Entertainment News

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And, what of the wellbeing of police officers?

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/16/2018 - 00:25

I live here and for my own wellbeing I would rather that T&T has a well-educated and highly-trained, professional police service. It would be to my personal benefit and could mean better security for the entire nation.

It is imperative though, that such a force also has the continuous benefit of interventions in their personal lives and everyday difficulties in order to ensure a desirable level of good well-being.

This, to me, is mandatory given what must be the high stress levels of those who are required to do our policing.

As a people, we depend on the police to provide a sense of security and therefore, law enforcement is important to our overall well-being. We are no different from any other jurisdiction in that expectation, after all, the motto promises “To Protect and Serve.”

It follows then, that our police service is expected to be populated with officers who risk their lives on a daily basis for citizens.

But to be committed to risking their lives, I also believe as a State we should be committing our best resources—wages, salaries, equipment, training, mentoring, psychosocial support and other benefits—to ensure we provide the best circumstances to the service in order to get the best results.

We should also have rigid systems of evaluation, including assessment of psychological fitness, for entry into such service.

But as yet, after granting 12 acting extensions to Commissioner of Police (Ag CoP) Stephen Williams, we cannot even decide on the appointment of someone we deem suitable to lead the service.

In fact, we seem unable to even resolve how we should interview and hire a CoP.

I’m in my corner wondering if anyone else thinks such actions work against the stability of the force and the security of the country.

And before I could think of someone to ask, the service is again brought into disrepute by another senior officer. This one blatantly breaks the rules choosing to ignore protocols in his effort to groom the T&T Police Service Next Top Model in his own uniform.

This followed so many other questionable incidences including the recent Gunsmoke action by two officers who took their private disputes publicly, with one officer now dead having succumbed to his injuries in a 28-rounds shootout in a public space.

These are some of my contemplations while examining what I consider the less-thanfavourable response by police to the plight of the mentally ill who require intervention.

And it helped that simultaneously with my assessment of the force in this matter there arose a number of other issues which showed the police “in a bad light,” according to one of its seniors.

First, in trying to determine whether the police service had a response for the issue of mental health and whether they had training to treat with the interventions they are called upon to perform for the mentally ill, I am left to conclude that the service is devoid of appropriate training.

There appears no consensus or even an answer to the question among the top brass, including those with ministerial portfolios.

Secondly, I began considering then that if we lack appropriate training for de-escalation of those presenting with acute mental illnesses, what is to be our fate for the foreseeable future when police respond to families asking for help with relatives who are acting violently? Are those who are ill and acting out mostly going to end up dead? Shot by police officers?

Thirdly, if prejudice runs as high in the population as I suspect it does here, then, who is ensuring that the police have a more empathetic view of the mentally ill? Sometimes I hear people speaking of others who are different to them—the mentally ill, the criminals incarcerated and those running wild—and you get a sense that people think some people’s lives are worth less than others.

What if this is the same prejudice that pervades the police service? Still, my contemplation ran deeper. I began to question whether our current concept of policing recognises “the importance of balancing the need to protect people with the need to protect and preserve individual rights?”

And finally, in all fairness to those in the service who work hard to fulfil their duty to us, what are the systems and processes in place to treat with the well-being of those charged to protect us?

Where have we addressed continuous physical and psychological compulsory care for those whom we ask to bend to every circumstance, from domestic disputes to drugs and gun warfare?

Could it be that we are expecting people possibly in worse emotional circumstances than ours to provide us with security and protection?

n CAROLINE C RAVELLO is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of Public Health With Distinction (The UWI). Write to: [email protected] gmail.com

Categories: Entertainment News

Tribute to legendary gospel artiste Richard Smallwood

Lifestyle - Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:45

Euangelion, accompanied by live band and members of the T&T Youth Philharmonic (TTYP), is staging Persuaded on Saturday May 26, at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain, at 7.30 pm.

Persuaded will celebrate the timeless psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of modern-day psalmist, gospel singer, producer, pianist, composer, music director, and arranger Richard Smallwood.

Giving the Body of Christ songs like Total Praise, Centre of My Joy, Healing, Anthem of Praise, to name a few, Christians have been singing these songs in their homes, churches, vehicles, and work places, for over three decades.

Euangelion is encouraging all “believers” to come and worship Jesus Christ.

Said Listhrop: “Jesus Christ is our King’ so come and give Him honour, for He alone is worthy.”

Euangelion is available for praise and worship ministry wherever Jesus Christ is central.

Euangelion, (Glad Tidings, Good News of the Gospel) is a small group of Christian believers, singers, and musicians, committed to the finest and excellence in Gospel music ministry, and dedicated to the charge of Jesus “If (When) I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”

Founded in 2000 by Bible teacher/music director Kenneth Listhrop, Euangelion believes that gospel music is more than just a genre or style; rather it is the message “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.”

More info

Admission to Persuaded is $150 and for tickets contact Quality Stationery Supplies (Behind Massy Stores), St Augustine (645-9882); Port of Spain (334-5694/732-2007); East (395-7769/794-6243); or, Kenneth Listhrop (751-6297).

Categories: Entertainment News

The magic of the guitar at Little Carib

Lifestyle - Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:43

On Mother’s Day weekend, guitarist Stefan Roach hosted The Art of Guitar at the Little Carib Theatre, White Street, Woodbrook, before an appreciative audience. Joining Roach and performing under the name Los Gitanos were Rhys Thompson, Aaron Low Chew Tung and Marc Mahase.

