Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 16th 2015 Contents A4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, March 16, 2015
Junior soca artiste Jeromy Rodriguez performs his 2015 song, King Jeromy, at an Easter extravaganza hosted by the Ladies
Committee of the Queen's Park Cricket Club at the Oval. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
SOCA FOR EASTER
Monk in Monk Monte is an acronym for Move-
ment or Music of New Knowledge.
This was revealed by Elizabeth Montano yesterday
as she spoke about her son, soca superstar Machel
Montano, now known as Monk Monte, at a function
titled Oxygen hosted by Nicole Dyer-Griffith at
Radisson Hotel in Port-of-Spain. Monte was his
father's nickname which Machel adopted, she said.
The event was organised to give women a forum
to tell inspiring stories. Montano, one of the women
at the headtable, told of the role she played in getting
Machel on the road to success and keeping him there.
"In 1999, Machel told me he was tired, it has too
much responsibility. I told him he has a purpose in
life and told him of the story of his birth.
"Machel was extremely spiritual from birth," she
She said Machel, now 40, had decided he wanted
a change. She said there are many spiritual things
they do but which they do not talk about.
Montano said the Movement of New Knowledge
comes at a time when Machel wants to take his
music onto the international stage. Xtatic Ltd, of
which she is a director, is going to form a movement
to help others further their musical careers, she said.
Montano, 65, said she managed Machel for 20
years while being severely visually impaired. She said
she became blind in her right eye after she and
Machel were involved in a car accident in Chaguanas
on Carnival Tuesday night, 1992.
Montano said she fell into a ditch and Machel
lifted her bodily, with her right eye hanging out the
socket, and ran down the shoulder of the highway
until a Good Samaritan stopped and took them to
She said she lost sight in the eye bu eventually,
the other was affected due to a disease called sym-
pathatic opthalmitis. The good eye was becoming
like the other. She said for 20 years she managed
Machel without making out people's faces until she
had surgery. She now has 20/20 vision in her left
eye, she said.
Several other women shared their experiences at
the event which creates a space where people can
tell positive stories, which, like oxygen, is life giving.
She said she got tired of negative news and wanted
to create positive news.
The former chairman of the Congress of the People
(COP) who has created a new political movement,
said the event was non-political.
She said she is still in discussion with other political
entities and groups and they will have their first
public dialogue at the Diamond Vale Community
Centre on today. Based on discussions there, it will
be decided whether a new party will be formed.
A month after the Environ-
mental Management Authority
(EMA) stopped contruction
firm Super Industrial Services
(SIS) from backfilling the
Caroni Swamp, several con-
tractors are working round-
the-clock removing tonnes of
backfill from the environmen-
tally sensitive area.
Over the past week, dozens
of truck have been working on
the northern boundary of the
Caroni River where T&T's
national bird, the Scarlet Ibis
nests. The illegal backfilled area
is located off the Churchhill
Roosevelt highway and is not
visible from the road.
When the T&T Guardian vis-
ited the area over the weekend,
more than 12 trucks were lined
up waiting to remove backfill
material. Two excavators were
being used to dig up the sand
and load it onto the trucks.
EMA Chairman Dr Allan
Bachan said instructions were
given for the area to be cleared
before the end of this month.
He said since the road was built
alongside the river, boatmen
have allegedly been using it for
illegal trade. "We intend to dig
up that road because from all
reports we are getting, that road
is facilitating illegal activity," he
said. He added that squatters
have also begun using the
swamp for agriculture.
"We are doing an investiga-
tion to determine how that
backfill ended up in the swamp.
We are also taking the issue of
illegal squatting very seriously,"
Bachan said. Asked when the
remedial work will be complet-
ed, he said: "They were sup-
posed to complete the project
since last Friday. From our visits
to the area, it is a lot of backfill
to remove so we have not stip-
ulated deadlines. We want the
job to be done in a proper man-
"We intend to plant man-
groves back on the site."
Bachan said this matter is still
SIS was hired to backfill the
area and a source said a state
agency was involved. Details of
the contract have not been made
public and SIS director Terrence
Lalla has on several occasions
declined comment, saying he
had no information to give.
Bachan said once the material
is cleared from the site, it will
be utilised in other areas such
as the Beetham landfill.
EMA orders clearing
of Caroni Swamp
Round-the-clock remedial work in progress
Liz Montano on Monk Monte
backfill from the
following an EMA
order. PHOTO: KRISTIAN
Elizabeth Montano, left, during yesterday's
motivation session titled Oxygen with Nicole Dyer at
the Radisson Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
The backfilling of the swamp
started in early January. At that
time, tour guides were told it was to
be used as a stockyard for water
pipes. When the Guardian
highlighted the issue exclusively in
January, SIS took down the fence,
leaving hundreds of bags of sand on
the site for weeks. Some of the bags
ended up in the marshes. When the
matter was brought to his attention
last month, Minister of the
Environment Ganga Singh said he
had no information that the site was
intended to stock water pipes. He
said the EMA investigated and the
project was terminated. The Caroni
Swamp, which comprises 8,398
hectares, is protected under the
Ramsar Convention, an international
treaty which T&T signed for the
conservation of wetlands.
BACKFILLED STARTED IN JANUARY
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