Did the PNM really win the Trinidad election?

Vol 1. No 9 November 2007
he records say the People’s National Movement won the Trinidad and Tobago General Elections of November 5, 2007 by 26 seats to 15 over the United National Congress Alliance. The Congress of the People was wiped out and won “not a damn seat”. But was that what happened? Did the PNM win the election or did the UNCA and COP lose it? It was an exceedingly strange election by Canadian standards. The PNM ran on their record over the last five years, as bad as that record was, and on something vague and meaningless called Vision2020, its plan for the future. The ruling party simply pointed out that the opposition was divided and didn’t deserve to win. Astonishingly, there was almost no discussion of issues, no leadership debates, no serious examination of manifestos. The PNM was able to avoid hot topics like its horrible management of the crime situation, the deteriorating health services, the truly scary food prices, the crisis in education, matters like 80% of the country not having running water, and the general degrading of services and systems. All of these are really the responsibility of the government of the day. For their part, the two opposition parties aided and abetted the PNM in avoiding these hot button issues, and the scandal of the government closing down the sugar industry and throwing thousands of mostly opposition supporters in the sea without life jackets. They ignored the plentiful ammunition available to blast the ruling party and

In this issue: Trinidad Indians sunk P. 4 in depression COP pays price in Trinidad election P. 7 Credit or debit cardP. 9 business page 34 years of roti making in Toronto East P.11 Documents to help you find your roots P. 19

I ndo- Caribb ean
Tel: 416-289-3898 ictimes@rogers.com

TIMES
focused on attacking each other bitterly, and indulging in nonsensical speculation about how many seats each would win. It was a joke of an election, with highlights like one candidate asking another to offer his wife to prove the first one’s manhood and the prime minister gleefully predicting he would whip the opposition. It’s hard to say if the opposition gave the election away or the ruling party won the election on some kind of imagined merit. That was because the election was about another issue, the old one of which racial group would rule. Nothing fundamental has changed in Trinidad politics. The Afros looked at the parties and mostly chose to stay with the PNM, regardless of the PNM’s performance in office, which was very poor. The Indos looked mostly at the two Indian based opposition parties and chose one, despite the disgraceful shambles that the UNC has become over the last two years, and the incredible arrogance of the one year old, baby party COP attempting to unseat two political heavyweights like the PNM and UNC at its first try. Canadians would not have understood what was going on in Trinidad if they were present during this election. I’m not sure I did. Could Trinidad have failed to make any serious political progress over the past two decades? It’s beginning to look scarily like Nigeria, full of oil money, empty of vision, wracked with tribalism, incompetently managed. I was glad to get out of there. Ram Jagessar

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Widespread Divali celebrations in Toronto

Or did the UNCA lose it?
T

Caribbean Hindus in Toronto and across Canada celebrated Divali with much joy and devotion this year. In this picture women devotees at the new Maha Kali Durga Shakti Temple in Scarborough offer aarti at the Divali function held on November 10.

either crime, high prices, the health system, education, water shortages, nor the loss of the election is the main issue facing the Indian community in Trinidad today. Indo -Caribbean Times editor Ram Jagessar, just back from a trip covering the Nov ember 5 general elections, feels that the crisis issue facing Indos is the unfolding economic disaster coming down on the heads of as much as 60,000 sugar workers and cane farmers and their families following government’s decision to close down the entire sugar industry. The ruling government has simply cut down the sugar industry and walked away from these thousands of families, leaving nothing in its place. Laid off Caroni workers have used up their pathetic severance

Sugar belt misery in Trinidad revealed as main issue for Indians

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packages and are still waiting for the promised land. There was never much in the way of alternative employment in the sugar belt, so they are abandoned to their own resources. Now the cane farmers, their workers and families, enter 2008 with nowhere to sell cane, no jobs, no alternatives. The sugar belt, the heartland of the Indian community, is becoming an economic wasteland, a casualty of the ethnic politics that have ruled Trinidad for decades. Indians in their hundreds are on the brink of starvation or beginning to starve for lack of food or money to buy food. And few people are talking about it or even recognize what is happening. Read Ram’s report on Page 4, and stories on Page5,6 and 10.

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Karva Chauth Day focus on women
COMMUNITY NEWS
It is heartening to know that Hindus have always believed in worshiping the Male and Female aspect of God together and that Sri Ram was a staunch devoted husband. Not only that, one says Seeta Ram and Radha Krishna and as one can see the female name gets precedence. Over 3000 female devotees of Shri Ram Mandir here celebrated the Karva Chauth day. As the name signifies, Karva meaning a clay pot and chauth corresponding to the fourth, this festival is commemorated on the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month of Hindu calendar. The fast of Karwa Chauth is kept 9 days before Diwali. In the olden days, a woman was dependent on a man, whether he was her father, brother, husband or Guru. Without a man she was considered incomplete. Today that may not be the case. But it is still refreshing to see a loving wife or a loving husband. The festival of Karva Chauth was earlier emerged as a day to celebrate the season of autumn and enjoy the company of friends and relatives. But later on, many mythological legends were added to give it a religious touch. This festival is glorified and widely solemnized by the Hindus and Sikh all over the world. On this day it is customary for the wife to fast the whole day. She does not drink water either. She paints her hands and feet with henna, dresses generally in red apparel and on her hair parting she smears vermilion powder. It is believed that a Pati-Vrat woman has the power to confront the God of Death, Yama. This Karva Chauth fast is undertaken by the wife, so that the husband enjoys a long and prosperous life. The story of Karva is well known. Her husband was caught by a crocodile. Karva bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn. She then asked Yama to send the crocodile to hell. Yama refused. Karva threatened to curse Yama. Yama, afraid of being cursed by Pati-vrat (devoted) wife, sent the crocodile to hell. Karva and her husband enjoyed many years of wedded bliss. The fact that Yama was afraid of being cursed by a devoted wife showed the power a good faithful woman! Maybe you have heard the story of Savitri. The latter followed Yama, who carried away her dead husband. Yama said that she could ask for any other boon except for the life of her husband. Savitri asked that she be blessed with children. Yama agreed. Being a Pati-Vrat wife, Savitri would never any other man, be the father of her children. Yama was left with no other choice but to restore Savitri's husband to life. A few days before Karva Chauth, married women buy new karvas, the spherical clay pots and paint them on the outside with beautiful designs. Inside the pot, they put bangles and ribbons, home-made candy and sweets, make-up items and small clothes e.g. handkerchief. The women then visit each other on the day of Karva Chauth or immediately afterward, and exchange these karvas. Season-wise, soon after the harvest, it is an excellent time to enjoy festivities, meet one another and exchange gifts. During the time of Karva Chauth, parents send gifts to married daughters and their children. The Ritual The Puja Process

Indo-Caribbean Times

ladies listen to the Karwa Chauth Katha (the legend). The fast is over after the moonrise. The pooja preparations start a day in advance. Married women buy the shringar or the traditional adornments and the other pooja items the karwa, matthi, heena etc. Early in the morning they prepare food and have it before sunrise. The morning passes by in other festive activities like decorating hand and feet with heena decorating the pooja thali and meeting friends and relatives. The essentials of this gathering and listening of the karwa chauth story a special mud pot, that is considered a symbol of lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols of Ambika Gaur Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains. A part of this is offered to the deities and the storyteller. They sit in a circle, and many such circles are made depending on the number of devotees attending the function as it is easy that the thalis are passed in a circle (fera) amongst themselves. Here is the puja song sung by women, while they exchange thalis seven times. They place 'Bayen' in the thali.... Veero Kudiye Karwada, Sarv Suhagan Karwada, Aye Katti Naya Teri Naa, Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Naa, Aar Pair payeen Naa, Ruthda maniyen Naa, Suthra Jagayeen Naa, Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara, Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara....... (6)

This Stanza is sung 6 times i.e. It keeps on repeating till the time Thalis have been exchanged and all women have their own thalis... it goes on six times, 6 feras / circles.The seventh fera or circle or exchanging goes like this...

TORONTO - The actions of President General Pervez Musharraf are blatant violations of fundamental human rights under international law and unacceptable attacks on the independence of the judiciary, the bar, and the rule oflaw. The Law Society deplores and condemns the imposition of the Proclamation of Emergency, the suspension of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and over 40 other judges, the abrogation of the rule oflaw and of the independence of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and the reported detention of at least 3,500 lawyers and civil rights activists. Lawyers detained include Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, President ofthe Supreme Court Bar Association, officers of other Bar Associations, Asma Jahangir, International Commission of Jurists Commissioner and United Nations Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance and at least 70 members ofthe Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, state that judicial independence and human rights are necessary to advancing the rule of law. The Law Society calls on the Pakistan authorities to, immediately reinstate the Constitution of the Republic of Pakistan and put an end to the Proclamation of Emergency; immediately release from detention and house arrest those detained after the declaration of the state of emergency; respect the independence of the legal profession and the right of lawyers to exercise freedom of opinion and conscience and to exercise their legitimate professional duties as lawyers;

Law Society of Upper Canada Expresses Grave Concerns about the Dismantling of the Rule of Law in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
restore the independence of the judiciary by reinstating Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and other judicial officers displaced by recent events; provide assurances that the elections to take place in January will occur as planned, resulting in a full and democratic transition to civilian rule. "The Law Society stands with its colleagues in Pakistan who are engaged in upholding the Rule of Law at this difficult time. We recognize that lawyers have a unique role to play in sustaining and developing democratic principles and commend our colleagues for their vigilance and their courage. The erosion of respect for the rule of law elsewhere threatens its tenuous position even in the most democratic societies," said Gavin MacKenzie, Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for the more than 39,000 lawyers in the Province of Ontario, Canada. The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law. The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of members of the legal profession in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in their efforts to maintain the independence of the judiciary and to promote the rule oflaw. Media contact: Roy Thomas, Director of Communications, 416-947-7619

NOVEMBER

2007

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For further information about the Law Society's Access to Justice and Equity initiatives, please visit our website at www.1suc.on.ca or call JoseeBouchard.EquityAdvisor.at 416-947-3984.

Veero Kudiye Karwada, Sarv Suhagan Karwada, Aye Katti Naya Teri Nee, Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Bhee, Aar Pair payeen Bhee, Ruthda maniyen Bhee, Suthra Jagayeen Bhee, Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara, Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara.. Earlier an idol of Gaur Mata was made using earth and cowdung. Now just an idol of Goddess Parwati is kept. Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis while listening to the Karwa story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also kept in the thali. At this time the women wear heavy saris or chunries in red , pink or other bridal colors, and adorn themselves with all other symbols of a married women like, nose pin, tika, bindi, bangles, earrings etc. Once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and seek blessings. They pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. This marks the end of the day long fast.

They are not supposed to eat or even drink water during the day. In the evening the

Indo-Caribbean Times is published monthly in Toronto by Indo-Caribbean Times Ltd.

COMMENTARY

Office: 17 Gaiety Drive, Toronto ON Canada M1H 1B9 Tel: 416-289-3898 E-Mail: ictimes@rogers.com

Editorial Committee: Reynold Ramdial, Gulcharan Mohabir, Lloyd Harradan, Sandy Kissoonsingh, Roop Misir, Deoraj Narine, Jiantee Jagessar,Krishna Nankissoor, Rudy Lochan

Editor/Publisher: Ram Jagessar

We welcome letters, e-mails and comments on matters relevant to Indo-Caribbeans in Canada and abroad, and also those at home in the Caribbean. All content must comply with the requirements of Canadian law.

Opinions given in this newspaper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Indo-Caribbean Times.

A copy of this newspaper is posted on the internet in as a pdf file immediately after publication, and the entire contents can be read online by anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Past and current issues of the ICTimes can be found at http://www.esnips.com/web/Indo -CaribbeanTimes

social crisis of major proportions is quietly brewing in Central and South Trinidad, as 8,500 sugar workers who were laid off two years ago when CaRam Jagessar roni Ltd. closed down, begin to run out of money. They say Indian money can stretch a long way, but two years is touching the limit. Most of the workers have long used up their severance pay, and find there are almost no alternative job opportunities in their areas. They have not received the promised two acres of land for farming and there's nothing on the horizon to help them feed their families. Some of them are beginning to starve, as they simply cannot afford the horrendously high prices for food that Trinidad has been seen recently. Businesses have begun to suffer as customers run out of money and hope. Now these 8,500 sugar workers and their families, around 30,000 altogether, will be joined by the 3,500 cane farmers, the estimated 4, 000 cane farming workers and their families, making up another 30,000 people, as the cane farming industry ends in 2007. Government has announced firmly that there will be no more sugar industry and cane farmers will have nowhere to sell their cane next year if they are foolish enough to plant. The cane farmers and their workers and families are being thrown on the bread line like the sugar workers, but they have no severance to collect and they have no land to get. The payments the farmers receive receive for the 2007 sugar crop will be their last. The workers have already received their last pay packets. Very early in the new year most of them will be out of money, and like their sugar worker brothers and sisters, out of luck. There are no jobs for them either, and most have neither the capital nor the land to begin sustenance or market gardening. The ruling government party has some make work projects like CEPEP and URP in the sugar areas, but these mostly go to the Afro supporters of the party. Indians are being punished for supporting the opposi-

Trinidad’s sugar belt facing human crisis of abandoned sugar industry population A
From the editor’s desk
tion United National Congress of former sugar union leader Basdeo Panday, and they know it. Facing the prospect of starvation and economic depression, the sugar industry cast-offs have no options on the table except suffering. Amazingly, the issue attracted almost no attention during the recent election contested between the UNC, the People's National Movement and the UNC splinter group Congress of the People, except for accusations that Panday did little to protect the sugar and industry when he was prime minister. The government of the day has openly dumped over 50,000 people into the economic scrapheap, and walked away unscathed. Here is as glaring a case of economic racism as can be seen in the region, which is grossly unfair considering the billions the government is handing out to its similarly poor urban based Afro supporters. There is no indication that the government is planning anything like a rescue for the sugar industry workers and farmers, even though it has oil money to burn. The sugar workers’ union and cane farmers’ unions also appear to be helpless and out of ideas. The UNC, having spent the last year battling the upstart Congress of the People and fighting a losing election, has had little time or willingness to look at the welfare of its hard core sugar industry supporters. Many overseas based Trinidad Indians are up to this point blissfully unaware of what is happening to their relatives and friends back in the sugar belt in Trinidad. Neither newspapers nor local commentators in Trinidad have any time for sugar industry dumpees living in the distant countryside. Indians have their pride in Trinidad, maybe foolish pride. They will not come out to the cityies and towns to beg and make a spectacle of themselves. That's not their way. They will suffer in silence, as their parents and grandparents did in the bad old colonial days. But this is the 21st century. It can't be allowed to happen that way. Maybe it's up to us the foreign based Indo-Trinis to raise the

Indo-Caribbean Times

NOVEMBER 2007

Page 4

alarm and tell the world about the quiet tragedy unfolding in what was once sweet Trinidad. We have to start raising money and sending food barrels for our people, just as the Guyanese Indians did in their time of misery under the black dictator Forbes Burnham. I've already started. But I need help. Lots of help. There are an estimated 200,000 Indo-Trinidadians and their families scattered all over the world, most of us living in pretty decent conditions where we are safe from prosecution and neglect. I don't think we are going to stay quiet about what's happening in Trinidad. So I am giving advance warning. I want some of your money for our people at home. I want some of your active sympathy. I want some voices to make some noise, loud enough to wake up an uncaring government, a sleeping media, and an Indian community that doesn't seem to know what's going on right under its nose. I know some Indo-Trinis here in Canada have gotten really weary of hearing about the unending advantage they see daily handed out to their near and dear left behind in the land of the hummingbird and cascadura. A few can’t bear to read the newspapers or hear about what is happening down there. Like our Indo-Guyanese cousins in their bad days, they feel helpless and gut sick. But it’s not our way to abandon our people when we move to a better place. The jahajis and their descendants never cut their connections with India, even though decades and thousands of miles separated them. We can’t do any less with our people remaining in Trinidad. You don’t have to believe me. Call up your connections in Trinidad and ask about the unfolding sugar belt misery. Then we get ready to rumble.

