29 April 2015 For the past four days, the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World System at the Customs and Excise Division has been non-functional after it crashed, causing considerable delays for business people and increasing their costs on fees for clearing goods. A release sent by the Ministry of Communications yesterday said online services, including Asycuda World, eManifests, eDeclarations and Prepayment Accounts through the Customs Border Control System (CBCS), would be manually processed until Friday.
In a release, the T&T Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) said it had been informed the genesis of the problem was the transfer of Customs and Excise's IT servers to the new Customs and Excise building, Government Campus Plaza, Port-of-Spain. "The costs being incurred by our membership include mounting port rent and demurrage charges as well as all the costs associated with the considerable delays in getting raw materials in and finished goods out of the country."
7 April 2015 An Australian national was knocked out and robbed in Port of Spain over the weekend.
Officers of the Woodbrook Crime Patrol Unit found Oliver James King of New South Wales, lying unconscious on the pavement outside TZAR Nightclub in Woodbrook. They took him to the St James Health Facility where he was subsequently treated and discharged.
King had been liming at the club on Friday night and decided to leave during the early hours of Saturday morning. He told the officers that after leaving the club, he was struck on the head, and when he regained consciousness, he was at the hospital.
He later discovered he was robbed of his cash and other valuables.
31 March 2015 A United States national is contemplating legal action against the Airports Authority and perhaps the Judiciary after he was assaulted by their officers earlier this month. Anthony Williams, of New York, said he was arrested at the Piarco International Airport on March 9, while he was waiting to catch a flight back home. He said he believes he was made to suffer at the remand section of the Golden Grove prison so that his bruises could heal before he was sentenced and allowed to leave Trinidad.
According to Williams, he and a friend had gone to the airport hoping to be placed on a flight back to NY. They were both on standby and when they were told they could not be accommodated, Williams said he became angry and cursed. Williams said he believed the person he cursed at was a reservation clerk and was surprised when he was grabbed and taken to a room at the airport where he was cuffed in the face.
Williams was taken to the Piarco Police Station and then to the Arima Police station and the next day appeared in court charged with using obscene language, obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duties and creating a disturbance at the airport. He said he was advised that if he pleaded guilty, he would be fined and upon paying the amount he would be allowed to leave. He did so, but instead he was denied bail and remanded into custody as the magistrate said she could not hear the trial that day since the two Airports Authority officers who arrested him did not turn up in court.
At his next court appearance, some eight days after he was arrested, Williams was allowed to enter his plea and was fined $4,250.
9 March 2015 Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the robbery of a 47-year-old Swedish citizen on Saturday morning near the Matura beach.
According to police reports, around 10 a.m., Evelyn Isokaanta, who was said to be a pilot from Sweden, and David Patrick, 35, a straightener from Pinto Road, Arima, were at Gordon Trace, Salybia, Matura, in the vicinity of the beach-front, when they were approached by three men. The men allegedly produced a weapon, announced a hold-up, and then proceeded to tie up and gag the two victims. The assailants then proceeded to rob the victims of several valuable items.
The victims subsequently untied themselves and made their way to the Matura Police Station with the assistance of a passerby. An all points bulletin was sent out and the stolen vehicle was found abandoned at Picton Road, Sangre Grande. The assailants and the stolen items were not found.
8 March 2015 Peter and Murium Green were slashed and stabbed on Tobago in 2009. They suffered horrific injuries and are suing the Trinidad and Tobago government for £200,000. Their attacker has never been found.
Their German neighbours on the island were murdered last November. Hubertus Keil, 74, and wife Brigid, 71, were butchered in Bacolet, near where the Greens had their holiday home. Nobody has been charged.
Peter, 71, said: "I have looked at a lot of unsolved killings on Tobago and they bear a marked similarity. I fear they have their own version of The Ripper running around."
In 2008, Swedish couple Anna Sundsval, 62, and Ake Olson, 73, were murdered in a similar manner at their holiday home in Bon Accord, seven miles from Bacolet. Nobody has been charged.
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest murder counts in the world. But Peter said: "Trinidad and Tobago want the tourist money but they do not want to take responsibility for bad things."
6 March 2015 Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London is again calling for the firing of Minister of Tobago Development and Tobago West MP Dr Delmon Baker over a statement he made in a weekly paper recently. Baker was quoted as saying: "Persons are more likely to be shot dead in Tobago than in Trinidad." London had previously called for an apology and retraction of the statement from Baker who has refused.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, London called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to revoke immediately Baker's appointment. "Dr Baker has demonstrated that he is neither interested in Tobago nor its development," London said. He added statistics from the Police Service contradicted Baker's statement, noting the Tobago Division was awarded for outstanding performance in the reduction of serious crime in 2014.
London said Tobago had already started feeling the pinch from the negative effects on potential visitors who may have read Baker's statement. On Wednesday, Baker defended the statement and promised to make further comments to support what he said.
25 February 2015 Efforts to transfer a vehicle from Trinidad to Tobago has now turned into a nightmare for one foreigner and her returning resident husband.
