Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simple math for value in leading for literacy and numeracy Speech to UNESCO National Commission launch

Remarks at Leading for Literacy and Numeracy phase 2 launch by Dr Kris Rampersad   
 Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO,
Trinidad and Tobago Representative on UNESCO Executive Board

A recent IDB report that notes the sad fact ‘that too many Caribbean students finish primary school without acquiring levels of literacy and numeracy sufficient to equip them to succeed in secondary school or in an employment market that is increasingly complex and competitive.”
We who are inside the system have known that for a long time and that no country—not even one rich in natural resources, as that report notes —can flourish without a population so educated.
That report also notes UNESCO’s definition of literacy as the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute, and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. UNESCO recognises that literacy is both a right in itself and an instrument for achieving other rights and that it is impossible to separate the right to literacy from the right to education.
That IDB report on literacy and numeracy in the Caribbean takes its definition of numeracy from the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers: that to be numerate is to use mathematics effectively to meet the demands of life at home, in paid work, and for participation in community and civic life. Numeracy is to mathematics as literacy is to language. It states:
From these definitions emerge a picture of literacy and numeracy as the fundamentals of education and a means for social and human development. Such definitions are contextual and influenced by the practical necessities of life. In the area of literacy, for example, terms such as functional literacy, cultural literacy, quantitative literacy, and computer literacy, among others, have emerged in recent years, a direct result of attempts to articulate the higher demands of literacy imposed by contemporary society. Similarly, what sufficed for numeracy 20 years ago cannot be adequate today. The common calculator now includes keys for functions that were previously only understood by scientists and engineers. (IDB Regional Policy Dialogue on  Education: Literacy and Numeracy in  the Caribbean  Report )
When the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission of UNESCO met to consider this project, following the mandate of the Commission’s President, the Minister of Education,  Dr Tim Gopeesingh, in our general discussions there were numerous examples from commissioners about the various challenges they faced in learning mathematics – ‘math anxiety’ among them, which could itself fill a story book.
I had my story, too, about learning to read and learning mathematics.
As a child I read everything I lay my eyes on. Everything, no exaggeration. Reading materials were limited in the country districts, you know. My reading materials came from signboards passing by on a drive, to labels on cans, and of course books whether they were mine or of others, whether they were text book, story books, newspapers. One of my earliest memories as a preteen is jumping up and down in frustration for want of reading matter as I had read everything on the bookshelf which largely contained text books from agriscience, science to social studies etc of my elder siblings.  The nearest library was miles away in the nearest town and inaccessible until I started high school.
My story of mathematics is a different one. I could calculate almost any sum or measurements in my head – my father who was a part time market vendor loved taking me to the market because I calculated costs of his whole sale and retail goods and the special discounts he wanted to offer to special customers instantly in my head. Calculations of weights and measurements, distances, and the like in my head came easily.
And yet I struggled with text book maths and for exams it took extra effort to make the grades.
I - what we call crammed - for my O-Level mathematics exam with an intense focus in the few weeks before the exam. I gritted my teeth on the deadline crunch and made out a lesson plan of the different modules and mapped out a path to learning each and the formulas associated with them. That meant, actually having to write out in words, and create a story around each formula and their connected components - for real. I turned my maths text into a story book: and that’s how those remote and alien formulas jumped to life, and made sense to me so I would remember them in an exam room.
Mathematical formulas were not the English language, like my story books, so I needed to dedicate special time with lots of coffee at exam crunch to interpret formulas into the language that I knew. I came to that understanding that I needed to understand mathematics in the context of some correlation to reading. If I hadn’t, I could have easily fallen through the cracks too, because text book teaching did not provide that approach I needed, and which perhaps can also account for many of our so called failure at maths - that students’ approaches to learning mathematics, as with learning language can vary, so teaching methods and tools must incorporate the kind of variety we are trying to include in the teaching of literacy.
The problems and challenges we have uncovered in the pilot leading for literacy programme may be very applicable and relevant and similar to what is needed for numeracy.
My story of learning is just one such story and I’m sure is like one which as educators you might have heard several times over.
As we embark on this, the second part of the National Commission for UNESCO Leading for Literacy – and now Leading for Numeracy project
I have a few things I want to lay on the table for your consideration:
1.     That this project offers an ideal opportunity to explore the possible points of intersection between the challenges we face in teaching language, the English language included – which we erroneously consider our first language, but which educators are now discovering need to be taught as a foreign language and teaching the language of mathematics, which may also be considered a foreign language: that can help bring text book learning closer home to the applied, oral traditions approach that is more natural to our people.
My analogy of the need for literacy in numeracy is just a component of that general right to literacy recognised by UNESCO which precedes the right to information: about a decade ago some of us in the civil society movement fought to have that right to information recognised as a basic human right across the Commonwealth and UN systems.
All of these rights now converge in the computerized age in which we function: HTML/Computer language is an amalgam of competencies in numeracy, literacy and everything in between and has brought startlingly home to us the need for unification of the humanities and the sciences – the former represented in literacy – the latter in numeracy: a separation that has for long been perpetuated by our school system, in the creation of subject grouping that separate those in the arts from those in the sciences and which still persist in terms of the awards and scholarship systems.
O we must consider the areas of convergence in the teaching of literacy and numeracy: as not to be treated as separate competencies, but intertwined – and in treating here both numeracy and literacy together, we have in this room the beginnings of the formula to do so.

