One hundred years ago two historic arrivals in Canada marked the beginning of the Indo-Caribbean presence in this country.
A young medical student Kenneth Mahabir from San Fernando came to Dalhousie University in Hali- fax, Nova Scotia to become a doctor. He went to serve Canada in World War 1, and visited Trinidad, but he
Also in that same year a 25 year old English speaking clerk from Demerara (British Guiana) M.N Santoo migrated to Mon- treal via the ship Dahomey that docked in Halifax in summer 2008.
Those were the first arrivals in Canada that we know. They performed the first rite of Indian Arrival, and from those hum- ble beginnings sprang a community of Indo-Caribbeans that now numbers over 200,000 spread out in every province and territory in Canada.
This year is a special milestone for us Indo-Caribbeans. We can say with pride that we have placed our roots in this country for a century, that we have brought much with us and have much to give to this country.
Most of us are no longer immigrants. We are Canadians now, but still proud of the Indian heritage and culture we have brought from the Caribbean and are transmitting to new gen- erations. We are doing just what the jahajis did after they left India to help build a new land in Trinidad, Guyana and a dozen other Caribbean countries.
It is what we must celebrate all through this year, in our home, our school, our places of worship, anywhere we gather.. Happy Centenary! Happy Indo-Caribbean Arrival Year to all!
Hindu leader tells youth to leave
UNC MP says form community
police stations and arm yourself
to a boil in Trinidad and Tobago, as more people believe the country faces a breakdown of law and order.
Sat Maharaj, secretary of the main Hindu group the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, has told young people they should leave the country, as they have no future in Trinidad.
Opposition member of parliament and former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has advised communities to form their own community police stations be- cause the Trinidad police cannot protect them. Maharaj has told communities plagued by crime to arm themselves and be prepared to kill criminals in self de- fence.
Citizens at a Tunapuna Against Crime rally crime have said openly and without being contradicted that Trinidad and To- bago is a lawless society and is no longer a safe place to live.
The country racked up a record 395 mur- ders in 2007, most of the victims being killed with guns, and continues in the same direction. There were an amazing 20 mur- ders in the first 14 days of January 2008, and two kidnappings, with one of the kid- nap victims being murdered.
Armed robber gangs, some of them using police and army uniforms and police issued guns, are pouncing on Trinis in their work- places, on the beach, at their river limes, at funerals, in their driveways.
Kidnappings and kidnap murders con- tinue as before. Criminals are extorting pro- tection money or \u201ccoward tax\u201d from citizens to spare them from kidnapping. Street vendors and taxi drivers are disap- pearing as soon it gets dark, and joining the other citizens hiding behind burglar proof- ing, fences and guard dogs and electric gates. Most Trinidadians are living under a self imposed curfew, and existing as pris- oners of their homes and their cars.
Meanwhile the police and security forces appear unable to stop or contain the crime wave sweeping the nation. The pop- ulation believes that many of the security forces are corrupt, incompetent or in league with the criminals. The detection rate for crime according to a former attorney gen- eral is 10 per cent and the conviction rate is around 1 per cent.
Law and order have broken down in practice. Hundreds of people are migrating to safer countries. Sweet Trinidad is no more. Something must be done before there is a total collapse.
Canada: How much
yourself and be ready to kill criminals in self defence
Opposition chief whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj says the law allows for citizens to kill in self-defence. Maharaj was address- ing residents of Macaulay and Claxton Bay, One of the major concerns of the troubled villagers was how they would be dealt with by the law if they defend themselves when attacked by criminals.
Maharaj was adamant that citizens "should not be weak in their homes." He told them if an assailant entered their house, they could retaliate and even kill their at- tacker once they believed that their life was under threat. Urging them to continue with their watch groups, Maharaj said members who had a licensed firearm could carry it.He also saw no problem if they armed themselves with cutlasses."The weapons are necessary," he added.
Using himself as an example, Maharaj said he was not going to stand idly by and let an attacker kill him. Maharaj said he had no qualms in killing any man with his li- censed firearm, should his life come under threat. He said even if he had a cutlass and a man attacked him, he would not hesitate to hack off the head of his assailant.
The Opposition UNCA has launched its own brand of community policing through a pilot project which links armed private se- curity officers with members of the Macaulay Village crime watch group.
