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A daring kidnap shocks Guyana
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Vol 1. No 10 December 2007
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heroic, one of a kind Trinidad policeman has defied the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of National Security. He has refused promotion, risked his job and probably his life to expose corruption in the Trinidad Police Service to an impartial foreign investigator - and won against all the odds. Police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj said earlier this year that he knew of the corruption among Southern Division police officers and was ready to blow the whistle. But he would not talk to any investigator from the Trinidad Police, since he didn’t trust any of them. He would talk only to a foreigner with no ties to the local police. The top brass didn’t like it. They offered him a big promotion to shut him up, but Chandrabhan refused. They asked him to talk to Superintendent Woodley but he said he didn’t trust Woodley, who had failed to clear up other glaring examples of police corruption. He took Anand Ramlogan to fight his case. He went into court with a T shirt saying “The only solution for corruption is execution”, to the horror of police brass. This week the Trinidad police gave in and agreed to appoint a foreign investigator to hear Chandrabhan’s corruption evidence. (SEE STORIES ON PAGE 4 & 6)
TT judge orders govt. to hand over lands to Caroni workers
Four year wait an abuse of process
confrontation between Guyana police and an international kidnap gang ended with the death of a Colombian kidnapper and the dramatic rescue of a pregnant Kitty mother and her three year old daughter. The country has never seen anything like this before. Shelly Khan, 26, and her young daughter were snatched from her Kitty, Georgetown business place last Saturday by four armed men. They by vehicle to Parika Stelling and left from Pomeroon River in a small speedboat via the Atlantic Ocean, heading for Colombia. The kidnappers stopped at a business place at Grant Stelling Hope in Lower Pomeroon River, and three went looking for larger boat and engine to make a quicker escape. That’s where the police came upon the businesswoman and the Columbian bandit who was guarding her with a gun. He was shot dead by police after he opened fire. The other bandits rushed back on hearing the shots, and one, apaparently a Venezuelan, was shot and captured. Two others, at least one of whom is believed to be Guyanese, escaped. The womand child miraculously escaped unhurt during the shoot-out. Police have been combing the backlands of the Lower Pomeroon River for the two other bandits. Investigations are also in progress as to why the businesswoman and her daughter were kidnapped.
Kitty woman and child rescued from international gang headed for Colombia
Heroic TT cop to expose corruption
overnment has dragged its feet on its promise to lease land to former cane workers and must now deliver the land within six months, a Trinidad High Court judge has declared., So serious was the breach of promise that Justice Lennox Deyalsingh termed it an abuse of power. The stinging criticism-a consolation to the almost 8,000 former workersof Caroni (1975) Ltd-came from Justice Lennox Deyalsingh, as he noted that the promise to lease the land had been made since 2003 and not a single lease had been granted, at least up to mid 2007. "This matter required a real sense of urgency (from the government). People lost their means of livelihood. They were waiting on the promised lands... to get on with their lives," Justice Deyalsingh wrote in a judgment he delivered at the Port of Spain High Court. "Government's attitude seems to me to
Venezuela plays the bully after November 15 invasion of Guyana
have been 'business as usual', not really being concerned about the frustration that delay in meeting its promise was causing. Up to the present time, there is no credible evidence as to when these former sugar workers will get their leases without which they are disadvantaged in a substantial way. "Government's lack of the sense of urgency (which) this matter warranted is in my view, tantamount to an abuse of power," he wrote. The commitment to lease land to the sugar workers was a condition of voluntary separation packages the workers accepted when the government shut down Caroni's sugar manufacturing operations mid-2003. Despite assurances from government that sugar workers would be given priority, several deadlines for the land distribution went by without results. Deyalsingh’s judgement came as a result of a lawsuit by Trinidad and Tobago Civil Rights Association for the former workers.
enezuela has finally given an explanation for its November 15 invasion of Guyana territory in the Cuyuni river area, nearly a month after the event. But it is still claiming the attack took place in Venezuelan territory. Two Venezuelan helicopters flew into Guyana and the venezuelan military blew up two dredges. Normally, armed invasions of another country can lead to severe tension, and even declarations of war. And the Guyana government immediately sent a stiff protest note to the Venezuelan authorities, demanding an explanation and compensation. In what can only be described as a deliberate diplomatic insult, the Venezuelans ignored the Guyana protest note for over three weeks. No country would ignore a serious matter like an armed invasion of an-
other country and destruction of property by soldiers, unless the complainer is considered to be weak or insignificant. The explanation by Venezuela's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolas Maduro that he was out of the country and would handle the matter when he returned, was not acceptable. After two weeks without a response or a visit by a Venezuelan delegation, Guyanese Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally said pointedly the government would “not wait much longer” for a response and would review the situation. That’s diplomatic language for saying it was time to make some noise. In the end, the Venezuelan response to the Guyanese diplomatic note was delivered by a delegation in the second week of December. Venezuela is still claiming the incident happened in their territory.
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anada's three largest cities are struggling to cope with a flood of newcomers primarily from China, India, the Philippines and Pakistan as immigration approaches levels not seen since the end of the "Great Migration" a century ago. Statistics Canada said Tuesday that 69 per cent of recent immigrants to Canada resided in the "magnet" or "gateway" cities of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver dubbed MTV - in 2006. That's down from 73 per cent in 2001 and 74 per cent in 1996. Still, 97 per cent of all immigrants in the last five years ended up in large urban areas. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the federal government floated the idea of directing new arrivals to the hinterland to address the issues of stressed urban services, immigrant concentration and rural depopulation. The idea died a quiet death and has since been replaced by federal and provincial efforts to "encourage" immigrants to settle in less-trafficked centres. In 2006, only five per cent of the immigrant population lived in a rural area, Statistics Canada reported. Setting aside constitutional concerns, experts say forcing immigrants to settle outside large urban centres simply doesn't work. Amy Casipullai, policy co-ordinator of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, said immigration is no panacea for rural depopulation. "If Canada doesn't deal with the problem of flight from small towns for the Canadian-born population, then how are you going to convinceimmigrants that this is actually a worthwhile move for them?" Casipullai said. Big cities complain they are left on the
Immigrants still head for MTV Toronto, Montreal Vancouver, but not for empty rural areas
hook for providing the vital services that help immigrants feel at home - social housing; libraries; community, recreation and public-health programs and schools. "We don't get a nickel from the federal government to support the kind of services that actually help people settle successfully in this city," said Toronto Mayor David Miller, where 46 per cent of the city's population was foreign-born in 2006. "(But) if we don't properly support newcomers . . . there can well be problems." Ontario Immigration Minister Michael Chan said the province, which gets half the country's immigrants, spent about $160 million on services for newcomers last year although he complains that Ottawa has shortchanged the province in promised support. Where in the province immigrants go is a "personal" choice, Chan said. The census shows 69 per cent of Ontario's foreign-born chose the Toronto area, with suburbs such as Brampton, Mississauga picking up an increasing amount of immigrants. Experts say the bright lights of the metropolis are an irresistible lure for newcomers for two main reasons: economic diversity and social networks. Editor’s note: Interestingly, Indo-Caribbean immigrants come mostly from rural areas in their homes countries like Trinidad and Guyana, but few choose to live in rural areas when they come to Canada. Most head for the cities where jobs and housing are plentiful, as well as many other Indo-Caribbeans religious and cultural groups, groceries, restaurants and other businesses. Recently some have been moving into semi-rural areas around the GTA in Ontario.
TT Seniors celebrate the season
Imams condemn slaying of Aqsa
demned the death of Aqsa Parvez as inhumane and un-Islamic. The recent tragedy that has befallen the blossoming young life of an innocent Muslim girl in Mississauga, ON, where her father allegedly strangled her, is humanly and Islamically condemnable. This action doesn’t bespeak anything resembling the moral upbringing Islam purports. Aqsa Parvez’s suffering is simply atrocious and has no place in Canadian parenting. The alleged reason is she did not stick to wearing the hijab stringently and instead, left her parent’s home, so as not to be coerced into something she had not decided on wearing. Islam came to save girls from being murdered; it gave life to humanity. The Quran has dedicated famous verses against this heinous sin- When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned …81:8 Parents are encouraged to reason with their children when they reach the age of marriage and seek mutual understanding. However, as people of good Faith, this reconciliatory approach to discipline and training is no license for our sons and daughters to be permissive and disrespectful. The Charter of Rights allows freedom of religion, and rightly so, since our Quranic Constitution proclaims this freedom of conscience as a God given right of every human being. Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error…2:256 While the freedoms the youths enjoy may not always be to the liking of parents and while the cultures children are engaged in may not necessarily be the traditions of the country of origin, the right thing to do is engage all in a dialogue. The correct approach is to get generational-appropriate counselors and respect the level of Faith pracThe Canadian Council of Imams has con-
Brampton girl killed for refusing to wear hijab
t was Christmas Trinidad style, complete with parang and black cake and spicy dancing, when the Trinidad and Tobago 50 Plus and Seniors Association held its 12th Annual Xmas banquet on November 17th at the Elite Banquet Hall. President Farook Hydal informed guests that some of the activities which the Association did in the past year included trips, picnics, bots cruise, All Fours games, Fathers, Mothers and Valentines day celebrations. The Association also has a Ladies Section and he invited the women to participate. Entertainment was provided by the Five Star Dancers and Los Amigos Parang group as well as a DJ. A great time was had by all. Special greetings and best wishes were given by members of the head table. Seated from L to R are Nazi Mohammed, representing Caribbean Airlines, Bas Balkissoon, MPP, Rouge Valley, Michael Lashley, Council General of T & T and Ms. Margo Harris, distinguish member of the Caribbean Community.
ticed by all- for the Sharia allows hijab of variant styles as much as it allows flexibility in different circumstances. Neither a parent nor the siblings can take the law in their hands, believing this is a Godly-duty. Once we have shown our dislike for an act that is considered reprehensible, given our circumstances, we have absolved ourselves of that responsibility and hence not sinful. No matter what they what they choose in life, to do the opposite makes us both criminally indictable and cursed with a major sin. Beating children leads to brutalization and is therefore illegal and sinful. We call upon all agencies to support the transient Muslim community, through their various generational crises, by providing financial and logistical auxiliaries, so we may be the colorful petal in this multicultural flower and not a thorn on this flowery tree. We call on all parents to solicit the legal means readily available to ensure proper discipline. Commenting on parent’s challenges’, Kahlil Gibran aptly said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. Yours humbly, Imam Habeeb Secretary
An Ontario father charged with killing his 16-year-old daughter who had turned away from traditional Muslim garb was led away in handcuffs Wednesday after a judge denied him bail. Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, Muhammad Parvez, a 57-year-old cab driver, appeared unemotional during his brief appearance at a Brampton court. He was also ordered not to communicate with his 26-year-old son Waqas, who was charged with obstructing police in connection with the girl's death. When asked if he understood the order, the senior Parvez stood quietly in the prisoner's area of the court and mumbled "yes." Parvez was charged after his daughter Aqsa Parvez, 16, died after being rushed to hospital on Monday. Earlier in the night, a man called 911 to say he killed his daughter. Police have not commented on any motive in the case. The girl's friends have said Parvez frequently clashed with her family about her reluctance to wear a hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf. Outside the courtroom, the man's son Sean Muhammed Parvez told reporters he wasn't sure what exactly led to his sister's death. "We don't know so far, we are upset," he said, adding that his mother was "sick" because of the ordeal. A publication ban was imposed on the court proceedings, but Parvez's lawyer Joseph Ciraco told reporters outside court that the family is distraught. "It's clearly a tragedy," he said. "You've got a sister that's gone and a father and brother in jail." Ciraco added that Parvez has a heart condition and will have to see a doctor before his next court date, which will be on Jan. 29 via video link. Until then, Parvez will remain in police custody, Ciraco said. CANADIAN COUNCIL OF IMAMS
Kash Heed is first Indo-Canadian police chief
The appointment of Kash Heed as West Vancouver’s police chief is a great news for the Indo-Canadian community. Kash is not only a very competent police officer but also an extremely dedicated member of the Indo-Canadian community. As a member of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) since 1979 he has added a new dimension to policing. It has been a great privilege for this writer and many others in our community to work with Kash in addressing the issue of gangs and youth violence in the Indo-Canadian community. Since early 1990’s our community has lost close to one hundred ten young men to gangs, drugs and violence. This has resulted in a lot of anxiety and frustration for all of us. The whole community has been devastated by these tragedies. For quite sometime, the community was blaming the police for not doing enough and the police was blaming the community for lack of co-operation. Finally, having gone through denial and blaming, the community accepted the challenge and decided to do something about it. He has been serving as a great role model not only for the Indo-Canadian youth but also youth in other communities. VPD’s various innovative programs including interdiction, encouraging more Indo-Canadian youth to join the police force and act as a great motivator are a credit to him. He has been playing a major role in keeping and helping our young people stay out of trouble. By Balwant Sanghera
Indo-Caribbean Times is published monthly in Toronto by Indo-Caribbean Times Ltd.
Ofﬁce: 17 Gaiety Drive, Toronto ON Canada M1H 1B9 Tel: 416-289-3898 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Committee: Reynold Ramdial, Gulcharan Mohabir, Lloyd Harradan, Sandy Kissoonsingh, Roop Misir, Deoraj Narine, Jiantee Jagessar,Krishna Nankissoor, Rudy Lochan
Editor/Publisher: Ram Jagessar
What is the future of Indians in Trinidad?
From the editor’s desk Over half of the Indians from Guyana and Suriname have left. Is Trinidad next?
Q. Which is an alien land? A. Any place even if it is one’s native land, where he is not respected Q. Which is one’s own land? A. Any land where one is Ram Jagessar respected Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji around 250,000 Indo-Trinis and their descendants have departed and are living elsewhere, most of them unlikely to return. Remaining in Trinidad and Tobago are around 523,900, or 40.3% of the TT population of 1.3 million. Simple mathematics will tell us that of the total Indo-Trinidad population of 773,900, a full 250,000 or 32% have decided their future lies elsewhere than Trinidad and Tobago. That’s about one third gone and two thirds remaining, which is not as definitive as Guyana or Suriname but certainly getting there. For those who will dispute the estimate of 250,000 Indo-Trinis gone, let me say how I arrived at it. We know that Canada has a minimum 50,000 Indo-Trinis, the United States more than double that amount, or around 125,000. Britain has well over 25,000 in my opinion, which brings us up to 200,000 already. There are sizeable but unknown numbers of Indo-Trinis living in Venezuela, Barbados and several other Caribbean countries, plus others scattered everywhere from continental Europe to Africa to India to the rest of Asia, and even Australia and New Zealand. I think it’s well within probability that we could have another 50,000 Indo-Trinis scattered around the rest of the world. The natural question to ask is why have Indo-Trinidadians been leaving the most prosperous country in the southern Caribbean, and are we likely to continue doing so in the future? It comes down to the respect mentioned by Swami Muralidhara. Indians want an equal place in the land where they were born. They want a fair chance to build a life for themselves and their children. They want to able to keep their culture and religion and way of life without discrimination and prejudice. They want economic, cultural, social and religious equality with the other people living in the country, nothing more, nothing less. That’s what the jahajis were looking for when they decided to stay in Trinidad rather than returning to India. It’s still what their descendants want. But we’ve never got that equality, that respect, neither during the long years of colonialism or in the fifty years since self government and independence. It’s a simple equation. When the British were getting ready to leave Trinidad, the Indians and the Africans battled for political power to replace them. The Afros won and the Indos lost, in 1956, 1961, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1976, 1981, for 30 years in succession. The Afros got the political power, and with it economic, cultural and social dominance. The Indians became the political enemy to be kept out of power and position at any costs, and put in their place. Seeing that their prospects for respect and equality were not good, Indians started migrating quietly from the late fifties and have continued to do so ever since. Indian leaders told them they could get equality when an Indian dominated political party won power, but that didn’t happen for 39 years, until 1995 when Basdeo Panday’s UNC won the government. To their great surprise, Indians discovered that Panday was unable to do much towards getting the much desired equality for Indians. He lasted only 6 years in government, and then the Afro dominated PNM resumed its hold on power in 2001. It boils down to this. For the 111 years since 1845 Indians got no respect or equality under the British rulers, and for the last 51 years since 1956 they didn’t get it from the Afros or even their own man Basdeo Panday. What are their chances of getting it in future from the Afro PNM and their leader Patrick Manning? Not enough to bet your future on and that of your children, is my guess. There comes a time when you must cut your losses and look for a new game. The Indo-Trinidadians are already a third of the way along the Guyana-Suriname road of leaving their native land to find their own land. It's just a matter of time before they reach the point of no return when the majority of the majority Indians in Trinidad go away.
