Mysterious Extraction of Trinidadian Firearms dealer from Barbados

Brent Thomas

There is a story brewing which involves the ‘abduction’ of an alleged Trinidadian arms dealer from Barbados. The blogmaster has not been following closely to do justice to the matter largely because the BU household decided to retreat to Cattlewash for the long weekend. However, the matter has raised a few times by members of the BU family reflected in messages to BU inbox.

Here are three links to the story for your consumption and discussion.

Continue reading

Trinidad’s, Guyana’s and Suriname’s current relations with Venezuela

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

In March last year, Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T’s) relation with Venezuela shot into the spotlight. It was sparked by a secretive and suspicious meeting by Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Another controversy was sparked by the fuel shipment from T&T’s Paria Fuel Trading Company to Aruba, which was then surprisingly sent to Venezuela.

In Guyana, Venezuela is claiming the Essequibo region and most of the country’s maritime space. This dispute was taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2018, with Venezuela arguing that that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter.

And where does neighbouring Suriname stand in these disputes? Remember that the former Bouterse government had close ties with Venezuela. What will be the new Santokhi government’s approach in this changing geopolitical landscape?

The following are HIGHLIGHTS of a ZOOM public meeting held recently (24/01/2021) on the
topic “Trinidad’s Guyana’s and Suriname’s current relations with Venezuela.” The Pan-
Caribbean meeting was chaired by Sharlene Maharaj and moderated by Bindu Deokinath
Maharaj, both women of Trinidad.

The Speakers were SENATOR ANIL ROBERTS from Trinidad, a former Minister of Sport and
Youth affairs, now opposition senator; PROFESSOR DANIEL GIBRAN from Guyana,
Professor Emeritus of International Security Studies at Tennessee State University in the USA;
and ANGELIQUE ALI HUSSAIN DEL CASTILLO from Suriname, a former Ambassador to
Indonesia and Chair of the Democratic Alternative91 (DA’91) party.

SENATOR ROBERTS from Trinidad said:
“Trinidad and Tobago has become an ‘enabler’ to the illegitimate Venezuelan government
because of the actions of the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) government and Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s relationship and fraternization with President Nicholas Maduro.
The T&T government was caught allowing Delcy Rodriguez – the vice president of Venezuela –
to enter the country under the pandemic-lockdown. Her immigration papers were signed by the
Minister of National Security, Stuart Young.

Meanwhile, thousands of Trinidadian citizens were locked out of their homeland, suffering,
starving and sleeping in subways with no access to food, clothes and medication. They were kept
out by a regime similar to that of Maduro’s. Rowley and Young have been following Maduro’s
policies and turning T&T into an undemocratic State.”

DR GIBRAN from Guyana said:

“The current and continuing impasse between Guyana and Venezuela over ownership of a
sizeable piece of disputed real estate is traceable to two strategic blunders: one by the British
Government in 1966, and the other by Forbes Burnham also in 1966. Both blunders were
incubated within the larger geopolitical and geostrategic context of the Cold War. And both were

Today, Guyana is facing an existential territorial threat that is at the heart of its existence, a
threat that will not simply disappear into thin air by the waving of a magic wand. In short,
Guyana’s security, the security of the State in the context of its physical space, is threatened by
an unstable, belligerent neighbor that claims two-thirds of its territory. This sharp and heavy
sword of Damocles continues to hang over Guyana.

Venezuela’s claim to the Zona de Reclamation is not simply Maduro’s claim and boisterous
fulminations. It resides in the soul of every Venezuelan citizen. It is a national feeling; unlike
anything we have seen demonstrated in Guyana.

Two strategic blunders – both committed in the same year – have burdened Guyana and stymied
its path to economic development. The Ali-Jagdeo Government is well-placed to strengthen its
relationship with the United States. In doing so, it would also allow the US to unhook itself from
a Venezuela that it once strongly supported, especially during the Cold War.

Today, Washington DC is eager, ready and willing to support and defend Guyana. And the
current governments on both sides of the Atlantic are ready to do business.”

ALI HUSSAIN-DEL CASTILLO from Suriname said:
“In October 2020 when there was an almost universal call for free and fair elections, the
Santokhi coalition party, in its political campaign, had promised that its position towards
Venezuela would be drastically changed.

DA’91 – the political party that I chair – has over the years made many calls to the government
and parliament of Suriname, as well as to the representatives of Venezuela in Suriname, to
condemn and leave the path of destruction and the violation of human rights.

It fell on deaf ears. In recent developments regarding the border issue between Venezuela and
Guyana, Suriname supported Guyana. However, the questions are: Does Suriname support
Guyana’s claim on its land or does Suriname support Guyana’s position that the International
Court of Justice (ICJ) has jurisdiction on the issue?

This is especially important since Suriname still has an important border issue to settle with
Guyana. The expectation of President Santokhi that standing with Guyana will not have any
consequences on its relationship with Venezuela, remains to be seen.”

Process and Priorities for the PM’s COVID-19 ‘Road To Recovery’ Committee

Posted to Afra Raymond’s website


Afra Raymond

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, appointed a 22-member COVID-19 ‘Road to Recovery’ committee on 16 April 2020 to handle and advise on the path of the post-pandemic economic and social recovery. Afra Raymond discusses what he believes should be the priorities of this committee.

  • Programme Length: 00:10:15
  • Programme Date: 18 April 2020

Treating COVID 19 Pandemic in Multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago

The Editor,


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

The stay-at-home-order in the ancient Hindu epic

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago delivered his address today (April 6) to update the nation on Government’s plans to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is not the first time that he has made repeated references to the Bible only, and not to the Quran or Ramayana.

Understandably, he is a Christian, but his national address must include references to the major religious groups in the multi-ethnic society. As former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday had said, a Prime Minister must represent all of the people

Prophet Muhammad commanded his followers with the order: “If you hear that there is a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein, do not go out of it.”

In his next address, Dr Rowley could also make a reference to the Ramayana, the largest ancient epic-poem in world literature, written about 700 BCE.

The allegory of the stay-at-home-order to avoid COVID-19 is represented by the sacred circle that was drawn around Sita’s hut to protect her from monsters in the forest.

Her brother-in-law, Lakshman, had drawn a circle in the sand with the tip of his bow while chanting a mantra (Lakshman Rekha). He said: “No demon can cross this line. Sita, you stay in the house; not for any reason at all will you cross this line. Don’t come out of the house. As long as you are in the house, you will be safe …”

In anxiety, Sita broke the directive and was kidnapped by the demon Ravan and taken in a flying chariot.

When that tragedy occurred, “the leaves did not flutter. The trees of Dandaka did not move. No breath of wind dared stir about the woods. The fast-streaming Godavari river slackened her speed from fright. The glorious Sun, who every day looks down upon our world, this time dimmed his light from the sadness of what he saw” (translated from Sanskrit by William Buck, 1976: 139).


Dr Kumar Mahabir

‘Contagion’ Effect – 43 Murders in TnT

Amit befitting the name of his website has expanded monitoring of key events  to neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago. This is important surveillance for Barbados given Trinidad’s nexus to Barbados.

David, blogmaster

There have been at least 43 murders in Trinidad for the month of January. The data presented below was collected and compiled from the online editions of the following news sites: The Guardian, LoopTT, Express and Newsday. During the month of January, these websites were checked periodically and reports of murders were recorded.

Trinidad Murders January 2020
Heat Map of Murders in Trinidad – January 2020


Read full details

UTT Staff Retrenched

Related Links:


Afra Raymond Analyzes Sandals MOU

Disclaimer, do not read this blog if you are a navel gazer. Congratulations to Afra and his team for forcing this matter – David, blogmaster

29th November 2018 was the first hearing of my Judicial Review of the refusal of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to provide a copy of the Tobago Sandals Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which I had requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) since 27th February 2018. At that hearing, the OPM agreed to provide the MoU and pay my costs, so my lawsuit was withdrawn.

This Tobago Sandals MoU was signed on 10th October 2017 and should have been disclosed long ago, without any necessity for legal action on my part. The PM and Minister Stuart Young repeatedly told the public that these details could not be published as that would undermine these important negotiations and so on and so forth.

Nine months of delays and obfuscation verging on an abuse of process, but that is just my opinion, as the OPM was advised by eminent Senior Counsel, Deborah Peake.

When the MoU was released at a press conference the evening before, Minister Stuart Young was emphatic that the decision to publish had nothing to do with me or my litigation. One has to wonder at the quality of advice being taken by the Cabinet.

We had to endure expensive time-wasting and elaborate waffle, dripping with disdain, about ‘sophisticated investors‘ and ‘how government business really runs‘. Well this is a good time to examine the actual Tobago Sandals MoU and see how sophisticated investors really work and learn how government business really runs. This is a serious teaching moment.

There were many positive features in the MoU (embedded below) in favour of Sandals. In fact, the MoU is so protective of Sandals’ interests that one can scarcely imagine how on earth we the public will ever profit from this immense investment. This article details my concerns on the decisive provisions of the MoU.

Read Afra’s full analysis

Media Sell out? – Is the Express an Objective Newspaper?


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

Open letter to Express editor

Dear Editor-in-Chief Ms. Omatie Lutchman Lyder,


As a newspaper which claims to be “national,” the Express should be truthful and objective in its coverage of national events in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).

Readers have been observing that you have practically never published any news on the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) restructuring exercise (downsizing) and its treatment (retrenchment) of employees (lecturers).

The Express chose not report on the recent news that a UTT Professor was prevented from entering the graduation ceremony on Thursday. See

The newspaper also refused to carry the news that UTT confessed that it did not complete a restructuring report before it retrenched 59 lecturers on May 11, 2018. See

FOIA investigations by social activist Devant Maharaj, through attorney Chelsea Stewart, revealed that the Express has been receiving the most advertising revenue from UTT over and above that of the two other dailies, the Guardian and the Newsday.

 Between September 2017 and August 2018, the Express cashed TT$1,253,763 in advertising revenue from UTT.  The Guardian received $701,283 and Newsday got $846,601.

The Express cashed the most money (45%) from UTT compared to the Newsday (30%) and the Guardian (25%). The Express collected almost half of UTT’s budget spent on the three daily newspapers.

Last Sunday (November 18, 2018), the Express was rewarded with a whopping EIGHT (8) pages of advertisements highlighting UTT’s graduation – eight full pages in full colour!!! The total advertising revenue for one day for one edition only was about $72,000. This excessive abuse of taxpayers’ money is being spent by UTT’s President Sarim Al Zubaidy mainly to promote himself in many of the photos!! The Guardian and Newsday received not a single page of advertisement from UTT last Sunday.