Mikhail Moore also paid homage to the beauty of the classical guitar as a solo instrument.

The group also accompanied performances on other instruments which included the violin, pan and sitar. Cascade Festival Ballet Team dancer Georgia Lanser performed a solo to one of Roach’s original pieces—Milagrito (Little Miracle)—which was dedicated to his nephew, a cancer survivor.

Lanser also danced to another original composition by Roach—Rumba Exotica—a piece which fused the influences of Spain and the Middle East.

Versatile Soprano Raquel Winchester sang Habanera, a popular classical piece by Georges Bizet, which was done in a Spanish-style to the rhythm of rumba.

Popular young Shell Invaders/St Mary’s College pannist Luke Walker collaborated with Los Gitanos to perform another original composition by Roach—Island Beauty.

This piece blended Spanish guitar and a Caribbean vibe, embellished with a hint of soca rhythms. Sitarist Sharda Patasar performed with Roach in what turned out to be an amazing collaboration. Both artistes, dressed in traditional Indian wear, played their instruments on the stage floor.

The sitar inserted beautiful and intricate sounds into the duo’s performance of a classical guitar standard called Capricho Arabe, composed by “the Godfather of the classical guitar,” Francisco Tarrega.

The evening’s performance was hailed by patrons as “a progressive step in the evolution of the artiste, Stefan Roach,” whose ambition is to bring a new dimension to what is considered T&T music. (Darren Rampersad)

Categories: Entertainment News

Giving praise where it’s due

Lifestyle - Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:30

Arima Borough Corporation (ABC) hosted its Thanksgiving Service, Celebration of Administrative Professional Day, honouring 2018 SEA students (children of ABC Administrative staff) and Mothers Day, at Extra Plaza, located at the corner O’Connor Drive and O’Meara Road, Arima.

ABC CEO Cheryl Sirju-Chong said these activities were long overdue and was not held before because of limited space at the old ABC Administrative Building, which was also not conducive for such programmes.

“Today we are celebrating all that was not celebrated,” said Sirju-Chong, “in a new, spacious and comfortable building,” which she believes will motivate employees to give more than their best to the corporation and the better services to the burgesses of Arima.

Former Corporation Deputy CEO Cheryl Ramdial was also honoured for her responsible dedication, and commitment for her years of yeoman service to Arima Borough Corporation, which was long overdue.

Receiving vouchers, hampers and stationery worth over $500 were children of ABC administrative staff members.

Sirju-Chong also made presentations to her administrative staff, who she commended for their hard work and going the extra mile to provide better service for the burgesses of Arima.

Last but not least, the mothers of ABC administrative staff all received roses and gifts and were also treated to a sumptuous lunch.


Categories: Entertainment News

Juliet and Romeo—A Tobago Love Story

Lifestyle - Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:28

Lilliput Children’s Theatre, T&T’s influential children’s arts institution presents its production themed Juliet and Romeo —A Tobago Love Story on May 19-20, at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

Juliet and Romeo—A Tobago Love Story is an ode to William Shakespeare’s classic tale, this time set in Tobago: The land of tambrin music, speech band, ole time wedding and the heel and toe. Tobago, where everybody happy like pappy and the living nice for so.

However, in the beautiful village of Moriah, where the story takes place, a long-standing hatred between two families erupts into new violence. In the words of the old-time calypso Mastifay, “It was murder, federation with war and rebellion when they meet up by the junction.” In the midst of all this bacchanal and confusion, two unlucky children of these forever feuding families meet up and fall in love and decide to get married but eventually commit suicide. Fortunately, their unfortunate deaths put an end to their parents’ incessant fighting.

The veteran company is known for staging thought provoking productions that challenge audiences to imagine alternative political, social and cultural views. Once again, the young thespians have risen to the challenge of acting, dance and song. The production will be enhanced by the creativity of veteran Lilliput costume and set designer Merylle Mahabir. Under the tutelage of the talented Wendell Manwarren with the support of drama tutors, Elisha Efau Bartels and Tonya Evans, Juliet and Romeo promises to entertain, excite and thrill its audience with acting, song and dance.

• For more information, join the Juliet and Romeo Facebook (FB) event page at https://www.facebook.com/lilliputchildrenstheatre/ or connect with Lilliput on FB at www.facebook.com/lilliputchildrenstheatre or on Twitter @NDLFA.

Categories: Entertainment News

Youths keep pan alive at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

Lifestyle - Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:26

Pan Lara Youth Steel Orchestra comprising of boys and girls from Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, the Bahamas, Panama and Jamaica performed to a hall filled Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, on May 8.

The group, led by Trinidadian Debbie Lara, played varied musical selections from Reggae, Jazz, and R&B to Latin and Soca, to a capacity audience with a full spectrum of steel band musical interpretations.

Their repertoire included songs like Sorry by Justin Beiber, Tan Tan by Fitz Vaughn Bryan Orchestra and Hello by Kes, as well as a specially written composition Tania Maria by the band’s arranger Sheldon Thwaites. The evening’s presentation ended with the performance of Signal To Lara a composition by Super Blue.

