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San Fernando: the way forward
Saturday, November 18, 2017

To better understand the City of San Fernando, one must take into consideration the span of 234 years of our development, 172 years as a municipality and now 29 years a City.

San Fernando and our citizens are products of a long history that is the result of our national watchwords: discipline, tolerance and production. Founded in 1784 on the premise of an ideal location for a harbor, thanks to the geographic and topographic location, San Fernando provided easier access to the interior of Trinidad thanks to the many riverine courses that surrounded our City.

Combined with the plains that surrounded the outskirts of this location, they also provided ample opportunity for a multitude of sugar plantations to be established thanks to the Cedula de population, which saw a surge in immigration from the French occupied territories in the Caribbean. The promise of economic profitability thanks to the cash crop sugar saw the first of many instances of San Fernando’s unique capacity to act as an economic driver for Trinidad and Tobago.

With a sheltered harbour and what we know as the Guaracara River, Cipero River and the Godnieau River providing easy access for boats to transport sugar, citrus, cocoa and lumber: San Fernando soon cemented its role as a busy town centre and economic hub of activity. The result of this was a slow but steady increase in services and businesses attracting thousands of people of every class, culture and ethnicity.

This economic magnetism was further enhanced thanks to the discovery of oil. The past development and evolution of transportation networks further cemented San Fernando’s position as an ideal location for business and spurned on our rapid development.

The transition from agriculture to oil and gas earned our City the title of the energy capital of Trinidad and Tobago. But it was our early history that saw the creation of a unique society that was and remains a composition of every culture and ethnicity in Trinidad and Tobago. As San Fernandians, I believe this has given us a distinct advantage. The result of this melting pot of cultures and ideologies in our southern community has bred citizens of Trinidad and Tobago that have incorporated the ideology of “Tolerance” deep into our psyche. This is the essence of a San Fernandian and is the root of our national identity.

The development and urbanisation of San Fernando gave rise to a multitude of schools that have garnered for themselves a reputation for academic excellence. Over time, this effect has multiplied several times over resulting in some of the most influential citizens in Trinidad and Tobago and in a few instance around the world. Presidents, two prime ministers, doctors, lawyers, artists, sportsmen and cultural icons of both local and international renown have been the products of San Fernando, a feat of which all San Fernandians feel a swell of pride.

As it was noted, San Fernando and our citizens have been blessed with the capacity and capability to evolve and transform our society in lieu of the changing times. The decline of agriculture and the oil and gas industries combined with the push towards economic diversification has brought our City to the next stage of our economic evolution.

As Mayor, I am a firm believer that we, as San Fernandians, must begin the transition towards the Orange economy based in the service industry, arts and culture. This would provide ample opportunity and avenues for entrepreneurs to explore and enter a new era of development for San Fernando.

The Orange Industry would provide an important shift away from the non-renewable resource of oil and gas towards one of the greatest natural resources in Trinidad and Tobago, our citizens. This paradigm shift towards a truly sustainable development is now critical in these financial times. It places emphasis on the Citizens now to modify their approach in the service and entertainment industry that we must all carefully consider.

With the San Fernando Waterfront Project looming in the immediate future, San Fernando is poised to capture and ride the next economic wave into the next phase of our development.

This is one of the many reasons that we have taken a serious stance on infrastructure. Regarding the major changes to the flow of traffic and our successful traffic plan and the stance that we have adopted on illegal vending and similarly illegal structures.

Our push towards the efficient flow of traffic is based on the premise that an improved flow of traffic would positively impact the businesses in San Fernando and promote and stimulate economic growth.

The major interest in investment in San Fernando by the business community is evident in the growth of both the Southpark and C3 shopping centres that are the latest attractions in recent times.

I see a bright, prosperous and exciting future for the City of San Fernando. One that promises sustainable employment and is firmly rooted in the tenets of Vision 2030, our national development strategy as well as the global economic vision set out by the United Nations.