Based on the foregoing data, the Express is clearly favourable to one of its big corporate clients by not reporting the turbulence that is taking place within the walls of the only national university in T&T.

The Newsday and Guardian should be highly commended and patronised for reporting news on UTT from May 11, 2018 when 59 lecturers were retrenched. See, for example

A series of placard protests followed in front of UTT’s O’Meara and Valsayn campuses, the Ministry of Education, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister’s Residence & Diplomatic Centre – none of which was covered by the Express.

Florens Focke, Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi and Stefan Ruenzi of the University of Mannheim in Germany published a relevant research paper in 2015 entitled “A Friendly Turn: Advertising Bias in the News Media.”

They wrote: “Independence of the news press is one of the pillars of a functioning democracy. Ideally, newspapers and other media outlets should report truthfully and objectively about news items of interest to their readers, thus allowing them to make rational and unbiased decisions based on the information reported.”

The Express editor seems to be clearly sacrificing important news items of interest in order to please a big corporate client. Readers must now ask, “For whom else is the Express sacrificing objectivity for a million dollars?”


Dr Kumar Mahabir, Retrenched Assistant Professor

University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

The National Budget Presentation on UTT


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

There are only three (3) sentences on the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) in the T&T’s Government’s 2018/2019 national budget. These three sentences constitute one paragraph in a
a Budget Statement that is 48 pages long.

The brevity of the budget statement on UTT is suspect. It is a whisper from the standard roar that UTT is the first and only national university, although its President, Sarim N. Al-Zubaidy, is from Iraq. After his retrenchment of lecturers on May 11, 2018, he spent a tremendous amount of money doing damage control through promotional advertising with the pathetic tagline: “UTT IS HERE TO STAY”.

In his public oral statements on UTT, the Acting Chairman of the Board of Governors, Clement Imbert, is also short on details. Imbert and his nephew, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, feel safe in being short (no pun intended) on UTT. To say more would reveal the devil in the details as is also the case in the current crisis in another State entity, Petrotrin.

Research and dissemination of knowledge

In one of his three sentences on UTT, the Minister of Finance gloated that the university “has been discharging its role as a catalyst for economic transformation through the advancement and application of research and dissemination of knowledge to produce work-ready graduates and critical thinkers for the country.”

This boast is a paradox and irony. I was one of 59 lecturers who were retrenched by UTT without due process on May 11 for being a “surplus” academic as part of the university’s “restructuring exercise.”

As an Assistant Professor, I was discharging my role as “a catalyst for economic transformation through the advancement and application of research and dissemination of knowledge …”. I have published scores of research-based articles in newspapers, magazines, journals and chapters in books. I also have eleven (11) books to my name. I have also presented research papers at local, regional and international seminars, conventions and conferences.

The person who replaced me at UTT has not published and, therefore, was not advancing and applying research, and disseminating knowledge for the country. A search in the databases ResearchGate, Google Scholar, ProQuest, EBSCO and revealed that she has not published a single research paper, even in a newsletter. I have post-graduate degrees in two disciplines; my M.Phil degree is in the Humanities (Literatures in English) and my Ph.D. is in the Social Sciences (Anthropology). Yet I was selected for retrenchment.

In his budget presentation, Colm Imbert also gloated that UTT “has been discharging its role as a catalyst … to produce work-ready graduates and critical thinkers for the country.” As an Assistant Professor, I taught several courses during my 10 continuous years of service to the university with an average of 30 students in each class. I taught courses in both the Primary and Secondary School specialisations.

Each semester (Terms 1 and 2), I taught an average of five (5) or more classes. I was selected for retrenchment by administrator Dr Judy Rocke while teaching the course CIED 4001: Contemporary Issues in Education. She dismissed me as a “surplus” lecturer when most of my colleagues were on vacation.

UTT short on transparency and credibility

On Monday, Minister Colm Imbert began his budget presentation by saying that when his party assumed power in September 2015, “we promised the citizens of T&T a transparent, honest and accountable Government. This was necessary for establishing credibility and trust in the new Government …”.

After the wrongful dismissal of 59 lecturers on May 11, 2018, UTT under Clement Imbert fell flat on the measure of transparency, honesty, accountability, credibility and trust. Some of us are seeking justice in the High Court and the Equal Opportunity Commission & Tribunal. We are asking UTT to reveal what criteria were used to dismiss us, if any at all, and whether these criteria were fair, objective, equitable and transparent?

Some of us have been working at the university on a 3-year contractual basis – some, like me, for ten (10) continuous years – when we were summarily dismissed by our supervisor, Dr Rocke, in the presence of an HR official. UTT lost all transparency, honesty, accountability, credibility and trust when due process was not followed in retrenching us.

UTT failed to consult with the affected lecturers, failed to give prior notice of dismissal, failed to provide the restructing plan of the university, failed to present evidence that each lecturer was “surplus” and/or “redundant”, failed to give an opportunity to the affected lecturer to respond, and failed to provide an opportunity for the lecturer to be represented by an attorney.

Minister Imbert should be ashamed to conclude his budget presentation by grinning and gloating, “We did it our way.”

Dr. Mahabir taught several courses at UTT including Research Methods.

The Plight of Petrotrin and UTT Retrenched Workers


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

As the spokesperson for the retrenched lecturers of UTT, I stand in solidarity with the displaced workers of Petrotrin.

On May 11, 2018, about 60 lecturers were wrongfully dismissed by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). On October 1, about 2,600 permanent workers would be innocently sent home by the oil company.

Both the UTT and Petrotrin are national entities. The UTT is a Government-funded, non-profit educational institution and Petrotrin is a commercial State oil company.

The workers in both enterprises are casualties of a “restructuring exercise” designed to cut financial losses by retrenching workers. Our UTT dismissal letters stated that we were “surplus” lecturers who became “redundant” in the university’s “restructuring exercise.”

Victims of mismanagement and malfeasance

The workers in the UTT and Petrotrin are victims of mismanagement by successive PNM and PP-appointed Boards of Governors. The Petrotrin worker’s union, OWTU, had always expressed its concern about mismanagement, malfeasance and graft. The trade union had also warned about cost overruns on megaprojects like the now infamous WGTL, USLD and GOP. No Petrotrin worker can be blamed for misappropriating TT$3 billion on the failed GTL plant.

Is the UTT managing taxpayers’ money wisely? Why does it continue to pay its Iraq-born president, Sarim Al-Zubaidy, a reported $240,000 a month? And now Al-Zubaidy’s long-time research partner, Wasi Z. Khan, another foreigner, is reportedly also being paid in foreign currency.

Speaking at a press conference on May 18, 2018 at NAPA, Vice Chairman of the Board Clement Imbert said, “UTT’s new structure will see a reduction in top management from seven Vice Presidents to three, 56 managers to about 33-36.” To date, there has been no announcement that this reduction has been done.

Does the UTT have money to continue to pay the 287 non-teaching workers who have to be retrenched, as Imbert and Education Minister, Anthony Garcia, told the media eight months ago?

Or is Imbert really afraid to fire these workers because of the inevitable backlash of protests from the militant OWTU which also represents the 287 workers?

Why does the UTT continue to pay for expensive full-page, full-colour advertisements in the print media with the pathetic tagline: “UTT IS HERE TO STAY”? Why did the UTT transfer approximately $323 million from its operating funds to continue the construction of its signature campus complex in the jungle in Tamana?

No consultation with UTT lecturers before dismissal

Unlike Petrotrin workers, we were never shown (the need for) a restructuring plan for the university or a statement of accounts indicating a financial loss. What was worse, the Board of the UTT never held any meeting or discussion with us. Had consultations been offered to us, we would have suggested ways in which jobs could have been saved without the university collapsing.

One of the due process steps followed in industrial relations – before formal notice of dismissal is given to affected employees – is consultation. The UTT failed to consult with us before the premature termination of our 3-year contracts.

The Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act No. 32 of 1985 of T&T stipulates that “prior to the giving of formal notice in writing of retrenchment,” [the employer] is expected “to enter into consultation” with the affected employees or their representative union “with a view to exploring the possibility of averting, reducing or mitigating the effects of the proposed retrenchment.”

Lies told to UTT and Petrotrin employees

On January 15, 2018, Energy Minister Franklin Khan categorically dismissed a social media report which alleged that 2,000 workers would be retrenched from Petrotrin. He said, “It is mischief to say the least.” As the line Minister, either Khan did not know at the time or was telling a lie.

Speaking on Radio I95.5 on August 27, OWTU’s education and research officer, Ozzi Warwick, accused the government of perpetrating lies and withholding certain facts about Petrotrin. He said: “The country deserves to hear the whole Petrotrin story …. The lies must stop.” Warwick reiterated calls for a public inquiry.

On May 28, Minister Garcia told the media that UTT lecturers had to be “trimmed so that an equal distribution of the cumulative workload could be attained and maintained.” That is a lie propagated by Garcia. No such audit was done, at least in the Education Programme where I taught. To prove that he is not lying, I hereby publicly challenge Garcia to make public his lecturer-student ratio audit for the dismissed lecturers.

At our dismissal meeting, the Head of the Education Programme at UTT, Dr Judy Rocke, gave the reason for her termination of our contracts. She told the assembled lecturers that all Secondary School Specialisation courses were being phased out, resulting in us being “redundant” in the university’s “restructuring exercise.”

Now we know that she was lying. These courses are timetabled and are still being taught to new students during the new semester which began on September 3, 2018.

Dr. Mahabir taught several courses at UTT including Research Methods.

That Offensive Omega Curry Advertisement


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

The Omega 3-6-9 Complex advertisement on the nation’s highways – and now on TV – is an out-of-place, outright attack on all curry consumers. Indeed, it is an ethnic form of aggression on a group of people in multi-culinary Trinidad and Tobago.

This billboard advertisement suddenly appeared at various points on the highways with the tagline: “I like my Curry, but I love my heart.” The product being advertised is the Jamieson’s brand of Omega 3-6-9 Complex. The caption is followed by additional texts claiming that the tablets have been “Clinically proven to REDUCE Cholesterol.”

The caption is accompanied by an Indian woman with two tresses of long, flowing, black hair. She is serving a plate of paratha “buss-up-shut” roti with pumpkin, curried channa and aloo, curried chataigne [breadnut] and curried mango.

The public should be warned that the claim about the unhealthy effects of curry in this advertisement is false, unscientific and misleading. The advertisement should be immediately removed with an apology made to all curry consumers and educated people.

Curry powder is made from a blend of natural spices such as coriander, turmeric (“saffron”), ginger, cumin, fenugreek, nutmeg, fennel, cloves, tamarind, cinnamon, cardamom, chili peppers and curry leaves. On the other hand, Omega 3-6-9 is made from chemicals manufactured from fatty acids and fish oil and coated with gelatin sourced from beef and sometimes pork.