On Remembrance Day
Lest We Forget

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the VETERAN, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN , not the campus organizer, Who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, Who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the VETERAN, not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote. It is the VETERAN, Who salutes the Flag,

It is the veteran , Who serves under the Flag, O LORD,

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

Serious measures need for sugar belt crisis, says Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh leader

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NEWS

Serious seva (social welfare) will be needed to offset the developing social crisis caused by the ending of the sugar industry, says Deoroop Teemal, president of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, a long established charity group that is currently working in the old sugar areas. He confirmed that the population affected could be over 50,000 when the cane farming group is counted. Already there are complaints from taxi drivers, groceries and clothing shops in South and Central sugar areas that business is down. Young people who want to get married cannot afford housing, and population density has increased in some areas, with as much as 13 to 14 people in one house. The ex sugar workers are not in line for government built housing which is being distributed. Teemal said that denser populatio and an expected increase in poverty social problems are bound to develop.. Families are struggling to feed themselves with a reduced income and some of them really need help with basic foodstuffs. “What people need is some kind of long term sustainable employment which is just not available. Rural economic development is one possible option but the systems are not in place. Even if the Caroni workers get the promised two acres of land, that is not considered an economic plot to sustain a typical family. Then there would be a need for capital, purchase of seeds and equipment, and a considerable time lag before any results can be seen,” he added. The HSS currently runs a small program of distributing food parcels to families in places like Basta Hall and Barrackpore but it is woefully inadequate even the current needs of the ex-sugar workers in distress. Teemal sees the need for serious mobilization of all religious, charitable and social groups in the areas to prevent a catastrophe. He also believes that a political solution has to be found for the problem, and a viable economic model set out to rescue an entire community in danger of being wiped out. He has also recognized the deep interest of Trinidadians living abroad and welcomes any efforts by foreign based Trinis to offer help. He can be reached by e-mail at dteemal@gmail.com.

Government promises to boost local agriculture is what goat and sheep farmers say is an undermining of the industry by giving concessions to a state company. Members of the Sheep and Goat Society said the Government was allowing National Flour Mills (NFM) to build a massive coldstorage facility for imported meat, and it noted that the company had actually begun selling cheap, imported lamb. The society referred to two newspaper advertisements by NFM on October 25 asking members of the public to submit proposals for the design and construction of a 70,000 to 75,000 square foot warehouse and refrigerated storage area at its rice mill facility at Carlsen Field, Chaguanas. Another NFM newspaper advertisement appeared on October 26, advertising imported lamb on sale at its Wrightson Road compound “just in time for the season,” noted the society. The advertisement said the lamb was being sold at $11.04 a pound wholesale and $13.25 retail. The Ministry of Agriculture has granted NFM a licence to import the meat. “This is totally unacceptable,” Shiraz Khan, president of the society, said in an interview. “Local sheep and goat are sold at $30 a pound. We can’t compete with those prices. We’re competing with 100 per cent subsidised imported meat from Europe and America. “What’s upsetting is that the State is destroying us.” But, said Khan, farmers were now fearing that the importation of lamb by the NFM was no short-term plan to combat high food prices. They feared the proposed NFM cold storage facility would be used to store thousands of pounds of imported meat in the future. Squeeze by NFM Khan also noted that NFM, two weeks before they advertised the cheap imported lamb for sale, increased the prices of feed sold to farmers by more than 20 per cent.

Govt. said to be underselling local meat farmers

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“With all these moves by the State, farmers are feeling that the Government is really trying to get them out of business instead of encouraging them.”

“We’re now wondering if it was a ploy to jack up the prices of feed for livestock and then introduce cheap meat on the market.

“Corn went from 79 cents a pound to 98 cents, pet rice from 65 cents to 90 cents, and dairy feed went up by $20,” he said.

Ujester Narine, 44, and his wife Dhanmatie, 40, of Las Lomas No 1, would have celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary yesterday. However it turned tragic, when bandits stormed into their house, beat them, robbed them and before escaping, dragged Narine out of the house, shot him dead and threw his body in some nearby bushes. That was the third time in three weeks that bandits rolled into the area and attacked families by beating them and robbing them, however, it was the first time that a member of a family was actually killed. According to a police report, at about 2 am, six men armed with guns stormed into the Narines’ residence at Dora Maeth Trace, Governor Trace, and announced a hold up. The men gathered the members of the family, which included Narine, his wife, Dhanmatie and their children, Jenna, 18, Jason, 16 and Jessie, 14, who were all asleep, and tied them up with pieces of rope and cloth. The men then ordered the family to tell them where the money, jewelry and other valuables were kept. Upon refusal, police said, the men, beat them badly about their bodies. The Narine family were also planassed with cutlasses and beaten about their heads and bodies with gun butts. Jason, who is a Form Three pupil of the Cunupia High School, was so severely planassed on the left side of the head and face, that piece of his ear was severed. The men, police said, ransacked the place and took an undisclosed amount of cash, jewelry, a DVD player, a Play Station 2, a music system and an authentic knife collection. Before escaping the scene, police said, one of the men dragged Narine, who was a pepper and melongene gardener, outside the house where he was again badly beaten. Narine was then shot several times about the body, with a pellet gun, killing him instantly. His body was thrown in some bushes obliquely opposite to his house. One of Narine’s sons, Jeremy, 19, who was not at home when the incident occurred said he believed that the incident was not just a mere robbery but that the bandits had come with the intention of killing his father. “These bandits only coming into the area and tormenting the residents. This has been happening for several weeks and for several weeks we have been desperately trying to get some sort of attention and help from the police,” Jeremy said.

Gardener killed on wedding anniversary

NOVEMBER 2007

Search for new top cop
The Police Service Commission (PSC) is now sifting through scores of applications as the search for a new commissioner of police continues.

Page 5

And the search goes on, even as Deputy Police Commissioner Glen Roach is expected to take up an acting position as CoP from today. Roach, who has more than 33 years in the Police Service, is not one of the individuals being looked at for the top post.

While Roach expressed disinterest in the post, the commission has received scores of applications from locals—one of them a police corporal—and foreigners, both regionally and internationally.

Roach, who will now sit in the seat of Police Commissioner Trevor Paul, who proceeded on vacation leave yesterday, indicated he was not interested in being the next CoP, a source close to him said.

Roach, who is expected to proceed on preretirement leave in June 2008, did not apply for the post of CoP.

Up to late yesterday, PSC officials were said to be sifting through the applications as they hope to find a suitable replacement by early next year. Although an official from the PSC’s office said they had received scores of applications, the spokesman indicated, however, that it was difficult to provide an exact number of applications that came from foreigners. The spokesman said the PSC was “far from” completing the “sorting out” process.

What the Act says:

Contacted yesterday, PSC chairman Christopher Thomas said once the applications were sorted out, a procedure set by law must be automatically followed. According to the Constitution Amendment Act 2006, the PSC shall submit to the President a list of the names of people nominated for appointment to the office of Commissioner.

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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
BY PRIOR BEHARRY

COP paid a big price for going it alone
Indo-Caribbean Times
Parliamentary presence won their seats were all members of the UNC and not the alliance. He said the issue was one of whether after Panday there was going to be one clear leader and would the other senior members accede to that person.

NOVEMBER 2007

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Political leader of the COP Winston Ragoonath said there was the likelihood Dookeran paid the ultimate price for not that the COP would suffer the same fate of seeking an accommodation with the UNC all previous third parties and end up in the Alliance in the November 5 general elec- political cemetery. tion. This is the view of political analyst Bishnu Ragoonath in his post-election round-up. “Politics is about power. Dookeran, not being the tradition politician, did not seek power at all cost. If he was a politician in the likeness of (Basdeo) Panday he would have gone after power at all costs and taken that victory. “Of course campaigning on a campaign of integrity and so on, he felt that he could not have gone into an accommodation with the UNC. Some of the COP’s anti-UNC supporters would not have supported the COP in that arrangement. Ragoonath added: “But a good politician would know Defeated COP leader Winston Dookeran leaves his office on election night in TT what to sell and not to sell. But, if he wanted to sell that (an accommoda“The question that begs however, is simtion) to his supporters then he could have ply how far would the COP go in terms of “If Kamla (Persad-Bissessar) for examsold it.” trying to rebuild itself. If, for example, the ple was to become the leader, would Jack After the election last Monday, the PNM COP were to fight the local government (Warner) and Ramesh (Lawrence Maharaj) came out victorious with 26 seats, the UNC elections next year and lose, that would accept that. formed the Opposition with 15 seats and the cause further disenchantment to its mem“Ramesh said he was not involved in the COP did not win a single seat. strategising committee for the elections. bers and could be its end. Ragoonath said: “But then again the COP “Then the other side. The UNC as a party Ramesh probably believes that he is a betwas not about power. They put a lot of trust knows fully well that it has been damaged ter strategist that anyone in the party and and belief in people but they did not appre- by the COP. But going for the UNC is that may also feel that he is the master-mind of ciate the fact that Trinidadian society is a it had told its support-base that the COP the party successes in the past. So would he very civil society and people would come was not going to win the election and they accede to Kamla, Jack or even Roodal and shake your hand and say ‘I would vote were proven right and having been proven Moonilal becoming leader?” for you,’ but when it came to voting they right the best thing for the COP supporters Ragoonath said the PNM is in the driver's could not discern the true supporter of the to do would be to come back to the UNC.” seat at the moment and they could only go COP as oppose to the ones telling them yes. He said parliamentary presence or the wrong on the issue of managing the econThey were sold on that idea.” lack of it would be another critical factor re- omy and the energy boom the country was Up to the day before the election, the garding the fate of the COP. He said the now experiencing. If they do it poorly they UNC Alliance had called on the COP to Democratic Labour Party, the Organisation could be opening themselves up to corrupform an electoral arrangement in order to for National Reconstruction and the Na- tion and mismanagement. put up a single challenge against the PNM. tional Alliance for Reconstruction more or He said it was highly unlikely that the The COP refused. less came to an end after they did not have PNM government would collapse since they have a majority of 11 MPs in the a seat in Parliament. Spoiler COP? He said the suggestion that the COP Lower House and that like in the past they would have a press conference every Fri- have always ignored the opposition’s Ragoonath said the election went the way day could help the COP, but the question claims. he predicted in that the PNM won and that would be one of sustainability. And in summing up the results of the Noit “would have taken several of the margin“Yes it would start up with a huff and a vember 5, 2007, general election, Raals and that was not necessarily because of puff but with time it would most likely goonath said, “PNM is the winner by a the three-way fight but because of the shift dwindle,” he said. majority of 11 seats. The biggest loser is the in the boundaries that would have made the He said finance could be another chal- COP having not won a seat, with Panday in marginals more favourable to the PNM.” the middle who has once again been given lenge for the COP. He disagrees with statements that the Ragoonath believes that the COP could a life, politically.” COP was the spoiler of the elections. get some money from the business com“Yes they did not win any seats and there munity, but would even have to get cheaper is some disappointed. But, for a party to accommodation than its Gaston Street, Chtake on two challengers who were literally aguanas, offices. tried and tested and the kind of appeals that But, he said, going for the COP was the were being made by Basdeo Panday, I did fact that 148,000 people voted for them as Re-elected Siparia member of Parliament not think that the COP had a chance any- a party just over a year old and that the (MP) Kamla Persad-Bissessar has given way to leader of the United National Conhow,” he said. UNC after 18 years in existence could gress Alliance (UNC A)Basdeo Panday, He said the appeals by Panday included muster just over 172,000 votes. who was unanimously appointed Opposiones that the COP was indeed the spoiler in tion Leader at a meeting at Rienzi Complex the election and would split the UNC votes Succession in the UNC in Couva. and give the PNM victory. Panday, who was also re-elected the “I am told that those appeals did come to He said the challenge for the UNC would Couva North MP in the General Election, past and played a critical role. In St Augus- be the question of succession. was elected Opposition Leader by the cautine, for example, some COP supporters “This time around there was the big hulcus which consisted of all 15 UNC candiwere appealing people to vote for the UNC labaloo of dual-leadership of the UNC Alrather than the COP up to election day,” he liance going into the election. The UNC has dates of who were successful in the election. The meeting lasted all of five minsaid. once again chosen Panday as Opposition He said the results proved him correct Leader and this means that the leadership utes.Former Opposition Leader PersadBissessar, who chaired last night’smeeting, that the COP did indeed take about 25 per question remains unresolved,” he said. said it took “five seconds” to appoint Pancent of the UNC’s base. Ragoonath pointed out that there was no day UNC -A now, since the candidates who