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Letter to the Commissioner of Police: Having regard to the PM’s curious response to the sudden upsurge in crime in the aftermath of the election, his hint that it may (once again) be politically-inspired, I hereby publish excerpts of the letter I wrote the Commissioner of Police concerning illegal activity in the Police Service. Dear Sir, I act for Supt Chandrabhan Maharaj, former head of Firearms Interdiction Unit. My client is a well-known detective with a record of distinguished service in the Organised Crime and Narcotics Unit and Guard and Emergency branch. I’m instructed that you have appointed Asst Commissioner Glenroy Woodley (Head of the Fraud Squad) to investigate claims made by my client about corruption in the Police Service and the involvement of senior police officers from the Southern Division in the illegal arms and ammunition and drug trade. This is to advise that my client has grave reservations about the appointment of someone from within the present hierarchy of the Police Service to investigate this sen-
Trinidad (and Tobago) is the last of the three Indian majority countries of the southern Caribbean where there can still be some debate about the future of the Indian community. From nearby Guyana the majority of the Indo-Guyanese have long departed for safer and more developed places to live. About 700,000 Indo-Guyanese and their descendants live abroad, mostly in the United States, Canada, Britain and Venezuela, while around 375,000 Indo-Guyanese remain at home, most of them according to the old joke just waiting for their visa to depart. Indo-Guyanese have voted with their feet, and there’s little doubt their future is in New York and Miami and Toronto and London. Next door in Suriname, the bulk of the Indo-Surinamese took off for Holland when the creole (black) NPK party was negotiating for independence. Now over 200,000 of them and their children are happily settling down as Dutch citizens. Less than 150,000 Indo-Surinamese remain in the land of their birth. No community can recover when more than half its people depart. The future of Indo-Surinamese is in New Amsterdam and various other Dutch cities. So how do the Indo-Trinidadians shape up when compared with our cousins from Guyana and Suriname? The sad reality is that we seem to be heading along the same road and are well advanced towards the break point of having 50% of the IndoTrinidadian community choosing to leave their home and native land for better prospects abroad. If we leave the emotion behind and just look at the facts we will find that already
sitive matter, as he has reason to believe that the corrupt and illegal activities in the Police Service may involve senior officers within the present hierarchy. Apart from the direct involvement of senior officers in crime, my client is extremely concerned about the indirect involvement of several members of the Police Service in the promotion of the illegal gun and drug trade. As you are aware, the claim about police officers renting out their guns to bandits and kidnappers has been substantiated by ballistics, expert evidence in several murders and robberies. Internal investigations conducted by the Police Service have so far failed to bear fruit. A case in point, for example, is the murder of young engineer Uttamdeo Maharaj, who was shot to death whilst trying to save his sister from an attempted kidnapping. The gun in question was, in fact, assigned to a police officer at the Arima police station, and there has been no explanation as to how the gun was able to walk from Arima and find itself in the hands of kidnappers
Investigate corruption in Trinidad Police
and murderers in the opposite end of the island in Palo Seco. To date, no action has been taken on this matter. I’m instructed that my client’s experience, unfortunately, leaves him in great doubt as to whether the Police Service is more interested in covering up police corruption and misconduct by sweeping it under the carpet, in the hope that the issue will simply dissolve with the passage of time. I’m instructed that my client has no confidence in Mr Woodley, because over two years has elapsed since he has been appointed to investigate the disappearance of 32 kilograms of cocaine from the Princes Town Police Station, with no end in sight. My client thinks that it would be better for Mr Woodley to concentrate his efforts in bringing this long-overdue investigation to a belated conclusion, before he is further burdened with a fresh investigation. I have been instructed to humbly ask that you appoint an investigator from the Scotland Yard pool of investigators or the FBI to investigate and act upon the damaging evidence and information my client has in his
possession, in the interest of a better Police Service and a safer Trinidad and Tobago. The media quotes you as having offered “whistle-blower protection” to my client and his family, in anticipation of predictable retaliation and repercussion from those who may be arrested and charged. Unfortunately, my client was unaware of this. It is unfortunate that he had to learn about such a well-intentioned offer from the media, as it sends the message that your office is more concerned about giving the public the impression that it is serious about this investigation, when in truth and in fact it is once again tritely going through the relevant motions in the knowledge and hope that it will die with the passage of time. Should the reported offer of protection be genuine, please note that my client has applied for a personal firearms user’s licence and this application was submitted to your office over three months ago. To date, he has not had any response. As you’re aware, my client has arrested some of the most notorious criminals and drug lords. He’s on the eve of his retirement, and clearly requires a personal firearm to ensure his safety
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NEWS
How accurate are Trinidad police statistics on kidnapping? They’re not worth much, if we judge by howthe police handled the reports of kidnap murders for 2006. On January 2, 2007 the Trinidad Express said police had reported four kidnap victims “murdered while in the custody of their abductors” in 2006. According to the police, these were: Rehanna Ramlochan, 22, of Cunupia, was abducted on October 5 and found dead in the Tunapuna cemetery. Riaz Khan, 19, snatched on October 2 in Carapichaima, and found shot to death at the e Caroni Cremation site. Accountant Christopher Taylor, kidnapped on October and found murdered at Claxton Bay Reshma Boodoo, 17, kidnapped on May 27 with her boyfriend Anil Singh, at Marabella, and thrown out the moving car to her death. The Indo-Caribbean Times review of kidnap murders found 18 people who had been murdered by kidnappers in 2006. These were: Rehanna Ramlochan, Riaz Khan, Reshma Boodoo and Christopher Taylor, along with 14 others. 5. 10 year old Sean Luke, kidnapped and murdered by two young “friends” 6. Siparia 16 year old Pixie Surujdaye Lakhan, abducted from her home, raped and murdered, 7. Blind Anthony Ramcharan, kidnapped and murdered for reasons unknown. 8. Albert Hosein, driver for Anthony Ramcharan, also murdered. 9. Mary Baldeo-Waheed, killed after jumping out of a moving kidnap vehicle, 10. Businessman Uttamdeo Maharaj, who died trying to save his sister from kidnappers (killed with a gun assigned to a police officer!). 11. Real estate agent Gerard Gopaul, battered and suffocated to death despite an offer of ransom, 12. Krishna Pooran, dead in intensive care 50 days after being shot in a kidnap attempt. 13. Medical student Mark Rattan, murdered in a kidnap attempt. 14. Samdaye Rampersad, a small shopkeeper, beaten, her back broken, and buried alive(kidnapped 2005, body found in 2006) 15. American citizen Balram Maharaj, kidnapped, his body cut up and buried in two holes (kidnapped 2005, body found 2006) 16. Businessman Eddie Khoury, murdered and beheaded, with his head still missing, 17. Elenor Cupid, shot and burned in a car parked at a Blue Basin lover’s lane, because she was a potential witness for kidnappers of Linda Ali. 18. Kevin Cassie, parked in car with Elenor Cupid, also murdered. All 14 of these murders that the police ignored were extensively reported in the local media by the same police. Trinidad police have also made a strange differentiation between “kidnappings for ransom” and “abductions”. Only when the police are officially informed that a ransom demand has been made does an “abduction” become a kidnapping for ransom. That way, when a kidnap takes place and a ransom is privately paid, the police label it an abduction and ignore it. When Mark Rattan was killed in a failed kidnap attempt, he didn’t count as “murdered while in custody of abductors.” TIMES FINDS 18 KIDNAP MURDERS
Police kidnapping statistics are not trustworthy
Trinidad heads for 144 kidnappings in 2007
Kidnap plagued Trinidad with an average of 12 kidnappings per month, is heading for a total of 144 reported kidnappings in 2007. On June 18 this year the Trinidad Express reported National Security Minister Martin Joseph as saying that seventy-seven kidnappings had been reported, with five of them being kidnappings for ransom. "In 2005, there were 280 reported kidnappings of which 58 were for ransom. In 2006, there were 214 reported kidnappings, of which 17 were kidnappings for ransom,”said Mr Joseph. That 77 kidnaps for six and a half months works out to an average of 12 kidnaps per month, and a projected 144 for the year. That’s down from the 2006 average of 18 per month and the 2005 average of 23 per month. This apparent declining trend in kidnapping may please Minister Joseph but is little comfort for Trinidadians. These are only the reported kidnappings, which kidnapping researcher Dr Kumar Mahabir has said are usually not more than one in ten. Now that’s a scary thought. If 144 kidnappings are only the 10 percent of kidnappings that are reported to the police, what would be the total number of total number of reported and unreported kidnappings? On a visit to Trinidad last month, this reporter was told of several kidnappings that were not reported to the police and not mentioned in the newspapers. People said there was little point in reporting kidnappings to the police, as the cops seldom caught the kidnappers or recovered the victims. They found that the police response to kidnapping was generally slow or indifferent, and their crime fighting methods were poor and inadequate. The Indian community in Trinidad did not appear to have much confidence in the police. Several people expressed the belief that members of the police were in league with kidnappers and were collecting shares in the ransom money. Wealthy Indians were taking more precautions to avoid being snatched, such as remote controlled electric gates at their homes, armed security guards, changing their driving patterns, and avoiding places where they could be grabbed. Some were sending their children abroad to study to escape Trinidad, and encouraging them not to return to Trinidad. There have been some changes in kidnappings methods in Trinidad. One businessman reported that kidnappers were shying away from kidnapping foreign nationals, after the FBI came to Trinidad and solved the case of kidnapped US veteran Malram Maharaj. Some kidnappers have switched to “kidnapping by instalment”. They approach wealthy busines speople and threaten them with kidnapping unless they pay regular protection money or what is popularly called “coward tax”. The tax can be as much as $1,000 per month per family member. Others have said that young men dressed in long white robes have been coming to businesses and asking for sizeable regular charitable donations. If the indidivual declines they threaten “Better pay a small amount now than plenty money later.” An unknown number of families have migrated to avoid the everpresent kidnapping threats that are now part of TT life. By Ram Jagessar
Reported kidnaps down from 280 in ‘05 and 214 in ‘06 but still a serious problem
Ransom kidnaps resume after “election break”
Kidnappers who appeared to have taken a political holiday during the election period in Trinidad, have resumed operations. The medical doctor and La Romaine housewife who were taken both escaped with the help of an alert public and unusually active police services. It was a telephone call to the police station by an unknown citizen last Thursday night that triggered the police search and rescue of a medical doctor who was kidnapped and was being taken away to be kept for a ransom. Dr Marvindra Maharaj, 35, survived a highway chase reaching speeds of 180 kilometres an hour, and a police confrontation with his armed captors. A 19-year-old suspect was caught and dragged out of the bushes byCrime Suppression Unit officers. Police know the identities of two other suspects, both from Central Trinidad and one a career kidnapper. But credit was given to the nameless person who saw Dr Maharaj being grabbed and hustled intohis SUV outside the Marabella branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), at around 9.30 p.m. Thursday.That man called the Marabella Police Station. His actions came on the heels of the heroism shown by people living at Raghunanan Road, Longdenville, when they helped abducted housewife Josanne Sammy escape her kidnappers and kept her safe until police came. They also led investigators to the getaway car in which three of the suspected kidnappers were fleeing the village. Two of the suspects are in police custody. And in another display of people power , villagers of Flanagin Town, Central Trinidad formed their own search party to help a depleted Central Division police force find missing and murdered teenager Rebekah Sugrim. In the Marabella incident, police said the suspects were working to a plan - with a second car involved, bogus registration plates and akidnap house in which to keep the doctor - a father of two. But with the tip, police were able to send out an All Points Bulletin (APB) to squad cars in the area to look out for the black SUV. It was spotted heading for the highway at Tarouba Village by E-999patrol officers. Highway Patrol officers based at the Mon Repos and Freeport Police Stations joined the chase.
The officers worked with policemen from the Marabella-based Crime Suppression Unit, Inter-agency. Task Force, and a police helicopterequipped with night vision camera and spotlights, to follow the SUV. Police said they lost the vehicle twice, when it drove onto the Rivulet Road, heading to Couva, and again when it reached the Point Lisas Roundabout. More than 30 officers were involved in the hunt. Near the Phoenix Park Government Primary School, the kidnappers abandoned the vehicle and stumbled into the bush. Dr Maharaj was left behind. CSU officers, led by Cpl Henry Quamina, and including officers Nyron Heeralal, Rudy Seecharan and Terrence Victor and Highway Patrol officersSwayne Solomon, Constable Aneil Bharath, led the search. Dr Maharaj took officers back to Phoenix Park to help them find the gun that was being held to his head during the ride. His family declined to speak with the media. Police said the doctor thanked them for saving him. Police used metal detectors and tracker dogs in the search. It was uncertain if anything was found. Police believe Maharaj was followed from his home. He is the fourth medical doctor to fall victim to crime recently. In July, an Indian-born doctor was abducted and taken to the M-2 Ring Road, Ste Madeleine, robbed, beaten and his car stolen. Last June, a doctor from the Philippines was beaten and robbed of his jewelry outside the Princes Town District Hospital. Last week, thieves broken into the office of Dr Omar Ali in Chaguanas. Acting Police Commissioner Glen Roach praised the citizen who called in the tip that led to the rescue of baby Jeremiah, who was abducted fromthe Mt Hope Women's Hospital late last month. Jeremiah, who was just 10 hours old when he was snatched, was reunitedwith his mother, Nekeisha Noel, shortly after the rescue at a house at Mt D'or Road, Champ Fleurs.
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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
About 20 bathers at Las Cuevas beach were terrorised and robbed by three men armed with cutlasses, a gun and two dogs on a Sunday afternoon earlier this month. Carl Hernandez, one of the lifeguards who was on duty Sunday, said a couple who were bathing in the sea ran to his post and alerted him that there were three slim, dark men who were robbing people on the beach. "I ran to the office and called the police, but there was no response," he said. "We then called the lifeguard office in Maracas Bay, who (the guards) drove to the police station and told them what was going on." By the time the police got to Las Cuevas, Hernandez said, about 20 people had been robbed of their jewelry, money and cell phones. The men escaped by running through the nearby swamp. One of the victims of Sunday's attack said she was liming with several friends on the beach when the men pounced on her group and announced a hold-up. They threatened to let the dogs loose on them and shoot them if they tried to escape. They then robbed them of cash and cell phones. Hernandez said robberies on the beach had been taking place for some time. "Long time, they used to run and snatch your bag but now they doing it at gunpoint. "
Robbery with gun and dog at the beach!
Crimes and horrors plague Trinidad
Seven armed men tried to rob the Turtle Beach Hotel at Black Rock, Tobago during the early hours of last Wednesday morning. Police said around 3.30 a.m., seven men, all armed and masked, entered the hotel and overpowered one of the guards and tied him up. Luckily, other alert security officials who observed the situation scampered and phoned the police. The bandits tried to crack the hotel "safe" but were unsuccessful. They later escaped on foot, but not without firing random shots.
Seven armed, masked men attack Tobago hotel
T&T senior cricket team scorer Rohit Balkissoon and his wife Sheila were carjacked last Friday morning on the M-2 Ring Road in Debe. They were returning from Piarco International Airport, and on reaching the end of the Uriah Butler Highway around 1 am, they noticed two cars racing behind them from Golconda Settlement. Balkissoon proceeded to the M-2 Ring Road and mere metres from the Debe Traffic Lights in front of the Debe High School, one of the cars pulled in front of him, while the other stopped behind him, his wife said. Three men alighted from the vehicle and announced a hold-up, Mrs Balkissoon said. The couple were relieved off all of their valuables, including cash, cellphones, dutyfree alcoholic beverages and their car, registration number PCA 933, she said. Mrs Balskissoon said one of the gunmen told them to run into the nearby bushes if they wanted to live. The robbers then sped off , she said. Balkissoon then came out and flagged down a passing car, which took them to Debe Police Station, where a report was lodged. Mrs Balkissoon said the police saw of one the vehicles but could not give chase, because the clutch in their van was not working properly. They also told Balkissoon they could not get the police helicopter to chase the robbers, because it was not working.
Carjacked police style coming from airport
A police officer lost his gun to fake taxi "passengers" who then tried to kill him when they realised he was a lawman.PC Daniel Ashby was heading home in streetclothes with his service revolver late one night last week when he tried to take a taxi from Chaguanas to Enterprise village. The taxi driver and two passengers pulled out guns, relieved him of his wallet and gun, and put him out of the taxi. While he was leaving, one of the men found Ashby's police identification card and shouted for him to be killed. Ashby ran for his life as several bullets whizzed around him. He escaped unhurt. A man who up to late yesterday, remained unidentified was shot through the head and neck before being decapitated by two men who also chopped two other men and set a house alight during an early morning rampage in rural Carapo, Arima. Residents said the brutal killing has left them in fear since they do not know if the killers would return to the area. They are calling for police patrols in the area. This was one of three murders to have been committed in two days. Thieves have raided the San Fernando East constituency office of Prime Minister Patrick Manning, and stolen $5,000 in petty cash that was kept in his desk. They cut open burglar proofing outside the office and smashed the front glass door on their way out. No political documents were taken.
Cop escapes death from taxi robbers
Man shot, beheaded
PM’S office raided
Fed up Trinis may form their own police stations: Ramesh
Police Commissioner Trevor Paul has announced plans to employ foreign investigators to probe allegations of corruption in the Southern Division made by Supt Chandraban Maharaj. Paul revealed the plan yesterday during the weekly media briefing at the Police Administration building in Port-of-Spain. He assured that the allegations would be investigated with the “utmost urgency.” The CoP said he consulted with National Security Minister Martin Joseph about the matter. “I am aware that the ministry is seeking to source foreign investigators to ensure that the allegations of Supt Maharaj are, in fact ,investigated. “The matter is going to be investigated with the greatest amount of transparency, as well as with a sense of urgency and with a sense of professionalism.” Maharaj, the officer in charge of Princes Town Police Station, had alleged that he had information about corruption in the Police Service—even at the executive level— allegations which he said he was not confident local officers would be able to investigate effectively. This lack of confidence had prompted Maharaj’s attorney, Anand Ramlogan, to call on President George Maxwell Richards to appoint a commission of inquiry into the claims. But Ramlogan expressed scepticism during a telephone interview. He questioned whether or not any local police officer would be involved in the investigative process. Ramlogan said he and his client would co-operate if they were guaranteed an autonomous investigation that would not involve any local officer. He added that the foreign team should be totally independent and the stipulations of the selection should be completely transparent.
Foreigners to probe corrupt South Police
Three armed gunmen stormed the casino Club Monte Carlo at Princess Margaret Street, San Fernando at 9.30 a.m, stole the security guard's gun, and made off with more than $100,000. yesterday. The unmasked bandits tied up four employees and forced one of the workers to open the safe. Before they left the bandits said, “sorry", but that it was Christmas and they needed to buy presents.
Robbers needed Christmas presents!