Our rich and diverse history puts San Fernando in a unique position to become the centre of Arts and Culture in our country. In order to accommodate this vision, we must be prepared to modify our image. In doing so more effort and emphasis must be placed to better position ourselves to attract visitors, shoppers and tourist in this new era, as such, a different and more dynamic approach is needed.

All that remains is that San Fernando and our citizens hold true to our historic identity and rise up and seize the opportunity for themselves and for the future generations.


San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, seated centre, with other members of the San Fernando City Council.
San Fernando initiatives for 2017
Saturday, November 18, 2017

The primary focus of this Council for San Fernando has been a focus on improving efficiency through policy action and implementation. From the onset in January, multiple surveys were commissioned to identify the issues which are of a primary concern to the citizens of San Fernando.

The results of this survey indicated that traffic congestion and parking issues were the priority problems that required redress. However, in light of our national fiscal and economic situation, a more novel and efficient approach to managing this concern was necessary.

In light of these circumstances, members of council consulted with the TTPS, Municipal Police Traffic Managment and the Traffic Wardens Division to devise an efficient rerouting of traffic through the City core.

This new plan incorporated the tenets of an open consultative approach with all possible stakeholders. Schools, churches, taxi associations, businesses and public were all engaged and multiple points of view were considered and in many instances became a part of this new traffic plan.

The results speak for themselves as we have noted a dramatic improvement in the flow of traffic within the City. This exercise unearthed a new set of circumstances that exacerbate the issue of traffic congestion and has now been placed on the front burner for redress. Many businesses have erected illegal structures which impede the flow of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Whether in the form of overhangs, awnings or the modification pavements these all contribute to these issues and will be dealt with under the regulations and bylaws of the Municipal Act.

The San Fernando City Corporation has also taken steps towards the development of a better relationship with the Embassy of the United States of America. This was seen in our historic temporary relocation of the US Embassy to San Fernando earlier this year. In conjunction with this effort of strengthening ties, we have engaged the US Embassy in another initiative this Thursday in a business symposium where businesses and entrepreneurs with an interest in pursuing a business interest with the US are invited to come and seek more information.

We have also started a major drive towards embracing a serious stance on Arts and Culture as a viable industry in San Fernando. As was mentioned the fiscal restraints have placed additional challenges on these drives. However, the San Fernando City Corporation stands ready to support and facilitate initiatives that promote these ideals where possible.

One such drive towards this entrepreneurial drive is the introduction of the Farmers Market in conjunction with Namdevco as well as the hosting of both the One Love Concert featuring Chronixx and Eat Drink Jazz.

These initiative seek to showcase San Fernando as a viable option for events of these nature and would redound to the average citizen through the possibility of regular business opportunities.

We have taken a stance to continue our drive towards the development of San Fernando despite our economic situation. It is our belief that the experiences and lessons learnt during this period will positively impact on the way we conduct business in San Fernando as we search out efficient ways to execute our mandate to the Citizens of San Fernando.

Guests at San Fernando Carnival launch at the Rising Star Restaurant on November 11. From left, Emma Perot, Aleena Bodoe and Shaina Laughlin from Southern Mas Associates.
Ava claims her space
Saturday, November 18, 2017

On Sunday evening at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain, Ava Hutchinson made her most ambitious step. She claimed her space as a singing/pianist songwriter artiste. In her words “After my recent health issues and being given a second chance, I said to myself, ‘You have done the four CDs for the children, as well as the inspirational book ‘52 Facets of Woman’ so now its time to give your songs a hearing.”

It was a remarkable show for Hutchinson, the culmination of a long journey, of finding her way to herself. It was her first time anchoring her own show, more importantly, performing her own compositions. And she knew the significance of the moment.

Her songs of love and healing succeeded in commanding the attention of a capacity audience. She opened her set with a symbolic affirmation of self in the lyrics of Good Enough, one of her earliest compositions. This song has come to free her to address issues of what Love Is as it colours experiences, especially, the hurt and the disappointments that implore you to Don’t Dream. The compositions opened Hutchinson up to sing convincingly. She says Life is What You Make It, even when life may often dump you on a See-Saw Love, and yes, there are sad moments, but they are only a preparation for the Shining Knight’ who leaves memories with You Got Me Smiling. For Hutchinson, love, with its ups and downs, is a real thing, it is the essence of joy and the force for overcoming difficult circumstances. The lyrics explore personal spaces, but they are primarily, songs of hope and renewal, hope for The Healing, as accepting reality and for finding the strength not just to survive, but to thrive.

