capital flows as they are likely to evolve over the next two decades. Titled “Capital for the Future: Saving and Investment in an Interdependent World”, GDH projects developing countries’ share in global investment to triple by 2030 to three-fifths, from one-fifth in 2000. The report says productivity catch-up, increasing integration into global markets, sound macroeconomic policies, and improved education and health are helping to speed growth “and create massive investment opportunities, which, in turn, are spurring a shift in global econom-

ic weight to developing countries.” It says although demographics will play a “positive role, as dependency ratios are projected to fall through 2025,” financial market development in Latin America and the Caribbean, which reduces precautionary saving, and a moderation in economic growth “will play a counterbalancing role”. With developing countries on course to add more than 1.4 billion people to their combined population between now and 2030, the report says the full benefit of the demographic dividend is yet to be reaped. (Antigua Observer)

Jamaica’s opposition supports ‘no condom in schools’ policy


he opposition of Jamaica is supporting the decision of the Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites, against the distribution of condoms in schools. Marissa DalrymplePhilibert, the opposition spokesperson on education, says when she speaks in the Sectoral Debate later this week, she will further explain the opposition's stance. However, she says children should be seeking to concentrate on their education with focus on family structures and core values. Dr Sandra Knight, the chairperson of

Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert, the opposition spokesperson on education in Jamaica

the National Family Planning Board, reopened the condom debate recently, calling for minors to be given access to the contraceptive and other reproductive

health services. The Jamaica Teachers' Association has said the distribution of condoms in schools would be unethical and illegal. (Jamaica Gleaner)


News | week ending May 23, 2013

Guyana examines proposal for Petrocaribe Economic Zone – PM Hinds G

uyana is examining a proposal by Venezuela to set up a Petrocaribe Economic Zone (PEZ) which was tabled at the recently concluded ministerial meeting of Petrocaribe and the Summit of

es and to help back their oil infrastructure projects. Its beneficiaries are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, The

bill compensation handbook. With regards to fair trade mechanisms, Prime Minister Hinds said, “There has been this proposal that countries could meet some or all of their finance portions of their oil pur-

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

Heads. Speaking to the Government Information Agency (GINA) after attending the summit in Venezuela, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said, “The PEZ is intended to deepen the progress made by the organisation, with a view to developing the production sectors of member states, based on the linkage of production chains which would generate economic surplus and would make cooperation sustainable in the context of Petrocaribe.” The Petrocaribe fund was created by Venezuela in 2005 to sell fuel to Latin American and Caribbean countries at cheaper pric-

Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname. The Venezuelan government has affirmed its commitment to the PetroCaribe Initiative, and expressed satisfaction with the progress made thus far by this integration mechanism. It also recognised the need to reinvigorate and strengthen the Petrocaribe and ALBA energy cooperation schemes, and acknowledged the results attained through fair trade, while encouraging the working group to continue with the effective implementation of the oil

chases by selling goods to Venezuela. Guyana is already taking advantage of this as it sells rice to the neighbouring country.” Hinds said all attendees agreed to convene the Council of Ministers of Economy and other government cooperation bodies related to the development of the PEZ. The prime minister also mentioned the note of the proposal to start technical studies and discussions for the creation of the system of Petrocaribe Bilateral Integration Funds (FOBIP), as a financial mechanism for production linkages and trade revitalisation under the Petrocaribe

Regional Development Mechanism. The Bank of ALBA would be the financial institution which would support the design of projects and the management of the funds of Petrocaribe. The issue of growing debt should be thought of in terms of better use of the fuel supplies being made available, said the prime minister. He noted that this issue was raised at earlier meetings since 2003. “If we didn’t use any fuel, then there wouldn’t be any debt.” He added that former Cuban President Fidel Castro had raised the issue of the rate at which the world was using petroleum fuel, which was unsustainable, and the fact that due to climate change, nations needed to reconsider their lifestyles and use more alternative sources of energy. The debt which is incurred by member nations at preferential rates, is intended to offer them, “some breathing space”, according to the prime minister and allow them to adjust to the uses of renewable energy programmes. The preferential rates of payment would also enable countries to use their scarce funds to develop various aspects of their economy. The prime minister was accompanied by Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) Chief Executive Officer Mahender Sharma, Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela Geoffrey Da Silva and Protocol Officer Roopchand Bissessar. (Guyana Times)

CAL subsidy unfair - PM Gonsalves

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves (TT Newsday photo)


rime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that the fuel subsidy provided to Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) by the government of Trinidad and Tobago should either be matched for LIAT or removed on routes that both CAL and LIAT operate. Dr Gonsalves made the comment while speaking to the media Sunday evening following the graduation exercise of the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) at the O’Meara campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago. “There is no doubt that the fuel subsidy is unfair and disadvantageous to LIAT,” he said. “It is our contention that the Caricom multilateral air services agreement has been breached.” He added: “This is subject to arbitration which would be final.” He also said that CAL’s fuel subsidy is in breach of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas “which has established a single market in Caricom”. However, the Prime

minister said neither he nor the other shareholders of LIAT, “wanted to pick a fight with Trinidad and Tobago”. “We would like to have a conversation,” he said, about removing the subsidy on routes that CAL and LIAT both operate. When questioned about the subsidy remaining in place on routes such as New York to Piarco, Gonsalves said that does not concern LIAT. “My concern is LIAT,” he said. He noted that between 2008 and 2012, CAL’s fuel subsidy allowed it to compete unfairly with LIAT on the routes to Guyana, Grenada and Barbados. “CAL would have creamed off from us (LIAT) about 78,000 passengers with a revenue loss of US $10.2 million. Had LIAT received similar fuel subsidies during the 2008 to 2012 period “our fuel bill would have been almost 60 percent less”. “It would have been US $44 million rather than US$106 million,” he said. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

Jamaican MPs shun Daryl’s call to take pay cut


ith members of parliament in Jamaica ignoring his call to take a five per cent cut in their salaries, Daryl Vaz has decided to give the portion he had offered to the Portland Parish Council for maintenance of the Portland Infirmary. Vaz, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MP for West Portland, wrote to Heather Cooke, clerk to the Houses of Parliament, informing her of his decision to revoke his previous instructions to cut his salary "in solidarity with members of the public service and

the Jamaican workforce". "I now request that the equivalent funds be sent to the account of the Portland Parish Council...for the proper upkeep and maintenance of the Portland Infirmary," said Vaz. The MP's decision followed an appeal from Mayor of Port Antonio Councillor Benny White, who stressed the Portland Parish Council's limited financial resources and asked him to direct the five per cent to the infirmary on a monthly basis. Vaz was following the example set by United

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MP for West Portland, Daryl Vaz (Jamaica Observer photo)

States President Barack Obama, who earlier announced he was taking a symbolic five per cent pay cut given the state of the American economy. Mayor White, in his appeal to Vaz, said: "As you are aware, the Portland Infirmary for which the Portland Parish Council is responsible and which serves the entire Parish of Portland, is in dire need of assistance. Unfortunately, due to the lack of financial resources we are unable to adequately fund the infirmary to provide the basic necessities in the

form of food, medication and equipment for the elderly and indigent. "I am therefore writing on behalf of the Portland Parish Council to make an appeal to you, as to whether you would direct the funds representing the 5 per cent deduction towards the infirmary on a monthly basis. This would ensure that the care and quality of the life of the inmates is maintained at the desired standard. I look forward to your favourable response in this matter as we work together in the interest of Portland." (Jamaica Observer)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Guyana addressing legislation for oil and gas sectors


he government of Guyana is on the right path as it moves to address legislative, economic and fiscal issues within the imminent oil and gas sectors. This is the opinion expressed by a two-man team of Commonwealth advisors, which concluded its second one-week consultation visit to Guyana. Economic advisor Dr Epken J Omonbude and legal advisor Dr Ibibia Worika, both of the Special Advisory Services Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, said they were both impressed with the measures and policies that have been put in place by Guyana to address the current and future needs of the sectors. Speaking as guests

on the National Communications Network’s Round Table Programme in Guyana, Dr Omonbude said that they initially visited a year ago to advise government on several legislative and regulative issues in the oil and gas sector. He noted that while a national energy policy was in place, an “upstream” policy was needed. A strategy document to address this shortcoming was crafted and is now in place. The economic advisor noted however, that the Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry must continue to build on its current policies and the Commonwealth will play a key role in this process. “The essence of what

Commonwealth advisors say there are impressed with measures Guyana has put in place to address current and future needs of the oil and gas sectors.

we do on our assignments is not just to develop these instruments and deliver them and hand them over, we always want there to be the Guyanese buy in. It’s not enough for us to come in as outsiders and provide recommendations for want of a better expression, ‘shove them down your throats’. We want it

to be something that you appreciate, understand and carry on for yourselves, because at the end of the day, it would just be an advisory input from the Commonwealth, but it will be the government of Guyana that puts it forward.” Dr Worika said that a key component is stakeholder involvement.

“This is necessary as it will avoid bottlenecks in the future unless all are on onboard from the beginning.” This is essential to help government craft its policies as it seeks to expand a sector that will be of immense importance, he noted. Pressed about the proposed time frame for their consultation, the legal advisor said that their scope of work will last about two years, given their deliverables. The team of advisors recently completed similar programmes in Pakistan and Uganda. The economic and legal section of the Commonwealth Secretariat provides technical assistance that focuses on reform of regulatory environments in member states, to en-

courage more investment, private sector development and export growth, with emphasis on trade, and the financial and natural resources sectors such as maritime, mining and petroleum, along with the development of capital markets. The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting the government of Guyana through the Natural Resources Ministry on technical, legal, economic and fiscal issues for potential oil and gas sectors. This support is vital as Guyana moves to strengthen its strategic, legislative, regulatory and institutional arrangements for oil and gas sector development and governance. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

Barbadian field workers Over 100 TT cane farmers graduate in computer studies want better deal


Poor wages, work conditions, retiring with little or nothing and praedial larceny are some of the main issues facing field workers of Barbados (File photo)


ield workers in Barbados recently had the opportunity to air their concerns. Issues of wages, work conditions, retiring with little or nothing and praedial larceny were among those relayed to Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley, by labourers during a recent tour of Andrews and Applewhaites’ plantations. “The pay structure is clearly a concern. Women working in the sugar industry are earning less pay than men for the same job. These workers are working three or four days a week – women earn Bd$64.64 per day and men Bd$66.67 – so equal pay for the same job has to become a legitimate issue,” Mottley stated. However, she stressed that the fundamental issue is that both men and women have not had a raise in pay in five years. “Items in Barbados continue to go up. This can’t be fair. These are people who helped build

the sugar industry. It is the product for which we have had global preeminence, it is the product that leads to rum for which we equally have global pre-eminence, and we are going to also have to address that issue in terms of them retiring with nothing else than the normal National Insurance pension.” Ermentha Taitt, a labourer for 30 years, told reporters that she will be retiring soon and noted that she is unhappy with the money she will be receiving. “It is hard for me to go home without anything at all, only depending on the National Insurance. This is not sweet, it is heart burn. “I still have water bill, light, every kind of bill to pay and I have to go home and sit down to pay them and that is not nice; I need something,” she stressed. Another labourer, Doreen Layne, revealed that she will be retiring at the end of May. She is also appealing for a bet-

ter deal with NIS after working in the sugar industry for over 30 years. “I was working here when it was Bd$16 a day. I had to build a house of my own from the Bd$16 a day, and some days they give you three days, some, four days. Bills to pay, goods to buy, school my children…had to buy gas, and I need something to go home with now I am retiring.” As it relates to praedial larceny, farmers and the workers have made an impassioned plea to the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to help stamp out this practice. “We call them the ‘night time farmers’. They go in the grounds and they steal the crops, and some of them when caught it’s just a slap on the wrist, a little fine and they back out doing the same thing again, and that is not fair. It’s hard for us to be out in the sun working,” said Candice Alleyne, a labourer at the Applewhaites’ Plantation. (Excerpt from Barbados Advocate)

e u n a r i n e Rampersad, 61, and Roslyn Indarsingh, 52, were just two out of 131 cane farmers in Trinidad and Tobago, who Saturday proudly walked to the rostrum to receive their National Energy Skill Centre (NESC) graduation certificate in basic computer studies. The graduation ceremony hosted by YTEPP

a decade ago. On the insistence of President of the Cane Farmers Association Seukeran Tambie, the mobile unit rolled into Barrackpore and encouraged those affected to learn the computer. Speaking to TT media after the event, Rampersad, who said he only had a primary school education, admitted that learning the

Rampersad was one of many farmers who were thrown on the breadline when the sugar industry closed down. Since learning the basics of the computer, a smiling Rampersad said he can now sit with his eight-year-old son Prem and do many things. “I am happy for the opportunity and looking forward to more,” he said.

