Headlines      Issue Released November 3, 2004


At the Table: Ian and Merle Ramdial of NAAC (extreme right), Rev. Arthur Dayfoot, (5th from right), Mrs. Bessie Dayfoot (seated on wheelchair) and Elaine Darling of March of Dimes, (4th from right) at the AccessAbility Table erected for the physically disabled.

Giving back to the community

By Manshad Mohamed

The Naparima Alumni Association of Canada (NAAC) in partnership with Ontario March of Dimes and Rev. Arthur and Bessie Dayfoot installed a universal picnic table at Huron and Washington Park in the vicinity of the University of Toronto (U of T) campus on October 16.

"People with physical disabilities who live and attend school in the UofT area will now have a picnic table that will meet their needs," said Elaine Darling, Ontario March of Dimes Coordinator.This table allows access for wheelchairs as the legs are positioned in the centre, the seat support bar is lowered and there is room for two wheelchairs.

The AccessAbility Table is a product of skilled volunteers working with the Ontario March of Dimes to build one of a kind products to meet the needs of individuals with physical disabilities.

The NAAC provided this facility as a means of "giving back to the community," according to Ras Shreeram of the NAAC executive.

At the same time and place, NAAC chose to honour Rev. Arthur and Bessie Dayfoot for their enormous contributions to the life of the Naparima institutions in Trinidad and Tobago.

Rev. Dayfoot is a former Principal of the St. Andrews Theological College in Paradise Pasture, San Fernando.

In keeping with the NAAC philosophy of educational and cultural interaction within the society, the NAAC also provides financial support for various programmes in Ontario e.g. bursaries for graduating high school students, funding steelband music as a credit course in their regular curriculum at three colleges in the GTA, donations to libraries, hospitals, churches and various charities. The NAAC also continues to lend financial support to the alma mater schools in Trinidad.




In the pursuit of learning: At the Devi Mandir in Pickering,

Sewa Canada International Aid presented a cheque For $11,001 to Swami Aksharanandaji, Founder and Principal of Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN), Guyana's only Hindu Secondary School, on October 24, 2004. SVN, a not-for-profit secondary school set up at a cost of about Guy $16M, was opened in May 2003. Funding was obtained from local and overseas donations . SVN offers mainstream education but with emphasis on a Hindu way of life. Courses in Hinduism are part of the school's curriculum.



TT govt denies ‘death squad’

By Sandra Chouthi

Special to Indo Caribbean World

Port-of-Spain — The government continues to deny Opposition charges of an official death squad in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. This denial follows United National Congress Opposition charges in Parliament last week that 21 people had been killed by the police in 2004.

The most recent killings were those of four youths, all of Felicity in central Trinidad — Prem Narad, 15, of Pingla Street; Dennis Roopchand, 20, of Phillip Street; Ravi Boodoo, 16, of Union Village, and Kevin Singh, 16, of Cacandee Road, on October 19.

Police said taxi-driver Jairam Ragoo, 48, of 127 Main Road, Felicity, was operating his vehicle for hire around 7.30 p.m. when he picked up a woman, Krishendaye Kissoon, 32, of Enterprise Street, Chaguanas.Ragoo, who lives close to the home of Singh, also picked up the four. They proceeded to attack, chop and beat him with a gun. Ragoo said his hand was cut when he struggled to hold back a cutlass held by one of his attackers. He told police that he was stuffed into the trunk of his Nissan Laurel Medalist as the young men escaped with his car. Kissoon was released and called the police. Ragoo later escaped in the area of the Waterloo cremation site in Carapichaima. When the car slowed down, he managed to open his trunk and ran into the sea.

Members of the Guard and Emergency Branch spotted the car at St Mary’s Junction shortly after 9 p.m. and pursued it. In their effort to escape, the men hit a Nissan B12 Sentra after breaking a traffic light, injuring an unidentified man and his two children. They were taken to hospital. Police officers in a station wagon blocked the stolen vehicle from behind. The young men began shooting at police, who returned fire, it was reported.

The shooting death by the police of robbery suspect Sherman Monsegue, 17, of Schuller Street, Carenage, on October 13 has also raised concerns. Police said that Monsegue shot at them when they identified themselves. Following the death of Monsegue, who police said belonged to a gang known as "Baby Face," enraged residents of Carenage in west Trinidad staged a protest, calling for justice. They set old debris afire, put up barricades and dragged old drums and pieces of wood across the Carenage Main Road.

Police and soldiers had to be called out to quell the residents’ rowdy behaviour. Monsegue’s mother, Deborah, said while she knew people were hurting, residents should stay out of trouble.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning referred to killings by the police on October 24 when he said there was a need for balance in law enforcement. Speaking at the People’s National Movement Women’s League 38th annual conference at the Fyzabad Composite school, Manning said it was unacceptable for citizens to be gunned down in cold blood.

Manning, who is also head of the National Security Council, expressed concern at the September beating death of Ignatius Owen, who was detained at the Golden Grove Prison in Arouca on a child maintenance warrant.

"It is also unacceptable that somebody should be sent into a remand yard in the prison for not paying maintenance and end up dead in days," he said. While commending hardworking police officers, Manning said he understood the pressures under which they had to work and that were it not for them, the crime situation would be worse.

National Security Minister Martin Joseph has also denied the Opposition’s claims of a death squad in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Replying to the UNC’s charges in Parliament, Joseph said he had been approached by some prominent citizens who suggested that the government should put something in place to "take some people out."

"I told them that we cannot even think about that. I told them that there is a country (Guyana) which is being scrutinised for allegedly being engaged in such action," Joseph said.

"I said we are going to deal with crime and criminal activity in this country in which, at the end of the day, we will be able to hold our head high." Joseph admitted that the number of police killings had increased from 12 in 2003 to 21 this year.

"There is no death squad existing in the Police Service," Joseph declared, "and no such arrangement will ever be tolerated in this country. In most instances, it’s a small group of persons who are bringing the Service into disrepute and we need to put measures in place to deal with that."

Opposition leader Basdeo Panday has joined the relatives of those killed in their call for an investigation into the number of police killings. Speaking at the Waterloo community centre on October 26, Panday, who admitted that police officers under attack must defend themselves, said there were glaring discrepancies between the police reports of these killings and those of eyewitnesses.

"Government has unleashed brutality under the guise of fighting crime," Panday alleged. Police Commissioner Trevor Paul on October 27 said that investigations into six of the 21 killings (in 14 incidents) are completed and the other eight are 90 percent complete. Paul said seven of those reports were sent to either the Clerk of the Peace or the coroner for an inquest.


                Headlines Continued