Thursday, 25 May 2017

Romping in Tobago Part 3 : Email Witch Hunt


An email witch hunt, ordered by the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs (MYSA) Natasha Barrow has failed to find the person who leaked the information which led to iBlog's expose of the TT$91,910.43 joyride to Tobago by a delegation of 12 persons  led by Minister Darryl Smith.

Ironically,  the emails requesting  the witch hunt and outlining the conclusion  have also been leaked.
Ms Barrow went into overdrive on Tuesday May 23rd to find the source of the  leaked email "which was featured in an online blog post".


It was on Tuesday night that she made a telephone call to Andre Hanief, the Manager of Information Communication Technology asking him to look into the “unauthorized circulation of an email message possibly originating from the Ministry’s Domain.”

Haneif, however requested an  independent person to witness the investigation in an email which he sent the  following morning at 8 22 AM. 

In less than an hour, Ms Barrow  recommended Deputy Permanent Secretary Mrs Denese Arneaud as  the “independent witness.”

When nothing was found  in the email accounts of the five persons who were copied in the original email  from Sports Minister Darryl Smith’s Personal Secretary Maria-Elena Phillips  the Deputy PS Arneaud then recommended that the accounts of two other persons in the Ministry Ian Ramdahin and Michael Seebarran.

Still “ no evidence was found of emails surrounding the THA Sport Awards- of being forwarded from any account listed above,” the IT Manager concluded.



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Romping in Tobago: Part 2

The email requesting the inclusion of three uninvited guests to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Sports Awards Ceremony originated from the Personal Secretary in the Office of the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Maria Elena-Phillips.

Minister Darryl Smith must say whether he  authorized the email because he has  already deflected responsibility for the twelve member TT$91, 910.43 all inclusive party at the Magdelena Grand (May 19-22) to his Permanent Secretary.



Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Romping in Tobago @$92,000 courtesy Ministry of Sports.


Inserted at the last minute, three women who “did not receive invitations” for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Awards turned out to be the guests of honor of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs (MYSYA) at an all inclusive weekend for a party of 12  at the Magdelena Grand, costing  taxpayers TT$91, 910.43.

The hotel bill for the traveling party, including Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Darryl Smith, was TT$77, 910.43 for the three night stay (May 19th -22nd ) for the Awards ceremony, which was hosted at the Ballroom of the hotel where they were staying, on Saturday evening.

The MYSA booked 11 Deluxe King Rooms and a Deluxe King One Bedroom suite, no doubt for the head honcho of the Tobago joyride, all of which came with Buffet Breakfast and all you can eat lunch and dinner as well, which this breakdown, as provided in the hotel bill, shows.

An additional TT$10, 400 was used to rent four vehicles from Rollock’s Car Rentals even though the  hand written  quotations, approved by the Permanent Secretary  in the Ministry, Natasha Barrow, stated categorically that the trip was to attend the THA  Awards  which was held in the same hotel.

Airline tickets for the traveling party cost TT$3,600, bringing the grand total to just under TT$92,000 for what was clearly  more than a grand one night stand.




The event was stretched into a  three nights all expenses paid trip for eight of the 12 member party whose flights left on Friday and who stayed until Monday .

Three others, including the Minister, Darryl Smith, left Trinidad on Saturday but their return, as shown on the Ministry’s travel itinerary was open ended.    

On the night of the Awards, according to information released by the  THA”s Information Department, it was only Minister Smith who presented Awards at the ceremony.

The THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles and the Secretary for Sport and  Youth Affairs Jomo Pitt  presented the trophies to the Sportsman of the Year  and the Male Student Athlete of the Year  respectively. 

Two days before the date of travel, an email was sent, on the Minister’s request, seeking the addition of  Ms. Cindy Cupid , Personal Assistant to the Minister, Ms. Melissa Assam Executive Assistant to the Permanent Secretary and Ms. Kate Balthazar of the Communications Unit to the  traveling party.  The email stated  “did not receive invitations for the Awards but will also be part of the delegation.”


The traveling party which at most could have been four persons, spread to twelve because of the preferences of the Minister.