Hutchinson’s drive to perform her lyrics and music presented an exciting challenge. How to incorporate this particular set of nuanced words and reflective tunes into a live concert with her supporting guest artistes, especially, in a space as intimate as the Central Bank Auditorium? Achieving a balance was important, eg, on the Jazz Pickle, a group whose high shoulders she has relied all these years. In her words “I knew that Trini audiences might be overwhelmed with originals, so I decided to showcase the Jazz Pickle as well as Ralph “Shearing” Davies and Friends to the mix. I had a ‘girlie’ tea lime to introduce my music, and after listening, enjoying and commenting on what was thrust upon them, I was inspired to go the next step...the show.”

The Jazz Pickle played well-loved jazz standards which created the mood for drawing in the audience. The show, however was re-imagined by Ralph Davies, featuring vocals from Faye Husbands, Lois Hutchinson, Timothy Newton, Harold Richards and Ian Henderson on alto saxophone all serving as delightful turning points, with accents in a really joyful groove. They created spaces in which the audience could reflect on the music, sing along and enjoy songs that have defined so much of their lives. Davies’ touch with the piano, so gentle, so authoritative, innovative and fantastic in its musicality took the evening into another realm. He took the audience into rapture. Davies the maestro at 89, knew precisely how to complete the show, wowing the crowd with his elbow in a note at the end.

In Hutchinson’s words: “Ralph has always been a humble soul, willing to assist in any way he can, and his ability to share and show his skills and technique always produces in us all an enthusiastic guttural response. He has experienced and heard so much that his wealth of knowledge and mentorship brings us all musicians closer to playing that much better, not to mention the importance of daily practise. His fingers are still the best around, as he never fails to excite with his ‘scalic’ and ‘arpeggiated’ lines and passages, the riffs, the cadenzas, his rhythmic comping and his melodic improvisations, not to mention his flair for dynamics.”

This show—Of Love and Life—has the potential to redefine Ava Hutchinson in the Trinidad musical landscape. It presented her voice as that of a strong woman, impassioned, alternatively full of laughter and tinged with the sadness of experience, the tone of which is upbeat, richly textured and meditative. It gets to the point of her lyrics quickly and is the context for the music of her well- defined piano accompaniment. Her sound is overwhelmingly personal, the intimate colouring of experience and the desire to be true to the expression of self—herself.


Classical Jewels in steelband music
Saturday, November 18, 2017

This weekend’s premier steelband event is tonight’s Classical Jewels XI (Journey From Jules to Jemmott) being staged by Massy Trinidad All Stars at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain, with a repeat tomorrow evening.

I remember as a young man in the ‘70s Classical Jewels being a must-attend event for my parents.

Back then, sponsored by Catelli, the legendary steel orchestra was under the musical direction of Gerry “Uncle Jem” Jemmott and for the occasion its guest conductors included Paul Hill and Pat Bishop.

As a prelude to this weekend’s concert, All Stars hosted a media reception last week Thursday at its Duke Street panyard. Guests were warmly welcomed by manager Nigel Williams, PRO Daryl Joseph, Jackie McKell, Denise Hernandez, Keith Matthews and Rhonda Allick.

With a photoshoot in progress at one side of the yard of All Stars’ youth orchestra, its senior members performed some of its Classical Jewels XI repertoire including J’Ouvert in ah Band, a piece composed 26 years ago by drummer Jason “Stumps” Lewis as a tribute to All Stars living legend Neville Jules, vocalised by Sheldon Reid. The band’s playing of the theme from the Magnificent 7 movie also evoked much comment from the guests in attendance.