TT’s Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training, Fazal Karim presents a certificate of participation to Roslyn Indarsingh, one of the graduates of the National Energy Skill Centre (NESC) certificate in basic computer studies at Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the Rochard Douglas Presbyterian school, Barrackpore. (TT Newsday photo)

at the Rochard Douglas Presbyterian Primary School, Barrackpore for participants of the Mobile Computer Training Unit in Barrackpore Saturday, marked a red-letter day for cane farmers and their descendants. Many of them were out of jobs and had to be re-trained with the closure of Caroni 1975 Ltd

computer was a challenge. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Rampersad said. “With the education I had and to go on a computer for me it was like ‘wow’ — but I came and I looked at it, I have my brain and my knowledge and eventually it was successful — thanks to the teacher,” he said.

Indarsingh, a housewife and mother of three, said she watched her uncle Lalo Mahadeo, 81, suffer and die after the industry closed down. Indarsingh decided to seize the opportunity to enrol in the computer course for her ancestors who “toiled for years in the canefield”. (TT Newsday)


feature | week ending May 23, 2013

Tituba, a West Indian slave and the great Salem witch trials I

n 1691, a group of girls in Salem, Massachusetts in the U.S., accused a West Indian slave named Tituba of witchcraft. Tituba's confession ignited a witchcraft scare which left 19 men and women hanged, one man pressed to death, and over 150 more people imprisoned. There is great variation on the subject of Tituba’s race and her birthplace. Some historical writings on the incident portrayed her as an Arawak Indian while others dubbed her as being a Negro (African) woman. However, it is clearly recorded that she was one of a large number of slaves imported from the West Indies. According to, the 1637 Pequot War produced New England's first known slaves. While many Indian men were transported into slavery in the West Indies, many Indian women and children were used as household slaves in New England. The 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties recognized perpetual and hereditary servitude (although in 1643, a Massachusetts court sent back to Africa some slaves who had been kidnapped by New England sailors and brought to America).

"that her Master did beat her and otherways abused her, to make her confess and accuse...her Sister-Witches." Although historians in the twentieth-century initially described Tituba as a Barbadian slave with African roots, further revelations were made in later years as trial transcripts referred to her as “Tituba Indian” and “that Indian woman.”

Accusation of witchcraft

And so Tituba, an Arawak born in northeastern South America according to, was brought to Massachusetts in 1680 after being enslaved in Barbados. Her master, Samuel Parris, had been a credit agent for sugar planters in Barbados before becoming a minister in Salem, Massachusetts. In late 1691, two girls in Parris's household and two girls from nearby households began to exhibit strange physical symptoms including convulsions and choking. To counteract these symptoms, Tituba made a "witchcake" out of rye meal and the girl’s urine. This attempt at counter-magic led to Tituba's arrest for witchcraft. She and t w o other Tituba's confession womignited a e n witchcraft -Sarah scare which G o o d left 19 men and a n d women hanged Sarah Osborne-were accused of bewitching the

An Arawak from Guiana

Tituba as portrayed on the cover of Ann Petry’s ‘Tituba of Salem Village’

girls. Tituba confessed, but the other two women protested their innocence. Good was executed; Osborne died in prison. I n her book, “Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem,” Author Elaine G. Breslaw

shows that Tituba's confession which she had consorted with Satan and attended a witches’ coven fueled fears of a diabolical plot to infiltrate and destroy Salem's godly community. In her testimony, Tituba drew upon Indian and African, as well as English, notions of the occult. Tituba later recanted her confession, saying that she had given false testimony in order to save her life. She claimed

TT icons honoured A

ward-winning novelist, journalist, playwright and short story writer, Earl Lovelace, says citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, “cannot produce a meaningful civilisation without each other... That is why we have to reaffirm the dreams of independence with which we began, and not allow them to drop into the forgotten crevices of our imagination.” Lovelace made the call for a continuation of the ideals and goals which were so prevalent during the 1950s-1970s. He was speaking then on behalf of his fellow awardees at the National Icon Awards, held Monday evening at Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s. “It is my hope that one of the more memorable aspects of this ceremony that honours us, will be that it will open up a new discussion on what independence might mean and how, in pursuing it, we might construct the society worthy of our struggles and our imagination,” Lovelace declared. These struggles included, as he put it, “the rebellious arts of Mas, Calypso, pan and litera-

ture during the first 50 years of our Independence.” Lovelace also said it was important for National Icons to “establish and develop a conversation” that will inspire and inform those for whom independence has lost its lustre, “who see nation as an outdated concept, who even when they are willing to conceive of independence, as a work in progress, have no idea what we are progressing to.” Not one to shy away from controversy, the renowned playwright declared it was time that TT as a people take responsibility for the Caribbean’s past. “This can be done by firstly acknowledging it, acknowledging Amerindian slaughter, African enslavement, Indian indenture and by responding to them with reparative measures marked by justice, firmness and compassion.We have been encouraged to believe that it is better we forget our past, that letting it into our lives will lead to greater polarisation of the society...(But) what we know now is that the way indepen-

dence can yield the world that we want, is if we use the power and authority with which it is invested to also lay claim to the past,” Lovelace stated. Meanwhile, fellow National Icon and businesswoman, Helen Bhagwansingh, expressed hope that through the televised broadcast and subsequent media coverage of Monday’s event, “younger generations would see that we put in work to achieve our dreams.” “We have to better our country. We have to be charitable; do things to improve our country, create employment, make more business. We have to do what’s good for the country, we must do that,” she said. Other “living icons”; as they were dubbed in the awards programme, included arguably the most famous Calypsonian in the world, Slinger “The Mighty Sparrow” Francisco, musician Mungal Patasar and steelpan arranger and composer Len “Boogsie” Sharpe. Twenty-seven (27) of the 60 National Icons were given posthumous awards. Among them were Chutney Soca pio-

Later historians noted that at the time when Tituba lived in Barbados with Parris, there was a small population of indentured white servants and enslaved Amerindians, who were brought to the deserted island by the English shortly after they colonised it in 1627. According to Breslaw “within a few years…a small group of Arawaks had been persuaded to move to Barbados from the Guiana coast of South America to teach the islanders how to grow appropriate crops.” They were enslaved were however enslaved in Barbados. They were not suited to hard labour, and most died quickly, but some settlers preferred Amerindian women to work with their children and in the

house. Existing records suggest Tituba was an Arawak woman kidnapped from the Guiana coast. She was somewhere between thirteen and eighteen when Parris left Barbados in 1680. At the time of the trials, twelve years later, Tituba was said to be between twenty-five and thirty. Tituba’s upbringing was vastly different from the culture she experienced in Barbados or Salem. There were no witches and no obeah among the Amerindians, but there were concepts of evil forces. After the trials ended, various imprisoned individuals were released once their fines were paid. Someone paid seven pounds for Tituba's release. Presumably, whomever paid the fine had purchased Tituba from Parris. The same person may have purchased John Indian, another slave Parris had brought with him from Barbados. Both Tituba and John Indian disappeared from all known records after their release. However, hundreds of years later, the story of Tituba and her involvement in the Salem Witch Trials remains a mystery so intriguing, it never falters to stir the imagination.

Hasely Crawford, left, TT's first Olympic gold medallist, and cricketer Brian Charles Lara, world record holder, display their National Icon Awards at a function held at the Hilton Trinidad, hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development.

neer Sundarlal “Sundar Popo” Bahora, media pioneer Patrick Chookolingo, TT’s first prime minister and founder of the People’s National Movement, Dr Eric Williams, and engineer turned politician, Ranjit Kumar. Accepting the award on Kumar’s behalf were three of his nine children, including Chief Executive Officer of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Catherine Kumar. Smiling broadly, Catherine said, “it was a dream come true because Daddy did so much for this country. Most people aren’t

aware of anything beyond his role in the construction of (the first dual carriageway at) Wrightson Road.” “Born in India, (Kumar) was the first person to show an Indian feature film in Trinidad — he arrived here in 1935 as the distributor of Bala Joban. Our father was also involved in government, winning the most votes as an independent, ever, when he contested the 1946 elections in the county of Victoria. I just feel elated and so proud to see him honoured as a National Icon,” Catherine stated. (TT Newsday)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Guyanese-born businessman creates dolls that reflect a multi-ethnic world N

oticing the obvious lack of dolls with various ethnic backgrounds in a market filled with blondhaired blue-eyed dolls at the time, U.S.-based Guyanese Percy Newsum embarked on a mission to provide a product that would exceed the expectations for the price, keeping in mind that its major role would be to give parents access to a product that would help build self- esteem in their children. Newsum was born and grew up in New Amsterdam. He attended Berbice High School, class of 1974. He worked at Guymine and was a general foreman until he left in 1988 for the U.S, where he attended business school and upon graduating was sent to work for a toy company on a temporary basis. The company offered him a permanent job after he worked for six weeks with them. It was there he learnt the doll business. In an interview, Newsum said he was the vice president of operations for the toy company and spent six months in Hong Kong coordinating the factory operations and shipments. In 1995, the company experienced financial stress and decided to relocate and he decided it was time to leave. “I did not plan on starting my own company then, but after not getting the deal prom-

Dolls from the Spring 2012 Dynamite Girls Collection

ised, I did what I knew best, and in July 1995 started my own business, ‘Integrity Toys’. Always reaching for the next level, Integrity Toys designs, produces, and markets a variety of dolls and related accessories, with a specialisation in high-end fashion dolls. ‘Integrity Toys’ extensive

experience and capabilities in the field of doll- making allows us to create products and programmes for many of the world’s best-known retailers, consumer products companies, celebrities and other intellectual property holders,” he explained. Newsum recalled that

America in 1995 was not what it is today. Dolls of colour were not readily available, and if you found any, they never had the physical features of what they represented. So when Newsum started his company, he produced dolls that had features that were “ethnically correct” and the dolls soon became a hit with parents and children. Now, many major doll manufacturers have since realised the value of the ethnic toy market, and have also started to offer more culturally diverse dolls in their lines. Integrity Toys currently produces high-end fashion dolls ranging in size from about 12 inches to 16 inches tall, under a number of brands, including ‘Fashion Royalty’, the ‘Dynamite Girls’, ‘Poppy Parker’ and the ‘Brides of Dracula’, among others. The company’s products typically retail from US$50 to US$175 each, with most of the products retailing in the US$90-150 range. Its products are known for their superior engineering, high-end aesthetics and fashionable, detailed clothing. “My inspiration comes from my wife and four daughters. Over the years numerous collections have been created. There are several collections in various brands like ‘Fashion Royalty’, ‘Dynamite Girls’,

