In 1976, while I was a university student in Toronto, I would spend time in the library after classes completing my daily assignments because of the traffic on evenings.

I would often take a break from school work by reading the Guardian. The newspaper was sent to the library by the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate in Toronto.

At that time there was no Internet, no social media.

As a matter of fact, even telephone communication was a challenge.

Those were the days of telex, where the motorcyclist would deliver a paper message to my parents’ home almost a week after the message was sent from Toronto to Trinidad.

Although the paper was a week old or more, I would anxiously await its release from the library assistant who, co-incidentally, was from my village, and who was also a university student.

What caught my interest then was the election of 1976 when the newly minted United Labour Front, led by Basdeo Panday, got ten seats to form the opposition.

The government was then led by Dr Eric Williams.

In one of the first sittings of the new Parliament they had a debate on the runaway crime situation in general and in particular, the disappearance of several school girls. Of the several cases of missing girls only one was solved with the discovery of the body of a female pupil from the Couva Junior Secondary School.

I recalled that the school was a new creation of the government in its effort to increase school places. It was the neighbour to my alma mater, Couva Government Secondary.

The body of 14-year-old Joanne James of California, was found in some bushes. Joanne was a pupil of the Couva Junior Secondary. She was one of several girls who had gone missing.

An arrest was made and a conviction was eventually obtained against the accused, a young pandit from Balmain, Couva, who was found guilty for the murder. According to the police investigation, he would pretend to be a PH driver to lure his victims. He was caught by evidence from pupils from the school who testified in support of the police evidence.

The opposition contribution to the debate in Parliament on the crime situation was interesting.

The opening salvo in the debate, was led by then new MP for St Augustine, Haffeza Khan, could not help but cry for most of her maiden contribution. So too did opposition senator, Dora Bridgemohan.

The convicted felon, served his time in prison, and was also a beneficiary of a pardon, thus escaping the hangman.

Then later on I recalled the disappearance of Omarie Nanan from Talparo in Central Trinidad.

Again, the opposition used to have a field day in highlighting the disappearance of another unfortunate student. The opposition senator leading this matter was Wade Mark.

It is now more than 45 years that as a country we have had to deal with this scourge of kidnapping of our young daughters in particular and women in general. When are we going to get a handle on this frightening aspect of our country’s history? Time is running out.

Robert Ramsamooj



The large gathering outside the Hall of Justice on Friday night should indicate to the authorities that the public ­anger that erupted following the kidnap-murder of Andrea Bharatt has not dissipated and is unlikely to do so.

With our two main political parties each having their vast majority support in one of the two major races in the country, tribal allegiance protects politicians from the full brunt of public opinion, the ultimate guarantor of democracy.

Accountability is therefore low in this virtually bifurcated society of repeated betrayals and broken promises by politicians. We live in national sin.

Last Sunday’s column touched on multiple subjects about which there is a lack of straight answers. The range of coverage seemed well received, but there was a common observation: “you left out WASA”, referring to the notorious statutory body, the Water and Sewerage Authority.

The outrage expressed by many people over the most recent case of the abduction and murder of a young woman is understandable.

We cannot believe there exist among us depraved people who are capable of committing atrocities, inflicting extreme violence on women with seemingly consummate ease and callous detachment.

Coming out of the meeting between the Prime Minister and the 12 elected Assemblymen in Tobago—six PNM and six PDP—there is an attempt to negotiate the establishment of an interim arrangement of the THA structure.

The concept of interim arose out of the meeting preferring one of two options outlined by the Prime Minister as possible election scenarios

The Covid-19 pandemic occurred at a time when humanity is at a cross-road. Climate change, the global plastic scourge, ethnic tensions and social divisions were magnified with the many lockdowns worldwide.

The world cannot continue to ope­rate the way it did pre-Covid-19. Honest introspection, coupled with the personal and political will to change, is mandatory for our survival.