Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 4th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 4, 2017
Lawyer's son drowns
after Carnival party
Homicide detectives are in-
vestigating the circumstances
surrounding the death of an at-
torney's son who drowned in
Chaguaramas after attending a
party on Carnival Sunday.
According to reports,
around 9 am, Evan
Modeste, the son of
criminal defence attor-
ney Lyndon Leu, was
attending breakfast fete
with friends when he was
attacked by a man.
Eyewitnesses told po-
lice that Modeste walked
away and left the party,
which was held at Hart's
He was next seen emp-
tying his pockets before running into
the water fully clothed.
Police said that Modeste swam a
distance before he pulled under by
strong currents. The Coast Guard
was summoned but only managed
to recover his body around 4.20 pm.
An autopsy performed on his body
at the Forensic Science Science by fo-
rensic pathologist Dr Eslyn McDon-
ald-Burris listed his cause of death as
In an interview yesterday, Modeste's
father said he believed that his son's
death was not accidental.
"I am choosing my words very care-
fully when I say that we do not accept
that a criminal offence did not occur,"
Leu said from information he gath-
ered from eyewitnesses to the incident
he believed that his son
may have decided to en-
ter the water to evade his
"I won't call it an alter-
cation, it was a physical
attack that took place.
We have information
that he ran but we don't
know the sequence of
events, whether he was
attacked again or was
running from the initial
attack but he ended up at
sea and ultimately drowned," Leu said.
Leu said his family was still coming
to terms with his death as they seek
"We are devastated and we are seek-
ing justice for him," Leu said.
The family has made a public appeal
for anyone with videos of the incident
or any useful information to make it
available to the police.
Cpl Moses of the Region One Hom-
icide Bureau is continuing investiga-
Ministry initiates probe
'crime free' release?
National Security Minister Ed-
mund Dillon says an investigation
has been launched to determine
who was culpable for the erro-
neous press release issued from
his ministry on March 1, which
claimed that Carnival 2017 was
Dillon and the Minister of Public
Administration and Communications,
Maxie Cuffie answered questions
about the incident in brief interviews
with reporters at Parliament yesterday.
At Thursday's post-Cabinet news
conference at the Diplomatic Centre,
St Ann's Dillon said that an error was
made in the release and a correction
was issued shortly afterwards.
While the initial release stated the
Minister wanted to thank the Defence
Force and the protective services for
their roles in ensuring there was a
crime-free Carnival on Monday and
Tuesday, Dillon said on Thursday: "It
definitely wasn't a crime-free Carni-
val," adding that there was at least one
Carnival-related murder during the
Yesterday, he said, after the first
release was issued "the damage was
done, it is like a spent arrow (and) you
can't pull it back."
Asked if he vetted the release be-
fore it was issued, Dillon responded,
"I won't answer that question right
now because a further investigation is
taking place right now as to see where
the culpability lies" and "would not
comment any further on it."
Told that approving all press releas-
es before they are issued to the media
was best practice, Dillon agreed, say-
ing "that is best practice but I will not
comment further on it."
In response to another question, Dil-
lon said: "Anytime an error is made an
investigation must take place."
Dillon said information will be made
public following completion of the
in-house probe. He said action will
be taken then.
Earlier, Cuffie, said each ministry
was responsible for the issuance of
media releases and not the Communi-
cations Ministry. He said his ministry
"manages the communications mech-
anism---Caribbean New Media Group
(CNMG) and Government Information
Services Ltd (GISL)---that's my remit.
Individual ministries handle their own
Asked if he had concerns about the
"badly-worded" releases being sent
from the Office of the Prime Minis-
ter, Cuffie said he was not aware of the
specific issue. He said, however, that
he took his job seriously and would
look at the issue of dissatisfaction
among the media about releases being
issued from ministries.
After claims of lead contamination
Lab tests prove
WASA water safe
Independent laboratory tests
on water entering and leaving
the Guanapo and Caroni Water
Treatment Plants have proven
tap water supplied by the Wa-
ter and Sewerage Authority
(WASA) is safe to drink.