The concert was a welcome feature by the Kennedy Center on the Millennium Stage in the Grand Foyer and was attended by a packed audience from all over the world including many of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian parents of the youths as well.

Pan Lara Youth Steel Orchestra is a group of all excellent students in the Washington DC metropolitan area and has performed internationally including a visit to South Africa, where they performed for children in Soweto; a trip according to Debbie Lara, “that changed our lives completely.”

In addition to performing throughout the Caribbean, the youths have performed at many of DC’s signature musical arenas besides the Kennedy Center the Strathmore musical arena as well. Their musical arranger was Sheldon Thwaites.

Accompanying the group on vocals was Gabriella Nguyen and Alexis Turbat. Dancing to the interpretations of Fitz Vaughn Bryan’s Tan Tan and Super Blue’s Signal to Lara were dancers in costume from Richards Carnival experience.

Categories: Entertainment News

Bigford brings something big to Little Carib

Entertainment - Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:23

“South people stake their claim on me,” Vaughnette Bigford likes to joke. “It’s almost as though they feel a sense of ownership.” And well they might, as the La Brea-born entertainer frequently performs in Naparima Bowl, the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa), and other popular southern venues. “That’s where most of my base is. Southerners come out to my concerts!”

Now, Bigford is seeking to attract a greater audience, and widen the span of her appeal to embrace music lovers from the north as well. While she has, of course, performed at several collaboratives at northern venues, she will be holding her first full-length concert upwind of the Caroni bridge on Saturday June 9th at the Little Carib Theatre at 7.30 p.m.

“The Little Carib is one of my favourite spaces,” she enthuses, “along with places like Kaiso Blues in Newtown and the Central Bank Auditorium. I love the acoustics, and I feel a certain connection to my audience. I like to see their faces, read their expressions. I also feel a sense of connection to all the artistes who have passed through there before me.”

The music for Vaughnette Bigford in Concert was arranged by Michael Low Chew Tung (Ming), Theron Shaw, and Rodney and Khalen Alexander, although she says she “chooks her hand” into arrangement as well. “All of my band members contributed to the arrangements, actually.”

Guest performers for the night will be Michael Salcedo on the steelpan, John John Francis on vocals, and what she promises will be “a special surprise”.

Bigford is fresh from her 2017 Born to Shine CD tour, during which she performed before ecstatic fans at venues throughout Trinidad. The feedback on her signature concerts, Shades of Vaughnette, was excellent, she says. “We’ve already sold about 1,000 copies of the CD.”

It was an exciting tour, made more notable for her by the evident appreciation people have of the music of Trinidad and Tobago. “There was a lot of nostalgia for music they hadn’t heard in a long time; Carol Addison, Kalyan, Oliver Chapman, Wildfire…I gave a different interpretation of it, and that took them back to their special place. Even for the younger people, you could see that it resonated with them.”

Recently, she has been faced with a few health challenges, including respiratory issues, which, for a singer, can be difficult. “A guitarist can put his instrument in a case to protect it,” she explains, “but as a singer, I can’t.”

Now back in fighting form after her post-Christmas-to-Carnival hiatus, she is once again ready to stand before her audiences and sing her heart out. This time, she is coming with something different. “We’re bringing new music, to appeal to a broader audience.”

She refuses to be typecast as solely an interpreter of local songs. “I love doing that, but I also do other things, and this will be a reminder. For example, I haven’t done jazz or World music in a long time.”

And many of her newer fans, who may know her only from Born to Shine or recent concert tours, might be surprised to discover the Vaughnette that had been showing off her wide range of skills since 2004. For her, it will be a kind of homecoming. “I want people to know I’m an artiste who has always done different things. They are going to see a different side of Vaughnette.


Categories: Entertainment News

Magnum Xplosion expected at Inferno concert

Lifestyle - Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:21

There’s no better time than the present to flood the airwaves, the social spaces and all of T&T with goodness, than the present. That’s the view of Promotional Outfit, Magnum Xplosion, the team behind the inaugural Inferno concert, which takes place on June 9 at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain.

“This will be an unforgettable show,” said one of the event’s organisers. “We’re bringing back what’s needed to the concert experience in the Caribbean, delivering the reggae/dancehall artistes who can make people move, sing along and forget pointless differences. Now is the time for that.”

The show, carded to become a staple event on T&T’s annual entertainment calendar, will deliver Capleton, Barrington Levy, Busy Signal and Sizzla Kalonji to the masses; a powerful cast to say the least.

With some 22 albums under his belt, Capleton has been missed in T&T. For years, many have waited with bated breath to revel in the excitement he brings to the stage and with hits like, Alms House, Music is A Mission and Tour, among countless others, there’s no doubt that the man many refer to as the Fireman, will unleash a performance to remember. Likewise, Barrington Levy has never failed to impress. His appearance in Trinidad has been long awaited. Together with Sizzla Kalonji, a revered and respected reggae artiste, and possibly dancehall’s most suave entertainer, Busy Signal, Inferno is guaranteed to be a record-breaking concert event.

Secure enjoyment, the main goal of the promotional outfit, when it comes to patron comfort, organisers are working tirelessly to amp up what’s been the norm at concerts of this calibre. “We’re working on covering all bases when it comes to security. No one attending Inferno should feel intimidated or bothered by anything on show night,” said the organiser, adding that it is their aim to bring people of all social classes together, to show off what a truly beautiful nation of people we are in T&T.

