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Fashion MORE INFO ‘warrior’ debuts latest collection
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fashion designer Charlene Sheppard-Duncan spends half the year travelling, mostly to Africa and Asia, where her designs are inspired and made. She's seen Kenya, Hungary, Siberia, Ghana, India, Swaziland, Thailand, Belgium, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Togo, Malaysia, Philippines and Morocco, among other places.

She often travels alone. It's a preference that inspired the name of her latest collection, Warriors Walk Alone, unveiled recently at the Big Black Box in Woodbrook. (Editor's note: To see the Culturego Magazine photo gallery of the collection, go to: culturegomag.com)

“If I go with someone they're afraid to take risks,” she said. “They would say, 'Girl, why you're going over there? You're not afraid?' I said, 'Afraid of what?'

“I consider myself a warrior because I have to figure it out alone,” she added in response to a question.

“I have to get gangster with the men in India because women don't do business in India. I can't be afraid. I can't show fear.”

Sheppard-Duncan has been in the business for more than two decades. She's stylist, designer and friend to singer Erykah Badu, who wore one of Sheppard-Duncan's designs in the video for the hit Tyrone and at the 2005 Oscar ceremony.

Sheppard-Duncan, who was born in Trinidad, has lived in New York since she went there as a teen to pursue her dream of being a designer. It's one she had since spotting the bald, ostentatiously dressed fashion icon Yoko Fung in Port-of-Spain, where Sheppard-Duncan lived at the time.

Sheppard-Duncan's designs sold under the label Afrofunkk are for people who share her and Fung's spirit, who aren't afraid to be different, to stand out. Just like it is walking through unfamiliar parts of Africa, walking among notoriously judgmental Trinidadians dressed like Sheppard-Duncan and Fung requires courage.

At the Big Black Box show, Sheppard-Duncan wore a long purple dress with sleeves reaching her elbows. Her forearms and fingers were almost completely covered in gold jewelry. Her thick hair was topped by a bright green and eggplant turban.

Fung, who had pride of place closest to the stage and runway, was dressed in black vest and tights, a netted scarf covering the back of her head and neck and draping across her bosom. She wore glasses with frames that looked like spider webs.

“Sometimes I walk down the street and people have lots of things to say about me. In Trinidad. Nowhere else. 'She crazy or what? She playing mas,'” said Sheppard-Duncan, recalling comments.

“Some days I'm okay with it. And some days I'm going to answer you to suit.”

“I'm trying to change that kind of thinking,” she added. “I'm sure there are fashion students who go to the fashion school here who think like me but they are afraid, so they kind of stifle their art. I want people to know it's okay to be yourself.”

Sheppard-Duncan's life and career are about taking chances and having them pay off. She wanted to go to the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, even though she didn't know what it took to do that.

“When I got to New York I got a rude awakening,” she said. “You had to have a good portfolio to get into FIT. I had to build my portfolio up. I struggled, (ate) ramen noodle soup. I was determined to be a fashion designer.”

After graduating from FIT, Sheppard-Duncan was nanny for the son of designer Regina Kravitz. The arrangement allowed Sheppard-Duncan to observe and learn from Kravitz.

She also sold her clothes and accessories

at street fairs in New York. Her mother in Trinidad would paint fabric and send it for her to make dresses. A representative of Essence magazine saw her work and Continues on Page B38

Looks from the Warriors Walk Alone collection by Afrofunkk, at the Big Black Box, Woodbrook, on November 26. PHOTOS COURTESY CULTUREGO MAGAZINE
Please help me clean up this mess
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Sea Lots woman:

Cecelia Isaac is not pleading for food, groceries or handouts.

All the 45-year-old mother wants is for someone in authority to visit where she lives in Sea Lots and clear thousands of plastic bottles and debris which have been posing a health hazard to her and members of her family.

“This is more than filth,” she said.

She said all her pleas have fallen on deaf ears over the years.

Isaac's house is mere metres away from the sea where young children go to play. The water is black and murky and is littered with thousands of plastic bottles that have washed up on the edge from nearby rivers.

She said, “We accustomed spending Christmas in this mess. This is not the first time, it is years now.”

Frustration showed on her face when the T&T Guardian visited her at her Production Drive home. With the appearance of a labyrinth, the narrow pathway to her house paved the way to the sea. Inside of Isaac's house was bare. Her stove was almost rusty and the ply board around the structure was rotted. The watermarks from the high tides were clear. Her refrigerator served as a storage for her paper documents.

A few weeks ago, she was awakened by high waters and debris inside of her house. She and her children ran for safety in a bathroom. There, they slept on a mattress.

“That morning I had nothing, no food, nothing, and I was frustrated,” she said.

She said she visited the Ministry of Social Development to apply for assistance and told the representatives there that it made no sense giving her food (food card) “because I have no place to cook it."