Fatima Neptune is vowing to encourage foreigners not to come to this country as her dreams of paradise have been smashed.
Neptune said after she and her husband decided to make Tobago their home in 2012, items they owned in the US were shipped to this country without problems. However the shipment of their vehicle has seen no end of trouble.
"Each time we went to deliver the paperwork we needed a new document and a new document every week was a new document and a different person, and that's when we started getting exasperated with the Ministry of Trade and lack of information," Neptune said.
She showed the Express documents she provided to the Ministry of Trade on the matter. These documents were later lost. "Nobody called us, nobody told us anything. We finally went back to find out that they had lost our file, and we had to come back to Tobago again, reconstruct the whole file, go back there again," Neptune said.
She said she has given up on the system and would not advise foreigners to settle in this country.
20 February 2015 A visiting US computer technician remains warded at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital after he was hit by a stray bullet on Carnival Tuesday night in Woodbrook. He has been identified as Colin Baird, 63, a software technician.
Reports say a bandit snatched a gold chain from the neck of a police officer and ran off with the officer in hot pursuit. The police officer is alleged to have pulled out his firearm and fired a shot which struck the fleeing bandit, but also hit Baird in his chest.
Baird and the suspect are said to be in stable condition at hospital.
3 February 2015 An elderly English woman celebrating her 73rd birthday with a cruise ship visit to Trinidad was robbed and assaulted along with her husband on the streets of Port of Spain yesterday. Betty Pearson, and her husband, Phillip, 77, of Oxfordshire, arrived aboard the cruise ship Adonia which docked at around 9.30 a.m. They were attacked less than three hours later. They were taken in wheelchairs as the woman suffered a fracture to her right foot, and her husband was experiencing pains in his face, right shoulder and elbow.
According to police, shortly before midday the couple were walking along Charlotte Street when in the vicinity of Chang's Variety Store, a man approached and grabbed Betty Pearson's gold chain valued at £2,000 off her neck. The thief pushed the elderly woman to the ground and when her husband tried to intervene, he was overpowered and also pushed to the ground.
They were taken by police officers to the Port of Spain General Hospital for treatment. They suffered cuts and bruises and were discharged after receiving treatment.
They reportedly told police the experience would not prevent them from returning to Trinidad.
18 January 2015 A former Life Sport director, Ruth Marchan has now taken to making a stream of serious allegations against the Government online and in a letter to former national security minister and Independent Labour Party leader, Jack Warner. Marchan also e-mailed Warner last week from her hiding place to warn of an underworld plot to assassinate him.
Marchan's letter to Warner asks for the assistance, lists details of Dana Seetahal's murder plot, and alleges one very tech-savvy former Life Sport contractor was retained to conduct electronic spying and set up foreign accounts for some clients.
Marchan made allegations against four senior government ministers in her letter to Warner. She also implicated a former government official in Seetahal's assassination in her letter. She named five people behind the plot and every name linked back to the Life Sport programme in one way or another.
This is not the first time Marchan has turned to Warner for help. At the height of the Life Sport debacle, Warner came to Marchan's rescue after her own body guard, Curtis "Tallman" Gibson, was killed in his bed. Marchan said she was ready to talk and to provide the necessary evidence.
17 January 2015 Warning to expats and investors in Trinidad and Tobago: The government tells you getting money out of the country is simple and easy. Last week I had money from the sale of assets wired from a bank in Tobago to the US. The transaction took over an hour, was limited to $1,000 dollars US per day, and each day the bank charged their full transfer fee. Every day the process is the same. You can do the cost in time and money.
8 January 2015 A stay at a Tobago hotel was featured as the grand prize on the popular game show Wheel-of-Fortune last night. Blue Waters Inn, which is located in Speyside made the announcement on its Facebook page on Tuesday.
"We were ecstatic about the hotel being prominently featured on a television show that has a very wide audience," hotel manager Curtis Lee said. "Hopefully this will be the first of many opportunities like this."
Lee said most people stay in the town or near Crown Point, but in Speyside, they have an untouched environment which appeals to bird watchers, divers and people who enjoy nature. "If you are expecting a night life, and want to be able to jump in your car to go to the town, this is not the hotel for you, as we are an hour and 20 minutes from the town. Blue Waters Inn is the place to come and unwind," he said.
4 December 2014 Word today that Trinidad and Tobago has moved from 83 to 85 in the Corruption Perception Index. This was revealed by President of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, Mr. Deryck Murray, at a News Conference on Wednesday. According to Mr. Murray, Barbados remained the highest ranking Caribbean country, at 15th place, with Venezuela ranking the lowest.
"Trinidad and Tobago maintained a score below 50, below the average, and that tells a story." The Corruption Perception Index is a ranking of 175 countries according to the extent to which corruption is believed to exist. In the 2014 poll, Somalia and North Korea remained at the bottom while Denmark and New Zealand took the top two spots.