Tabaquite MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has called on Gasparillo villagers to form “citizens police stations” to combat the upsurge in crime. Maharaj made the appeal during an early morning protest to address concerns about crime and traffic woes for constituents. Maharaj urged demonstrators to get organised saying, “I intend to train groups of people and make armed security available to defend the people. To defend one’s life by taking the life of another if necessary.” Calling these groups “citizen police stations”, Maharaj boldly stated that, “I’m not going to wait on the Government. The people are going to be the government. I am not prepared to sit by while Martin Joseph (National Security Minister) sleeps in his house and people of Brasso and Flanigan Town are robbed and killed and their daughters are raped.” He stated, “We are in a time of no law, no order and we are living in anarchy, and the detection rate for crime is less than 20 percent.”
iving in the forest of rural Central Trinidad are a murderous gang of men who are raping, robbing and killing people in an orgy of violence, in what was once the safest areas in the country. The men are believed responsible for the killing of father of two, Jesus Bompartt, who was shot and chopped to death in his garden near his home at Talparo Village yesterday. Police have also linked the suspects, a gang of seven, to the shotgun murder of farmer Ujistar Narine, in the bushes near his home at Las Lomas No 1, the night before Divali-November 8. A woman was also gang raped. On Divali night, the killers showed up in another village, held a family hostage for six hours, raped a mother and daughter, beat them, and stole several items from the television to the chickens and ducks. Investigators are also considering whether the men, several of whom have be identified, were also the rapists and murderers of 16-year-old Rebekah Sugrim near her home in Flanagin Town three weeks ago. All the villages are within a ten square mile area, and linked by a network of hunting and garden trails and logging roads. Villagers believe one or more of the suspects live among them. Bompartt, 35, died, but probably saved his family by his actions. Over the weekend, said his father, Andres Bompartt, 70, three of the family's dogs were poisoned. "We were prepared for something to happen. I was at home when I heard two gunshots and he (Jesus) bawl 'bandit, lock up the house'. So we locked up." Bompartt's wife, Vashti Sookdeo, fled the home and ran a quarter mile to a neighbour. The nearest police station, San Raphael, took 20 minutes to respond. When they reached the scene, officers initially refused to go into the bushes. And they had to hold back Andres Bompartt, who was loading his licensed gun to go after the killers. It was only when back-up arrived that police searched and found Bompartt among his cassava plants. Scores of villagers went to the home yesterday. They said Bompartt "was the kindest, quietest person, who only raised his voice when he laughed. Everybody loved him." They were angry that three hours after Bompartt's killing, there had been no search for the men they were sure were hiding in the forest nearby. Among those protesting was the man whose daughters were raped the night before Divali. He said:"Them same fellas attack me, my wife, my father-in-law, mother-in-law. They took every possible thing from washing machine to duck and fowl. They raped my daughter and wife. The nearest police station was Londgenville. This is why we need a police post in the village." The lawlessness in the villages of Central Trinidad has outraged residents, who yesterday demanded joint army-police patrols to secure the area, and a massive forest search to smoke out the killers.
Terror in once safe rural Central Trinidad
Guyana: "All we have is parsad and cake.”
Indo-Caribbean Times DECEMBER 2007
A casual review of the year that was, by Lloyd Harradan
parently the law requires the agreement of the leader of the opposition for such appointments – unlike other countries, where only consultation is required. Eric Williams use to consult Panday regularly on such matters. Panday use to disagree. Williams would go ahead and make the appointment. He would then announce that he had consulted the leader of the Opposition, who was not required to agree. Which takes us back to President Jagdeo’s New Year’s Day message. “Fellow Guyanese,” he said, “from today, the system of Value-Added Taxation will take effect. My government has carefully designed the VAT to ensure that it does not adversely impact on the cost of living. As such we have removed the VAT from all medical services, prescriptions and over the counter drugs, water and sewage services, educational materials and services, rent, local building materials, gasoline, dieseline, cooking gas, kerosene, electricity, and basic foodstuff among other items. No VAT on sewerage services? The man mad? In one fell swoop he has given up a fertile source of revenue. Imagine the billions of dollars in revenue that would have come from the PNC’s headquarters. I can envisage the likes of Corbin. Ellis, Lewis, Hamilton Green and Freddie Kissoon hastening to the VAT office every morning, with wheelbarrow-loads of cash to make their second deposit of the day. But the introduction of VAT left Guyanese totally confused. Prices that should have gone up, went down. Prices that should have gone down went up. “Thanks to the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” Vidyaratha Kissoon wrote in a letter to the Chronilcle on the 15th of January, “ for publishing the list of items of things for which we will pay more, with VAT. Telephone services, already high due to the monopoly situation, are higher. And the cost of alcohol has been further reduced. It’s a shame that the cost of food and other essential living items has gone up, while the cost of alcohol is going down.” Dumb bombers of the Trinidadian group, Jamaat Al Muslimeen. The Muslimeen had perpetrated an attempted coup in Trinidad in 1990, and had taken over parliament for a time. While the Muslimeen are a Sunni group, both Kadir and Ibrahim are Shi'a Muslims. The paper quoted several law enforcement officials as saying that there had been no direct threat to the airport which handles an average of 1000 flights each day, and the alleged plotters had not obtained either financing or explosives. The New York Daily News reported a law enforcement source as saying, "The feds didn't move in more quickly [against the plotters] because they wanted to see whether the probe targets had ties to Al Qaeda .There are a couple of shadowy figures in the background. Whether those Al Qaeda connections were real or not, we don't know." "They didn't have the money and they didn't have the bombs," a law enforcement official told NYT, "but if we let it go it could have gotten there - they could have gotten J.A.M. [Jamat Al Muslimeen] fully involved and we wouldn't know where it could have gone." The same official belittled Defreitas's terrorist credentials, calling him "not a Grade A terrorist." Israel Khan, the Prosecutor in the extradition hearing in Trinidad, in objecting to bail for all three men, warned that the issue should not be determined by superficial factors. "You cannot look at an individual and say that he is not a terrorist. Terrorists come in all forms and fashion...gentlemen, rogues, vagabonds..." Khan noted how the physical appearance of one of the suspects, Nur, had changed substantially since his first appearance last week. He produced a photograph of Nur when he first arrived in Trinidad and said it showed the suspect "dressed-up like my Islamic forefathers." Are we still looking for Ole Higue? Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Mr. Robeson Benn said, in November, that Guyana will never return to the days of begging, because of its current prudent economy. He made the declaration in reference to an article published by another section of the Press, the same day, which said this country is begging for help. Addressing thousands at the opening of ‘Essequibo Nite’ Exhibition and Fair, at Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, Benn said it was easy to break down things in the country some years ago. But it is a hard and difficult task to rebuild, he pointed out. Minister Benn said those people who spoke about beggary caused Guyana to beg for food years ago as rice was being imported and Guyanese had to line up to buy it. He said the nation will never go back to those times and the ‘Essequibo Nite’ exhibition is one example that showcases the abundance of fresh grown food and locally manufactured products in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam). Benn pointed to the increased acreage under agricultural production, and a subsequent increase in overall production. In spite of the many problems Guyanese are busy rebuilding their country. With a possible oil boom in their future, Minister Benn is right. Guyana will never return to the days of begging.
Venezuela and Guyana to improve alerts after border incursion
Guyana and Venezuela agreed on Tuesday to establish ways to prevent Venezuelan military activities in Guyanese territory, after reports that Venezuelan soldiers had entered Guyana in November and destroyed two gold-mining dredges. The move is intended to relieve new tension between the countries. President Hugo Chávez's government had previously sought to smooth over a long-simmering territorial dispute with shipments of subsidized oil to Guyana. Venezuela still claims about two-thirds of Guyana's territory, in the gold- and timber-rich Essequibo region. "We have agreed to set up some mechanisms that would not only address this particular issue but try to prohibit other similar incidents from occurring," Rudy Insanally, Guyana's foreign minister, said in Georgetown, the Guyanese capital, after meeting with Venezuelan officials, according to Agence France-Presse. The details of the agreement remained unclear on Tuesday. The tension involves the region around the Cuyuni River, a porous area claimed by Guyana and Venezuela that is rife with illegal mining. Guyana's military says 36 Venezuelan soldiers entered the area last month, using helicopters and C-4 explosives to blow up the dredges. A spokeswoman for Vice Adm. Elías Daniels, director of the special office for Guyana in the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, said he was unavailable for comment on Tuesday. Officials here said this month that they would issue a report on the incident. Guyana, with a population of less than a million, has been seeking to lure foreign investment, particularly from Russia, despite the Venezuelan claim. The dispute seems to be viewed as a minor irritant in Venezuela, which has a population of 27 million, but in Georgetown it is considered a major development. Anger erupted there after a self-congratulatory statement last month from Venezuela's embassy about the delivery of 16,000 barrels of subsidized fuel; the shipment was announced shortly after reports surfaced of the military incursion. "The reality is that we are being treated with utter contempt by an infinitely larger and wealthier neighbor whose head of state never tires of expatiating on the bullying tactics of the U.S., but is apparently blind to those of his own armed forces," said the the Stabroek News editorial. Relations between the nations had improved in recent years, with Mr. Chávez moving away from vociferous claims he made early in his presidency to Guyanese territory. But Venezuela's reluctance to withdraw its claim still irks Guyana. The dispute is rooted in an 1899 accord in Paris that established Venezuela's boundaries with Guyana, then a British colony. A letter by Severo Mallet-Prevost, who represented Venezuela in the talks, was published in 1949 suggesting the deal was void because it involved a secret deal between Britain and Russia.Several Venezuelan leaders have pressed ahead with the territoBy Simon Romero, New York Times
unny things are always happening in Guyana. But the hilarity occurs in tragic circumstances, giving rise to tragic-comedy. In one recent robbery attempt at Non Pareil, one of the robbers said: "We want de money and the jewellery." Mala, one of the victims, said she told the man that they had no money and jewellery since they had only yesterday morning hosted a religious function. "All we have is parsad and cake, y'all could get that," Declaring that they were not interested in food, the bandits became very furious and threatened them further. In a rare occurrence, the Police responded promptly and shot the three bandits dead. Who’s an “Ole Higue”
In another incident, a woman was beaten to death by residents of Bare Root, Bachelor's Adventure, East Coast Demerara. She was identified as 55-year-old psychiatric patient Rabika Singh, of 713 Phase Two, Good Hope, also on the East Coast of Demerara. Rabika Singh, who wandered into the village, was beaten to death, by residents who claimed that she was an ‘Ole Higue', a mythical figure that sucks the blood of little children. But her husband categorically denied the assertion. In fact, the husband claimed that his wife was a psychiatric patient who would wander away from the home they shared with their 19-year-old son, from time to time. He even produced a medical card to confirm his statements. Now that the woman has been identified, police could go ahead and press murder charges. While residents are insisting that the woman was an ‘Ole Higue', police are now working on the theory that she had wandered into the village. (How’s that again?) The woman's body bore several bruises, and her two hands were broken. Rice grains were scattered around the body, which was lying next to a manicole broom which, according to the myth, is used to beat the ‘Ole Higue'. According to mythical teachings, the ‘Ole Higue', usually a female, moves in a ball of fire and sucks the blood of young children. “All you hearing is rumours that children get suck, but we have no evidence of this,” a police source said. Wonder how they went about looking for evidence… And then there was the issue of the appointment of a Chancellor of the Judiciary. Consultations between President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Robert Corbin on the appointments of a Chancellor and Chief Justice ended in another deadlock with both parties still holding firm to their original positions. The President wants Chief Justice Carl Singh, who had been acting as Chancellor, to be the substantive Chancellor of the Judiciary. Corbin wants someone else. Ap-
You can say a lot of things about Guyanese. But you can’t say they are stupid. Most of them aren’t. But in early June four men including former PNCR Member of Parliament Abdul Kadir were arrested for plotting to blow up JFK airport in New York as well as tanks storing aviation fuel and underground fuel pipelines. Those charged were Abdul Kadir, former JFK worker Russell Defreitas, a Guyaneseborn US citizen; Kareem Ibrahim, an imam from Trinidad; and Guyanese Abdel Nur. Quoting an unnamed source, The New York Daily News said that the group's original plan had been to crash an aeroplane into several other passenger jets on the ground at Kennedy in order "to create a catastrophic explosion." However, the suspects could not recruit enough co-conspirators and changed course. Instead, their revised plan was to set off an explosion at the airport's fuel farm in New Jersey. The same newspaper also reported that Defreitas, 63, a retired airline cargo handler, through the assistance of Kadir had been in the process of seeking the financial backing
overnment has taken in more money than expected from Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise Tax (ET) for the first six months of 2007, but the taxation could have created problems with higher living costs and a slowdown in retail sales. The taxes took in $17.1 billion for the first six months of this year, which is 68.95% of the projected $24.8 billion collection for 2007. This is $4.7 billion more than the $12.4 billion expected by the end of June. Now Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh has revised the final tax intake to $30.5 billion and the government's total revenue has been revised upward from $64.9 billion to $70.7 billion. Higher imports and less tax evasion have been given as reasons for the huge surplus. Consumer groups and opposition parties have long called on the government to reduce the VAT rate from 16%, but those calls have gone unheeded. They have pointed out the higher cost of living as one of the problems caused by the high taxation. The implementation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) has seen items that previously attracted no taxes being taxed and increases in the prices of imported items such as milk and oil (which do not attract VAT). These together with cheese, corn, soybean and wheat have significantly increased the cost of the consumer's basket of basic items and inflation now stands at 13.3%. Locally produced rice, sugar, peas and fats like margarine and other shortenings have also seen price increases. The retail prices of basic food items as compared to last year show significant increases. For this year one bag of brown rice has moved from $3600-plus to $4400 and white rice from between $2700 to $3000 to $4000 per bag; cheese from $6000-plus last year per slab to as high as $9700 and $10,000; sugar from $3400 last year per bag to $4100 per bag; a bag of flour from $4000-plus last year to $6000-plus (flour previously attracted 10% c-tax now but now attracts 16% VAT); a 11.4 kg box of margarine moved from $3700 last year to $3900; a five-gallon pail of oil retailed last year for $3000 to $4000 and is now $6400plus. One wholesale confectionary and grocery vendor at Stabroek Market who asked not to be named complained thateven at November month end "sales is really bad." He complained as well that decreased business also contributes to the shelf life of items expiring. The wholesaler said that for the past couple of years holiday sales have decreased and he believes that with the implementation of VAT it is going to be " Another grocery stall owner at Stabroek market who asked not to be named optimistically said vendors are expecting that sales will be good but, "right now it is very slow." Grocery vendor O. Persaud at 6C in Bourda market revealed too that "it is very slow right now," adding that last year sales were a little better. Grocery store owner Jacklyn Ashby at Bourda Market said, "since VAT nothing is the same" and she did not believe that sales will improve this holiday. She explained that more money will have to be invested into her grocery shop as a result of rising prices and she will be earning a smaller profit. "Who ain't got family outside (abroad) I sorry for them," commented this vendor, noting that the disposable income of shoppers has to be supplemented by monies from relatives residing overseas.
Taxes take in more money but slow down retail sales
Indo-Caribbean Times DECEMBER 2007
As the probe intensifies into a missing AK 47 from Camp Ayanganna, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) announced that it has removed three senior officers from their posts and remanded another eight soldiers into police custody. In addition, several others who worked as duty officers and orderly officers are to face serious disciplinary action immediately for failing to supervise the base security personnel during their tour of duty over the period that the weapon went missing, the GDF said in a hard-hitting statement yesterday afternoon which also took a swipe at retired Chief of Staff, Edward Collins. The loss of the AK 47 is seen as a major embarrassment to the new army high command coming in the wake of the shocking vanishing of 30 of these weapons the previous year and a consequential shake-up in the GDF hierarchy. Among the three officers who have been relieved of their duties are the Base Commander,Lieutenant Colone, Windee Algernon the Adjutant, Andy Pompey and the Base Sergeant of Camp Ayanganna, Warrant officer Torrington. The army statement said that the relieved officers have been instructed to hand over their respective duties to replacement officers who have already been appointed, and to make themselves available to the army and police investigators. The statement said too that eight army suspects are in police custody and more are likely to be detained as investigations continue. . Last year February the army made the shocking announcement that 30 AK 47 rifles and six pistols were spirited away from the storage bond at Camp Ayanganna. Fourteen of the weapons have since been recovered, mostly from the hands of criminals connected to the Buxton/Agricola criminal gang. Three armed bandits were dead earlier this month, but not before they wounded a policeman during a blazing gun battle at a house the bandits had invaded in Section 'C' Non Pareil, East Coast Demerara. aid they all appeared to be in their late teens or in their early 20s. The bodies are at the Georgetown Hospital Mortuary. Injured is Police Lance Corporal Shawn Hosannah, who is stationed at Cove and John Police Station. He was shot behind his right foot.
Another missing Police kill three Berbice to get robbers in Non bright Christmas army AK47 who plagued Berbiciansbright were recently an addiby constant blackouts can likely look causes shake-up Pareil forward to a Christmas as
Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said that with the global demand for grains like rice increasing Guyana was a critical market to supply Caricom and traditional markets like the European Union (EU) as well as new ones. Demand for rice, Persaud said, seemed to be outstripping the ability to supply. Rice production in the first crop this year was 168,902 MT and the second crop was 128,260 MT for a projected total of 297,162 MT. In 2008, the first crop is projected at 168,118 MT and the second crop at 173,544 MT for a total of 341,662 MT, valued at US$67.2M. Approximately 70% of the projected acreage for the first crop of 2008 is already being prepared. The EU and Caricom continued to be Guyana's main markets with exports of 50,000 MT to Jamaica surpassing the averages of the last four years.
The increase in the global demand for grain pushed rice earnings to US$68M from the export of 247,111 metric tonnes (MT) at the end of November compared to US$49M earned from the export of 183,000 MT for the same period last year.