Details on Inferno are available on Instagram @infernoconcerttt. “We also have a hotline for those requiring additional info. Interested persons can call 684-SHOW (7469),” said the spokesperson.

The energy surrounding this show is like no other. “Many are excited to welcome four of the greatest Reggae/Dancehall artistes of this era. General admission tickets are $275 and VIP $450 and they’re already going fast so we’re really encouraging patrons to get them early before the price increases,” said the spokesperson.

Many are already saying they’re excited to attend this concert, anxious to see some of the best artistes perform on one big stage, on June 2, in Trinidad.

Categories: Entertainment News

Long Hike-a-thon today to test your fitness

Lifestyle - Sat, 05/12/2018 - 00:06

Hiking has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in T&T. On weekends, it is estimated as many as a thousand people hike to the various waterfalls, secluded beaches and rivers. It is a means of getting to no one’s country, exercising, relaxing the mind and at the same time enjoying the hidden beauty of T&T.

Today, Island Hikers will host its ninth annual Hike-a-thon from Matelot to Blanchisseuse. The Hike-a-thon is rated challenging and only fit or experienced hikers should attempt. One should be exercising daily and accustom to walking steep hills and long distances.

Today’s Hike-a-thon is considered to be the greatest hiking event of the year and attracts a variety of participants and foreign nationals. Some do it for the pleasure of walking the North Coast and enjoying the scenery while others approach the expedition with a more a competitive attitude and treat it as a race. It is a challenge to test one’s fitness for the distinguished title of “King of The North Coast.”

The event attracts as many as 250 participants, and yearly more seasoned athletes get involved. Over the years, the Hike-a-thon finishing times have become shorter, and Michael Honore finished the hike-a-thon in 2017 in three hours and 26 minutes. The fastest record holder for the Hike-a-thon is Roger Rojas in a time of three hours and six minutes. However, it takes the average fit person five to eight hours to complete the North Coast trek. On completion, each participant rewarded with a medal, t/shirt food and drinks.

The 31 kilometers of North Coast from Matelot to Blanchisseuse, is filled with secluded beaches and one of the most breath-taking places to visit. Along the route, there are scenic beaches at Madamas, Grand Tacaribe, Petit Tacaribe, Murphy Bay, Paria Bay and Turtle Rock. Madamas Bay at the river’s mouth is a breathtaking destination where apart from its fantastic scenery the water’s are calm and soothing.

During February to July, these North Coast beaches are a nesting ground for the leatherback turtles, and since there are no drivable roads, this region remains pristine. The trail, which is mainly accessible on foot, is broad and open with rolling hills.

This morning, hikers will assemble at two o’clock at the entrance to the Eric Williams Medical Complex in Mount Hope. The maxi-taxi departs Mt Hope at 2.45 am to Matelot, and the commencement of the expedition is 6.30 am. The return in the afternoon is by maxi-taxi from Blanchisseuse.

Hikers are advised to bring a change of clothing which will be labelled and left in the maxi.

For the trail, walk with one-two litres of water, sports refreshments, snacks and a sandwich.

Pre-registration is required.


The Hike-a-thon, 31-kilometre course, is grouped into three Sections and listed below are the average hiking times.
Leg #1: Matelot to Madamas {hiking time three hours}
Leg#2: Madamas to Paria (three hours)
Leg #3: Paria to Blanchisseuse Spring Bridge {two hours}
To download registration forms visit www.islandhikers.com or contact Mario (749-2956); Marcia (490-2421); or, Jamal (761 1889).

Categories: Entertainment News

Ambassador celebrates King’s Day

Lifestyle - Sat, 05/12/2018 - 00:00

Dutch Ambassador, Jules Bijl, hosted a King’s Day party on April 27 at Estate 101, Saddle Road, Maraval.

King’s Day, also known as Koningsdag, is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, celebrated on April 27. The date marks the birth of King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand.

Shell Invaders provided live steel pan music for guests who were also treated to an interactive fashion show by Dutch designer, Liselore Frowijn.

Representatives of government, the diplomatic corps and other specially invited guests gathered on the evening to celebrate the occasion.

Categories: Entertainment News

Rudder lights up Under the Trees

Lifestyle - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 01:32

Under the Trees at The Normandie in St Ann’s was packed long before the advertised 7.45 pm start of Rudder’s 6.5 and there was electricity in the air.

Local songstress Marge Blackman, youngest daughter of the iconic Ras Shorty I, together with her band Jamoo, set the pace and had the audience wanting more.

Rudder took to the stage and captured his audience’s heart from the start. With music that skirted his many moods and settings, and covering over three decades, patrons were carried on a nostalgic musical ride that they won’t soon forget.

Also performing on the night were new soca sensation Turner and the Wayne Bruno aggregation.

Categories: Entertainment News

World celebrates Lupus Day today

Lifestyle - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 02:14

Today is World Lupus Day and its theme is Lupus Knows No Boundaries. As the day is commemorated, The Voice of Lupus Foundation (VLF) will once again be hosting its annual Public Information Day and Candlelight Vigil at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain, from 2 pm until 6.30 pm.

The VLF organisation as an official member of the World Lupus Federation, is intent on spreading the awareness of Lupus and continue its work of Giving Lupus a “voice” as T&T participates in the 15th annual observance of World Lupus Day.