Through the kindness of her neighbours, she would get food on evenings. However, she collected wood to make a fireside and would roast “sapatay” (type of fish) which she got from the nearby jetty.

Isaac said, “By the grace of God we eat, but we need some assistance here."

She labelled herself as “a hustler,” saying she survived by collecting glass bottles and would make up to $500 a week. She also receives a government grant of $1,150.

She has 12 children, four of whom live with her. Isaac called on the relevant officials in Government “to come and see."

'I just need help'

Isaac said, “Real people in office know me but they never come. Seeing is believing.”

Most of her earnings in the past have been used to block off the water and debris from entering the property. Using cement, clay blocks and any material she could find, Isaac worked tirelessly to cordon off the area but with little success. She even fell ill doing so and was hospitalised.

“I am just asking for assistance to clean this,” as she pointed to the sea.

She said while she could not prevent people from dumping rubbish, she did her small part by “toting it outside”.

The empty space in front of her house, she said, was littered with trash but over time, she did what she could “to maintain it”.

Boldly showing her PNM party card, Isaac said she has been a member since 2005 and criticised the Government saying, “We voting because we is a PNM but we not getting the assistance from the PNM. We will get support when they come and drop the jersey. Baby have on jersey, this one have on jersey, but then nobody come to say well you support me and let me see how to help.”

She said although she has been living in such deplorable conditions for years, she continues to support the PNM.

“I don't want to ask for plenty, just for someone to come and clean this place and put some proper drainage.”

Several calls to MP for Port-of-Spain South Marlene McDonald's phone went unanswered. 

(LEFT) Thousands of plastic bottles and debris in front of Cecelia Isaac's home, which faces the sea in Sea Lots. (RIGHT) Sea Lots resident, Cecelia Isaac, shows off her PNM party card during an interview with the Sunday Guardian.  PHOTOS: RHONDA RAMBALLY
Semper, Stauble take CCT Multi-Sport Triathlon
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ayomine Gilbert-Semper and Cherise Stauble won the Sprint Triathlon Elite races at the 2016 Caribbean Cross-Training (CCT) Multi-Sport Festival at Store Bay last Saturday.

Gilbert-Semper took the men’s race in one hour 28 minutes and 8 seconds ahead of Hayden Reid (1:34.51), while Stauble copped the ladies crown in 1:39.29 getting the better of Sonia Mohammed 2:01.22. In the Sprint Triathlon, the competitors swam 750m before embarking on a 20km bicycle ride along the Store Bay Local Road and a 5K run along the same route.

Gilbert was the first to emerge from the waters, completing the swim in 12 minutes 51 seconds. Reid was two seconds behind (12.53) while the winner completed the ride in 43.22 and the run in 28:48. Stauble returned times of 18.35, 45.31and 32.41 at each stage.

In the Open Sprint Triathlon, top ladies’ finisher Riana Harrinauth was first overall, beating all the male competitors. Harrinauth got the line in 1:44.35 (17.34/46.16/39.29) to finish almost four minutes ahead of the first man Jabari George 1:48.02. Aliya Drakes (1:50.30) was the second woman to finish while Navindra Ramahar (1:49.16) and Derek Daniel (1:60.29) following George across the line.

In the Beginners Triathlon (Swim-200m/Bike-7.5 km/Run-2.5 km), Esther Amos (25:45) and Ronald Boynes (28:01) were the top Female and Male finishers.

Jelani Mentore took the Try-A Tri event ahead of Thomas Chung. Mentore completed the 375m swim in 12 minutes 45 seconds, the 7.5 km ride (13: 23) and 2.5 km swim  (6.48) in 25:45, while Thomas was behind in 1:13.07 (12:45/39:03/19:58). Thomas is the younger brother of national triathlete Matthew Chung. Eight-year-old Theo Bickell-Roberts secured the Boys 6-8 Youth Triathlon ahead of another eight-year-old Jayvorn Horsford. Bickel-Roberts was the quickest over the 50m swim, 3Km ride and 500 run in 12:16, while Horsford clocked 12:50.

Justin Boynes was the winner of the Boys 11-12 Triathlon (Swim-100m/Bike-4.5 km/Run-1.5 km) in 11.26 ahead of Aden Carrington (17:26).

In the 1500m Open Water Swim the Allen family dominated.  Dominique Nurse Allen (27:15) finished ahead of her mother Caroline Allen (42:21) in the ladies race, while brother Tomi Nurse-Allen took the men’s event (49:36) ahead of Navindra Ramadar (53:02).  Daniel Bennett (57:29) and Angel Kurban (56:67) were the lone competitors in the 3000m swim.

