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Women of Elegance stages Royalty
Published: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Royalty is the theme for the third edition of Women of Elegance, which takes place on Sunday at Jaffa at the Oval at 6 pm.

Founded by young entrepreneur Ghenere Lindsi Heerah, Women of Elegance is a movement to motivate, encourage and reach out to professional women, to communicate and to build a strong bond for the challenges that face them in the corporate world.

Sunday’s event will be hosted by Golda Lee Bruce, Deputy Head of News of CNC3, and will feature attorney Rebekah Ali-Gouveia, president of The Elpis Centre, singer Denyse Plummer and motivational speaker Natalie James Bagot. 

“As we move into our next event and beyond, we have to be equipped, we have to be prepared. Most importantly we have to be ready,” said Heerah.

“Today, there are a number of professional women young and old who are making their mark, accomplishing goals and reaching the horizons of their professional dreams and careers but are not fully operating yet at their maximum potential.

Heerah said: “In other words, we seem to be still searching sometimes. Searching for that right career boost, the right relationship, the right spiritual bearing…the right crowd, the list goes on and on, but the Women of Elegance seeks to step in and to offer positive options for all women to make the right choices, more so be motivated to be on top of their game, in a world that seems bent on violating our women folk.”

Heerah said she is currently exploring a concept and project entitled TTP (Teach the People) a social centric project aimed at single parents, the impoverished and the challenged. The focus will be on right parenting, building on values and contributing to building and sustaining the development of society. 

“We intend to partner with governmental and NGOs to reach the un-reached. Now, I wish not to be misunderstood here, we will also be targeting various other factions of society to ensure that we reach all levels and all corners of our beloved nation,” she said.

There are also plans to host a Women of Elegance event in Tobago next year, titled Purpose-filled Woman.

Ghenere Lindsi Heerah
Windies humbled in T20 opener
Published: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016

DUBAI—Reigning World champions West Indies were humbled by Pakistan in the opening Twenty20 International yesterday, after virtually condemning themselves with a feeble batting effort at the Dubai International Stadium.

Sent in, they recovered from a shocking position of 48 for eight in the 12th over to stumble to 115 all out with a ball remaining in the innings, and Pakistan wasted little time in cruising to their target in the 15th over, to complete an uncomplicated nine-wicket victory and take a valuable 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was the only one to emerge from the encounter with any semblance of pride, striking a top score of 55 from 54 balls under pressure.

He put on a 66 in an all-time record ninth wicket stand with Jerome Taylor who made 21, but the Caribbean side never really recovered from the damage done by left-arm spinner Imad Wasim who ripped through the innings with a Man-of-the-Match spell of five for 14 from his four overs.

In reply, Pakistan never looked in danger of botching their run chase and Babar Azam made sure of this with a fluent unbeaten 55 off 37 deliveries.

In only his second T20 International, the right-hander smashed six fours and two sixes and posted a match-winning, unbroken 88-run, second wicket stand with opener Khalid Latif who made a patient 34 not out from 32 balls.

With the second T20 International scheduled for Saturday at the same venue, West Indies were left with several problems to solve in a short space of time.

Without the experience of axed captain Darren Sammy and the unavailable Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, West Indies stumbled and stuttered from the outset.

Left-hander Evin Lewis holed out in the deep for one off the fifth ball of the innings from Imad Wasim who then removed both Andre Fletcher (2) and Marlon Samuels (4) within the space of three deliveries in his next over.

Fletcher missed a slog at the second delivery and was bowled and Samuels pushed forward defensively, missed one that came on with the arm, and was adjudged lbw.

In the very next over – the fourth of the innings – opener Johnson Charles gave himself too much room, missed a cut and was bowled for seven by another left-armer, Mohammad Nawaz, as West Indies crashed to 17 for four.

When debutant Nicholas Pooran feathered a catch behind off left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir for five at 22 for five, the Windies seemed in serious danger of their lowest T20I score but Bravo combined with Kieron Pollard (9) to settle the innings down in a 25-run, sixth wicket stand.

They seemed to be laying the groundwork for a recovery when Imad returned in a second spell to break the stand, bowling Pollard as the right-hander looked to play through the on-side, at 47 for six in the 11th over.

And Imad became the first Pakistani spinner to take a five-wicket haul in T20s when he removed captain Carlos Brathwaite two balls later without scoring, top-edging a paddle sweep to Khalid Latif who ran around to leg gully from slip to pouch the catch.