This day is sponsored by the World Lupus Federation, a coalition of Lupus patient organisations from around the world, united to improve the quality of life for people affected by Lupus.

Through co-ordinated efforts, the World Lupus Federation and the VLF have been working to create greater awareness and understanding of lupus, provide education and services to people living with the disease, and advocate on their behalf here in T&T.

World Lupus Day serves to call attention to the impact that Lupus has on people around the world for a common purpose of bringing greater attention and resources to efforts to end the suffering caused by this disabling and potentially fatal autoimmune disease.

Lupus is more pervasive and severe than people think, and has a devastating impact that the public doesn’t realise. In fact, research shows that a staggering two-thirds of the public knows little or nothing about lupus.

You all can help VLF change that

There is no boundary to the impact of Lupus here in T&T. It affects people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders and ages. Lupus can affect any part of the body in any way at any time, often with unpredictable and life-changing results. While Lupus knows no boundaries, knowing all you can about lupus can help control its impact.

Citizens can help us by joining the nationwide effort of the VLF today by wearing something purple for the awareness of Lupus and attend its annual candlelight vigil.

Put on Purple...Tell the story...Change Lives!

Symptoms of Lupus include chronic fatigue, severe joint and body pains, organ failure, skin rashes, hair loss, depression, mouth ulcers and photosensitivity especially to sunlight.

Over the past seven years, the VLF has been creating change through Advocacy, Awareness and Action fostering the much needed awareness in society.

Feel free to contact VLF via its email address: [email protected] or contact the president of the VLF, Reeanna Harrilal (327-0220) for further information.

Also, to learn more about the Voice of Lupus Foundation and see first hand of the work it has been doing in T&T, visit its website at www.thevoiceoflupus.com or “Like” it on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/thevoiceoflupus/

Categories: Entertainment News

Credi hosts hidden disabilities conference

Lifestyle - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 02:12

The Catholic Religious Education Development Institute (Credi) will host a Hidden Disabilities Conference—What you cannot see, Wednesday 16—17, at the Government Campus Auditorium, Lower Richmond Street and Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain at 8.45 am.

The conference will contribute greatly to an enabling climate to address challenges that some students may be experiencing: mental, physical, intellectual, and sensory impairment in a positive, professionally and socially pleasing way.

Credi believes that the nation’s schools are still hindered by inadequate systems to facilitate early intervention, and insufficient training programmes designed to equip teachers to deal with special needs’ cases in their classrooms.

The need for a drastic end to this situation is urgent and critical.

Credi chooses not to turn a blind eye to another area of social discontent that can exacerbate an already critical national situation.

In this context, the purpose of the conference is to: n Continue to sensitise relevant career professionals about the reality of hidden disabilities so that they can be open to and plan for innovative teaching and curricular strategies for ensuring that all children can selfactualise optimally in caring, sensitive contexts; n Cater for the existential rights of each child to be engaged in an educational environment that is inclusive and holistic in its pedagogical approaches and social dynamics; n Provide a basis for pertinent administrators and care-givers to work towards the provision of infrastructure and human and technical resources that facilitate the challenged stakeholders; n Underline the indisputable reality that disabilities exist and that understanding must strongly feature in all initiatives for human management and development.

Credi’s Hidden Disabilities Conference promises to be a rich conversation with local and international presenters who will speak to challenges faced by educators, parents and anyone who has cause to interact regularly with young persons.

Renowned speakers include Archbishop of Portof- Spain Jason Gordon; Dr Tim Conway, neuropsychologist and owner of the Morris Centres in Trinidad and Florida, USA; Dr Launcelot Brown of Duquesne University, Pennsylvania, USA; Dr Madonna Wojtaszek–Healy, hidden disabilities consultant and lecturer from Illinois, USA; Dr David Bratt, paediatrician; and Kitts Cadette, principal, Eshe’s Learning Centre and Special Education lecturer at Credi.

Categories: Entertainment News

The words of Alta students

Lifestyle - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 02:09

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta students around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives. Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing. Alta students enrol in the programme at many different levels of literacy and leave when they have accomplished their literacy goals. While it is difficult to manage work and family life alongside Alta classes, students continue to persevere and in all cases see changes in their lives after attending Alta classes. In the coming weeks, Alta will share their pieces through this column. This week, two students from the Couva South Government Secondary venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student Name: George Edwards

“Before the Alta class I had a problem with reading, sounding words and spelling. It was difficult to understand a lot of information around me. I decided that I am growing older and I need to improve for work and for my family. I must be able to achieve my childhood dream of standing in front of a class, reading and writing on a blackboard. This is why I joined Alta.

After joining Alta, my personal and work life improved. I learned to read and spell. I became more conscious of my surroundings and read every sign whenever I am driving.

I feel good to stand in front of my class and be able to read and write on the blackboard. This was something I could not do as a boy because I did not understand words well. Now, I can help my grandson with his reading, spelling and sounding words. I have improved in writing for my job and I feel more confident thanks to Alta”.

Student Name: Leanna Khan

“When I was younger I did not know how to read. No one was around to help me so I was ashamed. I left school and started working as a young girl. My boss told me about Alta, she wanted me to be somebody better in life.