Percy Newsum

‘Poppy Parker’, ‘NuFace, NuFantasy’, ‘FR Monogram’, and ‘Tulabelle’ to name a few. It’s hard to name a favourite as they have become like my children, but I am bias to the Fashion Royalty 1: 6 scale dolls. The dolls’ designing is done by a team of very talented designers that work for my company only. I also have Jason Wu as our creative director, who oversees all of the designs. Jason began working with me since 2002 and is now well-known for his own highend fashion clothing designs and accessories. He is also the designer who designed both of Michelle Obama’s inaugural gowns,” Newsum disclosed. The dolls are also famous worldwide. They are shipped regularly in the USA or to Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany and France. (Excerpt from Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

Barbadian Shakirah Bourne - telling Caribbean stories on film


arbadian writer, Shakirah Bourne, has done what most screenplay writers only dream of doing, and many more don’t even dare to dream: written and shot a full-length, feature film on her own soil. Like most writers, she was scribbling as far back as she can remember, but only began taking it seriously around 2009, after graduating from UWI Cave Hill with a degree in Management and Psychology. Ironically, at the same time that her hunger for writing deepened, she had just started her first real job...which cut her writing time down almost to nothing. “I was miserable. I quit my job, and since then I’ve worked for myself.” A brave move, at a time when quitting your day job to try to make a living off of writing is a risk on par with cliff-diving. But Bourne knew the time was right. “I don’t have any kids; I didn’t have any major financial responsibilities. If ever there

that was easy to make, entertaining, and reflective of the Caribbean.” The first step, writing the screenplay itself, was relatively easy. Bourne remembers watching the popular American film, ‘Friday’, featuring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, and observing how effective and captivating the

‘Payday’ is set to hit Caribbean cinemas soon

was a time to do something crazy, it was then.” But the crazy move paid off. She began to get work, mainly producing copy for magazines and short educational scripts. Within a year she went off to Scotland to do a Master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management, and upon her return immersed herself in the tricky task of harnessing and monetising cultural talent on her island.

“There are a lot of people and small companies out there who have valuable talents, she explains,” “They just don’t know how to go about marketing themselves.” But the economy made it hard, and the low monetary value that clients place on such services was frustrating. She couldn’t resist the lure of the screen, and wasn’t about to sit around cooling her heels waiting for a miracle to

propel her own writing into the public eye. She and a few other young artistes Barbadian writer Shakirah came together— Bourne (Photo: TT Guardian) a videographer/ director, a producer and story could be, while cona few others, and formed fined to a single location ‘Let’s Do This Filmz’. and a small cast. Together they decid“I took out all the eleed that, do or die, they ments I loved, and came were producing their up with a raw slice of own home-grown Bajan Barbadian life.” The movie, and getting it out movie, called ‘Payday’, there. had to be done on a bud“We needed a film get that wasn’t even big

enough to qualify as shoestring. While she did have seasoned actors, the cast also comprised actors who turned up to audition with more enthusiasm than experience. “You’d never believe they were first-time actors,” she says. She laughs when she recounts the story of being confronted in a bar by a man pretending to be drunk, just to get a laugh out of everyone. She hired him on the spot to play the role of the drug-addled vagrant, Flintstone. There were also musicians, writers and poets thrown into the mix. Reflecting upon her fantastic journey over the past few months, she is overwhelmed by how much can be achieved if everyone wants the same thing, and believes they can touch what’s out of their reach if they only stand tall enough. Before her first film has even hit the cinemas, Bourne is already planning a second, also due for release this year. (Excerpt from TT Guardian)


feature | week ending May 23, 2013

Guyana’s Sonia Noel’s ‘Air Supply’ pulls off “First Resort” creating incredible show in TT stir in Caribbean

Travel journalist Jeanille Bonterre and St Lucia carnival queen wear ‘First Resort’ designs


he captivating new collection from Sonia Noel titled “First Resort” has been creating quite a stir in St Lucia, and it is sure to make a similar impact when it hits the United States of America, next month. Recently, Noel, who was in St Lucia for the launching and promotion of her quarterly publication, “makin’ style”, decided to showcase the new collection. Two shows were held at the enchanting Bay Gardens Resort. During the two-week annual celebration, both Mariska’s Designs and First Resort had significant presence at all of the events which were attended by renowned Caribbean trav-

el journalist and Radio Talk Show host Jeanille Bonterre to the fashionista divas of the island. The Ozone Boutique in the JQ Rodney Bay Mall is now proudly carrying the First Resort Collection by Sonia Noel. The collection will also be the closing act at one of the nights of the Tobago Fashion Week, this weekend, as a climatic run-up to its debut in the U.S. In Atlanta, Georgia, on the Guyana Family Fun Day on Memorial Day weekend, a fashion show was planned especially to showcase the exquisite designs of Sonia Noel, during an evening of fun and fashion, hosted by Sandra Velasquez.

The makin’ style Magazine will also be launched in Atlanta at this event and then subsequently at the Caribbean Week in New York on June 2, along with the First Resort line. Noel said, “My trip to St Lucia was very productive and with great networking opportunities during the Jazz and Arts Festival for further development of the creative arts in the region”. Makin’ Style is an all inclusive, Caribbean publication focusing on the nuances, ideals and diverse behaviours of the region’s people. From art and food, to music, this magazine offers its readers the opportunity to celebrate in the uniqueness of the Caribbean lifestyle. In St Lucia, copies are available at Sunshine Book Store and in Trinidad and Tobago, at the Chocolate Trousers in Tobago. The magazine is also located in Guyana at Sonia Noel Designs, Barr St Kitty, Giftland OfficeMax, Germans Restaurant, Milady’s House of Beauty, WaterChris Hotel, Williams Supermarket, Bartica, Community Pharmacy, Grove and Gordon’s Stationery, Berbice. Noel, as full as her hands are, is also ensuring that preparations are well under way for the sixth edition of the Guyana Fashion Weekend, and casting auditions for models and designers will be announced shortly. (Guyana Times)


t was truly “The Greatest Night of Romance” at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya, Trinidad and Tobago, on Saturday night as Grammy Award winning artistes Christopher Cross, Peter Cetera and ‘Air Supply’ took centre-stage to deliver their timeless classic hits to hundreds of scream-

not have been a better choice as the band from “down under” sang their long list of hits. This was followed by “Just As I Am”, “On My Own”, “Every Woman In The World”—which had the ladies grabbing on to their men, holding on tightly as they lost themselves in the romantic words. The dynamic duo surprised the crowd as they leapt off the stage and walked through the aisles while singing “Lost In Love”. Even the band’s beefy security

The audience is enthralled at the Centre of Excellence romance concert in Trinidad (TT Newsday photos)

ing fans. The concert was presented by International Concert Events. Cross started it off just right as he wooed the crowd with his hottest hits. His ever popular “Sailing” and “Think of Laura” hit just the right note as young and not so young fans sang the words of the songs that never seem to grow old. Cetera made a dashing figure in a white jacket, red shirt and dark pants as he took to the stage. “Stay the Night”, “You’re My Inspiration”, “Next Time I Fall In Love”, Hard Habit To Break”, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry”…all oldies, but goldies, that had couples swaying in the aisles to the romantic lyrics. But, it was the British/Australian band, Air Supply, who literally brought the house down. Screams echoed throughout the packed hall as the super vocalist duo, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock jumped on to the stage. Eager young ladies left their seats to stand in the aisles, probably thinking that they were too confined to enjoy what one young woman said were the “best songs ever”. “Even The Night Is Better” could

Concert in full swing in TT on Saturday

detail struggled to keep fans at bay as they tried to touch the men and take their photographs. And people do actually ‘swoon’, as several women held their hands to their hearts while others clasped their palms to their cheeks while fanning themselves. They had fans singing the words aloud as they made their way back to the stage, but the crowd surged forward, and this time security definitely had their hands full as they crowded in front of the stage. Or maybe they did not want to try too hard giving fans the chance to get their money’s worth. The romance continued, many men were seen with roses in their hands for their sweethearts. These were on sale at the concert. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

Jamaica’s ‘Morgan Heritage’ regroups for tour E xtended breaks for artistes are unheard of in the fast-paced music business where trends change in the wink of an eye. Sibling group of Jamaica ‘Morgan Heritage’, who return to the fold after five years, have been around long enough to know this is one industry the old adage 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' does not apply. The Morgans are preparing to hit the road to promote ‘Here Come The Kings’, their new album, which is scheduled for a June 11 release by VP Records. A five-week tour of Europe is scheduled to start in June. Some of the dates in the United Kingdom will be with singer Beres Hammond. Peetah Morgan, who

has been lead vocalist since Morgan Heritage's first album ‘Miracles’ in 1996, is not concerned about reconnecting with fans in a changing market. "We just took a break as Morgan Heritage to do different things, but we were still writing," he told Splash this week. "It wasn't like we drifted apart." Those different things include a solo album from keyboardist/vocalist Gramps and a handful of singles by Peetah. On their previous album, the Morgans stuck mainly to their roots sound. ‘Mission In Progress’ included the hit ballad ‘Love You Right’ and a cover of ‘Steel Pulse's Blues Dance Raid’. ‘For Here Come The Kings’, the siblings recruited produc-

ers Don Corleon and Shane Brown, two of the most successful producers in contemporary dancehall. Also on board is Jason 'J Vibes' Farmer, another hip producer who works out of Florida. Linton 'TJ' White produced ‘Perfect Love Song’, the album's lead track. Morgan points out that while roots-reggae remains the Morgan Heritage mantra, they are keen to reach a younger audience. "We are a roots band but we have to keep relevant with the youths," he said. After getting their feet wet with the Rhythm and Bluesinfluenced ‘Miracles’ for the major MCA Records, the Morgans came into their own in the late 1990s with ‘Don't Haffi Dread to be Rasta’.

Morgan Heritage

Produced by Bobby 'Bobby Digital' Dixon, the song and album of the same name were popular with lovers of rootsreggae and hardcore dancehall fans. Songs such as ‘Down By The River’ and ‘She's Still Loving Me’ maintained the

band's popularity until 2008 when they decided to take a break for solo projects. Morgan Heritage are scheduled to kick off their ‘Here Come The Kings’ tour in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on June 28. (Jamaica Observer)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Blind students preparing for CSEC exams in Guyana 13 students in the classroom. Singh explained that the society was forced to limit the intake by initially targeting 15 students so as to ensure each student could be given individual attention.