When Sunil Narine (1) failed to beat Latif’s direct hit from mid-off on a badly judged quick single, West Indies were in a deep hole but Bravo bailed them out with a quality knock which included four fours and two sixes.

He started slowly with his first 18 runs requiring 32 balls but accelerated to reach his fourth T20I half-century off 50 balls. He took 13 runs from the 15th over bowled by Tanvir and combined with Tylor to garner 19 from the following over from seamer Hasan Ali – the most expensive over of the innings.

Bravo raised his half-century in the 19th over by clearing the ropes at cover with left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz but perished in the deep off the penultimate delivery of the innings, with West Indies desperately chasing runs.

The Windies then needed an early breakthrough to remain in the game but none came, as Sharjeel Khan hammered three fours and a six in a 17-ball 22, to dominate an opening stand of 28 with Latif.

And even when he bowled by leg-spinner Samuel Badree in the fourth over, Latif and Babar kept Pakistan on course with positive stroke-play.

SCOREBOARD

Pakistan vs West Indies – 1st T20I

WEST INDIES

J Charles b Nawaz     7

E Lewis c Nawaz b Wasim     1

A Fletcher b Wasim     2

M Samuels lbw b Wasim     4

DJ Bravo c Akmal b Tanvir     55

N Pooran c wkp Ahmed b Ali     5

K Pollard b Wasim     9

C Brathwaite c K Latif b Wasim     0

S Narine run out     1

J Taylor b Tanvir     21

S Badree not out     1

Extras (lb2, w5, nb2)     9

TOTAL (all out; 19.5 overs)     115

Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Lewis, 0.5 overs), 2-11 (Fletcher, 2.2), 3-15 (Samuels, 2.4), 4-17 (Charles, 3.4), 5-22 (Pooran, 4.3), 6-47 (Pollard, 10.3), 7-47 (Brathwaite, 10.5), 8-48 (Narine, 11.3), 9-114 (Taylor, 19.2), 10-115 (Bravo, 19.5).

Bowling: Imad Wasim 4-0-14-5, Sohail Tanvir 3.5-0-26-2 (w2), Mohammad Nawaz 4-0-16-1, Hasan Ali 3-0-32-1 (w1, nb1), Shoaib Malik 1-0-5-0 (w1), Wahab Riaz 4-1-20-0 (w1, nb1).

PAKISTAN

Sharjeel Khan b Badree     22

Khalid Latif not out     34

Babar Azam not out     55

Extras (lb1, w3, nb1)     5

TOTAL (1 wkt, 14.2 overs)    116

Did not bat: Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal,     +Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir, Hasan Ali

Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Sharjeel Khan, 3.5 overs).

Bowling: Badree 4-0-27-1 (w1), Taylor 1-0-8-0, Narine 3-0-21-0, DJ Bravo 2-0-16-0 (w1), Brathwaite 2.2-0-29-0 (nb1), Pollard 2-0-14-0 (w1).

Result: Pakistan won by nine wickets.

Series: Pakistan lead three-match series 1-0.

Man-of-the-match: Imad Wasim.

Toss: Pakistan. Umpires: Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza; TV: Ahmed Shahab. (CMC)

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo … top-scored with 55 for West Indies.
MAN & CHILD: Wrong children
Published: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Kevin Baldeosingh

I once knew a woman who paid her son $100 whenever she wanted him to drop her somewhere. I was absolutely appalled when she told me this. If my mother, or even my aunts, ever offered me money to carry them anywhere, I’d be tempted to ask them if they mad. And I wondered what kind of son would take his mother’s money for transport.

But then, on another occasion, the same woman told me how she used to beat her son for peeing in his playpen. He was a tall baby and, by the time he was one year old, was able to climb out of the playpen. “If he coulda do that, he shoulda know not to pee,” she explained. And so I realised that there were probably many other similar stories she hadn’t told me which would explain why, as a grown man, her son would take taxi fare from her. 

I had this view even before I had my own children. And I was always sceptical of adults who complained about their bad children. When girls run away from home, for example, nearly everyone always assumes that they are “hot up.” But what are they running away from? I always figure the parents who come to the media for help to find their child are telling less than half of the real story. (But reporters never probe, because they too usually assume that the child just own way.) 

“Severely punished children often become runaways as soon as they are old enough,” writes American psychologist Thomas Gordon in his book Teaching Children Self Discipline. In this context, it is interesting that you never hear parents coming to the media to look for their runaway sons. Do boys not run away from home? If so, is it because most parents stop beating boy children when they reach puberty and start to get muscles? Or is it because they are glad when the boys leave home?

