30 January, 2009

TT government to bail out CL Financial

Lawrence Duprey
A media conference called today by the governor of the Central Bank of T&T informs the public that the government of T&T is about to bailout CL Financial. Laurence Duprey, Chairman of CL Financial; Ewart Williams, Governor of the CBTT; Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira; Larry Howai, CEO of First Citizens Bank and Carl Hiralal, Inspector of Financial Institutions, all made statements at the media conference.

Williams blamed “excessive related-party transactions”, the fall in methanol prices and real estate for CLF’s woes. He stated that since four of CLF’s finacial companies manage over $38 billion in assets–which is more than 25% of T&T’s GDP, the government acted to maintain confidence in T&T’s financial sector. The CBTT acted under section 44D of the CBTT Act.

The bailout will see the government offering funding to CLF in exchange for collateral and equity in CLICO. Clico Investment Bank will be wound up. CIB currently has approximately 100 employees, according to Duprey.
Four of CLF’s subsidiaries will be affected: Clico Investment, British American Insurance, CLICO and Caribbean Money Market Brokers.

Howai explained that FCB was invited to participate, based on their strong balance sheet and experience with such matters. He asked affected depositors to avoid going into the FCB branches seeking answers.

Finance Minister, Karen Nunez-Tesheira, who only a few short months ago boasted that the global financial crisis will not negatively affect T&T came directly from a Cabinet meeting to the media conference. She stressed the cooperation between the various teams working on the bailout, but would not give a figure to journalists. She agreed there were opportunities for sensationalism, but asked the media reps to be responsible in their reports.

This bailout comes at a time when we can least afford it. The government has had to recalculate the budget twice and oil has dropped from over $150 to less than $50 per barrel. The budget has gone from $50B to $44B with a planned deficit.

Time to prep people. It’s getting serious.

For those who haven’t started, now is the time to get your beans, bullets and band-aids stockpiled. It’s better than insurance, it’s assurance.

- Trini Funshooter

What in the world…?

What is really happening around the earth? Violent protests, burned buildings, closed tv stations, looting and death in Madagascar. The fall of the Icelandic government, with accompanying riots. Cholera claiming over 3000 lives in Zimbabwe, with over 50000 infections. Close to 250,000 Tamil civilians trapped in 250 sq km area in Sri Lanka. Violent protests in France.

We live in interesting times.

The 5th Summit of the Americas being hosted in T&T from April 17 to 19 will involve controversy. Ambassador Carlos Luis Alberto Rodriguez, head of the national secretariat in charge of preparations for the summit stated, “…additional police officers from Caricom countries could be posted in T&T for the summit.” What exactly does that mean? Posted where? In hotels where the visiting dignitaries are staying? At the summit sites? On our streets? Will they be armed? If a foreign police officer shoots a Trinidadian citizen on Trinidadian soil, what are the legal ramifications? Will local law enforcement officers arrest their foreign counterparts? Can that aggrieved citizen sue the foreigner? What are the details of the arrangement? If law enforcement officers of other nations are to be posted here, in a sovereign nation, then what are the ramifications of this? Will this set a precedent? Will a negative incident set back CARICOM and CSME progress? Have the organizers thought this through properly?

Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (Fitun) president, David Abdulah, has already given notice that his organisation planned to protest during the summit. Because of cultural differences, Trini protesters may be viewed as being ‘out of order’, ‘disturbing the peace’ (drumming, playing steel pan, singing, dancing) or even aggressive (shouting, hurling insults). A foreign law enforcement officer posted here, may misinterpret the body language of a protester and react according to training. This training may very well be anti-terrorist in nature. Overreaction can result in serious injuries, or even fatalities.

Story in todays Express:

Trinidad has been named as one of four countries to which a United States-based company shipped peanuts, possibly tainted with a bacteria that has sickened and killed people.

The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), on Wednesday, issued an alert to recall all its products shipped since January 2007.

According to the statement, the peanuts were "distributed nationwide to institutions, food service industries, and private-label food companies, as well as in Canada, Haiti, Korea and Trinidad".

Officials at the Consumer Affairs Division of the Legal Affairs Ministry appeared unaware of the recall last evening.

Now this story sent me into my preps, but could find no brand associated with the PCA. Of the two brands stockpiled, one was on the ‘safe’ list, and the other is locally produced. Peanut butter is a good, dense, high-energy food, suitable for a ‘bug out’ situation.

- Trini Funshooter

27 January, 2009

Preparedness, Officialdom, Crime, Solutions

Asst Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams
Our club now has a logo, rubber stamp, blog and bank account. Now to complete the other tasks, so we can accept new members.

Newsprint reel ends, pencils, canned foods and wines. Wines store for years and are multipurpose. Drink, use in cooking, baking or for barter and trade. Other alcohol can be used to clean wounds, as fuel or to start a quick fire. Its value increases rapidly and significantly during an extended emergency. One may be able to barter or trade for items that previously held dollar values of 20 to 100x the dollar value of the alcohol. This is not wishful thinking, as history has shown us the empirical evidence.