Three representatives from the Sports Division made the trip: the Director of Sport Mr Patrice Charles, the Deputy Director Darron Charles and the man directly under Charles in the hierarchy  Ronson Hackshaw  who is the Minister’s riding partner.
   
Hackshaw was the first choice for the weekend jaunt. Charles was an afterthought when it was realized that protocol  demanded that according to  the hierarchy in the Ministry he  should have been invited before Hacksaw.
    
Permanent Secretary in the MYSA, Natasha Barrow, travelled to Tobago with her executive assistant, Ms Melissa Assam. Both women are well known as friends who hit the social circuits continuously together.

The Head of the Communications Unit, Mrs Michelle Savary was sidelined for her subordinate, Kate Balthazar ,who is seen in this leaked photo with Minister Darryl Smith which was taken  at the MYSA and with whom  the Minister has shared a level of relate that is beyond professional.

Her addition to the delegation was justified  three days later on Tuesday morning when shortly before 10 AM, the MYSA Facebook Page posted 26  photos taken at the Awards ceremony, 15 of which featured the Honorable Minister, most of which were badly focused or taken from bad angles.

Ms Cindy Cupid who is listed as a Personal Assistant to the Minister was also inserted into the delegation, “as a friend of a friend”.

The others on the Tobago joyride included  MYSA attorney Tyrone Marcus, Director of Youth Affairs Earland Kent ,Youth Officer 3 Emmanuel Charles and Adviser to the Minster of Sport, Garvin Warwick of the National Basketball Federation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Why wasn’t a four member delegation, as originally suggested, not sufficient for the one night event,  for which a smart businessman, in a bid to save money would have booked flights into the Sister Isle for the event  leaving on the last flight of the same night or the following morning at least?

 As the document shows to date, almost all of the half million dollars that was released for traveling and subsistence TT$542, 000 has been used up by the MYSA.

The evidence is here and the expose comes on the heels of the Tourism Minister’s still unexplained TT$59,059  phone bill for data used during a four day conference of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, CTO, in the Bahamas.



Friday, 5 May 2017

A journalist’s well kept secret.

A Tony Sabga Chronicle  
The first time that I set eyes on him, he was planting coconut trees on the Pigeon Point Beach with his wife Minerva. It was a Carnival Tuesday in Trinidad and Tobago circa 2003.
Walking along the beach with plants in his hand,  the venerable  Anthony Sabga, a man who was legendary especially among those who knew that his business empire was built on being grounded and street smart was normal like everyone else around him.
No drama, no fanfare, no visible bodyguards as he walked along a place that was clearly close to his heart as I later learnt. 
Dr Anthony Sabga
So when two masqueraders, covered in black oil and beating a paint pan for music and another with a wooden fork in his hand  surprised me demanding that I “Pay the devil”, I nodded in the direction of  Sabga.
‘Mr Sabga own this place, he have money,” I teased, at the same time pulling out the camera which was my constant  companion.
The old man, who was just about 50 feet away, did not flinch and may not have even batted an eyelid when he too was asked to pay the devil. He continued looking after the coconut  plant in his hand. Minerva did not seem alarmed either.
So, I took the photo of the devil taunting Tony Sabga with a wooden fork, knowing that I had a real Mirror exclusive.  That’s in addition to the stories about the coastal erosion at Pigeon Point and the concerns expressed by Tobagonians about how many permanent concrete structures were on the  strip of beach that was the frontline of the 60 acre property which he had acquired.
On the next edition of the T&T Mirror, the photo appeared with the caption, “Tony eh afraid Tobago Devil.”
A  couple  of days later , after the story was published Mirror Editor Keith Shepherd called in the midst of a hectic working day to explain that he received a phone call from Tony Sabga.
“Mr Shepherd, I know you are a fair man,” was the opening sentence in the conversation which Sheppy recalled fondly.
It had nothing to do with the newspaper poking fun with the photo that portrayed his encounter with a Tobago Devil.
Instead he wanted to give his side of the story about Pigeon Point at a time of deepening controversy over whether any beach in T&T should be private, 30-odd years after  the people took it back during the Black Power protests of the 70’s.
So in the haste of his work day, Sheppy told him that the reporter who did the story will follow up as he took the contact details.
 Shepherd later confessed to me that he regretted saying that as he would have loved to have a sit down with the old man, the owner of  Guardian Media Limited, face to face. I got a number to call Mrs Moonsammy, his  Secretary/Assistant to make the appointment.
Mrs Hazel Moonsammy

