Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2013 Contents KALIFA SARAH CLYNE
Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz will
meet with the management group at
his Ministry on Monday to discuss a
report on the incident which resulted
in the death of a 14-year-old girl at Las
Cuevas beach on Sunday.
Cadiz received the report on Wednes-
day and said it did not offer any new
information on the incident.
"Looking at it, nothing has changed,
it confirms what has been reported on
the incident," Cadiz said in an interview
Last week Saturday, Lily Blaides, a
student of El Dorado West Secondary
School, died from head injuries after a
pirogue, driven by a Las Cuevas fish-
erman, ploughed into her.
"What is of concern now is preventing
another such incident from happening.
We have had discussions with the Mar-
itime Services Division about putting in
marker buoys in the area and we are
pulling all the parties concerned with
water activities to come up with a policy
that can be put forward as legislation
to bring control to water craft such as
boats and jet skis.
Cadiz, who visited the scene of the
incident on Sunday, said he spoke to
lifeguards, police and fishermen.
"We know basically what has hap-
pened. Right now, the police are doing
their job but we have to take the nec-
essary steps to ensure that something
like that never happens again," Cadiz
In an earlier interview at the University
of the West Indies, St Augustine campus
on Wednesday, Cadiz said his ministry
would also work with the fishermen so
they understood how important it was
to stay within the marked area so that
they did not venture into the parts where
the public will be using.
Cadiz said the fishermen had been
very co-operative and supportive of
"They have also been traumatised by
what happened on Saturday evening. It
is very, very sad what happened, but
something has to be done."
He said these plans will be imple-
"The other thing we will do is look
at the whole issue of boating and marine
craft, and people who drive onto the
"We will be looking at the regulations
and legislations regarding the use of
Blaides will be laid to rest on Monday
after a funeral service at the Exodus
Assembly Church in Longdenville,
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 29, 2013
Questions arose yesterday
about the effectiveness of the
Statutory Authorities Service
Commission with specific regard
to the power it can exercise
regarding unsuitable people
working in children s homes.
The issue came up in Parliament
during yesterday s Joint Select
Committee session which was
chaired by Independent Senator
Appearing before the committee
was the commission s chairman
Valentine Steve Alvarez, legal offi-
cer Shastri Roberts and other
Ramkhelawan questioned the
commission s ability to remove
caregivers who may be guilty of
abusing children off the compound
with immediate effect.
Alvarez said, "There is for the
first time the introduction of the
Children Act which is seeking to
address some of these issues.
"We cannot go outside the man-
date of the regulation and the law.
This is another instance where you
need to have the legislative changes
made to address the issue."
Before Alvarez could give an
example Ramkhelawan interrupted
asking whether the commission
could make its own regulations
subject to the approval of the prime
Alvarez said recommendations
could be made which has been
done in the past but such an issue
called for immediate action.
"I don t think anyone would be
comfortable knowing that children
are exposed to individuals who can
be harmful to them while we go
through the legislative process."
Pressed further for a more spe-
cific answer Ramkhelawan asked
whether there was a required
amendment to the existing regu-
lations which addressed only
immediate suspension of those
suspected of committing an
offence against children.
Alvarez said in those cases the
commission has asked the man-
agers of the homes to immediately
remove such people "from having
to deal with the children" while
the commission goes through the
"But there are no regulations
which allow us at this time to
legally say, Let s hold this person
"In terms of whether we have
made regulations, we have not
done so but have made recom-
mendations," Alvarez added.
Giving an example, Alvarez said
at one of the homes there was a
particular driver who the manage-
ment felt was not suitable to be
around the boys.
"We would seek to have that
driver removed but you can t really
remove a driver from one home
to another home because you are
just transfering the problem.
"But the process is you can t
dismiss the driver without due
process. You cannot take discipli-
nary action without due process.
"So what we have recommend-
ed is you can t while investigating
suspend with pay. What is really
required to deal with this issue is
outside the purview of the com-
mission," Alvarez said.
Committee member and Min-
ister of Gender, Youth and Child
Development, Marlene Coudray
said institutions like children s
homes ought not fall under the
commission or "any other com-
"These are entities that should
fall under a board of management
with direct access to be able to
make decisions. For the most part
the problems are very insurmount-
able in terms of the management
of children s homes.
"And if you have somebody
coming into a public service type
organisation you have a certain
culture that comes in there that
really does not lend itself to the
care of children," Coudray added.
Saying she had used her min-
isterial authority to give permission
to one home to hire on contract,
Coudray said at the time there was
an urgent and immediate situation
which had to be addressed.
"It was reported that six-year-
olds were ironing and other chil-
dren are made to hold hot pots
with food and transport to a dining
room and the appointed persons
said their roles were to supervise.
"It s criminal and some drastic
action has to be taken in terms of
the management of those homes."
A police investigation has been
launched into the death of a 53-year-
old La Brea woman who was knocked
down by a Public Transport Service
Corporation (PTSC) bus on Thursday
Rajpattie Poonhoo, 53, of Freeling,
La Brea, died yesterday morning while
being treated at the San Fernando Gen-
Police reports state around 7 pm on
Thursday, Poonhoo was walking on
Mucurapo Street, San Fernando, when
she was hit by the bus while crossing
the road. The bus was heading to Borde
Narve, Princes Town.
Yesterday an eyewitness said Poonhoo
was in front of the old Hobosco cinema
when "she dart in front of the bus, but
the bus still mash her."
The witness said the driver "mash
brakes, but he still hit her. He roll over
her and like the back wheel roll over
her. Her pants was buss up."
He said the driver stopped the bus,
got out and looked at Poonhoo.
"He went back to the bus and drive
off," the witness said.
Passers-by called the police officer
and the Emergency Health Services
Sergeant Ramdeen, an off-duty police
attached to the Penal Police Station,
saw the incident and went after the
bus. Police said the bus driver said he
was unaware he had struck Poonhoo.
Poonhoo s handbag was found close
to her as well as a bottle of puncheon
The driver of the bus has been ques-
tioned by police.
San Fernando police have impounded
the PTSC bus as investigations into the
Deputy general manager of PTSC
Carl Ramdeo said, "Our internal inves-
tigation team is currently doing their
investigation to determine the cause."
Ramdeo said PTSC also has to be
guided by the police investigation before
any statement is released to the media.
Ramdeo also stressed that PTSC is
"very, very concerned by what has hap-
pened and we want to extend our deep-
est condolences to the family of the
woman who lost her life."
Pupils of St Joseph Girls' RC School rush to take a photograph with entertainer Nikki Crosby at Nestle's
Fundamentals Primary School Poster Competition Fun Day Programme at Nestle's Sports Club, Churchill-
Roosevelt Highway yesterday. PHOTO: KEARRA GOPEE
Lily Blaides report
submitted to Cadiz
Asked about the efficiency of
immigration officers, after details of a
court matter involving a US national
and local immigration officers were
circulated via social media Cadiz said
he would wait until the matter
concluded to look at it.
"In the interim, we want to ensure
that when people come to our shores
we are welcoming by immigration and
"We have training programmes for
Customs and Immigration officers."
Cadiz said there were issues with
immigration officers around the
world, but pointed out that this did
not mean the issues should be
accepted in T&T.
"We must ensure that anybody
coming legally into our jurisdiction
feels welcome, and we have ongoing
training to look at this."
La Brea woman crushed
to death by PTSC bus
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