Gordon also notes that “School dropouts are almost always students who have given up trying, either because they have been physically or psychologically punished by the teacher or because they want to escape the daily punishment of getting failing grades, of being rebuked by their teachers and ridiculed by their classmates.” 

And I am also sceptical about reports of students attacking teachers. Again, everyone from the Education Minister down always assumes that the child is entirely in the wrong, as though there is absolutely no possibility that the teacher may have in some way provoked the attack. Yet, if policy-makers are serious about creating well-ordered schools, they must surely consider the possible deficiencies of teachers, beyond inappropriate dress.

I am bringing up my daughter and son to demand, and give, reasons for everything. That will probably put them in conflict with some teachers, and at times even with their parents. However, I am quite certain that, when they start to drive, my children will never ask me to pay them for a drop.

FATCA drama starts new House Session
Published: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Certainly a blast-off yesterday to the Second Session of the Eleventh Parliament. 

And if it’s anything to go by, the rest of the Parliamentary year will be filled with more political punches, brinksmanship and hardline posturing. An ominous sign for the Second 2016-2017 Session of the term.

Yesterday, drama aplenty came when some of those punches were pelted between the PNM Government and Opposition in face-off on the controversial legislation concerning the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) with the US. 

It has been the political bane of both sides in the last days of the First Session due to the bill’s implications for the banking/economic landscape, the urgency to pass it by its September 30 deadline and the pressure being applied by the financial sector for its passage after both political sides initially dug in on the matter.

Bottom line for the bill: no passage—forget about using your credit cards, buying stuff online, doing fund transfers of any kind and general chaos for any TT-US banking arrangements. And T&T’s economy.

So, the greetings for the new Session which MPs on both sides exchanged yesterday prior to business, faded into battle mode after Finance Minister Colm Imbert got down to work immediately after the opening Session formalities.

Imbert’s promise not to rehash the bill and simply do some “mapping”—implying he might have been brief—apparently faded from memory as he proceeded to deliver Government’s latest push on the bill. Beating up on the Opposition and backing down on a couple clauses of the bill the Opposition had sought changes on, 

“Sit down!” Imbert ordered Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar as she rose (with a grin) to ask for similar changes as the one he’d agreed to. A development the Opposition had heartily desk-thumped its victory on. 

Imbert may not have been as amused by her not-so subtle attempt to rub his political nose in the fact he’d conceded on changing the clause. The clause was being brought back in another section, he shot back.

But by that time everyone else was in full battle armour also.

“It’s time for the dishonesty of the UNC to stop!” Imbert thundered again.

“...Look in the mirror....” UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh prescribed.

But all humour was lost when Imbert sprung a surprise: proposing adjournment for an hour to discuss the bill with the Opposition. Rumble of rejection from Opposition MPs. Which rose to a roar in subsequent minutes. 

In the vote which was taken on the issue, Opposition MPs found assorted eloquent one-liners to veto the move. But with Government majority numbers it was carried. And since it was a motion on which the House had voted, it had to be done. Meeting or no meeting.

It was clear from the Opposition’s first objection, it was to be “no meeting.”

So off they all went: Government to a nearby committee room to cool their heels expecting the Opposition. The latter, to inform reporters they were having none of it.

“I won’t meet them in private, but in the Parliament!” Persad-Bissessar declared - explaining just why- with applause from her MPs behind her.

After one hour of precious Parliamentary time (lost) in their respective corners—sans discussions—each returned to the Chamber for further battle. But after Persad-Bissessar was subsequently evicted from the Chamber and colleagues departed with her — leaving UNC’s Bhoe Tewarie to battle on the bill — the chaotic sitting ended.

With that, the House adjourned—to Budget Day next Friday. Once again, FATCA left foundering, for now.

Opposition officials said the UNC was forced to issue full page newspaper ads yesterday to state its case on the issue—the first time the party issued ads since 2015 general elections. It may not be the last: FATCA “debate” seems to be preliminary launch of upcoming local government election season. 

The PNM presented the bill—which has to be approved by the September 30 deadline—just before the close of the last session, faulting UNC for not completing it in their term when agreement with the US was signed. Strident Government tone may have won grandstanding points, but was poor backdrop for encouraging support.

Nobody scored points yesterday. Hopefully, that—more than the confusion which has attended this bill—will be the lesson of yesterday’s launch of the Second Session. And will be heeded in future sittings.