30 November 2014 Thuggery as a possible motive for attacks on foreigners to the island of Tobago, may not be ruled out as police continue their investigations [into the murder of Birgid & Hubertus Keil].
The Sunday Guardian returned to the Bacolet area yesterday and received information, from undisclosed sources, that foreigners who are interested in purchasing land and property in remote and residential areas in the sister isle are asked to make a down payment of ten per cent of the value and are required to make the full payment within a stipulated time period.
Sources believe that they are then forced to leave the country by one means or another before the time period is up, so that they lose their down payment. They are often threatened, attacked or in some cases murdered.
When told about the information the Sunday Guardian received from sources, ACP Simon Lendore of Homicide said he could not comment directly on this particular motive. He assured that all information and/or leads will be investigated.
27 November 2014 With a population of a mere 1.3 million, this country has been ranked 12th in a United Nations (UN) study among countries worldwide where the most homicides occur. Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams says he is not surprised by the report findings, noting this country is "a very violent place." He was responding to an article published on businessinsider.com entitled "The 12 Countries Where The Most Homicides Occur" and which referenced a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Study on Homicide 2013. The rankings are categorised as number of murders per 100,000 people and specifically related to 2012:
- Honduras, 90.4 - Venezuela, 53.7 - Belize, 44.7 - El Salvador, 41.2 - Guatemala, 39.9 - Jamaica, 39.3 - Swaziland, 33.8 - St Kitts and Nevis, 33.6 - South Africa, 31.0 - Colombia, 30.8 - The Bahamas, 29.8 - Trinidad and Tobago, 28.3
The global average homicide rate stands at 6.2 per 100,000 population, and this country's rate in 2012 was more than five times that figure. Williams noted that when the media print the tracking of homicides "and pushing in people's heads on a daily basis the issue of violence and homicide, it isn't helping our country and it ain't helping our image, it isn't helping our young people". He questioned whether anywhere in the world there is tracking of the homicide rate as is done by the local media "I'd love to know". Williams said if young people continue to be familiarised with violence it will "remain in their heads".
25 November 2014 British national Peter Green who along with his wife Murium were viciously attacked while holidaying in Tobago in 2009, yesterday announced he will be suing the Trinidad and Tobago Government for £2 million or approximately TT$20 million and will be continuing his campaign to tarnish Tobago as a tourism destination.
Green, speaking via telephone from his home in Somerset, England, said his anti-Tobago campaign was reignited following the murders of German couple Birgid, 71, and Hurbertus Konrad Keil, 74, who were found dead in Bacolet, last Saturday morning. Green noted that he and his wife were friends with the Keils and, "we're so upset at losing such wonderful people." Green, who returned to the UK following the attack in 2009, had not seen the couple for five years. Green said he does not believe the killer/s would ever be caught.
He reported they were initially given a statutory TT$25,000 for their injuries but will be pursuing for £1 million each. He said that after an initial difficulty to find a barrister to represent them he secured the services of Marc Beaumont, who has chambers in the UK, New York and the Caribbean. He said the matter will be placed in the High Courts in London around the time of Christmas 2014. He noted that even if the suit is unsuccessful, "at least we will embarrass Trinidad and Tobago."
22 November 2014 The bodies of a retired German couple were discovered Saturday morning at picturesque Bacolet Beach on Minister's Bay in Tobago. Around 10:00 AM two beachcombers discovered the body of 71-year-old Birgid Keil. Police were called and arrived to begin the investigation, later finding the body of 74-year-old Hubertus Keil a short distance away in the bushes.
They were brutally chopped to death, suffering deadly wounds to the back of their necks and defensive wounds about their hands and bodies, indicating a struggle had ensued.
The Keils are the fifth elderly persons murdered this week and the seventh murdered in the last three weeks. On Wednesday, two elderly men, were murdered in separate incidents. Ramlal Ramroop, 66, was found stabbed to death in Biche. John Mitchell, 74, was found beaten to death in Belmont. Two days earlier on November 17th, Edna Reid, 88, was stabbed to death in her South Oropouche home. On November 9th, Normal Holder, 76, was raped and strangled to death in her Laventille home. And finally, on October 29, Florentine Arneaud, 73, was found stabbed to death in her Sangre Grande apartment.
19 November 2014 Safety and security in the tourism sector should be addressed as threats or challenges, and how the sector responds to these threats and challenges is important. This is the view of Richard Campbell, Chief, Officer of Tourism, Organisation of American States (OAS).
Campbell said visitors are unlikely to travel to a destination if the water supply is unsafe, the food supply is not trustworthy, or if they feel they are likely to be the victims of crime or violence. "More than any other economic activity, the success or failure of a tourism destination depends on being able to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors. In reality we should be treating tourism security as an essential component of tourism competitiveness and sustainability," he said.
TDC Chief Executive Officer Keith Chin said visitor safety and security have become a critical factor in the decision-making process for visitors. He said more than two-thirds of global respondents cited safety and security as the greatest concern when choosing an international tourist destination, ranking higher than cost.