Trinidad e Tobago

‘Is TSTT union-busting?’

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 21:56

Is the Telecommunications Services of TT (TSTT) engaged in union-busting? Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh, in a media release, asked that question after the forcible removal of Communications Workers Union (CWU) head Clyde Elder from the company’s Edward Street, Port of Spain headquarters on Wednesday. “Is TSTT moving to have the Communications Workers Union decertified as being the recognized bargaining union for its workers?” Indarsingh said Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte had to state “unequivocally” whether this is the company’s next move, as Elder was removed after going to meet with workers and answer questions about the company’s restructuring. “This attack on Elder is an attack on the entire trade union movement and is the greatest betrayal of the working class in TT since 1937,” Indarsingh charged. He said Wednesday’s “staff rationalisation” exercise by TSTT, in which 51 non- unionised employees were served retrenchment notices, was a “continuation of this government’s seemingly unbridled attack on the labour movement, a further systematic dismantling and weakening of the trade union movement and the working class of the country by this very hostile and unsympathetic Keith Rowley-led PNM Administration. “Why is there a continued campaign of destabilising trade unions and displacing workers by the government?” he asked.

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No bail yet for Westmoorings drug-bust accused

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 20:22

THE TWO women who were granted $12 million bail this week, on charges arising from last week's multi-million-dollar drug bust at an apartment at Regents Gardens, Westmoorings, will spend another weekend in prison. The two, Krystiana Sankar and Yannis Pebbles Augustine, have been unable to access the $6 million bail they were each granted on Monday by Port of Spain magistrate Aden Stroude. Newsday was told neither woman has been able to access bail. Another attempt will be made for Sankar on Monday as her relatives struggle to get a surety in keeping with the conditions imposed by the magistrate. Atiba Eligon and Jervon Cole were also denied bail. Cole returns to court on Monday, when Stroude will rule on his bail. According to the evidence presented in court, the drugs – 1.04 kilogrammes of cocaine and 191.66 kilogrammes of marijuana – carried a total street value of $3.8 million: $400,000 for the cocaine and $3.4 million for the marijauana. All four accused have been jointly charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. Sankar faces an additional charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition allegedly found in her apartment. They were charged on Thursday by a high-level team of investigators from the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit, police said in a statement. A fifth person, the driver of a BMW who was arrested away from the drug-bust scene, was released from custody after consultation with the DPP. The raid which led to the arrest of the four was led by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and was made by officers from the new Special Operations Response Team (SORT). The accused are represented by attorneys Larry Williams, Criston J Williams, Shirvani Ramkissoon, and Samuel Thomas.

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Cyclist at funeral: ‘The road is ours, too’

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 20:22

Members of the TT Cycling Federation, the Route 2 Maxi Taxi Association and the TT Tourist Transport Service Association joined friends and family of 40-year-old maxi driver and cyclist Aaron Andrew Thomas at his funeral. Thomas was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway last Sunday. During the service, Devlin Roberts, representing the Cycling Federation and his own club, PSL Cycling Club, pleaded with road users to be aware while using the road, and to remember that drivers are not the only people who have rights. “I want to appeal to the drivers in TT: the road also belongs to cyclists,” Roberts said. “I know the government is doing its part and the police are doing theirs, but the police cannot be everywhere. People have to be courteous and they have to respect other citizens and they have to drive on the road with due care.” Roberts also told the congregation that days after Thomas’s death, he had to speak to a taxi driver who was driving on the shoulder, and remind him that one of his own had been killed because of the same reckless behaviour.

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State agrees not to deport Jamaican students

