Caribbean News Round-up



2 drown as boat capsizes

fishing[TT Guardian] – For three hours Sita Phillip sat in a vehicle near the Ortoire River, waiting for her husband Larry Phillip to return from a fishing trip on Monday. Little did she know at the time that his lifeless body was floating out to sea.

Phillip and his friend Wayne Samaroo had hours before suffered a tragic demise when raging sea conditions capsized their pirogue, causing both of them to drown in the river.

It is believed that Phillip, 30, of Libertville Road, Rio Claro, was knocked unconscious when the 27-foot long pirogue struck him on the head. After searching for the whole night, his father-in-law Rajesh Seecharan found his body stuck between some rocks along the beach around 7 am yesterday.

Fidel Bayne, who witnessed the accident, said Samaroo, 52, of the Manzanilla/Mayaro Road, Ortoire Village, was wearing boots that became entangled in the net.

He said when villagers got him out of the water a short time later, they performed CPR but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Mayaro District Health Facility.

According to Sita, 18, Phillip left her parent’s Cascadoux Trace home around 4.30 pm to retrieve a fishing net with pirogue owner Samaroo.

The T&T Guardian was told that Samaroo’s son Kowayne, 23, and nephew Rendell Jack, 23, were in the pirogue with the men when the incident that led to their deaths occurred.

The men were returning from sea with the net and catch when the pirogue stalled in the river mouth. When the engine stopped they pulled to the side, but with the rough waters the pirogue rocked violently. As the boat began to capsize the men jumped into the water, but only Kowayne and Jack were able to swim away alive.

“When he left to go, he told me to come back for him in an hour. They usually take an hour, so I went down there about 5.30 pm and I waited until 8.30 pm until I saw someone running and saying that the boat flipped over,” Sita recalled in speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday.

It was only in September that Sita and Phillip celebrated their two-year anniversary and just six months ago they celebrated the birth of their daughter Sofia.

Sita said Phillip, a quality assurance/quality control officer, was laid off by British Gas last February but was expected to resume work in December. To continue to provide for his family, she said, he bought a pirogue recently and started to fish.

He would sometimes fish with Samaroo.

With his death, she said, she had now lost a loving, honest and hardworking husband.

Neither Kowayne nor Jack was at home yesterday, but Samaroo’s wife of 28 years, Lydia Samaroo, 53, said she was yet to learn what really happened.

She said Samaroo, a father of 15, was a boat maker, boat owner and fisherman who worked tirelessly every day. She said her family had planned to celebrate Divali and two weeks later go Christmas shopping.

“We were going to cook roti but we were not lighting any deyas. My husband really wasn’t a man to make plans. He lived today for tomorrow,” Lydia said.

However, she believed her son was wearing a life jacket as she said he could use only one of his feet.

She said because Kowayne walked with crutches and could not work, he loved going to sea and on other adventures with his father.


Gov’t blocks media

media[Jamaica Observe] – CHAIRMAN of Parliament’s Internal and External Affairs Committee, Derrick Smith, has described as “abominable” yesterday’s lockout of media personnel from the question-and-answer segment of Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams’ highly anticipated appearance before the committee.

Smith, who strongly opposed an in-camera session, had to relent as Government members insisted that the meeting should be private.

He later told the Jamaica Observer that this is the first time in the committee’s history that a meeting was closed to the media and the public.

“It’s pure politics, and the Opposition is totally against any suppression of the press,” he stated.

Williams and his team were summoned weeks ago to appear before the committee to give an account of the status of crime in the country.

Until yesterday, there have been no public objections to the commissioner’s appearance before the committee. Government members Mikhail Phillips, Arnaldo Brown, and Dr Winston Green were unrelenting as they closed ranks on the issue shortly after the commissioner and members of the police high command took their seats in the chamber.

They argued that information could come out in the meeting which could compromise national security.

“Some unfortunate comments were made outside this chamber, and we can’t divorce ourselves from those comments and the context in which this sitting is taking place… we should not expose the commissioner and his team to the likelihood of any intemperate and inappropriate questions being asked. Let’s have the thing in-camera,” Brown told the chairman.

“It is my right, as a member of this committee, to put it to the chair and the committee that we take a vote on the matter,” Phillips insisted.

“There is no need to get ourselves worked up. The committee approved the invitation, the committee members are very mature and experienced, and they are aware that we are dealing with matters of national importance and national security. As such, I would believe that certain types of questions would not be asked. So I don’t see what we are getting our backs up about this morning,” Smith said. [Extract]


Indian Nationals arrested for practicing obeah in Antigua

obeah-statue[CMC]Police say they have arrested two Indians “for being involved in the practice of obeah”.

The police said that several pieces of evidential materials, believed to be used in the practice of obeah, were found at a property occupied by the accused men. The items were confiscated pending further investigations into the matter.

They report that Sandeep Gangadharaiah and Krishna Chennai Madras, both of India, have since been taken into custody and Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said they would be sent out of the country.

Their arrest followed a public outcry from residents who expressed fears that the presence of a self-proclaimed “Indian Astrologer” and “Priest” would invite “unwanted evil to the country”.

On Monday, members of an activist group, The Movement, visited the business place of the Indian men and told them to “pack up and go”.

Benjamin, who is also Labour Minister, said the two men would be sent out of the country because they had breached the terms upon which they were made to land in Antigua and Barbuda as well as breaching the Obeah Act of 1904.

“Obeah is against the laws of Antigua and Barbuda. There is an Act which indicates that obeah is unlawful when practiced in the state and nobody can make an application to practice an act which is unlawful,” Benjamin told the Antigua Observer.

“We do not practice black magic in Antigua and we are going to stamp that out. We are a Christian society and I want to applaud the Christian community which got together and have moved forward to stop this practice.”

The Obeah Act defines obeah as “ordinarily understood and practised, and includes witchcraft and working or pretending to work by spells or by professed occult or supernatural power”.


Prakash: “Kamla not only reason for UNC defeat”

kamla-1[Trinidad Express] – Many reasons led to the defeat of the People’s Partnership in the September 7 general election and no one person is to blame, says Congress of the People (COP) political leader Prakash Ramadhar.

In an interview with the Express at his St Augustine constituency office, on Pasea Road, Tunapuna, last week, Ramadhar steered clear of the United National Congress (UNC) internal election drama but said he has a good relationship with both Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Dr Roodal Moonilal, who are both battling for the party’s leadership.

The Sunday before, Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh said he was unhappy with the general election campaign and Persad-Bissessar’s leadership.

Former food production minister Devant Maharaj also found fault with Persad-Bissessar’s leadership, which he said led to the demise of the People’s Partnership in the general election.




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