Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 22 - 2017
Help on the way for Nikkita
Parents of five-year-old Nikkisha Marcelle are feeling
anxious yet relieved as Nikkisha is finally scheduled to
have the first round of life -changing surgery in April.
Nikkita's story came to light in May 2015 when Tobago
Today reported her situation. Since then her parents have
been frantically searching for some kind of relief.
Nikkita, suffers from cleft lip- facial and oral malfor-
mations that occur very early in pregnancy when there is
not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area and the avail-
able tissue does not join together properly. The cause of
cleft lip and cleft palate are unknown.
Nikkisha's mom Nicolette spent the first five years of
her daughter's life travelling back and forth between Trin-
idad and Tobago seeking help.
Explaining the painful situation, Nicolette said: "Nikki-
sha was given a referral to a doctor in Trinidad since she
was two months old, she is five now."
After doing some research she discovered that if her
daughter was in a developed country her situation would
have dealt with differently. "It really broke my heart to see
my child remain like this until she is five. We try our best,
she is home-schooled but her condition affects her speech,
simple movement causes discomfort, it's been a really
challenging time for her and us."
She said when Tobago Today highlighted the story, there
was a glimmer of hope as the Acting CEO of the Tobago
Regional Health Authority Dr Nathaniel Duke contacted
"Dr Duke called us and asked us to come in and we did
that he put us in contact with a next doctor, a specialist
in South Trinidad. We went to see him and he agreed to
do the first round of surgeries. However, we had to come
back to Tobago hospital to do a series of tests."
Her glimmer of hope proved to be elusive: "We came
back and those tests were never done. I tried on several
occasions, even the doctor tried to reach out to him(Dr
Duke)but it just never happened. Eventually, the specialist
had to leave the country for a while, that was late last
Nikkisha's grandmother Norma said although she felt
her family was abandoned by the local health authorities
they never gave up.
"We just couldn't give up so we kept looking at differ-
ent avenues and praying for help. Our church pastor Irwin
Scott really helped us. He made contact with a doctor in
Trinidad, he said he was shocked that the surgery wasn't
done already and he agreed to do the surgery."
Things got even better for the family as a follow-up
enquiry by Tobago Today, with officials at the Division of
Health, Wellness and Family Development, bore positive
Communications Supervisor of the Division, Rion George
conducted follow-up enquiries with the Acting Medical
Chief of Staff Dr Inger Manswell Myrie who contacted the
According to Mr George,"Nikkisha was seen by Dr Vic-
tor Blackburn from the US who will perform the surgery
in Trinidad by the end of next month .
The first round of surgeries cost in excess of fifty thou-
sand dollars and the family has been asked by Dr Myrie
to submit an invoice so that the TRHA can assist with the
Building A Digital World
Consumers Can Trust
Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
in the digital age were discussed as part
of World Consumer Rights Day 2017 cel-
ebrations. World Consumer Rights Day
is celebrated on 15 March, and provides
advocates with an opportunity to promote
the basic rights of all consumers, edu-
cating them on ways they can demand
that those rights and be respected and
In Tobago, officials at the Consumer
Affairs Department of the Division of
Finance and the Economy celebrated the
international day by hosting a conference
for consumers. There specialists discussed
the theme 'Building a Digital World Con-
sumers can Trust".
Administrator of the Division Claire
Davidson Williams spoke about the core
functions of the Consumer Affairs Unit.
"The department is committed to
preserving the interests of consumers
through the education and arbitration
work which will lend to mutual beneficial
arrangements in consumers and the cor-
porate sector and lead to equity effective
and productive paths."
She said based on the strength of the
presentations persons would not only learn
to be good consumers but also learn how
to put consumer responsibilities into action
Consumer Affairs Officer, Verdine Wil-
liams, noted that consumers often forget
they have rights as well as responsibili-
ties before seeking redress. "As a con-
sumer we have rights but we also have
She added: "You should be using prod-
ucts based on manufacturers specifica-
tions,take for instance a washing machine,
when you purchase a washing machine
and you use it to manufacturers specifi-
cations you don't expect that it's going
to explode or cause harm to you. That's
what the right to safe goods and services
She said another consumer right is
often frequently overlooked.
"Unfortunately we don't use the right
to choose well because we don't like to
She noted that if consumers do not
shop around for the best deal at the best
price for the quality they need ,then their
responsibility is void.
Williams said a US senator recently
proposed a ninth right, which is the right
"The right of privacy meaning that the
law should protect consumers from com-
panies that crawl the web and take your
personal information and sell it, privacy
from applications being able to tell where
you are at any point in time without per-
mission, and privacy from getting unso-
Manager of Corporate Investigation
Services of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC),
Antonio Ventor, spoke about ways con-
sumers can protect themselves. "Keep
computers dated with latest protection
software. Also, some people should uti-
lize the computer to check their financial
data," he said.
He noted that visiting questionable
sites such as those with pornography,
use spy ware and malware."
He pointed out that a separate com-
puter be used to do online banking and
keep up to date with all the latest trends
by fraud awareness training."
He also provided tips for authenticat-
"Copy the URL information on the
browser, open a blank web page then run
a search for the URL in the browser. Once
the information is authentic the informa-
tion is supposed to be the same as the
one on the first page."
He advised: "Avoid websites that have
been referred by email especially if some-
one you don't know sent it to you."
Persons are also asked to be wary of
advanced fee frauds such as the Nigerian
419 scam. These come in the form of
emails from Nigeria claiming that your
grandfather died leaving you millions of
dollars and they need your banking infor-
mation or to send money in order to receive
Another online scam persons are being
asked to be on the look for is romance
online dating fraud. Experts report that
there has been an insurgence in this type
of fraud within the last few years. This is
where persons meet people online and
get involved in online relationships where
persons ask for money.
Administrator in the Division of Finance and
Economy Claire Davidson Williams
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