A Scarborough mechanic was arrested and a quantity of marijuana seized by officers of the Tobago Divisional Task Force during an anti-crime exercise conducted at the Scarborough Port over the weekend. Officers conducted the exercise around 7:30 pm on Sunday during which they observed a white Nissan AD Wagon with a male driver disembark the T&T Spirit fast ferry. The driver attempted to exit the Port compound hastily. The vehicle was stopped and searched which resulted in a black plastic bag containing 2.015 kilogrammes of marijuana being found hidden under the driver’s seat. The drug has an estimated street value of $20,150. The suspect; a 56-year-old of Sangster’s Hill, Scarborough, was arrested in connection with the find. Investigations are ongoing. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop

Photo: Edison Small was charged with the murder of David King, who was killed on September 8, 2018.

A murder suspect who was detained during Operation Strike Back is due to appear in court this week. According to astatement issued Tuesday by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), 38-year-old Edward Small of Cumuto, was held during a series of anti-crime exercises titled 'Operation Strike Back'. Small was due to appear before the Sangre Grande Magistrates' Court on Tuesday charged with the murder of David King, which occurred on September 8, 2018. Small wasalso charged with the malicious wounding of a 54-year-old Cumuto man, following advice received from Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, on October 15, 2018. Police said 31-year-old David King and a friend were at his Cumuto home around 2:45 am on September 8 when three men entered and announced a robbery. The victims were shot during the incident -King died at the scene, while his friend was taken to hospital. Small was arrested during an Operation Strike Back exercise in the Northern Division, by officers attached to the Cumuto Police Station, on Saturday, October6, 2018. He was subsequently handed over to Homicide Bureau of Investigations (HBI) Region 2, and later charged by PC Noel Wren. Investigations were supervised by ASP (Ag.) Sean Dhilpaul, Sgt. Mitra Ramsumair, Sgt. Sydney Job and Sgt. Hezron Lynch, all of the HBI Region 2. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store: http://bit.ly/GetiLoop


Melissa Jimenez, GM of MusicTT

Phase Two of the Live Music District will officially kick off on Sunday, October 21 at Fiesta Plaza, Movie Towne. However, contrary to what Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced during the budget, Phase Two will be confined to Port-of-Spain and not be spread out across the country. Melissa Jimenez, General Manager of Music TT, said they simply do not have the money or resources to take the initiative nationally. “We figured we had the pilot with Port-of-Spain and that was just that, a tester so now that we are going into the full meat of the thing, we want to work with Port-of-Spain again and see how we can better get these venues to understand the concept before pitching to new venues,” she said. The LMD was one of the initiatives coming out of an audit of the music industry by British company Sound Diplomacy. The pilot was launched in March and ran until July 1. Music TT, which falls under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said during the pilot phase 167 artists were registered on the Museek platform, 68 artists were hired throughout this phase, 11 major LMD events were executed, over 2900 people attended the events and there were 363 live performances, approximately 23 per week over the 16 week period. Using a qualitative yardstick to measure the success of the pilot, Jimenez said they look at the impact to the venues. “How has it helped your business? If this is not helping your business in any form or fashion it is literally you supporting the Government. The intention of this LMD, we cannot sustain this for a long-term. At the end of a certain time period we expect the private sector to take this and run with it and if you not feeling invested that way, what can we do to help you?” she said. From the perspective of the artists, she said many of those who participated were satisfied as they were able to perform in venues they wouldn’t normally have been offered those opportunities. Asked how artists have been able to grow through the LMD, Jimenez said: “The mid-level artists, they like operating at these different types of venues to understand how they could adjust their sound. Understanding sets because what works with a bar won't work in a hotel. Understanding how do I lay out my sets visually, how do I visually present myself. Some have left with networking opportunities and have gotten fully paid jobs that have nothing to do with MusicTT from hotels and other establishments. The grassroots, ones now coming in from karaoke singer version to I want to perform music, they have a little ways to go and they know that.” she said. Tweaking Phase Two Jimenez said after assessing Phase One they will be implementing some changes in Phase Two of the initiative to address some shortcomings. For 20 minutes of each performance, MusicTT pays performers $500 for up to two people, $1000 for three to five people, and $1500 for groups over five. A major criticism of Phase One of the LMD was that venues did not book artists beyond the 20 minutes MusicTT. Jimenez said while performers have been encouraged to negotiate their own fees with the venues, venue owners, she agreed, also need to be encouraged to invest in the performers. One major change in Phase Two, therefore, will be in the venue contracts which will state that venues would be allowed to hire a performer for 20 minutes in the first instance and, if they are satisfied with the performer, they will have to negotiate a longer performance time in the second instance. MusicTT will still pay for the first 20 minutes of the performance. “In order for the industry to thrive, they need to invest,” she said. For performers, the success of their participation in the LMD lies mainly on their shoulders. Jimenez said artists need to ensure their repertoires line up with the venues that select them on the Museek platform, an Australian entity, where they are required to register and upload their artist profiles, bios, songs etc. Citing an example of a venue that complained about the attire of one performer, she said artists also need to ensure their visual presentation is in keeping with the establishment they are performing in. “Of the 167 artists registered only 68 got performances and that is due to a combination of things. That is because they created good profiles and by that I mean they have professional shots. “Most of the profiles I have gone through of people registered, they are good entertainers, they are good singers but the professional part is what is lacking and we won’t know that until after,” she said, revealing that in a discussion with venue owners it was agreed that onboarding sessions with the artists once a month or once per phase where venue owners can talk to them about their expectations would help in that area. She said when it comes to marketing, Music TT did its part and will continue to do its part through social media and radio interviews as well as a partnership with Loop. She said, however, venues and artists also need to do their part to ensure they get patrons to attend. The signature events in Phase One that incorporated steelband performances, was a form of marketing and promotion for the LMD. Phase Two will see signature performances on November 11 with a steelband and December 16 with a parang band. In Phase Two, there will be new venues on board and a return of some of the old ones that expressed an interest to be involved again. She said in the case of some venues such as Kaiso Blues Café, they had to adjust the programme to fit into the live music they already do on a regular basis. The LMD project at Kaiso Blues will now be incorporated into Young Rudd and Marcus Braveboy’s weekly Unplugged and Chill show. A new addition to LMD will be instrumentalists. The concentration was on vocalists in Phase One, said Jimenez, as many complained that instrumentalists usually get most of the bookings. Asked if there will be monitoring of the performances in Phase Two, Melissa said while they do not have the resources to be everywhere, they will sporadically go to different venues without any announcement. She said in Phase One, they mostly attended first performances and were present at venues that didn’t know how to manage the venue/artist relationships and needed advice. One of the long-term benefits envisioned for the LMD is its role in boosting tourism. Jimenez said to that end, meetings with the Tourism Ministry are on the cards. Jimenez, who holds a Masters of Arts in Media and Entertainment Management at Columbia College, Chicago, said if she had the resources her wish list for the LMD would comprise ramping up marketing and saturating the Internet so that every search on T&T would include information on the LMD and paying the artists what they are worth. She also expressed a desire for more established artists to endorse the LMD by participating to encourage newer acts. Phase Two of the LMD ends on December 16.

