Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 1st 2015 Contents SHARLENE RAMPERSAD
Standing among the ruins of the home
his parents left him years ago, Rampersad
Babute found a reason yesterday to smile
for the first time since he was told his
house was destroyed by fire on Tuesday
Babute and his brother Dhanraj, his
(Dhanraj s) wife, Suzette and their three
sons Stephon, 14, Sean, 11 and Shane, six,
were paid a visit yesterday by Works Minister
Surujrattan Rambachan and Unemployment
Relief Programme manager Kenrick Castel-
Rambachan promised the family a new
home for 2015 after their house at Cedar
Hill, Claxton Bay was destroyed by fire.
"We are going to construct a three-bed-
room starter house, at least so they could
have a roof over their heads," said Ram-
bachan who spoke to the media during the
"With three bedrooms because the family
has three little boys."
The family lost all their possessions in
the blaze and are blaming the incident on
T&TEC workers who were conducting works
in the area at the time. Rambachan said the
construction would begin as soon as the
final fire reports are completed.
"All I am awaiting now is the final fire
report and the report from T&TEC because
they have to do their own independent
investigation," said Rambachan. "Because
the family is claiming there was some work
being done by T&TEC directly in the area.
Once I have those reports in my hand we
are going to move forward and help them
start to rebuild."
The minister said arrangements were
already being put in place to bring material
on site to begin construction.
"In fact, I have already spoken to Mr Cas-
tanello about bringing the blocks and drop-
ping them off next week and I have already
spoken to contractor Mr Lutchmeesingh,
who has agreed to clear the rubble from the
Rampersad, with tears in his eyes was
elated with the news.
"I can t tell you how happy we all feel
today to hear this news," he said. "It feels
like we can finally breathe since this hap-
Rambachan also told the family to visit
him with book lists for the children at his
constituency office and he would provide
them with all the books and uniforms they
Thursday, January 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Minister promises fire
victims new home
From right, 11-
Pierre and six-
the rubble of
fire on Tuesday.
who visited the
them a new
Despite the large public attention and sympathy
paraplegic Robby Ramcharitar has been receiving
after Saturday s alleged police beating, he said he
remains broke and homeless.
On the last day of the year, he wheeled his chair
around the San Fernando General Hospital s car park,
meeting people and shaking their hands like he was
a celebrity. After living on the streets for the past
five years, he hopes 2015 will bring happy changes
to his life: A house, a care-
taker and disability grants.
He said he cannot stay at
Court Shamrock s Centre
for Socially Displaced Per-
sons because it is not suit-
able for disabled people.
He said he also wants the
Government or the Police
Service to compensate him
for the alleged beating that
was given to him by two
Special Reserve Police offi-
cers attached to the Rapid
Response Unit at the Mon Repos Police Station. Both
officers are expected to be interviewed by the Pro-
fessional Standards Bureau on tomorrow.
"I need a house and somebody with a vehicle to
take care of me, and that person will inherit everything
I have. No brother, uncle or aunt will get what I have.
The person who takes care of me will get everything,"
He said he could not apply for disability grants
because his identification card and birth paper were
lost, but a social worker at the hospital was helping
him to get his life in order. However, he said the
social worker was on vacation until February.
"I am not living, I am surviving. I don t get disability
grants from the government and I don t have a house
to stay in. I ve been homeless for the past five years
and living at the hospital for the past six months.
I have to move around with a urine bag because I
cannot get up and I have to do everything myself."
He said there is corrective surgery for his spinal
disease, but he opted against it after doctors told
him that their was a 50 per cent chance that it could
leave him totally paralysed.
Relaxing with hospital staff, he said he was waiting
on an attorney to begin discussing legal action against
the police officers. He said the attorney contacted
the head nurse at his ward yesterday to arrange a
He said: "Right now my brain is not functioning
too right. I don t like this big scene. He (police man)
did not have to hit me, they could have just tell me
to go away. I don t like the big scene it caused."
Manager of the People's Unit in the Ministry of
the People and Social Development, Asauph
Ghany said he will try to meet with Ramcharitar
next week to assess his circumstances. Ghany
said he was surprised that someone in a wheel
chair was not receiving any of the ministry's grant,
especially Ramcharitar who would qualify for
monthly disability checks.
Ghany said, "If he is not receiving any of the
ministry grants, I would be a bit surprised because
this is a guy in a wheelchair. Some of these folks,
unfortunately, don't have anyone to help them and
as a result they don't reach to the offices to apply
for the help, and people leave them on the
wayside to fend for themselves."
He said under former minister of the People of
Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh a
policy was being drafted to have people enrolled in
their system from the moment doctors declare
them disabled at the hospitals. However, since
Ramadharsingh's dismissal, that proposal has
MINISTRY TO HELP
More cops for Homicide Bureau
The Homicide Bureau has received a
boost of 100 detectives to assist in out-
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams made the disclosure yesterday so
as he sought to give a brief review of the
Police Service s annual performance during
the weekly police press briefing at the Police
Administration Building in Port-of-Spain.
As he noted that the murder toll for the
year was due to be five short of 2013 figure
of 407, Williams admitted that the Police
Service was working on improving its detec-
tion rate for homicides, which has been at
an average of 15 per cent over the past five
"The first thing we did is boost the inves-
tigative capacity of the homicide bureau.
We are now exposing the members to exten-
sive training to skill them up," Williams said
as he revealed that 119 detectives had been
assigned to the unit between August to
December for a trial project.
He also said the police will be starting to
digitally record interviews with suspects as
allegations of coercion and misconduct have
been levelled against the police in several
High Court trials. Williams also said the
Police Service would be testing a experiment
with body cameras for officers early this
"In any country where the detection rate
for homicides is high there is a strong con-
tribution of eyewitnesses. we know for a
fact that this will come with time because
confidence and trust must first be built,"
Asked about the investigation into the
murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal,
who was shot dead in Woodbrook in May,
Williams assured that there will be closure
in the case early this year.
"Lead investigator DCP Glenn Hackett is
dealing with this. The investigation has been
proceeding and advancing," Williams said.
While he hailed 2014 as having the lowest
number of serious crimes in over 30 years,
he said he closely monitoring an increase in
reports of sexual offences over the past 12
However, he was unwilling to say con-
clusively whether the increase meant that
there more sexual offences during the period
or if it was due to more victims coming
foward to report attacks than traditionally
"What we have seen is an increase in
reporting. I don t want to give that as a clear
reason but there is a corelation between this
and the increase," Williams said.
Williams also praised preliminary statistics
which showed an over 25 per cent increase
in illegal firearm seizures and a 34 per cent
drop in stolen vehicles.
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