Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 17th 2014 Contents A5
Saturday, January 17, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
has instructed Finance Minister Larry
Howai, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath and
Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie to con-
vene urgent talks to develop a sustainable
plan for managing the country's foreign
exchange supply. The three ministers are
expected to meet with Central Bank Gov-
ernor Jwala Rambarran, who is currently
out of the country, on the matter
Persad-Bissessar issued the directive after
her three-hour meeting with private sector
representatives on Thursday evening at the
Diplomatic Centre in Port-of-Spain.
At that meeting, which was held to discuss
budget adjustments in the wake of falling
oil prices, business representatives identified
ongoing problems with the supply of foreign
currency as one of the critical issues affecting
No time frame was set for the ministers'
intervention up to late yesterday.
Another challenge identified by the private
sector officials was the labour shortage,
with respect to which the T&T Manufac-
turers' Association (TTMA) and American
Chamber of Commerce T&T (AmchamTT)
agreed to partner with Government to devise
a workable solution.
One of the initiatives being considered
is transforming the Community-Based Envi-
ronmental Protection and Enhancement
Programme (Cepep) into a public/private
AmchamTT president Hugh Howard told
the T&T Guardian the programme could
be a transition initiative where people who
needed to develop themselves and earn a
living could use Cepep as a stepping stone.
He said the private sector could then hire
workers once they had acquired the qual-
ifications and skills needed in the private
"I can tell you that the process would
involve meeting with the governmental
agencies, sitting down and working out a
mutually acceptable process. We don't want
to just jump into it," Howard said.
He added that a structure needed to be
put in place to monitor and assess workers
and the programme.
Commenting on the talks with the prime
minister, Catherine Kumar, CEO of the T&T
Chamber of Commerce, said she welcomed
the government's decision to meet with
stakeholders, but there was need for more
details on the topics tabled at the meeting.
Kumar said everyone got the opportunity
to present their views on the issues facing
the business sector.
In a statement released after the meeting,
the British-Caribbean Chamber of Com-
merce (BCCC) described the talks as "the
"It was useful and productive, providing
the opportunity for participants to better
understand government's perspective on
the current situation and to put forward
suggestions for addressing the shortfall in
JENSEN LA VENDE
Quick response by the Fire Services yesterday
saved the home of 72-year-old Phulmatie Ramnan
Issarie, but could not save the woman's life.
According to the woman's eldest son, Khimraj,
around 9 am yesterday, residents of New Lane Street,
off Don Miguel Road, El Socorro, saw the woman's
house on fire and called the Fire Service.
He said by the time a bucket brigade had been
organised fire fighters arrived and quickly put out
Speaking to the media yesterday, Khimraj said his
mother was to celebrate her 73rd birthday on February
26. He added that the family had made no specific
plans as yet for her birthday celebrations. The mother
of five, two boys and three girls, was a nice and fun-
loving person, he said.
"She lived here with my younger brother Prakash,
it was just him and her. He wasn't at home at the
time. She used to walk, she was healthy and strong
and used to walk up and down. She was well-liked
in the area and would talk to everybody, always inter-
acting with the neighbours. She was a very family-
oriented person," Khimraj said.
Khimraj said his mother's charred remains were
found beneath a pile of rubble in the front bedroom,
where fire officials believe the fire started.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says the order
against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in the
e-mailgate defamation matter stands and he did not
intend to retract anything he said about the matter
He said so in an interview after attorney for Rowley
in the matter, Senator Faris Al-Rawi, said an e-mail
from Justice Frank Rampersad was only dispatched to
him yesterday from the Judicial Support Officer Stacy
"The judgment is valid and binding until such time
as it is set aside," Ramlogan added. He said he had
"no difficulty if this matter goes to a full trial."
He said he wanted "Dr Rowley in a witness box,
under oath to be grilled under cross-examination, so
that he could produce the evidence he has to justify
his claim that these bogus, criminal e-mails were in
fact exchanged between the Prime Minister and I."
He said the defendant was only seeking to delay the
matter by seeking "adjournments and making a mockery
by converting it into a circus of applications for extension
of time and not meeting the deadlines set by the court."
He said Al-Rawi must indicate whether he was pre-
pared to ask the court for an urgent and early trial of
But Al-Rawi, speaking during a news briefing at the
Opposition Leader's office, Charles Street, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday, said the e-mail indicating the January
7 deadline "was not copied to me as Dr Rowley's attor-
ney in these matters."
The e-mail said Judicial Support Officer (JSO) Ms
Pariag, who is attached to Justice Seepersad's team,
was to inform the parties that the order was granted.
The e-mail also stated, "She inadvertently and without
any direction from the Judge e-mailed the claimant.
She also sent an e-mail to the claimant's attorney-at-
law but failed to either call or inform the defendant's
attorney-at-law of the terms of the judge's order."
The e-mail also said, "In the circumstances there
is no information on the Captioned file that indicates
that the Defendant was informed of the Judge's Order,
dated December 16, 2014."
But Ramlogan said he could not verify the authenticity
of that e-mail and was not prepared to comment in
detail on it.
But Al-Rawi said the registrar of the High Court
would be asked to investigate this development. He
accused Ramlogan of bringing the administration of
justice into disrepute by his comments on the matter
on Thursday. "Indeed, this demonstrates that there
was a significant gap in the judicial administrative
He said Ramlogan had brought the office of AG into
Al-Rawi said Ramlogan had received the e-mail on
the order "improperly" from a JSO.
Ramlogan filed the matter in the court last December
after Rowley made public statements about the alleged
e-mails from Ramlogan, Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar and other officials purporting to discuss
the bugging of the office of the DPP and a plot against
a T&T Guardian reporter following publication of the
Section 34 scandal in 2013.
A 22-year-old former student of the
University of the West Indies (UWI) is in
police custody after a raid on his sophis-
ticated indoor marijuana greenhouse on
The suspect, of Diego Martin, was arrest-
ed yesterday by St Joseph police in an apart-
ment near the university's St Augustine
campus hours after they found his illegal
farm at another apartment one street away.
Police made the first raid around 7 am
on Thursday when they searched an apart-
ment at Bedessie Street after reports of
suspicious activity by the former business
and information technology student.
When they entered they found all the
furniture had been removed and replaced
with LED lamps and plant pots containing
over 100 high-grade marijuana plants. An
industrial air purification unit was being
used to conceal the pungent smell produced
by the flowering plants.
According to reports, police returned to
the area around 5 pm on Thursday after
they received information the suspect was
hiding out in another apartment on Old
Investigators caught the suspect attempt-
ing to dispose of a large bag of marijuana
by flushing it down the toilet. He was
stopped and the drugs, which weighed a
little over 900 grammes, seized.
They also found a notebook which con-
tained the names and telephone numbers
of the suspect's customers, their orders
and outstanding payments owed to him.
The man was arrested and taken to the
St Joseph Police Station where, while under
interrogation, he admitted to running the
operation for over a year.
He reportedly told police he elected to
drop out of university last year after he
realised he could make more money from
growing and selling marijuana.
He is expected to appear in the Tunapuna
Magistrate's Court on Monday.
PM mandates ministers
Devise plan to manage
Woman, 72, dies in El Socorro fire
Omela Issarie, second from left, comforts her sister Shamila (face hidden)
outside the home of their mother, Phulmatie, who died in a fire at her home at
New Lane Street, El Socorro, yesterday. PHOTO: JENSEN LA VENDE
Cops nab former UWI student on ganja charges
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