Now I’ve been coming to Alta it has changed my life thanks to my boss. I have learnt a lot coming to Alta. I can help my daughter with her homework; I can read and sign off the receipts that I receive on my job”

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more Alta student writing on the impact the organisation has had on their lives.

More info

Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with Alta on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: Alta

Categories: Entertainment News

An ode to Trinidad and Tobago

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:30

Community service and photography—one would initially perceive these as two unrelated disciplines, but in one afternoon, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA) experienced how both of these disciplines celebrated the beautiful diversity of T&T in a very special way.

On May 3, more than 100 men and women from different walks of life assembled in two adjoining venues; the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) and the National Museum and Art Gallery, for two different purposes.

The first event at NAPA saw Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community , Culture and the Arts, present letters of appointment to board members of the Upper Malabar and Malabar Phase IV Community Centres, the Maloney Regional Complex, and the Mayaro and Sangre Grande Civic Centres, respectively.

In delivering the instruments, Minister Gadsby-Dolly expressed that these community centre boards will ensure that the Ministry’s investments will be soundly managed and bear fruits in each community. She also expressed gratitude to the appointees for embracing their role as public servants. Both the young and young at heart were well represented among the appointees, and were evidently eager to get down to business.

A few hours after and just a stone’s throw away, we saw this patriotic expression in a different medium; photography. The National Museum and Art Gallery launched its Through My Lens- To T&T, from Me Exhibition featuring over 50 photographs depicting those sites and moments that are part of our collective memory. The call for submissions took place during the month of March to find our varied perspectives on life in T&T, and collated these perspectives through the medium of photography.

Gadsby-Dolly delivered the feature address at the launch and reminded attendees that, “It is the museum’s responsibility, and by extension the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ responsibility, to unearth pathways for our artforms and artistes to be recognised and celebrated, and this evening our country’s premier art institution is saying to our talented, amateur photographers, “this is your space, this is your time. Let your skill tell your story’.”

Curator of the museum, Lorraine Johnson, also expressed that these photographs “challenge the viewer to take a second look at our country, bringing to the fore some of our most visually stunning physical vistas whilst capturing social issues.”

She thanked all participants, who represented a range of career disciplines and age categories, and advocated for photography entrepreneurship. The exhibition will be open to the public until June 16 at the museum.

These two events redeemed that there will always be an outlet to express one’s passion and dedication to T&T, regardless of one’s calling in life.

Categories: Entertainment News

Welcome to the Youth Jury

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:29

Once again, BP T&T (bpTT) is teaming up with the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) to give five young people an opportunity of a lifetime, through the bpTT Youth Jury at ttff/18.

Application is open to young people between the ages of 16 to 21 years (inclusive) who are interested in, and wish to develop, a critical appreciation of independent film. Applicants must be TT citizens, residents, or based in T&T for at least one year prior to application.

Prospective jury members must apply by writing an essay of no more than 250 words, saying what their favourite movie is and why. Applicants must also provide their name, date of birth, gender, citizenship, residence and school or occupation.

Applications should be sent to: [email protected] (subject line: Youth Jury Application). Successful applicants under the age of 18 years will be required to have written consent from a parent or guardian in order to participate in this programme.

The deadline for submission is noon on Friday, July 13. Successful jury members will be notified by Friday, August 24.

The five selected jury members will meet during the ttff/18, under the guidance of experienced film critic BC Pires, to view a selection of feature-length fiction films dealing with themes and issues affecting young people.

After viewing all the films in competition, the bpTT Youth Jury will choose the winning film. The director of this film will receive a trophy to be presented at the ttff/18 awards ceremony on Tuesday, September 25.

The trinidad+tobago film festival celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings.

In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities. The ttff is given leading sponsorship by bpTT.

For further information visit www.ttfilmfestival.com

Categories: Entertainment News

Introductory studies in Nile Valley civilisations at Studio 66

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:26

Studio 66, 66 Sixth Street, Barataria, is the venue for a four-series course by lecturer Amon Saba Saakana, PhD, Dip Egyptology, this month.

The first will be held tomorrow, followed by three, all scheduled to begin at 6.30 pm.

The course looks at the introduction and development of agriculture, pastoralism, astronomy, philosophy, science and technology from 11,000 BC to 3200 BCE.

The primary aim of the course is to familiarise the student with the concept of a shared belief system and potent cultural influences spreading from the southern zones of north-east Africa to the monumental structuring of Kemet.

Topics include concept of ntr and the birth of cosmology; highlights of agriculture and animal husbandry innovation in the development of humanity; sacred science and technology: from pottery to tomb and pyramid building; and, rekh: moral precepts, the process of knowing and the Initiatic Temple University.

Saakana received his PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a Diploma in Egyptian Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

His work has been widely published, and he is the author of a collection of poetry, God in the Song of Birds (2016), and the forthcoming Kmt in the Italian Renaissance: The Herme(s)tica in the Vatican Inquisition, due later this year. This is the first in a quartet of books on Kmt (Ancient Egypt).

Saakana is founder and principal of Karnak House publishers and Per Rekh Institute, a publishing house and a temple university dedicated to the arts and sciences of ancient Nubia and Kmt.

The course will be held on May 10, 17, 24 and 31, at the cost of $50 each in advance, or $60 on the day of the course. To register, call 365-7798.