The Goddess went to a police station regarding her gun documents. If all goes according to plan, she should have her own gun by end of year. Another gun in the family. Yay! More guns, more fun, less crime.

Dave got 11 more iguanas in one hunt, recently.

“Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams says the T&T Police Service has failed in some of its crime reduction strategies.
Williams said the TTPS “have had some crime reduction strategies that have failed over time.” The failure was made evident by the growing homicide rate, he said.

• In 1999, Williams said, there were 93 recorded murders
• In 2007, 391 people were killed,
• 2008 recorded the highest in history— 544 killings

Just back from a crime prevention forum in Jamaica, Williams said there was one common challenge that confronted the region—violent crimes. “Violent crimes is sweeping the entire Caribbean and “organisations like ours are almost at a loss on how to take charge of the situation.””

A possible simple solution, Assistant Commissioner: Allow the law-abiding citizens to arm themselves.

Give us a fighting chance to defend against the violent criminals in our midst (that your officers cannot seem to apprehend and therefore violate a number of the Peelian Police Principles). Our ability to defend our lives, loved ones and property, with lethal force, if necessary; and with the confidence that law enforcement officers will not prosecute persons who exercise this universal right, the police can then return to a state when they had the full approval of the public. Of course some laws may have to be changed.
- Trini Funshooter

Signs of social instability?

Photo: Dave Persad/Trinidad Express

Could the social instability that Finance Minister Teschiera warned about be here already?
This story in today’s Express newspaper:

“POLICE were unable to remove burning debris which blocked the Guaracara/Tabaquite Road in Rio Claro for several hours yesterday, as hundreds of angry residents formed a human barricade around the fire.

The protesters stood in the rain and refused to move, until officers threatened to arrest them.

The fiery protest was sparked by the shooting death of 52-year-old George Ashby. He was killed on Friday evening. He was shot in the chest by police.

The protesters, who came out around 4 a.m., used old vehicle parts and appliances to block the main road leading to San Pedro Village. Traffic backed up for miles and residents were unable to leave the village to get to work and school.

They held up placards which read: "Police Must Speak The Truth", "Innocent Killing" and "No Excuse For Killing Innocent Man-We Want Justice".

The protesters hurled insults and jeered at the policemen, who eventually removed the debris and allowed traffic to flow smoothly around midday.”

And in the Guardian.

Check this other Express story about innovation, technology and information flows in crime, headlined, “Bandits in Trees”:

“HIDDEN inside the trees located near the lighthouse in Port of Spain, police unearthed the lookout points of several suspected criminal elements yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Anti Crime operations, Raymond Craig, who was assisted by Assistant Superintendent Manuel Harripaul along with other officers, conducted the search around 2 p.m. yesterday.

Five men, found hiding in the trees, were detained by police for questioning yesterday.
One of the five men was found with a quantity of cocaine along with a device for smoking the drug.

The men would hide in the trees and look at the movements of motorists especially during periods of traffic congestion, Craig said. And then they would relay the information to their cohorts waiting further along the road, Craig added. He said this strategy was instrumental in the majority of thefts which have taken place along the Beetham Highway.”

The story didn’t say, but it is safe to assume that cell phones were used to “relay the information to their cohorts waiting further along the road…”

Now if only we had discovered that creativity, innovation and natural small unit tactics when they were teens, and in a mandatory national service programme.

- Trini Funshooter

25 January, 2009

AirgunsTT featured on American Voice Radio Network

Friday night we were featured on ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ at American Voice Radio Network.
Joel the K did a great job of introducing AirgunsTT to his audience.

He started by doing a brief history of T&T and its geography, then read a couple of the longer posts and elaborated a little on resilient communities. While disagreeing with the idea of mandatory national service, he confessed that he had no first-hand experience with our way of life and was empathetic to our cultural differences and the context of the post.

Mentioning illegitimate groups that have access to illegal guns, he also touches on our family’s preparations and emergency bug out locations. Reiterating the many benefits of shooting sports, the author of Patriots Cave was amazingly thorough in his preparations (being a prepper develops certain good habits). He did his research so well that I could not believe it was our little blog he was featuring. It sounds so strange when someone else is critiquing your labour of love.

Joel you are performing an invaluable community service and may even be enhancing diplomatic relations between our respective countries . Whether you know it or not, you are earning major karmic points. AirgunsTT thanks you sincerely and look forward to listening to your weekly program.

The program repeats Monday morning at 6am, for those who missed it and interested. It streams on the internet at http://www.theamericanvoice.com/

20 January, 2009

Homemade target stands & ramble

Our homemade target stands

Received an email from a fellow prepper blogger, wanting to feature our humble blog on his weekly radio show. If all goes well, it may even be as soon as Friday night. Will post more on the subject soon.

Was on the hill twice this week, keeping the shooting skills honed. Used homemade target stands (pictured), with targets downloaded free from the net. Made a simple modification to my rifle that sped up target acquisition.

Managed to tick off a goal action today that brings me that much closer to accomplishing a vital family goal.

Congratulations to the USA on the inauguration of their 44th president. AirGunsTT wishes the American people the very best in this trying economic period. Hope the prepper networks are wrong and BHO does not turn out to be an anti-gunner.