Later in the afternoon, Carrie Dumas and Hayden Reid ran away with the 5 km top awards. Dumas claimed the ladies discipline in 35:40 with Sonia Mohammed (27:07) in second. Dumas’ mother Charmaine Chapman (30:32) was third. Reid (20:44) secured the men’s prize with Winston Chadband (21:12) and triathlon champion Ayomine Gilbert-Semper (21:38) taking the minor places.

The 2016 Caribbean Cross-Training Multi-Sport Festival was sponsored by Division of Tourism and Transportation of the Tobago House of Assembly, Damien’s Bike Shop, VEMCO, Dasani/Powerade (Caribbean Bottlers Ltd) and CCT Multi-Sport Store. The organisers of this year’s festival will like to thanks the sponsors and contributors (Randal Jackson, Rotary Tobago, Williams Fitness Group, Hot 93 FM, Amy Castagne and parents of the CCT.  

(ABOVE) Cherise Stauble collects her winning prize from organiser Andrew Eligon after the Elite Sprint Triathlon at the 2016 Caribbean Cross Training Multi-Sport Festival. (BELOW) Ayomine Gilbert-Semper, winner of the Caribbean Training Multi-Sport Festival Men’s Elite Sprint Triathlon, left, receives the winning trophy from organiser Andrew Eligon.
Nero, Johnson look for more success today
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Local middle-distance runners will hit the road today to compete in the National Association of Athletic Administrations of T&T (NAAATT) and National Gas Company (NGC) Cross Country Championships at the Queen’s Park Savannah (Opposite Queen’s Royal Collage) from 2 pm.

Tonya Nero of Athletics Central and T&T Road Runners Club’s Kelvin Johnson were among the winners at the first leg of the cross country series at the same venue last month.

Nero took the women’s 4 km run in 16 minutes and 35 seconds, while Johnson secured the men’s race in 15.06 seconds.

She finished ahead of the RJR pair of Samantha Shukla (17.08) and Lindsay Mile (17.48). Johnson was first across the line in the men’s race. The Guyanese runner finished ahead of Colin Pereira (Unattached) 15.08 and Shirvan Baboolal (RJR) 15.11.

Veteran Jules La Rode (Zc Athletics), 15.13 and last year’s winner, Qunicy Elliott (TTDF), 15.15 followed behind.

Ninety-six runners completed the two-lap race.

Today the athletes  will run in various categories including the 2km for Kids U-12 at 2 pm, 4km for Boys and Girls 12-15  from 2.15 pm, U-18/U-20 Girls 6km at 2.40 pm, U-18/U-20 Boys/Women 8 km at 3.10 pm and Men 10km  at 3.50 pm.

Registration for children is $10 and all other age groups is $20.

In other track and field news, five coaches left yesterday for Braden-ton, Florida to attend a USATF/IAAF Level Five Jumps and Youth Development programme.

Those attending the course are Robin Brereton, Wendell and Mickey Ruben (Level V Jumps).

Peter Campbell and Michelle Alleyne Pennie (Youth Development).

Continued coaching development scholarships were offered through the Regional Development Centre (RDC) to two (Brereton and Pennie) of the five going to Florida, while SPORTT TT and the NAA/NGC assisted Williams. The other two coaches made personal applications.

Kerron Browne was also recommended by the NAAATT and accepted by the RDC to participate in a Level ll IAAF Throws Programme currently being held in El Salvador. 

CPL to debut at Lara Stadium 2017
Sunday, December 4, 2016

The long awaited Brian Lara Stadium is expected to wel-come cricket in the new year and plans are afoot to host the opening ceremony of the 2017 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at the venue in Tarouba, South Trinidad.

Completion work on the controversial venue was restarted under the present government after the building was left idle for several years needing completion before it could be occupied. 

Work has been ongoing for almost a year now and sources close to the government told the Sunday Guardian that the government of the day plan to bid for the opening ceremony to take place at the venue which should coincide with the of​ficial opening of the ground, which is July, 2017.

According to the source: “The stadium is owned by the government and of course the owners of the CPL will be looking to use it because it would be cheaper than the Oval. The venue is world class for what it offers in terms of ‘live’ broadcast and this will be a great fit for the CPL which is called the greatest party in sport when it comes to the game’s T20 format.”

CPL rents the Queen’s Park Oval for an average of US$40,000 per day (an estimated TT$300,000) and now the government can use the facility to negotiate with the organisers to have more matches played in T&T.

Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) Noel Garcia revealed a couple months ago that 15 packages out of 17 were awarded to contractors and work is ongoing at the site in Tarouba.

Clean up work at the site has been completed, structural work is ongoing and nearing completion.

General repair and rehabilitation works on the building are going together with work on the field (the grass has been replanted), work on the pavilion is almost over and officials are looking at closing out work on the facility for the latest January, 2017.

The initial cost given in 2006 for the stadium was $500 million TT dollars, when construction started to have it ready for the T&T leg of the 2007 ICC Limited Overs World Cup for which T&T secured the Brown package.