Categories: Entertainment News

bpTT brings hope to Signal Hill students

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:22

Hope came unexpectedly and in abundance for 27 students of Signal Hill Secondary School who are benefitting from the complete refurbishment of the school’s computer lab. The project was financed by BP Trinidad and Tobago, and marked by a handing-over ceremony at the school last month.

The project was also achieved through collaboration with the Tobago House of Assembly’s Division of Education, Innovation and Energy. Delivering the feature address at the handover was Assemblywoman Marisha Osmond, Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Chief Secretary, Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

“I am a graduate of this great school, and as a past teacher also, I can understand every aspect of the challenges of education,” said Osmond. “This is indeed a benchmark contribution to the school and I can testify that bpTT has made sterling investments in young people all across Tobago in areas such as academics, sports and culture. This isn’t just a classroom—it is a gateway to the future. Signal Hill and bpTT have set a great example for us, and we must all do our part in providing opportunities for young people by fostering an empowered and productive population.”

The Signal Hill students are carded to write the Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EDPM) subject as part of their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations during the month of May, but were deprived of a functional computer lab until bpTT intervened.

Encouraging the students, Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Advisor, bpTT, said: “When we got the request from Signal Hill, we immediately understood the critical need of the students and responded with urgency. bpTT is committed to the development of our nation and nowhere is this more important than in creating opportunities for young people to achieve their full potential. As you go on to achieve success in your exams, just remember that it’s never too early to think about your careers.

“Right now, young people are transforming the world with technology-based companies. I look forward to seeing how you will change the world for the better.”

Primus added: “The late leader, Nelson Mandela once said, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together’. Just as we have partnered with the Tobago House of Assembly and Signal Hill Secondary for this project, I hope that you all partner with each other as students and friends and take Tobago even further along the pathway to a brighter future of sustainable development.”

With the EDPM examination scheduled for early May, bpTT was able to complete the project in the two weeks of the Easter vacation, ensuring that the lab was fully functional for the opening of the new school term. The project encompassed the installation of new, networked computers, whiteboards, a printer and projector as well as refurbishment of the air-conditioning units, electrical installations and the general aesthetics of the lab.

Given this level of support, the students have already committed to a non-stop schedule of study and practice that will centre on use of the new computer lab.

According to ecstatic Form Five student, Janelle George, “To be completely honest, we were very despondent when we were confronted with the possibility that we might not get a fair chance to succeed in the EDPM exams. Then we were told that bpTT would behelping us and it felt so good to come out to the first day of the new term and walk into our brand new computer lab.

“We’re going to work hard together to ensure that we repay this investment in us. bpTT has energised us to achieve great things and we are truly grateful to them and everyone else who contributed to this wonderful project.”

Also giving kudos to the construction of the lab was School Supervisor III, Sherry- Anne Rollocks-Hackett, who said, “Education concerns society as a whole and as the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

bpTT has demonstrated that they are a conscientious member of our national village and by investing in young people; they are creating a better reality.

“Although these students are tech-savvy, the staff and administration of Signal Hill have shown them another aspect of ‘networking’ and its benefits. I expect great things from these students and many more students of Signal Hill to come.”

Signal Hill Secondary’s principal, Allyson Potts, was also happy for the timely intervention of bpTT and noted that under the guidance of their EDPM Coordinator, Pearl Alman-George, they were accustomed to attaining a 100 per cent pass rate in this subject.

An emotional Alman-George echoed the sentiments of all for the handover, and said: “These students were patient, and although it was difficult, they never gave up hope. That’s what bpTT means to them right now—the realisation of their deepest hopes. I’ll be retiring soon, but I know that with this computer lab, Signal Hill students will benefit for years to come and they will continue to be our shining beacons on the hill.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Proof that police can shoot and not kill?

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:14

In the continuing quest to determine how well police are equipped to treat with the mentally ill, especially in crisis, nothing as yet has provided any source of comfort on the matter. No one seems to know exactly what is covered in the Police Induction Training and whether that passing classroom encounter with the issue of acute mental illness is sufficient.

It is not that we are unaccustomed to police shootings and shooting to kill—hardly, since T&T looks like a normal day of Gunfight at the OK Corral. It is about the reasoning that leads a police officer to kill rather than maim or disarm an ill person acting violently.

To my mind, it is quite possible to find alternatives to deal with an individual acting violently and wielding a broken bottle or a “two-by-four.”

While I would rather see police trained to deescalate such situations, and while I do not subscribe to tasing, I’d rather a tased mentally ill person than a dead one. A bullet should never be used where medication could be sufficient to return to calm, alive.

But the myth of violence among the mentally ill which translates to the stigma that all mentally ill people are violent may well be behind the extreme measures police have taken over the years. Often I wonder how much prejudice has to do with police actions in these killings. Are actions propelled by a discriminating and ignorant perceptual measure of the worth of the life of a person who may be considered “mad”?

As a society, we have not as yet addressed the prejudices we hold against people who are different from us. And may God help those of us who are different if we pick up a stone and throw it at the police—it is almost an assurance that such a one would meet his maker much faster than even some criminals with automatic rifles.

And on that note, a police corporal and a sergeant firing at each other, in close proximity of each other, expending 28 rounds of ammunition and one remaining alive, employed—and possibly with full pay—to tell the sordid tale of alleged infidelity and indiscipline suggests to me another picture about shooting to kill or shooting to cause injury.