The project was launched by Tabaquite MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Ch- aguanas (West) MP Jack Warner at the Macaulay community Centre in Claxton Bay.
Addressing a large gathering comprising both old and young residents in front of a large banner which read: \u2018People versus criminals. We need protection against crim- inals now\u2019, Maharaj said security officers from SWAT Security Company Limited would be made officially available from Monday January 14.
\u201cWe are going to make this service avail- able from tomorrow night, but we are going to provide a service tonight but we do not want to tell the country where that service would be,\u201d he said.
\u201cThe security guards would both be open and undercover so the criminals would not know where they are.\u201d Speaking to re- porters following the meeting, Maharaj said the service would operate in pretty much the same way as a government-run police service on the streets.
\u201cIt would be both covert and overt and it will depend upon strategies and intelli- gence. I cannot disclose how it\u2019s going to work but it\u2019s going to work in the same way as if a police service is on the street,\u201d he said.
He said the criminal element had forced residents to become virtual prisoners in their homes and the time had come for de- cisive action.
been committed in Trinidad for the first 16 days of this year, over three times the 7 murders for the same period last year. Twenty one had been shot with guns, two stabbed and one beaten to death with a cricket bat. Four had Indian names, Roland Naresh Toyer, Roop- narine Singh, Ravin Mannah and Zorissa Bhola. Eighteen of the mur- der victims were in their teens or twenties.This is the grim list for 2008, which seems to continue the record breaking murder spree of 2007 which saw 389 murders at the rate of more than one a day.
struction worker of La Brea, stabbed in the chest outside his home. Dwayne Rose, 24, of St John's Road, St Augustine, shot dead by a gunman outside a Tunapuna recreation club. Paul Salandy, 59, a businessman kid- napped and shot to death in Arima.
during an altercation at an Aranjuez chris- tening. Roopnarine Singh, 53, of San Juan, shot while seated in his car at Morvant.
man of Morvant, shot dead near his home. Trevor Timothy, 21, of Morvant, shot dead in Laventille. Anastacio "Papa" James,19, of Belmont, shot at the Belmont Moravian Church, Laventille. Christopher Leon Henry, 49, Morvant, shot by gunmen..
Grande, beaten to death with a cricket bat.. Ravin Mannah, 21, a doubles vendor of Barataria, shot dead while returning home. Delano Mc Nicols, of Morvant, shot dead outside his aparment complex
28, of Laventille, shot dead while sleeping at his home. Zorissa Bhola, 47, of Jaffar Street, Bamboo Settlement No.2, Valsayn, found stabbed in bushes in Gasparillo. Jun- ior Phillip, 18, of , Longdenville, Chagua- nas, shot outside a local pub. Shevon Lamkin, 23, of Morvant shot dead while asleep at his home. Damien Charles, 27, of Sea Lots, shot dead..
racy" where only people with money can enjoy constitutional rights, according to Satnarayan Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS).
He delivered the stinging criticism on the first day of the year yesterday, during a sat- sang (Hindu religious prayer meeting) at the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha head- quarters in St Augustine.
In an emotionally charged speech, Ma- haraj slammed the Government for the pressing problems that plague this land.
"I say to you and I say to the nation, don't congratulate yourself that we are a democ- racy.We're a bogus democracy, we're a sham democracy, only if you have millions and political power you enjoy democracy," Maharaj said.
He said all over the world there is unrest and battle for democracy, as in Pakistan and Kenya, but right here at home, even though we had a peaceful general elections, we re- vert to living in a place where our rights are suppressed.
"We see on a daily basis our leaders going to court and coming from court, judges are being threatened, the senior judge in the land, the Chief Justice, for two years was tormented and almost destroyed," he said.
He added, "We see the rise in crime. There is more blood flowing on the streets of Trinidad than water through the pipes of WASA. The cost of food has now become a problem. We as a nation, we are starving in midst of prosperity, our health care is in dis- array and as a people we cannot access proper health services.
"Yes you may say we have survived, but we have survived in a bogus democracy. Trinidad and Tobago is a bogus democ- racy."
Maharaj said because of this bogus democracy, the children of this nation were migrating.