For this weekend’s production All Stars’ musical director Deryk Nurse will serve as its main conductor, aided by guest conductors Kygel Benjamin, June Nathaniel, Jessel Murray, Sule Sampson and Dr Mia Gormandy.

A steelband which continues to maintain its mandate of developing its young musicians many of All Stars’ premier players in Classical Jewels XI, despite their youth, are veteran musicians with the orchestra including Gormandy, who scored some of this weekend’s pieces, Nurse, Benjamin and crackshot tenor player Dane Gulston.

Classical Jewels XI is not entirely all national instrument and guest artistes, beside Reid and Gulston, will include Eleanor Ryan, Rahel Moore and the UWI Arts Chorale.

Of course the All Stars youth orchestra is also an integral ingredient in the mix.

The producers of Classical Jewels XI are playing their cards extremely close to their chests, refusing to reveal the repertoire patrons can expect this weekend. When Classical Jewels V was staged in 1985 patrons were left spellbound by the orchestra’s interpretation of classics by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bizet and Glinka.

If I can hazard a guess this weekend I am hoping that it performs something from Von Suppe, perhaps one of my favourites, Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna.

What I did manage to discern is that the programme will provide many pieces by local composers performed in a classical manner.

All Stars’ busy-as-a-bee member Staci-Ann Patrick is hoping that Classical Jewels XI will dispell some of the unflattering labels attached to the national instrument and pan musicians.

“For starters,” she said, “we no longer ‘beat’ pan. We are competent musicians who are on par with accomplished musical peers who play any other instrument, be it violin or piano. Trinidadians need to start giving more respect to pan musicians, composers and arrangers.

“I find that the national instrument is being sacrificed, primarily because our people do not put themselves out there to appreciate or listen to pan music outside of the Panorama season.

“When someone takes the time to listen to the national instrument played outside of Carnival and Panorama, and hear the different layers and intricacies of the music played they would certainly foster a greater appreciation for something that is uniquely special to this nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Journey from Jules to Jemmott will certainly showcase the dexterity and showmanship of pan musicians.”

Samaroo Jets bring pan to a new audience1114019THREE
Saturday, November 18, 2017

Samaroo Jets Steel Orchestra, celebrating 50 years this year, represented T&T at China’s premier trading event for Latin American and Caribbean countries. The 2017 China-Latin America and the Caribbean International Exposition (CLAC Expo) was held on November 9-11 in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China.

The CLAC-Expo, hosted by the China Chamber of International Commerce, was held at the Zhuhai International Convention and Exhibition Center in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China.

The purpose of the Exposition was to enhance economic and trade cooperation between China and Latin American/Caribbean countries. By promoting cross-border cooperation, CLAC will provide an economy and trade platform to build friendly contacts between China and Latin American enterprises—and a communication platform to expand the Maritime Silk Road to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Samaroo Jets, which was founded by the late Dr Jit Samaroo, thanked the Chinese Embassy as well as the newly formed Tourism Trinidad Limited for making it possible for them to attend the Expo. Amrit Samaroo, current arranger for the Samaroo Jets, stated on the band’s return that “it was an honour for the Samaroo Jets, on our 50th anniversary, to represent Trinidad and Tobago and to bring pan to another new audience.”

Tourism Trinidad Limited Board member Neil Mohammed said that planning for the tour was a challenge. “Given a narrow window of opportunity and the fact that the company is now being set up, the directors were happy to make arrangements so that the band could take advantage of the generosity and hospitality of the Chinese Embassy,” Mohammed noted.

Tourism Trinidad Limited will focus on marketing destination Trinidad towards improving airlift, while strengthening stakeholder relationships and raising industry standards.

The seven-member Samaroo Jets Steel Orchestra performs at the 2017 China-Latin America and the Caribbean International Exposition (CLAC Expo) earlier this month.
Fame Caribbean launches
Saturday, November 18, 2017

FAME (Foundation for Fashion Apparel Manufacturing Entrepreneurship) Caribbean launches at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain on Saturday, November 25, at 7 pm.

