Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2017 Contents news A5
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Bourdain crime piece an
indictment on T&T---Solomon
US travel guide Anthony Bour-
dain's recent documentary on T&T,
which should have been an oppor-
tunity to showcase local food and
culture, unfortunately turned out to
be more of a crime documentary on
"It tended to focus a lot on crime. At
been Trinidadians looking at that video,
would we have wanted to come to T&T
under those conditions?"Solomon added
in the Senate yesterday.
"It was a sad indictment on T&T... we
have to look at the message we're sending
out on behalf of T&T."
Solomon referredto the video whilede-
bating an Opposition motion calling for
Government to deal with the unaccept-
able crime situation. The documentary
by Bourdain---a chef/author---was listed
on CNN's schedule last Sunday.
In a second clip, Bourdain spoke about
T&T to CNN host Anderson Cooper.
Solomon said Bourdain noted there
were 460 murders in 2016 and that Port-
of-Spain's murder rate was higher than
Detroit's, Oakland's and Chicago's. The
documentary highlighted local gang war-
fare,drugs, the Dana Seetahal murder and
T&T Isis recruits.
"The tragic part was a lot of it was ac-
curate.It overshadowed everything beau-
tiful about T&T; the doubles, Carnival,
the food, our culture ---T&T's beauty,"
Noting the number of Isis recruits from
T&T, Solomon added, "It's only a matter
of time before an attack happens in T&T."
The recent robbery of Fr Clyde Har-
vey,he added, was tragic for a man who'd
dedicated his life to serving areas and for
this became a victim. Solomon said fear
of God no longer deterred culprits.
"Sometimes I wonder why our reli-
gious leaders are arguing irrelevancies
when we're in a battle against crime,"
he said. (See page A7)
Knocking Government for the lack of
a crime plan, Solomon said he found the
Prime Minister's recent warning about
who people had in their "bedrooms" to
be offensive and ridiculous.
He added, "Building a police station in
Enterprise isn't a crime plan. It's a Ban-
daid. Our international image has been
tarnished by this crime scourge."
Independent Senator Melissa Ram-
kissoon, agreeing T&T's beauty is being
"surpassed" by crime levels and brutal-
ity, called for early legislation stipulating
that parents/guardians be charged when
their children committed crimes or were
found in this.
Saying people should be held account-
able, she also urged parents to get rehabil-
itation or other help for culprits.
"Don't just say, 'it's my son'
, do some-
thing about it," she said.
Ramkisson particularly advocated leg-
islation to deal with parents who taught
their children "the trade" ---like shoplift-
ing, such as seen in a recent video.
She said she'd often noted in the
Laventille area, youths sitting or stand-
ing around, not working"... yet they have
cars and clothing, I wonder how we're
encouraging this lifestyle? ... What are
we teaching them?"
In UWI, Ramkissoon said, students
have to give up cellphones if a culprit
"pulls a gun" and many pray daily for their
laptops not tobe stolen. Ramkissoon, who
said she had two pitbulls, said she didn't
feel the "fruits" of security agencies like
the Strategic Services Agency.
Chairman of the Global
Brands Group of Companies,
Mario Sabga-Aboud, has de-
scribed yesterday as "one of
my worst days ever."
Sabga-Aboud was responding
to the public outcry on social
media and the one-man protest
staged in front one of his estab-
lishments in Maraval yesterday,
about a statement he made on the
CNN Anthony Bourdain show
Addressing his critics, Sab-
ga-Aboud humbly apologised
and admitted he used his words
carelessly. He, however, praised
his members of staff, whom he
described as family and credited
them for his accomplishments.
During Bourdain's visit to
T&T for the taping of the show,
one of his dinner sessions was
at Bayshore with Sabga-Aboud
and several of his family mem-
bers. The conversation started up
with the Syrian-Lebanese com-
munity's arrival in T&T and then
went on to note the community
was the smallest ethnic group
in T&T with just under 5,000.
