Headlines      Issue Released June 16, 2004

 

President Jagdeo and entourage for Independence festivities in TO

Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo


TorontoGuyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo is expected to attend the 38th Guyana Independence Festival in Toronto during the weekend of June 18-20. Mr. Jagdeo will head “a delegation of representatives from over 53 businesses from Guyana and members of the national cricket team,” according to a release from the Guyana Consulate here.
A Trade Exposition, organized with assistance from the Guyana Office for Investment, opens at the Travelodge Hotel, Keele Street and Hwy 401, on June 18 at 12 noon. It will “focus on showcasing and promoting Guyana and Guyanese products, with some of Guyana's finest products on display.”
Businesses from Guyana expected for the Exposition include DDL, Precision Wood Working, the Continental Group of Companies, Edward Beharry Company, Twins, Eco-Tourism Resort Operators and Liana Cane Interiors, among others. Products to be displayed include gold jewels, Nibi, rattan and other types of furniture, handicrafts, bamboo and wooden crafts, pottery, leather crafts, foods and seafood, pharmaceuticals and wood products.
The President is billed as the Keynote Speaker at a Seminar on Trade and Investment in Guyana with the theme, "Guyana - the Gateway into South America" at the same location.
Mr Jagdeo will also be the Guest of Honour at the flag rising ceremony on Saturday, June 19 at the L'Amoreaux Community Centre and at the Western Union-Guyana Festival Celebrity Cricket Match on Sunday June 20. 
The cricket team from Guyana would include Vishal Nagamootoo, Hemnarine Harrinarine, S. Chattergoon, K. Arjune, R. Ramdass, Z. Mohamed, A. Fudadin, Z. Khan, T. Garraway, D. Daerrath, L. Johnson, T. Cornelius and I. Jafferally, according to the Consulate’s press release.
"Each year, the Festival expands on the linkages between Guyana and our community in Canada in an effort to promote our country, people and culture", Consul General Danny Doobay states.
Information on the complete Festival activities may be had by calling the Consulate office at 416-494-6040.

Super show combines locals and the pros

By Manshad Mohamed

Heart Stealers: Two of the world’s most accomplished Bhajan singers - Anup Jalota (left) and Anuradha Paudwal - left the audience at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto longing for more after their stellar performance on June 5, 2004 courtesy of the Pickering Devi Mandir. The two recording stars, accompanied by Tony Ramessar on Tabla, gave a resoundingly successful concert in aid of the Devi Mandir. Pix by Manshad Mohamed.

Both Anup Jalota and Anuradha Paudwal excelled in the June 5th, Devi Mandir presentation at the Princess Elizabeth Theatre, in Toronto. This was very much expected by the audience, knowing the calibre of these two professional singers who already have so much to their credit. But the program featured a hefty complement of local musicians, singers and dancers who are not nearly as accomplished as the visiting Indians but who are deserving of acknowledgement and praise for the signal contribution they made to this top class show.
Tony Ramessar played the tabla for the guest artistes and no one in the audience would shirk from giving him less than 10 out of 10 for his superb renderings. The nucleus of the band accompanying the singers was made up of Trinidadians: Narinda Ramdular on accordian, Gerald Ramkissoon on saxophone, clarinet and flute, Bobby Armoogam on drums, Jeewan Soogrim on the dholak and Ranjan Ramdass on percussion. The Humming Bird Tassa Group also spiced up the theatre with lively rounds of drumming. Robert Kitigal was on the guitar and Anuradha’s son, Adityia was on the keyboards.
The pre show focused entirely on local performers in various dance items. A Bharatnatyam dance and a Peacock and Snake dance by the Sathangai Narthanalayam Dance School, a Bhangra Dance, Kathak and Kuchupudi dances by Diandra Persad and Mumtaz Ali, were all done flawlessly. Local singers were Natasha Hardwar and Anita Binda with tabla accompaniement by Shawn Binda.
President Amar Binda and M.C. Vishnu Sookar with their helpers took pains to ensure a hugely successful evening.

Ex-TT govt Minister calls corruption charges ‘bogus’

By Manshad Mohamed

Trinidad & Tobago Senator Sadiq Baksh was in Toronto over the weekend of June 5-6 as guest of “Friends of the United National Congress.”
During the UNC’s tenure in government, Baksh was Minister of Works and Transportation. At this point in time, he is before the Courts in T&T charged with “alleged corruption” in the building of the new airport at Piarco.
Baksh denies the charges which he described “as bogus as missiles in my water tank.” He informed his Toronto countryfolks that in the homeland “we must defend ourselves against the criminals by neighbourhood watch and by village groups and not by vigilante groups, in the absence of police involvement from cuddled terrorists.” 
Baksh also stated that “the Peoples National Movement (PNM), the present governing party is still calling on the UNC for help to run the country as they do not have a clue as to stopping crime and terrorism.”
Baksh stated that the time was imminent to have a good look at Constitutional Reforms. “Let us take a good look at where we were, where we are and where we want to go.” He sees the need for the young people of the nation of T&T to get more involved in politics.
The UNC plans to hold elections for new leadership on September 12, 2004.