Electronic material


A rally involving persons with disabilities

or many students, preparing to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, the challenge of studying, completing school-based assessments (SBAs) and extra lessons can be a daunting task. However, for a few students who were unable to write the CSEC examinations due to visual impairment, it is the opportunity of a lifetime. Among them are 17-yearold Rosemarie Ramitt and 22-year-old Anthony Robinson, whom have not been in a classroom for four and 11 years respectively and are now being able to sit the exams through the efforts of the Guyana Society for the Blind. During a recent interview, Ramitt said that catching up has been a

breeze since she has always been sharp. “I was a normal person and when I got blind it was like there was a pause in my life,” the CSEC student disclosed. Her focus now is to pass the five subjects and then attend the University of Guyana. Ramitt has her sights set on three options: public management, social work and communications, areas she believes, would be manageable for someone with her impairment. Robinson, who has been out of school since age 11, is preoccupied with making good on the opportunity provided to him. “I just hope I will be successful so that I can be able to secure employment when I’m finished and be independent.” Robinson also offered

some advice to persons like himself, stating, “… they should never say this is the end of the world. They can reach out to organisations and make full use of the advantages.” To those without a disability, Robinson remarked “… refrain from discouraging others who want to move forward”. The Guyana Society for the Blind is offering online classes to CSEC students living in rural and outlying areas across the country. Public Relations Officer Ganesh Singh revealed that there are currently 17 students preparing for the 2014 May/June CSEC examinations. He disclosed that four of the students accessing online classroom sessions are from Berbice and Linden while there are

He stated that the notes, handouts and all other work material are computerised. The syllabus is also being taught electronically and with the use of Braille. The organisation had written to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Inc (GT&T) seeking support for the online programme. The telephone company responded by providing free DSL Internet bandwidth so that the CSEC students can conduct research and online students can have access to classroom sessions. According to Singh, the Internet access is available at the organisation, located at St Phillips Green, Werk-en-Rust, and is valid for one year. The programme could go a long way in empowering persons living with disabilities by increasing their earning capacity, making them more marketable and qualified to

enter the world of work. Singh, who is famous for his role in blind cricket, is qualified to tutor visually impaired students using Job Access with Speech (JAWS) computer software that utilises audible letters. The organisation had also been providing computer training to stu-

the distribution process. He noted that the last session of the training course was completed in March 2012, with a batch of 29 students. According to Singh, he is required to provide 30 hours of basic computer training under the OLPF Project. The tutor said visu-

Anthony Robinson preparing for the 2014 CSEC exams

dents, pending the distribution of computers under the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Project. Singh explained that the programme was being taught to students who were recipients of the government’s laptop project, but had been stymied by the halt in

ally impaired persons in outlying areas have not yet been able to access the training. However, Singh expressed hope that during the next round of distribution, he would be able to travel to the hinterland regions to conduct the training. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

How Jamaican Senate President Floyd Morris overcame the horrible sentence of blindness


enator Floyd Emerson Morris continued his climb up the ladder of history on May 17, 2013 when he was sworn in as the first blind president of the Jamaican Senate. The extraordinary story of the life of Floyd Morris and his dizzying rise from quiet Bailey's Vale, St Mary, to heights of power in the Jamaican parliament, was told in the awardwinning Desmond Allen Interviews written in November 2004. The following is an excerpt. “Not long after going blind from unyielding glaucoma, it was to the land that Morris turned to regain his sense of worth, becoming a poultry farmer of no mean order and recalling how he learnt to walk among the young chicks without crushing them underfoot. He'd learn to adopt in many other areas too, as the twists and turns of his life moved relentlessly towards greatness.

Born to exceptional destiny

In Bailey's Vale, two miles out of Port Maria, St Mary, Jemita Pryce, a lowly dress-maker, gave birth to Floyd Emerson Morris, born to exceptional destiny, on July 23, 1969. He was one of eight children - five boys and three girls. His father was Lloyd Morris, a fireman. “Morris came to know that his family was very popular in the community. He went to the Port Maria Primary School and after Common Entrance, he went to St Mary High in 1981. “His grades were good and he was always among the best students. Based on his performance, he was promoted to Grade Nine. Here now Morris would begin to go blind, a gradual process that brought emotional pain and depression as he underwent a lifechanging event for which no one or nothing could have prepared him. “This was 1983. He had just turned 14. “It slowed me down

most traumatic period of my life". His father by then had migrated to Canada, leaving his mother to fend for herself and the children. His mother was getting very little work now. She had been a big supporter of the PNP and was used to getting work from the parish council and the Member of Parliament Horace Clarke. In the 1980s, a new party was in power and the work dried up.

A bad time to be going blind

Floyd Morris

considerably. I could no longer play cricket, football or the other games I loved," Morris relates. "When I started to have sight problems, the teachers did not know how to deal with it. However, they put me to sit in the front of the class so that I could see the blackboard better," he said. “By the time he reached Grade Eleven, his performance was be-

ing seriously affected. This was CXC year. In his most dismal performance to date, he failed to pass even one subject. "I could not even complete paper two of the exams," he recounts. With no subjects, he left St Mary High to a future that seemed completely blank and desperate. Depression swept over him like an angry tide. “Morris remembers 1986 to 1990 as "the

“At 17, the powerful years of early manhood were emerging, but Morris' life was in recession. His teenage joys had turned to sorrow, as he watched his friends and classmates move on to college and other endeavours. It was a bad time to be going blind. “During the time Morris was fighting his depression, he found solace and comfort in an unlikely source -- the radio. He listened all the time to the reassuring voice

of Dorraine Samuels on RJR. On a particularly hard morning, Samuels featured the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB). Morris was so influenced by the broadcast that he decided he no longer wanted to become a chartered accountant. Now he would be a radio announcer. He called up Samuels on the phone and she told him that there were other blind people who worked in radio, like the top-rated Patrick Lafayette currently with KOOl-FM, so he could do it. From the broadcast on the JSB, he learnt of the possibilities for gaining skills he could use to better manage as a blind person. “At the JSB, he made arrangements to study to qualify himself to go to university. He learnt to read and write Braille, becoming the fastest learner when he completed the training in five weeks. Morris was now a new man.” (To be continued next week)


feature | week ending May 23, 2013

500 days of summer


n response to a request by his granddaughter, overseasbased Guyanese author Chetram Singh was inspired to travel all the way to India to research and document his ancestral heritage, in helping his family connect with their roots. “The idea about writing this book came from my late eldest grandchild Deepa Devi Singh. She asked me if I could provide her with some information about our family; who they were; where they came from and how they ended up in Guyana. She was doing an assignment for her school that required this information. “I realised although I am the eldest member of my immediate family alive today, I did not have all of the information she had requested,” Singh recalled in an interview. It dawned on Singh that there was no one else who could have provided such information for his granddaughter and for future generations in his family. This prompted

Chetram Singh

be lost to future generations. “My book, “Autobiography of Chetram Singh”, contains information that others may find interesting but it has been prepared primarily for my children and grand-

Singh's book

the writer to begin researching his family background and to develop family trees for his future generations. “I also decided to write an autobiography, fully realising that if I did not document interesting events in my life, these will also

children,” he explained. Through his indepth research, Singh found out that on November 25, 1887, the 1,598- ton ship Foyle, carrying immigrant workers from India to British Guiana, pulled into port Georgetown in British Guiana. It had

left Calcutta about 112 days earlier with its cargo of 150 labourers recruited by the British sugar planters to work on their sugar plantations.


On this ship was a youngster of about l0 years of age whose name was Raghunandan. He turned out to be Singh’s grandfather. According to the ship’s records, the name of Raghunandan’s father, Singh’s great grandfather, who also came on the same ship, was Jhandoo Singh and was a ‘Thakur’ by caste. The Thakurs belong to the ‘Kshatriya’ caste that was largely the rulers (Rajputs) and warriors of India. His lineage or ‘Gotra’ was “Sandil”. The ship’s records also gave the place of birth of Raghunandan as Khiri, which, at that time, was a small village in Uttar Pradesh, not far from the Nepal border and just 100 kilometres from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Also on Foyle was another youngster, slightly older than Raghunandan, whose name was Nandkishore. He was a ‘Brahmin’ by caste, and later became a respected Hindu priest on the Essequibo Coast. Raghunandan and Nandkishore became lifelong friends and, in fact, the latter became the godfather (guru) of most of Raghunandan’s children and grandchil-

dren. In Singh’s book, it stated that the labourers, Raghunandan and Nandkishore, had left India “bound” (contracted) to work at specific sugar plantations. The word “bound” was used instead of contracted and they were called “coolies” which is a corruption of the Tamil word “Kuli” meaning a porter or labourer. They were referred to as “bound coolies”. Raghunandan’s father (there is no record of his mother) and himself were “bound” to Anna Regina, a sugar plantation located on the Essequibo Coast. The book added that Nandkishore’s parents were also bound for Anna Regina. Partly because they were reasonably well educated, and partly because of their respective castes, when they were old enough, Raghunandan and Nandkishore were promoted from the labour force to supervisory roles called drivers, as in a “slave-driver”. Raghunandan, according to Singh’s book, worked for many years as a “head driver”, firstly at Anna Regina sugar plantation, and later at Herstelling plantation on the East Bank of the Demerara. Raghunandan married twice while living at Anna Regina. His first wife, Secunti, bore him four children: two boys and two girls. He then married Budhni, Singh’s mother from Triumph village on the East Coast Demerara. She was born May 14, 1913 and was also called also ‘Janey’. They had four boys and three girls. Raghunandan died from diabetes at the age of 74. Singh, now 82, is a notable contributor in the development of various hospitals in Guyana, and said that his ancestors came from a very humble background and were very strong in upholding their religion and culture. “I learnt from my ancestors to stand up for what I believe in come what may, and that respect has to be earned not commanded. I was taught that I must have a strong belief in what is right and wrong.” (Excerpt from Guyana Times Arrival Day Magazine)


By Anu Dev

r should I say 500 days until summer? Or 500,000 days until summer? Because it sure feels like we’re that far away from blissful freedom. And yes, I am aware that Guyana doesn’t have a summer (Dry season, anyone? No? After all, with this climate change kicking in, even that seems like a wish). And no, this isn’t going to be some long-winded review of the of the movie “500 days of Summer”. So you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting some Zooey Deschanel or some fangirling over Joseph GordonLevitt (unfortunately). I did warn you that expectations could be dangerous things to have. But on a serious note, it’s that time of the year. That time when exam students are on study leave, at home, supposedly free of the confines of school. That magical time when we get the urge to chuck our textbooks at the wall only about seven times a day. The time when in the middle of revising for Caribbean studies, it dawns on you that the topics you’re covering are topics that adults talk about, topics that adults write about in newspapers. And with that epiphany, comes the rising panic and the absurd idea that you’re practically an adult as well. And just to test out your fear, there’s the inevitable sprint to the nearest mirror to check for grey hairs, wrinkles and crow’s feet. Of course we’re spending our study leave getting mind-blowing epiphanies instead of erm... studying. But being in the midst of trying to work ridiculous math problems (and trying to convince yourself that there is a point to these seemingly irrelevant formulae), your mind inevitably wanders to much more pleasant thoughts – like what it would feel like when these exams are finally over. And the end of the exams would of course, mark the beginning of summer... the endless sun-filled holidays, that glorious time of the year when lazy days are the norm, you gorge yourself on junk-food and bathing is optional (kidding! Or am I? No, I really am kidding. We love lolling in our bathtubs). The holidays have always held that special allure. I guess because they’re like weekends, all stacked together, back-to-back for two whole months. It’s like TGIF times infinity. And yes, the holidays are that time when you can run, jump, play cricket, climb trees. That time when you get to release all of that pent-up exuberance that you had to keep in while you slaved away at your desk during school. But that doesn’t mean that as kids you should take ridiculous life- threatening risks. There can be accidents, you know. Have fun in safer ways. You don’t have to swim in the deepest water to still have fun. And for goodness sake, the Curb Drill wasn’t taught to you in primary school as just some cute rhyme. You need to observe it. Too often, during the holidays, I would see kids just darting across the road without even looking to see whether there’s any oncoming traffic. And maybe their parents are giving them free reign to do as they please, to get their kids out of their hair for a few minutes. Maybe the parents are thinking about their childhood when they could have freely played in the streets or climb trees relatively frequently. But times have changed; there are so many vehicles now, that within minutes of you setting up the wickets, you have to clear them off the street for some car to pass. It’s a bit more dangerous on the roads than in the ‘good old days’, so parents, give your kids freedom to have fun, but within reason. Hopefully this holiday won’t be marred by reports of little kids getting into accidents or drowning.