TERTIARY institutions have been given eight months to register with the Accredition Council of T&T (ACTT) or face shutdown, says the council’s executive director Dr Ruby Alleyne. These include the University of T&T (UTT), the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T (Costatt) and Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies, which are yet to apply. Failure by these institutions to comply to an earlier deadline set by the ACTT, led to an extension of the deadline date. In facilitating the extension, the ACTT also took into consideration the fact that if it had enforced the law, students would have been severely affected. Alleyne yesterday insisted, however: “There will be no further extensions...Parliament has said that.” Speaking at an ACTT function at Algico Plaza in Port-of-Spain—to toast the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), of Maracas, St Joseph, as the first institution to become registered—she said: “Institutions that are not registered with us by July 8, 2008, will be operating illegally. That means they will be fined, if they are convicted, of $20,000, and $500 per day for each day they continue to operate.” Alleyne said of the 163-plus tertiary institutions locally, only 29 applications had been submitted. She pointed out that of the 29 submitted, many were incomplete and had to be returned. “As a result, we came up with the phrase ‘acceptable candidates’ for those that were properly completed.” The others were asked to redo their applications. Negative fallouts Alleyne said that according to the original Act of Parliament, higher level institutions are in a “transitional period that should have ended in 2006. We went to Parliament and got an extension of that, so the new period ends in July 2008.” As a consequence, all tertiary institutions are accepted as “operating legally” until the transitional period ends next year. Alleyne said: “In a lot of cases throughout the region, there are many pieces of legislation with no teeth. Therefore, deadlines come and go and people don’t comply. We have the legislation with the teeth. “If they don’t comply, there will be consequences and negative fallouts. Institutions will lose their status and students enrolled will be affected. We are extremely concerned about that. That’s why we have taken time to give so much support to the institutions.” Compliance to this law also applies to foreign institutions based in T&T. Alleyne said she was hopeful the various institutions shared the ACTT’s goal to ensure the delivery of quality education. At yesterday’s function, the College of Health Environmental and Safety Studies (Chess) was certified as a “college.”

Colleges face shutdown

Panday back as opposition leader

Twenty-three-year-old Delroy Forde of Laing Avenue was shot dead around after he robbed a couple at the corner of Robb Street andOrange Walk, Bourda. According to reports, the bandit was shot dead by one of his victims who is also a licensed firearm holder. It was another example of the type of desperate measure that members of the public have begun to take in the face of continuing attacks of this sort.

Robbery victim shoots young bandit dead
GUYANA NEWS
Indo-Caribbean Times NOVEMBER 2007
would realize the advancement of the cause of the working class. He charged that politicians across the spectrum refuse to adhere to campaign promises and serve the interests of those who elected them "to advance and safeguard their interests." "We are today in a political culture of inactivity, managed through denial and finger-pointing. We are seeing the increasing manifestation of an elected-dictatorship and strong leanings to a one-party state as distinct from shared governance, which is assisted by the lacklustre and impotent opposition," he argued. Lewis contended that the leaders today have become armchair generals whofeel secure in managing the welfare of their constituents through press releases, columns and letters to the media. The only parliamentary political party that is working, he said, is the ruling PPP but he charged that they are not working in labour's interest. Responding to these charges, PPP General Secretary, Donald Ramotar told Stabroek News that he could not see the wisdom in any ofLewis's statements given the achievements the country has seen under the leadership of the PPP since the party took office in 1992. He feels that Lewis is blinded by his prejudice against the PPP.

Page 7

Caucasian bodies found in Corentyne

TUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis says the labour movement has to be more militant, vocal and aggressive on issues affecting it and he argued that there were increasing signs of an elected dictatorship, a charge that the ruling party slapped down. In his address to the Second Triennial Delegates Conference at the Critchlow Labour College on Thursday, Lewis said that it was a false assumption that labour should stay out of politics when it was the labour movement that fought the colonial authorities for internal self-government and was at the forefront advancing the cause for independence. "This is a false assumption and we should resist outright anyone telling us this in order to make us silent and helpless in the face of political mismanagement and wrongdoing," Lewis declared, adding that "Politics is integral and important to the struggles and well-being of the workers and their families and the labour movement has a responsibility to ensure that decisions made at the political level are pro-workers." He noted that the 40-hour work week, stipulated overtime rates, one man-one vote, education and heath care for all, among others, were all a result of labour's struggle and now at the height of escalating mismanagement and anti-worker policies labour cannot stay away from politics. Stating that labour has not achieved anything significant over the past three years, he said that the government refuses to respect the rights of workers and engage the labour movement in any deliberation that

TUC charges elected dictatorship in Guyana

Delroy Forde According to police reports a man and his wife had just withdrawn some money from the bank and were heading into Bourda market to do some shopping when Forde confronted the man's wife. A police statement said that the man's wife was confronted by Forde who held her at gunpoint. During the confrontation, Forde was shot in his chest by the licensed firearm holder. After lying at the corner of Robb Street and Orange Walk for almost an hour Forde's body was removed and taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police said an unlicensed .32 Taurus revolver was found on Forde's body along with a matching round and one spent shell. It is still not clear if Forde managed to relieve his victim of any valuables.

The bound, decomposing bodies of two males appearing to be of Caucasian descent were discovered at separate points on the Corentyne recently and the police were night contemplating the gamut of possibilities behind the macabre find. Both of the men's hands and feet were bound together with pieces ofgreen rope. Their heads were completely bald and their teeth, eyes, earsand parts of their face were missing. Immersion in ocean water for long periods can lead to severe skin bleaching so the police are leaving all options open. Police Commander 'B' Division Clinton Conwaysaid night that Police were working on all possible leads into the deaths, but didn't believe that the men were Guyanese.

Police announces 17 percent decrease in crime

Assistant Police Commissioner and Commander of “A” Division Paul Slowe recently announced that the Police have been able to reduce the different categories of crimes in the country from the corresponding period last year. Police statistics show that there has been a total of 1,971 crimes committed this year compared to a total of 2,368 last year, representing a 17 percent reduction. There were 99 murders this year compared to 135 last year and 1,094 reported robberies compared to 1,454 last year. In relation to illegal firearms, 126 seized for this year compared to 119 for the same period last year.

THE administration’s continued support to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has seen the force employing a new crime fighting strategy which has resulted in a reduction in criminal activities.

Bridge across Takutu moving well

The security of citizens has been placed high on the agenda of the Guyana Police Force as it officially launched its 2007 Christmaspolicing plan which will cover from November 16 to January 16, 2008. The Christmas policing plan which has become a tradition for the Guyana Police Force over recent years has once again sought to have the private sector, the Chamber of Commerce, the media and Community Policing Groups involved. The plan was formulated after all the Divisional Heads met to discuss a plan which will not only cover the Georgetown area. According to Commander Slowe the plan is aimed at reducing and controlling crime, building confidence, reducing traffic accidents and traffic congestion during the Christmas season. As is customary the plan will entail patrols, the setting up of booths,raids, roadblocks, river patrols and one new additional feature, the mobile outpost which was recently presented to the Guyana Police Force by the bauxite company BOSAI. Areas of particular interest outlined in the plan include main municipal markets, Agricola/Eccles, Kaneville/Grove, Albouystown, South, North, East and West Ruimveldt. Moreover, to make shoppers more comfortable booths will be set up in areas that over the years have been vulnerable to crime. According to Slowe booths will be set up at points including Croal Street, Main and Quamina streets, Water and Holmes streets, Robb and Cummings, Regent and Wellington, Broad and Lombard, Saffon and James and Waterloo streets.

Christmas policing plan launched

This bridge will create a stronger infrastructural linkage between Guyana and its southern neighbour, Brazil, and is expected to facilitate increased trade and economic activities between the two countries.

CONSTRUCTION of the bridge across the Takutu River, Region 9 (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo), is progressing satisfactorily as the 11 piers required on the Brazilian side already completed, while work on the third pier on the Guyana side has started.

Technical Adviser to the Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Walter Willis said the cantilever sections of the bridge on the Brazilian side have been completed and construction of the bridge’s superstructure is currently about 55 percent into its work programme. The Takutu Bridge is funded by the Brazilian Government and is being supervised by the 6th Engineers Battalion of the Brazilian Army while the works are being carried out by Arte Leste of Curitiba from the State of Parana, Brazil. Construction of the bridge, which began several years ago, was halted in 2001. It was restarted earlier this year and was initially set for completion by the end of January 2008. However, there were delays due to the May/June rainy season and the new scheduled date of completion is March 2008.

In May, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee expressed concern over the crime situation and had instructed the Force’s senior staff to review their crime fighting tactics.

The top brass of the Force have cited training, information gathering, and intelligence, anti-crime, ongoing joint operations and motivation of ranks as major contributors to the satisfactory results.

As part of their renewed efforts the Police intensified its foot and vehicular patrols and conducted searches at several road blocks. There are also ongoing joint operations in the communities on the lower East Coast and East Bank of Demerara. The Force has been receiving tremendous support from government through several initiatives in the areas of training, building modern Police stations, improving the Force’s forensic capability and intelligence gathering unit.

Additionally, preliminary designs have been submitted for construction of the onemile access road required on the Guyana side of the bridge and these are being reviewed. Once there is agreement on the alignment, width of roadway and standard of construction to be used, the works will commence by early January, Willis disclosed.

Completion of the superstructure is estimated to cost US$3.5M. The project’s initial estimate outlined in 2001 was US$5.6M. The project design includes constructing the 14-metre wide reinforced concrete structure across the Takutu River supported on four piers with pedestrian walkways on both sides.

Government, along with international donor agencies, is working on several major security programmes which includes: the National Drug Strategy Master Plan (NDSMP), Citizens’ Security Programme, the Crime Stoppers Programme and the recently signed four-year Security Action Plan between the United Kingdom and Guyana. These initiatives will help in the area of more community/police relations, building operational capacity, forensics, crime intelligence and traffic policing. (GINA)

GUYANA NEWS

Government claims 70,000 houses given out

With house lot allocation over 70,000 since 1992, the Ministry of Housing is urging allottees to start building on their lots or to visit the ministry to address issues that may be challenging their efforts. The ministry said non-occupancy of house lots has been a setback and is prevalent in areas such as Tuschen, Diamond and Eccles resulting in the perception that there are available lots in those areas. According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release although government has a re-possession policy, it has been reluctant to enforce it because of its commitment to the land distribution process. There are over 30,000 house lot applications pending. The ministry said house lot allocation has reached in excess of 70,000. Minister of Housing and Water Harry Narine Nawbatt again urged allottees to occupy their lands during a visit to Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo recently. He also discussed alternative measures to assist those requesting extensions to begin construction. The Scheme was established in 1999, with over 2,626 lots allocated. However, to date there is still 41 per cent non-occupancy. Nawbatt said the situation is not desirable as there are many other persons awaiting house lots. Additionally, theunoccupied lots are overgrown with vegetation and these pose security problems for residents. GINA said government has established over 35 new housing schemes which have seen a rapid development of the housing sector.

Harry Narine Nawbatt

Flour prices remain high even as the National Milling Com-pany of Guyana (Namilco) alleges that the Trinidad and Tobago National Flour Mill (NFM) is dumping flour on the local market and is contributing to heavy losses and scaleddown production. Since the flour market opened in July, large quantities of T&T flour have entered Guyana. Namilco Managing Director Bert Sukhai told Stabroek News (SN) that NFM is selling flour cheaper to Guyana than it is in T&T. He contends that NFM is selling the Hibiscus brand flour in T&T at US$21 per 45-kg bag, while the same baker's flour beingexported to Guyana is being sold below this. This newspaper has seen a price list from NFM dated May 28, where it shows prices for the said brand moving from close to US$18 in May to US$21 effective June 1. At that time the NFM had said that the rising price of wheat which was said to be 70% of their raw material cost was to blame. According to the World Trade Organization, dumping refers to the pricing of ex-

Trinidad said to be dumping cheap flour in Guyana

Relatives of a man who died after a road accident on the Corentyne recently, have alleged that he was turned away from the Port Mourant Hospital and sent to New Amsterdam 14 miles away, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Clerk-in-Charge at the Port Mourant Hospital Shaneza Nabi, who spoke on behalf of the Cuban doctor there, told this newspaper on Monday that the procedure for emergency cases presenting at night was for the patient to be allowed into the hospital compound accompanied by a security

Patient dies after being turned away from hospital

The captains and crew of 22 fishing vessels of the Number 66 Fish Complex were left stranded in the Corentyne River on Sunday, after armed pirates relieved them of their gasoline, engine coils and a quantity of fish glue. None of the crew seem to have been hurt or terrorized, as has happened in the past. Stabroek News learnt that after 5 am yesterday three of the boats - belonging to Clent Nathoo, Michael Gibson and Krishendat Gopaul - returned to the fish complex to tell the sad tale, after the crew improvised sails, which allowed them to steer the boats home. Gibson told this newspaper that he visited the complex after 5 am and saw one boat towing another to the shore. Shortly afterwards, he said, his crew arrived with his boat. Some of the crew of the other boats swam to the Coroni shore in Suriname and telephoned the owners around 3 pm on Monday. Rescue teams have since gone out to search for the other boats, taking with them components to fix the engines so that the boats could be piloted back here. Nathoo, the owner of one of the boats, who was also a victim of piracy in the past, said it was fortunate that the pirates had not terrorized the crew. He said he did not find out too much from them as to what transpired as he was "fed up wid this thing." According to Nathoo, another of his boats is still out at sea, but he could not say if that had been raided by the pirates as well. Chairman of the complex Pravinchandra Deodat said that over one week ago the pirates stripped the boats of the engines, fish and glue after terrorizing the crewmembers and badly beating one of the boat owners with a gun butt and pieces of wood.