So now I want to leave with you a little bit of homework: some numerical calculations that came to me in reviewing the distance travelled with the leading for Literacy pilot exercise still in progress: 40 principals and 80 teachers trained in literacy and numeracy; and class loads of infant 1s and 2s receiving their badges ‘I am learning to read’ and their parents engaged also in the parenting for literacy initiative.
Some of the feedback from our trained educator leaders were: Students have been making great progress with Letter Recognition and Sounds of Letters. There are a few struggling along, mostly the ones who never attended preschool. They are still adjusting to school. Learning is taking place, some who were answering in one word sentences are now describing what is happening in pictures. Oral Language has improved. Students are enjoying the singing, actions and dancing …
The teacher did a concept lesson on the letter m. The objectives of the lesson were achieved. The children were able to give the sound of the letter m with the motion and gave words that begin with that letter sound. They were also able to identify pictures and words with that letter sound as their evaluation. The children were also able to trace and write the letter. The teacher also integrated maths in the lesson using the thematic approach. As a follow up,  the teacher was advised to build a wordwall with pictures and matching words of the letter m.  Another follow up will be using m words in sentence strips for reading.
The students are visibly having fun as they learn! Their laughter and sometimes giggles must make one smile.
Even those with whom we could not have gotten through last year are showing some progress. Unfortunately their progress is a bit slower than the younger children. All however are saying the sounds, doing the actions and completing the written assignments.
The teachers also continue to add resources to develop their model classrooms.
The teachers know what they are doing and are given autonomy in their classes since they also have had to struggle with slow learners, Curriculum Rewrite training and a multitude of other challenges.
But as I always tell them, challenges make us stronger and better!

