Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2016 Contents Minister: National
services policy coming
Trade and Industry Ministers Paula
Gopee-Scoon says a national services pol-
icy is being established as part of the diver-
She said so during an address at a seminar
titled The Role of Alternative Health Care Man-
agement and Entrepreneurship in Economic Devel-
opment at the University of the Southern
Caribbean,Maracas, St Joseph, on Sunday.
She said that policy would "provide a blueprint
for the development and growth of the local services
sector which would lead to increased capacity in this
sector and an overall contribution to the economy."
The minister said medical tourism was one of the
emerging sub-sectors to be highlighted in the policy.
Gopee-Scoon said consideration was being given
to establishing T&T as a regional hub for medical
She urged the students "as future entrepreneurs
and investors to explore further and take advantage
of the commercial prospects within this field."
Gopee-Scoon said her ministry was formulating
an e-commerce policy to establish a framework to
encourage commerce and the trading of goods and
She said the Government recognised that for the
entrepreneurial sector to contribute to diversification
and economic development, there was a need to
strengthen innovation, export orientation and growth
She said she was convinced the education and
mentorship that students were receiving "will equip
you with the requisite knowledge and critical thinking
skills to assist in your journey as budding entrepre-
Arvin Harripersad and his wife, Elizabeth
Maharaj, were working long and hard to com-
plete the construction of their new home but
the family suffered a major setback on Sunday
when their house was destroyed by fire.
With everything burnt, Harripersad, an
auto air-conditioning technician, Maharaj,
an accountant and their five-year-old son,
Ethan Harripersad, slept in their unfin-
ished home next door.
Harripersad s father, Saran Har-
ripersad Jogie, 64, and mother,
Cowseller, 62, also slept in the house.
Luckily it was not damaged as the
fire destroyed his Nissan AD Wagon,
valued $65,000, and damaged Maharaj s
Toyota Corolla hatchback.
Harripersad said he was asleep when he
awoke suddenly and saw the ceiling on fire.
He said he woke up Maharaj and Ethan
and told them to run out the house while he
went to wake his parents, who were asleep
in another room.
By the time Siparia firefighters arrived the
wooden and concrete structure was totally
"God was with me that night. I was asleep
and my eyes just opened and as I looked up
to the ceiling, I saw it was on fire. I woke up
my wife and son and told them to get out
the house and I woke mom and dad.
"There is a step at the back of the house
so we ran down there and stood in the yard.
Everything I bought for the new house...
fridge, my clothes gone.
"Thank God we have some good neighbours
who donated some stuff to us because all my
son s school things were burned," Maharaj
The cause of the blaze was yet to be deter-
mined but he believed it was due to a leaning
utility pole that was causing the wire to his
house to stretch.
He said several times there would be power
outages and despite his father making several
reports to T&TEC, the most that was done,
was the wire being lengthen.
Jogie, a retired supervisor at Auto Rentals,
said he would like to rebuild his home but
could only do so if he came into some money.
A 42-year-old man with nine previous drug-
related convictions was jailed for five months yes-
terday by a Chaguanas magistrate despite his pleas
Micheal Joseph, 42, appeared in the Chaguanas
Magistrates Court before Magistrate Wendy
Dougdeen-Bally charged with being in possession
of an apparatus used to smoke cocaine.
While he pleaded guilty to the charge, Joseph
told the court he was a farmer and did not want
to go to jail as his crops would go to waste.
According to the facts read by Sgt Boxer, PC
Jaikaran was on patrol along Jerningham Junction,
Cunupia, on Saturday night when he observed
Joseph acting suspiciously.
He approached him, identified himself and
searched him. He found a blue straw with a burnt
end in Joseph s right pants pocket.
When Jaikaran told him of his suspicion that the
object was one used to smoke cocaine, Joseph
responded: "Officer, gimme a bligh nah."
He was arrested and taken to the Cunupia Police
Station where he was charged.
In court yesterday, Joseph pleaded for leniency,
saying he had recently been put out of his father s
home and had been allowed to plant crops on a
piece of land.
He said he currently has sweet pepper and water-
melon crops planted on the land and if given a few
hours grace, he could pick the sweet peppers, sell
it and be able to pay a fine.
However, when Dougdeen-Bally looked at his
criminal record, she told him he had been imprisoned
already for the same offence, serving four months
in jail and he had nine drug-related convictions in
She told him he was an addict who needed to
get his addiction under control or he would spend
the rest of his life in jail. She told him she would
not unleash him on society with his drug problem.
She then sentenced him to five months hard
labor, telling him it was time he learned a lesson
about his drug use.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Guardian www.guardian.co.tt
Five months jail
for man with 9
Setback for family
as fire destroys
Avin Harripersad picks up the burnt electrical
panel box in the ruins after his home was
destroyed by fire on Sunday, at Antilles Trace,
San Francique. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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