Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 20th 2013 Contents RICHARD LORD
Consumers are to receive a Christ-
mas gift of a 20 per cent reduction in
the prices of all brands of National
Flour Mills flour, parboiled rice and
oil on Monday and Tuesday next week.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar confirmed that during yesterday's
post-Cabinet news briefing at the Office
of the Prime Minister, St Clair.
News of the measure was leaked on
social media 24 hours earlier.
Persad-Bissessar said "a renewed and
invigorated Consumer Affairs Division
will be out in force to ensure this benefit
is passed on to consumers."
She said the measure "will in no way
compromise the NFM as we expect the
increase sales will offset any shortfall
of income as a result of the (price)
"Should there be a shortfall that is
greater than the compensation, the
Government will take up the shortfall
in this way, making it a gift to the
She said those products were chosen
because they were among the most
used by citizens, not only at Christmas
but throughout the entire year.
"This is our way of easing the finan-
cial burden in some measure over the
season. We ask that you accept this as
a heartfelt gesture from your Govern-
ment," Persad-Bissessar added.
Trade, Industry and Investments
Minister Vasant Bharath, who was also
at the news briefing, responding to
questions on the matter, said the rebates
would apply to goods purchased by
retailers from December 16-24.
He said the ministry would have "a
fair idea of the actual sales that took
place over the two-day period and a
rebate will be given."
He said representatives of the Con-
sumer Affairs Division would be out in
full force over the next four days mon-
itoring pre-reduction prices,and would
also ensure that reduced prices were
implemented on the two specific days.
Bharath said consumers should also
be vigilant to ensure the measure was
implemented at supermarkets, and
should not buy the items if the prices
were not reduced on Monday and Tues-
"Insist on it or go elsewhere and
shop," he added.
In response to a question on the
financial standing of NFM, Bharath said
when the company's annual report was
released in the new year, "You will see
that it is one of the best years as far
as profitability is concerned."
He said the company was expected
to show double the profits of the pre-
Port-of-Spain General Hospital is to be demolished and
replaced by a medical campus.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan announced that yesterday during
the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime
Minister, St Clair.
He said the heritage part of the hospital, the front building,
will be retained.
Khan said the latest project was not connected to a previous
proposal involving Johns Hopkins Hospital under the People's
National Movement Government.
The Port-of-Spain medical campus --- a design, finance and
construct project---would be a complete, self-sufficient state-
of-the-art centre that would include, a new adult hospital, a
women's centre, children's centre, intensive care and high depend-
ency unit, separate children's and adult accident and emergency
departments, a dedicated same-day surgery centre, a specialised
surgical suite and chemotherapy out-patients programme, he
Khan said an institute for eye care and an international training
centre also would be constructed.
He said a commercial facility would be constructed on Charlotte
Street, Port-of-Spain, opposite the medical campus which would
include living accommodation and commercial and medical
A "sky-walk" would bridge the medical campus and the com-
mercial property and a multi-level car park was also to be con-
structed at the site, he added.
Khan said he was unable to give an accurate cost for the project
which would be built according to British codes.
He said the Government may look for a facilities management
company to run the medical campus in a public/private part-
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, who also spoke at yesterday's
news conference, said more than $150 million was approved by
Cabinet to construct a family court in San Fernando.
Ramlogan said on March 15, 2012, Cabinet agreed to pay $30
million to the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny as full and final
payment for the St Joseph's Convent property at Lord and Paradise
Streets, San Fernando.
He said the money would be used to refurbish expand and
fit-out the property to accommodate the family court in San
Ramlogan said the family court in Port-of-Spain was an out-
standing success for the administration of justice and the Judiciary.
It handled some 8,000 cases in 2009-10 but in the subsequent
three years the caseload increased by five per cent.
The court was badly needed in south Trinidad, he said.
Kamla's Christmas gift to nation...
Drop in prices of
rice, flour and oil
Friday, December 20, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
High Court judge Joan Charles on Wednesday
directed that the Chief State Solicitor should be
appointed as the receiver for the protection of the
estate of Harry Harnarine, the former president
of the failed Hindu Credit Union (HCU).
The ruling is the latest move in bankruptcy pro-
ceedings brought by valuations surveyor and current
JCC president, Afra Raymond, who took the action
after the disgraced former credit union boss failed
to pay in full a judgment debt of $867,726.59.
Raymond had successfully sued Harnarine and
HCU Communications for slander and defamation
over comments that Harnarine made on Radio Shakti,
which was part of the HCU empire.
In her judgment, Justice Charles found Harnarine
committed an act of bankruptcy in May 2010 in
that he failed to comply with the requirements of
a bankruptcy notice served on him in April 2009.
In January 2011, Harnarine went to the Court of
Appeal to challenge the issuance of the bankruptcy
notice but the appeal was dismissed in its entirety
on May 6, 2013.
In Wednesday's ruling Charles said she was sat-
isfied by Raymond's petition and she declared that
a receiving order should be made against Harnar-
ine.She also constituted the Chief State Solicitor to
be the receiver of Harnarine's estate and ordered
the former credit union executive to pay the judgment
creditor costs for senior and junior counsel.
Chief Solicitor named
receiver of Harry's estate
Health Minister Dr
Fuad Khan, left,
sing along with
Lara, Miss &T
Miller and 2010
Digicel rising star
Neval Chaitlal as
they sing a
Christmas carol at
in Mt Hope
With the quick wit and ready
answers of someone who could sell
ice to eskimos, Harry Harnarine
turned the Hindu Credit Union
(HCU) into one of the country's
biggest and fastest growing
financial institutions in the last
But evidence before Colman
Commission of Enquiry into the
collapse of the HCU and the CL
Financial empire---which was run for
years by Lawrence Duprey, who was
once Harry's boss at Clico---indicates
that the empire collapsed because
of very poor financial controls, little
adherence to corporate governance
and the attempts to bend credit
At its peak, Harry's empire was
taking in millions of dollars a year
mostly from low-income people in
central and south Trinidad---many of
whom viewed Harry as a financial
The credit union invested a
security firm, radio and television
stations, a travel agency, insurance
company and real estate---a great
deal of real estate in Trinidad and in
Florida, accounting to testimony at
The enquiry also heard of the
millions that the HCU lavished on
Harry for overseas travel, millions in
authorised payments, loans to HCU
members way out of proportion to
the number of shares they owned
and deep flaws in the institution's
record keeping and accounts.
ABOUT HARRY HARNARINE
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