I wish that one of the individuals engaging the attention of this quest I am on had an opportunity like that—to be shot at and live to tell the tale. Instead, it takes about three rounds of ammunition, on average, for police to kill a person presenting with acute mental illness.

Sheldon Sobers, 25, dead by suicide

As an institution, Costaatt holds a special place in my heart. As a former adjunct lecturer, I have some of my best memories teaching and impacting the lives of some fine young people, a large number who are still in my community of friends and associates.

So when Ornella Brathwaithe posted about Sheldon Sobers’ death on Facebook and Alette Williams followed with a stirring, unsettling expression of grief, it got my attention. I could not recall Sobers but his name seemed familiar. It turned out that he was a student in my sister Debra’s class when she lectured at Costaatt, also.

The painful thing about this suiciding is that Sobers had sought an intervention. He was admitted to the psychiatric ward of the San Fernando General Hospital, and hours after being admitted this 25-year-old man hanged himself using a piece of cloth.

The news story said Sobers “was found dead around 9.30 am at the entrance of a room near the male dormitory of the psychiatric ward.”

The story also quoted the police as saying, “He (Sobers) was a regular patient of Ward 1 (psychiatric) and because of his behaviour he could not be immediately assessed.”

That fateful Sunday before his death, Sobers was said to be displaying “unpredictable behaviour” and having been transferred to the hospital by ambulance, he was then placed in an isolated room. I do not know how long he was there “quarantined,” unpredictable and unattended but “around 9.30 am a nurse found Sobers dead.”

Gail Miller-Meade, CEO of the South West Regional Health Authority, was quoted as saying that they (SWRHA) are now investigating why Sobers was kept in an isolated place when he was displaying signs of depression and mental instability.

The SWRHA in its condolences said it “remains committed to reducing the effects of mental illnesses among the population and implored the public to seek help as early as possible.”

But Sobers sought help and was in the assumed best place for an intervention. I have so many questions for the SWRHA but for now I must follow Alice down the rabbit hole…

CAROLINE C RAVELLO is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of Public Health With Distinction (The UWI). Write to: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Yes She Can spreads its wings to Anguilla

Lifestyle - Tue, 05/08/2018 - 01:44

Popular women’s wellness group, Yes She Can (YSC), extended its reach beyond the shores of T&T once again with the launch of Yes She Can Anguilla. The launch took place last month at the Tea Box Lounge, South Hill, Anguilla, and was hosted by YSC’s founder, Roberta Rose Collins.

It was attended by Dr Dina Foy, wife of the Governor of Anguilla, as well as representatives of the Business and Professional Women of Anguilla; the Department of Sports; the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the National Chronic Disease Unit Anguilla, and personal trainers, Train Smart.

Carlishia Philips, Director of YSC Anguilla, welcomed guests, who were treated to a presentation on the transformative powers of Yes She Can membership.

Even the vegan refreshments reflected the philosophy of enjoying healthy food, such as unsweetened lavender-iced tea. “At first no one wanted to try it,” Collins laughs, “but before the end of the evening, it was all gone.” Snacks included blueberry salad, gazpacho, stuffed mushroom, flatbread and dip, beet chips and dip.

Collins shared the incredible life-changing experience that YSC membership inevitably brings. She is certain that YSC has the potential to contribute to an improved health-related quality of life for our society through educating and encouraging women about the benefits of making healthier choices, and finding a fulfilling and enjoyable life for themselves and those in their care.

“YSC seeks to help women appreciate that they have the power to make choices that will positively affect their lives and, in turn, those around them.”

Since its start in 2015, YSC members have trained for and completed numerous challenges, including:

• The “Trinbago Tri” Triathlon at Store Bay in 2015
• The Chinese Bicentennial Dragon Boat Regatta in 2016
• The Stanley International Dragon Boat Race held in Stanley, Hong Kong – June 2016 and 2017 (Through YSC’s Hong Kong arm)
• The Flow Duathlon in 2017.

The team has also hosted an International Women in Wellness Conference in March 2017; completed an archery course in 2017; and entered relay teams for the T&T International Marathon (TTIM) in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In addition, members have participated in an untold number of 5K and 10K races, Zumba meets, hikes, and other challenges. The group has also come together to exercise its social conscience, such as its collection and delivery of 2.5 tonnes of relief supplies to hurricane-struck Anguilla in September 2017, and participation in activities such as Royalty for a Night, Blessing Bag delivery and Share Happiness TT.

“The comradery of the YSC women in Trinidad and Hong Kong, and that support system, has grown and allowed for us to go beyond what we perceived to be our limits.” Collins said.

YSC continues to spread its values, which are:

• Activate: take action to exercise, eat well, push your limits and live a healthier and happier lifestyle.
• Motivate: inspire, support and encourage those around you.
• Celebrate: celebrate successes big or small and have fun every step of the way.

Yes She Can Anguilla’s first activity will be in collaboration with the Anguilla Tennis Academy to introduce the sport to more women on the island. And there is no doubt that as the Yes She Can sisterhood grows, more women will continue to discover their own strength, push back their boundaries, and learn how high they can reach when lifted aloft in the arms of their sisters.

To find out more about Yes She Can, Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yesshecanproject/

[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News


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