A spectacular showcase of Caribbean fashion talent is in store for the world to appreciate, crafted in a theatrical production.

FAME Caribbean is the brainchild of Andrew Ramroop OBE, a Trinidad-born master artist tailor of Savile Row. He founded the prestigious Savile Row Academy of tailoring in London, and after 50 years of expert craftsmanship, elite training and identifying the excellence in Caribbean style, he’s returned to use his influence to fortify this trademark ethos, to use his equity to advance this alternative style, to use his expertise to train and elevate this unique apparel manufacture and to use his enlightenment to strategically position this New World fashion trade FAME, in its initial year is aimed at branding Caribbean style and presenting it to the world, through select local and regional designers, while positioning T&T as the epicentre of the regional fashion industry. This platform is intended to set in motion an acknowledgement that there is a Caribbean aesthetic and put in place the mobilising of export- worthy apparel, the lure for innovative fashion wares and thesales positioning of niche-market style options, all for the global fashion stage/market.

FAME creative director Richard Young has been entrusted with the responsibility of harnessing signature brands and of incorporating them within the feature that is the inaugural showcase.

Young says that his objective is to ensure the presence of trademark style arbiters in this compendium, to express the multifaceted and outstanding nature and the compelling brand identity of the Caribbean aesthetic. This is to reenergise the lucrative potential of this viable economic sector.

The dynamic of the event is to infuse sustainable development action, by promoting the non-traditional creative industries, in a substantive way so as to engage economic diversification mandates. A release from FAME stated, “A fundamental focus of FAME Caribbean 2017 is to give back to socio-economic development and address youth empowerment so as ensure more holistic life chance for future generations.

Against this backdrop, part proceeds would be allocated to the Hibiscus Foundation, to service pediatric HIV/AIDS care.”

The November 25 presentation would showcase 30 designer capsule presentations coursed with suitable talent highlights to effect a winning Creative Arts spectacular to kick off the FAME initiative.

Designers from Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados and Guyana would join the line up. Tickets are available at NAPA box office and Chaud Cafe.

Hazbeen’s triumph over Stars
Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Queen’s Park Cricket Club Hazbeen’s squash club are champions of the National Interclub Squash League, following a dominant 5-0 win over the Petrotrin Stars at the Queens Park Indoor Racquet centre on Thursday night.

The group consisting of captain, Justin Sanguinette, vice-captain Luc Davis, Brandon de Montrichard, Christian Edghill, Marc Pontifex, Brian Jackson, and Amanda Jackson dominated the league going undefeated through the five round-robin match-ups and the final.

Following the triumph, Sanguinette told Guardian Media Sport, “The majority of this team had tried together for a few years, to win the League, but could not come out on top, I for one have been trying for quite some time now and it’s a great feeling to keep the trophy in QPCC’s hand’s for a second year in a row.”

On the other hand, captain of the Stars’ Peter Pirtheesingh was humble in defeat saying, “This team has won the tournament more than seven times, we were never whitewashed in a final before, but I was proud of the gusto performance showed by the guys, congrats to the Hazbeen’s on the win.”

It was Brandon de Montrichard, who gifted his team the crucial first point of the night, defeating Star’s John Holley 3-2 in a surprisingly tight encounter. The former national champion, Holley, shocked the QPCC crowd with a dominant performance in the first two sets, winning 9/11 back-to-back, however, as the match wore on, he did as well, and de Montrichard capitalized on the lapse, winning the next three sets 11/3, 11/4, 11/7.

In the second match of the night, Hazbeen’s vice-captain, Luc Davis, cruised to a 3-0 straight set victory (11/8, 11/8, 11/0) over Stars’ Paul de Verteuil, who left a lot to be desired.

On the back of a resounding 2-0 lead, the Hazbeen’s entered the third match knowing that a win would seal the title, and Marc Pontifex answered the calls of the QPCC faithful, edging Stars’ captain Peter Pirtheesingh 3-2.

Pirtheesingh looked to be on his way to a shock upset when he dispatched Pontifex 5/11 in the first set, but Pontifex replied winning the next two sets 11/6, 11/9.

