Machel Montano takes the Leading Role In Soca Musical

June 24, 2016
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TRINIDAD – Soca as a musical genre has extended itself beyond its native shores of Trinidad and Tobago and will now look to take things a step further with the upcoming release of the film, Bazodee.

The film was first screened at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in September 2015.

Set against the backdrop of the Trinidad Carnival season, the film promises to be colourful, vibrant and musical – typical of Bollywood-style film-making. However, the director of the film, six-time Emmy nominee, Todd Kessler, would rather the film be called Triniwood, in recognition of the unique and seasonal musical genre, and its accuracy in capturing the Carnival atmosphere.

‘Bazodee’ is a slang for the dizzying feeling of infatuation or being in love, according to Machel Montano in an interview with The soca musical keeps with this theme, presenting a forbidden love story encased in the cultural duality of the two dominant racial groups of the twin islands, African and Indian.

The lead roles are played by British actress of Sri Lankan parentage Natalie Perera as Anita Panchouri, a representative of the immersion of Indian culture on the twin-islands, and soca mega-star Machel Montano, who plays the role of an aspiring singer, Lee de Leon. Also starring in the film is internationally acclaimed Indian television and film actor, Kabir Bedi as Ram Panchouri.

The film will be released in theaters across the United States this August.

Source: Jamaica-Gleaner


Guyanese are at the top list of deportees

December 10, 2014
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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – It is arrant nonsense to claim discrimination and racial profiling over the recent deportation of African nationals, since Guyanese nationals top the list of deportees from T&T and only a total of 70 Africans have been deported during the People’s Partnership’s term, says Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

Speaking in the Senate yesterday, Ramlogan lashed out at critics as he used Immigration Division statistics which placed African deportees seventh down the ladder among those from other countries who have been deported from T&T. Immigration figures show most deportees were from Guyana. Ramlogan, speaking on legislation to monitor precursor chemicals which could be used to make illicit drugs, noted the African continent had a large heroin and cocaine-trade problem.

He said in the face of rapidly emerging global terrorist threats by Al Qaeda and Isis put intended chemical weapons legislation into sharp focus. He added: “Recently, we were faced with the issue of illegal immigrants, some of whom have alleged criminal and terrorist links in other parts of the world.

“The Immigration Division and the Ministry of National Security have stepped up their efforts over the last few years to prevent the influx of illegal immigrants and to repatriate those who are found to be residing in T&T illegally.” He said one must be careful when “we receive reports from security agencies not to heap scorn on them.” Ramlogan said people called on the police to do their duty to enforce the law and when they did take action, the same people criticised and condemned them for doing so.

He added: “The latest trend is ‘racial profiling’ and ‘religious profiling.’ I don’t know what we expect the police to do or how we expect the police to do their duty. “It’s high time we stop this hypocritical behaviour in T&T and allow law enforcement to do their jobs. “The latest outcry (is) on deportation of our brothers and sisters from the African continent… but it’s arrant nonsense to claim discrimination and profiling.

“From 2010 to now, the number one country concerning deportees from T&T is not the African continent, or India, it’s Guyana.” Saying Guyanese were the single largest number of people deported from 2010 to now, he said that figure was 41.8 per cent of deportees. This was followed by Jamaica with 18.5 per cent, the Dominican Republic/Cuba and Caricom states, Asia, Central and South America.

Ramlogan added that illegal immigrants from the African continent were “way down the list, at seventh place.” He added: “Since 2010 when this Government entered office, the total number of African immigrants deported from T&T is 70 people—70 in almost five years. – TNT Guardian


German couple murdered in Trinidad and Tobago

November 24, 2014
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SCARBOROGH, Tobago, Nov. 23, CMC – The police are investigating the murder of a German couple on a secluded beach here on Saturday.

The couple – Birgid and Hubertus Keil, owned a vacation home on the island and arrived on October 25 with plans to stay until March of next year.

The police report that early Saturday the bodies of Birgid, 71 and Hubertus, 74, were found at a secluded area on Bacolet Beach.

Both bodies bore marks of violence and had chop wounds to the neck. The police have been trying to ascertain if the couple was killed elsewhere and the bodies dumped at the beach or if they were robbed and left there. The couple’s house was also checked to see if there were signs of robber.

Interpol in Trinidad has been asked to contact the German Embassy to contact relatives of the couple.
An autopsy is to be performed to determine the cause of death. Scar­borough homicide investigators are continuing investigations.

The killings put Tobago’s murder toll at seven for the year so far.

Meanwhile, the Tobago House of Assembly in a statement on Saturday, condemned the murder.

“Mr. and Mrs. Keil have been (visit­ing) Tobago, which they called home, for the last 15 years and were well known in their community. Their deaths come as a shock to all of Tobago and the THA because they have occurred at a time when Tobago’s already low crime rate has been further reduced in 2014 when compared to 2013.”

The THA added it has been in contact with the Police Service and “has been assured that the police have already set up a high-level team to pursue the investigation, with the aim of bringing to justice whoever is responsible for the Keil’s deaths”.

“The THA extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Keil,” the Assembly said in a statement.

President of the Hotel and Tou­rism Association, Christopher James, said his thoughts and prayers were with the family and friends of the couple. – The Gleaner


Buju say conman posing as his manager in Trinidad

May 19, 2014
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BANTON… currently serving a 10- year sentence in the US on drug-related charges

TRINIDAD – INCARCERATED reggae star Buju Banton is warning concert promoters in Trinidad to be wary of an unscrupulous individual who has been attempting to scam them out of cash under the guise that he is an authorised agent for the artiste.

