Caribbean News Round-up

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Parents protest “freight container” school

cargo container[Trinidad Express] – Frustrated parents of children attending the Penal/Quinam Government Primary School met with Ministry of Education officials yesterday, trying to find out why a new school building has remained closed despite being completed months ago.
The parents staged a peaceful protest outside the Ministry of Education building on St Clair Street, Port of Spain to show their dissatisfaction with the limited response by the Ministry.
According to a vice president of the Parent/Teacher Association Melina Mendoza, the parents met an advisor to the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia. Mendoza said no concrete answers were given concerning the school.
Since 2013, the pupils and staff have been utilising seven freight containers as their classroom, washroom and staff room. And the local community centre has been transformed into make-shift classrooms to accommodate the school population of 94 pupils and staff.
The school was advised by officials that after the construction of the new school they would be able to occupy the new building. However, the new school remains closed.
A Ministry of Education official told the Express that the school was 90 per cent complete. However the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) stopped construction works in June this years, without an explanation.
The official said an investigation is being launched to query the reasoning behind this works being stopped.

 

Enraged driver tries to ‘run over’ biker

[Trinidad Guardian] – Bicycle rider Errol Lochan pedalled to save his life yesterday after an enraged cutlass-wielding motorist tried to run him over with a car in front of several witnesses.

The motorist, who was locked up by police, crashed his car into a business place along the SS Erin Road, before reversing and becoming stuck on a pavement outside the Motiram Shiva Mandir. Luckily no one was injured.

The drama unfolded before peak traffic started close to Cuchawan Trace, Debe. Lochan, still shaken from the ordeal said he went to a nearby bar to buy some cigarettes when the motorist asked him to move his bicycle.
“I tell him ok and then I went to buy some pholourie. The next thing I know this man started accusing me of stealing his phone and his money. I didn’t steal anything. I tell him he mad or what and I leave,” Lochan said.

The enraged motorist jumped into his Datsun 280C and began following Lochan down the hill with the car. Pedalling feverishly, Lochan dodged into Ravi and Son’s car wash, hoping to throw the driver off the chase.
Ravi Sookdeo and his wife, Meena Sookdeo, were standing in the car wash area when they saw the 280C coming towards them.

“We had to run. The driver hit the pressure washer and then he slammed the brakes. He ‘chook’ in his reverse gear and then went straight onto the pavement, almost hitting the mandir,” Sookdeo said.

He added that it was fortunate that there were no children around when the accident happened. The driver then pulled out a cutlass and began chasing Lochan. By the time police arrived, both men were questioned.
The driver was arrested. He is expected to be charged pending instructions from senior officers.

Man murdered after prophecy

Jovon Mc Gill
Jovon Mc Gill

[TT Guardian] – Two weeks ago, 23-year-old Jovon “Seggy” Mc Gill told relatives he would not live to see the end of the year. This self-fulfilling prophecy came true on Sunday morning when his body was removed from down a precipice in Morvant.

Speaking with the media at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, a female relative of Mc Gill, who did not want to be identified, said he told her that he dreamt he was walking with his parents, both deceased.

She added that he also told other relatives that he did not believe he will live to see Christmas. Mc Gill, she said, began having the dreams around the time he began his part time job at National Flour Mills.

According to police, Mc Gill’s body was found at Poinsetta Drive, Morvant, around noon on Sunday after he left his Dorata Street, Laventille, home Saturday afternoon.

Police said Mc Gill may have been killed as a result of another murder that took place in the area on Friday. Police say there is an ongoing war between Morvant and Malick, Barataria. The other murdered man, Lorenzo Phillip, lived at Malick, Barataria but was killed in Morvant.

Also speaking to the media at the centre yesterday was Mc Gill’s girlfriend, Natalie Brown, who said the father of one was a quiet person who kept to himself.

“I don’t know why he was there (in Morvant),” Brown said before being interrupted by another woman who said Mc Gill received a phone call before leaving his home to meet someone.

Brown added: “He was home Saturday evening with his daughter and he got a phone call and it was so strange that whoever called him, he tell them hold on he coming now.

“I find it strange because normally he don’t leave home at those hours or walk down the road, cars always picking him up home and dropping him back.”

Police reports stated that around 5 am Friday, Lorenzo Philip, 27, of Seventh Avenue, Barataria, was found murdered and naked at Poinsettia Drive, Morvant, not too far from where Mc Gill’s body was found. Police said residents heard gunshots and later found his body. Police believe that Philip was killed as a result of an ongoing dispute over the ownership a house and land in the Morvant area.

Brazil’s recession deepens in third quarter

_86971983_81412349[BBC] – Brazil’s economy shrank by 1.7% in the third quarter of the year compared with the second quarter, deepening the country’s worst recession in 25 years.

Compared with a year ago, the economy is 4.5% smaller. The country’s unpopular President, Dilma Rousseff, has been trying to cut spending and raise taxes and this new fall in economic activity will make the latter harder.
Her government is also entangled in a massive corruption scandal.

The drop in economic activity was largely due to a drop in investment, which fell by 15% compared with a year ago.
That has been falling for nine quarters in a row. Unemployment is at a six-year high and inflation is running at 10%, meaning household spending is being squeezed.

The country’s credit rating was cut to junk in September because of mounting political turmoil and the difficulties faced by President Rousseff’s government in tackling growing debt. The rating means most of the world’s major investors cannot lend to the country.

Also in September, the Brazilian government announced a $7bn (£4.5bn) package of spending cuts aimed at plugging the huge black hole in the country’s 2016 budget. Dilma Rousseff’s public approval rating has hit record lows.

Brazil’s economy has been depressed by the end of the global commodities boom, while a corruption scandal centred on state oil giant Petrobras has damaged investor confidence.

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