Pirates attack again - 22 fishing boats stripped

ports at a lower level compared to prices of the product in its home market; and often, dumping is intended to drive out competition andto secure a foothold in a foreign market. Sukhai says that this is the strategy NFM is using to capture the Guyana flour market and as a result he believes that his claim of dumping is "very well founded" in the light of the lower cost of the exported flour to Guyana. The managing director estimated that wheat costs for a 45 kg bag offlour at Namilco is US$24 but it is selling flour at US$25, excluding the value-added tax (VAT) and the true price should be US$30 excluding VAT, to allow them to make a profit.

Indo-Caribbean Times

guard. The nurse on duty would then examine the patient and send the security guard to the doctor with a message. The security guard, if necessary, would accompany the doctor back to the hospital, especially if it was dark. However, when Stabroek News visited the Port Mourant Hospital on Sunday, after an allegation was made following an accident on Saturday night, Mr Prashad, the security guard who had been on duty that night, admitted that a vehicle had taken an accident patient to the hospital, but he had not allowed it into the compound. He said he had been instructed by the nurse on duty not to allow patients in at night, especially when there was a blackout, since there was no alternative source of light. He said there was a blackout at the time and he had therefore instructed the persons who took the patient to the Port Mourant Hospital to go to the New Amsterdam Hospital for treatment. The patient was Tyrone Henry called 'Iguana Man' of Nurney Village, Corentyne, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the New Amsterdam Hospital.

NOVEMBER 2007

The Office of the President (OP) yesterday once again arbitrarily announced an across-the-board pay hike of nine per cent for public service workers, retroactive to January 1 of this year. The statement by OP said the formalities would be concluded to allow for the deadline of a payout no later than December 13. This has been the practice of the government for the last few years as it has repeatedly been unable to reach agreement with the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), which represents the workers. While the nine per cent is up one per cent on the government's original offer, it is still far from the 14 per cent the GPSU had demanded. The government's move, announced in a statement from OP yesterday afternoon, came as a surprise to the union, sources said, since a meeting was scheduled for tomorrow. GPSU President Patrick Yarde and his general secretary are out of the country but the sources confirmed that the meeting was planned and as such, the government's announcement came as a surprise. "This announcement by the government is very unfair to us," one source said yesterday. Last week, the GPSU said at a press conference that it was asking the government for a 14 per cent pay increase for this year and for the wage deficit from 2002-6 to be taken care of. At that time, the union had said it was concerned with the lack of progress in negotiations but was looking forward to a meeting with the government this week. However, according to the sources, the government did not commit to this meeting in writing. Yarde, at the press conference last week, had said that the union was giving the government a fair opportunity to respond to its requests and if the time came to do something, should the request not be met, it would. He said since the perception was that the union was confrontational, this year it had decided to avoid certain assertions since there was no intention to cause prejudice but rather to be rational in its approach.

Nine per cent pay hike for public servants

The Guyana Power and Light Incorporated is hard pressed to convince its thousands of consumers on both sides of the Berbice River that the spate of unscheduled and disruptive power outages over the past month has been due only to maintenance works and mechanical problems as officially stated. Just over two weeks ago, an official of the company had explained that the then twoweek-old outages were as a result of generation shortfall and maintenance works at the No. 53 Sub-station. The maintenance works, he had said then, were related to an imminent link-up with diesel plants at Guysuco's Skeldon Estate. According to him, the company was working to alleviate the situation by the weekend of November 3. On November 2, the company issued a press release stating that tests on the machinery and transmission lines connected to the Skeldon Co-generation Plant were being conducted. These, it said, were aimed at identifying and remedying faults and glitches. Consumers in the region, the release said, were expected to begin receiving power from the plant during the last week of November. For the umpteenth time in recent years, the unexpected blackouts returned out of the blue just over four weeks ago to plague Berbicians like a malignant disease. No community, from Abary to Crabwood Creek, has been spared the misery, the inconvenience, the fear, financial loss, insecurity and damage to equipment traditionally associated with sudden, frequent and prolonged outages. The problem has been further compounded over the past two weeks by related disruptions to the potable water supply system, which depends on electricity. The situation reached serious proportions last weekend when there was an almost total shutdown of the water supply system with some areas deprived of both services for all of Sunday and most of yesterday. Over the past week, consumers have been forced to endure between six and 12 hours of blackouts across Region Six and the West Berbice sub-region. In a press release issued on Sunday, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) said there was an initial improvement in the power supply from last week. However, the fluctuation in the power supply in Regions Five and Six has severely disrupted the distribution of water to residents in the two regions. "The electrical power received from the Guyana Power and Light Inc," the release said, " is inadequate for the pump stations to operate at their scheduled times." As if to inflict further pain on the already suffering consumers, during most of yesterday the power and water supply played a game of cat and mouse; when there was power there was no water and vice versa. In some areas, schoolchildren with buckets could be seen combing their neighbourhoods for water to prepare for school. Many eventually gave up and decided not to attend classes. A source at GWI's New Amsterdam Plant told this newspaper that they were encountering mechanical problems with two pumps but they were expected back in operation by late yesterday.

Power, water woes hit Berbicians hard

Page 8

Credit versus debit: the inside story
BUSINESS
Indo-Caribbean Times

NOVEMBER 2007

What the banks & credit card companies don’t want you to know
Run a few such transactions on a vacation and you might run out of cash and be unable to get money from an ATM, or be hit with overdraft fees. Blocking also occurs with credit cards, but it has no impact on consumers unless they are precisely up against their credit limit. Consumers who insist on using debit cards to pay for rental cars should reserve the car with a credit card and switch to debit when they pay in order to avoid checking account blocking. • Immediate withdrawal of funds. Judicious use of a credit card amounts to a free 30-40 day loan, whereas using a debit card (signature-based or PIN-based) means the money exits your bank account right away. Using a credit card lets you keep your cash in an interest-bearing account for an extra 30 days. Over a decade or more, that adds up.

By Ijaz Hosein aper or plastic? Credit or debit? These are the questions that haunt consumers as they head to the checkout line every day. I can't help you with the bags, but I can ease your burden on question number two. With only a few exceptions, you are better off sticking with credit cards and using debit card only to get cash at ATMs. Before I lay out the argument for credit cards, let me clarify for you the difference between credit and debit. It's not what you think. Banks and retailers have done their best to muddy what should be a very straightforward question for consumers – pay now or pay later? The reason is money, of course. It might seem like a simple question to you, but billions of dollars ride on the distinction. Here's the first surprise: "Debit or credit?" is actually an unfair, misleading question. There is no such thing as a debit card that's used as a credit card. When you hand over a debit card, you are engaging in a debit transaction no matter how you answer. When clerks ask this question, they are really asking you to pick one of two ways they can process your debit – a PIN (personal identification number) based transaction or as a signature-based transaction. One costs the merchant a little more and one takes a little longer to hit your checking account, but fundamentally a debit transaction is a debit transaction. For all the reasons cited below, you want neither. So when I say pick credit instead of debit, I don't mean tell the clerk to use your debit card like a credit card. I mean put away the debit card you use to get money from the bank and pull out a true a credit card instead. On to the reasoning: • Bounced checks. Debit card users are hit with more overdraft fees -- a lot more. Many consumers don't realize that a bank will approve debit transactions even if they have insufficient funds in their account. Then the bank tacks on a $35 overdraft fee, which doesn’t become apparent until the end-of-month statement arrives. That means a $5 hamburger can easily become a $40 hamburger.

P

• Fraud protection. Federal law affords credit card consumers better protection than debit card users. Credit users' obligation is capped at $50. Debit users can be on the hook for $500 if they don't report fraud within two days of learning about it and face unlimited liability if they wait more than 60 days. In practice, both debit and credit users generally enjoy zero liability guarantees from their banks, but those generous debit policies can be changed at any time. Consumer protection under the law is a safer bet.

• Fraud recovery. Getting money back in the event of fraud is much easier for credit customers than for debit users. When a criminal uses your credit card, all you have to do is refuse to pay for the fraudulent purchases. When a debit card is stolen, the money disappears from your account, and the burden is on the consumer to call the bank and get that money replaced. Anyone who's ever logged online to see a zero balance or been denied cash at an ATM after an incident like this will tell you that is no small distinction. • Rewards programs. Such programs tend to be more generous to credit card holders than debit card uses. Debit cards "provide no qualification of creditworthiness. The most effective way to build a high credit rating is to use credit responsibly.

If credit cards are usually the better alternative, why are so many people nudging you toward using your debit card? And why are debit transactions more popular than credit? The answer lies in who gets the cut. With each plastic transaction, a merchant pays a few pennies per dollar to someone. During the course of a day, those pennies add up. From the merchant's perspective, they add up much faster if you use a credit card rather than a debit card. According to Consumer Reports, stores pay about 20 cents for PIN-based transactions on a $100 purchase, but $1.48 if the transaction is signature-based. That means the retailer pays the bank more than seven times as much, and explains why some banks charge consumers extra for debit transactions, to nudge them toward signing the slip (picking “credit”) rather than entering a PIN. On the other hand, when you use a credit card, the bank where you have your checking account is cut out of the loop. Instead, the credit transaction fees go to the card-issuing bank. In other words, if you hold a CIBC debit card and a RBC credit card, your small choices have a big impact on their bottom line. The nudging by banks has worked. Earlier this decade, debit card use surpassed credit card use, both in transaction volume and in total dollars. Debit cards are now equally as popular as cash, and are poised to surpass all payment mechanisms soon. Visa reported last year that more than $1 trillion had been spent worldwide using debit cards, much of it one $3 latte at a time, as consumers become increasingly comfortable pulling out plastic instead of small change. A recent marketing campaign portrays plastic as quicker than cash, showing an embarrassed fast-food buyer holding up the line while digging for quarters in his pockets. But not all plastic is created equal. In this case, the minority is right. For most people, credit it better than debit. If you are really on top of your game then you could be paying for those holiday purchases in February rather than January.

Toronto’s new land transfer tax is going to hit the home buying market hard in the pocket and probably deflate the still booming real estate sector. That’s the opinion of Remax real estate agent Peter Seepersad when asked about the new taxes imposed by the City of Toronto to help balance its budget. “The home buyer will have to pay an additional $3500 or so on a typical house. First time buyers will get a rebate of most of the land transfer tax, but they will have to put it up first. Nobody knows how long it will take for them to get back the money. In my opinion this new tax will kill the market,” he said. The other tax measure, a $74 vehicle ownership tax, will have less impact on Toronto, he added. A release from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) explains that the Toronto City Council has approved a municipal land transfer tax that will be levied on top of the provincial land transfer tax. TREB opposed the original proposal and was able to get several amendments from the Council. including rebates for first-time buyers, a reduced rate, and grandfathering for existing transactions. City Council approved a second land transfer tax, on top of the provincial land transfer tax, at the following rates: Residential: a .. 0.5% of the amount of the purchase price up to and including $55,000 b .. 1% of the amount of the purchase price between $55,000 and $400,000 c .. 2% of the amount of the purchase price above $400,000

Home buyers may be hit hard by new Toronto land transfer tax

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• “Blocking” surprises. Paying for car rentals, hotels and gas stations with debit cards also can cause your account to be overdrawn, as retailers often withdraw more money than you've actually spent, then put some back later. It's a practice called 'blocking." Car rental firms can actually block off hundreds of dollars extra, to make sure the consumer has enough in their account to pay for possible added charges. The blocked funds are never really transferred to the retailer, but they aren't available to the consumer, either. Instead, they reside in a kind of financial limbo.

• Extra fees. Some stores charge 25 cents to $1 for use of a debit card, though such fees are slowly disappearing.

As with all rules, there are exceptions. Many personal finance writers recommend debit cards as a better tool for controlling spending than credit cards. When zero balances caused transactions to be automatically denied, that was valid advice, but that is no longer the case. Still, for those who just can't control credit card spending, or those whose credit scores keep them from qualifying for a low-interest credit card, debit cards can be a useful alternative. Similarly, consumers with high balances or high interest rates on their credit cards should stop using the cards until they are paid off. Turning to a debit card then can be one way to avoid adding to credit balances. "Cash back" debit transactions can be one way to evade this fee. If your bank doesn’t have an ATM nearby, you can buy a pack of bubble gum and ask for $20 cash back from a merchant who doesn't charge debit fees. At the same time, remember the advice above: It's best to limit the number of times you use your PIN.

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Commercial / rndustrial / Etc.: a .. 0.5% of the amount of the purchase price up to and including $55,000 b .. 1% of the amount of the purchase price between $55,000 and $400,000 c .. 1.5% of the amount between $400,000 and $40 million d .. 1% of the amount above $40 million Are existing transactions grand fathered? Yes. Any transactions where the purchaser and vendor have entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the property prior to December 31, Z007 will be rebated the full amount of the Toronto land transfer tax. Where does this apply? The Toronto land transfer tax only applies to transactions within the City of Toronto. This does NOT apply to property transactions outside of the City of Toronto.

Are first time home "buyers affected? First time home buyers of new AND re-sale homes will receive a rebate of the Toronto land transfer tax of up to $3,7Z5 (this equals a 100% rebate on homes purchased for up to $400,000). Details of how exactly the new taxes will be administered and the way the rebate for first time buyers will be handled are not yet available. Insiders in the Toronto real estate industry fear that the tax could serve to drive away home buyers into the 905 area surrounding Toronto. The tax does not apply in these areas, which have seen booming real estate values and building over the last few years.