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 20:21

THREE Jamaican students who were denied renewal of their student permits to stay in Trinidad to study Hinduism at the Chinmaya Vidalaya High School, in Couva have received a judge’s permission to challenge the Immigration Division’s decision. Justice Ricky Rahim today granted leave to Ravi Rambarran, the students’ sponsor, to file for judicial review and seek an injunction preventing their deportation back to Jamaica. The State has however agreed not to deport them until the case is determined by the judge. The matter has been adjourned to February 22, next year. Attorney Saira Lakhan, in October, wrote to the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) for an explanation, and filed the action in the San Fernando High Court, where the judge granted leave. A certificate of urgency filed in support of the injunction application said there was urgency since the three students want to visit their family for the Christmas holidays and are at risk of being removed from Trinidad. The lawsuit contends that the three expressed a strong interest in Hinduism and its teachings which were not available in Jamaica. The lawyer said the three lived in a tenement yard in Jamaica, and since their parents were not able to support them financially in Jamaica, Rambarran agreed to sponsor them so that they could attend the Chinmaya Vidalaya High School. The lawsuit also said the three were accepted by the school June 8, 2017, and they followed all the necessary guidelines for registration of a non-national in a school locally. They were also granted student permits, which expired in July, and their sponsor paid their school fees. The three went to the Immigration Division in July to renew their permits and filled out the necessary paperwork. On September 25, they again met with an immigration officer who stamped “approval” on the permits, and the extension fees were paid. Their school fees were also paid by their sponsor. The lawsuit claims on October 12, another immigration officer contacted the school, telling them the students’ permits were declined and that the institution was liable to a fine of $50,000 for having the three remain there. It also adds that, to date, there has been no official correspondence from the Immigration Division on why the students’ permits were declined. The three said they were devastated and distressed about having to return to school in Jamaica and accused the Immigration Division of depriving them of opportunities for religious and educational advancement. In his order, Rahim granted Rambarran permission to seek several declarations, and an order compelling the Chief Immigration Officer to make a decision within seven days on their application for an extension of their student permit, and an order that they receive that extension. Rambarran was given 14 days in which to file his judicial review claim. Appearing for the CIO was attorney Tinuke Gibbon.

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PM gets Law Assoc report on CJ

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 19:05

THE OFFICE of the Prime Minister (OPM) has confirmed that the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has received a report from the Law Association calling for a tribunal to be set up to investigate allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie. The OPM, in a brief Facebook post, said: "After Cabinet today Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley can confirm that he has received a letter dated 13 December, 2018 and documents from the Law Association of TT." On Tuesday the Law Association voted to send a report from a committee it established to investigate allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie, to the Prime Minister. The association asked Rowley to use the findings of the report to consider whether Section 137 of the Constitution can be triggered to establish a tribunal to investigate the allegations against Archie. Law Association members voted on the matter at a special general meeting on Tuesday. After two hours, Law Association president Douglas Mendes, SC, emerged to tell reporters the motion had been carried by a vote of 150 in favour of and 32 against.

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OWTU to talk with Petrotrin board next week on takeover plan

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 19:05

Although Petrotrin’s operations were wound up on November 30, the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is proceeding with its proposal to take over the defunct oil company, and is scheduled to meet with the company’s board next week to discuss its proposal to manage and run its assets at the sprawling Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. In a telephone interview, OWTU president general Ancel Roget said the union’s proposal includes managing the refinery, its bungalows, hospital, medical centre, sports club and port facility. He said, “There is a mad rush right now for Petrotrin’s assets – the bungalows, the sports club – and our position is clear. In the Pointe-a-Pierre situation all of the assets – the buildings, the refinery, the hospital, the medical centre, the sports club, all of those assets that are connected to the Pointe-a-Pierre operations, the port facility – those are the assets that we have made a bid for, while operating and controlling the refinery, to have those assets at the disposal of the entity that is going to run the refinery. So when our foreign partners come in, they should be offered the bungalows. So, therefore, we are asking that they apportion that to the union inclusive of the package that is offered to them.” Roget also said the offer of land to former Petrotrin workers did not originate with the Prime Minister but with the union and was contained in its proposal for the separation of workers. At a political meeting in early September, Rowley said severance packages included enhanced early-retirement packages for people over 50, land for houses, and stockholding in the new, restructured Petrotrin. However, Roget said: “We should be treated no less than the Caroni workers, and Petrotrin has over 76,000 acres of land, and if you are displacing some 5,000 employees, you can very well apportion a plot of land to each employee who is so entitled.”

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Man jailed for 11 months for trafficking cocaine

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 19:03

A 42-year-old man charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking has been sentenced to 11 months with hard labour in jail. Andy Boodan of Califonia appeared before magistrate Marajh Brown in the Couva Magistrates' Court charged with possession of a quantity of cocaine and an apparatus used to smoke the drugs. Police found the drugs hidden in a bag in a room at his California home on Saturday. The drugs and the apparatus were presented in the court. He pleaded guilty to the charge, laid by PC Ramoutar of the Couva CID. The magistrate heard that on Saturday police searched his house and made the discovery. The magistrate also heard Boodan had a series of previous convictions, including possession of drugs, larceny and others. For possession of cocaine, Boodan was sentenced to nine months. On the charge of possession of an apparatus used to smoke drugs, he was sentenced to two months.