There are challenges too. Another comment from among those trained:
We have two first year classes with a total of forty-eight students (25 and 23 boys). My teachers are working overtime with the students. The class with twenty-five students seems to be so cramped and the students are restless with the humidity. My heart goes out to these two committed teachers so I visit regularly and have discussions, and offer suggestions of encouragement. In both classes there are five year old students whose developmental levels are not ready for primary school. There are many individual differences within the classes and there are even cases where parents have already given up on their sons. Grandparents are forced to take the role of the biological parents and for various reasons. Some of them are unable to cope with these energetic grandsons. I have, however, taken the names of such parents and have been chatting with them on the phone appealing with them to assist their sons in the observed areas of weakness e.g., hand exercises to develop his motor skills, forming his letters with the hook, proper way to hold a pencil, correct way to hold his exercise book, revising the letter sounds etc. The teachers have even observed bullies within their classes so I have contacted those parents via phone and have asked them to visit for further discussions. Despite the various challenges, my teachers continue to be passionate, working extremely hard, and I am walking the journey with them for we want this experiment to be successful. The school disruptions are regular but we are trying to cope and at the same time encouraging our parents to work with us. With our sale of "milkies and freezies" for the month we have purchased a pack of laminating envelopes to laminate and preserve our letters and pictures, pretty expensive though but we are hoping to reap the benefits of our sacrifice in the future. God bless, hang in their colleagues and we all will be proud of our efforts!
The spin-off benefits are yet to come when these infant ones and twos impact on their parents and peers and siblings and communities.
Another comment:
The year-1 pupils showed the ability to correct their peers if any letter was sounded incorrectly. The Year 1 students were very eager to offer sentences when called upon.
That’s what we at the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO did with around half a million dollars, one quarter from UNESCO and the rest from the Ministry of Education and various sponsors: 40 principals, 80 teachers, loads and loads of infant ones and two and their parents learning to become leaders and readers.
For this, Leading for Literacy and Numeracy for Secondary Schools, the second component of the programme, our budget is just over one million dollars (TT). Your home work is to calculate what may be achieved with this million more; and then further on, what we could achieve with 34 million, or 36 million, for literacy and numeracy; and then with the additional permutations of all these infant one and twos passing on their learnings and their excitement and enthusiasm for reading to siblings, parents and peers in the communities, for not just 2250 boys but several communities and families and the permutations and spin off benefits ofthat.
That’s the multiplication we need to do: from an investment of just about half a million that’s what we got, and that is only in the preliminary stages, and within just about one year – using existing infrastructure, which, I note from your reports, are plagued with numerous problems and challenges of their own. On which note, might I add that it continues to puzzle me – and perhaps those from Chaguanas can help me understand the logic and calculations in this: when does a court house become more important than a library? To my mind, it seems if we had more libraries, we will need less court houses, not so? Isn’t that the simple arithmetic?
As curriculum officers, principals and teachers being taught to lead for literacy, take these learnings and take charge of your communities. That was the challenge I threw out to the first guinea pigs of our project when we launched around this time last year, August 2013. And now I challenge you to, too, take charge! Lead. Return us to the time when the school was the centre of the community and principals and teachers were indeed respected heads and leaders of our society.
With that, I leave you to your homework. Happy learnings, and I look forward to return at the end of this week to witness the results of this exercise then, and beyond,

I thank you.

August 18, 2014
Port of Spain, Trinidad

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Overwriting the Coup - from the ashes of the 1990 experience

I have never been able to bring myself to love or even look at Disney's  production The Little Mermaid since August 1990.
The light of love that the movie projected had gone out for me on July 27, 1990 and the ensuring days because it came to be associated with the attempted coup. (see Commission's report on 1990 coup here).
I had just left the Guardian's office that Friday afternoon, a rare opportunity to do so while it was still daylight as my friend's dad used to say, as I was not on duty to cover Parliament that day, and was trying to recoup - no pun intended - from the work week, when my landlady pounded on the door to my Picton Street apartment, shouting at me to turn on the television.
I did. The Little Mermaid was running. Why would my land lady want me to look at The Little Mermaid? She walked in, her wrinkled face petrified, as I was about to ask but the question froze on my tongue.
The coup leader flanked by his cohorts came on air, announcing a coup, that the Parliament was under siege as was the television station, and asking people to stay calm!
Stay calm? I called the newspaper office, ready to return to work at the office in Port of Spain.
Yes, the television station and Parliament were under siege. There was also an attempt to enter the Guardian building but the security had warded it off. What could I see at TTT? my editor asked. John, always in control and in command. He transferred that to me. The focus. There was job to do.
My apartment was directly opposite Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) on the parallel street and on the top floor. From the corridor and its rarely accessed roof there was a clear view of TTT. Too clear. Best to stay put and report from there, my editor advised. He was not the only one with that idea.
For the ensuing days, my apartment would become not only the satellite report station on activities in Woodbrook and TTT for the Guardian. By nightfall, the building and the roof was also occupied by soldiers, who had the same idea of monitoring the television station. Unofficial command station. The midnightly rain of gunfire from the Picton Street apartment ricocheted off the rooftop and other vantage points the soldiers had on the TTT building. Sleepless days. Sleepless nights. The sounds, the smell, the taste of determination of the soldiers were all mixed into what exuded out of those moments, burned permanently into memory, like the nauseating reruns of Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid on the television set.
Perhaps thinking it would appease the children, if not adults, the coup perpetrators stuck The Little Mermaid   into the TTT transmitter and it ran ad nauseum over the next few days, interspersed with the occasional 'updates' when the coup perpetrators wanted to interject a message for the public or for the authorities. Instead, it soured a remarkable imaginative story of reconciliation of differences and love: A feeling that would persist to a quarter of a century, until a few weeks ago when I was treated to The Love Movement Choir's reproduction at Queen's Hall. I found myself immersed in the beauty, the story, the production, the vision, the imagination and imaginativeness, the designs, the costumes, the music, the poetry. Love returned for me that night for The Little Mermaid.
Such is the restorative and regenerative power of art.
Thank you Bernadette Scott and the Love Movement Choir.
Sharing here some of the photos from the Love Movement Choir's Facebook Photo Album where more can be seen and hoping that these would help erase the memory of some of the darkest days of our living history and soothe the dark spirits of those behind the attempted coup so they never contemplate a repeat, and so traumatise a nation, ever again.