Barely a Hindu in the Trini shot Trinidad cabinet 20 times
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REPORT
Indo-Caribbean Times
The full cabinet is: * Patrick Manning, Prime Minister * Senator Bridgid Annisette-George, Attorney General; * Senator Lenny Saith, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister; * Senator Jerry Narace, Minister of Health; * Esther Le Gendre, Minister of Education; * Neil Parsanlal, Minister of Information; * Joseph Ross, Minister of Tourism; * Kennedy Swaratsingh, Minister of Public Administration; * Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs; * Dr Keith Rowley, Minister of Trade and Industry; * Senator Conrad Enill, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries; n Christine Kangaloo, Minister of Science and Technology; * Gary Hunt, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs; * Senator Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Ford, Minister of Planning, Housing and Environment; * Karen Nunez-Tesheira, Minister of Finance; * Senator Hazel Manning, Minister of Local Government; * Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Minister of Public Utilities; * Marlene McDonald, Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs; * Colm Imbert, Minister of Works and Transport; * Dr Amery Browne, Minister of Social Development; * Senator Martin Joseph, Minister of National Security; * Rennie Dumas, Minister of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprise Development; * Senator Arnold Piggott, Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Marine Resources; * Peter Taylor, Minister of Legal Affairs; * Mariano Browne, Minister in the Ministry of Finance. * Fitzgerald Jeffrey, Science, Technology and Tertiary Education; * Senator Tina Gronlund-Nunez, Planning, Housing and the Environment; * Donna Cox, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs; * Alicia Hospedales, Ministry of Social Development; * Stanford Callender, Office of the Prime Minister. * Junia Regrello, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs * NiLeung Hypolite, Ministry of Works and Transport; * Senator Wesley George, Ministry of Health. * Dr Keith Rowley, former housing minister, now Trade and Industry Minister; * Colm Imbert, former works and transports minister, retains his portfolio; * Martin Joseph, former national security minister, retains his portfolio; Those who returned Parliamentary secretaries Ministers of State There appears to be just a single Hindu in the newly appointed PNM government’s cabinet in Trinidad, Senator Lenny Saith. * Christine Kangaloo, former legal affairs minister, now Science, Technology and Tertiary Education Minister; * Rennie Dumas, former local government minister, now Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development Minister; * Arnold Piggott, former foreign affairs minister, now Agriculture, Lands and Marine Resources Minister; * Lenny Saith, former public administration minister, now Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister; * Conrad Enill, former minister in the Ministry of Finance, now Energy and Energy Industries Minister; * Hazel Manning, former education minister, now Local Government Minister. MPs without portfolio

NOVEMBER 2007

* Former public utilities minister Pennelope Beckles (Arima); * Former social development minister Anthony Roberts (St Ann’s East); * Roger Joseph (La Horquetta/Talparo) ; * Indra Sinanan Ojah-Maharaj (Toco/Sangre Grande) (known to be a Hindu).

Form One Student of Presentation College, San Fernando, 11-year-old Pravana Maharaj sang his way into first place at Tuesday finals of the Mastana Bahar contest, the first child in the 37-year history of the popular contest to achieve such success. Pravana was still in shock yesterday at his good fortune which brought him $75,000 from the Ministry of Culture. But his father Suresh Maharaj had a lot to say about it. “I was amazed at my son’s ability to execute such a difficult song as “Lapat Japat tu Arey Bajarewa” by Manna Dey, but at the end of the contest I was satisfied that he did his best, and now I know everyone else agreed that he was very good.” He said that Pravana had shown interest in singing from the time he spoke his first words and has been singing ever since. Pravana, he said, would continue to pursue his course in vocal and music training, and thanked veteran musician and singer Rana Mohip who started teaching Pravana when he was six years-old. By the time he recovered enough to speak following his victory, Pravana with a boyish grin that endures him to people said he loves songs of Manna Dey and would attempt others as he grows older. “I am just trying my best to sing the song the way it is sung in India and I am glad everyone enjoyed it.” The “Lapat Japat” song is a patriotic rendition very popular in India and in TT. It calls for rain after a period of intense drought. Producer of Mastana Bahar, Khayal Mohammed, said he was thrilled the contest had thrown up another promising artiste in TT. List of winners: 1. Pravana Maharaj 2. Varesh Seenath School of Dancing of Barataria 3. Shiva Mohammed, Classical dancer 4. Tropical Power Country Boys Tassa Group

11 year boy wins Mastana Bahar

A TRINIDAD-BORN mentally ill teenager identified as Khiel Coppin died in a hail of bullets fired by New York police who thought he was brandishing a gun, when instead, it turned out to be a hairbrush. The incident occurred on Monday night at his Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Apartment. According to news reports, officers claimed that they acted within guidelines when they fatally shot Coppin. Coppin was reportedly shot 20 times. During a news conference, Police Chief, Ray Kelly said officers had reason to believe that they were under threat. Kelly said that police received a call from Coppin’s mother, Denise Owens, at about 7 pm Monday. He said that in the background of the 911 emergency call, Coppin’s voice was heard saying: “I got a gun and I’m gonna shoot you.” Kelly said that once the officers were at the scene, Coppin began shouting from the first floor window at his mother and the police. Before emerging and approaching the police, officers said Coppin was brandishing two knives and appearing to hide an object under his shirt. As he got nearer to the police, he (Coppin) said: “Come get me. I have a gun. Let’s do this,” Kelly told reporters. “As we know the facts now, this shooting appears to be within department guidelines as officers fired at someone they reasonably believed to be about to use deadly force against them,” he added. The Coppin’s family attorney, Paul Wooten, said they were disappointed that the police had “decided to rush to judgement somehow within 24 hours of this tremendous tragedy.” Mayor Michael Bloomburg said the “circumstances of how it occurred are under investigation and you can rest assured that we take this very seriously.” Khiel’s mother had attempted to have him hospitalised earlier in the day on Monday. He had a history of mental illness. In the evening, according to reports the incident happened as Khiel began screaming from a window at his mother and officers, before climbing out of a window and heading towards the police officers holding a black object in his hand. A candlelight vigil was later held in Brooklyn to protest against the police officers’ actions. Monday’s killing evoked painful memories of the police killings in November 2006 of Sean Bell on his wedding day and an unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo who was shot by 19 of 41 shots fired by police in the Bronx. Bell was killed in a 50-bullet police barrage. Attempts to contact local relatives of Khiel Coppin were unsuccessful.

Ravi wins with g r a n d f a t h e r ’s songs

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RAVI JAGROOP won the NCIC Teen Talent last year when he sang the classical tune, ‘Langan Morey ga Garaa’. The extremely talented drummer and singer, who recently repeated his success in the competition, is reaping the blessing of his grand father, the late singer Vidoor Gangadhar. Having won with his grandfather’s song last year, Ravi chose another of his very popular songs, “Barkay Bradge Nari”. According to President of the NCIC Pundit Doekinanan Sharma, Ravi has been instrumental in bringing back songs that were popular in the 60’s before the advent of soca and chutney music. “This is phenomenal that this young man should choose such a selection that can capture the hearts of everyone,” he said. Promoter of the Teen Talent competition, Surujdeo Mangaroo, said Ravi created an image on stage like that of his grand father. “His voice is similar and he is one of the few people who can actually beat the drums and sing at the same time,” he said, adding that Ravi captured the audience at the start of the song when he belted out his “sher” — the opening verse minus the music. The Marabella-based classical singer copped the Coca Cola first prize of $10,000. Speaking about his performance, Ravi said he has not been doing a lot of shows because he wanted to pursue his studies. However, whenever he had the time he would listen to his grandfather’s recording, Classical Songs by Vidoor. “I just feel a connection with his songs. I am sure they were composed for me and I feel compelled to sing them,” he said. Ravi said as a child growing up his father, Pooran Jagroop would listen to these songs as a daily ritual and he was drawn to them. Ravi, 18, said his dream is to record his grandfather’s songs. Ravi is a first year student at UWI studying Environment, Natural Resources and Biology. His aim is to release his own CD after he completes his degree. He thanked the NCIC for giving him the opportunity to sing his grandfather’s songs. “I am happy that this religious institution recognises the beauty in these songs and I hope other youths will attempt them,” he said. Amal Menocha placed second at the NCIC Teen Talent competition, with Capil Samlal coming in third. Sirlan Phirangee placed fourth and pannist Petronela Charles David placed fifth. Sixth place went to Kavita Rambaran.

Deokinanan Sharma (left) presents a trophy to NCIC Teen Talent champion Ravi Jagroop. at right is promoter Surujdeo Mangaroo

Nothing like a tasty Caribbean roti, says Curry and Roti owner Rozanne

ACHIEVERS

Indo-Caribbean Times

Linda Baboolal not getting president post in TT
Prime Minister Patrick Manning says he expects President George Maxwell Richards to continue serving in office when his existing five-year term ends in March 2008. "There is no vacancy of President right now and I don't anticipate that one will arise," Manning said yesterday. He made the comment after taking an early-morning walk with several members of his new Cabinet in Salybia. Manning was responding to questions on whether he had spoken to Senate President Dr Linda Baboolal about her replacing Richards as the nation's President, as he may not stay for another five-year term. Asked specifically if he expected Richards to serve as President for the next five years, Manning said, "Yes, I have no reason to believe otherwise." The Electoral College, which is comprised of all the members of the Senate, elects the nation's President into office and all the members of the House of Representatives "assembled together", as mandated by the Constitution. The Constitution also states that it is the Speaker of the House who presides as its

NOVEMBER 2007

Page 11

othing beats a Caribbean style roti for a satisfying lunch or even a tasty dinner. That’s the considered opinion of Rozanne Persad, owner of Curry and Roti Restaurant in Scarborough. She should know, as her family has been making the unique food for 34 years over two generations ever since her uncle started the restaurant in 1973. The business in 1973 began with her uncle Kunj Persaud from Georgetown Guyana. Rozanne and the husband Mac Persad from Trinidad and her two children Simone and Jonathan have been carrying it on since 1993. “More Canadians are starting to discover what West Indians know so well. Roti is nutritionally far superior to some of the junk food that is sold in fast food outlets. It has a good mixture of carbohydrates, vegetables,fibre and meat protein. It has a wide variety of fillings including meat, sea food and vegetables like bhaji, pumpkin, and channa, all tasty and very flavorful. “Our roti has very little fat, is not over salted, and is made fresh the same day using no frozen materials. There’s no artificial preservatives or chemicals in roti, no dangerous sulfites such as you find in other fast foods. It is as natural a food as you can get in this country”, she explained. “On top of all this, a decent roti gives you a satisfying feeling that lasts for hours. It provides more food than chicken and chips, a couple slices of pizza, a hot dog, hamburger or a couple of burritos. A ham or cheese sandwich just doesn’t compare with a hefty roti made by an experienced West Indian hand, says Rozanne. “My roti is wholesome, flavourful and

N

Rozanne Persad and her daughter Simone at their Scarborough restaurant

ATTENTION CANADIAN CITIZENS TRAVELLING TO THE UNITED STATES BY LAND OR WATER

freshly cooked. It is all made from scratch and nothing comes from frozen food . It is also very low fat. Our meat is pre-cut and comes fresh from the butcher. There are no preservatives and no dreaded MSG is added. I usually add whole wheat grains. My roti is cooked on the same day and made in house with no prepackaging. I also use very little oil and that is canola oil. “I can tell you that my roti is very healthy and filling. It contains major food group items like the vegetables, meat protein, grain, and very healthy spices like turmeric which is known to be a CANCER fighter. It's generous in size and sometimes two women will buy one and share it. “We've been in this spot since 1993 and I find there is much greater acceptance of roti in a mainstream community over the years. More people are willing to try multicultural cuisine, and a good proportion of my customers are white Canadians. Office workers and executives are coming specifically for roti at lunch. “I get people from all over the world coming to buy roti and take back with them including visitors from the States, Trinidad and Barbados, to name a few. “I think there's a lot of potential for roti in Canada, as well assome of the other Caribbean foods like doubles, jerk chicken and oxtail that we also sell. Anyone wishing to enjoy a healthier lifestyle can drop in to The Curry & Roti Restaurant from Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. at 1732 Lawrence Avenue East in Scarborough. This Saturday is the start of their Festive Caribbean Breakfast offering SADA Roti with choices from saltfish and a variety of vegetables.

chairman, and "shall have an original vote", who shall convene the Electoral College Ten Senators, the Speaker and 12 other members of the House of Representatives shall constitute a quorum of the Electoral College. Section 29 of the Constitution states that the Electoral College shall elect a President by secret ballot and no one can be a presidential candidate unless a nomination paper signed by him and by 12 or more members of the House of Representatives nominates him. That nomination paper must be delivered to the Speaker at least seven days before the election. Under section 31, the candidate who is unopposed or who obtains the greatest number of the votes cast shall be declared elected as President. In a case where the votes for two or more candidates are equally divided, the Speaker shall have and exercise a casting or deciding vote.

A young devotee offers aarti at Shakti Durga Temple Divali celebrations

As of-January 31 , 2008, if you travel to the u.s. by land or water, a U.S. law will require you to present: a government-issued photo 10, such as a driver's licence; AND a birth certificate or a citizenship card; OR For youth under 16, a birth certificate; OR ·A valid passport: , Canadians citizens flying to or through the U.S. must present a valid Canadian passport. The Government of Canada will keep Canadians informed as the u.s. makes further changes to its entry requirements.

Devotion to theShiva Lingam at the Hari Mandir in Tunapuna, Trinidad

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Indo-Caribbean Times

NOVEMBER 2007

Page 12

Berbice Palace Restaurant owner Lloyd (centre) tries on the “big hat”with his chefs at the recent grand opening Pundit Kanhaiya (centre) and devotees offer Divali havan at Shakti Durga Temple

Who could possibly resist this Radha Krishna wedding table centerpiece, which was displayed at the Dulahin Dulaha Indo Caribbean Bridal Expo?

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NOVEMBER 2007

Page 13

Pundit Roopnauth Sharma(with microphone) recites prayers at Ottawa Divali function

Ladies celebrate the Karva Chauth festival at the Ram Mandir in Mississauga

New style electronic billboard seen in the Trinidad election campaign.

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Young musician Randy Mahadeo tries out the wedding headgear with his cousin tabla player Ramona Bharath at the Divali Nagar held at The Centre.

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LAKSHMI MANDIR presents Anup Jalota live in concert on Friday November 16 at La Vita Banquet and Convention Centre, 4000 Steeles Avenue West, Woodbridge (Steeles and Weston Road), starting at 7 pm. Tickets run from $30 to $100 and can be obtained by calling Pt. Sat at 905276-1258, Satish at 647-280-8521, Nanda at 905-887-4141 or Top Notch Employment at 416-741-0066. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 50 PLUS AND SENIORS ASSOCIATION holds its 12th annual Christmas Dinner and Dance on Saturday November 17 at the Elite Banquet Hall, 1850 Albion Road, Etobicoke, starting at 6 pm. Los Amigos Parang Group and the Five Star Indian Dance Group are the featured performers. There is a grand door prize of two return tickets to Trinidad and other prizes. Tickets are $45 each. For info or tickets contact Rasheed Sultan Khan at 416-281-5264.

