Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 13th 2014 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, January 13, 2014
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for JANUARY 10th 2014
A 35-year-old man from Morvant,
who claims he was kidnapped, beaten
and threatened by a group of Coast
Guard officers for no apparent reason,
has signalled his intention to sue the
In a pre-action protocol letter sent
to Chief of Defence Staff Major General
Kenrick Maharaj on November 27, Varun
Debideen, the lawyer representing Kevin
Bartholomew, said his client wished to
sue the State for kidnapping, false
imprisonment, assault and battery.
Debideen described the incident as
unwarranted and unprovoked and said
it caused his client to suffer "severe loss,
pain, damage, inconvenience, mental
anxiety and humiliation."
"The actions of these officers against
(Bartholomew) are vulgar and repre-
hensible to the highest extreme and
they cannot be allowed to engage in
these activities under the cloak of the
State," Debideen said.
In an interview at the T&T Guardian
office at St Vincent Street, Port-of-
Spain, on Friday, Bartholomew said he
was abducted while standing outside
his mother s Second Caledonia Road,
Morvant, home on November 14, last
He said around 7 pm, he was standing
on the road in front of the house when
a blue pick-up truck, bearing a Coast
Guard registration number, pulled along-
side him and four men came out of the
Bartholomew said at first he did not
recognise any of the men, who were all
armed and wearing Coast Guard uni-
"I then realised that one of the men
from the van was a man he knew. I
know him since I small," Bartholomew
He said the men bundled him into
the van and drove to a desolate area off
the Lady Young Road in Morvant.
"They drag me out of the van and
started beating me again. One of the
men hold me in a head lock and the
other held my two hands behind my
back," Bartholomew said.
He claimed that while he was being
restrained, the man he recognised drew
a rifle and stuck the barrel in his mouth.
"Whilst they had the gun in my
mouth they said if I go back to the police
station they would come down, kick
down my door and kill me,"
He said he was able to break free
from his attackers after they were star-
tled by the headlights of an oncoming
"I happen to break loose and started
to run down a precipice, through some
bushes and a track to a road where I
meet four men liming," Bartholomew
He said the men gave him a lift to
the Morvant Police Station where he
reported the incident.
Bartholomew said he and his family
are fearing for their safety, as they believe
the officers may return because the
incident was reported.
"I always have to watch my back now
because they know where I live. I not
here for revenge, I want justice,"
When contacted for a response on
Friday afternoon, Coast Guard public
relations officer Lt Commander Kirk
Jean-Baptiste acknowledged that the
Defence Force had received the legal
letter and said his claims were now sub-
ject to an internal investigation.
"He (Bartholomew) has made alle-
gations which are currently engaging
the Coast Guard and the police," Jean-
While he said he did not want to
comment further on the legal aspect of
Bartholomew s complaint he said he
was aware of the situation between him
and the man he recognised, the Coast
The indomitable spirit
that catapulted him to
calypso supremacy still
resides in the Mighty Spar-
row (Dr Slinger Francisco)
in his recovery effort from
a diabetic coma that put
him in hospital in Queen s
New York, last September.
In a three-way telephone
conversation that included
founder of the Sunshine
Awards Gilman Figaro last
Friday night, the Birdie, now
convalescing in a therapy
facility in Brooklyn, and
clearly in a jovial mood, sang,
joked and gave the assurance that he is progressing
steadily on the road to recovery.
"Let my fans in Trinidad and Tobago know that the
Calypso King of the World, the supreme serenader,
the one-and-only Mighty Sparrow is feeling good, and
ready to take on all comers in 2014," he said with trade-
mark bravado, before treating us to a verse and chorus
of his 1992 classic Man Will Survive.
He then informed that he will be appearing on a
programme to be staged at Melanie s, an upscale restau-
rant/bar catering to West Indians, on Fulton Avenue,
Brooklyn, this Saturday.
"I am choosing my repertoire carefully for this event,
as it will also be a form of thanksgiving to the Almighty
for granting me an extension of life after all I have
been through the past months," he said.
Figaro, who has been a constant visitor to the bard
at the facility, said Sparrow has never seemed depressed
since coming out of the coma.
"He always exhibits a very cheerful attitude, and is
well loved and admired by the nursing staff there," he
Last week, Sparrow said: "They think I am strong
enough for air travel and to return home. I plan to
return home very early in February and I will be per-
forming for Carnival at Tuco Kaiso House in the Queen s
Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain."
More than $3 million was paid by the National
Security Ministry in November 2012 to service
providers and entertainers for the Laventille Family
Day at the Queen s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain,
but no business people from Laventille benefit-
National Security Minister Gary Griffith made
the disclosure in Parliament, Tower D, Waterfront
Centre, Port-of-Spain on Friday in response to a
question from Laventille East/Morvant MP Donna
Cox had asked Griffith to answer a number of
questions on the family day hosted by the National
Security Ministry in conjunction with the police
service during former minister Jack Warner s tenure.
Griffith said a total of $3,197,416.79 was spent
to host the event and the figure comprised the total
cost of goods and services and cultural performances
by a number of entertainers.
He listed all of the 38 suppliers of goods and
services, mostly from Port-of-Spain and the East-
Cox wanted to know if any of the providers was
from Laventille and if the ministry achieved the
objective of the day, which was to reduce crime in
A Government MP shouted across the floor,
"Despers not from Laventille?" Cox said she was
referring specifically to service providers.
Griffith said no service provider was from Laven-
tille. However, according to list revealed in Parliament
several entertainers from the area were hired and
paid to perform at the event.
• Singing Sandra (Sandra Des Vignes)-$7,000
• Success Laventille Secondary School- $6,000
• Desperadoes Steel Orchestra-$12,000
• North West Laventille Cultural Movement-
• Laventille Rhythm Section--$3,000
• Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation--$4,000.
The highest paid entertainer at the event was
Bunji Garlin and the Asylum Band who earned
$89,336. David Rudder was paid $29,552.85 and
Stalin took home $12,000.
Several companies from Diego Martin, Wood-
brook, Belmont, San Juan, Picton Street, Port-of-
Spain, St James, Petit Valley, Barataria and Carenage
were hired to provide a range of goods and serv-
Griffith said the ministry, the police and other
stakeholders hosted the community fun fair with
the aim of uniting the warring communities of East
He said it was the biggest cultural extravaganza
hosted by the National Security Ministry in the
fight against crime.
Kevin Bartholomew shows evidence of his beating by Coast Guard officers in
Morvant. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
$3 million for
Coast Guard officers
under probe, accused
of beating man
Gilman Figaro, left, and Sparrow in his room at the
clinic in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Sparrow has won the
Carnival Road March
competition eight times,
has been crowned
Calypso Monarch eleven
times, and has a
discography of more
than 600 songs. Known
for his distinct musical
style, clever lyricism,
ability to provoke
thought with his social
commentary, and make
fans laugh with his
entendre tales, he is,
without a doubt, the
Calypso King of the
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