Misir brother, sister qualify in medical field as MD, RN

Toronto — Brother and sister, Anil Jainarayan Misir and Renuka Devi Misir recently graduated from the University of Toronto. Anil received the Doctor of Medicine degree, and Renuka a BSc. degree in Nursing.

Renuka Misir

Anil Misir


In 2000, Anil had obtained the B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology (with high distinction). And as part of his baccalaureate program, he took credit courses in Indo-Caribbean and Indian history.
In 2002, Renuka obtained her BSc degree (Science), and last year received the RN license.
Anil and Renuka are offsprings of proud parents Dr. Roop & Mrs. Ramdai Misir of Scarborough, Ontario. They are grandchildren of Pt (late) & Mrs. Sewe Naraine Misir, originally from Windsor Forest, WCD, Guyana, and also the late Pt. & Mrs. Ganesh Balbahadur Tiwari of Zeeburg, WCD, Guyana.
Starting next month, Anil will commence his residency in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
Mom, Dad, sister Nina and Ajee extend sincere wishes to, and celebrate the accomplishments of Anil and Renuka.

 

 

 

Crime stays on the front burner
Thunder for govt over handling of growing scourge

 

By Sandra Chouthi
Special to Indo Caribbean World

 

Port-of-Spain — Even as the government has launched an attack on white-collar crime by charging eight former UNC ministers with fraud relating to the Piarco airport expansion, it's getting thunder for its handling of violent crimes.
Last month the People's National Movement government charged eight former United National Congress government ministers: Brian Kuei Tung and Russell Huggins, Maritime executives John Smith, Steve Ferguson and Barbara Gomes, Northern Construction Ltd executives Ishwar Galbaransingh and Amrith Maharaj, and businesswoman Renee Pierre, with conspiring to convert more than (Can) $4.75 million under false pretences from the Airports Authority. They face a total of 21 charges.
The latest UNC ex-minister to be charged was Finbar Gangar, who held the energy portfolio. He was served with summons on June 4 with failing to declare assets totalling (Can) $.25 million in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, off England.
The summons are for Gangar to appear in court on June 21 to answer to two counts of filing a false declaration of assets under the Integrity and Public Life Act.
While details of the white-collar charges made the front pages of all three daily newspapers last month, so too did reports of other types of crimes - murders and kidnappings.
The latest kidnapping that captured people's attention was that of pretty Saada Singh, three, of San Fernando. She was kidnapped on June 3 by a woman who told officials of Giselle's Montessori Pre-School in Vistabella that Singh's parents gave her permission to pick up their daughter. The woman wore a wig. She was freed on June 5. KFC driver Deoraj Ragoonathsingh found her wandering on a road usually used as a shortcut to San Francique, where he lives.
Singh's family, who had made appeals to her kidnappers to free her, did not say whether a ransom had been paid. Singh celebrated her fourth birthday on June 10 at the San Fernando Yacht Club.
Four people were charged with kidnapping Saada Singh. They were kindergarten teacher Kimberly Moonsammy, 22, Coleen Osbourne, 22, Kimberly's cousin, Jonathan Moonsammy, 21, and Keston Franklin, 25. Kimberly was a teacher at the pre-school.
They were each granted (Can) $25,000 bail when they appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates' Court on June 8. As of June 11, though, no one appeared to stand their bail.
A large crowd gathered outside the court to jeer at the foursome as they made their way into the court.
The government is under tremendous pressure to bring the crime rate down. The murder rate as of June 11, 2004, stood at 109 as compared to 229 for 2003. For this year, a murder was committed on average every 35 hours compared to one killing every 38 hours last year.
Last month Police Commissioner Everald Snaggs acknowledged that the murder rate had gone up by 5.3 percent. Snaggs said the Police Service was able to reduce woundings (18 percent), violent crimes (nineper cent) and serious indecency (59.4 percent).
There has been a series of anti-crime protests in Cumuto in east Trinidad and Penal and San Fernando in the south. Crime continues to dominate the headlines: "Four murders in 24 hours"; "Yachtsman shot in Glencoe"; "Father killed going to buy bread" and "Boy, 16, charged in guard's murder."
Witnesses are also scared to come forward as some of them have been executed before they could give evidence. The government has been heavily promoting the value of CrimeStoppers by offering rewards if information offered about crime leads to arrests and charges being laid. Those four stories appeared on the same page of June 9 issue of the Daily Express.
Despite several appeals by the government to the Opposition to support the Police Service Bill 2003, the Police Complaints Authority 2003 and Constitution Amendment Bill 2003, the Basdeo Panday-led UNC has resisted.