CANADIAN HINDU ARTS AND CULTURAL SOCIETY holds a seminar “Living a fulfilled life beyond 50” on Sunday November 17 from 1-3 pm at the Centre , 6765 Invader Crescent Mississauga. Main speaker is Shri Munelal Maharaj from Trindiad. Topics include Coping with living in an old age home, Realigning the expectations your hold of yourself and others. To reserve a space call 416-723-5934.

THE CENTRE on 6765 Invader Crescent, Mississauga invites you to a Bhajan Sumiran with Pundit Munelal Maharaj on Sunday November 18 from 5-8 pm. Admission is free. for more info call 905-362-0320 or 416-723-5934 web site aumcanada.net.

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS

BHARAT SEVASHRAM SANGHA holds its fundraising dinner and dance on November 17 from 6 pm at the Humberwood Downs Community Centre, 850 Humberwood Blvd., Etobicoke. Program includes professional singers and dancers, performances by over 130 children doing singingm dancing and Gita slokhas, music b y Karamchand Maharaj and sumptious vegetarian dinner. Admission is $10. For Info call Swami Pushkarananda at 416-6790967.

SATYA JYOTI CULTURAL SABHA invites you to its annual Bhajan Yatra on November 24, starting at 6.00 pm at the mandir on 6731 Columbus Drive, Units 7&8, Mississauga. At the yatra 108 bhajans will be sung. The event is a fundraiser for the new temple scheduled to start building soon. Admission is free and donations are welcome. For info contact Ian at 905-6782799 or Ramesh at 647-274-9454.

Indo-Caribbean Times

BHAGVAD GITA FOR EACH HOME

NOVEMBER 2007

RICHMOND HILL Omo Persaud at omo@globalspectruminc.com 905-886-1724

CANADA Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton Ramnarine Sahadeo 905 671 9233 e-mail ramjihindu@rogers.com, Omesh Sharma Omesh@flexomark.com, Chandan Persaud at 416-754-2382, Gulcharan at 416 481-5777 gmohabir@hotmail.com, Ram Jagessar at 416 289 9088 or ram@eol.ca

Bulk distribution centres. The Gita can be available in bulk at the following contacts: Donations are expected to fund further copies; any individual or organization wishing to assist in this project can contact us.

Winnipeg: Ajodhya Mahadeo 204-661-6643

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British Columbia Chameli Seegobin 604-945-9510, email address maylee34@hotmail.com, and Naraine Mohabir at 604-2748938 GUYANA: Saraswati Vidya Niketan ph. 2760013/14

NORTH AMERICAN MUSLIM FOUNDATION Annual Fundraising Dinner. It’s on Dec 9th 2007 5.00 pm at Grand Bacchus Banquet Hall, Scarborough. The Chief Guest is Professor David Leipert from Calgary and the American comedian Aman Ali will be the house. To confirm you may call Habeeb direct on cell 416 823 1738.

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Satya Jyoti stages huge Ramayana play for Divali

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Indo-Caribbean Times

Mississauga Ram Mandir marks Dussehra
NOVEMBER 2007 Page 15

mammoth play involving a host of actors from 8 to 65 years and supporting staff of over 80 people proved to be a huge success as the Satya Jyoti Cultural Sabha celebrated Divali on November 3 this month. The play "Crowning Success" was an excerpt of the epic Ramayana where the moving of the mountain by Lord Hanuman was an inspiration for the cast members, led by Ramesh Dharamdass, SJCS Event Coordinator. The play was based on the theme that the struggle of Good and Evil is always lurking. The Ramayan presents a wonderful backdrop for mankind to learn and apply various principles to their everyday life. It briefly portrays the trials and tribulations that we can translate into encounters in our daily lives, the principles that we should embrace when such challenges are encountered, always looking to DHARAMA as our medium of support. The war waged by Lord Rama against the unjust actions of Ravana which concluded in the defeat and destruction of Ravana. Exemplifies the victory of Good over Evil, Light over darkness, the re-affirmation of DHARAMA on a strong footing, hence the celebration of lights "Divali".

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The Dussehra celebration committee of Shri Ram Mandir had set up 12-14 feet huge effigy of Ravana. This effigy of the ten-headed Ravana was burnt at sunset celebrating the triumph of forces of "good" over the forces of "evil". The festival of Dussehra, also known as "Vijayadashmi" is one of the fascinating festivals of Hindus and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. Vijay Dashmi, the day signifying victory of good over evil after ten-day battle between the forces of Lord Rama and Ravana, was celebrated with religious fervour, gaiety and peace and people from all walks of life exchanged greetings on Dussehra with friends and relatives. Pandit Roopnauth Sharma after offering prayers, fired an arrow into the huge effigy which was, stuffed -- with crackers and dry straw to the encouraging shouts of "Ramchandra ki jai", "Victory to Rama", and a large explosion rippled through the sky. Thus ended the 10th day of the Dussehra festival which was celebrated here with

great fanfare with hundreds of old and young people who had assembled at Shri Ram Mandir in anticipation to have a glimpse of the burning of Ravana. This festival has immense mythological significance. As per Ramayan, Lord Ram did Chandi-Puja and invoked the blessings of Maa Durga to kill Ravana, the tenheaded king who had abducted Sita. Maa Durga divulged the secret to Lord Ram how he could kill Ravana. Then after vanquishing him, Lord Ram with Sita, Laxman and Hanuman returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya. Dussehra literally means the tenth day. It marks the end of the nine days of Navratri. The first nine nights are spent in the worship of goddess Durga and hence these nights are known as Navaratri. This festival falls in the month of Ashwin (Sep - Oct). This year this day was celebrated on 20th October. Thus the tenth day of the Dussehra day is in honour of Maa Durga Devi.

Massive clearance sale continues in the factory outlet (same location) until Christmas.

Wide variety of transfers/screen prints – Babies, Children, Humour, Christmas, topical, geographical/Souvenir from 50 cents.

Youth T-Shirts and Tank Tops - $2.00 each Adult Golf Shirts 2 for $10.00 or 5 for $20.00 Adult Golf Shirts 2 for $10.00 or 5 for $20.00 Ladies Leggings and Capri Pants 4 for $10.00 Children’s Clothing $2.00 each Wide range of Winter Clothing on Sale

HEALTH AND FASHION
Indo-Caribbean weddings are linking up to the long established and elaborate Indian patterns, and also going really glamorous. This was the view of several of the exhibitors at the recent and highly successful Dulahin Dulaha Indo Caribbean Bridal Expo held at the Elite Banquet Hall in Etobicoke. Those dinky little wedding invitation cards are we used to know in the Caribbean are giving way to elaborate and fabulous wedding invitation cards such as those offered by Suhaag on Albion Road. Dulahins are going for fanciful mehndi decorations on their hands for their weddings, picking out the usual three beautiful three saris and some are even adding in a white wedding gown afterwards. They are looking for the full suite of gold wedding jewellery rather than little pieces of gold plate. Grooms may step into one of the fancy Indian three piece kurta sets and some are changing into western style rented tuxedos for the reception and photographs. But it is in the decorations for the wedding itself and the reception that things are taking off. Dried flowers and helium balloons will not do for table centerpieces any more. Breathtaking little statues of Hindu deities and carvings are taking their places. You can get charming little Ganesh murtis in your fancy gift bags. Decorations for the head table at the reception can be of a standard not seen in the Caribbean. Professional photographers can run up to $10,000 for the full set of photographs, videos, and yes, DVD’s to hand out to relatives and friends. The dulaha can arrive on a decorated white horse and leave in a sleek Rolls Royce. We are even seeing full crops of bridesmaids in Hindu weddings, something that was not part of the tradition in the Caribbean. But then we are not in the Caribbean anymore. We are reconnecting to our long lost Indian cousins, and finding a host of riches. Certainly it costs money for that kind of wedding, lots of money, but according to the Bridal Expo merchants, we seem more than willing to pay it. To get more on the Bridal Expo contact Julie Rambally at 416-840-3209 or online at www.ddexpo.com.

Indo-Caribbean weddings going upscale and glamorous Effects of cold

Indo-Caribbean Times

NOVEMBER 2007

water: a warning

Page 16

Sharon Ganga of Enchanting Events displays a Horse and Carriage money box for collecting envelopes or cards.

For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this "sludge" reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal. A serious note about heart attacks - You should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw line. You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack. Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms. 60% of people who have a heart attack while they are asleep do not wake up. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive. A cardiologist says if everyone who reads this message sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life. Read this & Send it to a friend.

Leslie Ann Ramsubir displays some of her fabulous table center pieces

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IN THE

This is the required mehndi treatment for the Hindu bride.

1. Antibacterial cleaners. It may be safer to take your chances with the germs. These cleaners contain triclosan, a form of dioxin, linked with weakened immune systems, decreased fertility, hormone disruption and birth defects. 2. Air fresheners. Air fresheners actually stop you from smelling by coating nasal passages with an oil film or by releasing nerve deadening agents. 3. Dishwasher detergent. Dishwasher detergents are the number one cause of accidental child poisoning. They contain a dry form of highly concentrated chlorine that is poisonous and have been known to produce skin irritations or burns, and cause eye injuries and damage to other mucous membranes. 4. Oven cleaners. Among the most dangerous chemicals in households, these cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (a derivative of lye) so corrosive it can eat through the top layer of skin and cause severe tissue damage. 5. Carpet and upholstery shampoo, Designed to knock the stain out, they may also take you out as well. The main ingredient, perchlorethylene (the same one used in dry cleaning), is a known carcinogen, damaging to the liver, kidney and the nervous system. 6. Toilet, tub and tile bowl cleaners, Highly toxic.

Household chemicals to avoid

Gita education Malaysia is not a model for plural societies for Hindus greatly needed
Indo-Caribbean Times
Hindu Council of the Caribbean P.O. Box 2286 , Chaguanas, Trinidad . 1 868 687-7529 HinduCouncilCaribbe an@yahoo. com President: Deosaran Bisnath \ Secretary: D. H Singh \ Treasurer: Venosh Maraj ____________ _________ _________ November 13th, 2007 Professor Harold Ramkissoon must be congratulated for his excellent article (Newsday 11/11/07) on Malaysia , a multiethnic country which he suggested was a mirror for plural societies such as ours. He asserted that apart from developing from an agricultural based economy in 1957 to the 17th biggest trading nation of the world today, Malaysia has been able to overcome serious race riots in 1969 to maintaining a racially harmonious society. However, according to the Hindu Human Rights report 2006, compiled by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), nothing could be further from the truth. Malaysia has declared itself an Islamic Republic and Islam its official religion, despite the presence of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians in the country. Ethnic Malays do not have the freedom to convert and are required by law to be Muslims. See HAF report at http://hinduamericanfoundation. com/pdf/HHR2006. pdf Hindus appear to be special targets for intimidation and discrimination as they are denied lands and public funding for construction of temples, which are being destroyed instead. Hindus are further denied the right to cremate their dead in accordance with Hindu custom and forced to have Islamic burials. In fact, so serious is the situation that the HAF is advocating intervention by the UN and international community to protect the Malaysian Hindus from annihilation. “Malaysia 's Indians are among those that suffer the greatest displacement from the million or more legal and illegal Indonesian migrants in Malaysia . Sporadic ethnic unrest now breaks out between the Indians and Indonesians. Growing resentment also derives from the demolition of Hindu temples by state governments. Dozens have been destroyed in the past few years. Sometimes the murtis are smashed before worshippers can remove them, action which is insensitive at best and a deliberate provocation at worst. Many better educated Indians are migrating. On August 12, about 2000 Malaysian Indians protested outside the Prime Minister's office to demand better treatment. The protest might have been bigger but organisers claim police blocked up to 15 buses carrying Indians on the basis that the bus drivers did not have valid driving licences” The Australian Age, November 7, 2007. “A top Malaysian minister has urged local authorities in this Muslim-majority country to immediately cease demolition of Hindu temples after a 100-year-old shrine was pulled down early this week. Works Minister and head of the Malaysian Indian Congress Samy Vellu, who is of Indian origin, said that Hindu temples built on encroached land were still being demolished despite his appeals to the various state chief ministers. Four people were reportedly hurt and dozens detained following scuffles between devotees and the city authorities over the century-old temple, the local media said. Temples are still being destroyed even though I have repeatedly brought the issue up during meetings with chief ministers, the minister said in a statement, the New Straits Times said today. He added that the government could not penalise those who merely wished to practise their religion and exercise their right to believe in God. As such, I am pleading with the government to not resort to drastic measures like demolishing temples, even though they have been constructed illegally." Times of India , November 2, 2007 Malaysia has not taken any action toward signing or ratifying the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Malaysia ’s Constitution upholds Islam as “the religion of the Federation” but provides for the practice of other religions “in peace and harmony.” Part II of the Constitution defines the fundamental liberties of people, which include the right to equality before the law; the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly; and the right to “prove and practice his religion.”

RELIGION

NOVEMBER 2007

Page 17

Clearly, state-sponsored temple destruction and infringements on personal religious freedom seen in Malaysia today are direct violations of the aforementioned guarantees enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.

It pays to advertise in the Indo-Caribbean Times

“Hindus have an ancient and rich heritage, but we knew least about our religion and have done a poor job of propagating it”, said lawyer Ram Sahadeo at a recent Divali celebration at the Maha Kali Shakti Temple in Scarborough. Sahadeo was distributing copies of the Bhagavat Gita to temple members as part of the Gita in Every Home program in Canada. “Now that many Caribbean Hindus are living in societies around the world, our children are asking us questions and we cannot answer. Our Canadian neighbours are asking us questionsand we cannot answer. Our temples are all over and people are curious about our religion, so we must be prepared to explain it to them,” he said. The program is trying to use the Gita for beginning the self education of Hindus by putting a copy in each home, and even giving copies to interested non Hindus. The books, which are given out free of cocst, are purchased from India at a minimal cost that is covered by generous donors. Sahadeo said there was a need for more donations and distribution centres both here in Canada and back home in the Caribbean. “ The best gift is the gift of knowledge, which the Gita has in abundance. For instance the Gita tells us to respect the earth as our mother, so that we do not inflict the kind of environmental damage on it that we seeing today. “The Gita tells us not to be influenced by lust, anger and greed. Most of the problem cases I see in my law practice are caused by one or more of these. The Gita shows us practical advice how to achieve a successful life no matter where we live,” he added. The Gita distribution program currently operates in the Greater Toronto Area, Richmond Hill, Winnipeg, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Guyana. It is expected to expand into Trinidad shortly and into nearby United States. Persons interested in taking part can reach Ram Sahadeo at ramjihindu@rogers.com or by phone at 905-671-9233.