Addressing the economic crisis
Published: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016

PT 2

I ended my last column stating there are small and medium sized businesses in T&T actively seeking foreign markets. For some, this has always been their revenue source, for others, it’s now a matter of survival in this economic downturn. But together, they can finally get us onto the path of economic diversification, turning T&T into more of an export-driven country. All that is missing is the right environment.

Our ministries and state agencies all reflect a dangerous culture of obtuseness and apathy. These traits are an ever present undertow, drowning innovation and stifling imaginative minds. 

In his recent address to the nation, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley sought to exhort each citizen to be part of our economic redemption. It was mildly stirring but of little value because we’re being sent into battle armed with sticks and bluster. 

The citizen cohort Dr Rowley attempts to rally requires state support systems that are sturdy scaffolding for bold business goals. We need a public service that a) shows up for work, and b) actually works while at work. 

Here’s what that mindset looks like. “Exporting is Great” is a five-year programme in the United Kingdom purposed with getting 100,000 additional companies exporting by 2020. Check out the webpage www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk/opportunities/. There, UK businesses have access to a real time list of export opportunities around the world in industries ranging from aerospace to water. These opportunities are sorted by sector, market and even contract value. Included in that list are Caribbean countries like Barbados, Grenada and, yours gruesomely, T&T. 

This is an incredible resource for enterprises trying to spread their wings, especially small businesses for whom time is a supremely precious commodity. Most entrepreneurs know export market research can take months, possibly even years. Particularly noteworthy is the utilitarian nature of the “Exporting is Great” website. An easily navigable website that puts such information at your fingertips shaves considerable time off the research pilgrimage. This is time which can be dedicated to product development and marketing. This real time facility opens export opportunities to smaller businesses who may not have the resources for costly traditional trade missions. 

The UK’s Department of International Trade also has an e-exporting programme. Go to the link, www.gov.uk/guidance/e-exporting. This programme offers businesses interested in e-exporting access to the Department’s global network of contacts and an e-commerce adviser to help them develop and implement an international online strategy. There is also assistance with doing business on global e-marketplaces. The programme demonstrates the UK government’s recognition of the importance of e-exporting as it gives businesses the ability to conduct trade 24/7 and access to new markets in a low cost manner.

Additionally, there is an archive of videos on the many aspects of e-exporting. It is a one-stop information booth for discombobulated e-travellers. 

Those are just two examples of proactive state interventions, giving UK citizens the tools they desperately need to make it in the global export market. 

What is the situation here at home? The exportTT website, which is perhaps the best approximation of a corresponding facility, is a good foundation. Particularly useful are video testimonials of local businessmen sharing their experiences breaking into foreign markets. One in particular, explains product labelling requirements for European markets. So some helpful information there. But this website is not without its shortcomings. It isn’t the easiest place to navigate. A more thoughtful layout would deliver a user-friendly, less time consuming experience. 

The website also seems flush with dead end corridors and documents with little practical or educative value. A posting of trade agreement summaries is interesting background, but small and medium sized businesses are no doubt looking for disambiguated guidelines and practical instructions. There is also no apparent recognition on the exportTT website that e-commerce is a growing global force. As a resource for outward looking businesses it is a good start, albeit in an era that demands a quantum leap in our export orientation. 

So ours is a steep climb, made steeper still by an unco-operative and sluggish public service yet to get on board with what this country is trying to accomplish.

Recently, I watched a documentary about the global multi-billion dollar fresh-cut flower industry. It profiled a Kenyan horticultural business supplying the European market. These flower growers are able to get their produce to auctions in the Netherlands within 48 hours of harvesting. Such a business model would not be possible without an efficient customs department, appreciative of the perishable nature of the commodity. And this is Kenya people! 

Until our public service attitudes match our burning ambitions to become more export-driven, our goals will remain beyond our grasp. We can no longer tolerate the “Yuh go ha’ to come back tomorrow…please Gord” posture on business. 

The times have changed. Fewer people expect government to continue on in the role of investor. You do your job and I’ll do mine. Dr Rowley wants all citizens to partner in our economic salvation. Don’t give us your words, give us the tools.

Nip illegal barricade before trend starts
Published: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016

As the nation celebrates its 40th anniversary as a Republic, there are signs in the body politic of threats to peace, stability and authorised governance by criminality which has become as bold as can conceivably be in its imposition on constitutional government.

Earlier this week, a story carried in this newspaper suggested a taking control of a street on the Beetham Estate by a criminal gang and gang leader. 

