Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 17th 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has
defended her decision to host a Christmas ham-
per drive for the needy at the Diplomatic Centre
in St Ann s today, saying the move was in keeping
with her promise to open up the facility to cit-
She made the comment yesterday as she
responded to a call by Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia
Hospedales for invitees to stay away from the
"I didn t hear (the statement) but if such a
statement was made I think it was most unfor-
tunate," Persad-Bissessar said during the PM s
Christmas Treats function at the Mayaro Resource
"Remember when I became PM, I said I would
open up the Diplomatic Centre to everyone.
Because these persons may be vulnerable does
not mean that they cannot come to the Diplomatic
Centre for any event."
Labelling Hospedales statement unfortunate,
the PM added: "No, I took a decision and I am
very happy with that decision that we would invite
them there, we would treat them and of course
also give them their hampers."
In a press release, Hospedales knocked the PM
for "exploiting poor people" who would have to
find money to travel to the centre for a hamper.
But Persad-Bissessar said the recipients would
not have to worry about transport.
"No, the Ministry of People contacted the recip-
ients and offered transport, if it was needed, so
it is not as though they have to pay a taxi fare.
I understand that not everyone would be able to
pay transportation costs to get there."
She added that by making use of the Diplomatic
Centre, Government was also saving money.
"We used that venue, which was very appro-
priate, otherwise we would have had to rent anoth-
er venue, like the Hyatt perhaps, or rent a venue
like Napa, which is still under repair."
In a press release, Hospedales told beneficiaries
to preserve their dignity and worth and not allow
themselves to be exploited by the Prime Minister,
or anyone else who was interested in making a
public relations "pappyshow" of their current
social and economic status.
"Boycott any event that seeks to ridicule you,
exploit you and diminish your dignity and worth,"
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 16TH DECEMBER, 2014
Minutes after making his sec-
ond appearance in court on Mon-
day, triple murder accused Azmon
Alexander was brutally attacked
by a group of fellow prisoners at
the Arima Magistrates Court.
During the attack, Alexander,
29, who had moments before been
sent for another week of evaluation
at the St Ann s Hospital, suffered
a series of injuries, including a bro-
ken nose, swollen eyes and face,
broken teeth and a stab wound to
According to sources at the
court, after his case was adjourned
to next Monday by Senior Mag-
istrate Indrani Cedeno, Alexander
was led downstairs to the holding
cell area of the courthouse, where
prisoners awaiting transport to
prison are kept.
Alexander, who was initially kept
in a separate cell when he was
taken to the court earlier, was
reportedly placed in a cell with
over a dozen prisoners on remand
for various offences, including
But moments later, Court and
Process Branch police on duty
heard screams and rushed to the
holding cell area, where they found
the prisoners surrounding a blood-
ied and bruised Alexander.
He was removed from the cell
and taken to the nearby Arima
Health Facility where he was exam-
ined by doctors and received treat-
ment, including three stitches for
a deep stab wound to his back.
Alexander was then transported
to St Ann s where he has been
under police guard for the past few
The T&T Guardian was reliably
informed that although the pris-
oners involved were questioned, it
may be difficult to lay charges
against them as they did not pro-
vide any information and the inci-
dent was not fully captured by the
CCTV cameras in the holding area.
Azmon treated for broken nose, stab wound
PM defends hamper
drive for vulnerable
Triple murder accused Azmon Alexander had his face covered on Monday as he left the Arima
Magistrates Court. Alexander was severely beaten and stabbed by other prisoners as he waited
for transport to take him back to the St Ann's Hospital for an evaluation. Following the beating,
his jersey was placed over his face to conceal the injuries. PHOTO: JENSEN LA VENDE
LEGAL ACTION AHEAD
Speaking with the T&T
Guardian yesterday, Alexander's
attorney Fareed Ali described the
vicious attack on his client as
"It bothers me because every
accused before the court is
entitled to due process of law,
which means that you go
through the legal channels to
ventilate whatever issue the
police has an individual there for,"
Ali, who had asked the court to
send Alexander to St Ann's for
evaluation when he first
appeared on the murder charges
on December 1, said he held the
police on duty responsible
because they had a duty to
ensure his safety while in their
"He is essentially in the
custody, care and control of
police officers. The court cell
officers are responsible for his
care upkeep and for controlling
not just him but all the elements
there, police and prisoners," Ali
While he wished to keep his
proposed response close to his
chest, Ali said he planned to take
legal action to seek redress for
"To be suffering in the way he
is suffering is not right. I intend
to utilise full legal channels in
order to ventilate the facts
relative to those injuries," Ali said.
The T&T Guardian understands
that Alexander's family has
already lodged a preliminary
report with the Police Complaint
Authority and may file a civil
lawsuit seeking substantial
damages for his injuries.
Investigations are continuing.
ABOUT ALEXANDER'S CASE
Alexander and his 17-year-old
relative face a combined total of
64 charges related to the
disappearance of five members
of a Brasso Seco family, last
On October 26, Irma
Rampersad, 49, her two
daughters Felicia, 17, and 19-
year-old Jannelle Gonzales,
Jannelle's 14-month old baby
Shania Amoroso and their next
door neighbour Felix Martinez,
52, were reported missing.
After days of consecutive
searches by police and soldiers,
Martinez's body was found on
November 8. Three days later
police found Rampersad and
Amoroso's bodies in a duffle bag
in a forested area of the
On November 15, police
rescued the sisters from a make-
shift camp which they stumbled
upon while searching deep in the
Alexander's relative, who can
not be named as he is a minor,
surrendered to police that day,
with Alexander being captured at
Lennox Yearwood Boulevard,
Malabar, a week later.
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