Gelatin is generally a faintly yellow, nearly transparent, glutinous substance obtained by boiling the skin, bones and ligaments of animals to form a glue. Vegetarians, Hindus and Muslims, therefore, should not be consuming Omega 3-6-9.


“The Omega 3-6-9 Complex advertisement on the nation’s highways…”

The clinically-proven medicinal benefits of curry

Contrary to the claims of the Omega advertisement, consuming curried foods have been clinically proven to lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and strokes.

A review of the potential medicinal benefits of murraya koenigii (curry leaves) in dyslipidemia was done by Mamta Parnami and Dr Kanika Varma of the University of Rajasthan in India. Their review was published in the International Journal of Advanced Scientific Research and Management (2018).

Dyslipidemia is defined as an elevation of the total cholesterol, the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the triglyceride concentrations, and a decrease in the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration in the blood. Dyslipidemia is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.

The researchers from the University of Rajasthan reviewed studies on the medicinal benefits of curry leaves on human experimental models. In one study, 38 persons were given a preparation of fine ground curry leaves twice daily, at a dose of 3 grams per meal for a period of 5 weeks. The study revealed a significant decline in total cholesterol (P=0.03).

Parnami and Varma also reviewed another study in which 40 post-menopausal women 45-65 years of age, with hyperlipidemia, were given with dried curry leaf powder (5gms) added to their main side dish during lunch for 45 consecutive days. At the end of the experimental period, there was a decrease of about 31.4 mg/dl TC, 15.9mg/dl TG, 23.8 mg/dl of the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It was also observed that there was an increase of 6.5 mg/dl in the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration in the blood.

The clinical claims of Omega 3-6-9 are misleading

The advertisement promotes the idea that Omega 3-6-9 is “Clinically proven to REDUCE Cholesterol.” Omega 3 is composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids found mainly in fish, fish oils, flax seed oil, green leafy vegetables, some nuts and vegetable oils.

Clinical research does not support the claim that omega−3 fatty acid supplementation prevents cardiovascular disease (including myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death) and strokes.

These discoveries were published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (2012), Archives of Internal Medicine (2012), Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2013), and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2018).

Omega-6 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in foods such as poultry, eggs, nuts, whole-grain breads and most vegetable oils

A meta-analysis of 10 trials was done on 77,917 patients and published in JAMA Cardiology (2017). The study found no clinical support for the claim that the daily intake of one gram of omega-3 fatty acid in individuals with a history of coronary heart disease prevents fatal coronary heart disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction or any other vascular disorder.

Omega-9 fatty acids are a family of unsaturated fatty acids found in animal fat, vegetable oils and natural foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados.

Clinical evidence suggests that increasing omega-6 fats have little or no difference to triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the “good” cholesterol) or low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the “bad” cholesterol) (Cochrane 2018).

Research also conducted by L. Al-Khudairy et al. (2015) from Warwick Medical School concludes with this statement: “Our analyses found no statistically significant effects of either increased or decreased omega 6 intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.”

Dr. Mahabir obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of Florida.

Sandals MoU? Part III

Citizen Advocate Afra Raymond continues his piercing examination of the Sandals transaction – David, blogmaster

The previous article delved into the published information on the three existing State-owned hotels and juxtaposed that with the proposals for a Tobago Sandals. Apart from the unsatisfactory position with the State’s existing hotel investments and the reluctance to give details, I also updated readers on the missing MoU for the Tobago Sandals project.

My dismal readings were based on the very limited publicly-available information, nothing else. I did not refer to any rumours or ‘inside information‘, my work is all based on the published record. The PM and his colleagues surely have ready access to a better quality and quantity of information than the public. That being the case, it begs the question as to what is really happening here.

If indeed, the Sandals project has significant upsides and benefits, those ought to have been estimated and shared by now. If the existing State-owned hotels are doing well, why aren’t the management agreements or accounts published? If those hotels are doing poorly, why are we persisting with that same model?

We need a proper examination of those existing hotels so that the Sandals negotiations can take place on the basis of sound information. That is all I am saying.

“In fact, she told a gathering of industry stakeholders…that what it had essentially done was to create three classes of hoteliers in the country.

“Those like Sandals that get everything without consultation, . . . those who have to come to the Ministry of Tourism…which is nonsense, and then those who don’t even get anywhere near the Ministry of Tourism…and as a result therefore they are precluded from being a beneficiary of any of those concessions,”…

Read full article – HERE

The Hindu Ban on Muslim Hijab

Submitted by Fatimah Mohammed

There is an ongoing controversy on the ban of the OJT Muslim trainee-teacher for wearing a hijab headdress at a Maha Sabha Hindu school.

Nafiesa Nakhid was told to remove her hijab in accordance with the school rules of the Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in St Augustine on Monday.

As a Muslim woman with a Hindu husband and two multi-religious children, I am the best authority to adjudicate on this matter.

In its Facebook page, the Centre for Indic Studies led by NCIC’s Dr. Arvind Singh and Aneela Bhagwat, has condemned Sat Maharaj and the Maha Sabha for their action. Singh and Bhagwat have described the Maha Sabha’s ban as “disappointing and indeed shameful.”

Why were Singh and Bhagwat silent when mainly Hindu and Indian lecturers were fired from the Afro-Christian dominated UTT on May 11, 2018?

These paper-based organizations rise from the dead only to attack Sat and the Maha Sabha.

Mr Haripersad Maharaj of the IRO, Dr??? Mahant Deochand Dass of the Kabir Panth, and

Pandit Mukram Sirju of the Academy of Hinduism all came out of their coma to attack Sat when he said that Patrick Manning was a racial prime minister.

Obscure organizations like these do not utter a word when Hindu students are sent home from Muslim schools for wearing rakhi on their wrists and traces of abeer on their skins after Phagwa.

What do Arvind Singh and Aneela Bhagwat have to say about a brand-name Muslim jewellery store in a mall that refuses to sell or repair Hindu and Christian pendants?

What do these meek organizations have to say about a Muslim-operated stationery shop in Aranguez refusing to photocopy anything with images and/or text of Hinduism or Christianity?

Few Indians Joined Black Power in 1970

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

Saturday April 21st marks the 48th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Emergency to quell the Black Power Revolution in Trinidad in 1970. The uprising was led by Makandal Daaga and his chey-la [disciple], Kafra Kambon, of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC).

This year also marks the 18th anniversary since Kambon and his gang of followers rowdily stormed out of a conference on the rebellion during my presentation at University of the West Indies (UWI).

On that Holy Thursday, I was simply trying to expose the popular, (politically correct) propagated myth that many Indians actively participated in the Black Power Revolution.

Seven years after Kambon and his gang noisily interrupted my presentation, Professor Bridget Brereton of the Department of History at UWI came out to support my position.

In an article entitled “Contesting the past: Narratives of Trinidad & Tobago,” Brereton wrote: “Most Indo-Trinidadians opposed the movement and rejected the label ‘black,’ which, most felt, subsumed their ethnic identity under a blanket term always primarily associated with people of African descent” (page 19).

At the Black Power conference in UWI in 2010, I began my presentation by saying: “I speak with the knowledge that there is an attempt by NJAC, and a few Indian militants, to sanitize what, according to historian Kelvin Singh was really ‘a bid by Afro-Trinidadians to dominate the multi-ethnic society in a totalitarian way’” (page 5).

In his book East Indians and Black Power in the Caribbean (1986), Professor Mahin Gosine stated that the participation level of Indians was very low. He wrote that Black Power meant a call to African people to return to their cultural roots, to reject White domination, and to seize political power through revolutionary struggle. The ideology, at its core, preached a return to the traditional African past.

Many Indians did not actively participate in the Black Power Movement because of the violence that was involved. Violence exploded on a large scale on the night of March 5, 1970. Each night, the number of targets hit by Molotov cocktails increased.

Indians feared that the violence would be turned against them, their families, their homes and their small business establishments. An Indian-owned factory was burnt in San Juan and four children died in the fire.

Although NJAC led a procession of 20,000 demonstrators to San Juan, and later to Caroni as an apology, and to signal Afro-Indian unity, the damage was already done to the psyche of Indians.

In his journal article entitled “East Indians and Black Power in Trinidad,” foreign-based researcher, David Nicholls (1971), agreed that the “majority of Indians looked with a certain degree of detachment and with some suspicion upon what was going on. They saw it as a confrontation between black demonstrators, black policemen, and a black Government” (page 443).

At the forefront of the movement were a few Indians. These were men like Winston Leonard who could not have claimed for himself to be either a spokesman or a leader of the Indian community. There was also Chan Maraj of the unknown Arouca-based National Freedom Association, whose fame to claim was that he was related to veteran politician Stephen Maharaj.

These men were aliens to the Indian community. Indeed the Indian community saw them as confused men without a cultural identity. They were token Indian symbols used by advocates of the Black Power Movement for strategic, symbolic and political purposes.

Like Raja Ramlogan, these Indian men did not talk about India, Indian history and Indian heritage with the same passion as their African counterparts talked about their ancestral past.

Indeed, while the Black Power leader, Daaga, and his chey-la, Kambon, were sporting dashiki with pride, Ramlogan was sporting dashiki too, instead of the culturally-acceptable Indian kurta shirt.

A few Indian university students were involved. They went beforehand along the Caroni route explaining the purpose of the proposed march. But they were not taken seriously by villagers since they were considered young university students who just had “more book sense that common sense.”

On March 12, 1970, Indian children came out on the streets out of curiosity to see the dramatic procession, complete with colour, props, chants and speeches.

Indian adults on the Caroni route came out not so much in support of the Movement, but more out of the characteristic Indian hospitality to give food and water to any passing stranger in need.

There was also the strong feeling of fear: Give these rebels what they want and let them go quickly.” If Indians did give a hand of support to the protesters, it was really in support against Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams and his ruling PNM (People’s National Movement) who were considered to be the enemies of Indians.

THE WRITER is an anthropologist who has published 11 books.


Correspondence – Dr. Kumar Mahabir, 10 Swami Avenue, Don Miguel Road, San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. Mobile: (868) 756-4961 E-mail:

Sandals and Secret Deals with Caribbean Governments Continue …

Father and son Butch and Adam Stewart

The same concerns many Barbadians have voiced at the lack of transparency by government with the Sandals Butch Stewart deal is also playing out in Trinidad & Tobago. Unlike Barbados, Freedom of Information legislation is on the statute books of Trinidad and therefore affords citizens like Afra Raymond the avenue to request information deem to be in the public interest.