And then I kept the appointment, enthusiastically walking to the Ansa McAl building in downtown Port of Spain,  where his office was located. It is the same building  that was damaged by fire on two separate occasions earlier this year.
His was an open door policy, it appeared. A warm and friendly Mrs. Moonsammy greeted me and had me seated while I waited. It was more like the old man was sizing me up while there was distance between us, so he would know how to deal.
Usually restless, I did not remain seated. I stood up and walked to  a painting on the wall showing the original spot of the family business on Queen Street in Port of Spain, knowing that he was keeping an eye on me, even while he was taking with a couple of local guys (not businessmen) through the open door.
He was dressed in a dapper three piece suit. You could  see it was expensive. But everything about the man’s face spoke “ordinary.”  And that was reassuring. When I entered his office he  led  me to an area where we both sat comfortably on chairs with a coffee table between us . I was grateful for the respect. He did not choose to conduct the interview with him behind a desk and me in front.
On the coffee table were maps and plans, all about Pigeon Point.
And so he started to show his plan for  developing what he called the Pigeon Point Heritage Park  making it clear that he simply wanted to preserve the area, having already spent millions of dollars and considerable time and energy  dealing with coastal erosion.  They would  never  deny access to the fishermen who used the beach,  he said,  in the face of growing opposition to his plans for the beach front that included a large area of mangrove.
Pigeon Point Heritage Park

It was also an issue  that persons who wanted to use the beach facilities had to pay a fee and wear a wrist band; because no beach in Trinidad  and Tobago should be private.
Now, in hindsight, and based on the way the events unfolded thereafter, it was evident that he knew he would have to give up that treasured piece of  property.  In an off the record  response to a question, he destroyed one myth in my mind at the time by saying that  “government can frustrate anything, we don’t have that control.”  He was reading the signs well.
A  couple of years later the government declared it would acquire the property, even if by compulsory purchase order.
The information gleaned during my interview with Sabga was published the following week. Sadly I do not have access to the exact date of the  publication without access to to the valuable T&T Mirror archives.
But it was in the midst of the interview, which turned into a discussion, Mr Sabga said “You know you can’t quote me on this.”
 “I know”, I responded, nodding, grateful for just the opportunity to interview him .
 “You know I have my own newspaper,” he said, not arrogant but just matter of fact, because I think he was hoping that with the confidence I displayed in front of him that it was not lost on me that I was having an opportunity of a lifetime.
Indeed on a personal and professional level, I had one up on every Guardian journalist! and Express and Newsday too!!.For those at the Guardian, he would have been their boss so whenever they came into his presence the  level of relate would have been automatically different. I don’t know how the other journalists would have reacted if they had the opportunity.
Being a seasoned newswoman I clearly did not  blush or gush about it afterwards. It was a straight case of trading respect for respect. He respected our  weekly newspaper with a circulation far less than his behemoth The Guardian, whose editorial policy we often maligned and that said a lot.
He  could have easily used the pages of his newspaper to answer the questions that arose in our publication, as many others have done. But  it was clear that he also respected the power of the T&T Mirror’s editorial team and how far reaching we were at the time.
Tony Sabga, a  Trinbagonian Emeritus, seemed to have had everything in the world but he had to give up on that one dream at Pigeon Point.
He did not get his way with Pigeon Point and after spending considerable time and energy on his personal project he sold the peninsula property for TT$106 Million into the hands of the Tobago House of Assembly.
It was not the first time that the  people demanded  the right to public access on that beach.  
In the hey day of the Black Power movement in the 70’s the gate to the property was torn down by protestors  who demanded access to parts of the country that would have been the enclave of the rich and powerful.
Robert Amar got his hands on it  before Anthony Sabga created Club Pigeon Point  a division of his conglomerate the McAl Group of Companies and  controversy reared oftentimes, including one incident that led to the shooting death of a man, allegedly by security at the Pigeon Point Beach  Club.  It was against the backdrop of this controversy that he realized he  should set the records straight.
 That was the last time the property was in private hands. More than twelve years ago it fell into the hands of the THA and what have they done? Nothing short of a  watered down version of Sabga’s vision for the cherished spot. Years later and the grandiose plans have not materialized.
 Why write this?  In all fairness to the giant of a man who passed away at the age of 94 years, on  May 3rd 2017. It’s not kiss and tell, but a small insight, a drop in the bucket to help us all better understand the iconic businessman whose family fled Syria in 1930 and  came to Trinidad where through the dint of hard work they laid the cornerstone for the Sabga Empire.