"The brainpower in this land is moving away and I am saying 'yes move out', be- cause there is a glass ceiling, only the pre- ferred should cross that glass ceiling."
Adding there was no reason for our chil- dren to remain here, because they would only be denied the right to expand their mind and do the things they are qualified to do, he said, "The biggest hypocrite ... in denying the people their freedom and rights, is always the Government and the State."
He said the Government runs this coun- try according to its own whims and fancies and this is the only democratic country he knows where a referendum was never held on any topic.
Maharaj said this country had not yet de- generated into open warfare, but we were living in a country where "we don't know who is police and who is thief, this is a fact, this is stark reality".
He said the emotional connection people have to this land is the main reason why many are still here.
"I'm going to be cremated on the banks of the Caroni River...This is the place where I was born, this is the place where my fa- ther and grandfather was buried."
Reiterating that the new generation will not remain here because the politicians are driving them out., he said we must look for- ward.
"We must go back to looking inward,
protecting our communities and villages,
we must always stand up and speak out
and fight against anybody who has denied
us our freedom.
Parliament for Tabaquite, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, says if Government does not act to protect citizens, he would encourage them to form their own citizens police stations, vigilante or watch groups.
And he says he would help provide armed security guards to assist citizens "to track down the criminals in the area, catch them and then deliver them to the police".
Maharaj, who was addressing a meeting of crime-affected villagers at the Macaulay Community Centre, Claxton Bay , told them if Government failed to provide po- lice protection against criminals, people would be acting legally if they take up weapons to injure or even kill their attack- ers in self defence.
The residents of Macaulay and sur- rounding areas, which include the con- stituencies of Pointe-a-Pierre and Tabaquite, complained of an upsurge of crime and lack of police action. They said within recent months, there had been an in- crease in hold-ups, robberies, car theft, house breaking, rapes and murders.
Maharaj said the history of the law is that a man's house is his castle and "when some- body leaves the road and go to your home, they must be prepared to face the conse- quences. You are entitled to use whatever force necessary to protect everyone in your home and your life".
Urging citizens not to sit back and allow bandits to terrorise their lives, Maharaj said: "The law is that you do not have to wait for someone to kill you before you act in self defence. So if I am walking out of the door and a man comes to me with a gun I do not have to wait for him to fire, I can take out my revolver and shoot him and kill him, and that would be self-defense.
"If a man comes to attack my family in my house, I do not have to wait for police to come, I am entitled to use reasonable force to protect my house and family, even if it means shooting at his feet."
He stressed that as MP, it was his duty to encourage his constituents to defend them- selves, especially because the Constitution gives every citizen the human and funda- mental rights to life and enjoyment of prop- erty.
Responding to critics who spoke against citizens deciding to form watch-groups to protect themselves in the absence of police protection, Maharaj said: "The alternative of not defending themselves is to permit criminals to kill, kidnap, rape and rob de- fenceless people."
The former attorney general said: "It is totally false for anyone to give the impres- sion that such watch-groups with the assis- tance of such security personnel are not permitted by the law or in any way are dan- gerous to law-abiding citizens.\u201d
Responding to plans by Manning to amend the laws on hanging, Ramesh wanted to know if Prime Minister Patrick Manning plans to hang "invisible people".
He noted that "for you to reach the stage of the death penalty, you first have to de- tect, to hold and then convict".
"So it is a national joke for the Prime Minister, in a situation where there is a ten per cent detection rate and a one per cent conviction rate, to talk about implementing the death penalty as a solution to crime,"
Sat: TT a bogus
Caribbean Airlines is putting on additional flights to Trinidad in all its North American routes to accommodate peak Carnival travel. Two flights a week will be added to the normal New York schedule, resulting in 13 flights a week, while Toronto flights in- crease to ten flights a week, up by two flights. \u201cToronto flights will be serviced by the usual two class configuration aircraft, while the extra New York services will op- erate in all economy configuration. \u201cCaribbean Airlines will also add new non- stop flights from Port-of-Spain to Kingston before and after Christmas,\u201d compliment- ing the daily scheduled flights to Kingston. Additional non-stop services will be added to the Miami route.
GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago is seeking the support from Trinis at home and from Caribbean people in Canada and other countries abroad for its inaugural Fundraiser Awards/Dinner event on Febru- ary 29. Tickets are priced at $TT200 (about $30 US or Canadian, and 15 British pounds).