It is no secret Sandals Butch Stewart deals have been ‘questioned’ across the Caribbean  and of recent Prime Minister Gaston Browne has expressed public outrage at the dictatorial attitude being expressed by Sandals Stewart in Antigua towards his government. We are not in a position to establish if Sandals and Butch Stewart have been involved in nefarious behaviour when dealing with governments across the Caribbean. What we know is that citizens have a right to demand transparency in government especially as it relates to how said decisions effect the public purse.

We recommend the reading below which details the journey by citizen advocate Afra Raymond in T&T as it relates to exposing the MOU with Sandals.

-David,  BU blogmaster


The Tobago Sandals mega-project has returned to the headlines with recent interviews of Sandals Resorts’ CEO, Adam Stewart, in Barbados and Stuart Young, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Stewart’s statements were widely reported in the local press (see Addendum 1 below) with an emphasis on the lack of secrecy in the entire arrangement and the fact that discussions were still at a preliminary stage. Minister Young’s CNC3 interview on Wednesday 28 February 2018 (below) was also notable for his insistence that there was no secrecy or any reluctance to engage with the public on this mega-project.

The Jefferson Cumberbatch Column – A Caribbean Tragedy

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

In 1960s Barbados, many looked forward on Friday afternoon to a publication called the “Calypso”. My late mother and I were among them. It was a newspaper that, according to my best recollection, consisted of stories of entertainment and the lighter stuff much like the traditional Friday afternoon newspapers in some regional jurisdictions such as Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

As the Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged some of the regional islands a week or two ago, my mind reverted to a character in the Calypso newspaper that had his own eponymous cartoon, the impressively witty, fashionably dressed (stingy brim, continental pants and all) and unapologetically chauvinist, gap-toothed “Kalypso Kat” and one panel in particular that we read with perhaps more enjoyment than we should have.

“Why,” queries one lady of Kalypso Kat, do they name hurricanes after women only? “Simple”, responds Kat, “that’s because dey dangerous like wunna”

Of course we have progressed to a more equitable distribution of the names of hurricanes since those days and nowadays for every Anna there is a Bernard and, for every Jacques, a Jillian. However, Kat’s mansplaining in that strip of long ago would have seemingly been borne out by the havoc wrought in some of our neighbouring islands by Irma and Maria while Jose eventually dissipated and harmed no one.

I have chosen to title this piece “A Caribbean tragedy” for obvious reasons. After all, the lives lost and the severe and probably irreparable dislocation caused to some in Anguilla, Barbuda, Tortola, Dominica and, for geographical comity, Puerto Rico, by these hurricanes are, indeed a tragedy of significant proportion.

But two other events are also tragic in nature even though neither might have displaced a single roof or directly caused a loss of life or livelihood. These are first, the niggardly and negative response of some individuals in Trinidad & Tobago to the selfless appeal by Dr Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister, for some Dominicans to be accommodated in that country where it was practicable to do so.This negativity was a clear display of selfishness by those responders, but it may go even deeper than it appears at first sight.

Since most of the Dominicans would be presumed to be mainly of one ethnicity and given the similar ethnic identity of the administration extending to them a helping hand in their hour of need, it might have possibly been perceived that some electoral advantage would most likely inure to the Rowley administration if those relocated individuals were ever granted the franchise in Trinidad & Tobago.

This might appear a fantastic deduction to my readers, but one of the cases that we treat in the law of defamation is that of a successful defence of qualified privilege on the basis of self defense of reputation on the part of a Trinidadian Senator who, stung by an imputation of dishonesty applied to members of his own party by a talkshow host, sought to respond in kind and suggested that the publisher of that accusation was himself part of an electoral strategy by Dr Eric Williams to permit the entry of Grenadians such as the publisher himself into Trinidad so that they would vote for Dr Williams party and thus perpetuate his hold on power. The defence of qualified privilege succeeded in the subsequent action for defamation by the talk show host against the Senator. The ratio was that the defendant was entitled to defend himself by a response of similar kind against defamatory imputations made about him. The significance of ethnicity in the Trinidad & Tobago partisan political environment is not to be taken lightly.

The second incident relates also to political partisanship and demonstrates the extent to which this phenomenon dominates the regional discourse in that it might assume eminence in a conversation as to relief for victims of this catastrophic act of nature.I refer to the accusation leveled a couple of days ago against the Prime Minister of Dominica by opposition political forces that the distribution of received aid was being effected along partisan lines.

Perhaps someday one of our political scientists with time on his or her hands will seek to explore the nature if the connection between the gain of political capital and material assistance to victims in times of natural disaster.

Indeed, it seemed for a brief while last week that the identical discussion might even enter our neck of the woods with the accusation that there had been a less than commendable national attempt only to offer relief to those in the ravaged islands, an imputation that would now have been displaced by the sterling work of the nation’s security forces and the use of Barbadian craft to transport both supplies to the islands and some individuals to safety.

The connection is indeed intriguing; an administration that is adjudged to be delinquent in its efforts at rescue and assistance is unlikely to gain favor with an electorate sympathetic to the victims, while one that is liberal with its assistance is more likely to find electoral advantage.One apt title for such a study would be “The Politics of Natural Disasters,” but then, what do I know?

Indeed, to conclude, there are more than a few commentators who credit anecdotally the 1986 entry of former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, into the Lower House as the representative for St Peter to the flood relief accorded to the constituency by the then governing administration during that period.

One issue that concerns me in all this is the seeming helplessness of the region in the face of these hurricanes. I am not aware of any research studies that are being conducted regionally to avert the destruction wrought by them and even the suggestions as to how best to avoid losing the roof of one’s dwelling to the winds of the hurricane, while laudable and important, are still accepting of the theory that the hurricanes will and must come. We speak glibly in the region of the need for research…to isolate the effects of decriminalizing marijuana…to discover the most effective means of gaining reparation for slavery. Doubtless impotent issues. Is there none interested in avoiding or mitigating the incidence of hurricanes and their consequent destruction?

T&T Extreme Prejudice For Citizens Fighting with ISIS –Never Happen!

Submitted by Tony Humphrey

Major General (Ret’d) Edmund Dillon, Minister of National Security

Is this a reality check for PM Dr. Rowley or is this absolutely unacceptable, unconstitutional and flat out wrong. I can hear the Bajan progressives screaming bloody murder even as those who sit in the conservative seats raise their eyebrows with a smirk.

The headline read: French Special Forces Targeting French Citizens Fighting for ISIS in Iraq. The story quoted: “The motive for the secret operation is to ensure that French nationals with allegiance to Islamic State never return home to threaten France with a terror attack [….] France has been the target of several deadly attacks either inspired by Islamic State or orchestrated from the militants’ Middle East strongholds, including the November 2015 Paris strikes.”

The mother of a Trinidad & Tobago ISIS combatant said about her son, “This is his choice. Nobody is going to love him less for his decision.”

Would we condemn the government and love them less if they help him truly fulfill his choice like the French. Ideally not. Would Bajans accept our government doing similar? Ideally, yes.

But no progressive or law-abiding conservative would ever abide ex-judicial state sponsored execution so the Trinis would have to tread very carefully if they ever adopted that extreme measure of the French (the Americans and others).

If you are suffering continuous terrorist attacks on your home soil is it unacceptable to target one possible source of those attacks and sever it close to the root. Or are these heads of a Hydra!

In every democratic environment it is expressly forbidden under the law to execute/condemn a citizen without trial for a crime they ‘may’ commit.

When that citizen engages in warfare and training – in a foreign land – directly contra the express directions and regulations of the country of which he is a citizen do circumstances change?

Cautiously we tread, because as we have seen under draconian ‘Patriot Act’ styled national security regulations that in periods of national terror disarray actions are implemented impetuously and almost imperially.

After the November 2016 attacks in Paris then President Hollande directed a state of emergency and it was common to have warrantless raids of homes to root out possible terrorists. This period of official ‘ex-judicial’ state supremacy was as severe as it was vital and necessary.

Even then after various extensions were issued there were loud voices from UN human rights panels, AI (Amnesty) and others which harshly denounced Hollande’s directives; but these human rights appeals were rejected by the French courts with the admonishment that there was still ‘imminent peril’ in the country.

The president and some lawmakers have also pushed for citizenship to be stripped from any convicted terrorist who is a dual citizen. And others in Europe has gone one step further and demanded that citizenship be denied any terror convict who gained citizenship via birth-right – ‘jus soli’- or via naturalization.

Bluntly stated this would seek to deny the international law which asserts that a person cannot be rendered stateless. But accordingly and with grave irony, the French Special Forces actions does appear to consider rendering them lifeless for the same offence as more acceptable and definitive!

Now, surely the disaffection in the region driving the Islamist radicalism does not have the same deep seated hatred that is evident in France and her sister countries but still our youth are attracted to the ISIS appeal.

They too go forth to become soldiers in this deadly war and on their return they too recruit others to the cause and indoctrinate more youth like themselves. Their threat is still grave. Only those who studied the T&T disaffection of the 1980s could have fore-seen that the T&T Red House would be under siege by force of arms from Islamist Jamaat-al-Muslimeen extremists.

A reminder that nothing is impossible.

It’s worth noting also as experts have highlighted, that to this day Trinidad & Tobago is the only western nation that has endured an Islamic insurrection. The infamy of that 1990 coup attempt cannot be forgotten as we dissect possible future actions by any of the reported 50 plus ISIS mercenaries of T&T birth fighting in Syria.

Thus the Trinidad and Tobago National Security Minister is very much aware of this threat. He said that his government has “very serious decisions” to make about the “several nationals now linked to the [ISIS] group” regarding the return to their homeland. Rather innocuously he also said that they were “looking at the formation of a counter-terrorism unit to deal especially with these matters”.

Considering that T&T has a long history of establishing specialized units to deal with serious national security issues his remarks are rather understated.

We must also recall that some of these ISIS fighters were implicated in the T&T 2011 plot to foment assassination and terror even as other T&T nationals were implicated in allegations of extremism terror activities in 2014 in a plot in Venezuela.

Regardless of these past affiliations, however, the laser focus must be the possible future terror and mayhem to rule of law in the region.

The ‘imminent peril’ remains with us as a very foreboding and realistic eventuality.

Trinidad Source of Young Recruits to ISIS

Trinidad and Tobago is measured as 332 kilometres from Barbados. Given the rights of Caricom citizens to freedom of movement under the RTOC we need to put our gloves on in response to the news that Trinidad is a source of recruits for ISIS.

BU shares the following article from the New York Times because it should be of high interest to all Barbadians and Caribbean citizens.