The results were announced
yesterday after concerns were
raised during a Public Accounts
Enterprises Committee (PAEC) on
February 16, where it was claimed
that lead, a pollutant known to
cause neurological disorders -
had been contaminating the water
supply to the Caroni Water Treat-
ment Plant for years, threatening
the health of thousands of citizens
The finding was based on May
2016 University of the West In-
dies report compiled by Dr Denise
Beckles and a team of researchers.
The Guanapo Landfill is lo-
cated upstream of the Guanapo
River and officials at Solid Waste
Management Company Ltd told
the Parliament committee there
were reports of dangerously high
levels of lead which could be af-
fecting the health of citizens.
WASA's chairman Romney
Thomas, said yesterday said inde-
pendent tests had been performed
by the Caribbean Industrial Re-
search Institute (CARIRI) on the
raw water entering and the final
treated water leaving the Caroni
and Guanapo Water Treatment
Thomas said CARIRI had been
commissioned to conduct inde-
pendent tests for heavy metals in
the water supply, even after WASA
officials had assured that the levels
were far below those which could
pose a risk to the public.
"The results of the independent
tests conducted by CARIRI con-
firm there is no lead contamina-
tion of water at the Caroni Water
Treatment Plant," he said.
He was speaking during a press
conference at WASA's Public Ed-
ucation Centre, St Joseph.
"The Authority remains com-
mitted to providing its customers
throughout Trinidad and Tobago
with a safe, potable water supply."
He said WASA had appropriate
measures in place to guarantee
that World Health Organization
drinking water guidelines were
achieved, along with several
mechanisms to ensure water pro-
duced and distributed from its wa-
ter treatment plants, was potable
and met international guidelines.
Thomas said, "These include a
rigorous treatment process where-
by heavy metal contaminants such
as lead are removed from water
during WASA's coagulation and
flocculation, sedimentation and
filtration processes, to within ac-
ceptable levels as defined by the
WHO. In addition, there is dis-
infection to eliminate dangerous
"With respect to the Caroni
Water Treatment Plant, a water
Quality Monitoring System is in
place to monitor water quality pa-
rameters in the Caroni River Basin
and provide real-time water qual-
ity data to the Plant from several
locations upstream of the facility."
"This system measures six wa-
ter quality parameters which are
key indicators of different types
of pollution that can impact the
plant's output. In addition, regular
water quality testing at the Plant's
onsite laboratory is conducted in
keeping with WHO Guidelines."
Pressed to say what levels of lead
had actually been detected at the
Caroni Water Treatment Plant -
WASA's Project Leader, Adopt-
A-River Programme, Dr Sharda
Mahabir said the standard WHO
guideline value for lead was 0.01
mg per litre, and the "Concentra-
tions found at the Caroni Plant
were below these values and are
reported as below detection limit
for those results for that metal."
"The treatment process which
involved the use of aluminium sul-
phate would lead to coagulation
and flocculation to reduce any
heavy metals in the water, so that
would treat with any high levels of
lead. Even at the raw water intake,
the level of lead in the water was
below detection levels. Before it
enters the plant, it is well below
detection levels and even after
it is treated, well, obviously it is
below detection levels as well,"
Asked if there was a possibility
that people using untreated water
for agricultural purposes upstream
of the treatment plant, could be
exposed to lead poisoning, Ma-
habir said, "For the Caroni River
system, based on the results, there
is no issue per say."
She said while the quantity of
lead in the environment would
change seasonally, "With respect
to it entering plants, I can't say for
sure. It would depend on the riv-
er system, it would depend on the
plants in question but for now, this
specific situation, in this system,
I would say no."
The University of the West In-
dies is currently compiling a report
on the matter, which is expected
to be released soon.
WASA's chairman, Romney Thomas , left, address members of the media during the press conference
yesterday. Looking on are CEO, Alan Poon-King, and Project Leader: Adopt-A-River programme, Dr Sharda
Mahabir. PHOTO: HIRLEY BAHADUR
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