Rice earnings up to US $68 million
Mala, one of the occupants of the house, said that bandits entered around 9.30 pm while she and her relatives were relaxing after hosting a religious function earlier. She said she was sitting on a chair close to the front door, while her mother, husband and other relatives were seated inside the house. Mala said she was engrossed in a conversation with them, when suddenly someone hit her on the head and commanded her to "get into the house". When she turned around to see who it was, she was accosted by one of the three bandits. The woman said a gun was placed to her head and she was shoved into the house by the bandit. By this time, she said the other two robbers, brandishing their weapons, had begun threatening her relatives and demanding money and jewellery. "We want de money and the jewellery," one of the robbers , Mala said. She said she told the man that they had no money and jewellery since they had judy hosted a religious function. "All we have is parsad and cake, y'all could get that," Mala said she offered them. Declaring that they were not interested in food, Mala said, the bandits became very furious and threatened them further. She said it was at this point that she managed to grab her cellular phone, run to the washroom, and lock herself in. She contacted a few of her friends in the neighbourhood who immediately called the police. Police responded within minutes and the bandits were still in the house with them, when the lawmen arrived. She said that by then her relatives had started handing over money to the bandits. Police, on arriving on the scene, cordoned off the area. Realising they were cornered, the bandits became desperate to escape and ignored Mala and her relatives, while hitting down almost everything in their way. The family fled the house, and police moved in on the bandits, confronting two of them in a bathroom and shooting both of them dead. The third bandit ran out the house in an escape bid, but was brought down by a bullet as he crossed the bridge. "It was fast and nasty," one resident of the area commented about the police operation, noting that the policemen were quick in their response and their actions were decisive. "We must commend them for a good job that was really good," a relative of Mala's said.
tional seven megawatts of electricity will be added to the Berbice grid through the Skeldon Modernization Project. The co-generation project, which is being undertaken by the ChinaNational Trade Import/Export Corporation (CNTIC) is expected to be ready in time for Christmas, senior engineer and construction manager of CNTIC, Zhao Zhengxiang, said. Zhao pointed out two of the three Finlandmade Wartsila diesel generators that would be ready for safe testing next week. The third generator would be tested the following week to ensure there are no mechanical problems, and then hamded over to Guyana Power and Light (GPL). According to Zhao, the three generators have a total capacity of 10,000 kilowatts (KW) - two of which consist of 2,500 KWs each and the other, 5,000 KWs. The generators are capable of supplying 10 megawatts of electricity but only seven to eight megawatts would be added to the Berbice grid. "After the electricity is generated it goes into the step-up transformer and is then exported to the outside line," he said adding that GPL is currently working on the site to export the electricity.
Armed bandits last evening robbed an Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara businessman and shot him in his buttocks in a brazen attack at his home. Basdeo Shaadar of Lot 2 Anna Catherina, WCD was being treated at the Georgetown Hospital, sources at the institution told Stabroek News last night. According to reports Shaadar was under his house around 6:30 last evening when four men entered his yard. The robbers all brandishing handguns accosted him and his household, threatening to kill them if they did not hand over cash. Stabroek News was told that the businessman resisted the robbers and was shot. He then handed over an undisclosed sum of cash to the bandits who escaped.
West Demerara businessman shot
In the wake of yet another piracy attack on Berbice fishermen the government said it had now confirmed that the pirates were using Suriname as a safe haven after committing their attacks on Guyanese vessels in the eastern sector of Guyana's maritime space. Reports have indicated that some 15 boats were subject to attack by pirates last Sunday causing Agriculture Minister yesterday to call on Suriname to support Guyana in its fight against piracy. "We need to see greater demonstration by Suriname to support our efforton piracy," the minister said at a media conference yesterday. Reports said that five of the boats which were attacked in the Atlantic Ocean are said to be missing. The recent acts of piracy have angered fishermen who have threatened to take their own action if something is not done.
Pirates hiding out in Suriname
hen we come to Canada , Caribbean people must not abandon sound traditional values like living within our means, saving for the future, buying rather than renting homes, and keeping a close watch on children in school. But we must adapt those values to suit the very different conditions in Canada . That’s the advice from mortgage broker and financial adviser Rudy Lochan to migrating Caribbeans who want to build a sound new life in Canada on a strong base. “ The first thing you need to do is get a decent job, which is difficult if you don’t have Canadian qualifications and Canadian experience. Most employers here feel we are suitable only for low paying factory or warehouse jobs, but we don’t want to get stuck there. We have to make sure our qualifications are accepted in Canada or make the sacrifice to get our papers from a Canadian school,” explains Lochan. Next in importance earning an income is the questions of accommodation, and the matter of renting or buying a home. “Buy a house immediately or as soon as you are able. Rent part of it to cut your costs, and later on acquire more houses and rent them out. Owning a house means you are acquiring wealth, which is something our parents in the Caribbean always worked hard to do. Do not rent, as this is just throwing away money. You have to pay for housing anyway, so you might as well use that money to build equity in your own house. “ Do not buy apartments or condos. Their values can go down in recession times, and maintenance costs can rise without warning. Houses generally keep rising in value, and are always in demand.” At least for the early stages, Lochan suggests you live in Toronto where you can use the TTC and where schools, hospitals and most facilities are plentiful and close at hand. Living in the suburbs means going to a region with less facilities and the need to have one or two cars. But since each car costs around $400 a month to maintain, apart from car payments, life in the suburbs may well drain away money you can not afford to lose. Care must be taken when buying a car, which is a deteriorating asset that is costly to maintain. If you do find you need a car, never buy it new. Buy a good second hand car, and avoid paying those new car taxes and taking the immediate depreciation in value of as much as 15% from the minute your buy the car. Buy a Japanese car instead of an American, because of its better performance and value, and keep it in good condition for several years. Lochan insists that developing good credit is a crucial matter for people living in Canada , and those who do not make the effort are hurting themselves financially. In the Caribbean people are proud to say they pay cash and they have no loans but that policy is not advisable in Canada . “You need a strong credit reputation to get a mortgage to buy a house, to buy or rent a car, to get a bank loan, to get a room in a hotel or even to buy furniture on terms. Businesses and financial organizations want to know that you have a good record of paying back loans, so you have to work to build that record. “Get a credit card, buy some small things with the card and make sure to pay the credit card bills in good time. Take out a small loan from a bank or a credit union, even if you don’t need it, and repay the loan in good time. The size of the loan or credit card bill is less important than the fact that you repaid them on time. Then you get a
Keep traditional values in Canada Business network group launched
strong credit rating and everybody will want to lend you money for anything you want. “ He has a warning for credit cards. Use them to build your credit rating, and pay your credit card bills in full. Do not pay minimum amounts and incur ruinous credit cards interest rates of as much as 20% for the balance. Do not use credit cards for expenses under any conditions. Use the good credit rating you develop to acquire wealth, just as our parents back in the Caribbean worked all their lives to acquire wealth. Don’t buy land in Canada , but buy houses. How about saving money for a rainy day as we were advised in the Caribbean? Lochan advises that we save money regularly but put it in RRSP’s, which are tax deductible. In emergencies RRSP’s can be cashed, but their greater value is that they can be used to buy a house. Life insurance should be taken out only on the breadwinner, and then only term insurance. Do not insure children, as nobody is dependent on them. Avoid whole life insurance, which have higher premiums and are practically useless as savings. Lochan finds that many of the Caribbean based values, including family values and a focus on education work well in Canada . Just as in the Caribbean , we have to pay attention to how our children are growing up and not dump them in the schools. “It’s easy to lose our children to gangs and the Canadian culture of the schools, so we have to keep them close and make sure they follow our culture and values. We have to get involved in their school life, help them with their work, and watch them carefully. We have excellent libraries, which are free to use, and have millions of dollars worth of information. We must use them to educate ourselves and take the children there too. “ One of the most valuable things we can do as Caribbean people is to affiliate ourselves with community organizations with people like ourselves. Link up with a temple or church group or mosque, with cultural or social or sports groups. They are full of people who have been here longer than us, people who can lend us their valuable experience in Canada . You don’t have to fight it alone in Canada when you have so many of your own people available to help you integrate to Canadian life. One of the things you may learn is that you can never go to the top when working for Canadian companies, so you should aim at becoming self-employed or starting your own business where the sky is the limit. ‘You don’t have to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with the Joneses. You can easily get hooked on a high consumption life style, living beyond your means and digging yourself into a financial hole. The commercial culture here wants you to keep buying and changing clothes and cars and houses and home equipment, throwing out perfectly good things just to get the latest and newest. That is not a good way to live. “Our way is to use education to develop yourself financially, to build up the whole family, to create wealth for the future, to spend only what you have in hand, to depend on the extended family and the community, and not to let other people impose their values on us. That is what our ancestors fromIndia taught us, and what our ancestors in the Caribbean followed, and most of it is still useful for us here in Canada. We have to make some changes to adjust to life in Canada but our core values are solid and long lasting,” says Rudy Lochan.
A group of likeminded Caribbean businessmen got together last week to launch the REV Business Networking Group. The aim of the group is to provide networking opportunities and business referrals to support each other to expand their respective client bases. The group plans to meet on a monthly basis to share new ideas and introduce new products and services to each other and to brainstorm ideas to overcome some of the challenges facing the business community. The first meeting was held at Anava Financing office on Islington Avenue and was attended by Vic Sarju, Rudy Lochan, Adit Kumar, Nirvan Radhamohan, Roy Rampersaud, Mani Singh, Jonathan Roy, Navin Nandram,Vikash Jain, Rohan Harripaul, and Paras Palai. For further information on the group please contact Vic Sarju at 416 686 6127 or Rudy Lochan at 416 830 1510.
Canadians spending billions on cheaper US goods
Canadian prices 20-60% higher
If you're thinking of popping down to the US or checking out the internet shopping south of the border, you will have a lot of company from Canada. Cheaper US prices as much as 60% lower than the Canadian ones are driving the shopping spree. A recent Canadian Press-Harris/Decima survey found that 17 per cent of Canadians polled had travelled to the U.S. to shop in the last two months alone, dropping an average $616 each into the hands of U.S. retailers. And among households with incomes of $80,000 and more, one in three said they have shopped in the U.S. in the past two months. The poll of 1,000 Canadians, conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, asked respondents about their cross-border shopping during October and November, when the loonie mostly traded at or above par with the greenback. "Based on these numbers, millions of people spent billions of dollars in the U.S.," says pollster Bruce Anderson. Asked if they intended to return for more bargains before Christmas, four per cent said they were certain they would and another 10 per cent responded that they were likely to. "It's the highest dollar and it's the highest economy we've had in probably 30 years, so there's a compounding effect where people have more money," Anderson said. "They're more confident in the economy that at any time they've ever been in the 25 years we've been measuring. Put all those together and you've got a pretty big phenomenon. It's "a surprisingly high number," says Toronto-area retail consultant Richard Talbot. "I think the news accounts about the parity of the dollar and the buildup to Christmas coming at the same time, it was perhaps inevitable there was going to be a fair amount of leakage south of the border." Canadians living in Ontario and B.C.
were the most likely to say they went alone, or with a member of their household, to the United States to shop - at 22 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively. The survey adds context to sporadic indicators that more and more Canadians are taking their more muscular loonie, which hit parity at the end of September and has been at least around parity with the greenback ever since, to the U.S. in search of bargains. Statistics Canada reported recently that Canadians spent $3.1 billion in the U.S. during the second quarter of the year before the loonie reached parity, a jump of 8.8 per cent, dropping an average of $765 per overnight trip. And in a more recent indicator of the massive shift in buying habits, Canadians imported 25,000 autos in October, twice as many as last October and 68 per cent more than in September. Canadians have been flying and driving down to the United States in record numbers, spending billions of dollars snapping up bargains at prices they cannot find at home. Diane Brisebois of the Retail Council of Canada told a parliamentary committee last month that prices are anywhere from 20 to 60 per cent higher in Canada. Talbot said the poll should be a wakeup call to retailers to move Boxing Day sales ahead to before Christmas to forestall losing more customers. But he said the phenomenon is likely to peter out in the long run as more retailers adjust their prices to the higher loonie. "Presumably, retailers are going to put pressure on their suppliers to drop prices, so that toward 2008 we'll see the prices moving closer together," Talbot said. "It's already happening."
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REPORT
here are dozens of reported kidnapping stories in Trinidad this year, with the total expected to hit 144. There are even more unreported cases, where victims suffered in silence without bothering to take the case to the country’s distrusted police service.This is a small sample of the reported stories of the kidnapping plague that has gripped the country for the past six years. Jan 1, 2007
Some of the stories and faces of kidnap victims in Trinidad in 2007
and tried to tie up and businessman and his wife. The businessman escaped and the kidnappers ran away when a neighbour raised the alarm. Police believe the gang had victimized several other families in Trinidad .
by a cutlass and $200,000 demanded from his family. Police set up roadblocks in the area immediately and three hours later the kidnapers abandoned Sieunarinesingh in a canefield. for his safe release Around 9.30 p.m. , the kidnappers left Sieunarinesingh in the canefield and sped off in their car. This was a second kidnapping for Sieunarinesingh, who escaped from another kidnap gang five months earlier May 3 Kenell Cooper, of Easy Street, Fyzabad, was stopped by two armed men and forced into their car along Guapo Main Road at 9 p.m. Cooper said he was blindfolded, but continued to fight the men while the car was being driven, and they eventually threw him out in Caroni..
March 6 Thirteen year old 13-year-old girl Ana Via Ramcharan, of St Julien Village, Princes Town disappeared after leaving home that morning. Next day her parents received a call demanding a $100,000 ransom for the release of the girl, who is a Form Two pupil of the Tableland High School March 9 Rennie Mohammed, 37, brother of CCN journalist, Sasha Mohammed, was kidnapped when he hired a car at the San Juan taxi stand on Friday night to take him to Aranguez. The driver picked up an accomplice who held up Rennie at gunpoint. One man was arrested by police when he tried to pick up the ransom money, and he he led them to the other two kidnappers and Rennie, who was being held in Curepe. March 15
Tota Harricharan, 37, son of a christophene farmer, was abducted from a relative's house, in Blanchisseuse on Old Year's night, by a gang of men who held up his cousin, her mother and other relatives. A $5 million ransom demand was made for his release.
June 8 A 31 year old man kidnapped his stepson and tried to drown the six-year-old boy in an Aripo in an attempt to get back at the child's mother who broke up with him. The man took the child out of his Arima primary school, took the child to the river and, held his head under water until he thought the boy was dead. But the boy walked out on to the road where he was picked up by villagers.The man is being charged with attempted murder and kidnapping. July 12 Hospital clerk Varsha Ramkarran-Ramdeo, 28, who was allegedly snatched by kidnappers on Thursday was released on Friday, after relatives paid part of the $200,000 ransom demanded. Varsha was snatched on her way home to Penal after leaving work at the Pleasantville Health Centre, driving a luxury Honda Accord recently bought by her husband, Suraj, from his boss- the owner of a general contracting firm. September 1 Foreign used car dealer Ronald Samlal, 42, reported missing on August 30, was found dead off the North Coast Road , Maracas. Samlal left his home on that date to conduct business at Chaguanas but failed to return home. Relatives received a call later that night demanding money for his safe release. September 8
Fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Christine Wong was grabbed at Valencia Junction while still in school uniform of El Dorado Secondary School . She was kept for several weeks and released on October 2 after an undisclosed ransom was paid. November 24
January 8 A 44 year old taxi driver was held up at 11 pm while driving along the Solomon Hochoy Highway , by four passengers he had picked up in San Fernando . A passenger who was put ouf of the car alerted police, who intercepted the car and arrested the four men. January 15
Rebekah Soogrim, 16, s student of the Tabaquite Composite School did not return to her Flanagin Town home from Saturday maths classes in Chaguanas. The family appealed to the police for help, but police alleged that the girl had "probably run off with a man.” Her body was found in a cocoa field near her home. She had been raped and murdere Dec 4
A pregnant Annalee James, 28, of Singh Street , Tacarigua on her way to rent DVDs near her home was kidnapped while walking along Dinsley Main Road at 6.40 pm . An armed man came out of a car, pepper her companion Kelly Buchoon, and took Annalee away. She was visiting from New York where she lives
Feb 16. Three armed men wearing military type camouflage outfits grabbed fisherman Feroze Ali, 38, who was hunting in a Cedro estate with two friends at 8.00 am . The two friends were tied up and left behind. A land and sea blockade by police and villagers forced kidnappers to release Ali after eight hours.
April 10 Thirty seven year old mother Sitar MarajLewis, her two teenage sons aged 15 and 17 and their relative Bim Dookie, 21, were charged with false imprisonment of Navin Jagessar of Longdenville on April 10, and asking for a $150,000 ransom. Navin had been held against his will after leaving his home. He allegedly escaped his kidnappers. April 22 Richard Deleon, 22, the stepson of a San Juan dry goods wholesaler,, and his friend, Rodney Rambarran, 23, were kidnapped at San Juan Hill and a ransom of $2.5 million was demanded. Rambarran's father owns a small auto body repair. The young men were beaten and released the next day. It was not known if a ransom was paid.
April 6 Three soldiers who kidnapped and beat Shane Robely, 28, at King’s Wharf in San Fernando on Food Friday, were arrested and charged by police
Fifteen year old Chandani Ramsarran of Bridel Road , Cunupia was reported missing soon after returning from school. The house was ransacked but nothing was taken.
Feb 19 A young woman working as a live in babysitter for a Mt Hope businessman stabbed him several times while attempting to kidnap his 4 year old daughter. The babysitter invited two men into the home
April 26 Businessman Shiva Sieunarinesingh, whose family owns Sieunarinesingh's Hardware in Gasparillo, was kidnapped by armed man outside a gym at 6.00 pm . He was beaten
Gordon Deane, Atlantic LNG's chairman and former chairman of the Integrity Commission, was at his estate at Angles Road, Toco, on September 8, when around 1 p.m., three armed men jumped out of the bush and attacked him .He was put into the back of his van and driven around on rough roads for about an hour before being taken out of the van. Believing that he was going to be killed, Deane made a dash for freedom at some stage, ran through the forest, chased by his armed kidnappers, until he came to a waterfall, where he jumped and fell several feet. He was hurt but had managed to escape his kidnappers. Police set up a road block and held three men, aged between 21-27, driving in Deane's van.