Trying to Stanch Trinidad’s Flow of Young Recruits to ISIS



Yasin Abu Bakr, second from right, speaking with other Muslims at his mosque in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Credit Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

ENTERPRISE, Trinidad and Tobago — By the time he was 17, Fahyim Sabur had memorized the Quran.

At 23, he was shunning calypso parties and giving private Arabic lessons in his neighborhood here in Enterprise, about 20 miles south of Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

A year later, he was on the battlefield in Syria, where he died fighting for the Islamic State.

“He never spoke to me about it,” said his father, Abdus Sabur, 56, who sells meat patties on the street. “National Security called me one day and told me, ‘Your son is dead.’ ”

Law enforcement officials in Trinidad and Tobago, a small Caribbean island nation off the coast of Venezuela, are scrambling to close a pipeline that has sent a steady stream of young Muslims to Syria, where they have taken up arms for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

American officials worry about having a breeding ground for extremists so close to the United States, fearing that Trinidadian fighters could return from the Middle East and attack American diplomatic and oil installations in Trinidad, or even take a three-and-a-half-hour flight to Miami.

Continue reading the main story


Continue reading the main story

President Trump spoke by telephone over the weekend with Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago about terrorism and other security challenges, including foreign fighters, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said.

Trinidad has a history of Islamist extremism — a radical Muslim group was responsible for a failed coup in 1990 that lasted six days, and in 2012 a Trinidadian man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a plot to blow up Kennedy International Airport. Muslims make up only about 6 percent of the population, and the combatants often come from the margins of society, some of them on the run from criminal charges.

They saw few opportunities in an oil-rich nation whose economy has declined with the price of petroleum, experts say. Some were gang members who either converted or were radicalized in prison, while others have been swayed by local imams who studied in the Middle East, according to Muslim leaders and American officials.

The young men found solace in radical Islamist websites and social media.

And in the call to jihad.

In contrast to the laws of many countries, it is not illegal in Trinidad to join the so-called caliphate, though the government wants to change that. One hundred to 130 people have made the trip to Syria from Trinidad, which has a population of 1.3 million, according to a former United States ambassador, John L. Estrada, and Trinidad’s minister of national security, Edmund Dillon.

By comparison, about 250 citizens of the United States, a country with 240 times the population, had joined the extremists or attempted to travel to Syria by late 2015, according to a House Homeland Security Committee report.

Per capita, Trinidad has the greatest number of foreign fighters from the Western Hemisphere who have joined the Islamic State, said Mr. Estrada, who stepped down after the inauguration of President Trump last month.

“Trinidadians do very well with ISIL,” Mr. Estrada said. “They are high up in the ranks, they are very respected and they are English-speaking. ISIL have used them for propaganda to spread their message through the Caribbean.”

Much of the information about the identities of those who went abroad comes from American intelligence sources, although local imams and Islamic leaders all said they knew several people, including women, who had left.

“I know whole families that went,” said Imtiaz Mohammed, president of the Islamic Missionaries Guild, which does charity work in Trinidad and the Middle East.



Umar Abdullah, an Islamic activist in Trinidad and Tobago, at home with his daughter. Credit Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

Juan S. Gonzalez, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said the bulk of Islamic State fighters from Latin America originated in Trinidad and Tobago. The numbers underscore a risk of lone-wolf attacks in the region, he added.

“As the United States continues to corner ISIS and defeat them, a lot of these guys aren’t going to feel they have safe quarters,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “Is the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, prepared for these guys to return back to their countries? This is a real vulnerability.”

He noted that people in the Caribbean enjoyed visa-free travel throughout the islands, which makes it fairly easy to travel to the Bahamas, and from there make a “short jump” to South Florida.

The United States, which encouraged Trinidad to tighten its laws, has hosted meetings with Muslim leaders at the embassy in Port of Spain, and paid for several to attend anti-extremism workshops in the United States.

Mr. Sabur, the young radical from Enterprise, is one of a handful of Trinidadians known to have died in Syria. Others include Shawn Parson, who appeared in an Islamic State recruiting video. He was targeted by an F.B.I. program that, with the cooperation of the military, sought to eliminate the group’s social media figures, often with drone strikes.

Last summer, Shane Crawford, also known as Abu Sa’d at-Trinidadi, perhaps Trinidad’s best-known Islamic State recruit, was prominently featured in an article in the group’s magazine, Dabiq, in which he called for attacks on Western embassies.

Mr. Crawford said he had been influenced by Islamic lectures and a Trinidadian Muslim leader, Ashmead Choate. Mr. Choate “attained martyrdom” in Ramadi, Iraq, the article said.

The genesis of today’s rising militancy, Mr. Crawford added in the article, can be traced to the failed 1990 coup, when a group of radical Muslims took legislators hostage in a siege of Parliament. When it was over, two dozen people were dead.

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Yasin Abu Bakr, 76, who led that uprising and has since been released from prison, said the government had created a climate where young Muslims did not feel safe or welcome in the military or civil service. “This is total discrimination and isolation against young Muslims in Trinidad,” he said in an interview.

Trinidad’s attorney general, Faris Al-Rawi, said that after the coup, wearing Muslim garb “took on a certain appeal.”

“A lot of people who were not genuinely Muslim or otherwise took on the persona to carry on their thuggery,” he added.

Mr. Al-Rawi said Mr. Crawford was believed to have died in Syria. His mother, Joan Crawford, said she had heard rumors that he had been badly wounded.

Ms. Crawford, 62, said that her son had been falsely accused of plotting to kill the Trinidadian prime minister, and that this had diminished his professional prospects, even though he ran a fish business and had experience in plumbing.

“Once you are branded a terrorist in your own country, what could you do?” said Ms. Crawford, a former Spiritual Baptist who converted to Islam after her son did. “I did cry, because I knew I would never see him again. I did not get to say goodbye.”


Haruun Ben Usuf, left, an imam in Trinidad. At least one Muslim who has joined the Islamic State has been through his mosque. He said he hadn’t known of that Muslim’s plan to join the jihadist group. Credit Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

Efforts to combat the flow of young Muslims to overseas battlefields have been complicated by the ambivalence toward, and sometimes support for, the jihadi cause among some imams and the recruits’ parents. In an interview that began and ended with a prayer, Mr. Sabur said he had welcomed his son’s death as a martyr: “I felt elated. Speaking about it now, I am overelated.”

The Trinidadian government last week introduced a series of amendments that would criminalize membership in the Islamic State and other extremist organizations. People who traveled to certain regions would be presumed to be doing so for terrorism, and the burden to prove otherwise would be on them, Mr. Al-Rawi said.

Mr. Mohammed, of the Islamic Missionaries Guild, criticized the proposed legislation, saying groups like his that make trips to the Middle East are often engaged in charity work and could be unfairly singled out.

“You can’t just go to a court and have a judge tell you that you are guilty with no evidence, just an assumption,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed has publicly denounced the Islamic State, but noted that his own United States visa and commercial pilot’s license had been revoked after a terrorism suspect passed through his Islamic center.

A senior intelligence official in Trinidad who was not authorized to speak publicly said he worried that the proposed legislation would make people who would have left for Syria plan attacks at home instead.

He said about 15 or 20 of the Islamic State recruits spent two weeks before their trips at a mosque in Rio Claro, about 50 miles southeast of Port of Spain. There, they attended an orientation, the official said.

Umar Abdullah, an Islamic activist, said he had been among those who encouraged the would-be fighters.

Despite having made thinly veiled threats to Americans in the past, which led a cruise ship on its way to Trinidad to turn back, Mr. Abdullah has since denounced extremism, and now says Muslims must work with the United States to “change the narrative.” It would be “stupid” to try to attack the United States Embassy, he said.

“At one point in time I was a strong believer in that, and I still believe it to some extent,” Mr. Abdullah said. “But to do something like that would put the Muslim community in harm’s way. We would not be able to stand the fallout of that type of action.”

The imam in Rio Claro, Nazim Mohammed, denied running an Islamic State training program, and insisted that he operated an elementary school and a weekly food program for the poor. But he acknowledged that two of his children and five of his grandchildren were in Syria, and that the adults were believed to be involved with the Islamic State.

“Killing and murdering is not Islamic,” Nazim Mohammed, 75, said in an interview. “Our program is to help people. You know how many people have come here for help?”

He insisted that his children did not notify him of their plans, and he shrugged off the group’s influence.

“Who is ISIS?” he said. “ISIS is just a few people.”

Read full article – Trying to Stanch Trinidad’s Flow of Young Recruits to ISIS

Taking Trinidad’s Political Temperature

Submitted by Mark T Jones – London-based writer and commentator on International Affairs

MP Herbert Volney resignation from the UNC has triggered a bi-election in St.Joseph

MP Herbert Volney resignation from the UNC has triggered a bi-election in St.Joseph

Those who routinely dismiss politics as boring have evidently never experienced elections in Trinidad & Tobago. With a key bi-election on 4th November 2013 things look certain to become hot, hot, hot.

St Joseph takes considerable pride in the fact that as San José de Oruña from 1592-1783 was the capital of Trinidad. The constituency is racially balanced, with a mixture of the comfortably off as well as those who struggle to make ends meet. St Joseph invariably acts as a bell-weather that enables local psephologists to gain a fair indication of what the mood of the country is. In addition this bi-election has added importance in that it was triggered by former MP Herbert Volney’s decision to resign from the United National Congress (UNC) and join the Independent Liberal Party (ILP). Such an important election has ensured that there has been considerable interest in the candidates and some appear to be far from run of the mill.

Crime and illegal activity has long been a pre-occupation and concern of the islands’ inhabitants and so it came of little surprise that TV6’s show Crime Watch proved to be so popular. The show ensured that its hosts Ian Alleyne and Om Lalla have become household names, a fact that both figures have sought to capitalise upon by entering the political arena. Alleyne, a man with an extremely high sense of his own worth and Lalla, a fiercely bright and ambitious individual forged a powerful partnership on screen and an extraordinary close friendship off screen. In television terms Crime Watch became something of a phenomenon, a show that with the additional credibility of the presence of Police Inspector Roger Alexander, appeared to be on a mission to become the scourge of criminal behaviour. For all their celebrity status, the two hosts as self proclaimed guardians of public safety have at times proved more than fallible. Alleyne has been no stranger to controversy having in the past compared himself with the Messiah. He demonstrated a gross error of judgement and extremely bad taste when the programme he fronted (and has the local rights too) showed footage of a teenage girl being raped with her face and that of the attacker clearly visible. The adverse reaction for TV6 was such that when his contract was up for renewal they chose not to renew it and he moved Crime Watch to CNC3.

