Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2014 Contents A5
Saturday, July 5, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Defence Force apologises
The Media Association (Matt) has
called for an investigation into threats
against journalists by members of the
Defence Force on Thursday.
In a statement yesterday, Matt said
the action of members of the Defence
Force on Thursday when they sought
to threaten and intimidate journalists
covering a legitimate story in a public
space, in Port-of-Spain, was alarm-
"If the claim is accurate, and we
have no doubt it is, that the lives of
journalists were threatened by a soldier
pointing a gun at them, then it must
be criminally investigated and those
culpable face the full extent of the law,"
the association said.
Law enforcement officers must be
made to clearly understand the scope
of their powers and the role of the
media, it stressed.
"Matt cannot take this matter lightly,
given the continuing deterioration of
relations between law enforcement and
certain communities in Trinidad, and
the increasing number of reports by
journalists fearful of covering the news.
"Matt expects National Security
Minister Gary Griffith and the seniors
within the Police Service and Defence
Force will investigate this latest report
and act immediately, as journalists
must be free from fear in carrying out
their journalistic duties."
Matt also advised all journalists to
take the necessary precautions when
in the field, and said media houses
should ensure the security of their
on murder charge
The common-law wife of 25-
year-old Joash Ali appeared yes-
terday in the Mayaro Magis-
trates Court charged with his
murder, five days after he was
stabbed to death at their home.
When Himlata Samaroo, 27,
an administrative assistant and
mother of one, appeared before
the court, Senior Magistrate Gail
Gonzales asked Samaroo her age
before reading the charge to her.
The charge is that on June 29
she murdered Ali at St Ann s Vil-
lage, Mayaro, where he was rent-
ing an apartment. He was
stabbed several times.
Samaroo was arrested and
charged by Cpl Racha.
Gonzales urged the prosecution
to expedite sending the file to
the Director of Public Prosecu-
Assuring that the file would
be sent quickly, court prosecutor
Sgt Gadar said the prosecution
had 11 witnesses.
Samaroo s attorneys, Sophia
Chote, SC, and Rosario Sookdeo,
walked in at the same time the
magistrate was asking Samaroo
if she had an attorney.
Updating Chote on what had
happened, the magistrate told
her the court would have to wait
until a state counsel was appoint-
ed, but she had asked the pros-
ecution to start the process with
the witness statements.
Chote asked for a shorter date
than the 28-day adjournment
because, she said, it would take
longer for a state attorney to be
appointed if the adjournment
were that long.
The magistrate said that did
not happen in her court because
of how she dealt with the matters
before her, but since she would
not be the presiding magistrate
when the matter was recalled she
granted the request.
The magistrate said she could
not understand why it often took
six months for the DPP to receive
Also asking for the statements
to be expedited, she said, "I don t
understand why it takes years."
The prosecutor said he would
speak to Insp George from the
Homicide sub-office in Rio Claro,
from whom he expected to have
some information by the next
The case was adjourned to July
MATT calls for probe into threats
T&T has recorded a dry start to
the rainy season with rainfall
declining some 56 per cent below
the expected average for June.
However, T&T Met office climate
specialist Willis Mills said the cur-
rent dry conditions would change
as the season progressed.
Mills, speaking to the T&T
Guardian in a telephone interview,
said, "We are below the expected
levels for this time of the year. We
have 56 per cent of the expected
amount for June. Expected level is
252.1 mm for June."
Total June rainfall stood at 140.8
mm compared to the average (1981-
2010) of 252.1 mm, and was well
below the long-term average for
Mills said this situation was not
unusual for June.
"(This) June rainfall was just about
the sixth lowest June rainfall we had
on record. We had five Junes that
were lower than this on record. In
fact, just about 2009 June was lower
than this," he explained.
While the dry conditions con-
tinue, Water and Sewerage Author-
ity (WASA) head of corporate com-
munications, Ellen Lewis, gave the
assurance that the public utility
would not make any changes at this
time to the current water schedules
Lewis, via email yesterday, said,
"We are not now considering the
imposition of water use restrictions.
We believe that with the measures
being implemented to ensure sup-
plies are sustained until our reserves
are replenished; and with the faithful
practice of sound conservation
habits by consumers, we are in a
good position to manage the way
forward. Customers will be kept
abreast should the situation change."
On Thursday, the authority
issued a statement in which it
assured customers that notwith-
standing the effects of the dry wet
season and the planned cutback in
production at the Desalination
Plant, at Point Lisas, water supply
schedules introduced for Trinidad
on June 8, 2014, would be main-
The release also said that a
revised schedule was being intro-
duced for Tobago and this would
take effect from tomorrow.
Mills said the dry conditions were
brought on by the current state of
the atmosphere. Additionally, he
said, the El Nino in the Pacific
Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean tem-
peratures were contributing to the
He said citizens could be rest
assured that there would soon be
Renny Francois and his nine-yea-old son Aaron Francois sell watermelon in front of their home in Nariva
Village, Mayaro, yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
MELONS FOR SALE
Dry start to rainy season
JENSEN LA VENDE
Civil military affairs officer of the
Defence Force Major Al Alexander has
apologised to CNC3 reporter Samuel
Mc Knight and cameraman Mano
Ragbir for what they claimed were
threats made against them by soldiers
Alexander yesterday told the two he
was sorry and that an officer had been
assigned to investigate.
The apology comes on the heels of
another apology from National Security
Minister Gary Griffith during a tele-
phone interview with the T&T
Guardian on Thursday. Griffith said he
was concerned about the reports.
Acting Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams told the T&T
Guardian in a brief telephone interview
yesterday that he had spoken to the
Chief of Defence Staff Major Gen Ken-
rick Maharaj about the complaints made
against his men.
On Thursday, masked members of
the Regiment, claiming to be members
of a special operations unit, were at St
Paul Street in east Port-of-Spain and
were for the third straight day accused
of beating residents. One masked officer
is alleged to have pointed a loaded high-
powered rifle at Mc Knight and told
him if he were to record them he would
be dealt with.
There has been an influx of army
officers in Laventille and the environs
following the shooting death of Lance
Cpl Kayode Thomas last Sunday while
on his way to his mother s house at
Residents claim that they have been
beaten on several occasions by the sol-
diers, who patrol unaccompanied by
police. During a telephone interview
with i95 FM yesterday, former attorney
general Ramesh Maharaj, SC, said the
actions of the soldiers were unlawful.
On Thursday, Griffith said around
the world the rule regarding the murder
of a member of the protective services
was that if you touched one you
touched all and the heavy presence of
soldiers in the community was not
irregular or isolated to Trinidad.
He added that the law must do what
was needed to suppress criminal activity
and the patrols by soldiers without the
assistance of police was not illegal.
Thomas, 32, a father of eight was a
serving member of the defence force
for the past nine years.
He will be buried on Monday after
a funeral at the Church of the Assump-
tion, Maraval, a media release from the
Defence Force stated.
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