Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 23rd 2015 Contents JENSEN LA VENDE
A 33 year old watchman will appear in
court today charged with murdering police
constable Russell Ramnarine and UWI
student Avery Keshwar.
Mark Chris Christopher of Pundit Street,
El Socrro was charged yesterday evening
with the double murders.
He is also charged with possession of a
firearm and ammunition.
The charge comes one day after two men
and a woman were released, after being
arrested for the same crime.
Ramnarine and Keshwar were shot and
killed early in the morning of December
14 outside a barbeque outlet in Aranguez,
Ramnarine was on duty but in plain-
clothes at the time and along with a uni-
formed officer of the St Joseph Police Crime
Patrol were said to be following up on a
report made by Avery of a stolen cellphone
among several other items.
The report said Ramnarine and the other
officer had accompanied Avery in an
unmarked vehicle to Aranguez to meet a
suspect to retrieve the stolen items but
both wound up being shot and killed.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Rowley evaded questions about the continued
tenure of Central Bank Governor Jwala
Rambarran. Asked directly if he had any
confidence in Rambarran, Rowley sidestepped.
"I ought to have confidence in the Central Bank
Governor," he said.
When pressed, Rowley said he deferred to
Minister of Finance Colm Imbert on the question,
in a striking refusal to give Rambarran even
slight hope on where he stood with the
He said it was for Imbert to determine whether
he had any confidence in Rambarran and said
while Imbert had spoken to him about the
Governor, "those conversations were not for
"If there is a problem with the Governor of the
Central Bank, the Government will not be afraid
to take the appropriate action," he said.
Rambarran last month announced to the public
that T&T was in a recession. It caused barely
concealed anger in the Government which said
he had bypassed the proper line of
communication to the Minister of Finance.
He is also facing a possible legal challenge from
the Massy conglomerate for revealing that
company to be among the country's biggest
consumers of foreign exchange.
Rowley and his Government had since been
hesitant to accept Rambarran's claim that the
country was in fact in a recession.
"We haven't seen the numbers," the Prime
Rowley said he would not be surprised if the
country was indeed in a recession but there could
be no certainty without the figures.
"It is unacceptable that we do not have those
numbers. The CSO (Central Statistical Office)
has not functioned for years," Rowley said.
PM backs Garcia
...As he sounds off on State boards' actions
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday defended his Govern-
ment s choices for State boards and the actions of those new boards.
An exclusive in yesterday s T&T Guardian reported disquiet at Urban
Development Corporation (Udecott) over the decision of new chairman
Noel Garcia to appoint an interim CEO on his own, without advertising
for the position.
At a couple of stops at talk radio studio for extended interviews,
Rowley sought to downplay criticism that the Government was filling
key state boards with its placements, was moving too aggressively to
remove key executives appointed by the previous government, or worse,
that it could unsettle the state sector.
He alternately defended the new boards as acting after gathering
facts to which he was not necessarily privy, or punching back against
disgruntled heads, like HDC s Jearlean John, who have been affected
by the actions of the new boards.
Rowley yesterday gave his support to the newly-installed chairmen,
praising Udecott s Noel Garcia and Telecommunications Services of
Trinidad and Tobago s (TSTT) Emile Elias. He said both were "very
good at managing difficult situations.
He also discussed the shake-ups at two key State operations, the
clash with the Central Bank Governor and the Minister of Energy using
her office to solicit funds for a constituency pageant.
Rowley also confirmed that the Revenue Authority would be enforced
by next year and the revised land and building taxes also would be
implemented by January 1. That tax, he said, could bring in some $270
million a year which could help fund and maintain local hospitals.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley during an interview at
I95.5fm's studio on Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: COURTESY I95.5 FM RADIO
Refuses to give
an inch to Jwala
Minister of Energy
address to nation
At his second stop at i95.5 Rowley dis-
missed the statements made by his suc-
cessor at the Ministry of Housing, Emily
Gaynor Dick-Forde, back in 2007.
"I will simply ignore that and if I wanted
to be unkind, I would say which stone you
overturned to find that one," Rowley said.
He was referring to last Sunday s lead
article in the Sunday Guardian in which
Dick-Forde was quoted as saying she inher-
ited inappropriate practices when she took
over the Housing Development Corporation
(HDC) from Rowley.
Rowley told the talk show hosts --- Dale
Enoch, Natalee Legore and Jabari Fraser ---
that he was aware of the challenges at the
"These are major public sector agencies,
spending billions of dollars and incurring
significant expenses for taxpayers," Rowley
He dismissed calls from suspended HDC
managing director, Jearlean John, to expand
the ongoing audit to include the years
before she took office in 2009.
"That I will ignore. If an audit was
required and you were the managing direc-
tor for five-plus years yet it wasn t done,"
Rowley also said he was not going to
second guess the board at HDC, Udecott
or at the Telecommunications Services of
Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), where busi-
nessman Emile Elias was appointed as
Rowley said he was "very pleased" when
attorney Gerry Brooks agreed to chair the
National Gas Company (NGC).
The Government also installed a former
United National Congress member, Shaheed
Hosein, to the head National Petroleum,
something Rowley suggested showed the
Government intended to operate outside
"He added: What we want is to get the
best talent available to run the country s
"Noel Garcia managed the HDC during
a period of record-breaking performance
in terms of the objectives which was to
build as many houses as possible.
"The Cabinet is very confident in Noel
Garcia at Udecott and one of the best to
handle that kind of arrangement at Ude-
With regards to HDC, Rowley again laud-
ed chairman Newman George.
"If he agreed to head the HDC, I am
very lucky," he said.
Elias, Rowley said, was also capable of
managing the reduced market share and
other challenges at TSTT.
"I had no idea that TSTT had lost so
much ground and the question is what
happened at TSTT. It is not getting any
better, it is getting worse," he added.
Rowley described TSTT as "under-per-
forming" and said he was surprised to learn
that the company hoped to leverage the
Government s shareholding in it for capital
to increase and improve its technology to
make it more competitive.
"That has me disturbed. A company
that had 100 per cent of the market, where
profits had been so huge, how did you end
up in this position?" he asked.
"Clearly you need someone with a strong
business background," he said of Elias.
The Prime Minister said he spoke with Energy
Minister, Nicole Olivierre, about what looked to
have been a probable breach of ethics. Olivierre's
office allegedly solicited funds from agencies
under her control for a beauty pageant in her La
Rowley said he met with her early on Tuesday
morning to discuss the reports.
"Action has already been taken and as the
leader of Cabinet, I had a frank discussion with
the minister," he said.
Rowley, in carefully chosen words, said
Olivierre now understood that "development was
not the wisest."
He dismissed the idea that Olivierre deserved
official sanction and refused to compare her
situation with that of former People's
Partnership minister Mary King, who was fired by
then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for
allowing her husband's company to obtain a
contract under her ministry.
"The minister's judgment brought the minister
too close to the operations, I think," he said.
The Prime Minister also announced that he
would be making his address to the nation,
planned for yesterday, in the new year. Imbert
had said Rowley would be giving the nation a
"reality check". That sobering message will not
now take place after the Christmas holidays.
Rubbishes claims of malpractice under his watch
Man charged with murder of cop, UWI student
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