Continue reading

Trinidadian Ulric Cross Made Us Proud

Reproduced from the UK Telegraph

Ulric Cross

Ulric Cross

Ulric Cross, who has died aged 96, is thought to have been the most decorated Caribbean airman of the Second World War; he went on to enjoy a distinguished career in Trinidad as a judge and diplomat.

Cross was working for Trinidad Railways when the war broke out, and was anxious to play his part. “The world was drowning in Fascism and America was not yet in the war,” he later recalled. “So I decided to do something about it and volunteered to fight in the RAF.”

Philip Louis Ulric Cross was born on May 1 1917 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and won a government scholarship to St Mary’s College. His first job was with the Trinidad Guardian before he spent four years working in a solicitor’s office. In 1941, after three years working for the railway, he joined the RAF and sailed for England.

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The Jack Warner Revolution

Submitted by Mark T Jones (London-based writer and commentator on International Affairs)

"Warner choosing green as his party’s colour was typical of his ability to read his electorate"

“Warner choosing green as his party’s colour was typical of his ability to read his electorate” – Mark Jones

For those prepared to look as well as see, Trinidad & Tobago is a fascinating country. One steeped in history, rich in cultural variety; a land of contrasts that deserves far greater attention than it receives. For a nation with a stable economy, rich in oil and gas, with an undervalued currency it is currently experiencing events in its body politic that can truly be said to be shifting its tectonic plates. The architect of this seismic activity is none other than Jack Warner, yes Jack ‘Teflon’ Warner of FIFA fame (or some might prefer infamy). Rarely in the history of the islands can one individual have caused so much excitement and anxiety. All the more remarkable as not so long ago Warner faced investigation and a degree of censure following on from a report compiled by the Integrity Committee of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). In many ways this CONCACAF report could be said to be the genesis of the political ructions being experienced throughout Trinidad & Tobago at the present time.

Whilst Warner is no longer a big shot at FIFA, he certainly wields enormous influence in the Caribbean and effectively bankrolled the United National Congress (the largest partner in the People’s Partnership coalition) in Trinidad & Tobago’s two most recent general elections. Ever the workaholic, the wealth of evidence he is believed to have amassed on colleagues whilst heading up the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure (ministerial portfolio with possibly the largest budget and the greatest scope for corruption), and latterly as Minister of National Security in the Coalition Government will no doubt prove a handy ‘insurance policy’ in these turbulent times. The CONCACAF report has certainly proved controversial, especially in regard to the issue of the ownership of João Havalange Centre of Excellence (a 16-acre sprawl containing a conference centre, football stadium, hotel and swimming pool) on Trinidad. Whilst Warner had remained defiant, the damning criticism contained within the report along with the news that his sons in the US had been placed under house arrest for a time and of his being investigated by the Federal Bureau for Investigation (FBI) for possible fraud and tax evasion caused Warner to consider his position. Realising the potential gravity of the situation on 21st April 2013 he went to see the Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar to tender his resignation as a Minister, MP and Chair of the UNC.

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The People Want Caribbean Regimes to Fall

Submitted by Pachamama

WATER BLAST: A demonstrator shelters as Turkish riot police fire a water cannon at protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul, injuring scores -

WATER BLAST: A demonstrator shelters as Turkish riot police fire a water cannon at protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul, injuring scores –

As we write masses of people are demonstrating in the streets of Istanbul and many other Turkish cities calling Erdogan and Gul dictators, fascists, American puppets and Zionist traitors. They are chanting “we want the regime to fall’’, not the government – the regime, the regime! This call is not unlike what we have been hearing, for more than two years, in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisian, Libya and nearly all the European countries. It represents the latest flashpoint in the seismic changes the peoples of the world are demanding. Demands that world powers would prefer to misdirect into a full-blown world war to serve their corporate masters. The criminals Gul and Erdogan have their Gestapo in the streets cracking skulls, using tear gas that can kill and employing the most powerful water hoses against the people. Even in the United Stated the Obama administration used these extraordinary measures to quell the ‘Occupy Movement’’. These included infiltration by the intelligence agencies, the brute force of storm troopers, a propaganda corporate controlled media and up to that time an apathetic populace that had not felt the full force of a brutish grab for resources that has now left 150 million Americans at or below the poverty line. This is the central issue! The peoples of the world are engaging corporate interests in a popular war for resources everywhere. For them this will be a hot summer (fall) of rage. The lackeys in the Caribbean, through all of this, have no answers for their peoples. They responses are generally within the range of ‘this is a global problem and we are helpless to avoid it’’ and reverting to all the failed recipes of western financial capitalism, a dying political-economy model.

In Barbados, the regime deliberately misinterpreted the electoral expressions of the people for a government of national unity. Such a brazen and dictatorial power grab, under the rubric of an outdated Westminster system, merely serves the ruling clique, ignores the talents of nearly 50% percent of elected representatives, makes it more unlikely that the country will be able to exit the vortex of depression economics in the medium term, strengthens the idea of ‘the maximum leader’ and unduly sustains a false tension within the political system. When Caribbean people get hungry enough they will be in the street, not merely calling for the government to go, they will too be calling for the regime to fall. This will mean the government in the wider sense – BLP, DLP. The call must of necessity extend to the ruling elites as well – the education elites, the economic elites, the professional types, the elites in the clergy. They will be calling for a revolution! Barrow’s hideous Public Order Act will have no effect on ‘them’. The militarized police force will not be as persuasive to orders as the people will be to the hunger pangs they feels or the sight of hunger in their children’s eyes. The American trained special branch of the defense force, on call 24/7, may martyr some people in the streets but calls for the fall of the regime will continue, without ceasing. This call will be properly informed by a history of a lack of proper leadership, multiply betrayals of the people, an absence of land reform, political treachery by all parties and a growing mal-distribution of wealth.

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Respecting National Boundaries

Submitted by Charles Knighton



About two years ago, after a long-standing, contentious and still unresolved dispute with Japan over certain islands and their surrounding waters, China redrew the map featured on its passport to include this disputed territory as part of China’s territorial ambit. Now Guatemala, after a long standing, contentious and still unresolved dispute with Belize over contested territory, has redrawn the map featured on its passport to include this disputed territory as part of Guatemala’s territorial ambit.

Which brings me to the long standing, contentious and still unresolved dispute between Barbados and Trinidad over fishing rights in contested Tobagonian waters. Hmmm.

Afra Raymond:The Three Sides of Corruption

Submitted by Afra Raymond

“Afra Raymond is an anti-corruption activist/blogger whose work – – has focused on the collapse and bailout of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerate – CL Financial – and corruption in the property/construction arenas.

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The Plight of the Local Dairy

Image Credit - Rosemary Parkinson

Image Credit – Rosemary Parkinson

The following article was extracted from Rosemary Parkinson’s Facebook Page. She has become known on Facebook and BU as a strident advocate for one cause or the other as it affects Bajans. A read of Rosemary’s Bio can be an intimidating experience; where does she find the time and energy!  At the core of what she does is publishing books about the foods of our region BUT her interest gleaned from her BIO is far-flung.

Love it. First OUR LOCAL DAIRY tries to fool the people with their so-called “fresh” milk that was not fresh but some new-fangled bad-tasting excuse for milk that could last on a shelf for 90 days.

When the people screamed, OUR LOCAL DAIRY thought they could fool even more people by putting same into the coolers of supermarkets but the taste remained the same and no matter what OUR LOCAL DAIRY did for marketing, nothing worked.

CEO of OUR LOCAL DAIRY says “consumption not like it used to be”…well Sir WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, PRAY TELL? You admitted that people used to drink more milk in the past…so you gave yourself the answer one time but just in case you still doan get it. WHEN THAT HORRIBLE MILK DID NOT SELL, WHY DID YOU NOT TAKE YOUR LOSSES, SCRAP DE PROCEDURE AND REVERT TO THE REAL MILK THAT HAD BEEN SELLING WELL FOR YEARS EH? Oh! No! No!…you believed that we the people would soon get over our disgust and begin the consumption of what you felt we had to consume whether we liked it or not. Perhaps your marketing man should have heeded my words at BMEX when you first launched there and he insisted this milk was “fresh from the cow”…for I said clearly…THE PEOPLE WILL NOT LIKE THIS…YOU WILL LOSE!

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VIDEO: Morning Edition 10 December 2012

There is a healthy interest by Barbadians in the CLICO Affair as in unfolds in the T&T parent market. A catastrophic failure of local and regional regulatory and political systems. Listen to searching interview by Fazeer Mohammed (known more in Barbados as a cricket commentator) and Afra Raymond, a vocal Trinidadian commentator leading the effort for transparency in the CLICO matter.

National Insurance Board Wants Equity Stake In Republic Bank Trinidad

Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of National Insurance Board

“In light of this, Dr. Robinson indicated that, “The NIS is looking at all of the options right now. The options are that the NIS could decide not to sell any of the shares it has, it could sell some or it could consider an exchange of BNB shares for Republic Bank shares.”

The Barbados Advocate

BU wishes to commend the Board of the NIS Scheme for stating a coherent position regarding the options under consideration regarding Republic Bank’s offer of $5.00 to buyout minority shares. If Republic Bank is successful it means the Trinidad owned bank would 100% own the former national bank of Barbados.

Chairman of the NIS Dr. Justin Robinson is on record confirming that the NIS Fund is cash rich and the Republic Bank is on record it wants ALL of the shares. The two stated positions make the third option favoured by Dr. Robinson the most sensible investment strategy for the NIS and Barbados.  Why should we not seek out an equity stake in one of Port of Spain’s leading companies? T&T capital has acquired many Bajan companies. It is time to confront the hegemony of Trinidad.

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Notes From a Native Son: Are Cross-border Banks Giving Barbadians Good Service?

Hal Austin

Republic Bank, in a brave move, has announced its intention of taking the former Barbados National Bank in to wholly-owned control. The announcement has led to a muted discussion among some Barbadians, with the professor of economics at Cave Hill, Michael Howard, ‘advising’ local shareholders to sell to the foreign owners.

Apart from the principle of clean hands, the professor’s advice, which also includes keeping the local subsidiary out of the hands of the government, appears to lack any real understanding of banking and its role in intermediation and, even more, economic growth. It is silly advice and should be ignored. Of course, there is no doubt that Republic Bank has behaved impeccably in its dealings both with the Barbados Stock Exchange and investors, but with other unscrupulous operators there is every opportunity in such a move to undermine shareholder value. Is the acquisition going to create value? What about cultural differences, or are they saying Barbadians and Trinidadians share a common culture? What stress and prudence tests have been applied? Retailing banking has reached such a comfortable state in the Caribbean that it is difficult to find common performance measures of success.