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Weed found behind shipment of Coca Cola

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:24

A LARGE quantity of marijuana was discovered by workers at the Coca Cola factory in Macoya earlier today. Police said that 13 duffel bags of drugs, hidden behind a container loaded with the soft drinks, were discovered by workers. Investigators from the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) and the St Joseph CID are presently at the scene. In 2013, US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers seized 332 ki­los of co­caine hidden inside tins of Trinidad Juice Com­pa­ny juices. More as information becomes available.

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Colm: Get new PNM app

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:15

COLM IMBERT, People’s National Movement (PNM) chairman, invited the public to upload the party’s new cell-phone app when it is released at the end of January. He briefed reporters after the PNM General Council met on Thursday at Balisier House, Port of Spain. Imbert said consultants will modernise the party’s online presence, including updating its website, as a means for party members to give feedback on their concerns. The app will let people join the PNM online and allow members to stay informed, he added. Imbert noted the party is facing three successive elections over the next three years: local government polls in 2019, a general election in 2020 and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) polls in 2021. “We have been on an election footing since our last party convention,” he said. “We are in election mode and will be for the next two years.” The local polls are due between November 2019 and February 2020. Imbert said the party wants to recruit 500 new members in each constituency, or some 20,000 people nationwide. While admitting it has always been a challenge to recruit, he said, “I see more and more people are interested in becoming politically active and politically involved.” Asked if he was worried that seabridge woes could harm the PNM in the 2021 THA polls, Imbert said, “No. I think we might be gaining more votes.” Newsday asked if recent maverick acts by activists outside the formal two-party system could affect the polity. Imbert replied, "I think we'll have to wait and see." Should political quarrels should be guided by gentleman’s agreements, such as not to attack each other’s families? PNM PRO Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing said a political code of conduct was set up a few years ago, endorsed by religious groups, but she was unsure if politicians of other parties were still abiding by it. “The PNM is a very disciplined party but it is unsure if others will behave,” she said. Otherwise, Imbert said the General Council had just named its committees for research, foreign affairs, labour, discipline and education.

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MSJ motorcade stage 3 coming

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:14

STAY tuned for stage three. This was the message today from Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah. He made this disclosure after describing stage two of the party’s Motorcade for Justice on Thursday as a success. Abdulah said stage three will happen sometime after Christmas and the details will be released in due course. The MSJ leader said over 40 cars were part of Thursday’s motorcade from San Fernando to Nelson Mandela (King George V) Park, Port of Spain, which he said went well, with ample police protection along the route. He said while some people disagreed with the views of the MSJ, this was par for the course. Abdulah believed the public received the “important message” from the MSJ about the plethora of injustices in TT, which he said included unemployment; retrenchment of workers from TSTT and Petrotrin; crime and violence. Citizens must also be vigilant, he said, about Government implementing austerity measures which will put more pressure on the backs of working people. Through its efforts, Abdulah said, people will realise there are groups like the MSJ who stand ready to defend their interests. He was confident that people will see the MSJ as the only viable political option at this time. Going forward, Abdulah said the party will continue to engage people on the ground on in communities across the country on various issues. The first leg of the motorcade last Sunday went from Point Fortin to the Oilfield Workers Trade Union’s Paramount Building headquarters in San Fernando.

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BPTT announces new offshore gas projects

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:40

BPTT has announced two offshore gas developments for Trinidad—the Cassia Compression and Matapal. Both projects will be located among existing BPTT projects off the south east cost of Trinidad. In a release today, BPTT said the Cassia Compression project will enable the company to access and produce low pressure gas reserves from currently-producing fields in the Greater Cassia Area, maximising recovery from these existing resources. The project will involve the construction of a new platform, Cassia C, BPTT’s 16th offshore facility. The platform will be located 57 kilometres off Trinidad’s south-east coast and the platform will have a throughput capacity of 1.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas a day (bscfd). Gas production from the Greater Cassia Area will be routed to Cassia C for compression before being exported via the adjacent existing Cassia B platform. First gas from the facility is expected in the third quarter of 2021. The Cassia C jacket (the steel frame supporting the deck and the topsides of the fixed offshore platform) will be fabricated in La Brea and the topside structure in Altamira, Mexico. BPTT regional president Claire Fitzpatrick, via the release, said the Cassia project will important in maintaining the stability of Trinidad’s gas production and the supply to downstream customers and Atlantic LNG. The final investment decision for this project was made possible with the conclusion of the first phase of negotiations with the Government, which included resolution of several commercial issues. Communications Minister Stuart Young had announced the successful conclusion to negotiations last month at a post-Cabinet media briefing. The Matapal project will develop BPTT’s gas resources discovered in 2017 with the Savannah exploration well. The project will be a three-well subsea tie-back to the existing Juniper platform. First gas from Matapal is expected in 2022, with a production capacity of 400 million standard cubic feet of gas a day. Both the Cassia Compression and Matapal projects represent continued investment and development of BPTT’s acreage and will help ensure that BPTT continues to meet its supply commitments to the National Gas Company and Atlantic LNG, the company said.

