Photo provided to the media by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

A 14-year-old girl from El Dorado has gone missing. Police are asking the public for their urgent assistance in locating Martha Baptiste Simon, who was last seen at her Sergeant Trace, El Dorado...

Photo courtesy the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

A 21-year-old man from Princes Town who was reported missing on Saturday has been found. Blaine Anthony Balkissoon of Sahai Trace, Borde Narve, Princes Town was reported missing to police last n...


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Joseph Lewis won with his portrayal of Zharvakko - the Voudon King of Death

Reigning King of Carnival Joseph Lewis topped the preliminaries of the Senior Kings and Queens competition on Thursday night. Lewis won with his portrayal of Zharvakko - the Voudon King of Death from Antourage Productions 2020 presentation Journey to Wonderland. Antourage also saw success with their Queen,Savitri Holassie, who topped the female competition with her portrayalof Wrath of the Sea Witch. Last year's Queen of the Bands, Shynel Brizan placed 14th.Only the top 10 from each category will proceed to the finals on Dimanche Gras night, Carnival Sunday. Antourage also hasanother King and Queen in the finals with Roxanne Omalo and Ravi Lakhan placing fifth in their respective competitions. Rounding out the top three in the Queens was Sevel Nicholls with her portrayal of the Power of Love from the bandMas Pieta designed by Peter Minshall while Mary George from the band K2K Alliance and Partners placed third with her portrayal of Le Feu Maman! Le Feu (The Fire, Mama! The Fire). In the King competition, Earl Thompson placed second with TheLove of Power from the band Mas Pieta designed by Peter Minshall while Ted Eustace placed third with Lords of de Savannah from Paparazzi's 2020 presentation Hidden. Below are the top ten in the King and Queen of Carnival categories who will be advancing to the finals. QUEEN OF CARNIVAL 1st SAVITRE HOLASSIE: WRATH OF THE SEA WITCH 2nd SEVEL NICHOLLS: THE POWER OF LOVE 3rd MARY GEORGE: LE FEU MAMAN! LE FEU! ( THE FIRE, MAMA! THE FIRE!) 4th KAY MASON: VENETIAN BEAUTY 5th ROXANNE OMALO: MOTHER OF DRAGONS- KEEPER OF LIGHT 6th KRYSTAL THOMAS: DE MATING DANCE 7th JONELL DICK: " AZIZA " THE GUARDIAN OF LUST 8th KERINA BADAL SHAMARAN: GUARDIAN OF THE HORNED SERPENT 9th AMANDA "BAILEY" MC CLEAN THE MAIZE GODDESS:GODDESS OF CORN + REVIVAL OF LIFE 10th PEOLA MARCHAN: WAR OF CONQUEST KING OF CARNIVAL 1st JOSEPH LEWIS: "ZHARVAKKO"-THE VOUDUN KING OF DEATH 2nd EARL THOMPSON: THE LOVE OF POWER 3rd TED EUSTACE: LORDS OF DE SAVANNAH 4th RAYMOND MARK: "LUST"- THE BEAST THAT CONSUMES 5th RAVI LAKHAN: "DIABLO"- LORD OF CONFLICT & TERROR 6th ADRIAN YOUNG: DADDY JUMBIE/PAPA JUMBIE: PROTECTOR OF THE FOLKLORE AND WALKER OF THE SLEEPING SPIRIT OF MAS 7th SK008 MARLON RAMPERSAD: "CYRUS THE GREAT" 8th PATRICK ROBERTS JR: THE RED DRAGON KIVES AGAIN, THANKS MR PRIME MINISTER 9th RUSSELL GRANT: MONTEZUMA,DEPOSED EMPEROR OF THE AZTECS 10th TEKEL SYLVAN CHRISTOPHER: D'EATH, WINDER OF THE SPIDER

Leader of the dancehall pack, Prince Swanny, will be among the stars in the Zesser segment at the International Soca Monarch on Friday.

Trini dancehall stars will be featured in a Zesser Segment at the International Soca Monarch competition on Fantastic Friday. Simon Baptiste, Creative Director for ISM, told Loop the segment will be one of four developed to enhance the show and package it for television. The segment will feature the stars of the local dancehall wave: Prince Swanny, Jahllano, Trinidad Killa, Plumpy Boss, Medz Boss, Rebel Sixx and K-Lion. Baptiste said the segment will feature a medley of their songs. Asked why he chose to feature dancehall in a season where there has been an outcry against the popular genre being played during Carnival events, Baptiste said it is about showcasing the youth. “I have always been about the youth, I have always been about embracing our youth and the fact is that there is no denying that there has been somewhat of a disconnect over the years about what our youth are listening to in terms of soca and gravitating toward their own dancehall,” he said. “The fact is we know there have to be some repairs done in that area by working with communities throughout the country over the next year but it doesn’t change the fact that we shouldn’t turn our backs on them either. They are doing something that is helping them, they are making a living from it and those same young men who are involved in the Zesser movement have always looked up to Soca Monarch, they see it as a grand stage, an opportunity, they are seeing stars they have idolised as well.” Baptiste said they are simply giving local dancehall and spotlight and argued that in the past Jamaican dancehall stars have graced the ISM stage. “And why was that done? It was done because one, it is called the International Soca Monarch and the idea is that we embrace all our islands and then the other thing is that this is a youth-driven platform so that’s why you would have a Beenie Man and a Bounty Killa on the show because you recognise that these artistes were draws to the event. The only thing we have done different this year is that we didn’t say let’s invest in a Jamaican dancehall artiste as a draw, we have those artistes who can draw our youth right here on our soil.” He said the decision to have a Zesser segment was not influenced by Trinidad Killa who was upset that he didn’t qualify to enter the competition with his song ‘Dyzess’. “The Sunday when I was offered the post and they asked me what my ideas were =, the conversations I had with multiple people was that I wanted to do a segment that basically shone a spotlight on our youth and this emerging movement known as Zesser,” he explained. Trinidad Killa will star in the closing segment of the show. The Zesser segment will be choreographed by Christopher Scott, a three-time Emmy nominated choreographer from the United States who has worked on shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew and the Step Up movies. He has also worked with a number of stars such as Taylor Swift. Most Trinbagonians may recognise him as the foreigner who starred in Kes the Band’s ‘Hello’ video. Baptiste defended the use of a foreigner, stating that he was looking for people he was connected to, who understood the vision he had and had the ability to create a show that they could pitch to international networks. “Internally it’s not that we don’t have those people here, but I had three weeks to go and a lot of people were already committed to various projects. I was lucky when I reached out to Chris he had a blank slate on his window and when you look at his resume, So You Think You Could Dance, the Grammys, the Academy Awards, working with producers and shows on Netflix, I felt he was someone that could get it plus he loves soca music,” he said. Scott told Loop that together with his colleague Leo Moctezuma, he is doing the art direction for the Zesser segment and will be employing the skills of Jamaican dancer/choreographer Blacka Di Dancer to assist. Scott said he thinks the inclusion of the dancehall in the show is a beautiful thing. “Any display of culture should be done with a lot of care that is why we have Blacka helping us to showcase dancehall in an authentic way. It’s like the Super Bowl, you had the Latin dancing showcase, I think it is important to put the culture out there so we could get more familiar and educated together,” he said. ISM will also feature a segment paying tribute to the founder of soca Ras Shorty I which will be created by the Blackman family and a Women’s segment with two emerging artistes: Nailah Blackman and Jadel and two veterans, Allison Hinds and Patrice Roberts. Scott will also be responsible for putting together that segment.


A 26-year-old man has been sentenced to three years hardlabourfor firearm and ammunition possession. The accused,RunakoMorris, was sentenced last week by Magistrate Jo Anne Connor in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court. PCBaisdenewas the complainant (charging officer) whileCleyonSeedanwas the prosecutor in this matter. Morris pled guilty to the offence, which allegedly took place in October, last year. He told the court that he had the weapon to sell it to make some extra money to provide for his family.However, he was reminded bythe court that this was still an illegal activity, and that firearms were still the weapon of choice inthe majority ofkillings taking place in this country. The court was also informed that Morris had previously served a sentence after being convicted for robbery with aggravation. After further submissions, Morris was sentenced. The 26-year-old was held during a police exercise at 9pm on October 3. He was in the back seat of a car which was intercepted by police along the Rienzi Kirton Highway, San Fernando. The vehicle wassearchedand the weapon was found in Morris’ possession.

ACurepeman is expected to appear before a Tunapuna Magistrate after he was heldwith a firearm this morning. The suspect, who is from Agostini Street, was held at about 12.05a.m. this morning along the Southern Main Road,Curepe. Police said officers of the St Joseph Police Station were doing routine patrols when they observed the man acting in a suspicious manner near a club along the main road. Upon seeing the police, the man attempted to turn around and walk away. This roused the suspicions of the officers, who intercepted the suspect. He was searched and a Jennings 9mm pistol, loaded with two rounds of ammunition, was found tucked in his waist. As aresult,the suspect was taken into custody, where he was questioned and charged.


Loop Breakfast Bites is a roundup of the top international stories daily. [related node_id='97253353-df0c-41ce-a6d4-dbe120a2ae67'] [related node_id='ffbdaf9e-e758-4899-a3ee-ba2fc37554d0'] [related node_id='a3aa26ca-f099-40eb-914e-cabee2d9435a'] [related node_id='c9f9b4d5-25d9-4620-a7c6-4e005e7b98ae'] [related node_id='580efa74-5aec-41d3-a872-24f0050909c9']

Passengers stand on the top deck of the MS Westerdam while the cruise ship is docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia Monday, February 17, 2020.  (AP Photo)

The feel-good story of how Cambodia allowed a cruise ship to dock after it was turned away elsewhere in Asia for fear of spreading the deadly virus that began in China has taken an unfortunate turn after a passenger released from the ship tested positive for the virus. News over the weekend that an 83-year-old American woman who was on the ship and flew from Cambodia to Malaysia was found to carry the virus froze further movement of the passengers and crew of the MS Westerdam. Some are now in hotels in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, while others are still aboard the ship. The American woman was among several hundred passengers who were flown out of Cambodia on Friday and Saturday. According to authorities in Malaysia, 143 continued their flights home from that country, while the woman and her 84-year-old husband, who was diagnosed with pneumonia, remained behind for treatment. The virus has infected more than 71,000 people globally and killed more than 1770, with the vast majority of the cases in China, where the outbreak began two months ago. The dispersal around the world of passengers from the ship with possible exposure to the virus has sparked concern. "I think now given that there is a confirmed case that is suspected to have acquired infection on board the ship, the other passengers should be asked to quarantine themselves at home and alert health authorities if they develop fever or respiratory symptoms within the 14 days since disembarkation," said Professor Benjamin Cowling from the School of Public Health at Hong Kong University. Dr. Gagandeep Kang, executive director of India's Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, said it is unclear whether the woman's infection could result in an outbreak in another part of the world. "We will have to wait and see," she said, adding that it would depend on where the woman got the infection, and at what stage of the infection she was in while in contact with other people. The ship's operator, Holland America Line, said in a statement Sunday that it was working closely with government and health officials in Malaysia and Cambodia and experts with the USCenters for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. “At this time, no other guests or crew, either onboard or on their way home, have reported any symptoms of the illness,” the statement said. "Guests who have already returned home will be contacted by their local health department and be provided further information." The statement pointed out that the American woman who tested positive in Malaysia was not one of the 20 people onboard the Westerdam who had reported symptoms to the ship's medical center. It was those 20 who were tested specifically for the virus by Cambodian health officials, and all those results were negative. The rest of the passengers and crew had health checks that included filling out a written health questionnaire and having their temperatures checked, which has become standard procedure for air and sea passengers considered at risk. Several Westerdam passengers from the United States and elsewhere have already returned home and spoken to the media. Two of the passengers, Joseph Schaeffer and his wife, Paulette, a retired nurse, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal from their home in Henderson, Nevada, that they felt the hue and cry over the released passengers was not totally merited. "It doesn't seem to me that the whole world should be jumping at this," Joseph Schaeffer said. "There are more deaths from the flu than there have been from this particular virus," his wife said. The couple said they were screened on their way home at airports in Phnom Penh and Singapore by thermal scanners that remotely monitor arrivals. On arrival in Los Angeles, they said, they were among a large crowd getting screened that included fellow cruise passengers. They said they answered questions given by someone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that included whether they felt sick, had visited mainland China or knew anyone who had contracted the virus. Two Canadians who returned via Vancouver International Airport were asked to put on protective face masks on arrival but were not otherwise isolated, Canada's CBC News reported. "We were asked a few questions and filled out an immigration form, and they very nicely helped us bypass the usual lineups and let us out the door," said Joseph Hansen, who took the cruise with his wife. “We're feeling fine.” Hansen, from Surrey, British Columbia, told CBC that he did not hear about the American woman in Malaysia with the virus until he landed in Vancouver on Sunday. “I guess on the one hand it's upsetting to know that there was one case, but we're feeling fine,” he said. “We've had health scans, temperature scans and we don't have any concerns for our own health.” Cambodia's government had originally earned kudos from the head of the UN's World Health Organization and the USambassador there for allowing the ship to dock at the port at Sihanoukville on the Gulf of Thailand after being turned away by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand. The move was seen as a victory for the image of Cambodia's authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen, who welcomed the ship's passengers with handshakes and flowers. He boasted that although Cambodia is a poor country, it “has always joined the international community to solve the problems that the world and our region are facing.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said he was pleased Cambodia had agreed to accept the Westerdam and described it as an example of the international solidarity advocated by the UNhealth agency. "The one thing I can say is we're very, very grateful that Cambodia has opened literally its ports and its doors to people in need," USAmbassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy said Saturday when he took his family to the port to meet passengers. “We think this sends a strong message. We all have to help each other.” In hindsight, however, Cambodia's handling of the ship's passengers has been criticised on social media, though it also has gotten some support. According to Cowling, the Hong Kong University professor, it's a good idea to let passengers leave and monitor them after disembarkation. Since there were no known cases onboard the Westerdam at the time passengers left the ship, it was reasonable to allow them to travel home, he said. "I think it would not be appropriate to keep passengers on the ship for 14 days, as it could be a high-risk environment," Cowling said. "We have seen the consequences of holding passengers on a cruise ship with the Diamond Princess outbreak," he said, referring to another cruise ship that is quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, with hundreds of cases among the passengers.