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Rishi Kapoor excited about seven releases this year


eteran actor Rishi Kapoor seems to be as busy as his son Ranbir. He is excited about the total of seven releases he has this year, and that he plays different characters in each one of them. “(I am) looking forward to lot of films this year. I have seven releases – one just released, ‘Chashme Buddoor’ and then ‘Aurangzeb’. And then (I have) five more films – ‘D-Day’, two more films to be directed under Yash Raj Films banner, and ‘Kaanchi’ and ‘Besharam’. These are very interesting roles and films,” Rishi told IANS. “I’m very passionate about my work and for me, work is great enjoyment. It’s a great learning curve and good journey as an actor. All my characters are different from each other,” he added. (Bollywood Celebden)

Madhuri Dixit rejoices her journey in Bollywood


he “ek, do, teen girl” – Madhuri Dixit rejoices her journey in the bollywood with ‘101 Silver Screen Stars’. At the sets of forthcoming flick ‘Dedh Ishqiya’, the star relived her journey in Bollywood when she was gifted a pack of 101 Silver Screen Stars – a mini encyclopedia by Shemaroo. 101 Silver Screen Stars treasures the journey of 101 stars from the galaxy of Bollywood. This audio-visual treat on the life journeys of 101 popular Hindi film heroes and heroines is not merely a compilation, but a well-researched ‘Collector’s Edition’ with interesting anecdotes; more than 550 song clips and 101 full-length songs. The actress expresses herself on the occasion, “Presently, the Celebrations of 100 Years of Indian Cinema are in full swing. All of us have very interesting and distinct memories of the Celluloid world. It is such a sweet gesture on the part of Shemaroo Entertainment to have remembered 101 Superstars of all times who have made these 100 years memorable. I too feel privileged to be a part of these 101 stars and have loved the entire segment devoted to me. It was really wonderful re-living the subtle moments of my life like my love for the B&W CHHAYA GEET during my childhood etc. I wish to congratulate Shemaroo on its completion of 50 Golden years and for bringing out such a wonderful gift to celebrate 2 occasions – its own Golden Jubilee & the Centenary of Indian Cinema.” (Bollywood Celebden)

‘My play will inspire people’ - Anupam Kher


eteran actor-producer Anupam Kher, whose play ‘Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai’, is based upon the ups and downs in his life, says it will inspire people and change their viewpoint about failures in life, according to IANS. “I wanted to celebrate the failure and wanted to take this philosophy to the people that failure can also be celebrated,” he said at the showcase of his play, in which he performed for the 300th time. In this autobiographical play, Anupam tells the story of how a young ordinary boy of a Kashmiri Pandit family from the small city of Shimla, made it big in life. “When I didn’t have work here and was searching for work, I used to read autobiographies and used to get a lot of satisfaction and motivation. So, I feel that this play will inspire people that

Manisha Koirala cancer-free B

ollywood actress Manisha Koirala, who was undergoing treatment in New York after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, says she is now “free” from the disease and calls it her “rebirth”, IANS has reported. In a post on her Facebook page recently, Manisha, 42, shared her joy when her doctor gave her the good news. “I burst out crying when I heard ‘cancer-free’. I still have a long way to go for regaining my health, slowly and steadily. With your prayers and blessings I received during this phase, I am sure that day too will come,” she posted. The actress also thanked her fans for all the love and blessings. “In gratitude for the compassion I saw, felt in so many… my old and new friends, my family, my cancer club members who inspired me with their spirit, my amma, bhagwan (god) and oneness family and you all my Facebook and Twitter friends, it’s your unyielding love that helped me! I call this as my ‘rebirth’,” she further wrote. Manisha was initially admitted to

Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital Nov. 28 last year after which she flew down to the US for further treatment. The actress, who has worked in critically acclaimed films like ‘Dil Se’ and ‘1942: A Love Story’, made her debut with ‘Saudagar’ in 1991. In recent times, she featured in Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Bhoot Returns’. (Bollywood Celebden)

Dharmendra to celebrate 50 years in Bollywood


hile ‘Bombay Talkies’, an anthology film consisting of four short films by renowned directors such as Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee, recently commemorated 100 years of Indian cinema, another director Sangeeth Sivan is busy preparing to pay tribute to one of the finest actors Bollywood has seen. The director’s next, titled ‘Cheers’, pays homage to Dharmendra and stars the veteran actor, along with his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol. Sangeeth, who is also the director of ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’ (YPD 2), which has the Deols in the lead, is a fan of

Dharmendra himself and believes that the star deserves a film to celebrate his success in the industry. “‘Cheers’ is meant to commemorate Dharamji’s 50 years in the Hindi film industry. He has given many hits to the industry and has an immense

Preity Zinta wants to join politics


failure is also sometimes very attractive,” said the actor who made it big in filmdom with ‘Saraansh’. (Bollywood Celebden)

fan-following even today. Dharamji deserves a film like that,” says Sangeeth. The film will have bits of the actor’s life and his character is based on his own personality. However, Sangeeth says that the film will not be a biopic. (Hindustan Times)

addened by the current situation in the country, actress-businesswoman Preity Zinta is “thinking” about joining “politics” as she wants to be part of a movement to bring positive changes in India, reported IANS. Currently busy promoting her first production venture ‘Ishkq in Paris’, Preity said: “Of late, I have been thinking that I will join politics because it’s so sad what is happening to our country.” “I really want to be somehow involved in positively changing our

country… One fine day (I) am going to come out and say vote for me,” she said on “Star Speak” on UTV Stars. She has even made

an imaginary picture of Priety Zinta, the politician, saying she would be a “glamourous politician” who “will not be corrupt”. Having said that, she hopes that “people like me don’t have to get into a political future, because there are good people. There are lots of good politicians. Don’t get me wrong, but they are eclipsed by all the corruption. And the only way to make India shine is if all this stops. Because who is the one that suffers…it is always the man on the street and that breaks my heart.” (Bollywood Celebden)


hollywood | week ending May 23, 2013

Justin Bieber’s waiver Kim Kardashian party with him and face $5 expecting baby girl million lawsuit if you blab



fter a string of negative press, it looks like Justin Bieber may be trying to curtail the less positive news by imposing a ban on people talking about his parties. Having bought a $6.5million mansion in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas last year, the Canadian singer, 19, has a perfect venue for some stunning parties. However, it appears that those lucky enough to score an invite to party with Justin will have to agree to a strict guest code. has managed to get hold of a waiver that guests must sign before entering the teenager's seven-bedroom home. The document, entitled a ‘Liability Waiver and Release’, bans anyone from posting details, photos or recordings of inside his house on social-networking sites or other media. Guests will be forbidden from talk-

ing about the 'physical health, or the philosophical, spiritual or other views or characteristics' of the singer and his guests. Anyone who breaks the ban, will face a lawsuit seeking $5million in damages. The waiver includes a further $5million each if the guest tweets, blogs or Instagrams. (NYDaily)

regnant reality star Kim Kardashian has fuelled rumours she is expecting a daughter with rapper Kanye West, as the invitations to her baby shower feature a dancing ballerina. The socialite's sisters Kourtney and Khloe are hosting a special bash for the mother-to-be on June 2. They have spared no expense when sending out the party invitations, which appropriately contain music boxes that, when opened, play West's song ‘Hey Mama’

and put into motion a twirling toy ballerina, reported E! online. The over-the-top mailings have prompted many to suspect the socialite and fashion de-

signer is planning for a girl, especially since photographers snapped multiple photos of Kardashian's assistant carrying a pink-themed baby gift basket into her home in April. Actress-turned-TV host Kathie Lee Gifford, who is the beauty's godmother, first sparked speculation the couple was expecting a girl on a TV show in February, when she said Kardashian was "four months pregnant, I think now with her little girl". Kim is due to give birth in July. (Times of India)

views at the Cannes Film Festival this week. He says in the film: ''I loved movies so much, sometimes, I'd shove them down the front of my pants. I liked the way they feel.'' The documentary which was filmed at last year's Cannes festival in France - gives a wartsand-all insight into the process of getting movies made and follows the '30 Rock' actor as he tries to schmooze producers, financiers, journalists and actors to get on board a proposed film production starring himself and

Neve Campbell. Other stars who offer their time to the documentary include legendary director Martin Scorsese, actress Jessica Chastain and Roman Polanski. (ContacTMusic)

Ryan Gosling stuffed movies Barbra Streisand to receive down his pants honorary PhD in Israel


leading Israeli university says it will present singer Barbra Streisand with an honorary PhD when she visits Israel next month, AP reported. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem said Monday it was granting the singer the degree because of her concern for human rights and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people. Streisand, 71, is expected to perform at a

June conference in honour of the 90th birth-

day of Israeli President Shimon Peres. She will also appear in two public concerts. It will be the first time the Jewish singer performs in Israel. The university's school of Jewish studies, established in 1984, is named after Streisand's father, Emanuel. Streisand also holds an honorary doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis University in the U.S. (Times of India)

Jolie to play own mother in biopic


ctress Angelina Jolie will reportedly play her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, in a biopic made by her partner Brad Pitt's production banner ‘Plan B’, IANS reported. Bertrand died of cancer in 2007. She was 56. Jolie recently announced that she opted for a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of getting breast cancer.

If reports are to be believed, the biopic will go into production in 2014. But a release date is yet to be locked for it. Jolie is much like her mother when it comes to humanitarian work. Bertrand helped female Afghan refugees and also launched the ‘Give Love Give Life’ organisation in an effort to help fight gynecological cancers. (Times of India)

Johnny Depp’s ‘serious’ about Amber Heard


ohnny Depp has confessed to girlfriend Amber Heard that she is his soul mate. The 49-year-old actor, who has two children with former girlfriend Vanessa Paradis, is said to be head-over-heels

in love with his 'Rum Diaries' co-star and has even mentioned marriage, Contactmusic reported. A source told OK! Magazine that Depp plans to spend the rest of his life with the blonde beauty. The insider asserted that things are very serious between the couple and he's told her that he wants to get married, which is obviously a shock to anyone who knows the star. The 27-year-old actress is apparently keen to start a family of her own with the hunky star after he mentioned marriage. The source explained that Heard sees how devoted he is to his kids and it melts her heart. The insider added that she's fallen so hard for him and now she's all about starting a family with him. (Times of India)


yan Gosling used to shove movies down his pants. The 'Only God Forgives' actor was so obsessed with cinema as a child that he would hide copies of his favourite flicks in his trousers when his mother tried to punish his bad behaviour by taking them away, contactmusic has reported. Ryan made the frank confession in James Toback and Alec Baldwin's forthcoming movie-making documentary 'Seduced and Abandoned', which screened to positive re-

Antonio Banderas to play ‘Super Mario’


ntonio Banderas will star in 'The 33' as 'Super Mario' Sepulveda, who was the second miner to be rescued and the survivors' spokesperson following their 69 days trap in 2010. The movie's producer Mike Medavoy made the announcement on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival, the New York Daily News reported. The film, which will be directed by Patricia Riggen, will include actors Martin Sheen and Rodrigo Santoro and its production is scheduled to be-

gin this fall in Chile. The screenplay – written by Mikko Alanne and Jose Rivera – details the gruelling events of the mine's collapse and the international rescue efforts that attracted one billion viewers worldwide. The 33 courageous miners were trapped a half-mile beneath the surface and retrieved more than two months later. The film's portrayal was developed in collaboration with the miners, the rescuers and their families. (Times of India)