Josanne Sammy, 22, common-law wife of La Romaine used car dealer Riyad Baksh, was dragged out of her bed at 2 a.m. by three gunmen ed and forced her into a waiting car. A $200,000 ransom was demanded. She was rescued by police soon after. A grave had already been dug for her at the house where she was to be held.
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Coverden boy Mani Singh scales the heights in Canada
Indo-Caribbean Times DECEMBER 2007
sage of standing up for justice, and followed the charismatci Guyanese leader Cheddi Jagan, then the country’s leading figure in the struggle against injustice on a world scale. These two teachers have remained with him ever since. Mani needed the inspiration when he came with his family to Canada in 1981, following the death of his mother. His education was not recognized. He had no work experience, and could not get a job in Guelph where his elder sister and Canadian sponsor lived. He had to move to Toronto, and took the first job he could find, a factory position assembling castors. He had to go to Westwood High School to get his Grade 12 diploma, and enrol in Humber College to study trade unionism and politics. All at the same time. After four years he was fired from the factory job for trying to get equal pay for equal work at the castor assembly plant. It was an early personal lesson in injustice, and a signal that he had to boost his education to land something better than a dead end factory job. Mani finished his Certificate in Labour Relations, started studying political science at York University, and moved into insurance sales before finally settling on real estate sales as his career. “Real estate was more lucrative and it gave me the time to follow my other interests in the social and political world,” he remembers. Now came the work that he really wanted to do, which included supporting Cheddi Jagan and the PPP back in Guyana, and engaging in social and political work in Canada. Joining the PPP support group Guyana Research and Representative Services in Toronto and its successor the Association of Concerned Guyanese, Mani put serious effort in fighting the dictatorship of Forbes Burnham in his native Guyana. He became president of the ACG and an editorial board member of the group’s newspaper Guyana Current. He worked to help Guyanese refugees in Canada who were fleeing persecution and racism in their homeland. And he rejoiced when Cheddi Jagan finally became president of Guyana in 1992, after the United States forced the illegal government in Guyana to hold its first fair election in 28 years. With the great battle for justice in Guyana finally won,.Mani found he could focus on matters in Canada like his Hindu heritage, social and political affairs, and also on furthering his career. He has done well in all three. After 18 years with Remax Real Estate, Mani has collected a bulging bag of honours. He is in the Remax Hall of Fame, has won the Remax Pinnacle Award, and recently was entered in the Remax Circle of Legends. With his title of “King of the Junperformers with a sizeable clientele in the mainstream and Caribbean community. Mani has continued to support several Hindu temples in the GTA, and to see that his family carries on the Hindu heritage he and his wife Prema have transported from Guyana. His four children, daughters Renita and Jitisha and sons Tej and Vijay all attend temple services, and know how to play Indian musical instruments and sing bhajans. Sick Kids Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, Canadian Red Cross, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Breast Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Unicef, Doctors Without Borders and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund are some of the charities that he supports financially and personally, as well as several in the Guyanese community in Canada. Mani’s interest in political and social issues has blossomed in recent times. His
ani Singh's father Mahadeo Singh started his adult life as a cane cutter with no formal education and as a labourer with British Guyana Airways but worked his way up to becoming the Stores Manager for the airline, fluent in Hindi and able to read the Ramayan, president of the local Hindu templea and a village leader. With that kind of example, Mani could do no less when he came to Canada in 1981 as a young man with no formal secondary education and no work experience. And so he has. Mani has educated himself and become one of Remax's top real estate agents in Ontario with a place in the Remax Hall of Fame, a frontline leader of the Association of Concerned Guyanese who has hosted functions at his home for Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, a noted charitable fundraiser, and an NDP candidate who made a very respectable showing in last month's provincial elections. He has remained true to his Hindu roots and culture, along with wife and four children, his burning concerns for fellow Guyanese back in the Caribbean and those here in Canada He has also mainainted his working class interests in social justice and equality gained from the People's Progressive Party in Guyana, and transferred them to the NDP in Canada. A driving interest in education, passion for social justice and his Hindu heritage are the three drivers that have taken Mani from humble beginnings in the village of Coverden, East Bank Demerara in Guyana to a key position in the Caribbean community in the GTA. He aims to integrate into the Canadian mainstream but on his own terms and without surrendering his heritage. He learned early to improvise when conditions were difficult, by educating himself when secondary education was not available in Coverden. Mani studied at home and passed the exams for the Preliminary Certificate of Education and then the College of Preceptors diploma. In his spare time he developed the Swastika Cultural and Cricket Club to bring youth into the religious circle through sports. He read the Bhagavadgita with its mes-
provincial politics, and came in third after the Liberals and the PC. “I gained a lot from that experience. I got my feet wet in mainstream Canadian politics. Now I know how the system operates, and next time I will do better, “ he says. There probably will be a next time, though it may be at the federal level. Mani feels federal politics will give him wider opportunities to raise matters dear to his heart. Among them are major issues such as foreign aid for developing countries like Guyana, problems with the nation’s health care, a national minimum wage of $10, poverty, immigration, and recognition of the credentials of foreign trained professionals. He believes that more Caribbean people must step up to the crease and engage the Canadian system, rather than staying on the outside and complaining about being left out. That’s what real integration into Canadian life should mean, he believes.
Mani Singh (third from left) with his extended family including wife Prema, his late father Mahadeo, two sisters, sons Tej and Vijay, and daughters Renita and Jitisha. trade union and social justice leanings made him a natural supporter of the New Democratic Party from his early years in Canada, where he has been a member for the last decade. “I’ve always wanted to participate in mainstream politics in Canada, especially at the federal level where there are foreign policy issues that can affect Guyana. I feel we have to integrate into Canada at all levels,” he explains. So when the NDP approached him to run for a Brampton riding in the Ontario elections this year, Mani didn’t hesitate. He jumped right in for the Brampton-Springdale seat, a very tough battle facing an incumbent Liberal Linda Jeffrey, in a riding that has never been won by the NDP before. Predictably, he didn’t win against five other candidates, including a strong Progressive Conservative politician. But he pulled in over 3,000 votes in his first shot at Naturally, Mani always has an eye out for Guyana. He has spend almost half of his life in Canada, but he still feels for the land of his birth and for his countrymen and women in Canada who were forced out of Guyana so many years ago. And yes, he would love to head back to Guyana to help rebuild a country shattered by 30 years of dictatorship and mismanagement. But it’s just not possible. He has four children still in school, the youngest just nine years old. They are all born here and are well integrated into Canada. He could not leave them here, and it would be cruel to take them to a Guyana which is practically a strange country to them. We are stuck with Mani Singh in Canada, but that’s not such a bad thing when you think of it. The Caribbean community needs people like him. Canada needs people like him just as much as Guyana.
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SAY IT IN PICTURES
Students of the Tabla Kendar and entertainers strike a happy pose at the Kendar’s 2007 graduation ceremony, which was held at the Empire Banquet Hall. Guruji Mohan Singh (with turban) is in the back row, next to event sponsor Jay Brijpaul.
Young students of the Bharat Sevashram Sangh show their ability to handle yoga asanas at the group’s recent fundraiser in Rexdale. Over 100 youth recited slokas from the Gita, and dmonstrated stick fighting techniques as yoga postures.
Born Nirush Jani, 7 lb. 12 oz. to Nina and Bhuvan Jani on Tuesday November 12 2007 at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto. Nirush is the first grandson of Dilip & Bhavna Jani, and also Dr. Roop & Ramdai Misir (Mishra). Little Nirush is the first great grandson of Chandrakant Lalshankar and Indrakanta Jani, and also Jayendra (Late) and Sakountla Joshi of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India; and also Pt. Harinarain (Late) & Mrs. Surujdai Misir of Scarborough, and the late Pt. & Mrs. Prasad Ganesh Tiwari of Guyana. He is the nephew of Dr. Anil Misir (Hamilton), Renuka Misir, and Honey Jani.
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It was the Caribbean diaspora re-connecting with the Indian continent when Nisha Maraj of Trinidadian parentage became the bride of Indian born Joginder Godhara.
Popular promoter DJ Hitman (left) tells his Trinidad guest dramatists Ethel Fraser (centre) and Leroy Joseph after his recent showthat it’s not really so cold in Toronto.
Community activist Krishna Nankissoor and family were sereneded by Peel school principal Dr Sandy Kissoon Singh and his wife Dr Jean Kissoon Singh (right)at a recent multiple celebration in downtown Toronto. Krishna (in suit)and wife Leah (to Krishna’s right), they both counted their 25th wedding anniversary, daughter Natasha (left) marked her 21st birthday, and youngest daughter Natalie celebrated her graduation to high school.
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THE ASSOCIATION OF CONCERNED GUYANESE and friends cordially invite you to a fundraising Dinner and Dance in Aid of the Victims of Bangladesh's Cyclone Disaster and the Dookhoo family of Guyana. It will be held on Friday December 14th, from 7:30 p.m. at BJ's Restaurant, 1747 Albion Road, Rexdale, Ontario (S/E Corner of Albion Rd. & HWY 27). A donation of $20.00 per person includes dinner and dance. All proceeds will be distributed as follows: 60% to Human Concern International (HCI) for the Victims of the Bangladesh Cyclone Disaster and 40% to the Dookhoo's family of Guyana. For more info call: Azim: 905-206-9377, Karran Singh: 905-204-0241, Jerry: 905837-7554, Jay:416-744-0476, Mani: 416569-4172. ISLAND GROVE RESTAURANT AND BAR of 4525 Ebenezer Road Unit #, Brampton (Gore Plaza) holds its Christmas Party on December 22. Entrance is $20, which includes food. Old Year’s Night Dance takes place December 31, with top DJ’s and other entertainment. Cost is $50 per couple, which includes food. Contact Hema at 905-813-1200.
To all our readers and friends A Merry Christmas &
From the Indo-Caribbean Times
A Happy New Year
Connections Family Restaurant brings the Chutney Stars to its New Year’s Eve Show and Dance, at 5835 Dixie Road (at Shawson), Mississauga. Artistes include Heeralal Rampartap, De Hitman, Rakesh Yankarran, Anil Pitie, King Rooplal G, Nelly B, the Wave Band, Curtis Band the Flying Trini. This is 19+ event and ID is mandatory. For info call 905-696-7133 orr e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org BHAGVAD GITA FOR EACH HOME
ENMORE PARADISE RESTAURANT invites you to its Old Year’s Night Party on December 31 at 1780 Albion Road, Unit 1, starting at 9.30 pm and going to 2.00 am. Admission is free, and there will be dancing, entertainment and music by a popular DJ. For information call 647-428-6994.
CANADA Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton Ramnarine Sahadeo 905 671 9233 e-mail email@example.com, Omesh Sharma Omesh@flexomark.com, Chandan Persaud at 416-754-2382, Gulcharan at 416 481-5777 firstname.lastname@example.org, Ram Jagessar at 416 289 9088 or email@example.com RICHMOND HILL Omo Persaud at firstname.lastname@example.org 905-886-1724 Winnipeg: Ajodhya Mahadeo 204-661-6643
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.
British Columbia Chameli Seegobin 604-945-9510, e-mail address email@example.com, and Naraine Mohabir at 604-274-8938
GUYANA: Saraswati Vidya Niketan ph. 2760013/14
Caribbean hot spot on Albion & Highway 27
Indo-Caribbean Times DECEMBER 2007
Albion Road Highway 27 Westmore Drive
You can’t go wrong with Albion Road and Highway 27 in Rexdale if you are looking for a Caribbean Hot Spot packed with food, services and entertainment for Caribbean people. At least eight Caribbean focused businesses in that area can supply all that you need. The veteran is of course Ram’s Roti Shop, Canada’s first roti shop which has been serving the delicacy since 1967, along with doubles, and other Caribbean food. Next door is Enmore Paradise Restaurant which specializes in platters and takeouts with a menu of over 50 Guyanese, West Indian and Chinese dishes, and Caribbean Temptations with its huge menu of Caribbean and Chinese style cooking. Across the road is BJ’s bar and Grill, and on Westmore Drive is Nisha’s West Indian Cafe, Grace’s Patty World with its Jamaican patties and jerked meat, and Green’s West Indian Groceries for that tasty Caribbean food Green’s Travel Services next door will take you to the travel location of choice. Drop in and sample their goods.
Kamla’s Fashions Inc.
Wholesale Garment Manufacturer
TJ Fashions and Design Inc.
1510 Birchmont Road Units 106 & 107 Scarborough, Ontario M1P 2G5 Announces the takeover of
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
Mormons have less heart disease - something doctors have long chalked up to their religion's ban on smoking. New research suggests that another of their "clean living" habits also may be helping their hearts: fasting for one day each month. A study in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is based, found that people who skipped meals once a month were about 40 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged arteries than those who did not regularly fast. People did not have to "get religion" to benefit: non-Mormons who regularly took breaks from food also were less likely to have clogged arteries, scientists found. They concede that their study is far from proof that periodic fasting is good for anyone, but said the benefit they observed poses a theory that deserves further testing. "It might suggest these are people who just control eating habits better," and that this discipline extends to other areas of their lives that improves their health, said Benjamin Horne, a heart disease researcher from Intermountain Medical Center and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Roughly 70 per cent of Utah residents are Mormons, whose religion advises abstaining from food on the first Sunday of each month, Horne said. Researchers got the idea to study fasting after analyzing medical records of patients who had X-ray exams to check for blocked heart arteries between 1994 and 2002 in the Intermountain Health Collaborative Study, a health registry. Of these patients, 4,629 could be diagnosed as clearly having or lacking heart disease - an artery at least 70 per cent clogged. Researchers saw a typical pattern: only 61 per cent of Mormons had heart disease compared to 66 per cent of non-Mormons. They thought tobacco use probably accounted for the difference. But after taking smoking into account, they still saw a lower rate of heart disease among Mormons and designed a survey to explore why. It asked about Mormons' religious practices: monthly fasting; avoiding tea, coffee and alcohol; taking a weekly day of rest; going to church, and donating time or money to charity. Among the 515 people surveyed, only fasting made a significant difference in heart risks: 59 per cent of periodic meal skippers were diagnosed with heart disease versus 67 per cent of the others. The difference persisted even when researchers took weight, age and conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol or blood pressure into account. About eight per cent of those surveyed were not Mormons, and those who regularly fasted had lower rates of heart disease, too. Horne speculated that when people take a break from food, it forces the body to dip into fat reserves to burn calories. It also keeps the body from being constantly exposed to sugar and having to make insulin to metabolize it. When people develop diabetes, insulin-producing cells become less sensitive to cues from eating, so fasting may provide brief rests that resensitize these cells and make them work better, he said. But he and other doctors cautioned that skipping meals is not advised for diabetics - it could cause dangerous swings in blood sugar.
Fasting one day may help hearts
Recipes: Trinidad Black Cake, Doubles
Indo-Caribbean Times DECEMBER 2007
Trinidad Black Cake (Christmas Cake) The elements of this fruit cake from Trinidad are prepared on separate days. We have divided it into three sections - the early preparation, caramelizing sugar, which can be done the day before, and the day of cooking. This is a rum cake, a fruit cake, a Christmas cake. This is euphoria. * 1 pound currants * 1 pound raisins * 1 pound prunes * 1 pound dried figs * 1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained * 1/2 pound mixed peel * 1/4 pound almonds, chopped * 1 tablespoon angostura bitters * 2 1/2 cups dark Jamaica rum Stir in dry ingredients gradually. When mixed, stir in fruit mixture. Pour into tins lined with buttered parchment paper or waxed paper. Place pan (or pans) in large shallow pan of hot water. Cook in preheated 250°F oven for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cake should have shrunk from sides of pan.
6. Saute for a few minutes. Add the channa. Stir to coat well with the curry mixture and cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water, geera (cumin), salt, and pepper. Cover, lower heat and let simmer until the peas are very soft. Add more water if you need. Channa should be soft and moist. Add more salt if required. 7. To assemble, put about 2 tbsp. cooked curry channa on a Bara. Cover with another Bara. You can also add mango chutney, tamarind chutney or pepper sauce before putting the second Bara on top.
Cool for 24 hours in tins. When cool, moisten with rum, remove from tins, and wrap in aluminum foil or a rum drenched cloth. Cakes may be stored to ripen. If keeping for any length of time, check occasionally to add more rum.
Caramelizing Sugar (see note below) * 3/4 pound brown sugar * 1/2 cup boiling water
Make your own Doubles
For the dough 2 cups flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp saffron 1/2 tsp cumin 1 tsp yeast 1/3 cup warm water 1/4 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional) Oil for frying Additional water
Yield:1 large or 2 medium cakes
Ingredients 1 lb ripe red tomatoes 2 tsp vegetable oil 1 small onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1hot,pepper 2 tbsp coriander, chopped Salt and cumin to taste Method
* 2 teaspoons grated lime peel * 2 teaspoons vanilla * 4 cups flour * 4 teaspoons baking powder * 1 teaspoon ground cloves * 1 pound butter (4 sticks) softened * 2 1/4 cups sugar * 9 large eggs METHOD
1. Ensure that tomatoes are washed. Then, place under a hot grill, roasting until skin is charred.
2. Leave tomatoes to cool, then remove skin. 3. Pound tomatoes in mortar and pestle or mash in a bowl. 4. Mix in onion, salt, cumin and hot pepper.
Equipment: Two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans or 1 10 inch tube pan. Chop currants, raisins, prunes, figs and cherries. Put in large bowl with mixed peel and almonds. Stir to combine. Sprinkle on bitters and pour rum over mixture. Soak for a minimum of 24 hours, extending to one month. Dream about this cake for whatever period of time you have chosen. For those who avoid alcohol for religious or personal reasons, soaking can be done using grape or apple juice! Caramelizing Sugar Prep Day
For the channa filling 1 cup dried channa, soaked overnight, or tinned channa 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 onion, sliced 1 tbsp vegetable oil Pinch of ground geera (cumin powder) Pinch of black·pepper Salt to taste Pepper Sauce to taste Method
5. Cook garlic lightly in a heated frying pan with the vegetable oil.
6. Add the tomato mixture and coriander and pllow to reduce slightly. 7. Serve hot with bread or sada roti
1. Make the dough for the Bara: combine flour, salt, saffron, curry powder (if using) and cumin. Set aside. 2. In another bowl pour in warm water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes until yeast and sugar are dissolved.