Friday, July 18, 2014

Kingdom of the underworld #LettersToLizzie


Dear Lizzie
It must be a great day in some parts of the underworld kingdom, some call it hellyard, when our security system turns on itself; when parliament becomes a place for paternity debates and politicians question the fatherhood of god; when errant little boys can trash leaders in public places without sanction; when scholars look to police free thinkers condoned by the university and the media is so enarmoured in its own self glory that it only sees itself reflected back on the society...
And guess who's laughing at us all...

http://m.guardian.co.tt/news/2014-07-18/acting-cop-instructs-police-officers-arrest-rogue-soldiers

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Salsa fever #worldcup menu

What in the German gastronomic and cuisine heritage could rival salsa ...#arg #ale #worldcup...

With some pommecythere/june plum chow

#trinistyle

Saturday, July 12, 2014

ThingsToDoInBrazilWhenYourTeamGetsKickedOutOfTheWorldCup

Muy Obrigado #Brazil. The people of Brazil must b commended for so graciously hosting the world and the #worldcup setting aside your own needs in some instances. THANK YOU #BRAZIL MUY OBRIGADO and thanks to #BRA team for setting high standards in the game and forcing others to improve their act and up their game My #brazil2014 flag still flies high and #Brasilia is still among my top picks among #UNESCO #WorldHeritageCities and indeed among all cities.
May the Argentinian Pope shower immense blessings on today's games and on the Latin American and Caribbean reion in tomorrow's finals and for the #MessiMomentsAtTheWirldCup that are about to humble the haughty #GER #LACrulesatWorldCup. Viva Brazil. Viva Latina America and the Caribbean

Things to Do in Brazil When Your Team is kicked out of the World Cup. Explore Brasilia's superb architecture, landscapes, skylines and horizon. This is the skyline just opposite the football stadium at sunset....have any of the millions of fans at football seen this?



Related Links:
More Things to Do in Brazil

Brasilia is on of Brazil's UNESCO World Heritage City of Arts and Culture...Here's some #ThingsToDoInBrazilWhenYurTeamsKickedOutOfDWorldCup #10
What the carpet remembers #LettersToLizzie

More Things to Do in Brazil

 .Kris Rampersad travel activity book ...more


See: When Politics Become Poetry 


Dear Lizzie,
Reporting back, Your Majesty, that the carpet you donated to Brasilia #WorldHeritage and #WorldCup City, is still pretty much in tact and that is so because Brasilians take care of their carpets. I know that because I stumbled upon the cleaners thoroughly airing the said  artefact in prep for some #MessiMoments at #Fifa #WorldCup 2014.- as messy as the mud bath of Shakira's La La La , all as politics ascended to the heights of poetry in the vision of JK to build a new city to rock and roll, samba style... more ...#LettersToLizzie


Catedral Metropolitana:
Inner and outer tribute to godliness of human artistry... more on Glocal Knowledge Pot:

Sarah's Park
A park in tribute to the wife of the city's founder is itself littered with artwork and sculptures and architectural contours that thread through the city

Itamaraty
An Oscar Niemeyer masterpiece inside and out from its reflective circumference to its free standing ceiling and everything in between  more on Glocal Knowledge Pot:

JK Memorial: Monument o the politician whose political will brought Brasilia into being

Planatarium
Like walking inside a spaceship, the planetarium overlooks the national stadium contrasting in its surreal outer worldliness with the stolidity of the stadium   more on Glocal Knowledge Pot:

Presidential Palace: pays tribute to art and artistry

Museum
Like walking inside a piece of art, here you are inside the dome and part of the canvas of history and creation of the city... more on Glocal Knowledge Pot:

Chuch of Fatima
This Church to womanhood in the city suburbs is appealing in its simplicity more on Glocal Knowledge Pot:

Parco Zoologico: Elephante, and picnic area.

Ponte JK Bridge: more on Glocal Knowledge Pot: www.brasil.gov.br/brasilia/conteudo/historia/2002/ponte-jk 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Things to do in Brazil when your Team's kicked out of the World Cup 1

Brasilia is
Brazil's UNESCO World Heritage City of Arts and Culture...Here's some #ThingsToDoInBrazilWhenYurTeamsKickedOutOfDWorldCup #10
What the carpet remembers #LettersToLizzie


 .Kris Rampersad travel activity book ...more 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dana Seetahal on the law: The Law as an Ass ...view..

 Frank and fearless was assassinated Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal but what did she truly think and how did she really feel about the law, her profession and those around her, the judiciary, politics and politicians, the senate, security, crime, family and life in Stronger than Silk Postscript to Assassination

The May 4 2014 assassination of Dana S. Seetahal, Senior Counsel shocked not just Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean but the Commonwealth and legal fraternity of the wider world.
Stronger than Silk: Postscript to Assassination is a 90-minute up close and personal video by Dr Kris Rampersad with Ms Seetahal. ...Coming Soon. Visit our social media for more and stay tuned...visit www.krisrampersad.com; www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com,  If you would like to book showings for your organisation, community or country and for other enquiries and support email lolleaves@gmail.com.
Soundtrack: Song of Songs from Album Sweet Salt by Neville Yorke, St Maarten.
A Leaves of Life Production. (c)KrisRampersad2014 All Rights Reserved

See Also...

Who Did It? Dana Seetahal's voice reaches out in her accustomed search for justice for all....
 from  Stronger than Silk: Post Script to Assassination   an exclusive heart to heart on all that matters to her including her relentless search for clues, connecting the dots and piecing together the evidence to solve a murder. To listen to clip click on the images.... To request a showing for your district, community or country email lolleaves@gmail.com.







Stronger than Silk: PostScript to Assassination: In an Exclusive Interview Dana Seetahal describes how she treated with the dangerous underworld and the hard core world of criminal enterprise where she functioned as a Prosecutor, Magistrate,along with the more mundane elements of her life.Click image on right to play Video

The May 4, 2014 assassination of Dana S. Seetahal, Senior Council and State Prosecutor shocked not only Trinidad and Tobago, but the the legal world of the Commonwealth and beyond.
This interview gets inside the heart and mind of the woman who was a legal giant in the Commonwealth through her description of the range of her activities, interests, thoughts and beliefs ...



...coming in July. Visit our social media for more and stay tuned...Coming in July, 2014. Enquiries and support email lolleaves@gmail.com.

Leaves of Life Production. (c)KrisRampersad2014 All Rights Reserved. 



To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.

For Information, Partnership, Sponsorship, Support or to Advertise:click here 
To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
Email lolleaves@gmail.com.


All proceeds go towards our Glocal open public education, awareness and outreach initiatives





Contact:
For Information, Partnership, Sponsorship, Support or to Advertise:
To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
To Support our efforts click here
Email lolleaves@gmail.com.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Shouldnt we b shuddering Best taken from us..ode 2 a young soldier

Shouldn't we shudder that the best r being taken from us .... who's next now a young soldier....then a senior counsel. Who Did It? Dana Seetahal words echo from her gra…: http://youtu.be/siuD-r3wpKs


Who Did It? Dana Seetahal's voice reaches out in her accustomed search for justice for all....
 from  Stronger than Silk: Post Script to Assassination   an exclusive heart to heart on all that matters to her including her relentless search for clues, connecting the dots and piecing together the evidence to solve a murder. To listen to clip click on the images.... To request a showing for your district, community or country email lolleaves@gmail.com.