               



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Messy Morace : Working With "Sheet".

 Taking the Warriors out of TT football  

If it was a prison in Canada, it is slavery in Trinidad conducted by a  woman who was imported- along with her dog and cat- into this Banana Republic  where she is being  treated like  a Tin God.
Deservedly so,  based on her impressive resume and brilliant football mind, Carolina Morace is a long overdue gift to the  Women Warriors.
Carolina Morace
Sadly,  the Italian Hall of Famer was  never fully investigated before she was hired by the Trinidad and Tobago Football  Association ( TTFA). Her last stint as a national coach was in 2012 in Canada  where she left  football scars caused by an “aggressive Italian regime” which turned  that country’s World Cup adventure into a “micro managing prison camp,” according to a report in the Toronto Sun.
After just eight weeks  in TT,  her impressive resume is a distant memory as her new found reputation, from all reports ,includes “verbal abuse”, “disrespect” and “nightmare” as  the  newly appointed Technical Director of Women’s Football  tries to get a grip on her first  Third World assignment.
Yes, she insists all is good in her camp.
 Why did she settle for  coaching TT , not even considered a CONCACAF powerhouse?  That’s a question which only Morace can answer.
Three  cornerstones of  the current Women's football  have  walked away, hanging up their boots.Though fit and match ready they  are broken hearted.
The trio, captain Maylee Attin Johnson, Ahkeela Mollon and Kennya Cordner, in their respective rights are leaders who fought with their lives  as part of the history  making  Women Warriors team that  united TT  in 2015, setting the foundation for Morace’s appointment in Trinidad.
Already  attempts are being made to smear their characters in favor of the Italian whom , informed sources say,  seems to be creating  alliances  in Trinidad and Tobago to impose her own culture.