This was where Sabga-Aboud in-
terjected, saying "but the most
powerful, well almost the most
powerful." He then said he was
"very big in the food business"
with 120 restaurants and referred
to himself as the "Starbucks of
In a statement yesterday, Sab-
ga-Aboud said he misrepresented
himself and his values.
"I used careless words in refer-
ring to the standing of citizens
of Middle Eastern descent in our
society, and ended up misrepre-
senting myself and my values,"
"I have never taken for grant-
ed the blessing to be a born and
bred Trinbagonian. I am, and
have always been humbled by
the opportunities and support I
have received in my over 30 years
in business in T&T."
He added that over the years
he met with many people across
the wider society, "who in one
way or another have positively
impacted and enriched my life."
"This is testament to the
amazing people of this country
and as a Trinbagonian, I cher-
ish that and I off er my deepest
apologies to anyone whom I of-
fended," Sabga-Aboud added.
He also praised his staff.
"I always treat with apprecia-
tion, love and respect the mem-
bers of my staff, many of whom
are like my family because they
have been with me for over 25 and
30 years, and are fundamentally
the reason for my accomplish-
Sabga-Aboud admitted that it
was a regrettable moment, where
his excitement led him to mis-
represent himself "as boastful"
instead of proud. "Though I can-
not retract my words, I hope that
you all recognise my remorse and
accept my sincere apology."
No retrenchment at Studley Park, says Charles
Tobago House of Assembly
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles
yesterday gave the assurance
that there will be "no retrench-
ment" of workers at the Stud-
ley Park Quarry.
But he said a special purpose
company has been set up with a
view to making what he described
as a "significant asset" more prof-
Charles was responding to Mi-
nority leader Watson Duke, who
lamented in his response to the
THA budget debate, that the THA
had a plan to "privatise" the quar-
ry, which he said had the potential
to earn "$150 million a year" for
Workers from the quarry were
in the Chamber during the de-
bate. Duke acknowledged their
presence, saying "my colleagues
from Studley Park are concerned
about their livelihood, they are
concerned about a company called
Studley Park Enterprises Limited."
He said he could not understand
why a quarry that "is considered a
goldmine" is being given to some-
Duke started to read from a pink
bristol board placard used during
a protest at the quarry, but he was
cautioned by presiding officer
Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus, who
informed him posters were not
Duke argued that it was "a doc-
ument I am reading from," adding,
"On a point of order I rise while I
am speaking. I want it to be shown
in the standing orders where it says
the size of document I should read
"Mr Duke I have made a ruling."
While he complied with the
ruling, Duke pressed for clarity on
the standing order he had violat-
ed. But the presiding officer had
had enough and warned: "If you
do not proceed with completing
your presentation we can do it for
you. Do not challenge me in this
Thanking her for her "admoni-
tion," Duke said members of the
assembly must remember they
represent the people, as he went
on to ask how the THA plans to
treat with the fallout from closing
He added: "How could a quarry
that stands to make TT$150 mil-
lion per year not be placed as an
important avenue for revenue in
the estimates of revenue for the
If the plan was to privatise the
company, he wondered why the
THA was "spending TT$26 million
on a company privatised already.
Who will be running the compa-
ny? What is the criteria for persons
being hired in the quarry? What
is the future of those employed?"
Duke said he had visited the
quarry last Friday and "I saw a
number of jobs being advertised."
But he said those jobs were already
being done by persons represent-
ed by the National Union of Gov-
ernment and Federated Workers
(NUGFW) (daily paid) and the PSA
He asked: "Is there a structure
for the quarry, did you all consult
the NUGFW and the PSA? What is
the plan for these persons?"
But Charles later accused Duke
of trying to "destabilise the sit-
He said Duke seemed not to
know the history of the quarry. He
said although "more than TT$100
million would have been borrowed
from Republic Bank Ltd and new
equipment was purchased, a new
plant purchased and commis-
sioned to bring the quarry up to
a level, the quarry continues to
operate in a sub-optimal manner."
After CNN show comments upset public
Chairman of the Global Brands
Group of Companies, Mario
Independent Senator Melissa
Ramkissoon speaks during
yesterday's Senate session.
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