In a joint press release the Buju Banton Defence Support Committee and his attorney Professor Charles Ogletree warned against anyone handing over money to the unnamed individual.

“A certain individual in Trinidad has approached promoters with the false claim that he is the local agent for renowned reggae musician Buju Banton. He has further sought to swindle monies by stating he is authorised to collect funds for a concert being held for Buju Banton in Trinidad during this year. We wish to warn the public that it is totally untrue. Buju Banton has not given such rights to anyone in Trinidad. Nor is a concert being organised at this time,” the release stated.

The artiste’s interests warned of legal action if the alleged scammer is caught.

“Anyone seeking to do this would suffer legal conse-quences. We urge that you immediately inform the authorities of anyone who solicits monies from you for that purpose,” the release stated.

Buju Banton is currently serving a 10-year sentence on drug-related charges.

He was arrested at his South Florida home in December 2009 and charged with conspiracy to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine.

His arrest came on the heels of a sting operation at a Drug Enforcement Agency-controlled warehouse in Tampa, which also resulted in the arrest of James Mack and Ian Thomas, who were attempting to purchase co-caine from undercover agents.

After two trials he was sentenced in a Tampa, Florida court.

However, Ogletree has filed a second appeal in the 11th US Circuit Court on February 4 claiming his client was denied a fair trial due to juror misconduct.

After Banton was sent to prison, jury foreman Teri Wright told a reporter that she had defied the order of Judge Tim Moody and studied aspects of the Pinkerton Law.

She was then ordered to hand over her computer for forensic perusal by experts hired by Banton.

However, it was discovered that she turned over an old computer and not the one she had used to study the law.

Banton has maintained his innocence and says he was entrapped by the US Government.

He is currently serving his sentence inside the Miami FCI penal facility and is set for a January 2019 release if his appeal is unsuccessful.


Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas wants to Deport all illegal DR citizens from Trinidad

November 26, 2013

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GM – TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas is calling on Government to deport citizens of the Dominican Republic who may be living here illegally. He was speaking in the wake of the recent decision by the Dominican Republic’s highest court which denies citizenship to people of Haitian descent born in that country. Dumas’ call was made on the eve of today’s meeting of the Caricom Bureau heads, chaired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, at 10.30 am.

Other members of the bureau expected to attend are President of Haiti Michel Martelly, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Caricom Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque. The meeting was scheduled for last week but postponed to today as several key members were unavailable.

On September 23, the constitutional court of the Dominican Republic ruled that Dequis Pierres, who was born in the DR to Haitian parents, was not entitled to Dominican citizenship on the ground that she had been wrongly registered as Dominican at her birth. The ruling further said its interpretation must be applied retroactively, stripping her of Dominican nationality.

The court also instructed the Dominican authorities to do an audit of birth records from June 21, 1929 to the present to identify similar cases and strip people in similar circumstances of their Dominican nationality. Asked to comment yesterday, Dumas said if there were any Dominican Republic citizens living in T&T illegally, they should be deported immediately.

He said T&T was deporting nationals of a Caricom member nation and possibly allowing citizens from a non-Caricom member state to live here illegally and the application by the Dominican Republic for membership in Caricom should be put on hold, pending clarification of the matter by that country’s government or resolution of the matter. He felt sanctions should be considered and implemented in the future if the matter was not amicably resolved in the shortest possible time.

Dumas said the Caricom Bureau should recommend that the Dominican Republic should be suspended from Cariforum — a grouping of Caricom and the Dominican Republic. He also suggested that Caricom could assist the affected people in taking their issues to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission or the United Nations Human Rights Commission. On the recent deportation of 13 Jamaicans from T&T, Dumas said it was nothing new.

He said he wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran in December last year suggesting that an informal team of officials representing the Government and the private sector should be set up to visit Jamaica and other Caricom states for informal discussions on matters relating to trade, Caribbean Airlines (CAL), regional aviation and transportation and other issues.

Dumas said today’s meeting of the bureau should not only look at the Haiti/DR matter but issues of trade, investment and other matters affecting Caricom.


Mother shot and killed by police

November 3, 2013
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(JO) – PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Gunmen pretending to be police officers shot and killed a 32-year-old mother at her home in Sangre Grande on Tuesday night, police said.

Police said that Keisha Sanchez died at hospital after she was shot and chopped by the gunmen while at her home with her mother, Onella Legen and her 11-year-old daughter.

Relatives told police that Sanchez had opened the door to the house after the gunman had banged on the door shouting “police”.

Sanchez who fought with one of the armed men, was also chopped with a cutlass. One of her fingers was severed. She was also shot in the head and lower back.

Police said they had no motive for the killing, but it occurred three days after a former police officer, Junior Khan, 53, was shot and killed in the area.

Nearly 300 people have been murdered here so far this year.


Cocaine worth TT$5m found aboard vessel in Port of Spain

October 31, 2013
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JO – PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Investigations are continuing into the discovery of cocaine found Wednesday aboard a vessel in Port of Spain bound for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Customs and Excise officials reported that during a raid, approximately 13 kilograms of cocaine, valued at TT$5 million (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) was found aboard a vessel at Port of Spain.

The cocaine was found in cornflakes boxes, which were wrapped in a black material and hidden amid other cargo, including soft drinks and foodstuff.

Officials told reporters they received information that the cocaine was brought into the country from South America a few days ago and was scheduled to be sent to St Vincent before being shipped to a European destination. The authorities have questioned crew members of the ship.

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