Joanne Salazar (right)
What role is there for the  VP of the TTFA, Joanne Salazar,  to whom  Morace  has aligned herself , in a move which  is transparent  to the players.
Therefore, is Morace's relationship  with the TTFA evolving  in a way that she does not want her coaching to interfered with?  Everybody is beginning to ‘fraid Morace,” as she has them  all believing that they are less-than-professional.  
  Among the first  to be sidelined, unofficially, of course, is  the TTFA’s Coordinator of Technical Programmes Jamal Shabazz, who  shut down the  discussion when I  called him.
“We have a working relationship, I do what is necessary to get the job done. I do  not have to interact with her a great deal, but I do go to watch the players,” Shabazz  deadpanned  refusing to acknowledge that Morace clearly does not speak with him and there is obvious tension when they  relate. 
 But  has he heard of complaints from both staff and players?
“It is not my jurisdiction,” he answered, adding “I don’t fit into the equation.
 “I read  about what transpired and it is unfortunate that the situation has reached to that,” he said, refusing further questions .
 “There is time for the matter to be resolved, I trust that the Technical Director , Muhammed Isa, will get a total feedback and I will know what happened eventually,” Shabazz  ended.
The main bone of contention, at this time,  is Captain Maylee, described as a  woman with strong opinions  but all in the interest of the team and the program and  one who has fought with her life.
Maylee Attin Johnson
Highly respected by her team mates, Maylee  clearly sets her  standards for  respect .  Attin Johnson untied her laces  obviously walking  away from further confrontation which seemed imminent given Morace’’s blunt and demoralizing disrespect.
 Football trumps all .By the time  Morace started her stint in Trinidad, all the Women Warriors were lining up to give up two and half years of their life for the experience, not knowing what they signed up for.
Described by those who know as a woman with a “tendency to  burn her bridges,” Morace’s most often used  phrase in training at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium has been “This is sheet,” the last word being her pronunciation of “sh*t”.
 With that, in a few weeks all Trinbagonians- players and  staff - are thinking that she has turned her back on her  declaration at a news conference in Port of Spain “We are more open. What we want to do is put our experience into place but at the same time we have to match with your culture .For a good system the two  cultures  have to match”.
This is  how it is being dismantled;
The core of the  Women Warriors team are players who have  been through the US College system. Almost all college based players were home for the Christmas holidays and returned  stateside in mid January.
 Not having played a game since November, they were summoned  back a couple of weeks after they returned, at great expense ,to the TTFA, for a one week assessment by Morace.
“She did not even put them into a game situation, but had them do simple drills and passes and summed it all up as “sheet ,”  another source explained, sad about how demoralized the girls seemed after their encounter with the  Italian. “The College players were told their technique is bad - they were not fit enough to be on a National team.
“Khadidra Debisette, who has played at the national level for several years- left a meeting literally crying,” returning to the US with the hopes of once again playing for the national team dashed.
"In front of everyone, she declared that the College system is crap, telling them they would be worse off as players.“ 
 Is it professional to be disrespectful?  “She has all the knowledge but is a dictator,” my source explained.
Ahkeela Mollon
 “Next to go was Ahkeela Mollon who was fit and ready and  turning a blind eye to the negative criticism that became a hallmark of training sessions  on the field from 6pm to 8 pm, after which the players stretched and had ice baths where necessary, before leaving for home in various parts of Trinidad.
 “Thinking of her safety, Mollon who lives in Longdenville, on the border line with  Enterprise  asked  her Manager for the ice baths to be taken at home,”  my source said.
“The Coach responded with a loud comment across the field ‘ Why do they even come out of their houses?” mocking the  clear and present danger posed by crime.
 “One day later two men were shot and killed a  stone’s throw from Mollon’s home. One year  earlier she ducked gunshots as she made her way home from training.
 Morace, incidentally, lives in South Trinidad- not far from where her team trains at the  Mannie  Ramjohn Stadium which is the base for the women football programme.
 “She came here to be a mentor, but now  the players are clearly suffering ,  players  are low on self esteem , they need  help.
‘She walks around the field and pinches people, telling them they’re too fat,” my source said.
The  women  who have been exposed to international coaches and training in the US and in Europe  have never experienced someone like the Italian, whom they say is “running amok” with no one to control her.
For the sake of professionalism, this woman who signed up to work in a Third World country ,handed it to the TTFA again, when she showed up in Tobago  earlier this month to try out players for the National Team.
 “The field was not marked and she left the 40 innocent players stranded as she 
made an about turn with her technical staff and returned to Trinidad.  
‘It is commendable  that she stood up for professionalism, holding up the bar for the TTFA, but was there another way to go about it?
  “There is no  indication that she  truly cares  about  reform  and pointing in the right direction.
 “There are some girls in training who do not have food, or even a roof over their heads, the players work with each other  to make it to training  and it’s  far worse than boot camp,” my source added.
 “If indeed it is all that bad in Trinidad, where even the coaches are “sheet”, I feel sorry for her, after all,”  a veteran TT footballer said, weighing in on the discussion.
 “Because of her resume she is obviously coaching down, this was not a lateral move, so it begs the question : What did the TTFA offer her?
 “There are cases where women coaches believe they must  behave worse than men in order to get the job done,.
 “But you don’t get respect  by shouting down people. You must treat people like people.
 ‘It is clear she left Canada with a bad taste  and remember most Canadians came out of the  US College system,” he added.
  “These  girls  here are not  gonna learn to play  the short passing , that is not our style and  we cannot even  get the men to play that way,” he noted.
 “Morace is yet to show that she can merge the cultures, because clearly she has no respect for our culture,” he ended, with a sigh.
 What appeared to be one step forward for women’s football in TT is turning out to be another nightmare.
 Especially for the footballers who grabbed at the opportunity having been left unattended since 2014, until Morace appeared.
It appears that  TTFA President David John Williams  was so eager and enthusiastic to make a statement because of the pressure he was getting for his leadership, he wanted a high profile coach.
They clearly did not take time to get someone to come in and understand the culture. Just as the Toronto Sun reported, she worked on taking the Canadian out of  Canada’s  team, so too, she is well on her way to removing all warriors from the TT’s women football.






