Caribbean News Round-up


T&T flag-bandanna helps NY cops nab Trini robber

Trini flagged bandit[Trinidad Express] – A TRINIDADIAN robber who evaded US authorities for weeks, was caught on Wednesday. The giveaway was the bandanna he chose to wear during exploits: one depicting the T&T colours of red, white and black.

For that, The New York Times says he “deserves a salute for stupidity”.

The paper says Charles Gelzer was busted by the feds for a string of armed robberies of grocery stores in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

It says Gelzer, 47, wore a red, black, and white mask to cover his face “in at least two of the stickups, and he was carrying the mask in his pocket when he was nabbed last Wednesday “

The paper also said that investigators figured out the robberies were connected because one bandit carried a silver gun and the other a red one.

It said: “After Gelzer and his partner in crime allegedly made off with about US$3,700 in cash from the AH&F Grocery on Ocean Ave. on Aug. 31 and a convenience store on Bay 35th St. in Brooklyn on Sept. 3, they allegedly hit the Flushing Ave. Deli in Queens on Sept. 25.”

It said they grabbed about US$400 in cash, but Gelzer’s mask slipped down and the store surveillance camera captured his face.

It said Gelzer was allegedly wearing the T&T flag mask and a distinctive black vest on Oct. 12 and armed with a silver gun when the robbery duo invaded M&M Deli in Staten Island, grabbing cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

It said: “But Gelzer’s luck had already begun to unravel. Cops and federal agents had interviewed two victims of a July 21 street robbery by two gunmen — one with a silver handgun and the other wielding a red gun. The victims picked Gelzer’s mug out of a photo array — he has a prior conviction for robbery.”

The NY Daily News said a witness to the Bay 35th St. robbery had described the getaway car as a “smoke gray,” four-door Japanese car, according to the complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. Gelzer owns a four-door, gray Acura sedan, according to the complaint.

“At the time of Gelzer’s arrest (last Tuesday) he had the Trinidadian flag mask in his pocket,” stated Kieran Keenaghan, a robbery task force investigator with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“In multiple photographs posted on Facebook, Gelzer . . . is shown wearing the black vest,” Keenaghan stated. “In one of these photographs of Gelzer, there are images of stacks of money and an arm making a muscle.”

Gelzer was ordered held without bail.


Sewer problem shuts down another school

[Trinidad Guardian] – Another 600 children have been sent home as yet another primary school has been closed because of sewer problems.

Officials at the Ragoonanan Road Government Primary School began sending its students home from September 19, ten days after the opening of the new school term.

They were unable to attend school because the boys’ and girls’ washrooms had to be closed due to a clogged sewer line and an unbearable stench.

Concerned parent, Camille Warrick, whose ten-year-old son is in Standard Five and preparing to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination in May next year, said the boys’ toilet was closed at the beginning of the school term.

“They were made to use the infants’ toilet but the problem escalated when the girls’ washroom also became unusable.

“By September 19, the school started sending the children back home, sometimes from as early as 9.25 am. There was an unbearable stench from the sewer plant,” she added.

Warrick said school officials attempted to rectify the problem on their own by using chemicals but the problem persisted.“The children were sent home on Wednesday around midday,” she added.

Warrick said she did not bother to send her son to school yesterday.

“They keep telling them to come to school and then sending them home,” she explained.

She said school officials have reportedly been writing letters to the Education Ministry about the matter and requesting permission for the closure of the school until the problem is rectified.

“We understand they have not been getting any response and so is unable to close the school,” she said.

Sources at the Education Ministry said the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL), the state entity in charge of school maintenance and repairs, was contacted on the matter and is reportedly working on it.

Vice president of the school’s Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA), Prakash Mahabir, said yesterday they finally got a commitment from the Water and Sewerage Authority to visit the school today to assess the problem.

The school’s 600 students have joined another 547 from the Chaguanas Government Primary School who were also sent home on November 9 because of an overflowing sewer plant.

After several delays, the school’s PTA was finally told the EFCL had awarded a contract to fix the problem.

“Yes, work has started but we don’t know when it would be completed,” PTA president, Lyndon Mohammed, said.

Ministry sources said the sewer tank had already been pumped and work should be completed by the end of this week.

“The school should be reopened by Monday,” it was stated.

A number of schools which were not being maintained have been closed and the students sent home. The new EFCL board has been reportedly reviewing all contracts after the alleged discovery of documents at its offices pointing to contractual impropriety.

The new board was appointed after the PNM won the September 7 general election.

The closure of the schools has been having a ripple effect with parents being forced to take extra leave to stay home with their children. This has been affecting productivity at workplaces.

Others have to find extra money to pay people to watch their children while they went to work.

Hundreds of students writing the SEA exam next year and those who have begun doing the Continuous Assessment Component aspect are being affected with the closure of their schools.


El Salvador Church suspends Father Delgado over sexual abuse

_86904551_030129553-1[BBC] – The Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador has suspended a well-known priest for paedophilia.

Father Jesus Delgado sexually abused a young girl over an eight-year period during the 1980s, the Church said in statement.

He is willing to meet woman, who is now 42, and ask for forgiveness, reads the statement.

The Church was forced to act after the government of El Salvador warned that it would name the priest.

Secretary of Social Inclusion Vanda Pignato informed the Catholic Church in October of the results of the government’s findings, La Prensa Grafica newspaper reported.

“He likes to celebrates mass for the children but he is a paedophile,” said Ms Pignato.

After conducting an internal investigation, the Church decided to suspend the bishop of all his priestly functions.

The girl was abused from the aged of nine until she was 17.

Bishop Delgado, 77, was a respected figure in the Central American nation.

He was an aide and biographer of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Monsignor Romero was murdered by a death squad in 1980, in the early days of El Salvador’s brutal civil war.

Pope Francis declared Monsignor Romero a martyr and unblocked the process for his beatification, which was being overseen by Father Delgado.



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