However, with the cost overruns and the increase in prices of materials, this amount has increased significantly.

The Chairman of UDECOTT, as of June 2008, Calder Hart, had placed the approximate completion date at July 2008, some two years after the initial schedule handover. Now it should be ready nine years on.

This stadium will serve as a training facility for cricket players.

It will feature four indoor cricket training pitches with computerised biometric technology to measure an athlete’s performance, including two full-length run-up pitches for fast-bowlers.

Patrons at the stadium will have an unhindered view from every area of the facility, including the concessionaires area.

It also has areas specifically de-signed for the print, radio and television media, respectively.

Brian Lara Stadium getting ready for action.
‘Pres’ moves into InterCol finals
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Presentation College, San Fernando booked its place in the Coca Cola National Schools InterCol final by beating Signal Hill Secondary School 5-3 on penalties at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, yesterday.

The game went to penalties after the regulation play ended 1-1. The San Fernando boys got the opener when Matthew Joseph fired them in front in the 80th minute. However, the team from the sister-isle equalised from Ronaldo Samuel six minutes later. Presentation them scored all five kicks and watched their goalkeeper save two from Signal Hill to guide them to the victory. 

With the victory ‘Pres’ will now face San Juan North Secondary, which thrashed Trinity College (Moka) 4-0 in the semi-final on Tuesday last at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.    

Fyzabad also turned back Signal Hill

Meanwhile, Deneicia Prince reigned on the field for Fyzabad Secondary, netting a double to guide her team to a 2-1 victory over Signal Hill in the Girls semi-final of the Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Girls League in an earlier game at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium. 

The win assured them a place in Tuesday’s final against St Augustine Secondary at the same venue from 1.30pm. The St Augustine girls cruised to the final with a 7-0 drubbing of Bishops Anstey High School, Port of Spain in the other semi-final last week, while Signal Hill progressed from the quarterfinal that same day by hammering Carapichaima Secondary 12-0 at Bacolet, Tobago.

Yesterday however Prince turned the match into her own show by first opening the scoring after just eight minutes. But Asha James put Signal Hill back on level terms when she found the nets in the 56th minute. Eleven minutes later however, Prince got the winner to put her team in line for another major title for the season. 

Edwards heads Defence Force to FCB Cup title
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Veteran defender Aklie Edwards was in the perfect spot to head home a rebound as Defence Force captured its third First Citizens Cup title with an entertaining 1-0 win over Ma Pau Stars at the Hasely Craw-ford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday night.

Edwards decisive strike came as early as the 14th minute from inside the 18-yard-box when he headed home from close range. He was first to react to a rebound after striker Devorn Jorsling beat goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel only to see his shot crashed onto the cross-bar and back into play to provide Edwards with a golden opportunity which he made count.

Defence Force then created a number of chances which fell to the out-of-sync lanky Hashim Arcia, who on another night could have had a hat-trick to his name, but was kept off the scoresheet by an alert Samuel, while at the other end of the field, Defence Force goalkeeper Andre Marchan was also at his best to keep out any Stars’ many threats mainly through, former Scotland-based and T&T World Cup striker, Jason Scotland. 

With the win, Defence Force added to its previous First Citizens Cup triumphs in 2002 and 2009 and also walked away $110,000 richer, while also sweeping all the individual awards. Meanwhile, Ma Pau Stars, had to settle for the runner-up spot for the third time and $20,000.

Defence Force, which has reached the final seven times in all, is now the second winningest club in the competition behind seven-time champions W Connection (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2015).

The trio of San Juan Jabloteh (2000 & 2003), Morvant Caledonia United (2011 & 2012) and Central FC (2013 & 2014) have all won the First Citizens Cup twice with the now defunct Joe Public (2010), the only other winner. Stars were also beaten in the 2006 and 2014 finals, while its coach Ross Russell, was at the helm of the Defence Force team which lifted the title in 2009.

Friday’s Result

Defence Force 1 (Aklie Ed-wwards 14th) vs Ma Pau Stars 0

Individual awards Most Goals: Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force)—seven Most Valuable Player: Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force) Coach of the Tournament: Marvin Gordon (Defence Force)


GOAL Defence Force’s Aklie Edwards, third from left, beats Ma Pau Stars players, from left, Neil Mitchell, Elton John and Keryn Navarro to the ball to head home past goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel in the First Citizens Cup final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday night. Defence Force won 1-0. PHOTO: ANTHONY HARRIS
Home for Christmas
Several families yesterday received a much welcomed Christmas gift at the Housing Development Corporation’s Presentation of Keys Ceremony, Government Campus Plaza, Port-of-Spain.
People not happy
United National Congress (UNC) chairman David Lee yesterday said the political party was very happy that UNC won the popular vote in last Monday’s 2016 Local Government Election.
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