Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge
has written to the United States
Embassy requesting that the US inves-
tigate whether the American financial
system was used by a T&T national in
alleged "acts of fraud and the illegal
payments of bribes and kickbacks."
In a letter mailed via Fedex to the US
Charge d Affaire at the US Embassy,
Margaret Diop, Sturge called on the US
government to determine whether Urban
Development Corporation of T&T (Ude-
cott) chairman Noel Garcia had com-
mitted an extraditable offence. Sturge
copied US Attorney General Loretta
He also included in the document the
complaint he made on Monday to the
Integrity Commission on the matter.
In a press conference on Monday,
Sturge showed a dossier of documentary
evidence which he alleged showed cor-
rupt actions by Garcia, which he said
he had presented to the commission and
the Director of Public Prosecutions so
a probe could be launched.
In his request to the commission,
Sturge presented documents he claims
showed that a favoured contractor funded
part of Garcia s son s university educa-
tion. He requested that the commission
investigate whether Garcia accepted
kickbacks in the form of payments for
the education of Garcia s son Christian
between 2002 and 2005 from owner of
PACE Construction Services Limited
Junior Joseph. At that time, Garcia was
the managing director of the Housing
Development Corporation (HDC).
PACE Construction received multi-
million dollar contracts from the HDC
for the construction of housing units.
Garcia has denied the allegations, stat-
ing he and his wife had paid for the edu-
cation of all their children. He also said
he had no power over which companies
were granted contracts during his tenure
In his letter, Sturge requested that the
US, through the Central Authority of
the USA, use its power to make the rel-
evant enquiries to determine whether
accounts in the American financial sys-
tem were used by "persons included,
but not limited to Mr Noel Garcia, in
connection with acts of fraud, including
the receipt or transfer of illegal payments,
bribes or kickbacks and if so the exact
nature source and disposition of those
He said if anyone had used their offices
to commit or assist in the commission
of transnational offences, they should
be brought to justice by the state in
which those offences were committed.
He said he had brought the informa-
tion to all of the relevant authorities in
T&T and considered it his duty to bring
the information to the attention of the
authorities in the US.
Attempts to reach Attorney General
Faris Al-Rawi yesterday were unsuc-
US to probe
The sharp spike in murders at the start of
the new year is not only taking a psychological
toll on the families of victims but other people
not even related to those killed, as gunmen
continue their onslaught across the country.
The situation materialised yesterday when
the families of murder victims who had gone
to witness autopsies scampered for safety outside
the Forensic Science Centre in St James, when
they heard several gunshots.
They were, however, comforted by members
of the media and funeral home workers around,
who told them they could relax as the gunshots
were coming from an enclosed shooting range
belonging to the nearby T&T Police Service
The shooting range is located at the TTPS
St James Barracks, which is adjacent to the
FSC s carpark, where scores of family members
gather on a daily basis to await autopsies on
the bodies of their loved ones, most of whom
were killed by bullets.
This incident occurred even as the Ministry
of Education confirmed yesterday that scores
of students who had either seen dead bodies
or heard gunshots in several communities,
including Belmont where there was a double
murder Thursday, were receiving counselling
to ensure they were not permanently scarred
by the experience.
At the FSC yesterday, one of the grieving rel-
atives who became visibly afraid and attempted
to dodge and run from the loud, ear-piercing
sound of the gunshots was Jahalia Simmons,
the sister of murder victim Matthew "Smeagol"
Simmons, who was gunned down in broad day-
light in Belmont on Thursday. (See page 5)
"Wow! The sound of that just made me very
scared. Thank God it was nothing to really
worry about, but that has left me shaking,"
Jahalia said as she clutched her chest.
A relative of another murder victim, who
wished not to be identified, began shouting:
"Gunshots from the police. Watch them! They
don t care about us here. Our families were
killed by the gun but they letting go shots and
real shots too."
Another relative immediately took out her
phone and telephoned someone to come pick
her up quickly. Her conversation went like this:
"Hello. Come quick. I can t stay here, them
police shooting and I can t bear to hear the
gunshots. My son was killed by the gun and I
just can t be here listening to this."
One of the undertakers on hand, who wished
not to be identified, said the sound of gunshots
from the police range has always been a problem
and challenge for relatives coming to the cen-
"I have heard many of them complaining,
even some beginning to cry because the sound
just traumatises them over and over and I really
believe that the police should be a little more
sensitive as to when they come to the range to
practice their shooting skills," the undertaker
Efforts to reach the Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams on the issue yesterday were
unsuccessful as all calls to his cellphone went
Counselling for students
Students and staff of the Belmont Govern-
ment Primary School, Providence Girls Catholic
School and Our Lady of Laventille RC Primary
School are receiving counselling from guidance
officers and school social workers assigned to
the schools and the ministry s Student Support
Services Division, Education Minister Antho-
ny Garcia said yesterday.
The counselling follows the fatal shooting of
two men outside the Belmont Government Pri-
mary and Providence Girls on Thursday.
In a release yesterday, Garcia strongly con-
demned the shooting, saying all schools must
be safe places for children, teachers and sup-
porting staff and such incidents must be con-
demned in the strongest terms.
He said the incident, which occurred during
school hours, was witnessed by students and
teachers of both schools, leaving them trau-
matised as the dead bodies remained on the
Belmont Circular Road for hours after the shoot-
Garcia noted with concern that armed intrud-
ers entered the compound of Our Lady of Laven-
tille RC both on January 7 and 8.
He reiterated that incidents such as these
should not be allowed to occur and reassured
parents, teachers, students and members of the
national community that he would be working
very closely with the Ministry of National Secu-
rity to prevent any such recurrences.
In an interview yesterday, T&T Unified Teach-
ers Association (TTUTA) president Davanand
Sinanan also condemned the criminal acts taking
place in such close proximity to schools.
"It is obvious the criminal elements have no
respect or regard to children who could be wit-
ness to such serious crimes. It is definitely cause
for concern and tied into the level of criminality
in the country," Sinanan said.
Sinanan said, however, that it had become
apparent that it may be impossible to "insulate
our children unless we can treat system wide
with the issue of crime."
He said the question of what further measures
could be taken to protect students, teachers and
staff of schools remained unanswered.
He said while the association would have
called on police in the past to increase patrols
at schools, he understood the police had chal-
lenges in terms of manpower.
Cops' gunshots scare relatives
Chaos during wait for autopsies at FSC
A traditional Carnival character taunts a photographer along Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain, during the launch of Downtown Carnival 2016 themed
The City Experience, at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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