‘Twilight’ stars’ rough relationship


dward Cullen may have sucked the life out of Bella Swan in ‘Twilight’ series but in reality Robert Pattinson's heart is very much torn by the heartache caused by Kristen Stewart. A source close to Pattinson told Us Weekly that the on-again-off-again couple reportedly argued about all the issues that have affected their love life since Stewart's July 2012 fling with director Rupert Sanders, the New York Daily News reported. The recent disagreement of the pair apparently began when the 27-year-old British actor did not attend a birthday bash organised for him by Stewart. One of Stewart's friends told Hollywood Life that the 23-year-old actress totally went out of her way to make Rob's birthday super special, but

at the last minute, Rob said he didn't want to make his birthday a big deal and said he was just going to hang with the guys. The source added that the couple argued, "about the cheating, about how selfish she always is and also about how moody she always is." (Times of India)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

fered alternative fishing equipment like trolling, live bait fishing and palang hooks to replace nets from next year during the period February to May, to protect the turtles. Managing director of ‘Nature Seekers’ Dennis Sammy said the bycatch (fish caught unintentionally) from using the nets continued to pose a problem for turtles during the nesting season. Sammy said it was a pilot project as “Next year, we are seeking to move the project forward. We are hoping to have all the equipment in the country. Nature Seekers is seeking to support fishermen with alterna-

In this May 2, 2013 photo, a tourist takes photographs of a leatherback turtle as she heads to the ocean after burying her eggs in the sand at daybreak on a narrow strip of beach in Grande Riviere, Trinidad (AP photo)


o date, about 1,000 leatherbacks have returned to Trinidad and Tobago’s shores for the nesting season and there have been no instances of poaching or abuse, says a forestry official. The nesting season started from March 1 and ends around September 30. Among the species that frequent TT are leatherbacks, hawksbill, green, olive ridley and loggerhead. Johnny Seepersad, acting Conservator of Forests, said, “About 1,000 came to nest. We are in the middle of the nesting season. They are coming back in abundance to various beaches like Matelot and the

east coast. They like long beachfronts with sand. It’s one of the reasons why they are heading as far as Mayaro.” Traditionally, Grande Riviere had the highest population. Now they are spreading out to Manzanilla, to a place called Indian Bay (Guayaguayare), he said. “This is good news.” To protect the turtles, they have stepped up night patrols, “So far we have not gotten any incidences of poaching and abuse. Forestry Division has stepped up patrols in non-traditional areas like Fishing Pond. By July, the hatchlings would be coming out. They would be disorient-

ed and rather than head to the beach they head to the land. We need to capture them and lead them back to the water. The rate of survival is better because there is the natural habitat.” Seepersad appealed to people to refrain from riding the leatherbacks and even posting pictures on social media. “That is a no-no. Do not ride the turtles. It is a harmful practice. Don’t put the pictures on Facebook. We don’t encourage that. We have to keep educating people and hope law enforcement would do the rest.” Meanwhile, fishermen from Matura to Matelot are being of-

fishing equipment.” He said they were having ongoing dialogue with Agriculture and Fisheries Division. “You can have a perfect act but if there is bycatch, there would be a problem. Bycatch was not dealt with in the last amendment (2011) of the Fisheries Act. It did not take into consideration bycatch and leatherbacks being caught in fishermen’s nets. There was an opening by which you could have hunted turtles October to September and even sell meat in the markets. But that is now illegal since the amendment.” Sammy said two pieces of legislation—

Among the species that frequent TT are leatherbacks, hawksbill, green, olive ridley and loggerhead

tive pieces of equipment. It is a draft proposal towards providing fishermen with alternative

Fisheries Act and Conservation of Wildlife Act—deal with the conservation and manage-

ment of turtles. He said, however, it was a little difficult as the Fisheries Act only deals with hunting or the killing of wildlife. Sammy said too there was insufficient information to guide the active management of the turtle population. “The lack of information for ecotourism is where the gap exists. Data collection which is the carrying capacity that is necessary for a nesting beach has not been scientifically determined.” Without such valuable information our ability to create valuable legislation and management plans is going to be limited, Sammy said. Seepersad, meanwhile, said fines and phrasing related to the gender and turtles’ parts are two grey areas which need to be amended by the Fisheries Act. Fisheries cover turtles because it is a marine creature. Seepersad said, “It should not be female or male turtle. It should be any turtle. It should not be about specific parts like carcass or meat.” The fine for killing a turtle is TT$2,000 and being on the beach without a permit can lead to a maximum fine of about TT$20,000. From March to August (prohibited period) a permit is required to visit beaches like Grande Riviere. (Excerpt from TT Guardian)

‘Law and Order’ star for CTO’s ‘Caribbean Week’


eading television and film star Tamara Tunie has partnered with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) as the celebrity spokesperson for the CTO’s 40th celebration of ‘Caribbean Week’ in New York. Perhaps best known as medical examiner, Melinda Warner on NBC’s long-running toprated series, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’, and more recently in Paramount’s Oscar nominated, ‘Flight’, with co-star Denzel Washington, Tunie will engage the media in America’s most populous city as the official spokesperson for the June 1-8, 2013 event. “I am thrilled to work with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation taking the Caribbean’s wonderful message across New York dur-

ing this exciting week of celebration of the region’s vibrancy and diversity,” said Tunie. Her partnership was secured through the efforts of Marie Walker, the chief executive officer and president of the CTO New York affiliate, Turnstyle Marketing, working with the head of the CTO New York office, Sylma Brown. “We are confident that the events surrounding Caribbean Week in New York will receive a significant spike from both the consumer and the trade as a result of Ms. Tunie’s efforts,” stated Walker. “Ms Tunie will not only create media waves in New York, but she will also attend a select number of the events to include the Caribbean One-Day Bonanza Sale and Rum and Rhythm,” added Brown. Tunie recently guest-

Tamara Tunie

starred on ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘Fall to Rise’, produced by Spirit Award nominee, Gil Holland. Her other memorable television roles include the longstanding character Jessica Griffin on the CBS Daytime Drama, ‘As The World Turns’, for which she received two NAACP Image Award nominations and two Soap Opera Digest award nominations.

She also appeared in the highly visible role of the villainous Alberta Green in first season of the hit series, ‘24’, as well as guest appearances on ‘Law and Order’, ‘Sex and the City’, and ‘NYPD Blue’. Among the rousing activities on the Caribbean Week in New York calendar is the OneCaribbean Vacation Mart and Romance

Pavilion/Bonanza Sale, where specially priced Caribbean holidays will be available along with an ideal Bahamian getaway at the Caribbean Romance Pavilion which will be part of the Vacation Mart. The OneCaribbean Vacation Mart takes place on June 5 from 5-10 pm at the New Yorker Hotel on 8th Avenue, New York. The week also features the fascinating Students’ Colloquium at which Caribbean students studying at the tertiary level present sustainable tourism projects that are practical and can provide a sustainable source of income for Caribbean nationals; the Caribbean Diaspora Forum, developed in collaboration with the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Caribbean Media Marketplace

where CTO member governments and private sector exhibitors interact with leading journalists from trade and consumer press; the Media Awards Luncheon where the organisation honours journalists for their awardwinning features on the Caribbean; and the Caribbean Marketing Conference & Awards Luncheon-organised by the CTO Allied members, where the latest cutting-edge marketing trends are presented and people who have made significant contributions to the region’s tourism development are recognised. “We anticipate even greater participation from the Caribbean and our partners as Ms Tunie helps elevate our senses for this is a celebration of our region,” Brown said. (Excerpt from TT Guardian)


feature | week ending May 23, 2013


er dreadlocks, down-to-earth personality and easy-going smile could easily trick anyone into believing that Heather Campbell is your typical Jamaican girl next door with a little bit of an edge. But don't be fooled, she has a tough side, and she takes pleasure in doing karate, never failing to impress during martial arts tournaments locally and internationally. Campbell is the founder and operator of First Generation Rising Sun Karate School, and currently holds a fifth degree black belt in karate. She gave the studio that name because she is the first person in her family to do karate. "I started from scratch, I never got this handed down to me," she said of her karate school. Although many karate practitioners start training at a young age,

this was not the case for Campbell who started in her 20s following the sustained prodding of one of her sister's friends who was already immersed in the sport. One day she just gave in and signed up for a one-month class and from then got hooked. Campbell signed on with two other karate studios. Gradually she moved up the ranks, surprising even herself, given her late entry into the sports. After years of training with martial arts experts, she left her full-time job and gave in to the desire to start her own karate school 10 years ago. In addition to the studio operated in Kingston, Campbell also started a much bigger class in Ocho Rios. Both classes have a varied clientele with students coming in from as young as three. "Some people would say they are babies,"

Heather Campbell

Campbell said. "Yes, they are babies, but they can learn. It's amazing to come here and to just stand up and watch the little ones how they move, you realise they know exactly what to do as much as the bigger ones, even if they don't do it perfectly." To her students, Campbell is called ‘Kyoshi’, the strict karate instructor who never fails to whip them into shape. But the disci-

pline she has instilled in them has paid off, as evidenced by the number of trophies they have managed to rack up over the years in international competitions. Her nephew, Kevin Brown, who she trained, is on the Jamaica Combined Karate team, and her students have always done exceptionally well at the US Open, which usually hosts over 3,000 international competitors annually. The

students are currently in preparation mode for the next US Open competition which is slated for July 5-6. The school has been participating in this event for the past five years and one year had both the Jamaican championship boy and girl for the competition coming from her school. Last year, Campbell had only four students competing and took back nine trophies, but this year she is taking 21 and is therefore looking for a bigger haul. Although she operates her own school, Campbell still trains with students from oth-

er karate studios for her own personal growth in the sport, especially those students who have black belts. Given the karate ranking system, the next logical placement for Campbell would be a sixth degree black belt, but she said she is also still recuperating from the work it took her to get her last promotion. The karate teacher said for now, she just wants to focus on getting her students to realise their fullest potential and work towards her dream of opening her own dojo, so she can train even more students.

Star of the Week


eet Kerra Denel, a 28 year old exotic Trinidadian beauty who is determined to make a huge international and professional impact in the competitive business of modelling. Born and raised in TT, Denel moved to Canada in 1998. Her parents are of mixed heritage, something which she describes as “a true calalloo”. At present, Denel is in TT pursuing her professional modelling career but would return to Toronto in the summer to continue working as a freelance model, bartender and volunteer at Afropan steelband – “The People’s Band”. She has been working at Afropan since 2007 and is dubbed a very instrumental individual in the organisation, since she handles all the ground work to promote the steelpan culture in Canada. Aside from her love for modelling and steelpan, Denel is associated with the well-known Caribbean website, TriniJungleJuice, where she does event photography and assists in the operations of the company. Denel is a master at all she does and thrives on challenges. Last year, she was published in ‘iModel Expo 2012’ calendar, ‘Tropical Storm’ 2012 calendar and was recently featured in ‘Trinidad Newsday Mentality Magazine’ April issue and Angostura’s newest ad campaign. This island girl is very spiritual and with God by her side, she is committed to achieving all her greatest desires. Her passion for modelling has already taken her different places in TT and the U.S. Like a chameleon, she adapts to every concept and her versatile look brings a fresh image every time. Living and loving life, always with a smile, Denel enjoys music “especially soca”, cooking, food, travelling, experiencing different cultures and spending time with loved ones. She doesn’t follow the crowd, she creates a new path. Devoted to the empowerment of young women, she continues to work hard at being a positive influence while teaching them that anything is possible as long as they believe. Yet she carries on preserving her Caribbean culture through mas, music, steelpan and carnival arts and hopes one day to settle down in the Caribbean.



week ending May 23, 2013 |

Excitement building for CPL showdown W

ith the start of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League tournament less than three months away, CPL officials have recently concluded a tour of the six franchise countries– Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago – meeting with the government ministers of sports and tourism, cricket board executives, stadium management teams/ owners and tourism authorities. The man charged with the task of keeping the relevant parties in each franchise country informed about, and satisfied with the preparations as it relates to their country and the overall Tournament is CPL’s newly-appointed operations manager Carlisle Powell, a Senator from Nevis and father of West

Indies batsman Kieran Powell. Powell is a past member of the West Indies Cricket Board. Powell says the meetings in all of the countries have been positive and encouraging, and that the excitement has started to build. “The opportunity to sit down at the table with each of these groups in the six franchise countries was imperative because we wanted to make sure we answered the questions, and addressed any concerns they had,” explained Powell. “Once we did that, everyone had a greater understanding of the CPL vision, what we hope to accomplish and the benefits to their country specifically and the region in general. The result was that the governments, the cricket boards and the tourism boards are all pleased to give their full support to the CPL, and are excited

CPL’s newly-appointed operations manager Carlisle Powell (File photo)

about the prospects of a first-class sporting event being hosted annually in the region, bringing a much-needed economic boost to the Caribbean and attracting new and repeat visitors.” In Guyana, Powell had appointments with the ministers of Tourism and Sport, Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Dr Frank Anthony.