Stronger than Silk: PostScript to Assassination: In an Exclusive Interview Dana Seetahal describes how she treated with the dangerous underworld and the hard core world of criminal enterprise where she functioned as a Prosecutor, Magistrate,along with the more mundane elements of her life.Click image on right to play Video
The May 4, 2014 assassination of Dana S. Seetahal, Senior Council and State Prosecutor shocked not only Trinidad and Tobago, but the the legal world of the Commonwealth and beyond.
This interview gets inside the heart and mind of the woman who was a legal giant in the Commonwealth through her description of the range of her activities, interests, thoughts and beliefs ...

...coming in July. Visit our social media for more and stay tuned...Coming in July, 2014. Enquiries and support email lolleaves@gmail.com.
Leaves of Life Production. (c)KrisRampersad2014 All Rights Reserved. 


To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
For Information, Partnership, Sponsorship, Support or to Advertise:click here 
To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
Email lolleaves@gmail.com.

All proceeds go towards our Glocal open public education, awareness and outreach initiatives


Contact:
For Information, Partnership, Sponsorship, Support or to Advertise:
To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
To Support our efforts click here
Email lolleaves@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Who Did It? Dana Seetahal words echo from her grave from this exclusive ...












Fact or Fiction? Where's the truth and who did it? Dana Seetahal's preoccupation with law and justice to get at the truth --- inside the heart and mind of the Senior Counsel... stay tuned...coming in July. To Request a showing in your district, country or orgnisation email lolleaves@gmail.com

...see also:




Who Did It? Dana Seetahal's voice reaches out in her accustomed search for justice for all....
 from  Stronger than Silk: Post Script to Assassination   an exclusive heart to heart on all that matters to her including her relentless search for clues, connecting the dots and piecing together the evidence to solve a murder. To listen to clip click on the images.... To request a showing for your district, community or country email lolleaves@gmail.com.



Stronger than Silk: PostScript to Assassination: In an Exclusive Interview Dana Seetahal describes how she treated with the dangerous underworld and the hard core world of criminal enterprise where she functioned as a Prosecutor, Magistrate,along with the more mundane elements of her life.Click image on right to play Video
The May 4, 2014 assassination of Dana S. Seetahal, Senior Council and State Prosecutor shocked not only Trinidad and Tobago, but the the legal world of the Commonwealth and beyond.
This interview gets inside the heart and mind of the woman who was a legal giant in the Commonwealth through her description of the range of her activities, interests, thoughts and beliefs ...

...coming in July. Visit our social media for more and stay tuned...Coming in July, 2014. Enquiries and support email lolleaves@gmail.com.
Leaves of Life Production. (c)KrisRampersad2014 All Rights Reserved. 


To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
For Information, Partnership, Sponsorship, Support or to Advertise:click here 
To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
Email lolleaves@gmail.com.

All proceeds go towards our Glocal open public education, awareness and outreach initiatives


Contact:
For Information, Partnership, Sponsorship, Support or to Advertise:
To request a showing in your country, district or organisation, please Click Here.
To Support our efforts click here
Email lolleaves@gmail.com.
http://newsday.co.tt/news/0,196766.html
DANA MURDER PLOT
By Nalinee Seelal Thursday, June 26 2014
click on pic to zoom in
The Dana Seetahal murder investigation reached a critical high point yesterday with the revelation that two men — one of them a witness to the killing — coming forward to provide details of the plot and the actual assassination of the prominent attorney.
In fact, Newsday has been told by highly credible sources the statements that were given by the two men to a special team of investigators, and which were recorded, will enable police to bring closure quite soon to the probe which is already 53 days old. A $3.5 million reward has been posted for information from anyone which could lead to an arrest and conviction in the matter.

The two witnesses, one of them from Tobago and the other associated with a Trinidad-based religious organisation, are said to have provided investigators with a clear picture of why Seetahal was assassinated, who ordered the hit, who executed the killing and how many persons were involved.

Sources confirmed to Newsday yesterday that the two men decided to come forward and assist the police because they felt that their lives are now in danger. Newsday also sought to ascertain if the two men who are now providing the information are in protective custody but it has been confirmed that they have opted to not seek any protection.