Put brown sugar in heavy pot. Stir, letting sugar liquefy. Cook over low heat until dark, stirring constantly, so sugar does not burn. When almost burnt, remove from heat and stir in hot water gradually. Mix well, let cool, and pour into container for use in final cooking. Final Cooking Preheat oven to 250°F.
3. Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients with enough water to make slightly firm dough. Mix well, covering and setting aside for about 1 1/2 hours so that dough may rise. Punch the dough down and let it sit for another 10- 15 minutes.
1/2 tsp saffron powder 4 cups boiling water 3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee 2 vegetable oil or ghee 1 1/2 cups 1 tsp rice 1 tsp ground clove 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp salt 1 stp freshly ground black pepper Method
Bring fruit from its resting place. Stir lime peel, vanilla and caramelized sugar into fruit. Mix well. Set aside.
4. To shape Bara, take about 1 tablespoon of dough, flattening and stretching with both hands to a 5" circle. Moisten palms with some water if dough sticks to hand. Fry in hot oil, until golden brown, turning until cooked. Remove and drain on a paper towel. 5. Make the channa filling. Boil soaked channa with salt and 1/2 tbsp curry powder until tender. Drain. Mix the rest of the curry powder with 1/4 cup water. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the garlic, onion, and curry powder mixture.
1. Fry onions in ghee or oil until soft. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add rice and stir in clove, cardamom, salt and pepper. 3. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. 4. Add remaining boiling water and saffron powder, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. 5. Drain and place in a serving dish. Serve hot.
Cream together butter and sugar until mixture is light. Add the eggs, one at a time until blended.
Sift together flour, baking powder and cloves. Set aside.
Stop this woman bashing
Under law in Saudi Arabia, women are subject to numerous restrictions, including a strict dress code, a prohibition on driving and a requirement that they get a man's permission to travel or have surgery. Women are also not allowed to testify in court unless it is about a private matter that was not observed by a man, and they are not allowed to vote. This is a regular media blurp. But, nothing here resembles the Islam practised by the majority of Muslims in the world, so obviously this is Saudi Law and not an Islamic Law. Muslim women may travel, not don black gowns and veils, vote, be witnesses in courts and appeal for a divorce and well, even drive, and that too alone. So when Islam has granted women so many rights and priviledges, these bias misognist men are only destroying human life and Islam with their personal judgements, as in the ecase of the lady who is sentenced to lashes after being raped, on the pretext that she is an accessory to sexual enticement by walking about alone. It's nice to hear that the higher Judicial body is reconsidering these laws and it's time, especially how we have seen Saudi Prince Abdullah has been leading some smart political, social and even economic moves, recently, to correct some major evils and build bridges. The fact is the husband of this rape victim rightly said that his wife was abducted from a mall and raped and she was not in any illicit relationship. Not because a woman walks without a mahram/ appproved relative she is evil. As a matter of fact, this requirement is only for long distance travel and too if it's insecure, as can be seen how Hajj groups relax this law. Why the Saudis don't charge the girls who walk the malls passing cell numbers out, internet chat and enjoy sattelite TV non chaperoned? That's having a relationship without a "relative". Moreso how about not being picky on criminal charges and improve relationship with minorities and Shiite brothers and sisters. Charging non nationals is no justice; moreso, gang-raping a woman is no "honor". So if someone slams this episode as barbaric, it's the barbarism of a human nature expressed by some wicked authority and not in anyway a libel against the pure feminist laws of Islam nor an attack on an entire women-protecting society. In the same token, I would beg that we continue to support our domestically abused at home and help them to rise above these cultural and social yokes, that seems to travel relentlesly, despite the visas of enligtened ports. Look how silly the issue in Sudan is, about a woman naming her pet Muhammad, despite being defended ny her students and herself claiming this is not her intention- i.e. to demean our Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. So do we have any disenfranchisement warrant for those whose name is Muhammad but do not reperesent His life? How insulting to the Prophet, isn't it? Hence, a person can name someone or something off an everyday Moh; is that a problem? How about other Prophets, be peace on them all? By Habeeb Alli
n a very real sense, we are like the spaceman in a photo , totally dependent on our body, mind, emotions and personal identity to persist in life, just as he depends on his space suit and its supply of oxygen to enable him to exist in space. Take away our body, remove our emotions, erase our identity and what is left? Do we cease to exist? What are we really? Rishis assure us that we are immortal souls on a journey of spiritual evolution. We will take on many bodies, many lives, many different identities through the repetitive cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Each advent into a new birth is like an astronaut's voyage into the great unknown. The soul's underlying joy throughout this adventure is to commune with and realize God, learning of its true nature in the great classroom of experience, known as the world, or maya. The three realities of existence, God, soul and world, constitute the fundamentals of Hindu theology, known as tattva-trayi in Sanskrit, describing a view in which Divinity, self and cosmos are a profound, integrated unity. Each and every soul is on the same journey, spanning many lifetimes. The path has been made clear by those who have gone before. The answers to life's ultimate questions have been given time and time again, but still must be asked and answered by each soul in its own time: "Who am I?" "Where did I come from?" "Where am I going? Never have there been so many people living on the planet wondering, "What is the real goal, the final purpose, of life?" However, man is blinded by his ignorance and his concern with the externalities of the world. He is caught, enthralled, bound by karma. The ultimate realizations available are beyond his understanding and remain to him obscure, even intellectually. Man's ultimate quest, the final evolutionary frontier, is within man himself. It is the Truth spoken by Vedic rishis as the Self within man, attainable through devotion, purification and control of the mind. On the following pages, we explore the nature of the soul, God and the world. Offered here is a broad perspective that Hindus of most lineages would find agreement with, though in such matters there naturally arise myriad differences of perspective. To highlight the most important of these we offer a comparison of Hinduism's four major denominations. Next we explore the views of these four denominations on liberation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Finally, we present a chart of Hindu cosmology that seeks to connect the microcosm and the macrocosm and is a lifetime meditation in itself. Different Views of God, Soul & World from Hinduism's Four Denominations
Hindu Views on the Nature of Existence
In Saktism the personal Goddess is Shri Devi or Shakti, the Divine Mother, worshiped as Kali, Durga, Rajarajeshvari and Her other aspects. Both compassionate and terrifying, pleasing and wrathful, She is assuaged by sacrifice and submission. Emphasis is on bhakti and tantra to achieve advaitic union. For Vaishnavism the personal God and temple Deity is Vishnu, or Venkateshwara, a loving and beautiful Lord pleased by service and surrender, and His incarnations, especially Rama and Krishna. Among the foremost means of communion is chanting His holy names. In most schools of Vaishnavism, God and soul are eternally distinct, with the soul's destiny being to revel in God's loving presence. In Smartism, the Deity is Ishvara. Devotees choose their Deity from among six Gods, yet worship the other five as well: Vishnu, Siva, Shakti, Ganesha, Surya and Skanda. Ishvara appears as a human-like Deity according to devotees' loving worship. Both God and man are, in reality, the Absolute, Brahman; though under the spell of maya, they appear as two. Jnana, enlightened wisdom, dispels the illusion. In this Insight, along the lower section of the next four pages, you will find verses from the writings of seers of these four denominations that offer a glimpse of their perspectives on the nature of things ultimate. Who Am I? Where Did I Come From?
God, Soul and the World
of God's loving presence within us. We are the undying consciousness and energy flowing through all things. Deep inside we are perfect this very moment, and we have only to discover and live up to this perfection to be whole. Our energy and God's energy are the same, ever coming out of the void. We are all beautiful children of God. Each day we should try to see the life energy in trees, birds, animals and people. When we do, we are seeing God in action. The Vedas affirm, "He who knows God as the Life of life, the Eye of the eye, the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind--he indeed comprehends fully the Cause of all causes." Where Am I Going? What Is My Path?
Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God and are evolving into oneness with God. We are, in truth, the Truth we seek. ¦We are immortal souls living and growing in the great school of earthly experience in which we have lived many lives. Vedic rishis have given us courage by uttering the simple truth, "God is the Life of our life." A great sage carried it further by saying there is one thing God cannot do: God cannot separate Himself from us. This is because God is our life. God is the life in the birds. God is the life in the fish. God is the life in the animals. Becoming aware of this Life energy in all that lives is becoming aware
We are all growing toward God, and experience is the path. Through experience we mature out of fear into fearlessness, out of anger into love, out of conflict into peace, out of darkness into light and union in God. We have taken birth in a physical body to grow and evolve into our divine potential. We are inwardly already one with God. Our religion contains the knowledge of how to realize this oneness and not create unwanted experiences along the way. The peerless path is following the way of our spiritual forefathers, discovering the mystical meaning of the scriptures. The peerless path is commitment, study, discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom. In the beginning stages, we suffer until we learn. Learning leads us to service; and selfless service is the beginning of spiritual striving. Service leads us to understanding. Understanding leads us to meditate deeply and without distractions. Finally, meditation leads us to surrender in God. This is the straight and certain path, the San Marga, leading to Self Realization--the inmost purpose of life--and subsequently to moksha, freedom from rebirth. The Vedas wisely affirm, "By austerity, goodness is obtained. From goodness, understanding is reached. From understanding, the Self is obtained, and he who obtains the Self is freed from the cycle of birth and death."
There is a wide spectrum of religious belief within Hinduism's four major sects or denominations: Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. While they share far more similarities than differences, they naturally hold unique perspectives on God, soul and the world. In Saivism, the personal God and primary temple Deity is Siva. He is pure love and compassion, both immanent and transcendent, pleased by devotees' purity and striving. Philosophically, God Siva is one with the soul, a mystic truth that is ultimately realized through His grace.
Mahatma Gandhi was tipped to win the 1948 Nobel Peace Prize, but he was assassinated just before nominations closed. Trinidad's Sir Vidia Naipaul, winner for literature in 2001, is the first diaspora Indian to take the world's most prestigious award, and Dr. R.K.Pachauri of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is one of several Indian scientists who shared this year's Peace Prize with American Al Gore
Naipaul among Indian Nobel Prize winners
Eid-Diwali Promote Friendships in Our Youths
we choose ‘healthier’ foods and develop’ better’ eating habits (e.g., reduced intake), these may lead to increased health through weight reduction and obesity prevention. Also known as Deepavali, Diwali has its origins in India but now the diyas glow globally, wherever Hindus and other people of Indian origin are domiciled. In these times, more and more people from other cultures also participate in Diwali festivities. Traditionally, the light of Diwali is meant to symbolize the dispelling of darkness from our hearts as well as ignorance of the mind through education and enlightenment. To the faithful, Diwali is an auspicious time to worship the Divine Mother Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Some people consider it a time for sharing and caring, for showing generosity and practicing forgiveness. With the austerities of Ramadan fasting over, and the flame of diyas reminding us of Diwali’s eternal presence, it’s time to celebrate. Young people party with friends by wearing the latest fashions, partaking in fine food and exotic drinks, and dancing to the latest tunes. The ancestors of Indo-Caribbean people hail the Indian subcontinent, starting nearly two centuries ago. In Guyana , Surinam , Belize and island countries in the Caribbean (e.g., Trinidad & Tobago), young people are rediscovering their roots. They learn for example that our ancestors face the daunting task of cultural survival in a not too friendly Christian milieu. Our cultural practices were not encouraged as these were considered “pagan”. Yet despite the odds, Hinduism and Islam (Indian version), and associated festivities not only survived but later flourished. Today, some of our cultural days like Diwali and Eid are national holidays. Now it is not unusual for aspects of both these holidays to be celebrated by all citizens, at least in Guyana , Surinam and Trinidad & Tobago. This spirit is catching on elsewhere too. In Schools, Colleges and Universities, Muslim and Hindu students often hold joint celebrations of Eid and Diwali. Throughout November, many Eid-Diwali joint celebrations were held. For example, students at one Sir Robert Borden BTI (a Toronto High School ) held a successful joint celebration in the school cafeteria. Participants reflected the broader school population. In addition to students of Indo-Caribbean origin, there were others who emigrated from countries across the world— Afghanistan , India , Pakistan , Sri Lanka , former Yugoslavia , and parts of Africa . The highlight of the celebration was a sumptuous lunch featuring traditional snacks (samosas), and dishes (Biryani). The celebration took on an air of elegance as the participants were decked out with traditional costumes. There was food, fun and laughter, and dancing to Bollywood pop tunes. Of course, occasions like this one provide youths the opportunity to appreciate another living culture. The common elements were emphasized through the sharing of food, having fun, and dancing to music.
The full list of Indians and those with Indian connections who have been awarded Nobel prizes begins with Ronald Ross, who won the Nobel for medicine in 1902, born in Almora and was listed as an ''Indian physician of Scottish origin.'' He joined the Indian Medical Service in 1881 and worked in Calcutta, Bangalore and Ooty. The writer Rudyard Kipling, who won the Nobel for literature in 1907, was born in Bombay. The first ethnic Indian Nobel winner was Rabindranath who won the Nobel for literature in 1913, followed by Sir C V Raman who took the science Nobel for physics in 1930. In 1968 Punjab-born Dr Har Gobind Khorana won the Nobel for medicine while working in the United States.
Trinidad’s Sir Vidia Naipaul
There is no doubt that we take pride in our own traditions. But having said so, should the obsession with “our own” culture and religion makes us oblivious to those of other citizens? Today Indo-Caribbean people are living in Canada, the new country we call home. Here, changes are taking place at rapid speeds. New knowledge is helping to shape our lives in ways never expected even a few short years ago. In the workplace, innovation is replacing obsolescence. Elsewhere, there is change, change and more change. But are these changes here to stay? Or are they changes for the sake of change? Of course, many of us adults prefer to look at the world from a traditional perspective. In contrast, the rapid pace of change is helping to shape the lives of our younger generation. At school and in the workplace, they become exposed to other youths from different backgrounds and a rich tapestry of cultures. There are some us who interpret multiculturalism in Canada to mean that for us at least, our cultural life will be the same as in the Caribbean countries whence we came. But is this really true?
By Roop Misir
Diwali Glows Global
Partying and Feasting
Caribbean countries have been living examples of multicultural societies at the time when immigration to Canada was restricted to people from Europe . Since the middle of the last century, however, Canada opened its doors to people from all over the world. Today as new cultures take root side by side in Canada , there is the need for citizens to understand the significance of traditional festivals. Joint celebrations of Eid and Diwali serve to bring to the forefront meanings and symbolisms beneath the festivities not otherwise obvious to other Canadians. True, what may stand out at such events are the attractive costume worn and fine food consumed. In due course, the true message of these great festivals shall permeate the fabric of society, as they become part of an evolving Canadian culture. Today our youths are getting the best of both worlds, inspired by the past as they look forward to a bright future with confidence. There is truth to the saying that what goes around comes around, just as day follows night, or light dispels darkness. As our youths celebrate Eid and Diwali, what is perhaps more important than costume, food and drink is the forming of new friendships, and the cementing of old ones. Undoubtedly, some of them over-indulge and lose track of the true message of fasting (Eid) and the dissemination of new knowledge (Diwali). But should anyone be overly concerned? This time next year, all of us will have the opportunity to celebrate once again! In the meantime let’s continue to act responsibly and strive for success, as we become contributing members of society. In the process we shall lead healthier lives and appreciate those benefits that arise from inculcating good habits. Therefore, let’s continue to cherish the new friendships we make as we learn more about the cultures of fellow Canadians. Certainly, we adults can learn a thing or two from our youths as they jointly celebrate Eid and Diwali. Societal changes we currently experience are helping to shape the future. The poem below seeks to capture the essence of Eid and Diwali: As the lights of diyas in radiant brilliance glow Let the darkness in our thoughts be dispelled. As the Ramadan feast reinvigorates the faithful Let body in strength and mind in truth grow Youths of today certainly do know that living in harmony is vital for success So what a better time is it to celebrate Festivals from two traditions so great? Come let’s wish everyone everywhere Eid Mubarak aur Shubh Diwali Eid Greetings and Happy Diwali Where faith abounds and light radiates
Mahatma Gandhi Mother Tesera, who was not born in Albania, but spent most of her life working in India, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Subramanyan Chandrasekhar won the Nobel for physics in 1983, and in 1989, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, born in Tibet, but living a resident of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, India for many years, was awarded the Nobel for peace.
Canada is blessed with a plethora of festivals, compliments of the confluence of cultures of immigrants from various countries. In towns and cities across the vast landscape, local communities celebrate a great many festivals; however, only a few are actually observed widely. Occasionally, the dates of two such festivals coincide or follow each other closely. This was the case recently for Eid (mid-October) and Diwali (early November). Traditionally, Eid is the Muslim Festival of Fast-breaking, whereas Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights. While the faithful of both religions tend to adhere strictly to traditional ways, the younger generation celebrates with friends outside their respective religious communities. At many of these secular events, the focus is on having fun, enjoying fine food, and strengthening friendships. Yes, our Caribbean youths are actively celebrating and they contributing to cultural change. Devout Muslims consider that fasting helps humanity to appreciate the true value of food and drink. During Ramadan, abstention from earthly pleasures also allows us to be truly thankful as we make wise choices on a daily basis. In addition, it is thought that the faithful can become pure in body and mind, and thus are worthy recipients of divine blessings. From a nutritional viewpoint, fasting tends to give our overworked digestive system a well-deserved ‘rest’. Supposedly, this allows the system to cleanse itself, and become rejuvenated thereby increasing the efficiency of food digestion. If subsequently
Canada ’s Multitudes of Cultures
Youth Celebrations in Canada
Feasting in the Light
Eid and Fasting
Roger Pulwarty Amartya Sen won the Nobel for Economics in 1998, followed by Vidia Naipaul three years later. This year several of the hundreds of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, were Indians. Among them were the head of the Panel Dr Pachauri, and Trinidad's Roger Pulwarty.
