Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 25th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
There was chaos on Queen
Street in Port-of-Spain yester-
day afternoon when a truck got
tangled in overhead wires. Five
utility poles came crashing
down on drivers and pedestri-
Despite the extensive damage,
which eyewitnesses claimed was
like a scene from a post-apoc-
alyptic movie, only one woman
Around 4 pm truck driver
Christopher Chinwasa, of Tuna-
puna, was turning on to Chacon
Street when the cement truck
he was driving ripped down
overhead wires from a utility
pole. Chinwasa told police he
did not realise his truck had
hooked on to the wires. He drove
a few metres before pedestrians
began screaming at him.
Within moments, other con-
crete poles on Queen Street con-
nected to the same cables col-
lapsed across the road, with
some landing on four passing
vehicles. Three of the drivers
escaped injury but the fourth,
29-year-old Kathy-Ann Charles,
suffered slight neck injury.
Before she was taken to hospital
on a stretcher, Charles spoke to
a news team from the T&T
Guardian, describing the inci-
dent as unbelievable.
"I still can t believe how that
truck managed to pull down all
those electricity poles," Charles
Fire officers arrived soon
afterwards and managed to clear
the area to allow emergency
workers from the T&T Electric-
ity Commission (T&TEC) to get
to the fallen poles and wires.
Electricity to several business-
es and offices in the surrounding
streets was cut for several hours
after the incident. First respon-
ders to the scene said electricity
would be restored late last night.
Many pedestrians who saw it
happen said they were in dis-
"I thought the pole would
have definitely fall on me. It fell
less than one metre away from
where I was walking," one
Downtown Owners and Mer-
chants Association (DOMA)
president Gregory Aboud was
on the scene minutes after the
accident and said utility poles
in Port-of-Spain needed to be
"A lot of the lines are sagging,
a lot of the poles are leaning.
You can look and see...It is really
just basic maintenance," Aboud
Aboud complained about the
slow response of the police.
"I m sorry to say this, but it
is utterly remarkable that we
have been here trying to cope
with the public, and there are
no police officers on the scene,"
Chinwasa was being inter-
viewed by police up to late yes-
Truck brings down power poles in city
Responding to the incident
yesterday, T&TEC said engineers
and field crews from the
commission were working with
the Fire Services to make Queen
Street safe, in the aftermath of
The commission said
fortunately members of the
public were protected from
electric shock, as the fuses
protecting the low voltage lines
successfully isolated from the
T&TEC estimated that up to 10
customers, on Queen Street,
between Abercromby and
Pembroke Street, lost their
supply of electricity as a result of
Former Housing Development Corporation
(HDC) board chairman Henckle Lall yesterday
justified the leasing of a Range Rover HSE cur-
rently being used by Housing Minister Roodal
Moonilal, saying the corporation purchases
"rugged vehicles for the terrain."
In a telephone interview, however, Lall said the
Range Rover was not leased specifically for the
minister but for HDC officials.
"Nothing is leased for the minister, all vehicles
are leased for the HDC," he said.
Lall said Moonilal did not ask the board for such
a vehicle to be leased. Asked who suggested it, he
said, "I can t get into those things, I don t recall
who made the suggestion.
"It was a corporation decision to purchase vehi-
cles, especially good lasting vehicles. Most vehicles
are leased and approved by the board."
The former chairman said Cabinet had mandated
that ministers could use vehicles belonging to min-
istries, and as a result, "the board approved the
vehicle and all expenses."
The Range Rover HSE was leased from Furness
HDC pays a monthly fee of $24,150 for it, while
the total lease agreement for the three-year period
is $869,400. The lease runs from February 2011 to
February 2014. At the time of the approval, the
HDC board also included Douglas Johnson, Gunness
Sudama, Graig Davis, Reyna Kowlessar, Naddia Ali
and James Lambert. Since being leased, the vehicle
has been used only by Moonilal.
Sources say when the lease has expired it may
be extended or the HDC has an option to buy the
vehicle. Such a decision would again have to be
made by the board and its soon-to-be-appointed
chairman Rabindra Moonan. Moonan, who was
fired as the chairman of Caribbean Airlines Ltd
(CAL), is yet to be issued with his instruments of
appointment by President Anthony Carmona, who
is said to be seeking legal advice on the matter.
Asked whether it was economical to lease a luxury
vehicle, Lall said the HDC purchased "rugged vehi-
cles for the terrain that we enter. We look at the
geography of an area. We look for good branding,
good to last.