Newsday was told that one of the men went as far as confessing to the officers that he was actually present when Seetahal was murdered, but he is reported to have said that he was not the shooter. The other indicated to investigators that while he was not on the scene on the night of the killing, he was privy to the plot to execute the Senior Counsel.

According to well-placed sources, the shooter in Seetahal’s killing is not in hiding but is under constant surveillance by law enforcement officers.

Newsday reported exclusively last week that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are in the process of cleaning up video footage capturing the killing. Crime investigation officers of the United Kingdom are also assisting local authorities in their efforts to solve the murder. Minister of National Security Gary Griffith has already stated that the police have no problem using foreign assistance to bring closure to this investigation.

Most of the investigations is said to have already been completed, and Newsday has been reliably informed that when the processed video footage is delivered to ACP Wayne Dick at least seven persons are to be detained in connection with the high profile murder.

Seetahal was driving her vehicle along Hamilton Holder Street in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, after midnight on May 4 following a casino night out when she was attacked and killed. Her vehicle was sandwiched between a panel van and a Wingroad wagon. A gunman is said to have alighted from one of the vehicles and fired four shots which ended the Senior Counsel’s life. Late yesterday sources revealed to Newsday that Seetahal’s killing had no international connection. 

Dana Seetahal Murder

Obama envoy: Dana’s hit ordered by foreign drug cartel

Published: 
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
 
Flashback: United States Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield, second from right, chats with Inspector Matthew Ovid, left, head of the Canine Unit, at the Piarco International Airport during his visit to T&T in April, where he attended the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police Conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. With them are Keith Gilges political chief, right, and James Story, director of International Western Hemisphere Programmes. PHOTO COURTESY US EMBASSY, PORT-OF-SPAIN
Special state prosecutor Dana Seetahal was murdered by a trans-national drug organisation with operations in T&T, says the United States Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield. Speaking from Washington, DC, in a teleconference with Caribbean journalists yesterday, Ambassador Brownfield said: “Those in Trinidad would know that I visited your country two months ago and two days after I left there was the brutal murder of Ms Dana Seetahal. She was murdered by a trans-national drug organisation.”


Asked by the T&T Guardian to elaborate on this suggestion, Brownfield, who has responsibility for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, said: “I stand by everything I have said. This was clearly not a crime of passion. “It was not a crime of opportunity where someone felt they should steal her handbag and then found they had to shoot her. “This was a well planned and orchestrated hit. “This is not something you plan easily. It is organised crime with an international player that has a crime organisation with presence in T&T.”

On May 4, Seetahal was shot dead just outside the Woodbrook Youth Facility on Hamilton Holder Street as she was on her way to her apartment at One Woodbrook Place after leaving the Ma Pau casino on Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain. Residents reported hearing a volley of gunshots followed by screeching tyres. By the time they contacted police and ran outside to check, they found Seetahal slumped over the steering wheel of her light blue Volkswagen Touareg. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has publicly said the police knew how and why Seetahal was killed but thus far, 53 days after her killing, no one has been charged with her murder. Yesterday, Brownfield said Seetahal’s murder could not be seen as “just another statistic,” explaining that Seetahal had partnered with the US government on several issues, had been the beneficiary of a Fulbright scholarship from the US government, and was, in his words, “a star, a woman of tremendous courage.”

Reached in England last night National Security Minister Gary Griffith said he preferred not to comment.

Drug, crime problem gowing
Pointing out that there was a correlation between the increase of drugs flowing through the region and the crime and violence on the regional streets, including those of T&T, US Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said the increased use of the Caribbean as a trans-shipment point for drugs had led to the increase in murders. He predicted that the level of violence was likely to get worse over the next few years, warning that even arms of the State can be challenged. 

He added: “Drug traffickers have to have the firepower to defend their turf. They eventually have to be prepared to take on institutions of the State, whether that is the police, border guards, customs or the Judiciary.” Brownfield said drug cartels were well organised and targeted countries where there were weaknesses, which could range from poorly paid public officials to unprotected borders.