As Indo-Caribbean youths join others from all over the world and celebrate Eid and Diwali, let’s strive to make life one big celebration! [Dr. Roop Misir is a Teacher at Sir Robert Borden BTI. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org]
IINDIANS IN THE CARIBBEAN
Close to home: four women relate how they were sexually molested as children
Sex abuse of young girls by family members a huge problem in Guyana
esentment, an inability to trust, emotional trauma and depression are some of the psychological scars carried by children who suffered sexual molestation at the hands of family members. Incest remains one of the most under-reported and least discussed crimes in the nation. Associated with strong taboos not just in the local community but in the international one as well, incest often remains concealed by the victim because of guilt, shame, fear, social and familial pressure, and coercion by the abuser. Help and Shelter Crisis Service Centre (HSCSC) has reported that more and more persons are coming forward to report incest cases and have attributed this to its public education campaign. For this year, the organization has received two reports of children under the age of six years old being raped. In the six to eight-year-old age range, HSCSC has seen three cases, in addition to five children aged between nine and 11. The majority of cases, 22 for the year, were accounted for by children aged 12 to 14. HSCSC is also currently providing counselling and other assistance to 11 other rape sufferers, four of whom are between the ages of 15 and 17; two in the 18 to 20 age range; four between the ages of 21 and 30; and one in the 30 to 31 age range. Research has determined that many other cases go unreported either to the police or to Help and Shelter. A consultation paper drafted by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security as part of its 'Stamp it out' campaign states that prosecutors and health care workers have reported increasing levels of violence against young children in Guyana. It acknowledges that in most cases the offender is known to the child. In a section headed 'Did you know?' the paper said that a 2005 study found that only obout one per cent of the rapes reported to the police resulted in a conviction. It revealed too that a study done this year found that 92% of victims of sexual violence were female and 60% of these were 16 years old and younger. In three out of every four cases, the accused was known to the victim and more than two-thirds of sexual offences took place in the home of the victim or the accused, the document, which was produced as part of the ministry's efforts to strengthen protection against sexual violence and reforming the law on sexual offences, reported. From 2000 to 2004, the study said, of the 647 rape cases reported to the police, 341 of the offenders had been charged and 20 had been tried in the high court, but only nine convictions had been secured. While the ministry was directing its efforts to instituting tougher legislation to deal with those who commited these offences, victims who had already suffered remained scarred by the abuse.
outside and wanted to do what any fiveyear-old girl would do, but daddy said, 'No stay with me in the bedâ€¦ I haven't seen you in three weeks.' So like an obedient girl I stayed with daddy in the bed. He closed the doorâ€¦ I don't remember much of what happened that day but I do remember him putting his penis in my mouth," she said. "My sister and I went to the Essequibo for vacation because daddy lived thereâ€¦ I remember daddy naked, telling me to take what I want and asking me why I liked it so much. I did not understand that it was wrong. I used to be so scared and never wanted to tell anyone. "I remember this one time mommy was working and daddy had me and my sister at the dinner table. We were eating. I felt his hand on my leg slowly moving it up to touch me, then he took me and my sister in the room and closed the door. I don't know if he touched her, but I have a feeling he did. Maybe one of these days I would ask her," she said. She said she tried telling her mother, but her mother told her to tell her grandmother. Bridget said that as she grew older she became shy, especially towards any male but often felt, "like I wanted to be touched down there and it used to drive me crazy." Bridget's father continued to molest her sexually until she was 11 years old. Then the abuse became verbal. "After inflicting so much pain on me as a child you would think daddy stopped. He found another way to make me feel horrible about myself. He told me I was a whore and that I would amount to nothing and that all I would do is dress up and go out to look for men to get money. He would beat me for no reason. When mom was not home and I had to cook for the family, dad would find something to say about the food I prepared." Bridget said she disliked her father and in her early high school days she was very depressed and became an introvert. "It made me scared and I was afraid to have friends because I was worried that they would somehow know my secret, and so for a long time I was the quiet girl in the corner. I believed some of the things he said and I questioned my abilities and my future. Would I really be somebody or would I be a whore liked daddy said? Would I ask men for money? I didn't know. "I had so much bottled up inside and never really told anyone because I was ashamed of what people would think of me, and maybe they would blame me for bringing it on myself. I was so afraid of men because I thought they all would do the same thing to me, but I had to learn to let it go," she added.
She continued, "I locked my legs together so that my underwear only went partway down, but he was able to touch me intimately. I was ashamed and very, very scared. Then I felt his penis poking between my tightly-locked legs. I remember thinking that mommy would be angry with me because she had told me that I should never allow anyone to do this. I was so rigid with fear that he could not enter me. Then he started to tremble and moved away. (I know now that that was when he ejaculated and he must have come in his underwear, because there was nothing on the bed.)" Sara said she jumped up and ran downstairs, drenched in perspiration and started vomiting. "Mommy came to me and said, 'Thank God the fever has gone.' I had sweated it out in fear. I stayed close to her for the rest of the day." Sara said she went to school the next day even though she still felt unwell but never told anyone and never stayed home sick again. Sara had blanked the incident from her mind, but somehow, enough remained for her to be permanently resentful towards her brother. She said she hadn't spoken to her brother for years and it wasn't until she became an adult and underwent counselling for another traumatic experience that the whole thing came flooding back. "I told the counsellor and I told my husband; not a soul else." Sara, who is now a grown woman, found out only three years ago that her brother had also been abusing her older sister since she was about eight years old, and that abuse continued for four years until he moved out to live with his girlfriend. "He died two years ago and I did not grieve," she said. "I hated him and he took advantage of me and I don't know how I could forgive him even though he is now dead," Erin (not her real name) said, adding that even though there was no intercourse, she believed her story needed to be told. "I had just turned 10 and had just written common entrance and he, my grandfather, was assisting my single mom to purchase my school supplies. He told me to meet him at his house where he lived alone and then we would go into town to get my stuff. When I got there, he was still lying on his bed. I vaguely remember what he was wearing, but I was dressed in a three-quarter khaki pants and a short-sleeve brown and cream top. He told me to come into the room and I saw no harm in it because after all he was my grandfatherâ€¦ "He pulled me on him and closed the door and then held me close to his body. He pushed his hands in my underwear and pressed me down as he worked his body up and down. My chest was flat. I didn't even have breasts, yet he caressed me as though I was his woman," she said. "But I started to panic and he realized it and asked me if I wanted to take my clothes off. I asked him why and he told me I should not tell my mother about it. But then he leaned over me and got up and eventually opened the door. I was scared and wanted to go home. When we left his house I walked in the opposite direction and he kept shouting my name. I headed straight for my mother's workplace and she listened to me but not with the amount of attention and urgency I felt my case required. Though I was so young I knew what he
wanted to do." Erin said her mother later confronted her grandfather, "who denied everything I said and my mother simply swallowed all he said and never discussed the matter with me again. But it has worried me to this day and has made me totally incapable of trusting anyone. I am always suspicious, not only of men, but of people who try to be too nice to me, maybe even genuinely so because I feel like they always want something in return. While I feel myself growing out of it, it makes me imagine what many other persons out there suffered and are still suffering," Erin recounted.
"Stolen innocence," is how Bridget (not her real name) described the pain and agony she still felt following years of sexual abuse which started at the tender age of five. "I just wanted to play with my friends
Sara (not her real name) was ten years old when she faced sexual molestation at the hands of her 21-year-old brother. "It was a school day and I was home sick, really sick - fever, vomiting and I think a bad cold. I was in my mother's bed in the only bedroom in the house that had a door that could be locked. My mother was in the kitchen downstairs. "He came home at lunch time and walked in and out of the room several times. I think I must have dozed off because the next thing I recollect is feeling hands on my underwear. I opened my eyes and said a weak no. 'Sssssh, ssssh,' he said. 'I have to do this.' I was terrified; I shut my eyes tightly," she said.
Lisa (not her real name), whose parents were busy working to make ends meet stayed with a close family friend, her husband and her 16-year-old son until her parents came home from work. "I was in second-year nursery and every day after nursery school he came to pick me up and I stayed by them and he was even delinquent sometimes and left me alone. One day I was sleeping and I felt him pull my underwear down and he inserted his fingers into my vagina and he told me not to tell anyone. But as he pulled my underwear down he made it rip a little. He asked me what was the matter and I said nothing. He zipped down his pants and took his penis out and tried penetrating me, but he didn't succeed and he used his finger and then he stopped," Lisa recounted. She said she had never told anyone about her experience but after that day she told her parents that she never wanted to go back to that home. "I can't remember if there was any blood, but I know I felt him trying to penetrate my vagina. Until now I struggle with what motivated my molester and I feel like if I hear his reaction, if I ask him why he did it, it may put an end to the thoughts I get," she said. Lisa said her experience still caused her much pain but she believed that the perpetrator would face whatever penalties he deserved later in his life. A common thread running though these cases is that none of them were ever reported. Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand has acknowledged that sexual violence is the most widespread and unpunished of crimes. She said too that Guyana's laws were centuries out of date and the system here was failing to deliver either justice or support to those who had been violated. "This is unacceptable," she said in her foreword in the consultation paper. The paper has proposed a number of measures aimed at stamping-out sexual violence in our society. The minister said government action alone was not enough to deal with this social ill, adding that "protecting our people from sexual violence is the responsibility of all Guyanese. A collective effort is needed, involving all sectors of society.
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TT’s own singing idol singer, Mastana Bahar winner Pravana Maharaj took to the stage at Centre of Excellence to perform “Lapat Japat Arey Bajarewa”. He set the pace for a memorable evening with the winners of Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. * However, the night belonged to Raja Hassan who thrilled the audience with his renditions of Bollywood hits. Raja, who placed second inIndia?s biggest competition, sent the crowds in a frenzy when he did “Tujhe Dek Dek Sona”. His powerful voice penetrated the hall and many were clapping and singing along. Among the early acts were the Bogee Wogee dancers out of Mumbai, India, who did pop rock and film dances. Then came Mauli Dave with an interpretation of “No entry”. She was followed by Harpreet Doel who gave a tremendous performance, singing hit after hit, much to the delight of their young TT fans who have been following the Zee TV competition on cable television. Harpreet, who is from Punjab, started with the chart topper “Chanavey Ghar Aja Rey”, followed by “Bhegi Hota Rey”, and “Sare Kay Nakay”. The crowds erupted when he ended his stint with the old Bollywood tune “Aaj Mousam Hai Baraa”. Next on stage was the beautiful Sumedha Karmahee. She started off with “Baho Meh Dhar Diya”, followed by “Jawani Janay Mann”, and ended with “Bedi Chamelay”. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa winner Aneek Dhar came on stage at 10 pm and performned several of his winniong songs much to the delight of the crowds. At 11pm the youngest of the lot, Devakar Sharma 11, who was born blind,came on to sing a medley of the Bollywood tunes. The singers left TT last Sunday for three shows in Miami and other shows in the UK before returning to India. Promoter of the local event, Mahenadra Persad, said people were calling for more from the young stars but the show had to end at 1 am on Sunday morning. He said Zee TV stars are very popular in the western countries as they have been performing before sold out audiences in the US and the UK. “It is amazing how these young people can hold the attention of the huge audiences with their songs,” he said. Persad said while none of them are playback singers they are able to deliver the Bollywood tunes as perfectly as the original singers.
Zee TV winners thrill TT crowds
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Tabla players excel at Arya Samaj concert
Model-turned actress Deepika Padukone, who made her debut with Om Shanti Om and is believed to have signed Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish-2, denies the rumour. Deepika confirms, "I am not doing Krrish2." The actress, who has been endorsing a whole range of products says, "I am not here to count my endorsements, but to do good work."
Deepika not signed for Krrish-2
While the reigning Indian Idol Prashant Tamang had a good time on his four-city US tour that ended last Monday, the organisers were disappointed by the low turnout of Indian Americans at his concerts. "At Tamang's New York performance, the audience of about 1,700 was predominantly Nepalis and Tibetans. Only about 30 Indian Americans attended," said Kashish, who managed the concert at the Jacob Javits Centre Dec 8. "The proportion of Indian Americans at the Atlanta concert Dec 9 too was abysmal," he added. "The tour that opened with concerts at Washington DC and Boston was not a financial success," Kashish said. "But then profit was not our motive. It was to introduce him to the Nepali community here," he said. Tamang himself said he had a good time on the tour as it was a dream come true for him. "Ever since I was a child, I had wanted to visit China and America," he said at a press conference in New York. "I will return to the US as a performer and a tourist," he added. He said he was keen to learn more about singing techniques to improve his skills and was not averse to doing playback numbers for Bollywood. He has already released his album titled "Dhanyavaad". At the New York concert, the policemanturned-music star sang 18 songs in Hindi and Nepali. His rendering of the "Saawariya" theme song was admired as was his stock number "Yo Maan Ta Mero Nepali Ho". Raghav, who sang "Angel Eyes", closed the concert. In Atlanta, many joined Tamang on the stage towards the end of the concert. Tamang's US tour was organised by Moonlight Records and PartyNepal.com. The Darjeeling-born Kolkattan flew back to Mumbai, where he is currently based. Next, he was scheduled to perform in Nepal and Britain. Tamang is expected to extend his leave from his police job to concentrate more on his music career. In the wake of Tamang emerging winner of Indian Idol in September, an alleged insulting remark against him and Gurkhas by an RJ incited violence in Siliguri in West Bengal.
Americans tour disappoints Indian Police say no extortion on Shah Rukh Idol Tamang
Mumbai police have dismissed reports in a section of the media that claimed Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan had received an extortion call for Rs 2 crore from gangster Bunty Pandey. "Shah Rukh has not received any such call," said a senior officer from the Crime Branch. Asked about interviews a person, claiming to be Pandey, has been giving to some television news channels since morning, the officer said "may be he is doing it just for cheap publicity...to become big in the gang-
Dr Ganraj Kumar (right), former president of Guyana Central Arya Samaj presents a book of poems written by Pt Birbal Singh to Amar Umadas, Vice President of Toronto Arya Samaj.
Students of Chandi Pitamber's Tabla school performing a tabla recital at the Diwali concert of Toronto Arya Samaj held on Nov 17 at the Arya Samaj Mandir, 4345-14th Avenue. A huge audience was there to cheer them on as they showed off their skills and dexterity in fine style demonstratng different taals and beats. The concert featured songs, music, dances, and fashion. There was a variety food bar and a raffle to add to the excitement.
land. Undue advantage is being taken of the media." Pandey was earlier aligned with the Chhota Rajan gang but later broke away and reportedly targets Bollywood personalities for extortion. Pandey's name was in news recently after he gave an interview to a private news channel claiming to be behind the murder of NCP Corporator Devidas Chowgule in the neighbouring satellite city of Navi Mumbai.
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ublic administration and information Minister Dr. Lenny Krishendath Saith, has recently announced that thirteen new radio stations will come on air over the next two years. Minister Saith also stated that this will comprise ten national stations and three community stations more details will be given later. One can expect that among these new stations there will be additional Indian frequencies. It is against this background that this analysis and critical review is being carried out. From the arrival of Indians to Trinidad in 1845, Indian culture was not only relegated to the dark cell, but was treated with scorn, contempt and hostility by the powers that be, by the non-Indian population and later on the PNM government.
Indian radio programming in TT- the unfolding drama
Indo-Caribbean Times DECEMBER 2007
By Ashram B. Maharaj. At present, there are at least seven Indian radio stations (91.1FM, 90.5FM, 103FM, 106FM, 94.1FM, AND 101.1FM). How can we account for this explosion of “Indianness” and consciousness on the airwaves? Many theories have been advanced for this phenomenon, including, the need to fill a vacuum; providing an avenue for Indian expression, enhancing education about and among Indians and mostly the tapping of the advertising dollar vis-à-vis the Indian market. A cursory glance at the above factors will reveal that the vacuum in which Indians found themselves has existed since 1845. They always needed, and still do, avenues for cultural expression, and they always needed to be educated about their culture. With very few exceptions, the need for education has not been fulfilled via the air waves. Programmes such as 90.5FM Shabnam (Gillian Lucky), 106FM Morning Panchayat (Dr. Suruj Rambachan) are commendable in this respect. Sad to say, the rest of the call-in programmes are disappointing to say the least. On most of these programmes the presenters/moderators demonstrate their incompetence and ignorance when dealing with issues, maybe it is due to a lack of preparation but it reflects badly on the airwaves. The advertising dollar appears to have been discovered by WABC 103FM which escalated to be the leading station in the land. The meteoric rise of 103FM galvanized CCN 106FM into recognizing the Indian factor for the purpose of cashing in on the Indian dollar. Fast on the heels of 106FM, came the state owned 91.1FM, which had hitherto previously refused to even consider increased paid programming for Indian cultural expression, followed by 90.5FM which also wished to capitalize as well as 94.1FM. Indian radio programming by and large was based on a request format since its inception. This trend has largely continued and appears to be the most popular on at least five radio stations. Through the years, the request program has been the main form of programming and appears to be internalized by listeners. Clearly, it can be gleaned that listeners hardly learn anything from these programmes suggesting that the format, since its inception has met little education need. Hence, the large dose of Hindi songs and music, the repeated requests and announcements are very stereo-typed. This means that one Indian radio programme on one station parallels on another station. It is clear that with very few exceptions the producers are yet to exploit the true potential of the airwaves as a means of public education with respect to Indian culture. By and large the radio announcers with few exceptions on these stations could enhance their skills with further training. It appears as though one of the pre-requisites to become a radio announcer is the ability to sing which does not necessarily make one a good announcer. Their versatility and skill in dealing with the material at hand demands additional development and preparation before they come on the air. Then we Programme Format The Indian Dollar may experience less un-informed opinions and bad pronunciations, bad grammar loaded with green verbs and pink adjectives, including statements like brother-inlaws, darma for dharma, Bagwansingh for Bhagwansingh, baji for bhaji, new innovations, Bay-joo-cal for Bejucal, Soowar (pig) Sangeet for Swar Sangeet, jess for just and the list goes on. Most of these announcers prove to be an embarrassment on many occasions. Clearly, what is required is further training and the knowledge of basic English and consultation on pronunciation of Hindi words. The irony is that some of these stations have Hindi lessons as one aspect of their programming. Listen to any of the Indian stations and one will be bombarded with these errors. The questions needs to asked, Are we happy with this form of programming or what we are subjected to? Are we happy to be continued being stagnated with thin or is it time for us to renew our efforts and reformat our programming? Is this the best that can be offered? Shouldn’t the listening population demand better?