The Stars’ captain would then answer back with a 8/11 fourth set win with his team’s chances on the line, but Pontifex would prove to tough on the night, winning the ultimate set 11/7.

With the title clinched, Christian Edghill and Hazbeen’s captain, Justin Sanguinette turned on the style for the home team, defeating Stars’ Sheldon Skeete and Justin Gillezeau in straight sets 3-0 respectively.


QPCC Hazbeen’s def. Petrotrin Stars 5-0
Brandon de Montrichard def. John Holley 3-2 (9/11, 9/11, 11/3, 11/4, 11/7)
Marc Pontifex def. Peter Pirtheesingh 3-2 (5/11, 11/9, 11/6, 8/11, 11/7)
Luc Davis def. Paul de Verteuil 3-0 (11/8, 11/8, 11/0)
Christian Edghill def. Sheldon Skeete 3-0 (11/2, 11/8, 11/6)
Justin Sanguinette def. Justin Gillezeau 3-0 (11/6, 11/4, 11/5)


Background from Left – Luc Davis (Vice Captain), Christian Edghill, Brian Jackson. Foreground from Left – Amanda Jackson, Brandon de Montrichard, Marc Pontifex, Justin Sanguinette (Captain).
Trotter to boost our dividend
Saturday, November 18, 2017

Masaarr represents the nearest thing to a ‘racing cert’ in division two of a Novice Stakes over a mile of Lingfield polytrack today; punters are confronted with six meetings, all-weather and jumping at two fashionable venues will cater for all needs on yet another overwhelming -super-Saturday!’.

‘A ‘free gift’ is always welcome but they can be expensive if not utilised properly; Masaarr is an ideal example.

This Roger Varian-trained, Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned USA-bred Distorted Humort colt achieved a whopping time-handicap mark first-up over seven furlongs of a ‘good to firm’ Newmarket surface last month, when a close third behind Key Victory.

Both are already being touted as classic prospects; we are whetting your appetite but Masaarr will be totally unbackable as a single bet proposition!

The secret is to include Masaarr in our daily patent which involves three horses; three doubles, three trebles and an accumulator.

To all intents a purposes Masaarr is an ‘anchor’ and so playing him into other safe bets will be key to profiting; I’ve scrutinised six other juvenile races, including the difficult-looking first leg, and reckon once-raced Wazin is also a ‘professional special’ in division two of a Fillies’ Novice Stakes over six furlongs of Wolverhampton tapeta tonight.

Simon Crisford’s once-raced charge also finished third when beaten just over a length in a similar race on Chelmsford polytrack sixteen days ago; reports suggest she has ‘come on’ considerably.

Back at ‘Lingers’ I’m confident about the obvious chance for Trotter in a 3-y-o Median Auction Stakes over six furlongs; only conceivable danger on the TH is ex-Irish-trained, Temeraire, absent for 148 days!

Luke Morris has been booked by in-form Stuart Kittow for recent handicap runner-up, Trotter.

Keep it tight.

Clinton Sammy Classic takes centre stage
Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hyped as one of the biggest bodybuilding events in T&T , and with prize money totalling $25, 000 to all first place winners, the 26th annual Clinton Sammy Classic will take place today from 7pm at the Thick Village Community Centre, Siparia.

Speaking to Guardian Media Sports, the forefather of the event, Sammy said, “It is a promotion of young bodybuilding athletes throughout Trinidad, as I do not allow national competitors, who came first or second at national competitions to participate.”

The event, which is sanctioned by the T&T Body Building Federation, has attracted sizeable audiences since it’s commencement, and Sammy is now opening the event to Tobago athletes in this year’s edition.

“I am offering to pay the travel expenses of all athletes travelling from Tobago that register to compete in the competition, whether plane or boat,” he pronounced.

The categories included in today’s showcase spectacle are: ‘Gym Show’, Light, Middle and Heavy Weight’, ‘Novice’, ‘Miss Figure’, ‘Classic Physique’, ‘Beach Body’, and ‘Mr. Physique’.

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