- Trini Funshooter

16 January, 2009

Preps and land search

Stashing away preps. Oils, lotions, repellent, bags, moist towellets, water, canned foods, diapers, disposable razors. Also travel toothbrushes, floss, dental picks and ponchos. Every bit stashed is ‘another brick in the wall’ of our emergency preparedness. Our family will eat (and continue to be hygienic), no matter what happens to the economy. We’d also be able to be charitable to others who haven’t prepared.

Searching for suitable land for two purposes. One, as a homestead/retreat, and two, the club needs a shooting range. If anyone owns land and is not using it, then maybe we can negotiate short-term use. Contact us via this blog.

Also on the lookout for a solar battery charger. Should at least charge AA, AAA, C & D batteries. If T&TEC ever shuts off the power for more than a day or two, then having a way to recharge batteries will be important. No point having several flashlights, radios and other emergency tools if no (battery) power is available. If you have one for sale, contact us.

More food price increases

The price of crude oil has dropped dramatically over the past couple months, yet food prices increase with regularity, locally. When oil was high (over US100 per barrel) we were told that was the main factor behind the rising cost of food. Now oil cost less than 50% than it did three months ago, yet, locally, food prices continue to climb. Astounding. My local chicken producer has again increased prices. It’s a modest increase of 3.33%, but considering it’s the third increase in roughly five months, it gets difficult for the average citizen. How can they justify these regular increases?

Maybe hunting more–along with fishing–might be a temporary solution. Imagine, the humble Carite fish is now $30/lb!

Dave shot three manicou (opossum) and seven iguanas, recently. All with a single shot air rifle. Many hunters cannot equal his productivity, even with a shotgun.

Folks, stash away preps like your life depends on it. It does.

- Trini Funshooter

09 January, 2009

Gov warns: social instability ahead

The government, through the Finance Minister has “warned of threats to social stability as the Government moves to make further budgetary cutbacks as a result of the continuing global financial crisis.”

“…threats to social stability…”. In what forms would these threats appear? How do we, average citizens, prepare for such threats? How do we defend against them? Is there a comprehensive plan to deal with said threats? Will the citizenry suffer like we did in the 1980s? George Santayana’s oft-quoted words, come to mind: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Will we really repeat the mistakes of the 80s, as some are predicting? Will the coming period be known as ‘1980s 2.0’ among local and regional economists?

Resilient communities should survive well. Now is the time to revisit our firearms laws, allow the law-abiding (and mentally healthy) citizens to arm themselves defensively, and institute compulsory national service for our restless youth. There is no room for idle hands, nor idle minds in this period of transition.

Pay attention to agriculture. It is an area that could generate a positive spiral. Skills learned, food security for communities, entrepreneurs developed, healthier individuals, less demand on the public health system, less cost to government. If more individuals are armed, then agricultural communities can institute their own ‘farm watch’ programs–with co-operation from the police–to deal with praedial larceny. Less demands on professional law enforcement.

Neigbourhood watch groups will need to be reformed, with laws allowing armed citizens to patrol their own neigbourhoods in concert with each other and the police.
Community policing with ‘teeth’. Bandits injured during altercations with members of these legitimate groups, should be prosecuted and rehabilitated. NWGs members should be provided with professional counseling–rather than prosecution–after such traumatic incidents. Consistent, continuous, standardised training and practice in a number of skill sets will be vital.

A civilian defense body, with grassroots support, can be born out of this trying period. This would be a part of the solution to potential social instability. Perhaps in partnership with the TT Cadet Force, TT Defence Force, TT Police Service, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management, the Special Anti Crime Unit and the relevant government ministries.

Who knows, perhaps with innovation (we invented the steelpan), expertise (we have many MBAs, PhDs, MDs, Engineers), resolve (despite the seemingly insurmountable hurdles, and controversy, Carnival is enjoyed every year, by tens of thousands) and the will to survive (just look at some of our older politicians) and thrive, 2010-2020 can be the period that history records us as reinventing ourselves as a sovereign nation and people, whilst providing a model for other small nation states to emulate.
- Trini Funshooter

06 January, 2009

Goals, expectations, preps

My 2009 goal list has almost 40 items. No halfway measures. Think big, move fast, have fun. Managed to tick one off the list in the first week, and the feeling was rewarding. Only thirtysomething more to go…

The final figure will be much more, as some goals require smaller sub-goals to be accomplished.

2009 is expected to be one of great changes, loaded with opportunities (and risks).

Got a few sachets of silica gel, and immediately put them to use in the gun case, ammo stash and camera bag. Another knife was put in the BOB. Rotated some bleach. Must get that sodium hypochlorite. It’d save me the too-often two-month bleach rotation.

Added a splash-proof disposable camera, film pre-loaded. Received a how-to suturing PDF from another prepper blogger, at http://personaldisasterplanning.blogspot.com/. Thanks Preparedwarrior! Welcome to our blogroll.

Now to get the forceps, scissors, needle drivers, needles, thread, N95 surgical masks, more gloves and more ‘bandaids’.

- Trini Funshooter
free counters