After the meeting, Minister Ali, commented; “CPL is an amazing opportunity to use sport as a catalyst to advance the region’s tourism product, since CPL will give us access to reach important global markets. In this regard, Guyana has the best potential since we have the largest diaspora who love cricket, and

so we in Guyana will pull out all the stops and give the CPL our full commitment.” The first ever Caribbean Premier League will get underway on 30 July with 24 matches played in six franchise countriesAntigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and TT. Six top West Indies stars have been confirmed as Franchise players–Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels. Also confirmed are six overseas franchise players– former Australia captains Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, exNew Zealand captain Ross Taylor, Pakistan Twenty20 International captain Mohammad Hafeez, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and

Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. A total of 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six franchise teams will comprise of 15 player squads. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from their franchise country and at least two of them must be under the age of 23. Teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players. Also confirmed is the make-up of the CPL Cricket Committee, which is being chaired by former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson and include Zorol Barthley, Conde Riley and Walter Scott, QC, alongside Ian Bishop, Lance Gibbs and Charles Wilkin, QC. (WICB web site)

TT’s Walcott sixth in Shanghai Mixed bag for Jamaicans at Ponce Grand Prix


Keshorn Walcott (TT Guardian file photo)


T’s London Olympics Games javelin gold medallist, Keshorn Walcott ended in sixth spot for the second straight week, this time at the Samsung Diamond League Meet held at the Shanghai Stadium, China, Saturday. Walcott, who was also sixth in Doha, last week in his first Diamond event with a throw of 79.79 metres, only mustered a distance of 79.92 metres this time around to finish in sixth spot among an 11-man field, one spot ahead of African champion, Kenya’s Julius Yego (78.23), who was also a London finalist. An 87.60m world lead throw took 2007 World champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland to a narrow victory in the men’s Javelin. The Finn had previously held the world lead at 86.40m. Second-placed Vitezslav Vesely of Czech Republic, last year’s winner threw 86.67m to also better the previous

world lead while Russia’s Dmitriy Tarabin threw 85.36m for third ahead of Finland’s Ari Mannio (83.43) and China’s Quinggang Zhao (81.18) while Walcott’s Olympic predecessor in 2004 and 2008, Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen, failed to register a valid throw. The meet in Shanghai was the third outing for Walcott so far this season after he began his season with an impressive 84.39 throw at the TT Elite Twilight Games which was held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on May 3. TT’s Lalonde Gordon also did not get among the medals after a fifth place finish in a highly competitive men’s 400m final, won by Grenada’s Olympic and World champion, Kirani James. For the first time since his win in London last August, James faced fellow London 400m men’s medallists, Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic and TT’s

Gordon, as well as former World and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt. And the young Grenadian, after making up the stagger on Merritt as they came onto the final bend and briefly running in step, pulled away to win in 44.02 ahead Merritt (44.60), Santos (45.11), Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee (45.57) and Gordon (46.39). James’s time equalled the meet record set by Jeremy Wariner in 2007 and is the fastest ever 400m time witnessed at a Diamond League meeting. James is the only non-US athlete to have broken 44 seconds for 400m and he has started 2013 in the same manner he finished the Olympic year. In the women’s Shot Put, TT’s Cleopatra Borel failed to register a valid throw in the event won by Germany’s Christina Schwanitz, who wasted no time in setting down new markers. (Excerpt from TT Guardian)

t was a mixed bag of results for Jamaicans at the Ponce Grand Prix IAAF World Challenge meet in Puerto Rico on Saturday. Four Jamaicans faced the starter at the meet, with none topping their respective event. Andrew Riley has been busy all year, upsetting Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt a few weeks ago at the Drake Relays, before stumbling over the last hurdle and having to settle for a third-place finish behind Antwon Hicks and Hansle Parchement at the Jamaica International Invitational shortly afterwards. The Olympian was again not at his best in Ponce, running 13.44 for third in the men's 110m hurdles behind promising Cuban Orlando Ortega, 13.23, and 2009 world champion Ryan Brathwaite from Barbados. Meanwhile, 2007 IAAF World Youth and 2008 IAAF World Junior 100m champion, Dexter Lee, would not have been overly pleased with his time, but he did manage to finish third in the men's 100m in 10.44. The event was won by Jeff Demps in 10.27, with Barbados' Ramon Gittens second in 10.33. Schillonie Calvert, 11.71, was seventh in the women's 100m be-

hind fast-rising Ivory Coast sprinter Muriel Ahoure, who won with a time of 11.09 ahead of American Barbara Pierre, 11.30, and Alexandria Anderson, who also posted 11.30. Running in a headwind of -1.4, veteran sprint hurdler Delloreeen Ennis-London struggled in the women's 100m hurdles, finishing sev-

Patricia Hall continues to lay down a solid season after a businesslike performance at the Brazil Grand Prix in Belem recently, where she won the women's 400m. Competing on May 12, the IAAF World Indoor Championships semi-finalist and CAC Games silver medallist logged a season-best

Andrew Riley (Jamaica Gleaner file photo)

enth in 13.61 behind winner Nia Ali from the United States, who posted a winning time of 12.86. Ali was the only competitor to dip below 13 seconds in the event with her countrywomen Kristi Castlin and Jackie Coward, who both crossed the line in 13.09, picking up second and third, respectively. Meanwhile, 30-yearold quarter-miler

50.86 to win the women's 400m ahead of Brazilian Joelma Sousa, 51.62, and Nigerian Omolora Omotoso, 51.67. Hall is the thirdfastest Jamaican woman over 400m so far this season behind Stephenie McPherson, who has the fourth-fastest time this year with 50.43 and Novlene-WilliamsMills, who has so far posted 50.73 this year. (Jamaica Gleaner)


sport | week ending May 23, 2013

NACRA Senior Men 15s Caribbean Championship…

Guyana cross first hurdle, beat Barbados 19-17

We are the champions! Guyana’s 15s rugby team after defeating Barbados on Saturday at the National Stadium By Rajiv Bisnauth


uyana’ s 15s rugby team on Saturday was able to cross the first hurdle in their quest to further advance in the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association’s (NACRA) Senior Men 15s Caribbean championship, when they edged Barbados 19- 17, at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence. Guyana will play Trinidad and Tobago on June 1 and a win will ensure that they set up a clash for the NACRA title against either Southern USA or defending title holders Bermuda, who defeated the locals last year at the same stage. In the opening period, Barbados dominated possession as the Guyanese made uncharacteristic mistakes on offence. However, the locals bounced back and were ferocious on the defensive end, making some important stops, preventing the visitors from making a mark on the score-sheet in the second half. The Barbadians took the early lead with three tries and a conversion in the opening half, taking full advantage of some poor defending by the Guyanese. Shaun English (two tries) and Christian Preece (one try) wove their way beautifully through the Guyanese defensive line to eventually give their team the early lead. The lone conversion came from skipper Dwight Forde and at half time the visitors lead 17-0. On resumption, with the Barbadians looking weary, the Guyanese ruggers piled on the pressure with some relentless drives that eventually took its toll on the visitors’ backline which allowed Guyana to open their account. After a

lazy attempt by the Barbadians, Avery Corbin scored Guyana’s first try. It was a clear example that the Barbadians were physically worn down and feeling the effects mentally. Corbin, who started to impress himself on the game, scored another try before Claudius Butts took the score to 15-17 with the third try. Skipper Ryan Gonsalves strode up and buried the conversion to make it 19- 17. Guyana by then were completely in control with the Barbadians scrambling to defend the calculated onslaught by the Guyanese before the final whistle came. Meanwhile, head coach Theodore Henry speaking with Guyanese media shortly after the game, said he did not think the team could have made a bigger statement, referring to the earlier boasts made by the Barbadians. “They are really a good side in the forward department, but we managed to outplay them in the second half, we did not stick to the game plan during the first half, but it took a total team effort after the resumption and in the end we came out on top,” Henry said. He added that the hard work and an undying will not to give up anything, coupled with sturdy defence were the keys to victory. “We came out with the intention to shut them out totally and I feel that we managed to achieve that goal today (Saturday) and I must mention players such as Avery Corbin and Claudius Butts, whose experience and maturity played a major part in our win,” Henry said. He added that it makes a difference when there are players who could read the game and make critical decisions, because it takes the pressure off the coach and captain.

TT’s Elton Walcott earns silver in Kansas


lton Walcott bagged silver for South Plains College in the Men’s triplejump event at the 2013 National Junior College Outdoor Championships in Hutchinson, Kansas, USA, Saturday. Walcott, brother of Olympic Men’s Javelin champion Keshorn, produced a 16.0 metre distance to finish behind eventual winner Latario Collie-Minns (16.41m) of Iowa Western CC. The Toco-bred athlete produced a distance of 15.62m in his first attempt and increased his length with a 15.85m

leap on his second try. Walcott then leapt 16m after his third attempt and fouled out his remaining three attempts. Bagging bronze was Mamadou Gueye of Munroe College with his 15.92m distance. In the Women’s 400m hurdles preliminaries, Kernesha Spann of Western Texas qualified fastest in a time of 1.00.78. She finished ahead of Sharon Kwarula (Iowa Central), who clocked 1:01.96 and Latesha Bigby (Butler County) in 1:02.57. Meanwhile, Abiane Collymore of Butler County mustered up a

14th place finish in the Women’s 1500m run. She clocked 5:13.09. South Plains’ Shu-Shauna Mason finished 13th in the Women’s 100m in 11.86s. In the same event, Chattahoochee Tech athlete, Chelsea Charles finished in a distant 23rd in 12.12s. The Women’s 200m event saw Charles clock 24.76s and finish 13th overall. Abiane Collymore of Butler County also failed to qualify to the finals as she crossed the finish line in 14th position. Her time was 5:13.09. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

Confident Jamaicans hold nerve to hit Caribbean rifle title


linging to a firm belief that they could win, Jamaica's national rifle shooting team held their nerve to register victory over highly favoured Guyana and nail the West Indies Fullbore Short Range title at the Caribbean Shooting Championships held recently at Paragon Range in Bridgetown, Barbados. "Throughout the competition, the entire team remained stead-

Valerie Newman, Denis Lee, and Bassilios Hado. The tournament, which was shot over ranges 300, 500, and 600 yards, was contested by the region's top shooting teams, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and defending champions Guyana. At the end of the first range at 300 yards, Jamaica had a one-point advantage over Guyana; however, at 500 yards, the defending champions fought back to earn

to settle for second with 1103.68. Trinidad and Tobago placed third with 1090.68. "We weren't daunted by the fact that Guyana were the favourites," Nelson pointed out. "We just kept pace with them until the final round, and then at 600 yards, they succumbed to the pressure and it was a blowout, with us beating them by 13 points." Following the regional tournament, five members of the successful