We know, for example, that customer satisfaction is not a measure shared by the former BNB, since Republic Bank neither formally informed all its account holders when it took control of the bank, when it changed its name, nor of its intention to buy out minority shareholders. In simple terms, it could not give a hoot what Barbadian shareholders think about their management style.

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Lawrence Duprey Says, "I did Nothing Wrong"

Former Executive Chairman of CL Financial, parent company of CLICO

The following report extracted from the Trinidad Express summarizes a 50 page statement by former CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey which was submitted to the Commission of Inquiry.

Former CL Financial chairman files 50-page witness statement at Commission of Enquiry
By Ria Taitt Political Editor
Story Created: Oct 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM ECT
(Story Updated: Oct 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM ECT )

Former executive chairman of insurance giant CL Financial, Lawrence Duprey, has said that as far as he was concerned, he has done nothing wrong.

Although the failure of the financial conglomerate seriously threatened to destabilise the economy and to date the rescue mission has cost taxpayers $21 billion, Duprey in his witness statement to the Commission of Enquiry which was filed on Monday described himself as “a hardworking and dedicated citizen who worked hard to create wealth for all and was instrumental in the creation of thousands of jobs”.

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A Call To UNITY!

Submitted by M1766

Call to Unity Workers Union

The Best Employers of Employers initiative is a good way for companies to see how they match up to other companies in their categories of operation & in general. It requires employees of participating companies to respond honestly and anonymously to a set of questions on a questionnaire.

A.S Brydens has decided to participate in the Best Employers in Barbados initiative which is being administered by Caribbean Catalyst. We as staff, while trying to manage the work formerly done by work units that were adequately sized are now faced with having to sit down like children, under a Trinidadian manager in the room overseeing them, as we fill out the questionnaires some of us initially refused to.

These questions have to do with the workers’ perception of the level of human-ness exhibited by the company & the extent to which they wish to remain employed by the company. AS Brydens, under Mc Al has been bullying staff, threatening staff & taking away rights that we had got through Union bargaining over the last few years.

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Barbados Sold!

Sir Allan Fields presided over the disposal of Barbados only conglomerate BS&T to T&T interest

The recent uproar created by Sir Roy Trotman  calling out of Diamond’s International Managing Director Jacob Hassid as the Egyptian Jew, has pierced the veneer which cloaks a simmering racial tension in Barbados. What we have is a dominant Black host population which has tolerated a relationship with the White population for years, the dominant minority group. It must be recognised that Whites enjoy a disproportionate economic influence which many readily admit extends to the political sphere in the form of White Shadows. The other ethnic groups have respected their minority roles.

In recent years BU has painted a concern about the affect the dismantling of the Barbados Model continues to impact our society. In the last decade another variable has had to be factored, the hegemony of Trinidad business. The unwillingness of successive governments and Barbadians to react to the aggressive acquisition of Barbados Assets does not augur well for a once proud people who exuded pride by being firm craftsmen of their fate.

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The Hegemony Of Trinidad Continues

Christopher Sharon, Deputy CEO of First Citizens Bank

The woman who is leading First Citizens’ acquisition of Butterfield Bank says she knows there is anti-Trinidad sentiment in Barbados right now. But Sharon Christopher, the lawyer and deputy chief executive officer of First Citizens Group said the company wanted earnestly for the local public to trust the institution and accept it was not here to deprive Barbados of anything – Nation Newspaper

On June 07, 2007 BU posted a blog titled Is Trinidad The Hegemonist Of The Caribbean? The oil rich nation simply does not have the investment capacity in the domestic market to satisfy investors. A few islands in the Caribbean, Barbados especially, represent a receptive climate for asset picking. A passive business class, an accommodating government scared to offend its Caricom partners, and a people willing to toss away their identify all combine to make Barbados a play ground for T&T investors.

The truckload of T&T investors who have descended on Barbados create the opportunity for Barbadians to comment because they do not believe there has been a willingness on the T&T side to accommodate Barbados. The fishing agreement comes to mind. Most recent is Neal & Massy’s willingness to close Almond Beach Village (ABV) without a fight and in the process deposit 500 workers on the breadline. As a consequence of N&M’s mismanagement of ABV other investors are now fighting over the opportunity to purchase the property.

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Darcy Boyce Please COMMUNICATE, You Are The Servant

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Senator Darcy Boyce

Glaring examples of a lackadaisical communications policy of the government continues to manifest itself to even the least discerning. Today’s headline story in the Sunday Express of Trinidad reveals Barbados also has an interest in oil blocks which Trinidad is seeking to exploit yet only Grenada is defending their interest. Is Senator Darcy Boyce who has responsibility for the ministry with responsibility for offshore oil resources asleep?

BU takes the opportunity to entreat Boyce to come clean on matters related to the Pierhead Marina Project. Didn’t Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler signal in a ministerial statement last year the project would be mobilized in January 2012? What about the clean up of the oil Mobil site as Needhams Point which is likely to see court action brought against the Government. What the hell is going on? Can OUR government (Boyce) please COMMUNICATE with us? We should also ask leader of the opposition whither PAC action on this matter as promised?

The lack of communication cannot be the preserve of mere servants who mistakenly see these roles as Kings would their fiefdoms!

A copy of the Express article is pasted below for easy access:

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The Cheryl Miller Story: Takeaways

Cheryl Miller, right, leaves St Ann’s Hospital - PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.  Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

The bizarre case of Cheryl Miller has been unfolding in Trinidad and Tobago over the last two weeks to the amazement of many. It seems incredible that in 2012 a government employee could be whisked away by authorities and committed to a mental institution. Yet this is what happened to Cheryl Miller, an employee of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development. Rational thinking would suggest if there is a problem at the office that the next of kin would be alerted to determine next steps.

Thankfully by a court order Cheryl Miller was released from St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital this evening (7/04/2012).

Relevant links:

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Notes From a Native Son – Is There a Wider Lesson In Corporate Barbados From The Almond Crisis?

Hal Austin

It is always sad news when a business runs in to commercial trouble, but the Almond Resorts car crash was well telegraphed. It is clear that the so-called all-inclusive business model, although attractive in theory in that it gives consumers a rough guide as to how much they will spend, in practice it is untenable because providers see it as a good area in which to cut costs, stretch revenue streams and, more worrying, they need to fabricate a story of social pathology on the outside to terrify customers in to staying within their walls.

As a model for producing sound cash flow and profitability, the jury is still out; and as for being a model built on fear, that is a matter for governments. Even so, this negative policy not only denies visitors from enjoying the real hospitality of local people, it also gives the operators the freedom to manage the supply of ‘free’ food and drink by conveniently running out of supplies at the most inconvenient times and limiting the other services offered to their captive customers as a central part of business practice.

In tax terms, payments are often made outside the local jurisdiction and drip fed in to the local business as and when required. This means that in terms of the company’s revenue and profit and loss, this can easily be manipulated by the firm’s accountants to the advantage of its shareholders and executives. Almond Beach Village may not indulge in all or any of these practices, but as a 400-bed facility with reported debt of about Bds$100m, something has gone seriously wrong.

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Barbados Bewitched….While Trinidad Be-riched

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

Significant oil discovery by T&T

Just heard the good news on CMC late news. New oil reserves have been discovered in T&T….48 million barrels of light crude in one offshore field and a further 34 million in another…WOW 82 million barrels of black goal to boost Pamela &; Co. coffers.

The implications for Barbados…..much more T&T investors will be coming our way to buy out our troubled capital assets. How does Trinidad & Tobadoes sound fellas ? Given our uncertainties…’s a good possibility.

But how will the two peoples get on ? If Kellman’s much sought after fishing agreement is much to go by..well you tell me. Like granny used to say …..better born lucky than rich.

Harsh luck for off road bike and quads riders here as well…….such bikes have been banned from the road ways and the Scotland District..just like that…boom. Sorry fellas do like me and catch the bus’s safer all round.

Barbados Should Tell T&T To ‘Go To Hell’ Too!

Each country is entitled to the ‘exclusive’ rights within their 200 mile EXCLUSIVE economic zone. Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and most other regional states are party to the Law of the Sea Treaties that provide for those rights. Barbados has no right to give the impression that Barbadian fishermen have any right AT ALL to venture into that exclusive zone without penalty. In the EEZ, the coastal state has the sole right of exploitation of the resources contained therein under international law of the sea treaties to which we are all party.

So when fishermen do so, let it be clear that they do so at their own peril. I don’t agree that anyone should be defending it. Unless and until CARICOM has the political will to come up with a Common Fisheries Regime and countries agree on the shared use of common resources (like the sea) Barbadian fishermen need to respect other peoples space.

Flying fish are a migratory fish species and while they spawn in the waters off Barbados, they migrate to the warmer waters off Tobago as they get older. Barbadian fishermen understand that and follow the fish to their habitats, but that happens to be the coastal space of another state and they have no right under any law to do so. They can and will be arrested and noone can fault the Trinis for it except for sensationalism purposes because we have allowed for too many years, the notion to prevail that we went to the Arbitral Tribunal over fishing boundaries when in actual fact that was little more than a secondary issue. More importantly the finding of the tribunal re the fishing issue was that the two countries should come to some common agreement on the matter. So there exists no framework to allow Bajan fishermen into Trinidadian waters.

Lisa R. Elcock

Flying fish - Wikipedia

It was not too long ago when what appeared to be all of Jamaica dropped like a ton of bricks on Barbados.  Not to be left out, Guyana, St. Vincent and other neighbours had a lot say when Barbados sought to enforced its sovereign right to protect its borders.

The recent arrest of Barbadian fisherman by T&T authorities serves to remind us that Barbados finds itself in a very lonely place in Caricom. To present the blunt argument that the Barbadian fishermen perpetrated an illegal act is to be dishonest in the argument. This longstanding T&T/Barbados fishing agreement straddles both BLP and DLP governments and leads one to the conclusion that there is no desire on the part of T&T to close an agreement. There are much bigger fish to fry in a pan which is full of oil.

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Know Thine Enemy

Excerpts from the book “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in The Caribbean – The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Guyana”, by Darius Figueira. This book is available at the UWI Bookshop and online on

“The dominant race based illicit drug transhipping organisations/race groupings are:

The Syrian/Lebanese grouping. This grouping consists of crime families descended from Syrian and Lebanese immigrants to Trinbago and generations since born in Trinbago. ..The Syrian/Lebanese organisation has created a division of labour in which their illicit drug transhipping is masked by the legitimate front businesses and drug money laundering operations that pass for legitimate businesses.

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Will CLICO Policyholders Soon Have Reason To Smile?