In 1947, the first Indian radio programme was introduced by Kamaluddin Mohammed, though some authorities have argued that it was Pandit Teeluckdharry who introduced the first Indian programme, this is still to be verified. From 1947 until the advent of WABC 103FM in July 1993, Indian culture lovers were treated to bouts of tokenism by the two competing radio stations (what was then known as Radio 610 and Radio 730). Half an hour and later on, one and a half hours of Indian programming were allocated to approximately 45% of the population with additional hours for Divali and Eid-Ul-Fitr only. With the introduction of 103FM and its all Indian programming, many remarked that everyday felt like Divali or Eid-Ul-Fitr. The genesis of 103FM in 1993 brought not only smiles of appreciation to the Indian population, but also had the effect of catalyzing dramatic changes in policies and programming of at least two other radio stations, ICN 91.1FM and the then CCN 106FM. Also witnessed was the introduction of 90.5FM, another exclusive Indian Radio Station in October 1996 which brought the total to four Indian radio stations. As far as the non-Indian population was concerned, this was a frightening, development as evidence by George Harvey’s article in the Newsday. He stated How come an arm of the state re-christened ICN (Indian Cultural Network) is allowed to peddle Indian music exclusively….. We are courting calamity in this calypso land by violating rules that guide our cherished institutions….. George Harvey Newsday, June 19th; 1995 Page 8
The Genesis of Indian Radio Programming
Comments by UWI’s Rhoda Rheddock, Errol Fabian calypsonians Gregory Ballantyne (GB) and Luta also supported George Harvey’s position: This was so despite the fact that there were at least six other radio stations with absolutely no Indian programming, neglecting at least half of the nations’ needs. No journalist, columnist or commentator has seen fit to comment on this blatant contempt and disregard for Indian cultural forms Explosion of Indianness
Perhaps, in the restructural process we can consider new vistas. This does not mean broadcasting more yagnas which earns the advertising dollar. Some exposure should be given to local Indian literary works. Since radio stations provide a service to the community on a daily basis, some West Indian literary works could be serialized which deal with the Indian presence in a social, historical and cultural complex. Fictional works of such writers like Sir Vidia Naipaul, Samuel Selvon, Rabindranath Maharaj and Vishnu-Ramsamooj Gosine. Sharlowe Mohammed, Lakshmi Persaud and this author to name a few could be serialized for airplay. Dramatization of these works could even win a universal audience. Non-fictional works are available for use and, discussion in broadcast to schools. The radio remains a powerful medium for educating our people and liberating our minds. Positive lessons from our past, from our attitudes during and after indentureship could be used to re-inculcate in our progeny, family values, work ethics, self-esteem, consciousness and direction. What about problems rampant among Indians, obesity, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, exercise and dietary habits? What about alcoholism, domestic violence, drugs, incest, suicide? Moral decay, infidelity and breakdown of the Indian family unit are now common place. Self-righteousness and the victim psyche among Indians should be addressed. There are issues that should never be peripheralised. Solutions to these must be addressed. There are sufficient and capable exemplers in our society, skilled and qualified to offer prescriptive solutions. Radio stations have the unique opportunity to harness the talents of these individuals and achieve far-reaching and multi-benefits. Presently radio stations play music, especially Hindi film music and chutney. This is all well and good, it is commercially rewarding. What is necessary is more variety in the choice of music, e.g. Mehdi Hassan, Pankaj Udhas, Ravi Shankar and other regional music from India, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa (where Indians have settled). More local artistes should be highlighted which would assist in further developing our creative ability instead of
New Breath of Life
fostering pre-packaged programming. This does not mean more of. “Rum till I die”, “Sand fly go bite you” or “Cat lick the butter” but songs with lyrics that can be uplifting. Probably it can be argued that this is the successful formula and stations must be commercially viable. However, sooner or later, the Indian ear will become saturated with the similar music on all station and a new recipe will have to be explored, in order to retain or increase market share. Innovative measures and visions will have to be explored. It can be argued that the listening audience gets what it demands therefore change must come from the population. Indian radio stations and Indian radio programming to a large extent have instilled a sense of pride, self-esteem and consciousness among Indians. However, improvement in the talk-shows and call-in programmes should be encouraged. Radio stations have successfully captured the Indian pocket, it is now time for a larger vision to manifest itself in terms of further educating the Indian mind and not solely for entertainment.
Just months after he shared this country?s President’s Medal award, Akash Maharaj received the Caribbean’s top award for his performance in the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (Cape). Maharaj, a past pupil of Presentation College in Chaguanas, received the Dennis Irvine Award for overall outstanding performance. Dr Dennis Irvine was a past chairman of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). Maharaj, who is studying physics at Queen’s College in Cambridge, England, returned home last week to enjoy Christmas with his family. Accompanied by his mother Bina, he left for St Lucia yesterday to attend the award ceremony at the Sandals Grande Beach Resort. Maharaj and Jemelia Harris, of Bishop Anstey’s High School, were named in October as the two President’s Medal winners for exceptional performance in the Cape exam.
Akash is the top Caribbean CAPE student
India wins home series against rivals Pakistan
ndia settled for a draw in the final Test with Pakistan in Bangalore to claim a first home series for 29 years against their fiercest rivals. The hosts won the three-Test series 1-0 but were heading for an unlikely second victory, with Pakistan 162-7 chasing 374, before bad light stopped play. India declared their second innings on 284-6 with Sourav Ganguly (91) and Dinesh Karthik (52) doing the damage. Captain Anil Kumble then took 5-61 to give India a sniff of the win. But with 13 overs lost because of the gloom, the leg-spinner might rue not declaring earlier. Pakistan raced to 23-0 at tea as they went through the motions of chasing, but the game appeared to be up soon after. Kumble deceived Yasir Hameed (39) with a quicker ball and then caught Younus Khan (0) off his own bowling three deliveries later. The skipper struck for a third time to remove Salman Butt for eight after the opener edged behind to wicket-keeper Karthik but Pakistan's Faisal Iqbal and Misbah-ul-Haq stuck around to put on a bit of a show for the patient crowd. The pair shared an enterprising 71 before Iqbal lofted a skier to 19-year-old Ishant Sharma off Kumble for 51 and then Kamran Akmal was bowled by Kumble's next ball for a golden duck. But as the match looked like grinding towards the draw, left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh removed Misbah's off stump for 38 off 40 balls to leave Pakistan tottering at 148-6. The home crowd sensed a chance to skittle Pakistan and the excitement mounted further when Yuvraj bowled Yasir Arafat for another duck. But with an unlikely victory seemingly within India's grasp, the light worsened and Pakistan wasted no time in accepting the invitation to go off. The Indians remained on the pitch but eventually the umpires conferred with Kumble and he accepted the bad light was terminal. Earlier, India resumed on 131-2 with Ganguly on 63 and Rahul Dravid on 35. The two old hands proceeded serenely for 14 overs and added 46 to their overnight stand of 106 before the innings stuttered. Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria trapped Dravid trapped lbw for 42 to leave India 178-3, a lead of 267.
England struggle against Sri Lanka in second Test
Ganguly, who won man-of-the-series in his 99th Test, was poised to become the seventh player to score a double-hundred and a century in the same match. Australians Doug Walters and Greg Chappell, West Indies' Lawrence Rowe and Brian Lara, India's Sunil Gavaskar and England's Graham Gooch are the other batsmen to have achieved the feat. But the former captain flashed an edge to Iqbal at gully off Mohammad Sami in the next over for no further score. India's stutters continued shortly after when birthday boy Yuvraj, 26, edged Sami to wicket-keeper Akmal for two. But Karthik, who hit Kaneria for a six and two fours in an over, and VVS Laxman stemmed the rising tide with a 37-run stand. India were unfortunate to lose a further batsman when Laxman retired hurt on 14 after suffering a blow to the elbow when he ducked into a fiery Shoaib Akhtar short ball with the third delivery after lunch. But the aggressive Karthik was ably supported by Irfan Pathan (21 not out) and the pair put on 59 before Karthik edged behind to Sami off Arafat and Kumble finally declared.
Sri Lanka, who resumed 28 ahead on 379-4, progressed serenely through the first 40 minutes and it was a surprise when England made the breakthrough. Durham paceman Steve Harmison has shown signs of returning to form on his recall to the side following six months out with injury and he produced a brute of delivery to Jehan Mubarak which the left-hander could only fend to Ian Bell in the gully. Prasanna Jayawardene turned the next delivery through square leg to take the hosts
Players of all skill levels (beginners to advanced) are invited to participate. Tournaments held every month during the winter.
CHESS, DRAUGHT AND DOMINO TOURNAMENTS
ngland face a struggle to save the second Test after conceding a sizeable first innings lead against Sri Lanka on day four in Colombo. When the tourists took their fourth wicket of the day soon after lunch they held hopes of restricting the lead. But the hosts' ninth wicket pair of Prasanna Jayawardene (79) and Dilhara Fernando (36no) put on a defiant 98. Mahela Jayawardene's 195 helped them declare on 548-9, a lead of 197, and England reached 48-0 at the close. Sri Lanka's gritty first-innings display they kept the tourists in the field for 13 and a half hours - effectively ends England's hopes of winning both the match and the series. They lost the first match in Kandy by 88 runs and their best hope now is to avoid defeat in Colombo in order to go to Galle for the third and final Test with a chance of levelling the series at 1-1.
past 400 but his namesake and captain Mahela, who had looked completely unruffled, was soon back in the pavilion. The Sri Lanka captain, who had resumed on 167, greeted Monty Panesar's arrival after an hour's play by merrily clumping his third delivery through deep mid-wicket to move within sight of a double century. But his desire to dominate Panesar cost him dear when he tried to repeat his midwicket assault in the next over. He succeeded only in skying the ball to slip, where Paul Collingwood pouched the chance to remove him for 195. At that point the hosts' lead was 69 and when Broad followed up with his maiden Test wicket, Chaminda Vaas gloving a hook to Ian Bell at slip, the tourists were right back in it. Prasanna Jayawardene cover drives on his way to his second Test fifty in Colombo on Wednesday. Prasanna Jayawardene's defiance took the game away from England. n even better for England but Ravi Bopara and Bell failed to cling on to sharp chances at short mid-wicket and short extra-cover respectively off Prasanna Jayawardene mistakes which were to prove costly. Sri Lanka lunched on 439-7, a lead of 88, but Lasith Malinga's dismissal soon after the interval, trapped in front by Panesar, was a false dawn for England..
See schedule at www.horizoncricketclub.com or phone 905-794-5423. Also, adult and kids CHESS LESSONS (beginners to advance). Learn to play the world’s best board game. Registration information at www.horizoncricketclub.com
Horizon’s Cricket Club’s 2007 Ontario Chess Master Championship was held on Saturday, December 08 in Brampton, Ontario. The club’s 2007 Ontario Chess Master is Devon Thomas from the Brampton Chess Club. Second place was claimed by Rob Gashgarian from Brantford Chess Club, and third place was awarded to Lee Hendon from Brantford Chess Club. Congratulations to all the winners.[Those who wish to send congratulators letters, prizes, gifts, etc to the Master are encouraged to do so. Please mail to: Horizon Cricket Club, 26 Latania Blvd, Brampton, Ontario, L6P 1S9. Selected letters will be updated on our the Horizon website http://horizoncricketclub.com/horizon2/con gratulatory%20letters.html.
Devon Thomas is 2007 Chess Master
The championship was judged by Barry Thorvardson, President of the Ontario Chess Association and Dr. Harold Chan, 2007 World Draughts Champion. Complete tournament results will be updated at www.horizoncricketclub.com . Players from across Ontario are invited to complete for the prestigious title of 2008 Ontario Chess Master in the Spring of 2008 (date & venue to be confirmed and posted on the website) 2008 Ontario Domino Championship: Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 1:00 pm at ISLAND GROVE RESTAURANT (905913-1200), 4525 Ebenezer Rd, Brampton (Queen & Gore Rd) Registration from 12:30 to 1:00 pm Expected finish time: 5:00 pm. No later than 6:00 pm. UPCOMING TOURNAMENT
oung Amir Khan has cemented his reputation as the best young boxer in Britain with a sensational knockout of highly rated Graham Earl last Saturday. He is now on course for a title fight for the European championship sometime in the new year. The 21-year-old turned professional in July 2005 having won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and impressed in his rookie year, easily despatching a series of journeymen.But criticism soon surfaced about the standard of opponent he was facing despite the fact he was still a novice. Earlier this year he made a significant rise in stature by claiming Willie Limond's Commonwealth lightweight title before defending it against Scott Lawton. And on Saturday night he silenced the last remaining critics with a superb, no-nonsense first-round victory over Luton's former WBO interim title challenger Graham Earl. Khan blew Earl away inside a minute and 12 seconds at a packed Bolton Arena, knocking the 29-year-old down before applying further pressure to prompt referee Howard Foster to step in and stop the fight. The brilliant victory made a significant statement within the sport and Khan admitted afterwards: "It felt good, I think most of the time when I fight I will probably get slagged off afterwards, people saying according to rankings, and on paper, I was always going to beat him. Such was the impact of Khan's performance that promoter Frank Warren, whose steady hand has guided Khan's career carefully so far, revealed he is happy to secure his protege a European title fight - against Yuri Romanov of Belarus, who lost to Earl last year - at the earliest opportunity before moving on to bigger things. "We've seen the start of a new era in British boxing,” said Warren.
Amir Khan heads for European title fight
Who’s getting killed in TT?
The list of 122 murders for the first five months of 2007
January 1. Neil Alexander, 2. Ophelia DeFeeza, 3. Vonrick Ferguson, 4. Amir Mohammed, 5 Body found in Maracas, 6 Jamal Edwards, 7 Junior Davis. 8 Body Found, 9. Ako John (Body found in Arima),10 Female body found at Maracas, 11 Body found in El Dorado, 12 N Jack, 13 Police Officer ELIZABETH Sutherland, 14 IVAN Sutherland,15 ANIKA Sutherland, 16 Kevin Serrette, 17 Lance Corporal Brian O'Shaunessy, 18 Cerrano Mason, 19 Darren Francis, 20 Neville Bernard, 21 Akiel Weekes, 22 Body found in East Dry River, 23 Denise Commissiong, 24 Clyde Commissiong, 25 Clint Lutchman, 26 Michelina Aurecchione, 27 Tariq Ali February 28 Keron Hazel, 29 Kevon McKenna, 30 Body found at Rock City Laventille31Loretta Hercules, 32 Nicholas Alexander, 33 Anthony Raphae-Silverton, 34 Sean Spencer, 35 Chaitlal Singh, 36 Anthony Baptiste, 37 Christopher King, 38 Ashmin Sonny, 39 Tevin Besson. 40 Kevon Delpheach,41 Moonshar Ghany, March 42 Angelo Mendoza 43 Robert Green 44 Ronnie 45 Anthony Pope 46 Sheldon Vala 47 Ann-Marie Singh 48 Fazouk Khan 49 Krishendeo Allpitchia 50 Don Duncan 51 Body found at Beetham 52 Avalon Gonzales 53 Pastor Kelvin Austin 54 Hamid Mohammad 55 David McCullin 56 Darian Nicholas 57 Kern Hutch 58 Body found at Fyzabad 59 Randy Reed 60 Aleem Ali April 61 Marli McKenzie 62 Body found at Couva 63 Dexter Taylor 64 Body found at SS ERIN RING ROAD 65 Kenrick Ryan Manswell 66 Joel Ross 67 Body found at Belmont 68 Body found at Moruga 69 Alistair Jack 70 Nicholas Clement 71 Neil Henry 72 Nehru Ramsingh 73 Body found at Caura 74 Jerome Metto 75 Body found at Orangefield Road Central 76 Deonarine Singh 77 Kendell Belcon 78 Kevon Gabriel 79 Dave Alexander 80 Keston Andrews 81 Dexter Williams 82 Dhanraj Bowlah 83 Sherman Bailey 84 Angus Davis 85 Felicia Sanker 86 Makesis Nayako Julien 87 Ronald Spence 88 Atiba Griffith May 89 Blaine Arthur 90 Body found at St James 91 Jerome Batson 92 Whitley Von Hannigan 93 Body found at Iere Village, Princes Town. 94 Anthony Barter 95 Marlon Mathais 96 Emmanuel Jagroo 97 Baby boy found dead at La Brea Village, Guayaguayare 98 Brent Jason Cook 99 Keron Hypolite 100 Sloane Isacc 101 Kerry Lane 102 Gary Dickson 103 Charles Des Vignes 104 Vindra Naipaul 105 Jerry Salvary 106 Body found at Mahogany Trace, Bagatelle 107 Nazeem Hosein 108 Body found La Romaine 109 Body found in Malick Link Road in Morvant 110 Ajoma Mohammed 111 Michael King 112 Rusheed Goodridge 113 Winston Skeet 114 Russell John 115 Carlon Briggs 116 Marlon Duke 117 Asquith Clark 118 Rudolph Sorzano 119 Andrew Belcon 120 Shakir Hinds121 Andrew Decan 122 Derrick Venus
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