REGIONAL CHAMPIONS: Jamaica’s national rifle shooting team that won the West Indies Fullbore Short Range title at the Caribbean Shooting Championships at the Paragon Range in Bridgetown, Barbados. They are (from left) Wayne McNair, DSP Canute Coley, Jose Nunez, David Rickman, Valerie Newman, Denis Lee, Bassilios Hado, and captain, Major John Nelson.

fast in our belief that if we just performed steadily at all ranges, we could pull off this victory," said Jamaica's captain, Major John Nelson, whose team also consisted of Wayne McNair, DSP Canute Coley, Jose Nunez, David Rickman,

a two-point lead heading to the final range on Saturday. Then Jamaica rallied at 600 yards to shoot past Guyana, finishing with a total score of 1116 points and 58 V-bulls to take the championship, while Guyana had

Jamaica team - Nunez, Rickman, Coley, McNair, and Nelson - were selected for an all-West Indies team that took on Australia, Canada, and Great Britain for the Australia Cup at the same venue. (Jamaica Gleaner)

Guyanese youth completes training at high-performance centre in Miami


uyana’s Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) guard Dominic Vincente recently returned from a highperformance training centre in Miami, Florida and is confident the experience will improve his game. The 19-year-old guard of Marian Academy received the opportunity after performing creditably at a training programme in Suriname where he was the best defensive player. Vincente, who plays with the pass first mentality but can hit the open outside jumper as well as getting to the rim, revealed that the training in Miami was of a higher intensity. “It is very rigorous, it’s a lot of intensity you have to use towards drills because all the coaches like to see the intensity because it normally carries over into the game,” Vincente stated. “When I first went there I started off passing and the coaches had a talk with me and told me ‘we love your passing but you still have to score’ and like two or three weeks after that I started to get buckets and the coaches like me for that because now I can pass and score and I became a combo guard be-

Dominic Vincente

cause in Guyana I used to pass first,” Vincente related. Further, the Marian Academy former student believes that the stint has helped him become a defensive specialist, as the coaches relied on him heavily for stops during games. (Excerpt from Guyana Times Sport)



week ending May 23, 2013 |

National paralympics games German-born midfielder/ on the cards for Guyana defender Gordon ready to shore up Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz

Dr Frank Anthony

Ganesh Singh

uyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities Public Relations Officer Ganesh Singh said the local paralympics committee is preparing to pull off the 2013 national paralympics games. Singh said recently the games will be staged while the committee continues to work to finalise its draft constitution in order to be recognised locally, which has been developed from consultations in all 10 administrative regions. Last year, the committee conducted consultations and the feedback was dispatched to the

Labour Ministry’s Co-op Division for its recommendations. Those recommendations have since been adopted and added to the draft constitution, which is being fine-tuned to form a fully-developed constitution, in order to allow the body to seek recognition from the International Paralympics Committee. Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities President Cecil Morris and Singh are members of the Paralympics Committee. Guyana’s Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony said that the committee has been


formed and work has begun. He detailed that some measures had been put in place to have the local committee receive assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance for Sport and Physical Education. A workshop was also conducted by the Trinidad Alliance and the proposed constitution was updated. Dr Anthony confirmed that the committee’s agenda was mapped out for the year and a report was submitted. The culture minister revealed that there have been several attempts to have the body constituted in recent years, but this had been compounded by a myriad of issues, chief among them is the failure to include persons living with disabilities on that committee. Dr Anthony explained that Guyana had failed to meet all the necessary requirements to be recognised by the international paralympics body. He, however, expressed hope that the situation would be rectified by year-end. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

Barbados rider crowned champ of Guyana’s prestigious Three-Stage meet

Raul Leal of Team Coco (Guyana) receives his trophy and cash prize for topping the junior category from Director of Sport, Neil Kumar


arbados rider Jamal Eastman capped a remarkable weekend by lifting the overall title of Guyana’s 31st annual Independence ThreeStage cycle meet, in the process becoming the new champion of the gruelling 171.5 miles/274.3km race on Sunday. After placing himself in a prime position for the overall title by winning the opening two stages on Saturday, all Eastman needed to do on Sunday’s final stage

from Kara Kara, Linden, to Homestretch Avenue was to place among the leading pack. And that he did! He finished with an overall time of six hours, 58 minutes, 13 seconds (06h: 58m: 13s), seven seconds less than Guyana’s Geron Williams, who secured the runner-up spot with a time of six hours, 58 minutes, 20 seconds. The winning time was far slower than Team Coco’s Ivan Dominguez’s six hours, 44 minutes, 55 seconds (06h: 44m: 55s),

recorded last year to win the title. Orville Hinds of Linden Bauxite Flyers Cycle Club rode in third overall with a time of six hours, 58 minutes, 25 seconds (06h: 58m: 25s), while the local trio, Alonzo Greaves (06h: 58m: 26s), Raynauth Jeffrey (06h: 58m: 33s) and Raul Leal (06h: 58m: 33s) founded out the top finishers. Although Jeffrey and Leal gained the same time, Jeffrey secured the fifth spot by virtue of crossing the line ahead of his Team Coco (Guyana) partner. Leal emerged as the leading junior cyclist, finishing ahead of Hamza Eastman and Stephano Husbands, who ended in second and third spots respectively. Horace Burrowes, who finished seventh overall with a time of six hours, 59 minutes (06h: 59m), emerged as the winner of the veteran category, with USAbased Guyanese Aubrey Gordon and Team Coco’s (Guyana) Junior Niles in the runner-up and third position respectively. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

New Reggae Boy, German-born Daniel Gordon (left) talks with assistant coach, Brazilian Alfredo Montesso during breakfast at the Sheraton Beach Resort and Casino in The Bahamas on Tuesday. (Jamaica Observer photo)


aniel Gordon has long been courted by the Jamaica national football set-up, but they weren't able to collar him, until now. "I am very proud to be here and I just need to get to know the team and I look forward to the next weeks and I will do my best to perform for the team," said the 6ft 4inch player who switches comfortably from a midfielder to a defender. Gordon, 28, whose ancestral ties to Jamaica are with his grandparents, says now that he's in the team it's time for business. "I know this team has a high level and it's a good team with a future and I hope I can help the team because that's why I am here. I know that Jamaica has a chance to go to Brazil 2014 and that's what we are all working for," said Gordon, who arrived Monday night for a two-match, 12-day camp in The Bahamas. Gordon, a former Borrusia Dortmund player who has passed through the club's ranks to the senior level, could be in the reckoning for central defensive duties for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, especially that the solid Nyron Nosworthy is out injured. "I will have to find out what the team needs and I will only know that when I play with the team, so we can know each other better. I think I bring my experience and best qualities in the

defence, and if given the chance, I want to give the team 100 per cent," said the Karlsruher SC man, whose club was just promoted to League Two in Germany. With a triple-bill of World Cup qualifying matches in June — Mexico on the 4th, USA 7th and Honduras on the 11th — Gordon says he's looking forward to playing a role on this intriguing journey, as the Boyz set their sights on Brazil 2014. "It will be a pleasure to play for Jamaica and to wear the jersey... it would be a dream to get to Brazil 2014 and we want to make that dream come true," Gordon noted. The towering Gordon said he would cherish every match he plays for Jamaica, but said the Tottenham game at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium on Thursday would be a special thrill for him. Meanwhile, Gordon said now that he's officially a documented Jamaican, he wants to learn as much as he can about the culture. "I have been to Jamaica once, years ago, my family moved to the States and England, so I have never been close, and I don't know a lot about Jamaica, but now I have the chance I want to get to know Jamaica... but first of all I am here to play football and to be successful with the team," concluded Gordon. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer)

British journalist pens Lara’s biography


British newspaper journalist, James Fuller, has written a biography of former West Indies captain Brian Lara, one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Fuller, also a keen cricketer who played at domestic level for 20 years, says he wrote ‘Caribbean lives: Brian Lara’ during the six years he lived in Lara's homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. Lara, who retired in 2008, holds the world record scores in Test cricket (400 not out), firstclass cricket (501 not out) and the most runs in a Test match over (28). "I wanted to write about Lara's career from the Caribbean perspective, as that had never

Brian Lara

been done before," said Fuller. "Living in the Caribbean gave me the time and opportunity to access people who were close to him at every stage of his life and career: coaches, teachers." Fuller has been a journalist for 13 years and was named the Newspaper Society's ‘UK

Young Journalist of The Year’ in 2002. He now lives in Tauranga, New Zealand, where he is a senior writer at the ‘Bay of Plenty Times’. "I also wanted to transmit that sense of vibrancy and fun which is so much a part of the Trinidadian culture; a culture which helped shape one of the greatest batsmen the world has ever seen," said Fuller. "Being a cricket fanatic of limited ability, writing a book was also the only way my name would ever be mentioned in the same breath as Brian Lara's." ‘Caribbean Lives: Brian Lara’, published by Macmillan, is available on Amazon from May 31. (Jamaica Observer)

Sports is no longer our game, it’s our business


Caribbean Motor Racing Championships Barbados rider crowned in Jamaica on this Sunday champ of Guyana’s prestigious Three-Stage meet Canadian superbiker

Kevin Graham has eyes set on top spot

By Ravendra Madholall


See story on page 31

Overall champion Jamal Eastman of Barbados is all smiles as he receives the winner’s trophy from Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony

confident superbike stalwart, Kevin Graham is ready to star on Sunday at the Dover Park Race track in Jamaica as the 2013 Caribbean Motor Racing Championships roll off. The Canadian once again will be representing Guyana in this category and feels this season opener should be exciting on his

on this occasion. “I think we [are] ready to hit the track in both the bike and car categories; I have been preparing here over the past several weeks and the bike is ‘revving’ nicely…so I am ready to make another impression against the boys down there,” Graham divulged. He has been a phenomenal rider and has won a number of trophies both locally and

bike got its final tune up last week and already shipped down to Jamaica,” Graham related. Quizzed on any particular challenge he is likely to face in Jamaica, Graham stated that he is quite familiar with the track but the competition from the host country and Barbados can be stiff. “I raced a lot of time in Jamaica and I know the circuit very well;

Canada’s Kevin Graham has won more than 40 races at the South Dakota Circuit in Guyana (Nation News file photo)

Kawasaki 600cc Bike when the action gets cracking from 08:30hrs. Graham has been riding for Guyana for the past three decades and this year wouldn’t be any different for the veteran as he is set to team up with another Caribbean star, Stephen “Valentino Rossi” Vieira, and the experienced, Carlos Maurice. Guyana was dethroned by Jamaica last year when the penultimate and final legs took place at Bushy Park, Barbados and Guyana respectively, but Graham is optimistic the guys in all the categories will rebound

internationally. His participation for Guyana has been a tremendous success too having dominated the track for countless seasons. This time, Graham is determined to ride away from his competitors on Sunday. The second leg will be held in Barbados in September before the final showdown in Guyana early November. “We have a good bunch of great riders; Stephen (Vieira) is an outstanding rider and once we get the necessary support from the other bikers, I think we will start off things on a perfect note; the

it is a wonderful place to race and be a competitor; but I know the guys especially the Jamaicans would want to come out and display their skills but I am very confident we have the true riders to be victorious,” he said. Team Guyana will be led by the veterans Andrew King, Mark Vieira and Kevin Jeffrey in the Group Four category, while the Jamaicans will be banking their hopes high on the superb David Summerbell in his Mitsubishi Evolution and Barbados can rely heavily on Roger Mayers with his Ford.

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