Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Lawyer to Children Life Fund in Shannen's case
or face legal fight
Attorneys representing the family of
a three-year-old girl, who was refused
funding by the Children's Life Fund for a
major surgery in Rome, Italy, scheduled
for next Tuesday, have signalled their
intention to sue the board managing
Speaking a press conference at his office
in Woodbrook yesterday, Opposition Sena-
tor Gerald Ramdeen announced that he had
issued the Life Fund Authority an ultimatum
threatening to file a lawsuit if it failed to re-
verse its decision in relation to Shannen Luke
Central to Ramdeen's proposed judicial
review claim, is a decision by the authority
on April 10, to reject Luke's application as it
found her illness to be non-life threatening.
The authority also contended that its de-
cision was based on its policy to not honour
applications made for reimbursements of
Describing the decision as inexplicable,
Ramdeen pointed out that Section 9 of the
legislation which established the fund and the
authority in 2010, allowed for reimbursement
payments. Responding to questions on Luke's
case raised in Parliament earlier this month,
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh revealed
that the fund, established by former prime
minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, contained
approximately $55 million.
"The parents would have had to wait for
the application to be granted or rejected and
then would have to raise the $2 million for the
procedure and post-operative care. That is
preposterous," Ramdeen said.
Luke, of Brazil Village, east of Arima, was
diagnosed with Beta Thalassemia Major
when she was nine months old. Since then,
she has been on a cocktail of medicine and
has to do monthly blood transfusions. Luke
is scheduled to undergo a hematopoietic cell
transfusion (bone marrow transplant) at the
Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome.
According to Ramdeen, the authority's
refusal to accept the application was partly
based on the fact that her parents were able
to pay the €158,000 (TT$1.2m) to the hospital
for the operation to secure the date for the
surgery before making their application to
The money was raised from donations,
fund-raisers and from loans and a second
mortgage taken out by her parents.
"The board did not consider that they have
to pay for airline tickets to go to Italy. Did they
not consider that the family has to stay with
the child and cannot sleep on the streets. In
this particular type of operation the recovery
time is six to eight weeks," Ramdeen said.
Referring to the authority's claim that
Luke's illness is non-life threatening, Ram-
deen said he had already retained the servic-
es of a qualified medical expert in the field,
who was willing to challenge the finding if
the lawsuit has to be filed.
Six killed in
JENSEN LA VENDE
Three people includ-
ing an elderly man and
an unidentified woman
were among six road fa-
talities which took place
at the weekend, making
it the deadliest for the
year, police said.
In the first instance,
38-year-old Kevin Agos-
tini, of Guaico, Sangre
Grande was killed when the
car he was driving collided
with another driven by Mi-
chael Samaroo, 32, of Kelly
Police said the accident took place around 4.15 am at
the Mausica intersection along the Churchill Roosevelt
Highway. Agostini died en route to the Arima Health Fa-
cility. Police are expected to review closed circuit camera
footage to determine what happened.
The second road death took place later that night af-
ter a woman was struck while attempting to cross the
Southern Main Road at Mc Bean, Couva. Police said
around 11.40 pm, the woman was crossing when she
was hit by a 59-year-old Freeport man. The woman is
yet to be identified.
The following day, 78-year-old Albert Hernandez, of
Boys Lane, D'Abadie was knocked down while trying to
cross the Priority Bus Route. Police said around 5.20 am
Hernandez was at the Boys Lane traffic light about to
cross when he was hit by a car driven by a 24-year-old
Special Reserve police officer.
Three other people died in two separate accidents.
Kevin Frederick, 24 and passenger Kerelle Nicholson,
20, both of Cocorite Road, Arima died in an accident on
Sunday along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway.
The other death was Air Guardsman Sgt Christian
Guevarra, 38 who was killed when the vehicle in which
he was a passenger crashed into a culvert along the SS
Erin Road around 5 am Saturday.
The six deaths took the road death toll to 30 for the
year, 18 less than last year.
Two more murders in Central Division
Two men have been killed in the
Central Division between Friday and
The most recent killing was that of a man
yet to be identified whose mutilated corpse
was found Sunday.
Police said the body bore several chop
wounds was found in an abandoned parcel
of land around off Factory Road at around
The man was wearing a pair of blue track
pants and an orange T-shirt.
On Friday night, police reported that an
unidentified man was found murdered in
Carlsen Field, Chaguanas.
The man was identified yesterday as Dar-
ren Thompson, 36. Thompson, originally
from Tobago had been staying in the area
for the past two months.
A relative said Thompson was parting a
fight when he was shot.
According to police, Thompson, who lived
at Carlsen Field was at home around 10.30
pm when he heard a commotion outside and
went to see what was happening.
He attempted to part a fight when one
of the men opened fire before running off.
Both killings are being investigated by
Central Division officers as well as officers
of the Homicide Bureau.
The two killings have increased the mur-
der toll to 162 compared to 150 for thesame
period last year.
Protest over bad roads, no water
Residents of Todds Road in Central
Trinidad staged a fiery protest yesterday
to highlight the lack of a proper water sup-
ply and deplorable roads.
They blocked the main entrance into the
community that located off the Caparo Val-
ley Brasso Road. Villagers piled tyres and other
debris and set them ablaze around 6 am.
Police and the Fire Service doused the blaze
which was later reignited. Councillor for the
area Ryan Rampersad (Longdenville/Talparo
of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional
Corporation) said the residents were fed up
with the state of the roads and water supply
in the area.
He said the community of around 4,000
people receive a weekly supply but the pressure
was too low to reach some households. Ramp-
ersad said the roads in the community were
also deplorable. He said there was also a lack of
proper recreational facilities. Rampersad said
while the corporation maintained recreation
grounds there were no funds available to install
lights and jogging tracks. He said the residents
intended to continue to stage demonstrations
until their pleas were heard.
A man escorts two children during yesterday's fiery protest at Todds Road, Central
Trinidad, yesterday. PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
Todds Road community seeks help
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