YOUTH

African-centred alternative school – Bad idea!
Re. Trustees again consider school tailored for blacks, Toronto Star, Nov 6/07. By Veda Nath Mohabir

Indo-Caribbean Times

NOVEMBER 2007

Page

Seems the Toronto School Board trustees haven’t learnt from the recent Ontario elections. John Tory ill-advisedly touted a ‘faith-based school’ alternative and handed the elections to the Liberals, and his riding to the incumbent education minister, who demurred. Commentators overwhelmingly noted that the faith-based platform was his and his party’s undoing even though he led numerous polls as the best candidate for premier. Now, the trustees and their instigators in the community seem bent on fostering the segregation and a non-uniform curriculum slanted to ‘feel-good’. The article quotes Donna Harrow as saying many parents from the ( Caribbean ) islands and Africa have gone through the “Africentric way of teaching”. Firstly, it must be noted that Canada is not the islands or Africa and as immigrants we have chosen to relocate here with prospects of better systems. I, myself, coming from Guyana (part of the Caribbean) have never seen nor known of such “Africentric way of teaching”. In multicultural Guyana (and Trinidad & Tobago) where 80% of the population is East Indian or Black, all students did comparably as any other ethnicity/race. In fact, in Guyana , aside from the Amerindians – a special case as First Nation people of Canada – it was the rural non-Christian East Indians who were marginalized from achieving higher education or possible student-teaching positions, yet they showed little sign of their disadvantage as they persevered in other callings/occupations. In most primary and secondary schools, the teachers were no more than high school graduates, with some fortunate to attend teachers’ college. What worked was discipline in behaviour and attention to lessons in all schools and a rigorous attention to the 3-R’s at the primary levels. One question the trustees and the proponents (Donna Harrow, Dr. George Dei, et al) should consider is how children of other ethnicities are performing under the same system. If as seems it’s a peculiarity of the Black community, perhaps there are other factors at play. I would posit two alternate drivers of the underperformance. A couple of summers ago, a Harvard-educated black pastor and black community activist, along with a couple of black Toronto councilor/pastor argued that the phenomenon of absentee fathers (no male role models) was a major cause of anti-social and violent behaviour among black male youths; which is correlated with poor school performance. A second and more pervasive factor – because most youths subscribe to them - is the popular music genres followed by the youths – rap and hip-hop. A recent report appearing in the Journal of Women’s Health indicts rap and hip-hop lyrics and videos as undermining black teenage girls’ health and image of themselves. Exposure to the music and videos make them more likely to binge drink, have multiple sex partners, test positive for marijuana and have poor body image. It ought to follow that the effects on young black males would be comparable and complementary. Rev. Al Sharpton and educator Bill Cosby have been known to object to the use of “bitch” and “ho” to refer to women, in the lyrics. As well, New York state is proposing legislation to have billions of investment dollars in pension funds to be redirected from rap music companies which condone the offending lyrics. So the solution seems to lie in cultural norms/traditions and behaviours.

The much talked about, but seldom seen, names of the Indians who arrived on the Fatel Razack in Trinidad in 1845. From the Estate Register at the National Archives, Trinidad

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Indians discovered Calculus, not Newton
Researchers in England may have finally settled the centuries-old debate over who gets credit for the creation of calculus. For years, English scientist Isaac Newton and German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz both claimed credit for inventing the mathematical system sometime around the end of the seventeenth century. Now, a team from the universities of Manchester and Exeter says it knows where the true credit lies — and it's with someone else completely. The "Kerala school," a little-known group of scholars and mathematicians in fourteenth century India, identified the "infinite series" — one of the basic components of calculus — around 1350. Dr. George Gheverghese Joseph, a member of the research team, says the findings should not diminish Newton or Leibniz, but rather exalt the non-European thinkers whose contributions are often ignored. "The beginnings of modern maths is usually seen as a European achievement but the discoveries in medieval India between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries have been ignored or forgotten," he said. "The brilliance of Newton's work at the end of the seventeenth century stands undiminished — especially when it came to the algorithms of calculus.

"But other names from the Kerala School, notably Madhava and Nilakantha, should stand shoulder to shoulder with him as they discovered the other great component of calculus — infinite series." He argues that imperialist attitudes are to blame for suppressing the true story behind the discovery of calculus. "There were many reasons why the contribution of the Kerala school has not been acknowledged," he said. "A prime reason is neglect of scientific ideas emanating from the Non-European world, a legacy of European colonialism and beyond." However, he concedes there are other factors also in play. "There is also little knowledge of the medieval form of the local language of Kerala, Malayalam, in which some of most seminal texts, such as the Yuktibhasa, from much of the documentation of this remarkable mathematics is written," he admits. Joseph made the discovery while conducting research for the as-yet unpublished third edition of his best-selling book The Crest of the Peacock: the Non-European Roots of Mathematics. Indians are also credited with discovering ‘Pythagoras” theorem long before Europeans, the circumference of the earth, and numerous other scientific milestones.

B E F O R E

A F T E R

IINDIANS IN THE CARIBBEAN

o many Indo-Caribbeans at home and abroad are now interested in finding their roots, but many don’t know where to start and what to look for. In this issue of ICTimes we want to give a few hints. Finding your relatives in the Caribbean is a fairly simple matter of asking surviving relatives and family friends, checking birth and death certificate and marriage certificates. Getting to the ones who came from India is a little more difficult, and needs some detective work. The keys to finding the jahajis who came on the ships like the Fatel Razack are to locate their correct name(s) (most of them had one name), the year they came to the Caribbean and the name of the shipt they arrived on. With this data you can go yourself or have somebody check the ship records in the Archives in Guyana, Trinidad etc. With some luck you may find your ancestor in the ship records, including the village and district he or she came from in India (or Pakistan, which was once part of India). Then comes the big leap of going to India or Pakistan yourself, or having somebody do it for you, to find your ancestral village and any distant relatives there. First you need to find the right name, not the common or home name. Certificates of birth, death, vaccination, marriage, land title,identification cards, even bank books and the rare passport may give the real names used in official documents. Even a grave stone or the memory of an old neighbour can lead you along the right path. You have to get that name, as searching for Aji is not going to get you anywhere.

Finding your Indo Caribbean roots
Documents to look for when you are trying to trace your ancestors in India
Related stories are a treasure trove to be sought out. Many of the jahajis used to tell their children where they came from in India, and more important, how old they were when the ship brought them to the Caribbean. With knowledge such as Bhano Aji being 20 when she came to Trinidad, and a death certificate one can get to the actual year she arrived, search the archives for ships arriving around that year and have a fair chance of finding her name. You can’t go in the archives and search for her name from the beginning. There are 143,000 names for Trinidad alone, and more for Guyana. We have a master researcher in the Trinidad Archives who can research your ancestors, but not yet for Guyana. Happy hunting. We’d like to know the results.

Indo-Caribbean Times

NOVEMBER 2007

Page 19

S

Emigration passes for men, women, boys, girls and infants give a host of information including village in India, father and next of kin on the ship.

Death certificates will give age, date of death and sometimes names of relatives

Certificate of completion of indenture is the jackpot in your search.

A birth certificate as here can give names of child, mother, father and grandfather ( informant).

Even a vaccination certificate will give the date of birth and the name of the mother.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT Mother India’s Shadow coming from Clem

Indo-Caribbean Times

Pakaraima Writers dined to sounds of poetry

NOVEMBER 2007

Page 20

Clem Seecharran is a son of Guyana and a true scholar. He came from a house in Berbice with no books. Yet Professor Seecharran has become, or is on the way to becoming, one of the most prolific and serious authors ever produced by Guyana. A distinguished historiographer, Clem has just sent his latest book to the publishers. It promises to be yet another triumph for Professor Seecharran following in the footsteps of his masterly work on Sir Jock Campbell 'Sweetening Bitter Sugar' which won the 'Caribbean History Oscar'-the Elsa Gouveia Prize- in 2005. The serious oeuvre of the boy from Berbice just gets bigger and bigger. The latest tome is called 'Mother India's Shadow over El Dorado: Indo-Guyanese Politics and Identity, 1890s-1930' It will be published by Ian Randle in late 2008. The book is the first which explores the relationship between the ideas of India and of Guyana. It covers the period between the 1890s, with the emergence of the first IndoGuyanese intellectual, Joseph Ruhomon (1873-1942), through to the 1930s, the centenary of the Indian presence in Guyana. It examines the contribution of other Indo-Guyanese intellectuals, such as Peter Ruhomon and J.I. Ramphal, towards the construction of 'Mother India' as a source of their inspiration. It looks at the recovery of ancient India as an exemplar of civilisation in diverse areas of human advancement: philosophy, architecture, painting and so on. It looks at the Gandhian India that was leading the anti-colonial crusade against British rule at the same time. Both the ancient India as well as the India in revolt were used by the Indo-Guyanese to counter the lingering 'coolie' image and the legacy of their indentureship dating back to 1838. By the 1920's and 1930's the IndoGuyanese were assuming a triumphal posture after periodic visits by missionaries and scholars from India such as Pillai, Tivary, Jaimini and the Rev C.F. Andrews. They had created vibrant organisations like the British Guiana East Indian Association (founded in Berbice in 1916); The British Guiana East Indian Cricket Club-now the Everest (founded in Georgetown in 1915) and the East Indian Young Men's Society (founded in 1919), in which Peter Ruhomon ,CR Jacob and JI Ramphal (the father of Sir Shridath Ramphal, latterly the Secretary General of the Commonwealth) were very active. They all looked to Mother India for inspiration. Prof Seecharran was given exclusive access to the journals of JI Ramphal by his very distinguished son . Although the Indians were becoming active in Guyanese politics, they identified the freedom of their mother's land as crucial to their identity as Guyanese. Coupled with economic success in rice, cattle and com-

merce and ideas of an Indian Colony or Greater India in Guyana, it fed an undercurrent of apprehension among the African Guyanese. This did not augur well for race relations as it shaped a bifurcated nationalism: one Indian, the other African. Notions of El Dorado, of unlimited wealth in the country, tended to magnify this rivalry. That mistrust cost many lives later and exists to this day. 'Mother India's Shadow' looks like proving to be a controversial book that will stimulate necessary debate about how we move forward towards the creation of a genuine Guyanese identity which has eluded the country so far. 'Mother India' will be published by Ian Randle of Kingston and Miami in late 2008. Ian Randle is also republishing Seecharan's 'Tiger in the Stars': the Anatomy of Indian Achievement in British Guiana,191929' in early 2008. This is now recognized as a seminal work in Indo-Caribbean historiography and was published originally by Macmillan in 1997. It has been out of print for many years and along with Bechu: 'Bound Coolie' Radical in British Guiana (1999) and the reprint of Joseph Ruhomon's 'India: The Progress of her People at Home and Abroad, published' originally in 1894 (the first publication by an Indo-Caribbean person), they constitute a very solid body of work that probably makes Clem Seecharran the most prolific scholar in the field today. When to that is added "Sweetening Bitter Sugar: Jock Campbell - the Booker Reformer in British Guiana': (2005), winner of the prestigious Elsa Gouveia Prize (presented by the Association of Caribbean Historians) and 'Muscular Learning: Cricket and Education in the making of the British West Indies' (2006), it is clear that this all represents scholarship that is changing the way all the peoples in the Caribbean region see themselves.As if that is not enough, Clem Seecharran is now working on two other books.

ot only a mountain range comes to mind or a famous hang-out in Georgetown resonates when Pakaraima is mentioned, but for many Guyanese in Canada it's about writers and poets. Recently, for the second year, members and friends of this fledgling Association gathered over a sumptious West Indian meal at the Scarlet Ibis Restaurant in Scarborough to enjoy poetry, short stories and other works as part of a fundraiser for PAKARAIMA's new website, domained at www.pakaraimawriters.org Regards were recieved from the Guyana Consulate, from whose office in Toronto this interest group was conceived. Monthly meetings move around at different places to accommodate members. The night's program included reading from Janet Naidu, author of Rainwater and founder and President of PAKARAIMA; Richard Rupnarain, Vice-President and author of Nightly Journey, Habeeb Alli, Passions of ElDorado CS, Peter Jailal, the maestro and Ed Yahp, the comedian and Roop Misir the social commentator. Others whose books were on sale includes Shirley Najhram, Layers of the Rainforest, Colin Ninvale's Stereotypes and Lal Balkaran's publications on Guyanese Amerindians. The evening was attended by 36 guests who expressed their appreciation for such an occasion to get a taste of Guyanese writing in Canada. Some said that they want more Guyanese Torontonians to join in the literary hub next year.

Members of the executive of the Pakaraima writers group gather in a happy mood, from left Janet Naidu, President, Habeeb Alli, Executive Member, Roop Misir, Executive Member, Richard Rupnarain, Vice-President and Shirley Najhram, Secretary.

N

IC Times Book Club
Recommendations

Two books of poetry Winged Heart, by Janet Naidu $13 plus $2 postage Rainwater, by Janet Naidu $15, plus $2 postage

In Pursuit of Justice, by Shakoor Manraj, Hardback, 297 pages $30.00 Canadian, including postage in Canada. US .

Guyana. Editor Arif Ali, publisher Hansib Hardback, 284 pages $50.00 Canadian, postage in Canada $6

Layers of the Rainforest by Shirley Najhram Hardback, children’s book $15, postage in Canada $2.55 Arising froArising from Bondage By Ron Ramdin Published 2000 NYU Press 288 pages ISBN 0814775489

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COMMUNITY
Dear Editor,

Wife beating is not sanctioned by the Koran
The controversy of choosing words that resonate with one's angle when translating the Quran is not new and so too on the topic of whether the Quran upholds beating one's spouse . I have written and delivered on this topic for years, reminding Muslims that verse 4:34, in one usage of darb, denotes showering her with extra romance and not beating.