"The corporation leases vehicles, some are more
sturdy than others. We looked for a good brand
The T&T Guardian pointed out that there are
less expensive vehicles which are just as sturdy and
used by several ministries, including the HDC.
These include the Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan X-
Trail, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorrento, Ford Fortuna,
Toyota Prado and Hyundai Tucson.
Lall said: "We don t micromanage and we are
not involved in the day-to-day operations."
Questions have been raised about why a state
enterprise is financing the lease, since the ministry
that Moonilal heads has several vehicles which
could be used for official government business.
Contacted on the matter, Moonilal had told the
T&T Guardian: "The Rover is very sturdy. The vehi-
cle was provided as a lease vehicle in keeping with
(the) practice before to provide vehicles to ministers.
"I also use other vehicles depending on work
requirements. As for choice, Rover is strong and
equipped for the terrain. You seldom see a Rover
in highway crash."
Two teenage siblings were
stabbed to death and their
friend wounded during a rob-
bery at the Aranguez Savan-
nah, San Juan, on Sunday
The victims were Arshad and
Jafar Kadir, of Boy s Lane,
D Abadie. Their murders raised
the toll for the year to 178.
According to reports, around
9 pm, the brothers were watch-
ing football with friends under
a tree in the savannah when
they were approached by two
Police said the men grabbed
a tablet computer from the
brothers friend Khalid
Mohammed, of El Socorro, San
Juan. Mohammed reportedly
then began struggling with one
of the men and he was stabbed
once in his chest.
The men then attempted to
rob the brothers of their cell-
phones. They also began strug-
gling with the robbers and were
The men, who police said are
of African descent and dressed
in black, then ran through a
track which leads to Mt Lam-
bert. The three friends were
rushed to the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex in
Mt Hope, where the brothers
died while undergoing treat-
Investigators said 16-year-
old Arshad, a student at the
Barataria South Secondary
School, was stabbed once in the
abdomen, while Jafar, 17, was
stabbed once in the groin area,
which severed a major artery.
Jafar worked part-time at a
hardware store in Aranguez and
was enrolled in evening classes
doing Maths and English.
Investigators said following the
incident police searched the
area for the suspects but were
In a short interview at the
Forensic Science Centre in St
James yesterday, the brothers
father, Khalil Kadir, described
his sons as loving and deeply
religious. He said they were
devout muslims and would visit
the mosque every day to pray.
Kadir said his sons left home
yesterday evening to attend
evening prayers at the Nur-e-
Islam Mosque in El Socorro.
Around 8.45 pm, they called
him to say that afterwards they
were going to the savannah with
friends to watch football.
"Is 15 minutes later I get the
call from their friends that they
get stabbed," Kadir said.
He said besides their religion,
his sons were always involved
in cricket and football.
The boys uncle, Larry Hold-
er, said they died within
moments of each other at hos-
"Even though the police
response was good, they both
died within seconds of each
other. Arshad died first.
He said the younger boy had
a stab wound so deep it not
only punctured his stomach,
but injured other vital organs.
The older brother also lost a lot
of blood, since his stab wound
tore an artery in the groin.
Holder said Arshad had just
turned 15 last Tuesday and Jafar
would have been 17 in August.
Holder said, "Not only have
their parents lost their two boys,
these were the only children
they had. Their mom tried to
hold it together, but their father
is just openly devastated." Their
cousin, Shereema Ali, said this
was particularly hard on the
family because another cousin
was murdered six years ago.
Mohammed, who knew the
boys well because Jafar was an
outstanding player in the area s
cricket coaching clinic, said,
"We ll have a minute s silence
at our (clinic s) function on
Sunday to mark their deaths.
Worse is that this occurred
just before the start of the holy
month of Ramadan in a few
weeks and in this period a
number of days of special prayer
and observances are to be done
to prepare for Ramadan."
Noting that similar incidents
occurred in the savannah last
year and the culprits seemed
emboldened because of a low
detection rate, Mohammed said,
"In these circumstances, what
can one say to parents like the
Kadirs, and how can one truly
understand their situation? All
we can do is commiserate and
they must seek solace in a high-
er power and try to cope."
The brothers were buried
yesterday afternoon after a short
funeral at the very mosque they
visited on Sunday night.
Detectives of the Region Two
Homicide Bureau are probing
With reporting by
Teen brothers killed
for their cellphones
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