The latter bill in particular seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish the Police Service Commission to provide for the establishment, composition, and powers of the Police Management Authority. The UNC has made it clear that certain provisions of the three-part Police Reform Bill can lead to the placing of tremendous power in the hands of the Prime Minister, for example, in granting him ultimate say in the appointment of the Commissioner of Police.
Panday, who has said a change in legislation alone will not reduce crime, has accused the PNM of purchasing expensive spy equipment not to use to fight crime, but to spy on other types of crimes - murders and kidnappings.
The latest kidnapping that captured people's attention was that of pretty Saada Singh, three, of San Fernando. She was kidnapped on June 3 by a woman who told officials of Giselle's Montessori Pre-School in Vistabella that Singh's parents gave her permission to pick up their daughter. The woman wore a wig. The child was freed on June 5. KFC driver Deoraj Ragoonathsingh found her wandering on a road usually used as a shortcut to San Francique, where he lives.
Singh's family, who had made appeals to her kidnappers to free her, did not say whether a ransom had been paid. Singh celebrated her fourth birthday on June 10 at the San Fernando Yacht Club.
Four people were charged with kidnapping Saada Singh. They were kindergarten teacher Kimberly Moonsammy, 22, Coleen Osbourne, 22, Kimberly's cousin, Jonathan Moon-sammy, 21, and Keston Franklin, 25. Kimberly was a teacher at the pre-school. They were each granted (Can) $25,000 bail when they appeared in Court on June 8. As of June 11, though, no one appeared to stand their bail.
A large crowd gathered outside the court to jeer at the foursome as they made their way into the court.
The government is under tremendous pressure to bring the crime rate down. The murder rate as of June 11, 2004, stood at 109 as compared to 229 for 2003. For this year, a murder was committed on average every 35 hours compared to one killing every 38 hours last year. Last month Police Commissioner Everald Snaggs acknowledged that the murder rate had gone up by 5.3 percent. Snaggs said the Police Service was able to reduce woundings (18 percent), violent crimes (nine percent) and serious indecency (59.4 percent).
There has been a series of anti-crime protests in Cumuto in east Trinidad and Penal and San Fernando in the south. Crime continues to dominate the headlines: "Four murders in 24 hours"; "Yachtsman shot in Glencoe"; "Father killed going to buy bread" and "Boy, 16, charged in guard's murder."
Witnesses are also scared to come forward as some of them have been executed before they could give evidence. The government has been heavily promoting the value of CrimeStoppers by offering rewards if information offered about crime leads to arrests and charges being laid. Those four stories appeared on the same page of June 9 issue of the Daily Express.
Despite several appeals by the government to the Opposition to support the Police Service Bill 2003, the Police Complaints Authority 2003 and Constitution Amendment Bill 2003, the Basdeo Panday-led UNC has resisted.
The latter bill in particular seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish the Police Service Commission to provide for the establishment, composition, and powers of the Police Management Authority. The UNC has made it clear that certain provisions of the three-part Police Reform Bill can lead to the placing of tremendous power in the hands of the Prime Minister, for example, in granting him ultimate say in the appointment of the Commissioner of Police.
Panday, who has said a change in legislation alone will not reduce crime, has accused the PNM of purchasing expensive spy equipment not to use to fight crime, but to spy on the UNC. Panday has argued that the government has done little to properly equip the police to fight crime despite the fact that Trinidad and Tobago is now enjoying a windfall. The 2003/2004 budget was set at an oil price of (US) $22 per barrel, but the US/Iraq war has sent the price up to (US) $41 per barrel. This country rakes in millions daily for every US dollar that oil goes up by.
In its request on June 8 in Parliament to increase the 2004 budget of (Can) $5.5 billion by (Can) $166 million, the government said it was assigning (Can) $8 million to the Special Anti-Crime Unit.
Last year while delivering the 2004 budget, Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced the formation of the unit, a key feature of which deals with criminal intelligence gathering. The government has now gone the way of appealing to the public via print and electronic ads to get their UNC Members of Parliament to support the anti-crime bills.
Incidentally, the UNC derailed the PNM from office in 1995 by launching an anti-crime media blitz and seems set on using that same strategy to attack the government. Three independent senators are also critical of the government's anti-crime legislation. Among them is Dana Seetahal, who is also an attorney. Seetahal said on June 11 she was concerned about proposed changes in the bill facilitating the abolition of the Police Service Commission and the possible political involvement of the Police Complaints Authority.
"I also don't understand why anyone is holding out these bills as the panacea to crime in T&T," Seetahal said. "I feel the weight given to these bills is only for political mileage."

 

 

   

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