Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 25th 2014 Contents A5
Saturday, January 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston
Dookeran says no extradition request
has as yet been made by the United
States for anyone in connection with
the $644 million drug seizure in Vir-
gina last December.
Dookeran made the comment in
response to questions from reporters
in Parliament, yesterday.
His comments came in the wake of
reports that the US Department of Jus-
tice had issued a diplomatic note to
Dookeran s office for provisional war-
rants to be issued for three prime sus-
pects in the case.
But he denied the claim.
"As of now, we have not as yet
received any diplomatic note on this
matter," Dookeran said.
Pressed for further comment, Dook-
eran said: "That is all I can say at this
time. We have received no diplomatic
The reports had pointed out that the
request was coming as Drug Enforce-
ment Administration (DEA) officials
were wrapping up their investigation
of the drug shipment on this end. The
officers arrived here last weekend and
have been assisted by local law enforce-
ment officers in their probe.
The cocaine was concealed in more
than 700 tins of Trinidad Juice and
were shipped out of the Port of Port-
of-Spain by local company Caribbean
Seaworks Ltd. However, investigations
have revealed that Caribbean Seaworks
Ltd has been defunct for several years
now, but a local transnational drug ring
has apparently been using its name to
export their illegal cargo since then.
However, legal sources told the T&T
Guardian that even if Dookeran s office
had received the diplomatic note, he
is sworn to secrecy due to the confi-
dential nature of such matters.
No extradition request
yet, says Dookeran
Two former directors of Caribbean
Sea Works Ltd were part of a com-
pany which received contracts from
the Government for the transporta-
tion of fuel.
Caribbean Sea Works Ltd has been
named as the shipping company used
to export cocaine concealed in fruit
juice cans originating in T&T which
was seized by United States Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) officers
The shipment, worth $644 million,
was smuggled in Trinidad Orange
Juice cans which are manufactured
by Citrus Growers Association. It
was discovered at the port of Norfolk.
The drugs were seized on December
20 last year.
Krishanmurti Mahabir, of 3 Cham-
roo Branch, Chamroo Trace, Claxton
Bay, and Victor Anand Jattan of 53
Lyndon Street, Curepe, were named
as directors of Caribbean Sea Works
Ltd.Jattan was removed as company
director of Caribbean Seaworks in
Documents obtained by the T&T
Guardian from the registrar general s
office show that both Mahabir and
Jattan were also directors of the Petro-
leum Transport Company Ltd, which
received contracts from the state-
owned National Petroleum Marketing
Company Ltd (NP).
Jattan s name was removed from
Petroleum Transport Company Ltd
list of directors on October 29 last
When contacted yesterday, a senior
manager at NP said Petroleum Trans-
port Company Ltd was previously
named National Transport Ltd, and
had done "excellent work" for NP for
a number of years.
The manager explained that when
the company was sold, the new owners
approached NP to reapply for the con-
tracts because they had a longstanding
relationship in the past.
When the T&T Guardian visited the
Petroleum Transport Company Ltd in
San Fernando, yesterday, an employee
said Victor Jattan had not been seen
in a while. Pressed as to when was the
last time Jattan was seen there, the
guard said in December last year.
Relatives of Jattan maintained that
they too had not seen him in "a while."
They insisted Jattan was not in touch
with his family because "we do not
see eye to eye." Asked why there
seemed to be a strained relationship,
the relatives said they disagreed on a
number of issues.
Attempts were also made to contact
former directors and staff whose names
appeared on documents relating to
Caribbean Sea Works Ltd, but all
efforts were unsuccessful.
In 1995, former House Speaker
Occah Seapaul had accused Jattan of
defrauding her of $17,000, but that
case was eventually dismissed in favour
Works bosses got
contracts from NP SEAN NERO
Gerry Brooks, chief operating
officer of the ANSA McAL group,
says the recent seizure of $644
million worth of cocaine in Vir-
ginia has hurt T&T s name inter-
And he has called on the local
law enforcement authorities to sti-
fle the drug trade, saying it will
continue to taint the country s
image if they do not stamp it out.
"Today, brand T&T is at risk!"
Brooks said at ANSA Coatings
Limited s annual awards and dinner
at the Hyatt Regency, Trinidad,
Port-of-Spain, on Thursday.
"The recent cocaine haul
attacked one of T&T premier
brands. Any significant exporter
can be attacked. This is not the
first assault on a legacy brand but
we must ensure it is the last."
Brooks was referring to the
seizure by officers of the US Cus-
toms and Border of the illegal
drugs, which were concealed in
more than 700 tins of Trinidad
Juice, a product of the Citrus
Growers Association, at the Port
of Norfolk on December 20. The
container holding the cargo left
the Port of Port-of-Spain on
November 17 and was exported by
a local company which has been
defunct for years but is apparently
being used by a transnational drug
smuggling ring as a front.
Officers from the Drug Enforce-
ment Administration (DEA) are
currently in T&T trying to wrap
up the loose ends in the case.
Referring to the impact of the
negative publicity the case has
brought, Brooks said: "We are
ranked 92 of 148 countries on the
competitiveness index. The taint
of narco-trafficking, even if
unfounded, can destroy a brand
in days, when 50-100 years has
been invested to build the brand.
"We need in T&T to stop the
talk and make arrests and prose-
cute the cases successfully. We
need to stop the old talk. We need
to prosecute the cases successfully
He said: "The taint of narco-
trafficking can further compromise
our competitiveness ranking and
may exponentially increase the
cost and bureaucracy of market
entry into key export markets.
"It can also damage the repu-
tation of our brands, companies
and country at a time when local
manufacturing have invested bil-
lions of dollars in retooling plant
He said it was also imperative
that when criminals steal a com-
pany s brand and create counterfeit
products, the real products are
pulled off the market.
He gave the audience a case in
ANSA McAL group, where their
matches product was being coun-
terfeited and redistributed as
authentic. He said quick work by
customs personnel eventually
helped solve the case.
It is vitally important, he added,
that products with improper
labelling which do not meet local
requirements get pulled off the
shelves, because should there be
another occurrence like the Virginia
bust in the US again, T&T products
may not be allowed to enter that
"There has to be a zero tolerance
policy. Failure to do that will cripple
local manufacturers and will render
jobless thousands of workers
employed in the manufacturing
sector," he said.
Brooks on $.6b cocaine case
Brand T&T at risk
Roger Roach, newly appointed CEO of ANSA Coatings Ltd, presents
Krishanta Ramlagan of Balmain Colour Shop with the Shop of the Year
Award for the Penta brand. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston
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