Former Supervisor of Insurance Carlos Belgrave (l) former Governor of the Central Bank Marion Williams (c) Late Prime Minister David Thompson (r)

There is one characteristic about which Barbadians have boasted through the years, our stable financial environment. Even in the midst of the prevailing economic turbulence Barbados’ financial space has been recognized for its resilience and good management. CLICO’s catastrophic fall as a premier pan-Caribbean company now threatens to besmirch that reputation.

BU has blogged voluminously about the CLICO Affair; the summary of which: CLICO’s problem was facilitated by deficient oversight, porakey regulation, greedy politicians and the collapse of Wall Street in the last quarter of 2007. It does not mean that Duprey and cohorts did not make bad decisions as managers of the company but the last couple years has exposed that the regulatory approved EFPA was the financial product which pushed the company over the edge. There is no doubt in the BU household that regional regulators fell into a deep coma at the wheel. Why this occurred is now the subject of speculation and investigation. BU would hazard a guess regulators and politicians alike were wooed by the smooth talking deep pocket Duprey. It is note worthy that in almost all the countries in the region where CLICO operated there is a similar story to be told.

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The Regional Bullies Are At It Again

Prime Minister Bruce Golding (l), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (r)

BU resisted giving our two cents on the current tug war between Barbados and Trinidad but defend we must the yella blue. All the other Caribbean islands defend their ‘colours’ and honour, Bajans however are expected to be a rare breed of people who should adsorb the disrespect of our Caricom neighbours with ‘grace and aplomb’.

First it was Guyana heaping their crap on us in the great immigration debate, Jamaica recently joined the fray with the still unsettled Myrie incident and now Trinidad and Tobago – the ridiculous outstanding fishing agreement not withstanding – decides to demonstrate  disrespect for Barbados by screwing us on REDjet’s certification. The issue of airworthiness was never a problem until REDjet exhausted the approval process. Now we are being asked to believe uncertified pictures which have miraculous;y appeared on the Internet showing a rusting landing gear of an alleged REDjet plane. Allyuh must think Bajans foolish fuh trute.

To add to the mamaguying being pulled by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, she trumpeted at the recent St. Kitts Caricom Summit that she is backing a Fast Ferry Service as a solution to making regional travel more affordable. How convenient that such a service would not have to compete with CAL. How convenient the proposed passenger fare is $15.00. It should also be noted that a similar service on the San Fernando/Port of Spain sea route has been a financial failure to date.

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REDjet Sabotaged By Caricom: The Big Two Jamaica And Trinidad

Two events occurred in the news this week which confirmed to BU that Caricom is in a coma. A mini-Caricom summit held in Guyana saw four heads absent, Prime Minister of Trinidad among them. In the obligatory end of summit communiqué which nobody reads except Rickey Singh, the heads advised the world implementation of a common currency would be further delayed until a review of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat. Have to admit the decision was a surprise, in fact the Caribbean is still in shock!

The other happening was REDjet’s decision to cancel plans to fly the Trinidad and Jamaica air routes. It is no secret both Jamaica and Trinidad have frustrated REDjet’s application to operate its low-cost airline between Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica. Barbados and Guyana gave the all clear to REDjet about a month ago.

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The REDjet Revolution

BU has been following the progress of new entrant REDjet to the regional air transport market with interest. Not since Carib Express have we seen a new airline generate so much debate. The airline was approved to fly by the Barbados government albeit after a mountain of bureaucratic hurdles had to be leaped. The airline had to confront a suspicious minister of transport in Jack Warner  in its quest to fly to Trinidad. A recent report suggests permission for REDjet to touchdown at Piarco International Airport should be known when the cabinet meets on Thursday.  It was left to the Guyana government to welcome the airline free of controversy.

If we are to judge by the comments emanating from REDjet management the response to the airline has been overwhelming. Why should this be a surprise to anyone when in recent months it has been cheaper often times to fly to Miami or New York than to Antigua or Jamaica.

It is ironic and exposes the hypocrisy in the region that external players are the ones to attempt to make regional travel affordable. We are not ignoring the contribution of local investor in the airline Bizzy Williams. For decades our political leaders and intellectuals, or should we say pseudo-intellectuals, have pontificated about the importance of freedom of movement to the success of the regional integration movement. However they have all failed to deliver a solution which would make regional travel affordable. Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua are the major shareholders in LIAT which currently has the monopoly on regional transport between the islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Whether because of mismanagement or a flawed business model LIAT has been a generator of debt for its shareholders and venerable Chairman Doctor Jean Holder through the years. The less written about Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica the better.

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The White Elephant That Is The Caribbean Court Of Justice Exposes The Failings Of Caribbean Academics And Politicians

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding (l) Professor Norman Girvan (r)

Barbadians continue to wait for the government of Barbados to revamp out-dated immigration laws to better protect a society which is the envy of the world. Almost one year has past since town hall meetings were held to discuss the green paper on immigration. That exercise exposed glaring loopholes in our existing legislation and inefficiency and corrupt behaviour by officers at the Immigration Department.

The late Prime Minister David Thompson at the final Town Hall meeting held at Solidarity House, made statements which would have suggested that by December 2010 the new immigration act should have been enacted. It is amusing to recall the haste the former government enacted sunset legislation to facilitate the hosting of CWC2007. It is equally humorous to recall the haste the incumbent government enacted the constituency council bill. The two examples should demonstrate to cynics if a government wants to enact legislation in a reasonable timeframe, it is possible even when our lumbering civil service is taken into consideration.

The recent revelation by Prime Minister Bruce Golding that he prefers the final court of appeal to be Jamaican has startled many in the Caricom community. He promised if Jamaica is ever to become a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) his government will go the route of a referendum. Students of Caribbean history and others who would have observed the regional interactions of Jamaica and Trinidad in the last 10 years are not surprise by Jamaica’s latest move. A case of history repeating itself some might say. BU commentators warned in earlier blogs the folly of Barbados laying bare much of its family silver (prized companies) to appease regional integrationists. The CCJ is meant to be flaming symbol of regional integration. It has taken a few years for the Caricom community to absorb the shock of Trinidad and Tobago not joining the CCJ, made all the more embarrassing given the address of the court, now Jamaica has hinted its desire to tread and all too familiar path.

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Is Illegal Tapping Of Phones, Monitoring Text Messages, E-mails Occurring In Barbados? – Who Is Guarding The Guard? Anderson Bowen Can You Help Us Please?

Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs - photo credit Trinidad Express

GIBBS CATCHES SPIES …uncovers illegal tapping of phones, monitoring of text messages and e-mails

By Lennox Grant

An early-morning police raid, ordered by Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs, on a secret snooping agency within the National Security Ministry has brought to light an extensive list, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and private citizens whose phone calls, text messages and e-mails have been monitored over five full article


In Barbados we have heard accusations levelled at Commissioner Darwin Dottin that CWC2007 technology was used to monitor the calls of Barbadians. Many of us expressed scepticism which runs counter to the way we have done things in Barbados over the years. Yes we live in a world where the criminal element has become very sophisticated and our security forces need to keep pace.

The above therefore provokes the question – who is guarding the guards.

The Kamla Persad-Bissessar Matter Nothing More Than A Storm In A Teacup

It seems the recent statement attributed to Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar has created a furore across the region. It is understandable for people to become emotional at this time when St. Lucians and Vincentians are in obvious distress. It may come as a surprise that BU see nothing wrong with the meaning behind Kamla’s position. Perhaps her message was twisted by a media which is always on the hunt to sensationalize news of late.

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Barbados Government Maybe Selling Barbados National Bank Shares Below Premium

Tony Hoyos

Mr. Minister [Chris Sinckler], as individuals own less than 10% of the BNB shares, you are negotiating for all of us on this occasion.  Please do not sellout the Barbadians that have small shareholdings.  There is no reason why you should not seek the best price for the Government and people of Barbados.  At a minimum, seek competitive bids from other entities.  We look forward to your support, in what is your first major action that will impact us.  Thanking you in advance – A. Freeman


The resignation of Tony Hoyos from the Board of Directors of the Barbados National Bank (BNB) should should concern Barbadians. Hoyos’ letter of resignation was posted on Peter Boyce’s Facebook Page earlier today.

A full page statement was posted in the local press today by Republic Bank (BNB’s parent company) signalling it will be making an offer to buyout the remaining shareholders in BNB. An article also appeared in the Trinidad press yesterday. Currently Republic Bank Limited (RBL) owns 65.13% of BNB, the government of Barbados 28% and individuals 7% round out the ownership.

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The Cause Was Greater Than Race

Hartley Henry - DLP Political Strategist

The caller was understandably irate! He couldn’t fathom the thought of Yours Truly, a black West Indian, working for what he termed “the Indian party” in Trinidad and Tobago. Indeed, he went as far as to suggest that I was “selling out the race”.

On the surface and from his vantage point, I guess he could and should be forgiven for such simplicity. But what I encountered in Trinidad over the past six weeks was not a case of black, Indian or Chinese in need of assistance or opportunity; it was a people feeling in bondage and yearning for liberation.

I wrote six weeks ago that it has not been my practice to comment on election campaigns in which I am professionally involved. The simple reason is that I would, quite naturally, be subjective in my thinking and as a rule, I prefer to stay below the radar. However, in this particular instance, I had warned three days prior to the dissolution of Parliament that had Prime Minister Patrick Manning followed through with his threat to ‘ring the bell” he would have been annihilated at the polls.

I made that calculated judgment from a safe distance of several hundred thousand miles and also against the backdrop of not having been seized of all the issues that lay at the feet of the Trinidadian voter. However, the minute the parliament was dissolved and my services were engaged, I knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that Patrick Manning’s goose was cooked. Indeed, I expected mutiny in the camp, but the ostracisation of Keith Rowley and the silence of party elders made matters worse.

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What Does The Trinidad General Elections 2010 Portend For CARICOM?

Patrick Manning (l), PNM Kamla Persad-Bissessar, PP

In the North, we have the ongoing unrest in Jamaica which some say has the potential to derail its tourist oriented economy.  Some go further to explain that the chickens have come home to roost because of all the backroom deals done between the upright citizen and the criminal.

In the Southern Caribbean, Trinidad is hosting a General Election today. Running for office is the People’s National Movement (PNM) headed by Patrick Manning and challenging is the People’s Partnership (PP) which represents a coalition of the United National Congress (UNC), Congress of the People (COP), Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) headed by Kamla Persaud-Bissessar.

Traditionally support for the two main parties has been along racial lines, Blacks for the PNM and Indo – Trinidadians for the UNC. This time around both the PNM and the PP will have to attract significant support from across racial segments to win the government. When the final result is known late tonight or early tomorrow,  it should make for interesting commentary. All reports scientific or not indicate it will be a close result.

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