Overnight, a mystery barrier was erected at the place referred as Hell Yard, blocking traffic in and out with those wanting to enter having to meet some unknown requirement. 

Moreover, as the story reported, the blockade was being monitored by gang members who keep vigil to ensure only those vehicles wanted in the area would be allowed to pass the barrier.

Neither Senior Supt Mc Donald Jacob, who is in charge of the Port-of-Spain Division, Councillor Franz Lambkin of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation, knew who authorised erection of the barricade. 

“So far, what we were told was that the concrete wall that was erected was done so by the Government and it was done by a contractor, but what we are trying to find out is who put that barricade there because we want to get it down. 

“That is the public road. We are trying to see if anybody authorised it,” Snr Supt, told the T&T Guardian.

Mr Lambkin confirmed that no application was made to Town and Country to erect the barrier and no permission given.

But if that were the only incident of criminality showing its face as being unafraid of the civil authority and demonstrating intention to convert this place into a state in which gangsters can do as they please, that would have been sufficient reason for pause and cause.

But a few weeks ago, there they were photos (of gangsters) plastered across the face of this newspaper with their sophisticated weaponry sending a message to the police and army that they are well-armed and not afraid of displaying their fire power.

The broad daylight shootings in the city of Port-of-Spain and elsewhere have almost become accepted and the security services have not been able to capture and prosecute such individuals who commit their murders and walk away with impunity.

These are not matters to be taken lightly. 

Every criminal act committed without the offenders being held and made to pay for their crimes emboldens others to follow the same route.

On the other side, each criminal offensive places greater fear in the hearts of citizens who are committed to accepted authority and live their lives seeking to obey the rule of law.

If allowed to continue without check, soon enough gangs are likely to take complete control of local areas and such illegal acquisition will not remain there but spread to ever wider communities.

This is not an unknown phenomenon. It has happened in the garrison communities of Kingston, Jamaica. 

For a couple of decades, drug cartels controlled large swathes of territory in Latin American countries such as Colombia, at one time Guatemala and in African countries where war lords remain in control of parts of countries. 

The ultimate takeover of criminality with a purpose is that of ISIS. 

The leaders of that group have occupied parts of Syria and Iraq and are waging war against the western world. 

These are examples of the extreme but were takeovers that started at relatively small points like those which are happening here in places such as Beetham. 

This country needs to be rescued from the trending of the moment.

Parents protest over unfinished primary school

Parents of students attending the Curepe Presbyterian Primary School are calling on the Ministry of Education to complete the new school building so that students can be relocated from the old facility which is now posing a threat to their health.

During an early morning protest outside the school at Lyndon Street, Curepe, yesterday the angry parents said work was halted last May but was yet to resume one year later.

Claiming they were unaware as to why it had officially stopped, parent Aruna Mohammed-Singh explained:

“They took almost the entire back of the compound where the football field was to start construction. They raised the level of the new school so that it was slightly higher than that of the existing school so whenever there is heavy rainfall, it is now affecting the building the children and teachers occupy.”

Mohammed-Singh said a temporary connection with the existing drainage and sewer system had led to the old school building flooding every time it rained heavily.

She added: “There is flooding in the bathrooms the students have to use as well as those used by the teachers. 

“There is sewer water gathering and settling near the Infants Department which encourages mosquitoes and is a health hazard to all the students. Also, there are rats now as the bushes at the back are overgrown.”

Adding that there was a lack of parking spaces on the compound with teachers having to park on the roadway, she said students were unable to enjoy any recreation as the school was cramped and overcrowded.

Mohammed-Singh said they had been warned by the contractor not to enter the unfinished premises which remained locked.

She said teachers and parents were willing to clean the site which also had containers on it but that suggestion had been rejected.

She appealed to the authorities to complete the building which she said was already 75 per cent finished.

Mohammed-Singh said the new building needed to be wired and outfitted with furniture.

Revealing the problems had resulted in the early dismissal of classes several times since the new school term started, she said the 660 students and 28 teachers were unhappy about the matter.

Calls to the head of the Presbyterian School Board, Lennox Sirjuesingh, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association Devanand Sinanan and Education Minister Anthony Garcia all proved futile.

Meanwhile, teachers of the Sangre Grande Secondary School remained away from work for a third consecutive day yesterday.

Teachers reportedly embarked on sick out action on Wednesday morning after the sewer system began malfunctioning.

Parents claimed school officials assured that remedial work would be carried out this weekend.

However, they have vowed to continue to stay away from classes if the problem was not rectified by Monday.

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