He repeated his statement, reported in the T&T Guardian last month, that the US estimated the quantum of drugs being trans-shipped through the Caribbean to the US had increased, saying it had risen between 2011 and 2013 by over 300 per cent. He listed three major routes in the Caribbean. The first, he said, was through Jamaica and then onto the United States, the second through the Dominican Republic/Haiti and the third through the eastern Caribbean.

Brownfield said the US government was partnering with Caricom governments to help deal with the crime challenge, including the challenge of guns coming into the region from the US. 


He said the reality was that the US had its own laws relating to gun control but had put in place a system where law enforcement could trace a gun in real time, determine if it was in the country illegally and if the ballistics showed it had been used in any other crime. The ambassador admitted that was not enough but said the US was operating in a situation where its legal system was different from those in the region.

On the issue of extra-judicial killings, he said if there was evidence that the police service was involved in such killing in any country, by law, the US would have to discontinue co-operation with the organisation. He explained that was currently the situation with the St Lucian police and that was why co-operation with that country had been suspended. Brownfield said that was unfortunate because the move not only hurt St Lucia but the region as a whole.

Allegations of extra-judicial killings have been made against the T&T Police Service by members of the public after the recent spate of police shootings. So far this year, 29 people have been killed by the police in T&T.

Dana’s killing ‘organised hit’

US Ambassador:

 Today marks 53 days since senior counsel Dana Seetahal was shot and killed while driving her Volkswagen SUV in Woodbrook and, to date, no one has officially been arrested for her death. 
On May 4, just after midnight, Seetahal was proceeding north along Hamilton Holder/O’Connor Streets, towards her One Woodbrook Place home, when her vehicle was blocked from the front and back by unknown assailants. She was then shot five times about her body at close range, before her attackers fled the scene. 
Seetahal, an alumna  of  the  United States State Department’s Fulbright Programme, was killed two days after US Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield left Trinidad.
 Ambassador Brownfield holds responsibility for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in the US Department of State. 
And during a media teleconference yesterday morning to discuss US/Caribbean security co-operation, Brownfield pointed to a direct co-relation between street crime and transnational drug trafficking, and he addressed the killing of Seetahal. 
“I stand by what I say, this was quite clearly not a crime of passion, this was not a crime of opportunity. People did not just happen by and believe that they could                                        steal her pocket book and then find that they had to open fire in order to accomplish this. This was a carefully planned operation,” Brownfield                   said. 
Seetahal assassination, he said, was an organised hit.
“And there is only one kind of entity that does contract murders of this sort of degree of sensitivity and that is organised crime,” Brownfield added.
But he emphasised that he was not suggesting that it was an international player who  ordered the killing. 
“I am saying that it was a criminal organisation that clearly had a presence in Trinidad and Tobago which decided to perform this repulsive and repugnant act,” Brownfield said.
The Ambassador then stressed that he was standing by what he said yesterday and will not be modifying his comments in the future.

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Danas-killing--organised-hit-264506161.html

Stronger Than Silk: PostScript to Assassination. Dana Seetahal w Kris Ra...




Who Did It? Dana Seetahal's voice reaches out in her accustomed search for justice for all....
 from  Stronger than Silk: Post Script to Assassination   an exclusive heart to heart on all that matters to her including her relentless search for clues, connecting the dots and piecing together the evidence to solve a murder. To listen to clip click on the images.... To request a showing for your district, community or country email lolleaves@gmail.com.



Stronger than Silk: PostScript to Assassination: In an Exclusive Interview Dana Seetahal describes how she treated with the dangerous underworld and the hard core world of criminal enterprise where she functioned as a Prosecutor, Magistrate,along with the more mundane elements of her life.Click image on right to play Video
The May 4, 2014 assassination of Dana S. Seetahal, Senior Council and State Prosecutor shocked not only Trinidad and Tobago, but the the legal world of the Commonwealth and beyond.
This interview gets inside the heart and mind of the woman who was a legal giant in the Commonwealth through her description of the range of her activities, interests, thoughts and beliefs ...

...coming in July. Visit our social media for more and stay tuned...Coming in July, 2014. Enquiries and support email lolleaves@gmail.com.
Leaves of Life Production. (c)KrisRampersad2014 All Rights Reserved. 


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