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Charged for chopping man’s ear

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:32

MARLON GANGAPERSAD, 50, of La Fortune, Woodland, appeared on Thursday in the San Fernando Magistrates' court charged with chopping off a piece of the left ear of Vaugh Ramjit. The incident is alleged to have happened on November 30 and Gangapersad was not called upon to plead. The charge was laid indictably. It alleged that he wounded Ramjit with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. Attorney Craig Beepath who appeared for Gangapersad, said he is a gardener and the victim is related to him. Court prosecutor Ramnath Phillip said a piece of Ramjit's left ear was chopped off. However, he was out of hospital. Antoine granted Gangapersad bail in the sum of $100,000 with a cash alternative of $20,000. He is to return to court on January 24.

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Carter seventh in 50m backstroke final, smashes national record

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:10

NATIONAL Olympic swimmer Dylan Carter today placed seventh in the men's 50m backstroke final, one day after he smashed the national record in the same distance at the at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China. Carter, 22, clocked 23.19 seconds in the semifinals, more than enough to erase his previous national record of 23.43 seconds, which he secured at the FINA World Cup in Tokyo last month. Despite Carter's efforts, his time could not immediately see him advance to the final. He missed out by 0.01 seconds behind eighth-place finisher Christian Diener of Germany. That, however, changed when China's Xu Jaiyu withdrew and made room for Carter, the next best semi final finisher. Carter eventually placed seventh in the final in 23.44 seconds, 0.05 seconds ahead of Diener. Russia's Evgeny Rylov won the race 22.58 seconds.

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Devant releases Jennifer’s number

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:07

LABOUR Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus today became the fifth Cabinet minister whose personal contact information was publicised by former minister cum Opposition activist Devant Maharaj. On WhatsApp and Facebook, Maharaj released Baptiste-Primus’ phone number with an accompanying statement. That statement read, “The Minister of Labour has been silent and unseen despite thousands being unemployed, union workers roughed up, hiring in secret at state companies.” He urged citizens to call Baptiste-Primus if they are unemployed or retrenched, to “get her thoughts to get you employed. Efforts to contact Baptiste-Primus were unsuccessful. Maharaj previously released the phone numbers of the Prime Minister, National Security Minister Stuart Young, Education Minister Anthony Garcia and Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan. Maharaj told Newsday the numbers he has released to date were selected based on random issues. He disclosed that tomorrow he plans to release a batch of phone numbers of government members, including some he has already released. Maharaj said the numbers he plans to release are not restricted to Cabinet and non-Cabinet minister alone.

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Police flood victims get $1m payout

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 16:38

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith made good on a promise on Thursday when he provided cheques from the police vote to 232 police officers affected by October’s flooding. They were received vouchers courtesy the Police Credit Union and Xtra Foods. After the floods Griffith decided to postpone all Divali and Christmas celebrations, which he said cost the service close to $1 million a year, and to use that money to share equally among police who were victims of the floods. The affected officers were categorised as critical or non-critical.

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Laventille man to be charged with escaping custody

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 16:11

A 34-year-old Laventille man who escaped police custody on Wednesday night surrendered to Port of Spain CID around 6 pm on Thursday. The Laventille man is expected to be charged with escaping lawful custody as well as other offences. On Wednesday he was charged with possession of marijuana and two detectives were assigned to take him from Port of Spain CID to the Besson Street Police Station to be put in a cell.

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Traffic violations via mail from February 2019

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 14:43

CITIZENS may begin receiving tickets for traffic violations by mail from about February, says Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. He was speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media conference held at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. Al-Rawi said Government already proclaimed, as of December 1, the Criminal Division and Traffic Division Courts Act which gives the Chief Justice the opportunity to create specialist courts. Al-Rawi said, with the traffic court when the violation side is proclaimed, violations will be created instead of offences, and this will result in roughly 102,000 cases per year going into violations. "Those violations come to you in the mail. The system for that it will be as we estimate up and around February next year. So in or around February next year you are going to pull out one hundred and something thousand cases from 140,000 cases therefore leaving magistrates to do magistrates' work. If you want to come to court for a violation you have to tell the court 'I want to come to court' and then you go through a certain process there." He said in 2019 there will be a radical shift particularly because the Electronic Transactions for Court Payment (CourtPay) Bill has been passed where citizens will be allowed to do it all online.

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PoS jewellry store owner rescued hours after kidnapping

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 13:47

Quick action by officers of the Port of Spain CID and the Port of Spain City Police resulted in the rescue of a 71-year-old businessman last night. Police said shortly after 9 pm the owner of Samuel's Jewellery Store on Charlotte Street, Port of Spain closed the store and walked to George Street where his Toyota Corolla was parked. As he approached his car, two men armed with guns bundled him into the backseat of his car. They took the keys to his car and business and drove off. Vendors saw what happened and called the police. Port of Spain CID interviewed vendors and put other divisions on alert for the car. Members of the Port of Spain City Police Multi-Operational Task Force led by Supt Charles and Cpl John were also called out to help find the victim and the kidnappers. The car was found shortly before midnight near the Jean Pierre Complex with the victim unharmed inside and two men, believed to be the kidnappers, were arrested. While checking the business place, the city police arrested a 50-year-old homeless man who was trying to open the store using the owner's keys. Police believe the kidnappers hired him to open the store and steal jewellery while they kept watch over the victim. More as this becomes available.

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New Fire Festival

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 07:55

NEW Fire Festival founder Gerry Anthony said the festival is unlike anything offered in the Caribbean and is said to have resulted in patrons leaving the event feeling renewed while experiencing a new way of seeing the world around them. This he said is the intention behind the one-of-a-kind festival in the Caribbean.

The weekend-long event, which is tied to an ethos of promoting living with intention – consciously seeking to protect mind, body, spirit and the ecosystem, will take place in St Joseph.

“It evolved out of something that unfolded naturally from being the new fire concert series. In January 2014, we started the concert series which was about putting local artists who were not mainstream, in a mini-concert at the old mas camp pub.”

Festival director Elize Rostant said the venue for the series had great meaning. She said the former home of Peter Minshall’s mas camp meant it had profound meaning for the creative industry in TT. “For over two decades there were stalwarts of music, Carnival and art in the space. So we were elated to start the series there, because of the legacy of the space.”

Anthony said the series was organised with the intention of setting new fire to the old camp, using music as a medium for promoting and sharing messages of social change. He said coming from a community of underground musicians, there were always messages of empowerment, but it was not given the same platform as other local feel-good genres – thus lessening the reach and impact.

“The series was therefore created to help develop the underground music community by getting their work out there, while sharing empowering messages to the people.”

In response to a lack of understanding for the significance of the space occupied by the events, coupled with not seeing the growth anticipated, the team went back to the drawing board to create something still aligned with their intentions, but more attractive for the people of TT.

“TT is a place that loves hype and big events, so we decided, let’s do a festival.” In conceptualising the festival, Anthony said they had to involve progressive movements. These, he said, included ecology and ecological sustainability, mindfulness – caring for mind, body and spirit.

Rostant said, “The festival really is a festival of festivals. People try to wrap their heads around what it is. Because we are trying to inspire people by hitting them with important questions, we had to package it in an attractive way.”

She said the central pillar of zero-waste, lessening negative impacts on the environment during the whole weekend, over-night camping to fuel engagement and promoting the importance of community. This promotion of community extends to the community in which the event is held, where residents of Acono benefit by being part of the patronage, as well as being part of the event management team. The team which is completely made up of volunteers also incorporates young professionals seeking practical experience in events planning, art and design, and marine biology, working in collaboration with established professionals.

The event also includes an artisans market, and a variety of workshops including yoga, mindfulness, meditation and healing of the body through food.

Rostant said for 2019, there will be a green business expo, which focuses on small and medium enterprises which offer green/ eco-friendly products. “We see this as an amazing opportunity for business cross-pollination of business engagements, and for consumers who are seeking products that are in line with their attitudes toward preserving the environment. The event will also see a broadening of the facilities in place for children, which will include the introduction of farming, wildlife rehabilitation by the team from Asa Wright Nature Centre, honey farmers and other out-of-the-box local endeavours all coming together at one empowering event.

Anthony defines New Fire Festival as a transformational event, which he said is “geared toward moving from where we are, to where we can be, by immersing the attendees in an experience.”

The fourth year of the festival, which is an initiative of the non-profit organisation, TT Bridge Initiative had the official launch on December 1 at Green Yard, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

New Fire Festival 2019 is slated for April 12 to 14 at Ortinola Estate, St Joseph. Anthony said patrons can look forward to a weekend of live and recorded music, art, yoga, education, great food and fun by the river, while creating bonds that last a lifetime.

Photo courtesy Navindra Harbukhan

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Style Affair

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 07:44

IN October 2017, Yvonne Clarke's life was like a roller coaster. She was crowned Miss Universe TT and was expecting to represent this country in the Miss Universe competition in Las Vegas. With just about a month to go before the competition, Clarke was stripped of her title. It was alleged that she had violated a contract she signed under the local leg of the Miss Universe TT franchise. On November 2, 2017, she was reinstated as the representative. Although she did not win the competition, Clarke said she came away from the experience being able to follow her dream of opening her own premium boutique, The Style Affair By Yvee. The boutique offers styling consultation, shoes, clothing, accessories and designer wear. Clarke held her grand opening on December 2 at 16 Delhi Street, St James, where guests were invited to browse and shop from an array of styles, some from Clarke's own brand, and others from Caribbean designers. It is her dream to open more branches throughout TT and the Caribbean. [caption id="attachment_741416" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Boutique owner Yvonne Clarke, left, Tyricia Mc Donald and Rondell Donawa at the official launch of The Style Affair by Yvee on Delhi Street, St James.[/caption] The Style Affair By Yvee started as an online virtual shoe boutique, the Shoe Affair By Yvee, in 2016. "My virtual shoe boutique was so successful and the demand was great and many of my clients said 'Yvee, why don't you open a boutique'. And although I was not offering styling services with The Shoe Affair, a lot of my clients and friends were calling on me for styling, so I was basically dressing people all along and that gave me the motivation to go full head on into opening a brick-and-mortar boutique and here we are," Clarke said with a broad smile. Clarke described her pieces as stylish and trendy, saying the fashionable woman would appreciate the unique pieces she carried in her boutique. "I can definitely say that The Style Affair is for any woman. I enjoy making women feel confidently beautiful, so even if a woman is not fashionable or is not a fashionista like myself, she can come to the Style Affair By Yvee. [caption id="attachment_741417" align="alignnone" width="751"] Naomi Adonis Woodsley, left, Yvonne Clarke and Venette Toby Clarke .[/caption] "I am going to style her whether it's for an event, whatever the event may be, and ensure that she looks fabulous. I am so passionate about fashion and styling, and as you know I'm an ultrasonographer, but fashion is really where my passion is. I am so eager to continue styling women and making women feel confidently beautiful on a daily basis, it's really what I love. There is no age, no size, and I can cater for everyone." Clarke said she also carried Buttered Up Organics, a local organic skin care line which she said left one's skin glowing. [caption id="attachment_741418" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Friends and supporters at the opening of The Style Affair by Yvee.[/caption] "I am really excited to have that skincare line featured here so I will be able to share some of my skin secrets. We have a lot of floral pieces and night pieces because I am Caribbean and Trinbagonian. I really wanted to be sure I had that Caribbean flavour in my premium boutique. It shows that we embrace the Caribbean here because the Caribbean is well-known for fashion, and we have so many talented designers not only in the Caribbean, but right here in TT." Clarke said despite the trials she faced during Miss Universe TT 2017, she would always be grateful for the many doors that opened to her. "I think being part of the Miss Universe competition and representing my country on an international stage was part of the motivation to really go brave and take that leap into expanding my business. A lot of people here today are people who supported me on that journey and are also part of my business network. I am so grateful for that love and support that would have stemmed from my representation." As to the price tags, Clarke said she would be willing to negotiate. "I would say that the prices are relatively affordable. I am going to be open and accommodating to my customers and clients, so I don't think that price will be an issue."  

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