Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 21st 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 21, 2015
6.1000 6.2239 6.3733
4.8569 5.1125 5.3937
9.1877 9.6713 10.1936
6.5797 6.9260 7.3069
****** 0.0515 0.0546
2.0984 2.2809 2.4406
* 2.5519 ****** 3.2507
for MAY 20TH, 2015
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will today
present a bill to the Cabinet to amend the Squatter
Regularisation Act of 1998, which will result in
hundreds of thousands of people who live on state
lands being given certificates of comfort.
Speaking at the opening of the Rose Hill RC Primary
School, Schuller Street, East Dry River, Laventille,
yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said while she was hoping
to garner support from the Opposition to make this
a reality, it did not require a special majority.
The amendments will ensure that citizens who
have been resident on state lands prior to and up to
June 14, 2014, will be free to apply for a certificate
of comfort, secure in the knowledge that they will
not be denied.
In the past five years, Government has issued over
8,000 certificates of comfort, and another 14,000
are currently being processed.
Stating that squatters currently had no status, Per-
sad-Bissessar said people who began occupying state
lands after June 14, 2014, were free to apply under
the Land for the Landless programme, under the
Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs.
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said the
school s four-storey building could accommodate a
maximum of 240 students and was completed at a
cost of $33 million.
With the school s current population at 117, both
Gopeesingh and Persad-Bissessar urged school officials
to introduce training programmes for students and
adults in the area, while Sport Minister Brent Sancho
was given the responsibility of introducing sporting
initiatives in the community.
Rennie Coolman, the husband of mur-
dered businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-
Coolman, was investigated as a suspect
in his wife s kidnapping.
Lead investigator in Naipaul-Coolman s
case, retired assistant commissioner of
police (ACP) Nadhir Khan, made the
admission yesterday as he was being cross-
examined by defence attorneys for the 12
men currently on trial in the Port-of-Spain
High Court for the crime.
Coolman s possible involvement in the
crime was raised by defence attorney Ulric
Skerritt as he questioned Khan on whether
he and his colleagues had investigated
Coolman for paying a $75,000 bribe to
avoid being prosecuted in the case.
The issue of Coolman s bribe has been
raised by defence attorneys in the trial
However, yesterday was the first time
it was revealed that Coolman was inves-
tigated by police as a suspect.
Skerritt: "Did it not perk your interest,
when Mr Coolman was paying $75,000
so nobody would lock him up?"
Khan admitted that he had read of the
incident in the newspapers but stated that
there was a separate investigation into
Coolman conducted by detectives of the
now defunct Special Anti-Crime Unit of
"There were a lot of things going on. I
am not super-human," Khan said as he
explained why he did not personally inter-
Skerritt: "Are you aware that as early
as February 2007 Rennie Coolman was
satisfied that his wife was dead?"
"I can t say what he was satisfied with,"
Khan said as he maintained that he could
not reveal the outcome of the parallel
investigation into Coolman because he
was not directly involved.
When he took the witness stand at the
start of the trial last year, Coolman admit-
ted to paying the bribe to a con woman
but claimed he did so because he believed
that he might have been unjustly prose-
Details of the incident were withheld
from the jury as the woman accused of
defrauding Coolman is still awaiting trial.
When confronted by an allegation that
Coolman also told a crime scene investi-
gator who visited his family s home on the
night his wife was kidnapped that he
wished to "keep the matter private," Khan
said he was not aware of this.
"I would find that highly irregular," Khan
Naipaul-Coolman was abducted from
her Lange Park, Chaguanas, home, on
December 19, 2006. A $122,000 ransom
was paid by her family but she was not
released and her body has never been
State prosecutors contend that she was
held captive in a house in Upper La Puer-
ta, Diego Martin, shared by three of the
accused men, before she was eventually
killed, dismembered and her body disposed
of.The state s main witness in the case
Keon Gloster, who testified before Khan
did, was allegedly present at the time of
the murder and implicated the accused
men in a series of sworn statements he
gave to police.
Gloster, who is related to most of the
accused men, has repeatedly claimed he
was coerced by police into signing the
statements. He has been deemed a hostile
witness and his statements have been read
to the jury.
Khan s cross-examination will continue
when the trial resumes this morning.
Cabinet meets on
squatter bill today
'Victim's husband was a suspect'
PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar listens to an
unidentified woman during the opening of the Rose
Hill RC Primary School, Laventille, yesterday.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
WHO'S IN COURT
The dozen men before the jury
and Justice Malcolm Holdip are
Allan "Scanny" Martin, twin
brothers Shervon and Devon Peters
and their older brother Anthony
Dwayne Gloster, siblings Keida and
Jamille Garcia, brothers Marlon and
Earl Trimmingham, Ronald
Armstrong, Antonio Charles, Joel
Fraser and Lyndon James. A 13th
man, Raphael Williams, was
charged with the crime but died in
prison in 2011 of complications
from sickle cell anaemia.
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