As for the democratic right to interpret ones material and have them published is not only Canadian but truly Islamic. The Prophet rightly said difference of opinion is a mercy and even though Zamakhshari may not be from the mainstream sect of Islam his linguistic treatise of the Quran is widely accepted and sold in Muslim bookstores. Lets not make another hasty, riotous public outcry from the efforts of those who defend the abused mothers of this world and who in all rights have academic claims as much as any classical Imam did, regardless, for Allah alone is the best Judge Yours truly, Habeeb Alli, A Friend of God

Some translators have struggled to explain that the best attestation of the Quran, Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, himself, never beat a woman but condemned men who did this as beasts. It must be remembered that the Prophet quintessentially agreed with Umar bin Khattab when he suggested about their women acting audaciously, after migration. However, Allah disproved of this idea and the Prophet decalred in an immediate sermon that he cannot tolerate such beastly men who after beating their wives want to make love. So, using violent sex as an analogy, as some would like, is completely irrelevant.

Many translations have used spanking and light beating but Muslims who abuse their women folk, only to shout the Quran 'says' this, are actually abusing the Revelation, since they are brutalising these servants of God in the name of Allah and its time we have this correction done by every possible means.

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IN THE

Deepavali is celebrated by all Hindus worldwide, and true to its multi-culturalism Canada was no exception. On 1st November 2007 Pandit Roopnauth Sharma, the Hindu spiritual leader led a group of nine priests from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, who all together chanted Vedic mantras at the parliament house, which was attended by several dignitaries besides RT Hon Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada, Opposition leader in Parliament Stephen Dion and the High Commissioner of India to Canada Shri R L Narayan. Over 500 Indo-Canadians dressed in their traditional attire from nine Indo-Canadians organisations participated in the function. This special ceremony was attended also by over 50 members of parliament, 20 Ambassadors and High Commissioners from different parts of world. The inaugural festival lamp was lighted by RT Hon Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada . By lighting the oil lamps, the Hindus are thanking the gods for the happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth that they have received. Prime Minister Harper commended India 's cultural heritage and its commitment to linguistic, ethnic and spiritual pluralism. " India has amassed a millennia-old history of linguistic, ethnic, and spiritual pluralism. Such diversity has, at times, posed significant challenges for India and complemented the country in successfully meeting the challenge," he said. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Narayan said the festival is celebrated as victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. There are various alleged origins attributed to this festival. Some hold that they celebrate the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Kali. On this day also Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura. It also commemorates that blessed day on which the triumphant Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. O Ram! The light of lights, the self-luminous inner light of the Self is ever shining steadily in the chamber of our heart. We sit quietly. close our eyes. withdraw the senses, fix the mind on this supreme light and enjoy the real Deepavali, by attaining illumination of the soul. He who Himself sees all but whom no one beholds, who illumines the intellect, the sun, the moon and the stars and the whole universe but whom they cannot illumine, He indeed is Brahman, He is the inner Self. Celebrate the real Deepavali by living in Brahman, and enjoy the eternal bliss of the soul.

Divali at Otttawa with PM Harper

When will good men do something?
Indo-Caribbean Times
I grew up with a mother who physically, mentally and verbally abused me and I could never understand how neighbours and family members could allow it to happen without doing something about it. I lived in the city where the houses were very close together, so I know my neighbours heard the abuse. One time after I started dating my husband, I left a pair of heels in his car after church (I switched into flat shoes to hang out), so he decided to bring them to me since he had just dropped me off. My future husband heard my mother's abuse from outside the house and dropped the shoes to run back to his car as fast as possible. I had an aunt and uncle who lived on the first level of our house (we lived on the second level) and aside from my aunt yelling up the stairs a time or two for my mother to "leave that poor girl alone," no one ever lifted a hand to help me. Oh, I had friends at school who would see the bruises and fingernail marks in my skin and swear they were going to call the newly introduced abused hotline, but I usually begged them not to do it because I was sure that I would be even more abused in foster care. I did go to one place for help. I went to my pastor's daughter and told her I needed someone to stop my mother from hurting me, but no help ever came for me. The church did nothing to stop my mother. The neighbours did nothing. My family did nothing. The law did nothing. As a child, I never understood how the world could look on and watch this horrible scene and do nothing to help a little girl. I grew up to be the type of person who would never stand by and allow someone to victimise a helpless person. One of the most troubling news stories this week is about a mother who was repeatedly stabbed by her husband and left for dead in the presence of their three children. At face value, this story is so sad. However, the story is not about a man who broke from the demands of life and killed his wife because he could not handle the pressure. It was obvious that this was not the first time this poor woman had been victimised by her husband. The Kaieteur News report from October 29 quoted a neighbour as saying, "We didn't hear nothing last night because of de wedding house music but even if we did hear we woulda think that is de normal beating." The normal beating? Here are some of the things neighbours said this woman experienced from her husband. The relationship was an abusive one with constant fighting almost every night. The husband had previously threatened to kill her. He tied a rope around her neck, dragged her down the stairs and forced her to lie in an ants' nest. He beat her so severely recently that it put her in the hospital. Which begs the question, if the neighbours knew full well what was going on in that house, why on earth did they do nothing to help the woman? There was one report that the mother was an alcoholic. By Stella Ramsaroop…

NOVEMBER 2007

Does that mean that she does not deserve to be protected from such horrible abuse? I can tell you with a clear conscience that I looked for many ways to escape my abuse as a child. If alcohol were readily available for me, it would have been an avenue I could have explored to find a way to pretend my life was not as dreadful as it really was. I do not blame the woman for trying to find an escape. However, where was her family to get her out of that abusive house? Why did the male neighbours not visit this house during one of the beatings and tell that husband to stop beating his wife or they would give him a beating? Yes, I know the woman should have left the man, but until you are in an abusive relationship, you cannot imagine how twisted things get in your head and how a slap across the face can seem justified or look like love. A normal person would never see a slap as a type of love. Only an abused person could make that misinterpretation. Moreover, the woman may have felt trapped in the abuse if she did not have a way to make money to feed her children. For whatever reason, this woman did not leave the abuse and no one rescued her either. And now she is dead. I cannot help but wonder how many people tonight will listen to a woman being beat and do nothing to help. How many other neighbours will ignore the yelling and the cries of pain as they mark it off as just another "normal beating"? There is nothing "normal" about one person beating another person. In such a situation, one person needs to be rescued and the other needs to be arrested. Edmond Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." In this case, evil triumphed because good men did nothing. A woman died because good men did nothing. Three children are orphans because good men did nothing. But guess what? One evil man did plenty. He allegedly stabbed his wife over and over in front of his own children and then left those poor kids with their dead mother for hours in a dark house. No one saved me from my mother and no one saved Kamal Doonwah from her husband. Good men did nothing. I just want to know when good men will start doing something. Can someone please tell me? Email: StellaSays@gmail.com

Page

India and Pakistan in see saw battle of ODI’s
SPORTS SPORTS in some
Indo-Caribbean Times NOVEMBER 2007

Page 22

India takes the third

But India soon wised up: Zaheer switched to round the wicket, the off side was tightened and Butt's cover drives made redundant. Boundaries vanished, runs slowed and wickets fell. For all their fielding comedy, India - or rather Yuvraj - managed to pull off a spectacular run outwhen it mattered, with Mohammad Yousuf being the lazy, familiar victim.

Of his initial strokes, not one would be out of place in a Test and if we're familiar with the wristy flourishes through off, his legside play was surprisingly prominent. An early pull wide of mid-on was anappetiser, a punch through midwicket in Zaheer Khan's first over, a grand main course and a clip between the two to bring up his fifty a zesty dessert.

It wasn't surprising that Butt was in the mix, for against India, he generally is. He averages 45 against them, as compared to 33 overall and all his hundreds have been against them.

Perhaps it is the Kanpur air, but Pakistan's openers prosper here. Twoyears ago, Shahid Afridi terrorised India today Butt gave them a fright. It had rained boundaries when India's openers were at the crease earlier, but with Butt, Afridi and Younis Khan there came a monsoon. Afridi set the tone from his first ball and though an ugly swish was his end - Irfan Pathan is on top in this battle of /Pathans/ - the boundaries continued.

Yuvraj foiled Pakistan at key moments, first with an intelligent, elegant 77, then with a shining run out amid a gloomy fielding performance and finally with a vital wicket. The interventions were necessary for when Pakistan began the chase, their target appeared a stroll.

Led by Yuvraj Singh with bat, ball and in the field, India repelled a determined push from Salman Butt to pull off an ultimately comfortable 46-run win at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. Butt's fourth ODI hundred intermittently threatened India's 294 but it was built without solid support and ultimately wasn't enough to prevent them taking a 2-1 series lead.

Spinners took over in the 20th over and a wily choke slowly fell into view: spin, bounce, little flight, gaps not easy to pierce, hurried play. Butt struggled against Harbhajan Singh in particular: he hit tenfours in his first fifty, but didn't hit another for 56 balls. Yuvrajbogged Shoaib Malik down first, before dismissing him and in thispassage the result was written, though not without another nearly-there innings by Misbah-ul-Haq.

Yuvraj's earlier intervention was as decisive, with a familiar partner in crime. Yuvraj and Dhoni spell trouble for Pakistan for today they puton their fourth century stand against them in seven innings (average 99.8), and like the others, this came when it mattered most and atterrifying pace.

The pair brought up their century partnership in the 43rd over, and eventhough Dhoni went immediately after, India were set. Tanvir excelled again at the death, but was alone. Abdur Rehman was hidden for as longas possible, and when he couldn't be hidden any longer, India prospered.

two wickets in three games at nearly six an over in this series is in line with a career bowling average of nearly 58 against India.

Pakistan had just clawed some momentum back after a poor start. Old men might struggle with early mornings, but Sachin Tendulkar and SouravGanguly were as sprightly as a pair of teens after being put in. Ganguly was blessed with a life off the first ball of the match when Kamran Akmal dropped him and it was just the boost he needed. Duly, the pair punished Pakistan with boundaries. And just when another century stand awaited ODI cricket's greatest opening pair, Pakistan cut their losses along with their pace and brought in Sohail Tanvir. He responded with a wonderful, controlled spell, immediately finding the edge off Tendulkar, who thus fell, for the second match running, to cricket's unluckiest dismissal: caught Akmal.

Pakistan takes the second

His last three overs went for 41, the misery of miseries for Malik beingthat they were the 45th, 47th and 49th of the innings. Yuvraj and thelower order picked him for sixes as a sniper might a sitting duck. In the final calculation, that period sealed it.

Misbah played yet another responsible innings under the circumstances and even though his dismissal came with Pakistan on the brink of victory, his ability to nudge singles and twos with the occasional boundary had done much to get them that far. He survived a chance when Robin Uthappa dropped him off Zaheer Khan when on 25 and cashed in with two fours off the bowler, who went for 15 runs in that over. Younis' dismissal, with the target less than 50 runs away, left Pakistan with the firepower of Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanvir to finish thingsoff in style. Afridi played a typically quickfire 14-ball 29 but theIndian bowlers and fielders were clear victims of nerves. Frequent full tosses and a number of dropped chances coincided with Pakistan's mounting assault and led to their defeat. Earlier, rash strokeplay from India's batsmen allowed Pakistan to restrict the home side to a total well below the 350 that looked possible when Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir added a rollicking 173 for the second wicket.

Irfan Pathan, economical and accurate thus far, was glanced fine by Younis to bring up his first century against India.

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Shoaib Akhtar and Afridi were treated as one, clubbed for three boundaries in two overs. Yuvraj was choosier, sweeping Afridi for fourto reach fifty and celebrating the next ball with six. Afridi the leg spinner is at his peak, but Indian batsmen don't care:

A few run-light overs later, Ganguly too was gone and suddenly as Gautam Gambhir went, Pakistan strutted with collars upturned. But not for long.Yuvraj was dropped when still nervy, ironically by Butt. Dhoni andYuvraj then took drinks, took stock and took control. Yuvraj made thefirst move, a spell of two runs in three overs broken by two sixes,swept and driven off Abdur Rehman. And when fun is to be had, Dhonidoesn't miss out. He matched his deputy next over, though where Yuvraj caressed balls with love, Dhoni fairly bludgeoned two sixes.

Younis arrived in the middle in the sixth over of the innings with the asking rate already above six. Starting cautiously, he kept the scorecard ticking with singles and twos, sandwiched between fours through flicks off over-pitched deliveries and glances down to the fineleg. While batting with Mohammad Yousuf, Younis did get bogged down by the nagging line and length by the Indian bowlers but a 69-run partnership with Shoaib Malik and a 102-run stand with Misbah-ul-Haq always kept Pakistan in the hunt, even as the required rate touched tenan-over.

Riding on a stunning 117 by Younis Khan, Pakistan pulled off a sensational last-over victory over India in the second ODI at Mohali . Pakistan's 322, their highest total in a successful run-chase, cancelled out Sachin Tendulkar's majestic 99.

India, opting to bat first, suffered an early blow when Ganguly was bowled off an inside edge in the first over, bringing Gambhir to joinTendulkar at the crease. Both batsmen were content to see off the new ball which offered ample assistance to Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul.

Employing the sweep shot to great effect in both directions - Younis swept Sourav Ganguly for six and Tendulkar for consecutive fours behind square as India paid the price for playing with four specialist bowlers. A slog sweep for his second six off Harbhajan Singh brought up Pakistan's 200 and

As Shoaib occasionally beat him with pace and bogged him down, Tendulkar struck three consecutive fours off Gul's fifth over - a glance to fine leg, an edge past Younis at first slip, and a scorching back-foot drive through the covers. The fifty-run partnership came off only 62 balls andeven a double bowling change, when Sohail Tanvir and Iftikhar Anjum replaced the opening bowlers, failed to slow the scoring-rate. What helped India on their way to over 300 were the 41 extras conceded by Pakistan in the innings. (3) November 24, 2007 Chess Tournament (Location to be confirmed)

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