Julian Marley (PHOTO: Instagram)

The management of singer Julian Marley has announced that the singer has withdrawn from his North American tour with EDM group Thievery Corporation which kicked off at Toad's Place in Connecticut last week. A statement issued by the management team outlined that the critical illness of a family member had led to the cancellation. “Due to the critical illness of a family member, Julian has decided to take this time to be with family and won't be able to support Thievery Corporation on their US tour.We are currently in communication with our agents regarding future shows outside of this tour which are still in place as normal and would take place later this year," the release read. The tour is scheduled to end October 28 in St Louis, Missouri. Born in England, Julian Marley is the son of reggae king Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder. His 2009 album, 'Awake', was nominated in the Grammy Awards' Best Reggae Album category. The award, however, went to his brother, Stephen, for 'Mind Control — Acoustic'. From Washington, DC, Thievery Corporation was formed in 1995 and are known for experimenting with different sounds including EDM, jazz and reggae. Their current tour is in support of the Treasures From The Temple album. For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.


The introduction and departure of Uber has helped to usher in a wave of local rideshare apps, allowing the travelling public to enjoy several options and convenience as they traverse across Trinidad and Tobago. Travee is the latest rideshare app on the market and is upping the ante in how we travel, both on the road and even in the sky. The app, which went live on Sunday, was created by a small team of university graduates, Daryll Grant (Chief Technology Officer), Emeka Farrier (Deputy Chief Technology Officer) and Makesi Peters, CEO and former UWI Guild President. Peters spoke with Loop following the app's launch, saying that with the advent of Uber allowed for more flexibility and ground to be explored when it came to ridesharing in Trinidad and Tobago. “When Uber left, we came together to create an app that we feltshould be at an international standard because we felt like ridesharing wasn’t fully explored in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Peters said. Stating that the app has similar features to Uber and TT RideShare, Travee users can book rides, check the availability of drivers, track their drivers in real time as well as share their trip with friends and loved ones where they can monitor their journey. Users can also customise their preferences such as selecting whether they want a male or female driver and creating lists with their favourite or preferred drivers. The app even allows customers to select what type of vehicle they want to ride in with a range from sedan, luxury (BMW, Benz, etc.), SUV, 7-seater, and even maxi options. Users can also “top up” their loved one's accounts if they are on a trip and don’t have sufficient funds. It'salso available for businesses; corporate clients can create an account with Travee and utilise its services for its staff. “With the features that we have, even Lyft has reached out to us and said that they were impressed and interested with us as we move up the Caribbean islands,” Peters said. “We plan to launch in St. Lucia next month, then Barbados and then straight up the islands; the app is positioned to become the ridesharing app of the Caribbean.” And he doesn’t only mean for on the road. Pretty soon, users will be able to take advantage of Travee Sky, touted as the ‘rideshare experience of the sky’. With Travee Sky, users can request a private flight to Tobago, Grenada and St. Lucia. “If the air bridge is not available, if there are no flights available with Caribbean Airlines, users can request--in real time--a private flight to Tobago, Grenada or St. Lucia." This service, he said, is expected to roll out within the next month. “We have a team managed by Travee Sky who coordinates everything and ensures that everything is in accordance with our operating agreement with Piarco International Airport. Because we’re dealing with aviation, it will take a longer time to roll out. It’s already integrated, we already have multiple planes, we have our pilots, we just want to ensure everything is running smoothly before we introduce to the general public," he stated. The team has plans to expand the service to islands such as Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Suriname, and St. Skitts. "Ridesharing is something that can revolutionize the Caribbean and it’s the reason why we’re not limiting this to just Trinidad. We really want to take this up the islands. As former Guild President,I was able to use my network and bring people together to create something that is really unique." Download Travee for Android and iOS and follow them on Facebook for updates. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop

The Barataria Community Council isworking hard to motivate its constituents to get healthy and active...while building a sense of unity. The Council recently opened a Fitness Centre which offers low-cost membership and classes for its residents. Classes for senior citizens are free. With the aimof bringing thepeople back together, Coordinator for the Council, June Rogers, explained that the centreis meant to not only rebuild a sense of community but also get its constituents fit. She also pointed out thatsenior citizens tend to be one of the most forgotten groups and theywant to reversethat. To do this, the Community Council partnered with Digicel Foundation andwas one of 20 community-based organisationsthat received a grant through its Extraordinary Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) programme.To date, Digicel Foundation has 39 EPIC partners who have implemented a variety of community projects, namely refurbishment of play parks, libraries, a community tank-farm, development of computer labs, and youth-friendly spaces. If you live in the Barataria area and want to join their fitness classes, check out their schedule below.If you want more information, visit the Barataria Community Council on Facebook. Days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays: Times: 6 AM - 7 AM /7 AM-8 AM/ 8 AM - 9 AM/5.30 PM - 6.30 PM /6:30 PM - 7:30 PM With a qualified personal trainer/ fitness instructor: Registration Fee$50 Monthly membership fee $100 Senior Citizens are free Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop


AMCHAM T&T President Patricia Ghany speaks at the chamber's Annual Post Budget Forum on October 3, 2018. Photo via Facebook, The American Chamber of Commerce Trinidad and Tobago.

“Government is not sticking to the paradigm of prudence and discipline, but instead reverting to previous patterns of unnecessary spending.” That’s the assessment of the American Chamber of Commerce Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) following the presentation of the 2019 National Budget on Monday. Speaking at the chamber’s Post Budget Forum on Wednesday, President Patricia Ghany said while the Minister of Finance sought to reduce spending with sharp cuts in public expenditure, Government seems to be slipping back into a pattern of spending. Ghany warned against this return to spending, adding that this could undo the progress made by Government in reducing public expenditure. “This government came into office following a sharp decline in revenue and had limited options. Indeed, the Minister of finance made some sharp cuts in public expenditure as he sought to rein in spending.” “This year though, there seems to be a policy shift back toward increasing spending as revenue increases, despite the fact that this will lead to a projected additional 4B in deficit in a scenario where the overall national debt has been climbing.” Despite AMCHAM T&T’s concerns on the country’s debt management, Government received an A+ owing to detailed reporting on targets set by individual ministries. The Government’s efforts in reducing the fuel subsidy, the announcement of diversification products, moves toward efficient tax administration and its modernised crime-fighting policies were also praised. In welcoming these measures, Ghany expressed hopefulness that these can be implemented in a timely and efficient manner. Government also came in for high praise for taking action on dealing with the issues at Petrotrin, namely in its decision to shut down the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. Ghany said while the chamber was heartened that moves are afoot to deal with the challenges at the state-owned oil Company head on, there is a need to focus on how the company got to this position. The AMCHAM T&T President said people need to be held accountable for the current state of Petrotrin and the plan going forward must be clearly articulated and transparently rolled out. Pledging the business chamber’s willingness to work alongside Government, Ghany said T&T collectively must look at creating and sticking to the plans and policies and that will create sustainable prosperity for all. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop

The 2018/2019 national budget was presented by Finance Minister Colm Imbert who stated that a total of $51.776 billion will be allocatedfor the year ahead. Major highlights from the presentation included an increaseof super gasoline from $3.97 per litre to $4.97 per litre; anew housing bond scheme for the construction of houses and the age eligibility on disabilitygrants is being removed to accommodate children below 18, among other items. Loopwent to downtown Port of Spain, where we asked citizens to share their thoughts on the budget. Their reactions were mixed, with some unsatisfied with the increase in fuel, citing that the increase would directly impact on the poor, while others were generally pleased. We noted with interest, however, that the majority of people we approached were not aware of anything that came out of the budget. A few told us that they had no interest, while one woman who had an apathetic approach, admittedthat she avoided taking note of what came out of the presentation because she was generally fed up. How do you think the 2019budget will affect you? Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop