Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 30th 2015 Contents A5
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
President of the University of
T&T (UTT) Professor Dyer Nar-
inesingh says with a global reces-
sion looming, T&T needs to focus
on food security.
He was speaking to new stu-
dents and stakeholders at the
launch of the Basic Computer Lit-
eracy and Agricultural Enterprise
Training at the UTT s Chaguanas
"The greatest challenge facing
the region and the country is food
security. Whether we like it or not,
we are facing a global recession
and we must be able to provide
food for our own country," Nar-
He said with the food import
bill already at $4 billion and
increasing, there needed to be
innovation in agricultural devel-
Parliamentary Secretary in the
Ministry of Agriculture, Avinash
Singh, gave the feature address at
Singh, who is himself a farmer,
said a country which could not
feed itself would be made insignif-
icant on the global scene. He said
it was up to modern farmers to
ensure the country s food security
problems were addressed.
He told the new batch of stu-
dents that the People s National
Movement Government would
continue to develop programmes
to support farmers and was com-
mitted to ensuring that training
programmes were available.
He said while young profession-
als were moving away from farming
as a career, the Government would
place an emphasis on the farming
population. He said the lack of
interest in farming displayed by
young people could be looked at
as a crisis.
Singh commended UTT for
establishing the programme and
Atlantic for its sponsorship and
He said agriculture accounted
for about five per cent of GDP but
said Government felt the agricul-
tural sector should form part of
the basis of the economy.
"We are quite clear on our role,
not to be producers but to create
policy and provide supporting serv-
ices that create opportunities for
the evolution of the sector," he said.
He said T&T s agricultural sector
was at a crossroad and it was up
to T&T s young farmers to direct
the sector on a path of stability.
UTT president: Need to focus on food security
JENSEN LA VENDE
A fishing expedition gone wrong
or a drug deal turned sour.
These were the two theories being
offered to explain what happened to
five fishermen in the Gulf of Paria on
Monday, leading to the murder of
According to Lt Commander Kirk
Jean-Baptiste, PRO for the T&T Coast
Guard, five fishermen were robbed
while retrieving their catch on Monday
evening by Venezuelan pirates, leaving
Hernandez dead, one of his crew
mates injured and three others in
police custody assisting with inves-
tigations into the incident.
Jean-Baptiste said the survivors
claimed they went to the Hibiscus
Platform, some 13 miles off the main-
land, to retrieve their fishing nets.
On their return, somewhere
between the platform and the Gulf
of Paria, the men claimed they were
approached by a group of Venezuelans
in a pirogue.
The Venezuelans reportedly held
them up, robbed them of their tool
kits and whatever else they had on
board. Jean-Baptiste said the men
told the Coast Guard that after they
were robbed their attackers fired on
them without warning or aggravation.
The fishermen said they jumped
into the water for safety. When the
shooting stopped Hernandez, 19, was
dead while Roger Clement, 26, was
The other fishermen were Brandon
Burnley 25, Issiah Clement, 19, both
of Las Cuevas and Leron Samaroo,
29, from Mayaro.
Jean-Baptiste said the men were
brought to Staubles Bay, Chaguara-
mas, where Clement was stabilised
by the Coast Guard doctor and the
medics rushed him to St James infir-
mary. Clement was listed in a stable
condition at hospital yesterday.
However, sources close to investi-
gation said the men were on the
receiving end of a double cross.
They told the T&T Guardian that
after a duffle bag filled with pieces
of wood was thrown into the pirogue
the Trinis were in, the Venezuelans
opened fire on them. The men, now
under heavy gunfire, were forced to
abandon their boat and swim to safety.
Speaking with the media at their
Las Cuevas home yesterday, Hernan-
dez s mother, Cinty Hernandez, said
her son was a "good boy."
The mother of three boys and three
girls said she warned her son of the
dangers of going out to sea and noted
she had seen him a few minutes before
he left for his final voyage.
Asked about the allegations her
son was killed in a drug deal gone
sour, Hernandez said: "I can t say
anything about that. I can t say any-
thing that I don t know about."
She added that since her son was
a little boy he used to go fishing. She
was supported by the teen s uncle,
Ancil Goodridge, who said it was he
who encouraged the teen to become
a fisherman and it was the trade
available to those in the area.
He added that Hernandez s killing
was one where an ambitious young
man who "looked for his own food"
was snuffed out.
"It is a sad thing to see that my
son went out there and he came back
dead," Hernandez said, adding that
her son went wherever the fish were
5 Trinis jumped by Venezuelans
Conflicting reports over fatal high seas attack
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries,
Avinash Singh, is welcomed by the vice president, corporate operations, Atlantic,
Caroline Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, during the opening ceremony of the Basic
Computer Literacy and Agriculture Enterprise Training Programme at UTT's
Chaguanas Campus yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Family of slain 19-year-old fisherman Christian Hernandez at their Las
Cuevas home yesterday. From left, Sherise, Britney, Cinty (mother), Darren
and Charlene. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
In an unrelated incident,
a 32-year-old welder was
gunned down yesterday
morning in an area police
said is frequented by drug
dealers and users at Stella
According to police
reports, around 1.20 am
residents said they heard
gunshots. They later
found Denesh Bachan at
the side of the road.
Police said there was a
car parked nearby and
there was a blood trail
leading away from the
vehicle, prompting officers
to believe another man
was shot and is seeking
As such, the police are
calling on both public and
private health institutions
to be on the lookout for
anyone with gunshot
wounds seeking medical
Bachan, police said, lived
at El Socorro, San Juan,
and might have been lured
to his death.
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