Thursday, 16 March 2017

Who told cops WPC was murdered one week before her body was found?

    
They knew it was murder from the moment WPC Nyasha Joseph was reported missing one week ago when she left home, at Morvant, telling her mother that she was going to attend to “police business”. But how? When journalists report the “breaking crime news”: via their Social Media pages, most times the information comes from the cops, some of whom may not have been directly involved in the crime scene but would have gotten What’s App notification via their colleagues who  are paparazzi before detectives.
 So when  CNC3 reported  last  Friday that a body was found in the Beetham, someone already had the zeppo that the 22 year old was dead.  They quickly changed the story however, as the cops may have recanted  and declared  her missing, instead.
It was barely 24 hours after she was last seen, so in any event, to report her missing meant that they knew more than they were letting on. Under normal circumstances the police tell citizens that  they must wait for the 48 hours deadline to pass before someone is officially declared missing,
After searching on land  in the Beetham and Sea Lots, the TT Coast Guard was engaged from Saturday morning and began searching the  Gulf  of Paria near Sea Lots.
On Monday March 13th however, in the face of all that  the top Cop Stephen Williams  issued a statement  which created further confusion.  On the ground his officers were searching on land, in the  sea and by air, for a body. Yet the Head of the TT Police Service (TTPS)  “assured  the family of WPC Joseph and the national community that every effort is being made to return the officer safely to her loved ones”. 
So he set himself up. Granted he has  failed , what next? Who will hold him to task?  Did he make a mistake  and what  he meant to say  was return her body? Is her so out of touch? Was he part of the game playing, too? Didn’t he trust the “detectives”  who sniffed out that she was dead?
But the story does not end there.  From the moment the talk started that the WPC was murdered- which is on the day  after she left home to “do police business” according to her mother, all the social media posts, coming from unknown quarters, pointed to one man; the 39 year old  father of Nyasha’s child who was detained for questioning by the cops and later released.  Since then all fingers have been pointing at the man.
There appeared a What’s  App voice note in which  a voice resembling that of a police Inspector wondered aloud how could she get into the  TTPS  because of her previous connections. Didn’t Special Branch check her out, he asked, suggesting that she “maybe get a “Bull” from a senior officer” and that is how she ended up in the Service, given her connections to the father of her child, whom they identified as a “shooter for Kemis”.
And then  came this video- targeting the same man- showing  them in a tangle at a boat ride, after she was excitedly wining on another man and he pulled her away.  So  Social media is saying that this man  is somehow responsible for the murder , even though there is no  tangible evidence . Who is releasing this information? Her friends? The Police?  https://www.facebook.com/anonymoustrini/videos/743146435862122/
 Was this one man’s job? Who is responsible for this murder? police or criminal you are tempted to ask.    After all is said and done doesn’t this speak  loudly of the thin line between the police and the underworld?
 Look carefully  at what appears on social media, listen to the voice notes you get via What’s App, a lot of which a keen ear will discern is doctored to deliberately lead you in the wrong direction.
 By Thursday morning another angle emerged: a 24 year old man, whose photo was also posted all over social media, walked into the police station to “give himself up”  taking in front in the event that he ends up being  arrested and charged for a  murder which he may or may not know  anything about.
What about this seems like a crime of passion? 
Is social media the  main tool for detectives to bring the innocent to guilty or declare the guilty innocent,  slander-mongering in the absence of evidence that is gathered by hard work?
The cherry on this cake? It’s the clueless top cop and the impotent Minister of National Security. Here endeth, for now.
       