Organization president Deosaran Bisnath revelas that he has had queries from a few people abroad, and in response is setting up a PayPal account to facilitate purchase of tickets and donations to GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago.
The group is also looking forward to in- dividuals becoming members and partici- pating in the activities of GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago. Membership is open to Caribbean people living abroad
Please contact at GOPIOTT@gmail. com, deobisnath@yahoo. com, or 868 687 7529 for more information.
Defying tremendous odds, David Thomp- son led the Democratic Labour Party to a comprehensive victory against Owen Arthur and the Barbados Labour Party in the general election earlier this week.
It was a doubly sweet comeback victory for the 48-year-old attorney, who had lost the leadership of his party following his second successive defeat at the polls in the 2003 general election.
He had resumed the DLP leadership when the man who replaced him, Clyde Mascoll, defected to the ruling BLP two years ago, and became a Minister of State.
With a voter turn out said to be in the high 60s, the DLP won 20 of the 30 seats in the Barbados House of Assembly, in results which saw several of the members of the former Cabinet going down in the BLP de- feat.
Owen Aathur was seeking a fourth elec- tion term, but could not convince the vot- ers this time.
Camille is new TT envoy to Canada
Camille Robinson-Regis is Trinidad and Tobago\u2019s new High Commissioner to Canada. She replaces Arnold Piggott who held the position until he was brought back to Trinidad in 2006 to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Robinson-Regis received her letter of appointment recently from For- eign Affairs Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. An attorney, Robinson-Regis last served in the Patrick Manning Government as MP for Arouca South. She also served as Minister of Planning and Development, Legal Af- fairs, Consumer Affairs, and even acted as Attorney General.
Sam Persad, known to most as \u201cPapa Sam\u201d, passed away quietly in Toronto on January 4.
Sam, who was a foundation member of the Satja Jyoti Cultural Sabha, and a pillar of the Indo-Trinidadian community in Toronto. Over 500 people attended the viewing and the funeral service, which ac- cording to the funeral agency was the largest funderal they had ever seen.
He leaves behind his wife, four grown children, and six grandchildren. His ashes will be scattered in Lake Ontairo and in the Caroni River in Trinidad.
Canada is advising visitors to Trinidad
to mainain a \u201chigh degree of caution\u201d
when visiting T&T, \u201cdue to high crime
Its Travel Advice notes that \u201crobberies
with violence, including assaults and rape,
occur frequently\u201d in Port-of-Spain, San
Fernando and other urban areas.
It says \u201ccrimes of opportunity such as
petty theft tend to increase during...Carni-
val in February or March and during the
As it has in the past, it maintains that
\u201cincidents of gangs following cars leaving
Piarco Airport and robbing travellers once
they reach their destination have been re-
In a one-sentence reference to Tobago, it
states \u201ctourists and foreign nationals are
also victims of crime\u201d on the island.
Several countries have been issuing
travel warnings or advisories about T&T
for the past three years when the homicide
and kidnappings rate began to escalate.
its Web site www.fco.gov.uk to warn trav- ellers \u201cyou should be aware that there are high levels of violent crime, including shootings and kidnappings.\u201d
It notes that \u201cBritish nationals have been victims of violent attacks, particularly in Tobago where law enforcement is weak.\u201d
It also states that \u201ccruise ship passengers should take particular care when walking along the docks and downtown (Port-of- Spain).\u201d
Giving examples of British nationals being attacked, injured and robbed, it warns of an increase in attacks at tourist sites and car parks of supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants and business premises.
In Tobago, it says, visits are generally trouble-free but refers to incidents of rob- bery and violence, including rape.
It advises caution in renting villas in the south-west of the island, near Bethel, Buc- coo, Mount Pleasant and Plymouth.
Australia has at Travel Advice which
also warns a \u201chigh degree of caution\u201d due
to \u201chigh levels of serious crime.\u201d
The United States notes that \u201cincidents
of violent crime have been steadily on the
rise on both islands.\u201dIt goes on to warn
against using maxi taxis as they \u201chave
been linked to many road accidents and
some instances of crime.
Arrival of Indo-
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