    

     

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Criminal Backlash from Jail

    Five years before he - and two others-broke out of the Port of Spain prison  in a daring Friday afternoon  jail break, using guns smuggled into the prison, on July 25th, 2015, Hassan Atwell  spoke openly of the festering sore that is the prison system inTrinidad. his was Published on November 19th 2010. I have reproduced this article (1) for his children to know that his life was not in vain (2) to show that  the  consultations on prison reform are nothing but a charade. 


Read On;
"Deep down inside a man he wants what is good for himself and for the people at large. Nobody can deny that. That's the word coming from the bowels of the Remand Yard at the Port of Spain Prison where Hasan Attwell is incarcerated awaiting extradition on a  charge of kidnapping  US citizen, Videsh Mohan in South Trinidad in 2005. 
While noting the efforts of the State to curb crime. including the three-strikes legislation which will jail repeat gun offenders for life, Atwell is lamenting the fact that no real attention is being paid to the prison system which is breeding criminals.
"Yes there has been an increase in crime but in most cases it's just that offenders are lashing back after being taken advantage of in prison; when they get the upper hand they do the sane to fellow citizens," he said in a letter to this journalist.
"The saddest part is that society is not even aware that this is the root of all crime. When you want to come out of a life of crime sometimes you have so many scars from the injustice of police, the treatment while in prison;sometimes knowing that you are innocent so you end up just lashing out.
"The people of society are  willing to forgive, but are they willing to do what is necessary to change the mind of the person who was once a criminal?
We complain everyday that crime is the problem which is affecting the economy as well.
 But if we identify that crime is the problem why are we pumping money into one area; taking care of the police is not the only thing.
"The prison is the best place to reform a man. If we reform the prisoners they will return to society in a better condition than they were sent in and subsequently the police work will become easier in that there will be less repeat offenders and we will most certainly see a decrease in crime at a rapid rate,
"The conditions in jail are already deplorable and so inhumane that it cannot hep to reform a person. "They think that we deserve to be treated like this.
"But in jail a man's freedom is taken away, it is already a great punishment not to to see our loved ones or hug our children. We are already paying the price of our freedom Why wont they try their best to reform prisoners not just for our sake but for their sake as well so that they can return to society and be of value.
" History has proven that people come out of prison and make a valuable contribution. It is like modern day slavery if they have no consideration for us we will have no consideration for them; the way you treat people is the way they will treat others.     
" Look at how a man has to relieve himself when nature calls in front of people with no privacy which is also unsanitary.
"They have placed mats on the floor of the prison cells that have been there for years collecting dirt, bacteria and germs which are not washed or changed.
"How could people be reformed living under these conditions?
"We are granted airing for an hour a day and within this hour we have  access to toilets, showers and to wash our clothes. What could you do in an hour?
"Some men line up to use the toilets instead of using the pails in their cells. Everything is a hustle. "Imagine a constipated  prisoner gets a chance to go to the toilet with a long line of men waiting behind him; he makes his situation worse when he forces himself.
"Even though the system has bene successful in reforming some prisoners mentally their health will be no good because they do not get proper exercise and sunlight. The society destroys its people by  paying no heed to their cry. In return the people hit back at society for being neglected. 
"People in society who are stronger and more educated have to lend a helping hand; religion in prison is playing a very important part. Religion brings the mind to a high level of consciousness that a person's mind acts as a police for him. 
"When the mind reaches such a conscious state we do not need to have a police officer looking down at him. His mind keeps him in check. Bt even that is not being used to keep the prisoners in check. 

"There are many prison officers who understand the situation because most times what affects us affects them. Imagine in this day it is a man's job to come to work and open a gate for a man to go with a bucket of pee to throw away. Officers complain when they leave their clothes smell like the jail and that is just one of the ways in which they are affected. 
"As I get older I am seeing things differently, if I could change the life of one person who knows he could have been  heading to commit a crime that would kill my wife or children, if I reform this person, I save my wife or children. Many people do not volunteer to become criminals; some people are molested when they are young and there are other things that affect people at different stages in their lives that makes them go down the road to begin a criminal it is the resentment that is fostered which the people in power fail to recognize. 
"If they take this seriously into consideration when dealing with crime, then they can help a whole lot of offenders," Atwell ended.